Football Manager 1
FM1 Box
Developer(s) Addictive Games
Publisher(s) Addictive Games
Designer(s) Kevin Toms
Release date 1982 & 1987 (MSX version)
Mode(s) Single player
Match engine 2D pitch
Platform(s) Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Commodore Plus/4, BBC Micro, MSX, ZX Spectrum
Media Amiga: Floppy disk
MSX: Cartridge
Commodore 64: Datassette
Others: Cassette
Followed by Football Manager 2

Football Manager 2 is the first game in the FM series.

Development and release

Toms developed the first game on a Video Genie, a clone of the Tandy TRS-80. This was a text only game. It was converted to the Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81 and Toms created the software label Addictive Games to launch the game in 1982. It was then ported to the ZX Spectrum with added animated graphics showing match highlights.

The game was a huge success and was ported to a wide range of systems between 1984 and 1987. While the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, BBC Micro, Commodore 64 and PC versions, kept or improved all features such as the match highlights graphics, all others (including the Acorn Electron, Atari 8-bit, Commodore Plus/4 and MSX) were, like the original, text only.


The game was written entirely in BASIC and, apart from the match highlights on some versions, used only text displays and keyboard entry. The player chooses a team and then must try to earn promotion from the fourth to the first division (although the player can then keep playing for as many seasons as they wish). The player also competes in the FA Cup. While the team and player names are real, they are not accurately represented so whichever team is selected, the player always starts in the fourth division and their team is randomly populated with players. Each player has a skill rating and an energy rating. Players must be rested to renew their energy rating or if they become injured. The players' skill and energy ratings also change at the end of the season. The team has ratings of defence, midfield and attack (the total skills of all defenders, midfielders or attackers selected), energy (an average of all selected players) and morale (which increases when the team wins and decreases when they lose). The player can select their team to balance the skills based on the opposing team's ratings (e.g. to increase the defence rating if the opposition has a high attack rating).

As the match is played, the screen is updated if a goal is scored. For versions with animated graphics highlights, attempts on goal are shown in isometric 3D at either end of the pitch with a scoreboard showing the current score. The player can not affect the game while it is in progress.

The player must also balance finances. Weekly income and expenditure is calculated and bank loans can be taken out. There is also a basic player transfer system. Random players become available to buy which the player can bid for. If the squad reaches the maximum of 16, no players will be available to buy. The player can also list their own players for sale and then accept or reject bids.

Game progress can be saved at any time. A customiser utility was included with the game so players could rename the teams and players.

Critical reception

The game was well received by the gaming press although Sinclair User did comment on the lack of realism of the teams and individual player ratings. The excitement of watching the game in progress was often seen as the highlight of the game. Electron User claimed the game was "one of the best strategy games available for home computers" with reviewer Dave Carlos stating "I doubt that this game will ever be bettered".

The game was nominated in the 1983 Golden Joystick Awards for best strategy game, eventually coming second to the Melbourne House adventure game The Hobbit. In 1985, Tony Hetherington of Computer Gamer magazine included the game in "The Spectrum Collection" - "15 classic games that all Spectrum owners should have".

By 1991, when reviewing the £2.99 budget release, Amiga Power awarded a score of only 19% as the game had been "out-featured by practically every other game in the genre" but was "still massively addictive" and referred to as a "classic" and "one of the legends of computer gaming". The ZX Spectrum version was voted the 26th best game of all time in a special issue of Your Sinclair magazine in 2004.

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