For Football Manager players, there’s one scenario that strikes fear into the heart of even the most seasoned of us. One day you’re happily playing your save, sharing the highs and lows with the community. But then the next day, it’s all gone. The overwhelming urge to play your save is gone, and the passion you had just 24 hours earlier has disappeared.
This is particularly tough if you’ve built up a following who are invested in your save. It’s not just a personal thing anymore – you feel like you’re letting them down too. Football Manager is more than just a game for many of us – it’s also a community, a place where we can share our passion with others.
Welcome to The Mid-Cycle Slump.
You may have noticed the updates on my Sheffield FC save have been a little… sparse… of late. It’s not like I’m not trying to keep it going – I’m still loading up FM every day, I stare at the screen and think about what I want to achieve in this session, sometimes I even play a match. But then the excitement to play fizzles out and I end up leaving the game running in the background while I do other things. Before long, it’s time for bed or work and I close the game off, ready to repeat the same cycle the next day.
I know it’s sacrilege to admit I’m not obsessed with my save all the time, but even the most dedicated of people can hit a wall when it comes to something they have a passion for. I don’t know what brought it on, maybe it’s an subconscious feeling of pressure due to my increased following, maybe I’m chasing the feeling of my Cadbury save (which, let’s be honest, will never be replicated), or maybe it’s just burnout and I’m being easily distracted by shiny new things.
The Future of ‘Woman of Steel’
Don’t panic though, I’m not giving up on the save yet, I’m just giving myself a break from the pressure of feeling like I have to constantly play and update.
I’m planning to launch The A-Z of Football Manager on June 1st so I’ve got some work to do with getting that to where it needs to be. Plus, though I haven’t spoken about it on Twitter yet, next week I start a Data Analysis course and I don’t know yet what the workload is like, I also want to supplement it with my own learning into the sports side of analysis. You never know, perhaps that will bring some spark back and I can make my coursework FM related!
Reigniting the Passion
I know I’m not alone with feeling like this, I’ve had people reach out to me for advice before (it still blows my mind that people see me as a person to ask!) so I’ve put together a few tips with things that have worked for me in the past.
Start a New Save: Sometimes starting over is exactly what you need to get that flame burning again. Choose a league or country you’ve never managed in before or, perhaps, take on a challenge from FMBlog. Whatever you choose, the key is to find something completely different to what you’ve been playing.
Set New Goals: If you’ve achieved all your original goals, or are struggling to reach them, set new ones. Develop your Youth Academy, aim to break some long-standing club records, only sign players with names beginning with X, check off the achievements list on Steam. You’re only limited by your own imagination.
Watch Real Life Football: When I’m feeling disconnected from fictional football, I find getting engrossed in real life football works wonders. Watch matches, read blogs, find some new teams to follow online. The English football season may be ending soon, but other countries continue and there’s also the Women’s World Cup just around the corner.
#FM23: Head to Twitter and take a look at the #FM23 hashtag to see what’s happening in the community. There are hundreds of updates every day so you’ll be sure to find someone new to inspire you, either with the team they’re managing or the way in which they play the game.
Play With Friends: Now, this one isn’t something I’ve actually tried myself but there are several ways you can play with others and add a friendly bit of competition to FM. Take part in drafts, start a network save or collaborate on one save where you make decisions together on who to sign and what tactics to use.
Use Add-Ons: My favourite thing about FM is the abundance of add-ons you can download to make it seem like you’re playing a completely different version of the game. From databases to skins to newgen faces and more, there’s something out there for everyone’s taste.
Share Your Tips
Have you ever experienced the mid-cycle slump when playing Football Manager?
What tips and tricks have you used to reignite your passion?