Addictive Games, Football Manager, Kevin Toms, The 80s

30 years ago Football Manager- did I go too far?

Did I go too far, putting my pictures on the covers and in the ads? I know what I believed and still believe. I believe that creating games is just as much an art form as creating music or writing books. And with those two things, because people like the style of the authors, their identity is published with the book, and often photos, especially with music. So I did the same.

Football Manager ZX81 packaging


Why wasn’t it widely done? Partly because the games writers at that time didn’t see that. Jeff Minter et al were exceptions. And, later, when corporate interests took over, they wanted to keep some of the writers quiet, under control. If those guys knew their worth they might leave, or ask for more money. In my case I was self publishing so I made the decisions.

As I used to say, if I like U2, I don’t care what label they are on, I just care that the new music is from U2. Imagine a world of music where it’s “New Rock Music 52” from Virgin, instead of U2’s latest, not so good.

Football Manager from the early 80s

So did I go too far? I don’t think so, although I was breaking new ground making many mistakes. Tell you something though, when I did that, as a person I was very shy, not confident at all.

(This one wasn’t my decision):

4 thoughts on “30 years ago Football Manager- did I go too far?

  1. Those photos are one big reason why you are still remembered as a game designer. There are not that many such people that I remember from the 80s (basically David Braben, Ian Bell and the Finnish great ones such as Stavros Fasoulas and the late Jukka Tapanimäki) but your mug shot always comes to my mind when thinking about the old Football Manager.

    For some reason, I never was into Football Manager 2 as much as into the original. I’d be interested in hearing what are your personal thoughts on the sequel, regarding the expectations and what became of the game?

    After writing this, I think I need to fire up GameBase C64 and try the game(s) again 🙂

  2. If you’ve seen the iPhone game Magnetic Billiards from your contempories The Pickford Brothers you’ll smile. Jolly bearded programmers all over the game, including the apps store front page a few days back!

  3. I bought my first Speccy in Bournemouth in ’84 whilst on a language course there. FM was one of three games I bought, and I bought it in a small computer shop on the ground floor of the building where you had your office (I remember seeing your name on the list of companies there, was dead exited)
    Spent many a happy hour playing the game, haven’t bothered with any manager type games since.
    28 years later, a big THANK YOU! and I’ll be sure to pick up the new game.
    As for your name on the packaging, it was cool Back in the day most games were one man creations and they were all well known and well associated with their games. That’s just how it was!

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