A few days ago we were in London, in the Sports Interactive studios, to touch the new Football Manager 2023 first hand (here our test of Football Manager 2023) and we had the opportunity to chat with Miles Jacobson, historical director of the British software house, which welcomed us into its studio and answered our questions on the new chapter due out on November 8 and – more generally – also on the entire series. Without further ado, here is everything we have learned in the course of this interesting interview.
Of supporters, leagues and the market
Everyeye.it: Before starting with the actual questions, we just tried the game and were impressed with Squad Planner! Seems to be a real breakthrough for a long-term career!
Miles Jacobson: Yes absolutely, it is!
Everyeye.it: Let’s talk about the fans for a moment: can you tell us something more about the influence they will have during the matches and above all about the weight that their opinion can have on the decisions of the management?
Miles Jacobson: The importance they have is enormous, especially on club decisions and this importance is different for each club. In the game we will always be able to know what the fans think, because they will not fail to express their opinion after every result, transfer and even at the end of the month you will always have an account of the opinion of the fans regarding your work.
However, the fans could think differently than the management: at this point if the latter has a firm and clear position with respect to your work then it is unlikely the fans will be able to influence that much, but if the position of the manager is no longer so steadfast and at the same time the fans get angry then their opinion begins to influence the management.
Everyeye.it: Is it possible that the management even decides to lift us from the position, even if we are doing well, just because maybe we don’t like the fans?
Miles Jacobson: At that point it depends a lot on the results you are getting: if you reach all the goals that the management sets you then no, there is no possibility that you will be dismissed just for this, but if, on the contrary, you are not fully respecting the expectations of the club and the fans start to be felt, then things could get bad.
Everyeye.it: The football season we are experiencing is quite unique in its kind, with the World Cup placed right in the middle of the championships, which could have consequences from an athletic and mental point of view on the players, both of those who will take part in the World Cup. , both of those who will not participate. How did you deal with this anomalous situation? Have you thought about reproducing similar consequences in game too?
Miles Jacobson: Yes absolutely! If a player goes to the World Cup, he doesn’t play well and is eliminated in the early rounds, this could affect his morale. At the same time, if a player who does not go to the World Cup remained on the sofa for six weeks watching the World Cup on TV eating Pringles, he would need to do the pre-season preparation again when the time comes to return to the field.
For this reason in the game, when the break for the world cup arrives, we will see teams organizing friendlies, just like in the summer break, to keep players who have not taken part in the world in shape.
I support a club that currently plays in the Championship, the English second division, and we have players who will go to the World Cup, but the problem is that the Championship will resume before the Premier League and therefore it is possible that some teams may risk going down in field with important absences if their players are still busy with their respective national teams. So yes, all these consequences will also be found in the game.
Agents and the search for talent
Everyeye.it: We would like to ask you a question about the role of agents in Football Manager 2023. We know that they will be more important than in the past …
Miles Jacobson: Yes, exactly as it happens in reality
Everyeye.it: We see more and more players who deliberately let their contract with their clubs expire in order to free themselves on a free transfer and get an even higher salary elsewhere …
Miles Jacobson: Yes, there are some players who have tried this summer and have failed due to the general financial situation. Some left their clubs thinking they would find better deals elsewhere and instead found themselves signing for a new team on the same terms they had at the previous club, because there were so many free players and so little money lying around that some they got screwed. We find these situations in the game and the Squad Planner also serves to keep these aspects under control.
While playing in the team I was controlling, it happened to me that a player warned me, two years before the expiry of his contract, that he wanted to leave, that he wanted to evaluate all the offers from that moment and, in case they had not arrived, if he would have gone on a free transfer on expiry. This is the reality of football and it happens more and more often that agents specialize in this type of situation.
Everyeye.it: Changing the subject for a moment, we would like to ask you for an opinion on TV shows like All or Nothing by Netlfix and the like: do you think they have contributed in some way to bringing more and more people closer to the Football Manager series? Did you have the perception that this type of show has generated more interest in the figure of the coach?
Miles Jacobson: On the one hand I like these shows and on the other a little less: on the one hand I find them interesting because they are beautiful to watch and I enjoyed them, but on the other hand the advent of these programs has been rather annoying. for me, because before this access to the “behind the scenes” we had only us, while now it belongs to everyone. They definitely help people better understand how a coach works. For example, no one could have understood the real reasons why Aubameyang left Arsenal, but now, thanks to All or Nothing, people can get an idea of why that decision was made.
I think all of this helped the audience understand that certain situations don’t just happen in Football Manager but are dynamics that also happen in real football.
Anyway I don’t think All or Nothing has had the same impact that Netflix show on Formula 1 has had instead (F1 Drive to Survive, ed) which has brought a lot of new fans to that sport, but I think it’s much more important. instead for the young boys of the soccer schools, rather than for the gamers.
Everyeye.it: The last question we want to ask him about the so-called “wonderkids”, that is, those talented young people who we can find in the game and who then often, after a few years, become world-class champions even in reality. I would be curious to know – if you can tell us of course – how you collect information on young talents. How do you have such knowledge of the youth sectors around the world to the point of often being able to know who, among all those sixteen or seventeen year olds, will become an established star a few years later?
Miles Jacobson: We have observers around the world. We have over a thousand scouts, I think in the last count there were about 1300 and they will become even more because we will add women’s football, so we will hire other observers who will only deal with this. Obviously our scouts not only follow the first teams, but they watch many youth team games, especially under 18 and under 16. The point is not so much to focus on how strong these guys are today, but to understand what kind of players they will become in a few years. . This is how we work, we have the largest scouting network in the world and we use it to make sure we discover the best players before everyone else.
For example, football fans first heard the name of Erling Haaland while playing Football Manager and many of them argued that that player in reality would never become as strong as he was in the game (smiles satisfied). Sometimes it also happens that we are wrong, but in 99% of cases our observers see us right and it is a much better result than that of many clubs.
When you have such a large database it may be that in 1% of cases you make a mistake, but we continually strive to eliminate even that 1%. Here you see, for me it would be a failure if a sixteen year old today becomes a superstar and we have not set him up in such a way that he becomes a superstar even in the game; we try to be as accurate as possible thanks to this incredible network of observatories that we have built over these twenty-eight years.
Everyeye.it: Since you mentioned Haaland, is there a way in the game to prevent him from scoring 2 or 3 goals per game?
Miles Jacobson: Yes, if he gets injured. If he doesn’t get hurt there is little to do, that boy is monstrous.