The global financial crisis seems to have completely bypassed the world of football. In fact, it seems clubs are splashing out more than they ever. This summer, Real Madrid spent almost €200 on three players (Kaká, Ronaldo and Alonso); Barcelona signed Ibrahimovic for €60 million; while moneybags Manchester City went transfer crazy on the likes of Tevez, Santa Cruz and Adebayor.
Unfortunately, the budgets of most armchair football fans aren’t quite so big. In fact, I’m sure that this season people will be even more reluctant to upgrade to the latest version of Football Manager. If this applies to you, then fear not because there are now some impressive free alternatives to the guv’ner of all soccer sims. These free online football manager games are well worth checking out if you’ve decided not to bother with FM 2010.
If its realism that you’re after, then Soccermanager.com is the place to be. The game features more than 40,000 real world players, complete with accurate data and profile photos. You can choose to play as one of a choice of 1,500 real club, entering a league against other human managers all around the World. In fact, you might say there’s more realism in Soccermanager.com than the mighty Football Manager due to the fact that player stats are updated depending on real-life performances.
The strategy element of the game is pretty sophisticated, with highly customizable tactics and formations, as well as an in-depth transfer market system. There are loads of social features too, including fan club groups, private messaging and forum. The main problem for me was that there are only two matches per week, so you’ve got a lot of time to wait in between games.
If you’re a fan of the statistical aspect of Football Manager, then ITSAGOAL.com will satisfy your craving for ratings, attributes, and performance indicators. Unlike Soccermanage.com, the players here are all fictional but with so much data available on them you’ll soon find that you know them better than your own mum. A strategists dream, ITSAGOAL.com lets you tweak training programs, manage rehabilitation sessions, and even take charge of the youth team.
Matches in ITSAGOAL.com are played on a daily basis, and there are plenty of competitions to challenge for. The downside of the game is that it can be a bit complicated to navigate all the various options and screens.
The most visually-impressive of the three, Trophy manager looks and feels like a PC football management sim. The drag-and-drop support makes it easy to set tactics and manage day-to-day tasks, and the in-game commentary serves to make matches pretty exciting. You can even replay match commentaries to spy on your opposition or relive classic games.
You’re given a free reign over an array of duties in Trophy Manager. You have full control over many financial aspects, can set training drills, and even build the club’s ground through the built-in stadium editor. The bad news is the player names in the game are not real, and also it can take a long time for your application to play to be approved at present.