Retro Rated: Footballer of the Year

Factfile
Developed by: Gremlin
Released: 1986
Format played: Spectrum

Of all the machines, I was first introduced to this game on a neighbour’s BBC Micro but it would turn up on the usual array of 8-bit computers of the time.

A different beast to Football Manager, this title saw you mastermind the fortunes not of a team, but an individual player, guiding him from the lower reaches of football’s backwater to the giddy heights of division one and international football, aiming to secure the nomination as Football Of The Year.

It is a curious game. With a stack of £50 notes stuffed down the back of your shorts, you have to buy Goal Cards to give you the chance of a shot in the next match, which play out with mini arcade sections. Don’t worry about whether the team wins or not, this is all about personal glory. Between matches, you can also buy Incident Cards (think Community Chest or Chance in Monopoly) or a Transfer Card, with the hope of being spotted by a scout to secure a big money move.

Revisiting it now, it is in some ways gloriously awful, the Spectrum version in particular presenting perhaps the worst in-game sound I can recall (although the title music is quite pleasant) whilst gameplay is limited and repetitive. But for all that I found that I kept coming back to it. It is simple to play, seasons can be burned through in under 15 minutes, the random incidents of injuries, car purchases, pools wins and all sorts of other nonsense raise a smile and give it some character.

This is a unique game that really sits apart from the crowd. It won’t take long until you get bored of it but it is fun while it lasts.

This review is taken from The History of Football Management Games. Part one can be found here.

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Jon Wood

Ah but the sequel! Amazing