If you're not a football fan and you've never been tempted by any of the previous Football Manager (or Championship Manager if we go back a few years) games then this years edition is just as unlikely to worm its way into your heart. However, if you've played and enjoyed any of those previous versions, or love football and have yet to try a management game and are wondering if you should test the waters with this then the answer is clear. Download this game!
Of course nothing in life is really that simple, if you've read the above paragraph and decided you fall into the 'download it' category then there are some words of caution that it becomes my responsibility to bestow onto you before you rush off to make your download. Beware, Football Manager (FM) could ruin your life. Don't get me wrong, you won't mind or even notice when it does, but at some point in the future when you're finally dragged from your PC by an event large enough to force its way into your FM addled brain (the second coming or the end of the world, those kind of things) you may look around you and wonder quite where your friends and family, not to mention you career, hobbies and probably what's left of your youth, have vanished to.
It starts off, like all drugs, with a small step, a moment of weakness if you will, after all you've bought the game, the least you can do is install it. Of course then you should run it, just to check it installed properly. Best way to properly check that is to start a new game off, you'll just play it for ten minutes, after all you've got to pick your girlfriend up soon so you can't play long. Time passes and you're sure its not been much longer than ten minutes but it seems darker suddenly and there is a shouting noise coming from somewhere close by which seems to indicate your girlfriends has got a taxi home instead. You avoid the fight by staying on the PC while she watches TV and you stumble to bed hours later unable to sleep because you know that the left winger you need must be out there somewhere and you realized while cleaning your teeth that you'd not checked out the youngster your South American scout recommended.
Suddenly it's a few days later and while you found your left winger ages ago he wasn't enough to stop your season sliding into a fight against relegation that was only avoided on the final day. You gave your celebratory press conference from the shower, by then you'd stopped questioning the presence of Garth Crooks in your bathroom. Its improved since then, you invested the time in setting up a detailed training program for each of your players which along with a couple of fantastic transfer coups from the Bulgarian second division helped avoid the relegation dogfight next time round. You've devoted a lot of resources to widening your scouting network in an attempt to build a new team with the classic blend of youth and experience as well as improving your coaching staff in a bid to progress as a club. It's all paid off and you're on the eve of a play off final. Somewhere in the background you can hear the sound of suitcases being dragged down the stairs and your sure your girlfriend seemed a little upset about something when you last spoke to her, not that you're quite sure when that was anymore.
It's been another week, maybe more, the days have started to blend seamlessly now and you've realized the silence around you has really helped your game as since winning the play off final it's been a bit of a revelation as your youth policy has born fruit and you've taken the Championship, and then the Premiership, by storm. You've stopped giving your press conferences in the bathroom, in fact you rarely go in there now anyway. Garth Crooks doesn't get a look in anymore either, you told Sky you'd only deal with Andy Gray now and luckily he's taken up residence on the sofa next to the PC and doesn't seem to mind that you've been wearing only your dressing gown for what must be over a week now.
It's been another increasingly hard to measure period of time and you've had to work hard to keep your focus as the European glory trail impacted on your league form and you flirted with relegation for a few seasons after your young starlets were bought by Chelsea. You removed the battery from your doorbell as it seemed easier than just ignoring the rings and your mobile battery hasn't been charged in god knows how long, it's worked though you've pulled your way back up the table and despite the media and fan pressure your job seems to be safe for another season.
It's night time, that's about all you can tell, but right now you don't care about such things, unless Arsenal score twice at Blackburn in the last ten minutes and you fail to hold on to this one goal lead then that's it, the title is yours! You barely breath, your hands over your face unable to watch as the minutes tick slowly by. Suddenly you see Arsenal have scored and you're under the cosh, the pressure seems to have got to your team and they are unable to break out of their own half. You make a decision, you haven't got this far by playing safe and the fans love your attacking style but this is the title decider and surely now if ever is the time for caution, a few deft clicks of the mouse and you've changed formation, brought on a defender for a striker and told the team to defend at all costs for the last few minutes. Your hands are back over your eyes as you pace the room unable to watch and yet unable to look away. Suddenly it's all over, you've held on, it was a tactical masterstroke and the title is yours! Tears streaming down your face you ignore Andy Gray's pleas for an interview and race round your house screaming with joy as the adrenaline kicks in. Gary Lineker and Alan Hanson catch up with you in the kitchen and you give in and do an interview detailing the ups and downs of your whole career, they don't seem to have noticed the smell of rotting food coming from the fridge, it's probably the excitement.
It's been a few season since that first taste of success, its easier to measure time in terms of seasons now, night and day seem a little redundant, and you've won the title a couple more times, even picked up the European Cup on one glorious night. There is a knighthood beckoning you're sure and you've just applied for the England managers job which the press seem to think you're bound to get. Suddenly it all goes dark. You blink a few times, nothing. You stare at the screen for a while not sure what happens now, Andy Gray is no help, he's been sulking ever since you gave Linker that exclusive after your first title. Eventually you get up and wander downstairs, its dark there too, you trip over the edge of a pile of mail spilling out of the doorway into the hall - they look like bills, they look like old bills - they have the words 'Final Demand' stamped on them.
"What have I done?" you wonder, realization starting to dawn on you as the FM mist starts to fade.
And there you have it, there is the fate that I feel duty bound to warn you is possibly only a few short clicks of the mouse away. This is a game that becomes a part of your life in a way that only the very very best games can do, and as I said at the top of the review it really is a very simple choice to make. All the new features, tweaks and improvements new to this version, as welcome as they are, are largely immaterial. There are people reading this who still think of FM as a glorified spreadsheet, who fail to see the beauty and the artistry behind the numbers. For them this new version will still fail to convince them, but for the rest of us we know the truth and it sets us free...
People who downloaded Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 have also downloaded:
Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006, Worldwide Soccer Manager 2005, Total Club Manager 2005, Ultimate Soccer Manager 98-99, Championship Manager 4, Championship Manager: Season 01/02, Total Club Manager 2004, Championship Manager: Season 03/04
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