RECENTLY I sent a messenger pigeon to good old Green, the pipe-smoking wheelchair bound Reviews Editor, with the following message: "Listen spongehead, I've got hold a copy of Anco's Player Manager, it's wonderful, do you want a review?"
Back came his carrier sparrow (anything to save money) with the reply "Um, ahh, well, that be the question laddie. Now then, don't be getting all hasty like, I'll have to consult me Old Fogeys Almanac first".
Many days later I visited his feather and dropping-
"Eh, what did you say your name was sonny?" he muttered while brushing away the cobwebs covering his pipe.
Lacking the requisite patience for dealing with the old and infirm I grabbed him by the tweed lapels and screamed, "Do you want a review or not you dozy half-wit?"
"Eeh, ar suppose so then lad. We'll have 400 words by tomorrow's pigeon post then."
With a growing sense of horror I suddenly realised that I'd written over 200 words already, and that there was scant room left to wax lyrical about this most magnificent of management games. Enough scene setting then, on with a particularly terse review.
You are the player manager of a Third Division club, with a decent size squad, money enough to raid a very large transfer market (there are more than 1,000 individually detailed players in the league), a cup competition, coaching tactics, and the chance to play in the Kick Off style game (which only last six minutes in total).
A board of directors monitors managerial performance, giving you the boot if you cock it all up, vetoing transfer deals if they involve running up a large overdraft and actually suggesting you spend some money when you have a huge cash mountain.
Players are rated on physique and skills out of 200. These include pace, stamina, endurance and violent tendencies. Be aware that players with poor stamina virtually give up moving towards the end of a game.
Passing, shooting, tackling and goalkeeping are the skills, and are relevant according to position played. Some skilled players may be better off being retrained to be a striker instead of say a midfield player.
The transfer market is excellently done, involving limited time per week and price haggling. Selling players requires them to be placed on the transfer list, and you having to wait for offers from interested parties. It is invariably mpossible to shift a player for what the board seems to think he is worth.
Tactics are everything. There are the standard 4-2-4, 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and 5-3-2 formations, but any of these can be replaced with your own custom formations and tactics. The pitch is split into 12 sections, and the players can be re-arranged regarding what positions to try and take when the ball enters each one. Corners and kickoffs are set piece plays that can also be designed.
When playing the actual games you can sit on the sidelines (eventually you have no choice because of retirement) or play in the games in Kick Off fashion. There are substitutions and injuries, disciplinary points for yellow and red cars, the ability to change tactics at certain points, and the ability to just control the player-
The gameplay is much harder than normal Kick Off, and it features pitches and goal
Needless to say its totally fab, and makes Football Manager I and II look like total plop. Why delay, buy today, football heaven... and other slogans Anco will use in its adverts with us, etc, etc.