“Many thanks for your interest, but we do not currently have a vacancy”.<
This was the heartbreaking response to my application for the Scottish First Division side Hamilton Academical’s managerial position.
When you look at the name attached to this article you may not recognize it, and to you I may not have managed a football team of any merit. But you probably have not seen any of my Football Manager 2013 statistics.
Football Manager is a football game than is changing the public’s attitude to management of top teams. The virtual reality game allows you to control the running of a football team of your choice, taking charge of everything from player transfers at the club, to dealing with press, to the way your team plays. The game then generates results and you watch your team blossom, or fail, all from the comfort of your computer chair.
Now hardened players of the game are taking their chances to become the next big thing in real-life football management. The blueprint for this has been John Boleau’s application to manage Middleborough FC saw chuckles at the sheer audacity of the 10-year veteran of football manager.
This started a trend and FC Baku, the former Azerbaijan league champions, were the first to take on a manager for their prowess in the gaming platform. 21-year-old student Vugar Huseynzade was given the chance to prove himself as manager of the club, beating an array of high profile candidates including French world cup winner Jean Pierre-Papin.
In Scotland, gamers are also hoping to be given the control pad to manage teams. Dumbarton chairman Gilbert Lawrie conceded that, as his side sat bottom of the first division, 75% of applications for their vacant managers job were people without “genuine experience”.
Therefore, you can understand my inspiration for thinking I was ready to transfer my skills to Hamilton Accies football club. Not a massive club, but a club of the right size to help a young, aspiring manger to get a foothold in the game.
With my only real football experience being when I was sixteen playing at the heart of the Sunday league side Strthaven Dynamo’s midfield, I was leaning on my success in Football Manager 2013 to hand me the Accies managerial reigns.
My work with Clyde FC was second to none. My time there clearly shows (…the headlines made national news, in Football Manager 2013) I have taken a group of free agents and part-time players to the SPL, as well as taking European football to the Cumbernauld side for the first time.
With all this success I have made by merely using my fingertips, the success I could bring to Accies could have been limitless. With the long rivalry between the clubs I admitted in my covering letter, there may be some frictions between our fans. But it would all be worth it for the two teams long-term good.
Everyone needs a starting point, and I would not be getting into football management for the greed. I only wanted enough to quit my part-time job, a mere £8 per hour (£12 per game) for my top class (virtual) credentials.
However, in the end Alex Neil piped me to the post and is the new manager of the Scottish football League side. The current club captain at Hamilton Accies was viewed to have more credentials than myself, and to his credit has successfully steered his side clear of the Scottish First Divison relegation zone.
Hamilton Accies may not want me, but my portfolio continues to build in Football Manager. There’s always next time.