Tracksuit Manager
Copyright/Publisher: Goliath Games, Release Year: 1989,
Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1

And after a demoralising 7-1 defeat, England trudge back to the dressing room. Doubtless Bobby Robson will be rather unhappy at his team's performance, eh Brian? 'Indded he will, Jimmy. I think he'll have a few words to say to them.'

'Too true, Brian. The fans seem to have something to say too. What's that they're shouting?' 'Er, I think it's **** off and die, Robson you old *******, Jimmy.' 'Ah.... I see...'

Isn't that always the case? England's losses are always blamed on the hapless manager. This last upset seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back as Bobby has upped sticks and left the team to it!

The scouts soon dash off in search of a replacement: 'Will all would-be managers please take one pace forward' Aha! So you want to manage England, eh? Well just come this way...

So you're left in charge of an international football team for a minimum of four years. It's the beginning of July and the team is in need of sorting out before the International Championships.

They need to be ready by the first round, in October... Tracksuit Manager places you in exactly this position, but if the thought of managing England absolutely disgusts you, you have the option of managing any European team you choose.

Having chosen the nationality of your team, you must then select your squad from a list of up to 100 players. It would be a good idea if this glorious team had a matach to play in, would it not?

Fixtures can be arranged under the DIARY option. You choose to play a tour or single match, the date for the match, the team you wish to play and whether to play at home or away.

On a day when there are matches taking place, you can go along and watch any of the games, though scouts can be sent out to watch the matches that you don't attend. You can read their reports later on.

On your own team's matchday, 11 men must be selected from your squad (it may be an idea to check out their records to see if they are fit to play at this point). You need to decide the tactics for the game, including tackling and defence styles, team formation and overall game plan.

Having got the right men on to the right field at the right time, you're treated to a play-by-play account of the game: the next pauses and changes colour at moments of high tension. At the half, you can send on the subs and change tactics if the situation calls for it.

However, players that have been sent off cannot be replaced by substitutes and a ban is enforced for a subsequent number of games. Seriously injured players are removed from the squad altogether.

At the end of the full 90 minutes, a synopsis of the game is printed including a count of the bookings, attempts at goal and other general information. The dreaded press reports of the game are also displayed (ugh!). Matches continue to be played as scheduled until October, when the two-year Nations' Cup championship begins.

Cup matches are scheduled automatically depending on the group placings and are played out much as any other match. The results of these games are placed into a table showing your group position, goals scored and other relevant information.

If you play well enough you pass through to the next round (woooooh!). In the second two years things start hotting up for the next main competition. It's real biggie: the World Cup!

I'm not usually the kind of person that gets into Football Manager type games but I must admit that Tracksuit Manager is very good indeed. The meny systems are extremely east to use and practically before you know it, you have a full squad ready to leap into action.

Genuine football fans can wholeheartedly warm to the game since all the information included is absolutely spot-on - from the players eligible for a cap to the individual skills of each man.

Setting up your own fixtures gives you the opportunity to practise against the teams you are about to play in cup competition - a feature never before seen in a game of this type. The running commentary is by far the best way of portraying the action that I've ever seen.

You can actually get into the atmosphere of the game rather than watch nameless stick people running around a pitch. It's rather like listening to a match on the radio. I think I can say, without a doubt, that this is the best Manager game ever released.

I personally didn't think Football Manager 2 would be ousted from its top soccer strategy game position so soon, as I found it surprisingly playable last month (never having seen the old original).

Against the odds, though, the famed game has been outdone in all respects by Tracksuit Manager. Some would argue that the graphics aren't as pleasant but I found Tracksuit Manager's simple graphical display very functional and easy to use. The constant flow of comments during a match makes a game seem hectic without the player having to lift a finger (great for armchair addicts like me).

The after-match headlines from the two publications - The Daily Slag and The Sporting Knife - are often amusing, but frequently seem a bit harsh. ('Aarh, c'mon, we didn't do that badly!') Still, that's football, Brian - and this is the best football management game on the market.

The tactical side of football is excellently tackled by Tracksuit Manager, a subject only recently re-converted to the monitor screen by Addictive's much publicised Football Manager 2 (they obviously beat Goliath to a sensible title!)

It uses a menu system in a similar way to Kevin Toms' sequel but does away with the poor attempt at a spectatot-only International Soccer in favour of a purely functional display.

Whilst Tracksuit Manager's matches are non-interactive, other than at kick-off and half-time, a commentary constantly scrolls upwards giving a detailed account of the proceedings and generates both enthusiasm and sympathy for your faithful team.

The amount of options puts Football Manager 2 in the shade and allows for intricately detailed managerial tactics. Armchair Dalglishes, resident Blackburn Rovers fans (like me), and football supporters everywhere need look no further!


Good menus, tons of options and an absolutely brilliant game commentary system.
Surprisingly easy to play once you start.
Almost infinite variety means that those interested in football may have endless fun.
Easily the best of its type - only to be missed if you absolutely hate Football Manager games.