After almost nine and a half years, 5,903 matches in charge, three laptops, three houses, one T-Rex USB stick, and one very famous Croatian newgen, I've finally completed a century of seasons in Football Manager. Here are the major title winners of the last one hundred years. pic.twitter.com/zeIoXdDMFC
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) September 23, 2022
Football Manager has a reputation that proceeds it. It’s highly regarded by professional clubs, and many scouts have openly admitted to using the extensive game database to discover players for their clubs.
While many players dubbed as ‘Wonderkids’ on Football Manager make it to the pinnacle of the game in real life – Vincent Kompany being a prime example – FM is also wide of the mark with its predictions – Freddy Adu, anyone?
So, when football-mad gamer Johnny Sharples decided to play on the manager simulator for 100 game years, we were intrigued to see the results. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable achievements that played out between 2013 and 2112!
Glasgow is Green
Rangers fans – look away now. From 2013 – 2112, your team wins zero Scottish Premier League titles. That’s right; zero. But that’s not the worst news. Your Old Firm rivals, Celtic, clinch 95 out of 100 available titles, with Hearts picking up a paltry five along the way.
While Celtic have a horrendous real-life record in European competition, they supplement their 95 titles with an unbelievable 41 Champions League crowns. 41! The solace for Rangers fans is that the Hoops have one of the worst European records on the continent in real-life, losing seven home games on the bounce in the Champions League at the time of writing.
Domestically, forget about ten-in-a-row; Celtic managed to go 37 titles on the bounce before Hearts secured their first SPL title in 2050! Of course, Celtic’s dominance is predicated on the fact that their Glasgow rivals don’t manage to re-emerge from their 2012 demotion for financial issues.
But as we know, in real-life, Glasgow Rangers rose from the ashes to claim a 55th title in 2021, stopping Celtic’s 10-in-a-row bid in dramatic fashion. Rangers’ subsequent Europa League final appearance last season highlights the fact that the blue half of Glasgow is back at the top of the tree, even though they didn’t manage to win the title in the next 100 years of the game.
Incredibly, Montrose even secured a title ahead of Rangers, winning the Europa League in 2077. What on earth goes wrong at Ibrox in the game?
Regardless, that 100-year run of titles for Celtic, with Rangers nowhere to be seen, is about as unlikely as getting a Royal Flush in poker. Thankfully for Rangers fans, it’s only a video game! Thankfully.
Business as usual in Germany
Outside of Scotland, football fans won’t be surprised to find that Bayern Munich continues with their dominance of the Bundesliga. From 2039 – 2112, they won practically every German title, losing out to Wolfsburg on a few occasions, with Dortmund nowhere to be seen after a triumph in 2034.
In real life, the Bundesliga is the least competitive major league in Europe, and Bayern is pursuing their eleventh title in as many years. Bayern have a habit of buying the best players from their rivals, a method that poached Lewandowski and Goetze from Dortmund in recent years.
If you’re new to Football Manager and want a team that is practically guaranteed success, Bayern is the team to pick!
The rest of Europe
Reflecting on the state of play throughout the rest of Europe, there are several things that capture the imagination. In England, there was little surprise in the destination of the Premier League until Huddersfield Town won it in 2078. Then follows an incredibly successful period for West Bromwich Albion, who picked up ten domestic titles, a Champions League crown, and several Europa League titles along the way.
Valencia’s six league titles between 2014 and 2021 are of particular interest, as is Gimnastic’s emergence as La Liga winners in 2035. One can only imagine that a rich oligarch is responsible for the minnows’ success!
There’s little interest in Italy until 2049, when AlbinoLeffe won the Scudetto, followed not long after by Cagliari’s triumphs and the first-and-only title for Treviso.
As for the World Cup, England managed three titles in the next century, with the first coming in 2086. That’s a pretty long wait! On the international front, it’s hard to look past Ivory Coast’s 2098 World Cup title as the biggest shock, while Romania’s 2056 European title is perhaps equally as surprising.
While all of these the above occurrences are surprising, a lot can happen in football in 100 years. For instance, in the 1901 season, Sunderland won the English Division, with the FA Cup going to Sheffield United. Hibernian won successive Scottish titles in the following two seasons, with Celtic and Rangers in mid-table.
So, are 95 out of 100 titles upcoming for Celtic? It’s unlikely, but not impossible. Let’s hope for the sake of Rangers’ fans’ sanity that it doesn’t happen…
Photo by Unsplash