About 18 months ago I bought my second "soccer management" game for use on a micro computer, and for the second time I found myself playing a game which assumed that soccer management is about mental arithmetic. It was an interesting game but it wasn't soccer management. Dare I say that I'm a Man. Utd. fan, and I just could not imagine Ron Atkinson sitting at a desk producing hjis team sheet either by picking players from a list of "skill" and "energy" figures as in my first game, or distributing 35 points for "skill" amongst his team, as in the second. "Now listen here, Brian," I can hear him saying to Robson in the dressing room before the match. "You're going to play with 4 points for skill today, but I can only allow you 2 points for energy." That doesn't sound right to me. Does it to you? And if Ron doesn't act that way, or any other manager for that matter, then I don't see why I should in a soccer management simulation.
A manager first and foremost deals with players, with skills, and with blending these players/skills into a successful team. No numbers (apart from on the backs of shirts) but the ability to assess players and how they will fit together as a team. And that's what I want to do when I become a manager on my micro, and that's what the game should ask me to do. The micro will obviously have to give the players certain values if there is to be any difference in using different players, but I don't want to know what they are. The game should show me a football match that will allow me to judge for myself. The computer game must also make it necessary that players are played in their correct positions if they are to play to their best ability; Kenny Dalglish playing a blinder as a striker I can accept, but not as a goalkeeper. So when the computer gives a player a skill figure, that skill must combine the skill and the position to give an overall skill rating. The picking my team will mean, not only picking my best players (and that must be my judgement), but also playing them in their best positions. Looking at that the other way round I must see that my squad will have players to suit all positions. In other words I must produce a squad which will give me the right blend of defenders, midfield players and strikers, and if I don't play a good blend then the game should make me suffer for it. Then I'm a manager!
Defining what you want from a game and producing it on a micro can be two different things but if you read through this booklet you will soon see how we have achieved a game which does allow the game-player to act as I have described above. The booklet is not just an instruction manual, but in fact is part of the game. After 10 minutes at the computer, you will be playing the game as if you had been playing it all your life, as it is very straight forward in its operation, but if you're to play the game well then you will need to understand what is involved. There are lots of hidden "rules" which the computer will follow, all of them as close to the real world of the football manager as we can make them, and it's only by reading very carefully that you will find hints as to what these rules are. So at some time sit down with the booklet and give it your full attention; we've had lots of queries about our game LEAGUE DIVISION ONE which we've answered merely by saying "Read page xx of the booklet and see what you can make of that". This game is very similar to LD1 and many of your queries will have their answers in the booklet.
But for now by all means go ahead and see what the game is about. You will find that many of your actions are responses to questions and the answers in your case will be reasonably self-evident. When you refer to players you just type in their initials; if you wish to put Mike Knowles as goalkeeper into your team-sheet, when asked for the position you should type in "1" (RETURN) and then MK (just initials) (RETURN), and KNOWLES will appear on your team-sheet. You will need to use pages 18 and 19 to give you your starting squad of players and a brief description of their abilities so you can at least work out a reasonable team to begin with. You will see on the previous page the players available on the transfer market and you will recognise most, if not all, of them.
So go ahead and CHAIN"SS" and see what it's all about.
Setting The Scene
Nonentity Utd. (or whatever you choose to call your team) is a team in a Good News/Bad News situation. The good news is that last season Nonentity won promotion to the 1st Division by hanging onto third place in the 2nd whilst all the competition went to pieces; promotion by default the Press called it. The bad news is that their manager was offered a lucrative deal in the Middle East and he immediately packed his beachball and disappeared into the rising sun. The real bad news is that you accepted Nonentity's offer to manage the side.
Being a plain speaker, a sort of poor man's Brian Clough, you shot your mouth off to the local Press about the good news being the departure of the manager, and the bad, that this collection of "wallies" would be meeting 1st Division opposition next season. You alienated half the town, including the Bank Manager's wife, when you began selling off players in order to buy Graham Jones, Frank Barnes and Chris Turner from your old club. Your old club, incidentally, were relegated last season into the 2nd Division, but it's your opinion that these three players would gain a place in most 1st Division sides. Not everyone would agree with you.
Your contract says that you have five seasons to make something of this team in the 1st Division and this, by common consent, will not be an easy task. Nevertheless if you are relegated during that time then you may be looking for a lucrative contract in the Middle East too.
After your surgery job on Nonentity's squad of players, you have the three players you brought with you; you've retained seven younger players (in the 19-22 age bracket) who you believe are good 1st Division material given the chance to get 1st team experience; and you are going to have to rely on eight experienced players (who distinguished themselves in the run-in last season by not going to pieces under the pressure) to help you through the next two or three seasons. But if you're to make any impression in the 1st Division then you'll have to bring along those youngsters and cleverly use the transfer market (You're not a rich club...yet!) to replace the aging players.
So that's your problem: you are the manager of a newly-promoted 1st Division club with a selection of players that certainly will not set the 1st Division alight. You have no money to improve your squad yet, and frankly your own players will not bring in enough money to buy any significantly better players. But the town is expecting things from you and they can get nasty if you don't produce the goods. The board is reasonably sympathetic but nothing short of continuing 1st Division football for the town is good enough for them, and even they expect you to bring some success in the next five years. So, it's now up to you.
Insights Into The Game
In the Introduction we said that as manager you should be expected to deal with players, skills and the blending of these skills into a successful team. We also said that it would not be an easy task to produce a computer program that would allow you to do this and still maintain a game in which your selections would affect the course of the game in the way they should. We hope that the following pages will not only convince you that we have achieved our goal, but also help you understand what's required of your performance to succeed in the game.
During the course of a season you will meet all but one of the currect 1st Division sides and, not unreasonably, you will expect that the playing ability of these sides will in some way reflect their League positions. It would also be reasonable to expect the sides to show different playing styles. The computer must therefore have some way of representing, within the machine, the playing level and style of the teams. We do this by representing the sides by five "skills" of the game which can then be used in a simulated football match against your own selections. Your own selections will build up values in these five skills by adding together the individual skill levels. Each player will contribute to your team according to his own skills and the position in which you have chosen to play him.
So what are these skills?
a) Midfield Possession
Almost all team ball games are affected to some considerably extent by the ability of the sides to gain and maintain the possession of the ball; in soccer, to win tackles and heading duels and to pass the ball accurately. The battle for possession in soccer is mainly in the area 30 years either side of the half-way line. This is the first skill; to win and maintain possession of the ball in this area of the field.
b) Mount Attacks
Having won the ball in midfield it is necessary to move the ball into the defenders' third of the field whilst maintaining possession. That means the ability to pass accurately and to fend off defenders as they try to dispossess the attacking player. This is the second skill; to transform midfield possession into controlled possession in an attacking position.
c) Attempts on Goal
The most difficult of skills; to transform attacking possession to realistic attempts on goal. The third skill; creating chances and converting them into goals.
d) Dispossession of Attackers
The opposite of b). If the opposition has won the ball in midfield then the first line of defence is to dispossess the attacking players as they move into the last third of the pitch. In reality this means interception of passes or dispossessing tackles. The fourth skill; to dispossess the opposition before they can mount an attack.
e) Goal Minding
Perhaps not a good name for the ability to make sure attempts on goal don't finish up in the back of the net. This refers to blocking tackles, clearances off the line, and of course the goalkeeper's ability itself. The fifth skill; quite simply keeping the ball out of the net.
All action in a real football match can be seen as the clash of one or more of these skills. Obviously a) of one side comes into competition with a) of the other; b) of one with d) of the other; and c) of one with e) of the other. And vice-versa of course.
By giving each of the 1st Division clubs a skill level in each of these five areas then we can not only represent the overall skill of the side but also the balance. Also we can introduce "tactics" by having the teams change the balance. If we increase d) and e) at the expense of b) and c) then we will produce a more defensive side. Better defence but weaker attack.
What about your own side? Your own side is made up of the sum of each of the individual player levels in the five different skills, but with one important proviso: the position in which you choose to play the man will affect his contribution. You may have a very good central defender but, if you insist on playing him as a striker, his ability as a central defender will not be added to your own team's overall skills but something considerably less. Play him as a central defender and you will get the best from him, but play him out of position and you will get less. Sounds reasonable? So our system means that by picking the right players and playing them in their right positions you will get the best from that particular selection of players.
When you pick your team you have the ability to select one of three formations; 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-4. Obviously each formation will require a slightly different selection of players, and each formation will produce a different balance of skills in your team and affect its style of play.
You can see now that we have a very flexible form of representation of each team's abilities with the possibility of tactical changes, and a way of picking your own team that is dependant on the players you pick, the formation (which defines to some extent your own tactics) and the need to play your players where they should play. In this sytem Kenny Daglish in goal would be a disaster as you would expect. Now all we need is some way of making the sides compete and seeing that the result is a reflection of the different level and balance of skills.
The Football Match
We've set ourselves the problem, not only of producing a calculation to reflect the skills of the two sides (with some degree of "luck" to provide upsets), but of showing you a football match in which you see the result unfold "before your very eyes". We put a football match up onto your TV screen (or VDU for those of you with money) in which the two teams will actually compete: a "3D" picture of the 22 players competing, with the game flowing back and forth from goalmouth to goalmouth. Until "Video Discs" are available at a reasonable price we are of course limited by memory of the computer and its graphics limitations in producing a real, live football match, but it won't take long before you recognise that the two teams are indeed competing in a simulated game.
And that is the key to our "calculation" of the result. There is no "calculation" but the two teams compete in the five skills we have described. You will have noticed that the skills are related to areas of play and that each is an obvious "follow-on" from a previous skill. If you win the ball in midfield then your side will try to move the ball forward into an attacking position. The result will either be a successful movement (pass if you like) into the heart of the defence, or a successful dispossession by the defence. The result will, of course be dependant on the relative skills of the two teams. By that we don't mean that the strongest team always wins but that on average it will. The greater the difference the greater the bias. The entire "90 minute" football match will be made up of approximately 180 "competitions" in logical order depending on the outcome of the previous competitions, and will take about five minutes on your computer.
To illustrate what is happening we place you in the top of the stand above the half-way line (TV camera position) and show the whole pitch as seen from there with the 22 players distrbted intelligently around the pitch depending on the area of play. The teams are represented by their respective colours, with as close a resemblance to the real life colours as we can, your own team playing in white (this means that only Spurs need change strip to mid-blue). The team in possession has its players running forward whilst the opposition players take up a crouching position, rather like a fullback facing an advancing winger. The ball will be at the feet of one of the advancing players. Thus a move from defence through to attack will, first, show the ball at the feet of one of the back four, then into a midfield setting with the ball now with a midfield player, forward into an attacking setting with a player just outside the box with the ball, and finally, with the ball with one of three strikers inside the box. If he scores he rather like the touch of all the scoring team's players jumping up for joy in unison. Of course the move can break down at any point, and often does.
By watching this football match you can see the performance of your players, which of course is the one criterion that we mentioned in the Introduction we haven't explained yet. You have to be able to assess the performance of the players and where else but on the football field? Only then do you have the information on which to base your team selection. But just a word of warning. Don't associate one particular player on the football pitch with one particular player on your team sheet as you will mislead yourself: the football match is not that representative. Remember that the skills are broken down into the 5 mentioned and that what you're seeing is the competition of these skills. It's up to you to determine which of the skills belong to which of the players (or more accurately combination of players) and what the football match tells you about the performance of your team in these skills. Remember too which team you're playing and their playing record; players may well look good against the 21st team on your park, but the same players won't look as good against Liverpool at Anfield.
The match display also shows you the time ticking away and the pitch surround tells you who is at home (the colour of the surround is the colour of the home team). This will be important when you come to consider changing tactics during the match. Yes, you can change your team balance during the game if you think that the conditions need it.
So you can see how we've met our original criteria; the management of players, of skills, the blending of those skills, a football match that will reflect those things, and the ability to assess your players' performance. No numbers; no mental arithmetic. But I also hope that we have given you enough explanation to allow you to play SOCCER SUPREMO in a skillful manner.
So now let's move on to tactical possibilities and overall strategy.
Tactics And Strategy
Let's first explain what we mean by these two terms. Tactics describes the methods used to achieve your aim in any one individual match. Tactics are strictly short term. Strategy, on the other hand, is long term. The game is played over 5 seasons, and your ultimate aim is to win the 1st Division Championship. You will need, right from mtach 1, to know exactly where you're going and how you intend to build up your side so that it will stand a realistic chance of achieving that goal. Sometimes you will find that tactics and strategy conflict in what they dictate you will do.
We pointed out in the last section the flexibility involved in the way that teams are defined in their abilities, and that, without too much trouble, it is possible to change the balance of your side and its style of play. Of course your squad of players will set limits on what you can do, particularly in the early years, but it's the problem of strategy to reduce those limits. Your tactics begin when you choose the playing formation of your team. 4-4-2 is obviously defensive, whilst 4-2-4 attacking. Our tests have shown that two equal sides playing 4-4-2 will only average two goals a game, but playing 4-2-4, it's 4.2 goals. 4-3-3 comes in at 3.1 goals. There is no inherent advantage in any one formation, but of course your own particular squad of players will change that. At the start we have given you a "neutral" squad so that you can set out from there with any of the three formations in mind. So you can choose at this point to play an attacking game, a defensive one, or something in between. A defensive game will tend, not unnaturally, to lead to more drawn games.
So selecting a particular formation to start off with, coupled with the right selection of playerts, will determine your initial playing style. Your selection may well be determined by the opposition; you may be happy with a draw from certain games and it's not difficult to see how you can improve your chances of that. But of course it's not uncommon to change your style during the match itself if the way the game is going demands it. There are two ways that you can do this. First is the use of your substitute. When you make out your team-sheet you include a twelfth man as a substitute who can be brought onto the pitch at any time during the match. He can be used just to replace a player directly, but he can also be used to shift the balance of your side. Let's say you're a goal down with 20 minutes to go in a match you expect to win. If your substitute is a striker, then it may pay to take off a midfield player and put your substitute on in an attacking position. This will increase your striking ability whilst reducing your midfield strength (effectively a 4-4-2 becomes 4-3-3 and a 4-3-3 becomes 4-2-4). There are a number of possibilities, but remember, playing a player out of position is not a good thing so when you choose your substitute then you should have a good idea of how you intend to use him. Sometimes I think that your choice of substitute can be your most important selection.
The second method of changing your style is simply by instructing your players to push forward or fall back; play more attacking football or more defensively. You do this by hitting the "T" (for Tactics) key, then you are asked simply (A)tt or (D)ef? If you press "A" then the computer will shift the skill levels, decreasing the defensive skills and increasing the attacking skills. "D" of course does the opposite. You can do this twice in the same way. You will leave your defence or attack woefully weak if you hit "A" or "D" twice. I'll give an example of how to use this facility. With the above situation, a goal down 20 minutes to go, you might reasonably instruct your team to push forward (with the danger of course that you may get caught out and concede another goal). If you get the goal you need then by hitting "T" again followed by "D" you will return to your original formation. On the other hand, if, with only 5 or 5 minutes to go, you still haven't grabbed a goal then you could in desperation hit "T" again, followed by a second "A" in order to get that goal. Just pray that the opposition doesn't mount an attack. Two "D"s in succession would of course make it very difficult for the opposition to score (a lock-out) but there will be very little chance that your own attack will have the effort in them to raise an attack. If you are trying to lock out the opposition (perhaps you're a goal up), if they do score then you have used your two adjustments and there is little chance of you getting a goal back. So two "A"s or two "D"s are desperation measures.
If you now begin to think of all the possibilities; your original choice of formation; the use of your substitute; the use of tactical adjustments; then you have an enormous number of possibilities. And what's more, good tactical play will demand that you think of the possibilities before you choose your original formation.
As you get used to the game you will develop your own little tactical tricks, and even build up your squad to support these tricks.
Tactics can be complicated but strategy is somewhat more subtle. We've just said that you may build up your squad in such a way as to support the tactics that you've developed. You would then be integrating your tactics and strategy. If you have decided that your method of play is to rely heavily on tactics then that is a strategic decision.
The point about strategy is that right from the first match you should decide on what sort of squad you believe will eventually win the Championship for you. You can choose to use one of the formations predominantly, with only occasional deviations from that. Thus you might decide that you are going to develop an attacking team (4-2-4) and only occasionally depend on defensive tactics. This will then determine how you go about building up your squad, which youngsters you bring along and which players you buy from the transfer market. And this is true of any of the three styles of play. If you do choose a game relying heavily on tactics then this too will determine your youth policy and transfer activities.
The one important thing about strategy is that you should determine yours before the game and then stick to it; changing half-way through the game can really set you back. Perhaps we should point out that there isn't just one way of achieving the Championship; it can be won with any of the four possibilities we've mentioned. But each of course will demand a different squad of players.
Just one further point; we constantly talk about your "squad" of players. In this game you will suffer, not unnaturally, a number of injuries and you will quickly realise how bad this can be for your plans. Your strategy must also take care of this problem, to see to it that injuries do not knock you off course. I'll leave it for you to figure out the answer to that problem.
SOCCER SUPREMO has been designed to appeal to p[layers on three different time scales just like the real game of football. Firstly, there is the short, match to match, time scale, with the complications of tactics and the appeal of watching your side against the giants and minnows of the 1st Division. Secondly, it appeals on the "season" level, on the period of 42 matches as you watch your team fight for the Championship, or against relegation, or just to improve your League standing; and lastly, it appeals on the management strategy level of buildingn up a team over a number of seasons in order to take the Championship. You will find that the game reflects these periods in the way it is laid out, first with the match cycles, then the season cycle and then the 5 season game. I want now to briefly go through the different periods of the match cycle.
A typical game will take up to 25, perhaps even 30, hours and so it is obviously necessary to provide a simpy Save/Load game facility. On CHAINing the program the very first question you are asked is whether you wish to LOAD a previously SAVEd game. The answer "Y" will produce the familiar "Searching" message and the tape containing the SAVEd file must be inserted into your cassette unit and run. After 25 seconds or so the "Next Match" screen will appear and you continue as if you'd never broken off.
The SAVE is carried out at the end of a match. Following the details of a completed match, a "Choice of Action" screen will give you the opportunity to (C)ontinue or (S)ave a game. On pressig 'S' the familiar 'RECORD then RETURN' message will appear, you merely put your blank tape (Don't use the program tape if you can help it!) into the cassette unit and record the data file which will allow you to continue the game at a future date. You will be given an opportunity to SAVE after each match, and even though you may wish to continue, it is worth saving the game just in case something happens (a mains interference spike which corrupts your program) so that you only lose back to your last SAVE and not several hours of play. Following the SAVE the program returns you to the "Choice of Action" menu, which means you can continue.
Level Of Play
The first time around you will answer 'N' to the LOAd game question and will be presented with a screen offering you a choice of options on the level of play. Obviously "Apprentice" is the easiest level and "International" the most difficult. "Division One" is the most realistic. Once you have chosen your level then you will not be given any opportunity to change it in this game. It pays to choose a lower level to begin with. If this proves too simple for you then you can always stop the game and begin again at a higher level. I think however that you may find "Apprentice" difficult enough the first time around. The "International" level is for masochists.
Having chosen your level of play, then the NEW SEASON screen comes up informing you that all players are available for selection. The screen will come up at the start of any new season and any injuries that may have been incurred in the previous season are cancelled.
Next Match Screen
The SPACE bar will take you onto the Match Screen which will give details of the match you're about to play. This is the first screen of each "match game" and informs you of the playing record of your next opponents. The first time it tells you nothing of course as there have, so far, been no matches played by any team. In future cycles you will be given the current season's playing record and after four games, the league position of the team will be calculated. Take a good look at these figures as there is a direct link between them and the standard of play that you can expect from this team. It's important to note whether the game is at home or away as the computer uses this in its calculations about the skills of the side and may also make tactical changes which will affect your opponents' style of play. Just as you may make tactical changes so might they.
Your first tactical decision! By this time I hope that you have looked at the available players (pages 18 and 19) and decided on your team. As the computer is going to use your formation choice to calculate your team's skills, and as we've said that you must play players in their correct positions, then we had better tell you of the computer's assumptions regarding your numbering system.
If you choose 4-2-4 then the numbers will be in sequence; 1 is the goalkeeper; 2, 3, 4 and 5 the back four; 6 and 7 the midfield players; 8, 9, 10 and 11 the strikers. In 4-3-3 the sequence is again correct, number 8 becoming your third midfield player. In the case of 4-4-2 then the fourth midfield player is number 11. So if you choose 4-4-2 then the computer will treat 11 as a midfield player and it's up to you to see that the player you choose for that position is correct.
The first time around you will have to pick a complete team and you will see that the sheet is blank (full of asterisks anyway). The way in which you fill in the team-sheet is straightforward. You can fill in the sheet in any order, just hit "Y" then the team position followed by RETURN and followed by the initials of the player you have chosen. Thus: "Y", say "10" (RETURN), and JR (RETURN), ROBERTS will then appear in the number 10 position. You fill in all positions with your first team selections. The computer will not allow you to put the same player in twice, and in future it will not allow injured, transferred or players who are not yet on your staff.
When you've completed your selections then hit "N" to go onto the match.
Just a word about the asterisk. This is in fact a "dummy player", and is recognised by the computer. However he has no skills, no preferential position, will not get injured and no-one's going to give you money for him (You've got a few of them in your favourite team, haven't you? Man Utd. too!). He does have a use in the computer game however. If you happen to have a really bad run of injuries you may find that you can't field a full 12 players. You can't make up the number with injured players, the computer won't allow you to. You must use Asterisk. He's entered just as other players by his initials "**", and will appear on the team-sheet as "*". His second use is in fact to allow you to swap players around. The computer will not allow one player in two positions at once so itf you wish to swap over two players (usually the sub, with one of the players on the sheet) then you replace one of them with Asterisk as an intermediate "dummy", and then make the swap. The Asterisk is in fact used rather than a blank so that you can see that you have a non-player on the team-sheet. You would be surprised how easy it is to miss a blank and then accidentally play with ten men.
The next time around the team-sheet will come up with that for the last match, with any injuries or transfers shown and it is then only necessary to change the players you wish to, if any at all.
We've said all that needs to be said about the game. Remember "T" will allow you to make tactical changes. Just tap the key once, it may not respond immediately, only when play returns to midfield (prevents you suddenly increasing striking ability just as you're about to shoot!). To substitute a player, it's necessary to hold down the "S" key until the ref sees you. The substitution can only be made during midfield play as well. Incidentally the "S" key can be used to (S)top the match should you be called away during the game. The computer responds to "S" with "Substitution (Y/N)". If you press "Y" then you are asked for the player to come off and then the area of operation for your substitue ((D)efence, (M)idfield or (A)ttack). If you press "N" the game will continue. So "S" will freeze the game and "N" start it again.
When the game has finished then a screen of data will come up which will summarise the game statistics. These figures will allow you to understand more easily the actual performance of your team in the five areas of the game we have spoken of. It's up to you to make the most of this summary.
The following screen gives you more data which results from the match just played. Your playing record is updated, the gate and gate receipts for that match are shown, and your "physio" will report on any injuries that may have occured. Take note of the injuries and the physio's estaimate as to how long the player(s) will be out of action.
Choice Of Action
The last screen in the match cycle is the "Choice of Action" screen. There are three actions possible from here:
(T)ransfer Market (S)ave Game (C)ontinue
We've already mentioned the Save Game and Continue options at the beginning of this section. Just to recap. Choosing "S" will bring up the "Record then RETURN" message which will then record the relevant data onto a blank tape which, when LOADed the next time you play, will carry on the game just as if you had pressed "C" to continue. The next screen in both cases will be details about your next opponents.
The "T" option will take you into the transfer market where you will find some of the players that you will eventually need if you're to win the Championship. Take a look at page 17 to see the players available to you. You won't be surprised to hear that some of these players can cost in excess of £500,000. That's right - half a million pounds. The first information you will be given when you enter the transfer market is the amount of money you have available for transfer fees. You can of course sell as well as buy players, but don't be hasty. You have five years to go and soon your money will grow as you make your trips to Anfield, Old Trafford, White Hart Lane and so on. Of course it will grow much more quickly when you start winning matches, particularly at home, because fans like to see a winning side.
Just one operational point about the transfer market. When you make an offer or ask for a price, then you do so in thousands of pounds. If you offer, say, £300,000 for a plyer then you would enter that as 300. You will see that your figure will enter between the "£" and the "thousand", thus reading £300 thousand. Players are always referred to by their initials.
When your offer has been accepted or rejected then you will automatically be returned to the "Choice of Action" menu and you can go back into the market as often as you wish. The figure showing just how much cash you have will be kept up to date as you carry through your transfer deals.
That just about completes our description of the various screens that you will see as you play SOCCER SUPREMO. You will see them many times but with different teams, different players, always something different. A great deal goes on "behind the scenes", rules that the computer uses to control the game, to make its calculations, rules that you will have to fugure your for yourself if you are to perform well at the game. One thing I know; no matter how well you do you can always do better. You haven't conquered a level of play until you have won in the 4th season. It is possible to win in the third but you need a lot of luck as well as skillful play to do that. If you win in the third season at level 2 the Division One level then let us know, we like to keep up with how many of our users are managing with the game.
Players For Transfer
Gary Bailey (GB): England under 23 goalkeeper. Sound, occasionally flashy, but can bring off the most startling saves.
Peter Shilton (PS): Still considered by some to be the best in the world. Would grace any team.
Graham Roberts (GR): More of a 105% man than a delicately skillful player. Reliable central defender.
Kenny Sansom (KS): Left or right back, he always turns in a solid performance. Almost guarantees you a good game.
Alvin Martin (AM): Central defender of no mean ability. Could prove to be what England (as well as you) are looking for.
Mike Duxbury (MD): Being groomed as England's regular right back, but can also play central defender very competently.
Sammy Lee (SL): A consistent rather than spectacular player who always turns in a good performance. Prefers to play on the right.
Glenn Hoddle (GH): Can outshine any player on his day, but it's not always his day. Not many clubs could afford to omit him from their team.
Brian Robson (BR): World-class without doubt. Every manager's favourite player that always gives 100%. His real class is in his perfectly timed runs into the opposition's penalty box.
Trevor Francis (TF): Italian football has sharpened up Trevor's reflexes. A goal scorer of exceptional ability.
Ian Rush (IR): A phenomenal goal scoring record for Liverpool. Without doubt the most certain striker in the English game at the moment.
Gordon Strachen (GS): Has taken most Scottish team apart and has already shown he can do the same at international level.
Steve Allan (SA): 21 yrs. Central defender. With the club as an apprentice. Tall, good in the air, a little reckless in the tackle at the moment, but has a great future.
Frank Barnes (FB): 25 yrs. Attacking Midfield. One of your close season signings from your last club. Scored 14 goals for you last season. Consistent, strong, but needs defensive midfield support.
Peter Charles (PC): 19 yrs. Striker. Welsh schoolboy international. Good in the air, strong on the ground, but needs to work on his ball-control. Regular reserve team player last season.
Brian Duggan (BD): 29 yrs. Fullback. Happy on either flank. Has been a 1st team player for three seasons since he joined the club from Man. City. Small, quick, and tough.
Phil Giles (PG): 20 yrs. Midfield. Has played just eight 1st team matches so far. Reserve team captain. Hard tackler, needs to curb his "enthusiasm" sometimes.
Graham Jones (GJ): 26 yrs. Striker. Another of your close season signings that caused so much trouble. Has spent the last five seasons in the 1st Division with Wolves and Aston Villa. Superb in the air, but definitely prefers his right on the ground.
Jimmy King (JK): 31 yrs. Central Defender. The club captain last season. Can play almost anywhere. Reads the game well and a good influence on the other players.
Mike Knowles (MK): 31 yrs. Goalkeeper. Regular 'keeper for the club for 7 years. Good positional player, used to be more agile but experience often gets him out of trouble.
Graeme Lyons (GL): 22 yrs. Defender. Young Australian that can play anywhere in the back four. Needs European experience to make him into a first rate player.
Steve Morgan (SM): 30 yrs. Striker/winger. Fast, tricky, a lethal left-foot shoot. Can be a match winner if he's given the right service.
"Ollie" Olsen (OO): 29 yrs. Midfield. Has played in English football for 5 seasons now. Skillful, cool, but can drift in and out of the game. Great favourite with the crowd.
Sammy Parks (SP): 30 yrs. Central Defender. Tall, dominating player in your own box. Plays his man closely, but not too quick on the turn. Still the fittest player on the field.
Jim Roberts (JR): 31 yrs. Striker/midfield. Has been witht the club for twelve seasons. Regular 1st team player. Maker rather than scorer of goals.
Colin Slater (CS): 22 yrs. Left-side midfield. Played rugby until he was 15, and has tremendous strength and power. Regular reserve team player last season with 15 first team apperances.
Phil Peters (PP): 20 yrs. Goalkeeper. The young Turk. Flamboyant, even flashy. Makes some spectacular saves, but flaps at high crosses. Nothing that experience won't solve.
Chris Turner (CT): 24 yrs. Defender. Your 3rd close season signing. Plays anywhere in the back four. Reliable, dependable without being spectacular. Could prove a good buy.
Wally Vernon (WN): 20 yrs. Central striker. Big lad, will he ever stop growing? Scored 22 goals for the reserves last season. Could become an English regular in future years.
Steve Willis (SW): 31 yrs. Defensive midfield. Powerhouse, sometimes too much so. Good destructive defender, but not a ball player. Fine in the second Division but yet to prove himself in the first.
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