Match of the Day logo

One of the accepted rules of football is: "Jimmy Hill - you love him or you hate him". Obviously the BBC have realised that the majority's view of Jimmy was shifting to one of these extremes and so replaced him with Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen (on Match of the Day at least). Obviously, Zeppelin haven't cottoned on to this and have retained Jimmy alongside Des 'Twinky-Smoov' Lynham.

What's all this got to do with the game? Simply that it plays like a game that the chinned-one would enjoy (and that Des would understand).

The game is palyed solely by mouse control. You click on icons to chose various appointments to see people. On the left of your screen is your personal organiser; on the right is a bank of icons. Take an icon from the bag, and drag it on to a vacant time slot - that is a major part of the game. Each page represents a day in a week at a club of your choice. There are five time slots per page.

You don't have to fill up all of them, but it is wise to keep a busy schedule, meeting with people, and with the chairman, talking to the fans, and checking on how the team's doing.

Your 'Lads' have a match every week, so you have to plan your time in advance depending on how well your team is performing. This is a bit difficult when you first start the game, as your team haven't played any games yet. The fact that your team starts off in Division 4 does mean that you players aren't going to be tremendously good, so in the first week it's wise to send out your scout.

One good point about the game is that if your scout, or any staff member, isn't pulling his weight, you can sack him and hire anew. Everybody has a job to do and everybody is expendable in this game, even you.

If you don't employ a method of keeping yourself busy, and let the club run down hill, you can be sure that the chairman will call a 'meeting'.

For the most part, meeting people is part of a manager's job. You must lias with the trainer and the physio to make sure that all your players are performing to their best, and that if they have been injured, that they recover as quickly as possible. If of course you do have some unruly players in your squad, it is time to have a stern talk with them, and if necessary exclude him from your current playing team with a view to selling him.

The long bore game
Having gone through the week meeting loads of people (even fans), and doing lots of deals, you also have some meetings that are made for you, such as by another club when they want to buy a player from your squad.

The final icon that corp up at the end of the week, of course, is the Match Of The Day icon. This is where you see the highlights of your team's performance every week with (just to make it all so real) commentary from Jimmy and Desmond!

Although there are plenty of options, the gameplay is quite shallow. The highlights of every Saturday game make even a home match at Wimbledon or Cambridge seem exciting, stylish football. The interaction between the actual football side of things and the managerial side is very, very limited.

The result? Match of the Day fails to hook you to any real extent. Ultimately, this shows that having a big name licence doesn't always make a good game. The Amiga's the loser in the end Jim.

  1. Meet with the supports club to get opinions.
  2. You can select whether or not highlights of the match are shown.
  3. Have a meeting with the team physio.
  4. Do some dodgy dealings with other clubs.
  5. Select your super squad of players.
  6. Meet with the club trainer to beef-up your team.
  7. What do the press think of you?
  8. Have a 'chat' with some unruly team members if there are any opposition players worth poaching.
  9. Have a meeting with the stern-looking chairman.
  10. Time for Jimmy and Desmond...
  11. Save your progress to disk, and load past games.
  12. Check your fixtures for future games.
  13. Check your team's score card.
  14. Calculate your team's finances.

Match of the Day logo

Ein Fußball-Manager von BBC, der British Broadcasting Corporation? Ja genau, und gar kein übler noch dazu! Interessanterweise läuft das Teil auch nicht am Radio, sondern auf jedem x-beliebigen Amiga...

Es gilt, eine von zwanzig Mannschaften aus der vierten Division in die erste englische Liga zu hieven, wofür das Hauptmenü 15 Aktions- und Statistik-Icons sowie einen Terminkalender zur Verfügung stellt. Im letzteren können per Mausklick bis zu fünf Aktionen pro Tag eingetragen werden, und das für maximal vier Wochen im voraus.

Konkret muß man Trainingspläne erstellen, auf Talentsuche gehen, Sponsoren bei Laune halten, Frischfleisch anwerben und müde Knochen verkaufen, geschwächte Kicker zum Masseur schicken und natürlich eine treffsichere Mannschaft zusammenstellen. Überarbeiten wird man sich dabei kaum, allenfalls die englischen Screentexte könnten deutschen Managern etwas Mühe bereiten.

Wie gut (oder wie schlecht) man gearbeitet hat, erweist sich dann bei den nett animierten Mini-Sequenzen, die aus der Vogelperspektive die entscheidende Schlacht auf dem Rasen zeigen - eingreifen darf man hier allerdings nicht mehr. Überhaupt gibt es an der Grafik wenig auszusetzen, denn witzige, teilweise digitalisierte Zwischenbilder sind reichlich vorhanden. Der Sound ist dagegen genauso dünn wie die (englische) Anleitung, die Handhabung klappt dafür wieder völlig problemlos.

Freilich, der "Bundesliga Manager Professional" braucht nicht um seinen Spitzenplatz zu fürchten, denn dazu ist hier die Spieltiefe einfach zu gering; doch mit seiner UEFA Cup-verdächtigen Präsentation und der praktischen Handhabung ist Match of the Day allemal ein guter Einstieg ins harte Leben eines Soccer-Managers. (pb)

Match of the Day logo

When the menu screen first appears you immediate inclination is to leap out of your chair and shout "hurrah, an icon-ed menu system!" This would be a big mistake. Partly because you might bump your head on the ceiling, thereby sustaining injury - Zeppelin are not liable for any medical costs incurred as a result of such an accident - but mainly because this isn't really an icon-driven menu system type game state of affairs.

In fact it's something altogether more innovative, which soon becomes quite irritating.

You don't click on the icons to enter the different sub-menus, instead you have to drag the icons over to the holes in your diary. There's an awful lot of selecting and dragging of icons to be done, and while this might be quite realistic (allowing you to build your plan for a week in advance) it's pointless.

99.93% of time you're only going to be pulling over an icon for what you want to do next. That means selecting the icon, dragging the icon, placing the icon, then clicking on the 'next appointment' arrow. Instead of just clicking straight on the icon like you would in most other management games.

This sounds like a lot of moaning about very little, but the worst sin a footie management game can commit is having a user interface that gets on your nerves. And speaking of getting on your nerves, the game features Jimmy Hill in a 'Match of the Day' studio graphic interlude with inane half-time waffle. They're not doing themselves any favours here, are they?

What else? A transfer market so stagnant that you'll be looking at lists of no-one for ages, straining at the leash with loads of money in the bank. A 'training' facility so fiddly that you're better off fielding a team of donkeys and losing than even bothering with it.

Match highlights that are too fast, predictable, unrealistic and, well, crap (like, every single team appears to play in a vertically-striped strip in colours chosen by a colour blind sadist) to build up much excitement. Oh dear, it's not going very well is it?

Match of the Day isn't as bad as footy management games can be, but neither is it fit to grace the same pitch as, say, Graham Taylor's Soccer Challenge. It's simply too fiddly and lacking in action, and you need to work far too hard to actually get anywhere.

And of course, any feeling of 'fun' that might start to emerge soon vanish when Jimmy Hill's infamous mug returns to the screen. Yeuck.

Match of the Day: Icons explanation
  1. Supporters club. Become the only fotball manager in the world to listen to what the supports think. They'll tell you who their favourite players are, and that's it.
  2. Highlights. Click on this to switch between 'highlights on' and 'highlights off' mode. Highlights off? Coward.
  3. Physio. Find out which prima donna has strained their groin down the local nightclub this week.
  4. Trainer. Irritating moving around of little icons time. Which three players do you want to put through the ropes today?
  5. Scout. Another overpaid crook who does very little very badly. He's supposed to look for player you can buy. Hah!
  6. Disk Load & Save. Er, something to do with the cup draw?
  7. Cash flow. In the black? In the red? You get nothing for two in a bed. (Oh, sorry, the bed bit's covered in a different menu).
  1. League Tables. Erm...
  2. Fixture List. The fisture list.
  3. Match of the Day. If you ever forget who programmed the sound. Click here.
  4. Chairman. A bald bloke with big cigars that doesn't want to talk to you.
  5. Sportspages. Not the excellent bookshop, but the underside of the local paper. Occasional news, regular fixtures guide.
  6. Dealing. Fancy buying and selling players? You wish. It does start happening eventually.
  7. Team Talk. Give a dressing down to a player you don't like, and a dressing gown to a player you do like (probably).
  8. Team Selection.