Disco Driscoll

Point and click, retro, music, meh...

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Football Manager - Acorn Electron

I make no excuses for indulging shamelessly in nostalgia. So, removing my sepia-tinted Exmortis specs and replacing them with the proverbial rose-tinted ones, I’m going to tell you about Football Manager on the Acorn Electron.

Kevin Toms is the guy who started the whole Football Manager series, which it should be said is nothing to do with the franchise currently on the market, which is basically a spin-off of the Championship Manager series, the name of which has been acquired by another company to produce a series of inferior games. Oh dear, it’s awfully complicated.

Football Manager was available on all the great 8-bit machines in the 80s, and varied from platform to platform, from Spectrum to Commodore. I owned an Acorn Electron, which was kind of like an inferior BBC Micro. It was the ST to the Micro’s Amiga, if you will.

In spite of the fact that the graphics were practically non-existent, the load times tortuous and the games relatively expensive, I loved my little Acorn, with its tiny memory and its tape-player which looked like something NASA would use to check for something or other on the surface of the moon.

I still recall the day I got Football Manager. It was my birthday, I think, and being a little kiddie I was up at the crack of dawn to open my presents. Excitedly loading the game up, I imagined how it would finally feel to put on the manager’s sheepskin coat, to bawl instructions to my lumpen centre back, to muse over whether to introduce catennacio… ok, maybe not. But I was pretty excited.

In essence, FM on the Electron involved choosing a team to manage and starting in Division 4 (which is now League Two) with a team of players with international names, but not international stats. One can only assume that the Shilton who played in goal for Rochdale had fallen on hard times, or else it was his younger, less talented brother. Once a week you’d be offered the chance to bid on a player to improve your team, and conversely you could try to flog one of your journeymen to interested parties once weekly.

Each of the 4 divisions within the game featured just 12 teams, and seasons consisted of home and aways against each, meaning that a season could be taken care of in an hour or so. Nowadays, it takes practically an hour to play 2 games on the new Football Manager.

The matches themselves contained no fancy isometric highlights or detailed text commentary- all you got was a green screen that started off with Rochdale 0 Bristol C 0 (or whatever), and periodically flashed up with GOAL!!!, upon which note another line of text would appear beneath the first: Rochdale 1 Bristol C 0.

There were 7 (I think) difficulty levels, although I rarely ventured far from the easiest level, as I rather liked winning. There were no European competitions of course, although there was an FA Cup tournament, which when won triggered a screen which flashed with green and pink and told you repeatedly, YOU’VE WON THE F.A. CUP!!! Epileptics up and down the land no doubt steered clear of winning too many of these trophies.

Football Manager Acorn Electron style can be relived through an emulator, and I generally find www.stairwaytohell.com covers all of my needs.


  • At 23 November 2008 at 13:44 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    A classic, you can't replace the tension of the flashing GOAL and strange sound effect a millisecond before finding out who scored, cracking!

  • At 10 December 2010 at 11:00 , Blogger J-Hob said...

    I remember one day ill off school where I played this all day, happy times!

    At the end of each season all of the stats randomised too and I think the pool of players was limited to about 30!

  • At 11 January 2011 at 20:44 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I played this and enjoyed every minute of it. I look at the manager games that are out now and think....they look so complicated, why can't they be like old FM on the Electron! Needless to say, i'm off to try the simulator. Thanks for reminding me of days gone. Good times!


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