The end of the football season is an uncertain time for many in the football world. Contracts finish, transfer windows open and in my case there's a new edition of Football Manager and some major decisions to make.
Naturally my playing career has been glittering with hundreds of games under my belt for such footballing luminaries as Wallace Primary School P6, Monday Night Muppets, Dukla CRD and Poynton Gentlemens Sunday Lunchtime Recreational Association Football Wanderers. There was even a game in 1994 when I was selected to play against Iceland (admittedly it was against Iceland the frozen food retailer and I was playing as a ringer for Littlewoods, not for Scotland) and *this goal at the Mecca of football that is Moss Rose Macclesfield.
My virtual football management career has been similarly impressive with league victories with St Mirren (naturally), Leeds Utd, Fakel Voronezh, Macclesfield Town, Torpedo Moscow, Busan Transport Corporation and Stockport County amongst others. There's even been a Champions League win with Leeds. Now I have a copy of Football Manager 2011 installed on my laptop and am struggling to find a team to manage. Sometimes I start a game and it just doesn't "take". For some reason I just don't connect with a team and don't get the almost narcotic urge to play it. A game of Football Manager isn't a proper game unless every spare waking moment is spent considering what to do about cover for your right back and if your defensive midfielder will be fit enough for the league cup replay away to Arbroath or Anzhi Makhlachkala or Kettering Town. I'm not proud of it but will admit to being reduced to thinking about team formations and who should be on the sub's bench while I'm sitting on the toilet. At that point you have to accept you have a problem. This behaviour manifests itself in other ways. I have a dislike for certain clubs and players for things they have done on a computer game. I'm aware this is irrational but I will still never forgive Martin Rowlands for not signing for me when I was in charge of Stockport County. Airdrie United will always be a pariah club to me not for anything the actual club has done but for a late equaliser they got in a 3-3 draw while playing the 2002 variant of Football Manager. The inverse is also true. I have a fondness for relatively obscure players across the world because of performances they've put in on a computer game! In our house never a bad word is said about Marat Bikmaev, Nathan Ellington, Alexandr Pavlenko, Michal Gottwald or Peter Weatherson (even if Weatherson does now play for Greenock Morton).
So now I have a new game and am looking for a new challenge, a new team, a new horizon. But where to go? Corinthians Paulista is an option to have a tilt at the Brazilian league and Copa Libertadores but Brazil has about 5 million footballers with approximately 12 names between them all. Persitara Jakarta Utara is nicely exotic but have you ever looked at the Indonesian league? Well no you obviously haven't because you're a well adjusted human being but I have looked at it and it's a Byzantine web of clubs nearly all called Persisomething. I thought about the A-League but couldn't find a club I liked the look of (no teams with black and white striped shirts for a start!) I even considered the MLS but lost the will to live when I came up against the MLS Superdraft. What in the name of goodness is a superdraft? Some sort of air conditioner?
So that's me left looking for a club for the adventure to begin again and for the next Artur Tlisov or Alex Teixieira to come along and join the pantheon of obscure footballer who I have a Football Manager soft spot for. Who should I manage? All suggestions gratefully received so answers on a postcard to the usual address...
*Please note if viewing the video ignore the commentary from my so called friends. They're just jealous of my pace, composure and Adonis like physique