Freddy Adu, Cherno Samba, Tonton Zola Moukoko.
The above list could go on and on and on. If you played, or still play Championship Manager or Football Manager (like I have), you will no doubt have heard of the three players I’ve just named. The game, played all over the world, enables you to take charge of pretty much any club you want and lead them to glory – from the world-class regens who pop up in your academy one year and go on to become club legends, to Borehamwood winning the Champions League, literally anything is possible in this game.
As Sports Interactive continue to announce new features and gameplay of their latest episode of the cult game, Football Manager 2017, due to be released on November 4th, I thought now would be a good time to speak to someone who is one of the biggest Football Manager YouTubers on the Internet currently, DoctorBenjyFM, to get an idea of what it’s like to play the game for over a thousand hours a year and shows his progress to thousands of viewers.
DoctorBenjy, real name Ben, has over 30,000 subscribers on YouTube and posts regular content in which he records his Football Manager career, including some hilarious side-stories and interactions with the in-game players as he proceed’s through the years. He has been recording his careers on the game for the past 3 or 4 years now, with memorable saves at clubs such as Salford, Parma and Swindon.
DoctorBenjyFM’s YouTube channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/DoctorBenjyFM
Here are the Questions and Answers!
You have recently hit 30,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel. When you first started recording videos, what were your ambitions and are you pleased with how everything is going?
When I first started I certainly wanted things to go well, and having done Youtube for years previous I knew what I was doing quite early on, I think that was of huge benefit to me, I wasn’t doing it from scratch although the genre of videos was different I still knew how Youtube worked. When it comes to the content and where I thought I’d be I knew that the formula to doing well on Youtube was doing it well and doing it consistently, so I made sure that what I was doing was different to what people had seen before and then video on video tried to make it better. With Youtube you should set goals but vague ones, I always try and make my next series better than my last, I try not to focus on the numbers that go alongside that.
Why do you think the Football Manager series has been so popular over the years?
I think the game allows people to get lost, the best games tend to be things that are immersive to the point you don’t realise how long you’ve been playing and I think for any football fan that thinks they know what they’re doing, Football Manager is the perfect game. I get lost in saves completely and start thinking things in the game have happened in real life, there aren’t many games that allow that sort of crossover but when you put hours and hours into it then you get attached to players and tactics, it sounds quite sad when you write it down, but it’s why we love it!
Your channel has become very popular and has gained almost a cult following with your long-term career modes on the game, with yourself selling merchandise related to the career modes and gaining a reputation for catchphrases as you play through the years “respect the equipment” etc. What has been your favourite series you have recorded to date and why?
For Football Manager 2015 we did a series with Parma called ‘Parma Drama’ where I tried to take a team that’d had its heart ripped out due to financial issues and take them back to former/new glories, it was the first time I’d do a series with a facecam included and with introducing characters and storylines to each video it was exciting to be doing something new each day. That teamed with the success and failure that surrounded the team season on season means it’s my favourite series, not just to play but to actually record. ‘The Salford Story’ did come pretty close though!
You have started to film some FIFA 17 gameplay on your channel since it was released a few weeks ago and it has been received very well amongst your viewers. How are you finding the transition from just managing and coaching the players in Football Manager to actually controlling the team in FIFA? Do you enjoy it as much, less or more?
I’ve been playing FIFA for as long as I’ve been playing Football Manager so how the game operates and plays comes really naturally, when making videos though it’s actually quite different. With Football Manager the game gives you natural pauses to cut between, but with FIFA you don’t really get that, it’s more continual, so I have to go through afterwards and take out sections that either aren’t that funny or don’t really fit and that could range from a 5 second clip or 3 minutes! With recording, it’s a slightly more complex set up so it’s creating new challenges and I think especially with Youtube it’s important to put yourself in challenging positions, if you sit still for too long then you don’t improve, eventually stagnate and the struggle to get back to where you were can be really difficult. In terms of enjoyment, it’s just different and often different can be fun, I’ll know in a few weeks if I actually enjoy it more or less!
Who is your favourite ever player you have managed or controlled in your Football Manager/FIFA career modes and why? (can be either a regen or a real life player)
I’ve had a few amazing strikes through the years I’ve been playing, Danny Graham and Danny Webber stick out as too that I’ve had fun with in the early parts of Youtube saves when real life is still at the forefront. With ‘regens’ I had a Polish chap called Pixie that was fantastic at Swindon, Jean Monnier was a young french striker that I had to buy from rivals Juve in the Parma series after having him on loan for 2 seasons and more recently with Salford I’ve had real life free kick master Andi Thanoj be a big part of the journey. I can’t give you a favourite though, I wouldn’t want to upset Danny Graham.
Moving on to your real-life football questions…
What Football team(s) do you support in real life and why do you support them?
I’m a Liverpool fan, the origins of which are quite simple and cause me some grief that a 5 year old me didn’t expect. I just liked them, I don’t entirely remember exactly why, but it was the team 5 year old me gravitated towards. I don’t have any family connections or anything like that, we don’t have 1 team in the family that everyone supports so it was something of my free will just attaching myself to them. Over the next 20 years you build up a love for them, whether that be from supporting them, defending them, if they make me laugh or cry, the bond you have with your football team is always quite personal, it’s doesn’t really matter how you came to support them.
How do you think they will do this season, both in league and cup competitions?
I think before the season started I’d have said 5th was about right, on paper Arsenal, Chelsea, United and City all have a better group of players. But as it’s said so often, football isn’t played on paper and with Klopp you just never know. I look forward to each game now, I don’t dread coming up against someone perceived to be ‘better’ because under Klopp I feel as if we can beat any team. Based on how our start has been, I think a top 4 finish has to be the goal, to fall away would be disappointing. So because of our good start I’d be delighted with 3rd and a cup win, I don’t want much!
If you had a Football Manager style billionaire takeover at your club and you had the choice to pick any player in the world to sign for the club, EXCEPT for Messi and Ronaldo, who would you pick and why?
I’d quite like a 24 year old Steven Gerrard but as that’s not really possible I’d quite like Luis Suarez back. He was really rather good at Liverpool and the Messi, Neymar combination seem to have got even more out of him so I think he’d probably fit in quite well to what we have now. We saw first hand how good he is, it’s easy to watch highlights packages and say how good at finishing he is or how clever he is but what goes unnoticed is his unmatched work rate, he doesn’t need to do it so much for Barcelona because they’re quite good at keeping the ball!
Which one player would you release/sell at your favourite club if you had the power to do so?
Now that Martin Skrtel has left this has become quite a difficult question (I wasn’t a fan). For the first time in a long time I don’t really think anyone is either, not good enough, or taking up a massive amount of wages unfairly. I’ve had to put up with Joe Cole and Jose Enrique in recent memory so the current squad are in my good books at the moment. As I have to pick someone… Adam Bogdan, he’s out on loan at the moment but the quicker he’s sold the better.
Who would you like to see get the England job on a full time basis?
This is going to sound awful, at this current stage, with the current set of players? I don’t really care. We’ve tried a bit of everything in the last 10 years but we’ve not appointed an international manager, someone that understands international football at a high level. Apart from Roy Hodgson who had a relatively successful spell as Switzerland boss in the mid 90’s and a mixed time at Finland in 2006/7 England has been the first senior international job for every single one the managers in our history. It’s time to get someone in that knows what they’re doing, and sadly right now, that person isn’t English.
Who is your favourite ever player (in real life) and why?
I like that you have to put ‘real life’ because of that bloody game!
I’d say Xabi Alonso, while he was at Liverpool he was an absolute joy to watch and has gone on to Spanish and German giants where he’s continued doing exactly the same thing. His touch, ball control, passing ability and at times even his shooting, are just perfection. He does it with such purpose which during a time of Spanish possession dominance is actually quite rare for his era, as a Liverpool fan I can say over the last 7 years, I’ve missed him a lot. Just quickly, Gerrard, Zidane, the proper Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Buffon all deserve a mention, not a bad 5 a side team either!
A huge thanks to Ben for answering the questions. Hopefully it gives you guys a really good insight in to why this game is now entering its second decade of Sports Interactive’s “Football Manager” PC series.