Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Remembering Ultimate Soccer Manager

The other day, I published a post in which I mentioned playing Championship Manager on my PC in the early part of 1995. The story took a depressing turn, however. 

I have another tale to tell about playing football management games in '95 today.

Once I left school and had completed my exams, I had a long summer ahead of me. One thing I did to pass some of the time was buy yet another footy management simulation. It was called Ultimate Soccer Manager.

Ultimate Soccer Manager

It was a game for its time.

Just months before the title came out, the British football world was rocked by the bung allegations that were made against Arsenal manager - George Graham. 

Graham had reportedly taken over £400.000 from a Norwegian football agent in order to sign a couple of players. The scandal led to Arsenal firing the boss and Graham being found guilty of misconduct by the Football Association.

'Why is he going on about the scandal?,' I am sure you're asking. Well, the developers of Ultimate Soccer Manager included the ability to take bungs from agents.

Not only that, managers could also fix matches.

Both actions had its hazards as I found myself getting caught out and losing jobs many times. It was only on rare occasions when I would do either of those things once I realised how easy it was to fall foul of the law.

I had a look at the gameplay on Youtube in preparation for this post. Doing so brought back a flood of memories.

I recall there was a time when I brought Cardiff City into the late 1990s and found myself signing players who were in the twilight of their careers, but were still at their peaks in real-time. Of the top of my head, I recall having Romario, Roberto Baggio and I might have had had Walter Zenga in goal.

Another memory that flashed back to me was seeing the screen that would come up on match day.

Ultimate Soccer Manager

Take a look at the referee. He looks like Sir Alex Ferguson, doesn't he? I wonder how long his watch would run for during injury time.

Another person on the screen that reminds me of someone is the man in the blue shirt and cream trousers who is sitting on the bench on the right.

When I would play the game, I'd see that person and it would remind me of the landlord of the pub I worked at during that time. The guy was a good boss to me and was a friend of the family. He passed away several years ago, but it was good to think of him once again in such a random way.

I'd like to play this game once again. Unfortunately, I don't think I have it anymore. As well as that, I am sure it was on a disk rather than a CD-ROM and - seeing as I don't have a disk drive - there's no way I could play it even if I did still have a physical copy of the game. 

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