Yes, this is a joyous day for every football fan in the whole world. At last, a decent football management game. Hurrah, thank God! Somebody, somewhere has got some brain left. This is the footy game computers have been waiting for.
Do you remember Football Manager on the Spectrum? What a foty game that was. Since then we've had rubbish football management game after rubbish football management game - well, apart from Player Manager, and even that was only an extension of Kick Off.
But now it's US Gold to the rscue with Software 2000's The Manager. The Manager is controlled via the mouse and an icon system, thus making it really easy to play, especially for the beginner or the non-football fan.
What is a bit unique about it is that four players can take part which is a bit of a first for a football management game. There are three types of game - the one-year game, the three-year game or the unlimited time game.
The one-year option starts you off in Division One, giving you the chance to reach the top of the league by the end of the season.
On the other hand (or should that be foot?) there's the unlimited game which starts you off in Division Three, and first of all it's your duty to survive the dreaded drop, because if you don't it's game over, man.
Your team will start off being fairly rubbish, but as the seasons pass you will gain experience and slowly get better. As well as the FA Cup there are, of course, the European competitions, where you could find yourself battling against the giants of Europe like Juventus, Marseille and Inter Milan.
To be honest, I don't think one page is enough to describe all the options in The Manager, because there are literally hundreds of 'em. Well there probably aren't hundreds, but there's enough to give you a slight headache.
To give you a bit of an idea, I'll go over a few of them. Take the Training option, for example. You have to decide how intense you want the training and whether you want to train on tactics, shooting and so on.
You have to decide which training camp you want, which sponsors you want, what stadium improvements you require, whether you wish to raise ticket prices and all the time, not forgetting the cut-
Blimey, that is only about ten per cent of the game, so as you can see, The Manager is one hell of a huge experience. I haven't even got to the good bit yet - match day!
When Saturday finally comes round and it's time to get the lads out on the pitch to parade their skills (ooo-er) then it's time to admire the impressive 3D animation sequences.
This is what makes The Manager stand out from the other so-called 'exciting' football management games. You actually get to watch the highlights from the match, you can see all the goals, the near misses and even the complete 'donkey' shots.
It gets quite intense at certain points and you find yourself in a football world of your own imagination - you need a win to go top of the league, there are ten minutes left... you find yourself screaming foul language at your players and it can get quite embarrassing!
The graphics are quite fantastic - they're very small, but because they are so detailed, you can easily work out what's going on. The atmosphere that this part of the game creates is unbelievable - if you're a true football fan then this is definitely for you.
I can't really think of anything bad to say about The Manager, other than that it might not appeal to a lot of people because of the time that you have to spend playing it.
Remember, it's a management game not an arcade game - if you want an arcade game then I suggest you buy Kick Off 2. The Manager is the ultimate football management game for the ultimate football fan - I loved it to bits.
On a sad final note, commiserations to Manchester United fans for their team losing the championship in such terrific fashion, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Liverpool fan, arf arf arf.