Welcome folks, another Legends Interview today. I am delighted that Nick wanted to take some time to speak to me today, I joined his forum a few months ago and it is now the only forum I use. I had’t realised his pedigree until learning more about him and what he has done in the past, and now he tells you a little more about it. Over to the man himself…Hey mate, thanks for giving up some time to speak to me today. Straight up mate, tell my followers who you are….
Always a pleasure, Chris. My name is Nick and I’m the proud owner of Football Manager Now. We are a Football Manager forum that opened on November 1st of last year with the aim of being able to offer at least one thing to each member of the FM community. There’s still a long way to go, but the last couple of months have been great and the reception from the rest of the FM community has been more positive than I could have imagined.
With your forum www.footballmanagernow.com being one of the better ones out there I am delighted to interview you – tell us when you started playing the game?
Thanks, Chris. It’s kind of you to say. I started playing the game in the summer of 1998. I was on holiday in Cornwall and had a bit of spending money, as you do as a 13 year old. I was obviously interested in football and also in computer games. We were walking through the town centre and the bright green box of CM97/98 caught my eye straight away. This was back in the day when shops kept items of worth outside the shop in large, rotating racks. It had a massive football on the front of it, so I went over and read the back of the case. The friends that we were with were spending their money on the usual things you buy on holiday as a kid. Ice cream, buckets and spades, games to play on the beach. I was adamant I wanted this game. My dad was against the idea initially, but my persistence paid off and I was allowed to buy it. I must have read the manual to that game three or four times on that holiday, desperate to get home and play the game. Once I did, that was it. I was hooked from day one and have bought every version of the game ever since.
What made you want to start writing about it?
The initial urge to write about FM came when I joined The Dugout in early 2007. I had found the side via the fansite screen on FM07 and had no idea that so many people played the game. None of my friends did, despite them liking both football and computer games too. I enjoyed writing anyway and seemed to have joined the site at the right time. It was booming and the opportunity to write about the game I loved with like minded people just meant that it was a natural progression.
Where did you develop all your knowledge?
Like thousands of other FM players, my knowledge, certainly in the early stages, came from just playing the game. I’d played the game for a decade before becoming more involved in the community remember. The internet was far smaller then than it is now and Football Manager blogs weren’t around back then. With so many sites, blogs and YouTube channels available now, it is much easier to build a knowledge of FM. The game is obviously so much more in-depth and customisable now, but you can find a forum or blog for pretty much anything to do with FM now. There is always something to learn as far as FM is concerned and most of the knowledge I build now comes from reading the excellent writing of the wider FM community.
What has your greatest save been to date?
That’s a tough one to be honest, but I’ll go for my Catania save on FM14. Every so often you have a save on FM where you just get totally engrossed and build up a real-life affinity for the club. Catania did that for me. It was helped by an unexpected title in the first season – that got my foot in the door. After that we lived in the shadow of Juventus for several years, focusing all the while on developing our own youth players, but also buying good young talent from abroad. I developed the club off the field and soon we benefited. League titles, unbeaten seasons, Champions League trophies, record sales, domestic dominance and a new stadium followed. It ended with Nicusor Stanciu, a player I’d developed into one of the world’s best, scoring in the Final of the Champions League at 34 years old. That was the perfect end for me.
What has been your biggest FM failure so far?
Oh, too many to mention. I was massively into journeyman games around the time of FM09. I tried hard, but they were never very successful. It took me until that Catania save to win the Champions League for the first time! I used to get a bit of stick from Shrewnaldo (@Shrewnaldo) and Forza Hellas (@FMAnalysis) about it, but it was all good fun. A specific one that sticks out from fairly recently was a Club and Country save with San Marino. I’d been building it up on Twitter, posted a big update about my first six months with the national team on the forum, only to be sacked by the club side in February of the first season. Gutted and embarrassed in equal measure!
Who are you managing in FM15, and why?
At the moment, I’m managing Steaua Bucharest in Romania. It took me a while to get into FM15. I just couldn’t get anything working tactically and had been sacked more times in the opening month of this release than I had been over the past two years. My confidence was at rock bottom and I needed something that wasn’t too taxing and allowed me to win a few trophies to get the confidence back! Four seasons and fourteen trophies later I have my mojo back and am thoroughly enjoying FM again!
For you, what has been the best addition to FM15 and why?
Equally, what has been the worst?
It has to be the tactics screen doesn’t it? I’ve got used to it now, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that is was an absolute abomination of a change to begin with. Something that has got my back up for the past few editions is the set piece creator and the lack of development of this tool. It hasn’t changed since it’s inception, which is a terrible decision, especially when you think about the endless possibilities you could do with it. I’d love to be able to create set piece routines, creating player runs etc. That’d be brilliant.
If you were in charge of SI for a day, what would you change and why?
I honestly don’t think there’s much I would change. Certainly nothing that could be done in a day! People like me couldn’t teach SI anything about business! However, I’d like a day with them to talk about the game, ask a few questions and see their plans for the next two or three years. I was massively disappointed by the recent Q&A session after the FM feature announcement via Twitch. The questions asked were terrible. It’d be great for them to run something like that with real members of the FM community. Get a group of 100 blog owners, forum owners and members and get some real answers. That’s what I want from SI.
Nick, again, thanks for your time today. As I said at the start, I think www.footballmanagernow.com is one of the must join forums out there and I would urge anyone that isn’t already there to get involved now!
Thanks, Chris. I enjoyed that. Keep up the good work, my friend.
As well as the forum, you can also follow Nick on Twitter: @fmnowforum