Football Manager

The game that invented a genre
Football Manager cassette tape game packaging
The ZX Spectrum cassette tape cover for Football Manager
Match highlights - ZX Spectrum, original version 1982
Pre-match interview - ZX Spectrum, World Cup Edition 1990
Team selection - ZX Spectrum, original version 1982

First released on the ZX Spectrum in 1982, Football Manager was the worlds first football management simulation computer game.

The game was designed by Kevin Toms and released by his UK company Addictive Games.

4 different iterations of the game were made between 1982 and 1992, with versions made available for a wide variety of different computer platforms. In total, over one million copies were sold.

Football Manager (1982) was the first of a whole new type of computer game, the football management simulation.

Table Of Contents
Game Features
The ZX Spectrum
Match Highlights Engine
Play Football Manager Online
Magazine Reviews

Game Released Platforms
Football Manager 1982 TRS-80, ZX80/ZX81, ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, Oric-1/Oric Atmos, Amstrad CPC, Acorn Electron, Dragon 32/64, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 16/Plus/4, MSX, PC, Atari ST, Amiga
Football Manager 2 1988 Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari ST, PC
Football Manager World Cup Edition 1990 Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Amiga, Atari ST, PC
Football Manager 3 1992 Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, PC

Game Features

Dealing with the press - Atari ST
Birds eye view of a game - Atari ST
Improving team moral - Atari ST

The game pioneered many features of the genre that we now come to take for granted in modern football games such as Football Manager and FIFA. The first version of the original Football Manager featured the following elements,

  • player transfer market
  • player injuries
  • manager reputations
  • unlimited seasons
  • 4 English divisions
  • promotion & relegation
  • FA cup competition
  • team selection
  • financial management

Title Screen - MSX
Squad screen - Atari ST
Match engine - Amstrad CPC

Later versions of the game also made available the following features to players,

  • game editor
  • training
  • team tactics
  • player positions
  • team sponsors
  • press interviews
  • team talks
  • player morale
  • player histories
  • full game replays
  • text commentary

The original series of Football Manager games by Kevin Toms had a huge influence on similar games that followed it, both in pioneering the football manager genre, as well as innovating in game features.

Managers Office - PC
Match Highlights - MSX
Choose a team - ZX Spectrum

ZX Spectrum
The ZX Spectrum

ZX Spectrum

The ZX Spectrum was a popular home computer in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. It featured a 3 mhz processor, a screen resolution of 256X192 pixels, 15 colours, a rubber keyboard and either 16kb or 48kb of memory on release. It had no hard drive, games and programs were loaded on the "Zed-Ex" by cassette tape.

The Spectrum cost £125 (£660 in 2015) for the 16kb version and £175 (£927 in 2015) for the 48kb edition.

Eight different versions of the Spectrum were sold before it was discontinued in 1992, after selling 5 million units.

Match Highlights Engine

The very first Football Manager, release in 1982, even featured its own match highlight engine, showing important moments from each game, such as near misses or goals.

ZX Spectrum
Original ZX Spectrum match highlights engine
Commodore 64
Commodore 64 version, released in 1984.
Atari ST
Atari ST version, released in 1988.

It is worth noting the now indutsry leading football management series (Championship Manager/ Football Manager) didn't introduce their 2D match engine until as late as 2003.

Play Football Manager Online

You can try out the original version of Football Manager yourself via the ZX Spectrum emulator below. To get started click the window below, enter your name and press enter. To control the game follow the onscreen instructions and use enter to input your choices.

Magazine Reviews

Football Manager 3
Football Manager, by Addictive, has to be one of the best strategy games available for home computers
Electron User, Vol 3, April 1986
simply a football fan's dream come true. It's a beautifully structured and presented game and is engrossing, challenging and very, very addictive
Julian Rignall, C&VG, Issue 81, July 1988
One of the legends of computer gaming...A classic strategy game
Amiga Power, July 1991
You get to answer sarky questions from the press and give pep talks to the players, with what you say affecting the team's morale. This is one of my favourite bits - the choices you get aren't obviously beneficial, and you have to be really tricky to avoid morale plummetting.
Your Sinclair, September 1990 Issue 57

Your Thoughts

Do you remember playing the original Football Manager? Are you a fan of Championship Manager or the modern Football Manager? We'd love to hear your thoughts on Football Manager (1982) below.