Other features will also brighten up your managerial experience. Loading screens now contain useful tips and keyboard shortcuts which were definitely helpful, making me a more efficient player. The loading screens also engage you far more than in previous games. Now scores don’t just flash up but you also get scorers and times they scored. It’s not essential to the game but helps make you feel a bit more in tune with what is happening in the leagues.
Another new feature that I really liked was the parent/feeder club option. You can now approach your board and request a relationship with either a bigger or smaller club depending on your own side’s status. With Barnet being located in London I was able to secure a relationship with Spurs and get a regular influx of young players to bolster my chances. On the flip side, if you’re in charge of a big side you might want to give your youngsters some experience at smaller clubs before giving them the opportunity of making the step up. This feature goes some way to bridging the huge gulf between the lower leagues and the top sides and as I enjoy managing a lower league team I welcome it with open arms.
The tempo of the game has also been improved. Gone are the three day marathon sessions before you actually get out of preseason and things now move far quicker. Still, the game is by no means a jump in/jump out experience and to get the most out of it you need to really dedicate a fair few hours. You’ll also need a decent PC to play deal with the larger database of players. Despite offering options to run a whole host of leagues from every corner of the earth the amount of slowdown you will experience on most average PCs will result in most people choosing one league and only a few divisions to play with.
If the previous games in the series appealed to you then Football Manager 07 will also, swallowing up hours of your time without you even realising it. If you’ve never encountered the series (what rock have you been under?) and you’re a football fan then you have to give it a try, provided you can afford to abandon your life for the ton of hours required to be a successful football manager. Come on Barnet!