Football Manager 2015: A love letter to the game that ‘takes over’ lives and was cited in 35 UK divorces

 A young man waits in nervous excitement barely able to sleep on the eve on the biggest day of the year.

That young man is me and the day is today, the day that the latest installment of the Football Manager (FM) series is released.

Football Manager 2015 hit shops today – news that is sure to be greeted with excitement by football fans around the world.

FM and the company in charge of the game, Sports Interactive, will be well known to fans of AFC Wimbledon, as they are the current shirt sponsors.

They have been involved with the club since its formation in 2002 and included messages of support for the club in that year’s edition of the game.

Sports Interactive are incredibly proud to be linked with The Dons.

A spokesman said: “In nine short years they have achieved amazing feats, rising five division from the semi-pro Combined Counties League to League 2, and SI are both honoured and excited to be a part of this journey.”

The game has become a phenomenon, having a best-selling book and a film made about it.

Football Manager Stole My Life tells the story of how the game takes over every waking moment, with the game leading to 35 divorces. Last month An Alternative Reality: The Football Manager Documentary was released and charts the history of the popular game and is narrated by This Is England actress Vicky McClure.

A big part of FM is the stories you have to tell from immersing yourself in the game, stories people are only too happy to share.

For me, my greatest achievement was guiding Walsall from League 1 to the Champions League last year.

You only need to mention FM to someone and they will immediately divulge their greatest triumphs or disasters, especially in the SWL office.

One mention of the game led to hours of discussion reminiscing about previous campaigns whether they were successes or failures.

Reporter Gregor Vasconcelos has a particularly sad tale of woe having being sacked by Bolton before even playing one match over a budget dispute.

Fellow reporter Dipak Patel did slightly better managing Arsenal for three games before getting the sack.

However footy fans outside the confines of SWL have been a lot more successful and enjoyed some great achievements.

One such triumph happened to Josh Ibrahim, a 22-year-old student from London, who happily told the story of his success at QPR.

He said:“My greatest FM accomplishment was signing half the Ukrainian squad to win the Premiership as QPR, culminating with centre-back Yaroslav Rakitskiy scoring a hat trick against Chelsea on the final day of the season.

“Man, Rakitskiy and Michael Mancienne at the back – what a partnership!”

However, as Football Manager Stole My Life documents, there is also the risk that one can become too immersed in the world of FM.

Jordan Watkins a 22-year-old accountant and long-time Football Manager fan from Reading spent the equivalent of 35 in-game seasons playing the 2009 incarnation of the game.

He said: “My most memorable Football Manager experience was reaching the lofty heights of the year 2044 in FM09, but I suppose that’s more of a tragic Football Manager story than a great one.”

Image courtesy of Channel 4 via YouTube, with thanks

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