It’s not often that I get the opportunity to interview someone who is the world’s best at something. It’s even rarer that I get to interview someone who is the world’s best at something I really enjoy. When the opportunity arose to interview the inaugural Football Manager World eSporst Champion, hosted by bidstack, I couldn’t say no. The winner, Dan Fry, is a lifelong fan of the series, and took the title home, as well as £15,000 in prize winnings and a few extra perks as well, at Insomnia 62.
1. Do you have a go to tactic or prefer to adjust to the make-up of the squad?
I have several tactics which have worked for me in the past, however I adapt my tactics to my players’ strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what these are I will use one of several tactics and sometimes different variations of these tactics. Not all tactics work for every player, so you need to adapt.
2. Do you approach tactic building with a real-life perspective or treat it purely as a game, looking for algorithms and patterns to exploit?
Firstly I build my tactics around my players. I am sure all FM’ers ideally have a way they would like or do like to play football in the real world and try to incorporate this into their tactics but mostly I would say my players are the biggest influence over my tactics.
I am an Arsenal fan, so I like my teams to attack However, the approach I took in bidstack’s Football Manager World eSports Championship was to get crosses into the big men up top, close the space on the pitch, and hit on the counter with fast paced wingers. Overall, most people thought I preferred to play defensive! With regards to patterns/algorithms or potential weaknesses to exploit in the game, I believe that, just as in real life, every tactic will have a way to counter it.
3. What was your first CM/FM instalment?
This was Championship Manager 2 I believe, the 95/96 edition. I think this had a green cover, the backgrounds had real stadiums, it had real life commentary from Clyde Tilsley and it was from then that I was hooked!
4. What was your favourite?
They have all been good, so it’s hard to pinpoint. Obviously the first one will always be special, but I have also enjoyed the 98-02 years when both Arsenal and Cambridge were at the top of their games. FM15/16 – can’t remember which one, but I had an awesome save taking Staines into the Champions ague.
5. Who are your top 3 FM legends who never quite lived up to their promise in real life?
That’s a tough one, there has been so many. I would have to mention Cherno Samba, I wish he made it! He’s a legend outside of the game though, his autobiography should be coming out soon, so stayed tuned! I always used to buy a Swedish kid called Kenedy Bakircioglu who I don’t believe made it to the top of the game. There’s also Ibrahima Bakayoko from the Ivory Coast.
However, being an Arsenal fan, I would probably say one player who really tore it up for me on the game was Jay Emanuel Thomas – shame he didn’t make it.
6. Other than winning the FM World eSports Championship, what is your biggest achievement in Football Manager?
I would say that has been my save with Staines taking them from the lowest league to Champions League. If I was going on recent achievements, I completed the SportsPesa Go Ahead Eagles challenge at the first attempt and one the quadruple in my first season at Arsenal!
7. What’s your longest ever save, and did anything strange happen in it?
To be honest, it was probably the Staines game as this probably lasted 8 or 9 seasons. At the end of it, it was all young players now retiring and being replaced by Newgens, but who doesn’t love those!?
Dan Fry took part in the inaugural Football Manager World eSports Championship, hosted by bidstack, the leader in native in-game advertising. Visit www.bidstack.com or follow @_bidstack on Twitter to find out more.