Football Manager 2009 review

Proclaimed as the most realistic and popular football management game ever, the much anticipated Football Manager 2009 was officially released on 14th November. As an ardent fan of the FM game franchise, I didn't waste anytime to spend my hard earn money and buy this game for 200 bucks over the Internet. Yeah right.
Nevermind how I got my hands on this game, first thing I noticed about FM 2009 is it came in a DVD instead of the usual CD-ROM. That should be a cause for concern because with bigger file size usually means bigger minimum specs. My fear were confirmed when I read the min specs.

Processor:1.4GHz or Faster
Supported Processors: Intel Pentium 4, Intel Core, AMD Athlon
Memory: 512MB RAM
Hard Drive Space: 2GB
DVD-Drive: 4x Speed
Video Card: 128MB and above

After a month and a half playing this game, I can safely say the real minimum requirement for you to comfortably play this game is Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB of RAM and at least 256MB video card and above. My PC does meets the min requirement but it is still ridiculously slow. And with my 128MB video card, forget about watching the game in 3D match engine. I'd be lucky to even watch it in TV mode.

Installation was pretty straightforward but when I first run the game I received a 'Cannot run game:Failed to set up graphics system' error. Arghhh!! After much googling, I found out I had to download and install this Microsoft Direct X SDK patch first from Microsoft. Only then can I play the game in peace.
As always, I pretended to be my fave team's manager (that's Liverpool FYI). In the beginning I opted for a medium database and 6 leagues but after a while, I reverted to small database and EPL only. If I stayed on with the former setting, I'd finish playing the game by the time I'm old and grey. My old beat up P4 PC just cannot handle all those graphic and processing.
I'm sure all of you do this, create a new player using the Game Editor named after yourself with the skills and attributes of Superman, rightttt? I did that too, one after me and another after my brother. Aside from that I also altered my player's skills a little bit and transferred most of my fave players into the club. (Owh please tell me one Malaysian who doesn't like David Beckham playing in their team).
One of the first thing I noticed about FM 2009 is the much improved media interaction. In this game I get to be grilled by the press a couple of times each month before and after games and trust me some of their questions were really tough. Well you can always create a scene and storm out if you're tired of those pesky journalists. Just be careful though cause everything you said to the media can and will affect the team's morale as a whole.
You also can now watch the confidence of the board and the fans for every match, signings and players form via the Confidence screen. Beat a fierce rival or win a major competition and see their confidence level soar to Superb.

One thing I learned from FM 2009 is not to take your assistant's feedback seriously. There will always be a huge gap between the midfielders and the strikers and all your new signings will have problems fitting in your squad. Just ignore him completely.
As a seasoned player of the CM/FM franchise, I find FM 2009 is quite challenging yet fun to play. It is not as hard as FM 2006 (before the patch) but certainly not too easy as it is quite a task to win a top-flight league such as the EPL or BBVA. As always I love all the new features (save for the 3D match engine simply because it's too high end) and the new players in the database.
In my first season in charge I managed to win the League Cup, Premiership, FA Cup and the Champions League also (hey that's everything!).
At last they finally remembered to put in quadruple in the victory types. Previously I only get a boring magnificent treble although I won everything in the season.
Although we lost 7 times this season we still managed to beat Arsenal for the title by a mere 4 points while Man U and Chelsea came 3rd and 4th respectively. Who knows it would be like this also in real life? (fingers-crossed!).
Naturally I won the Manager Of The Year award and the Liverpool fans worshipped me, yeah-yeah whatever.
Like any seasoned player of FM 2009 will know by now, having the best players in the world playing in your team is definitely not enough to win anything. You've got to come up with a fool-proof, one size fits all master tactic (who got time to edit for every match?). I edited the default 4-4-2 attacking tactic to my trusted and tested all out attack tactic and so far it hasn't let me down yet. Using the same tactic, I won the title every season until 2015 in FM 2008. You can download the tactic here.
Here's some of the new features offered in FM 2009:

3D Match Engine – You can now watch your matches in 3D from multiple camera angles and re-watch any part of the match by fast forwarding and rewinding the action using a new match time bar that flags the key moments in the game.

The old 2d view of the match engine is still there, especially for those people whose computers aren’t powerful enough to take advantage of the 3d views.

TV View – Watch your matches in new full screen TV view and customise your match day screen with widgets to view the information you need as a football manager, be it player performance, match action zones, pitch radar, latest scores and many more.

Assistant Manager FeedbackPre-match and in-match feedback from your Assistant Manager on how the team is performing and your player’s motivation levels, as well as hints on how your tactics are working and how you could outwit the opposition’s tactics. <- Ignore him! Improved Media – SI have worked hard to reflect the greater impact the media has been having in recent years on the world of football, in the in-game dealings with the press. The game now features more news stories, more detail and greater media interaction than ever before, creating an even more realistic simulation of the football world.

Press Conferences – Attend pre-match and post-match press conferences with local and national journalists and build up relationships with them over time, but choose your answers carefully because they could come back to haunt you in the media at a later date.
Transfer Rumours – View the latest news on what players are being speculated on, and who’s said to be interested in securing their services.

Preferred Moves – Train your players to learn ‘preferred moves’ to add to their game. For example, train central defenders to not dive into tackles, or wingers to do stepovers before crossing the ball.

Female Manager – For the very first time you can now play as a female manager. All of the text in the game now also has a female gender so the game represents female managers and staff in the game in the correct gender.

Updated Competitions – Fully updated for the new 2008/09 football season with all the latest league, club and player data, featuring over 5,000 playable clubs from over 50 countries, and around 350,000 players and staff from around the world, drawn fresh from the famous Sports Interactive database.

Widescreen Support – As a result of usability testing on Football Manager™ 2008, this year sees widescreen support for the game for the first time, as well as lots of tweaks to the user interface for easier navigation.
Since I've already achieved everything I can ask for in the first season, I'm now going back to the bring a Conference club to Premiership game mode. It's not easy to bring any club 5 leagues up but I've done it before and surely I can do it again in FM 2009. This time I decided to put my daughter in charge of my fave Conference (Blue Square Premier) club, Northwich Victoria. So far she managed to get promoted to Coca-Cola League 2. I'm sure she'll win every league from there to the EPL. Come on you Trickies!


  1. Good to see another CM player here. I personally think CM08 is much better in the sense of the speed of playing but 09 is pretty cool with more features and especially the 3D TV. Been playing since the very first version of CM. Cheers.

    p/s: liverpool fan also ;)

  2. I see you got class Marcus, don't we all Reds fans?