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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
I have a confession to make. My name is Iain Macintosh and I'm a Football Manager-aholic. It started with the original Championship Manager, way back in 1993. It took 45 minutes to load and there were no real player names, but it changed my life. The first football management game that didn't revolve around the player, that didn't even need the player. You could get sacked and it would happily tick away on its own. Never mind Second Life, this is my kind of virtual reality.

Even now, when I watch dozens of games a week, I still have room in my life for my secret vice. I, like everyone else, still want to prove what I've always suspected. That I know better.

So, with a new version on the shelves in time for Christmas, we thought it was time to put it to the test. One man, one day, one mission. To end the years of hurt and bring the Premier League title back to Anfield. Can it be done? Definitely. Can it be done by me? Let's find out...

9am - I'm introduced to the press as the new manager of Liverpool FC. Obviously this comes as something of a surprise to the players, but I think it's a good decision. Who needs a Spanish manager, when you can have an English Kaki, eh? Oh.

9.15am - A press conference! Now the boot's on the other foot! I tell the press that I've got big plans for the club, no fear of failure and that I want to play attacking football. I don't tell them that I plan to put Jermaine Pennant on to a barge and set him adrift on the Mersey. I want that to be a surprise.

10.15am - It's taken some time, but I've picked a first team, set some tactics, arranged training, dispatched the scouts and hurled the rubbish overboard. Bye bye Jermaine! And rather controversially, it's bye bye to Robbie Keane as well. His face didn't fit, so he's off to Man City.

12 Noon - It's now October 2008 and, I'll be honest with you, it's not quite working out. Playing in a Rafa-style 4-2-3-1, my boys have been delivering Souness-style results. An astonishing five consecutive draws has left me in mid-table. We're scoring a lot, but we're letting a lot in as well. The new 3D match engine means that I can watch my midfield's failure to close down the opposition from a variety of angles and, with the new anytime replay feature, I can watch Albert Reira hit crosses at the corner flag over and over again. Oh, joy.

2.30pm - A switch to an attacking 4-4-2 has brought a run of victories and a return to the right end of the table. We still can't hold a lead though and when Fernando Torres gets injured, David Ngog flails around helplessly in his place. If it wasn't for Steven Gerrard, who I've ordered to shoot on sight, I'd be out of a job by now. I need a new striker....

3.30pm - It's mid-December now and I still haven't been beaten in the league. I've drawn more than I've won though, which is concerning. Fernando Torres keeps getting injured and David Ngog is really, really rubbish, so I've made a bid for a certain Newcastle striker with a good goalscoring record and cheeky smile. I'm also really hungry, but I can't seem to tear myself away from the screen.

3.45pm - The calm of my neighbourhood is shattered by a scream of rage from my office. Birds fly in fear, cats scatter through piles of leaves and windows creak open as startled locals try to find out what's happened. Ronaldo has happened. He's just blasted home an 82nd mintue winner and taken my 18 game unbeaten record with him. I've always hated him.

4pm - I've got him, I've got Michael Owen back at Anfield. A bargain at just over SG$9m! Now we'll show them who's boss! Erm...it seems to be dark outside. I swear I've only been playing for a little while.

4.03pm - Michael Owen's injured. Hamstring. I could cry. Out for a month. Is it too early to start drinking?

6.30pm - Oh God, it's all going wrong. I've brought Lassana Diarra in and kicked the grumpy Javier Mascherano out, but we can't stop losing. Three on the bounce and out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle. Sammy Lee tells me that Fernando Torres can't motivate himself to play for me and I'm not surprised. I haven't eaten since 7am and my eyes have dried out from staring at the screen. Who wants to play for a man who can't blink?

7.30pm - After more poor results, a narrow victory over Bolton suggests a revival, but then defeat to a Robinho inspired Manchester City sends me spiralling back into misery. Owen is back, but he's dreadful, almost as ineffective as Ngog. I'm close to tears.

8pm - I swear I only just put the phone down on the pizza firm, but the food is already here, steaming in front of me and threatening to grease up my keyboard. Time passes quickly in Football Manager land. It doesn't feel like I've been playing for nearly 12 hours, but, as it's really quite dark outside, I'm going to have to accept it as true.

9.45pm - I'm slumped in my chair, barely able to look at the screen. Defeat to Roma on away goals means that I'm now out of all the cups and miles off the pace in the league. What did I do wrong? I played good, entertaining football, bought good proven players and encouraged everyone to express themselves. This no longer fun. Matron? Fetch me my revolver. I'm going for a walk in the woods.

10pm - "Liverpool boss Iain Macintosh has decided to end his reign at Anfield by stepping down as manager."

It was mid-March, we were out of all the cups and 7th in the league. Somehow, I'm a worse Liverpool manager than Graeme Souness. It's a stupid game anyway. I'd get up and go to the pub, but my knees have seized up, I can't see and there's no circulation in my fingers. Yeah, it would be silly to leave the house. Mind you, it's not bed-time yet....perhaps if I tried it again, but this time playing long ball...

Football Manager 2009 is out now and priced at SG$xx.xx