How would you like to manage a top-notch, world class international football club? Yes? Well I've got bad new for you. You can't. But don't rush off into a corner and blub like a baby that's got the windypops, you can manage Kettering instead.
What is Kettering? Isn't it the sound of hail on a corrugated roof? Oh, it's a place in Northamptonshire. Well, some you win...
And that's what you've got to do in Jimmy's Soccer Manager. Win, that is. You've got a crowd of nobodies collectively known as Kettering FC and you've got to beat the entire five leagues. How? By skilful management and diplomacy, that's how. Oh, and by sacking the crap people and buying better ones.
After all, this is exactly like real life, isn't it? Just make sure your striker eats three Shredded Wheat and you can't go far wrong. I know 'cos Eve seen this in an advert.
IT'S A GAME OF ONE HALF
The first thing you see in JSM is the main menu. Here you select exactly what you want to do. You can look at your team, select and drop players, have a quick peep at the transfer market, pop into the bank or generally do anything that you think might come in handy. Oh, and you can also go to watch the match.
When you get to the footbal field you, er, don't see any of the action. Instead, you get a clock ticking away the minutes 'tll the game ends. There's no half-time or anything. The guys play for a solid ninety minutes, so they're completely knackered by the end of if.
N you manage a goal, the name of the striker comes up, as does the time (in minutes) he scored. This is pretty useful for working out who the key players in your team are. When the enemy team scores, you don't get told anything about who scored it, or when. Ho hum. You probably didn't want to know anyway.
At the end of the game all the league results come up. You can call up the fifth division table too, the nattily-named Vauxhall Astra Open General Motors Conference League. You'll usually be pretty near the bottom 'cos you're so crap, but hang in there. You're bound to beat Yeovil or someone eventually!
WHO'S ON THE TEAM?
Your team is made up of loads of fictitious people, with one notable exception - the famous W Scribo, Nobel prize-winner, ace yachtsman, astronaut and Presidential candidate. Mr Scribo is certainly a football player of no distinction at all. So it's best to try and sell him at the first opportunity.
Occasionally the phone rings. You actually get to hear this, it warbles like a cat stuck in a cupboard. If you choose to answer the old dog and bone, you might be offered a pile of dosh for one of your star players. If it's W Scribo, take the money and run. Your players are all so appalling that you'll get about £2.50, at the most a pair.
Jimmy's Soccer Manager falls down 'cos it's not that interactive. You don't seem to be able to train the guys, or swap their positions round on the field. Basically, you've got to wait 'til you've got the dosh to buy someone better. Most of the time you just watch all the match results and hope that Kettering get the odd win.
It's all a bit of a spectator-sport for me. I like a management sim as much as the next man (as long as he doesn't like them a great deal), but I like to be able to adjust lots of details and fiddle about with mine. (Oo-er. Ed) It's also a tad sad that you can't change the names of any of the teams or players. You're stuck with Kettering and W. Scribo, I'm afraid.
The good news is that Jimmy's Soccer Manager is a darn sight faster than most management sims. There are a few long tea-breaks while the computer has a little think, but it's no worse than other games. The control system is pretty straightforward and you don't need to memorise all the keys 'cos it tells you which ones to press.
Sadly, Jimmy's Soccer Managarisn't much cop. There aren't any on-screen moments of glory and the little graphic touches, like piccies the players and the guy who rings you up, are nice but they're just not enough to make the game special.
I know its Christmas and everything, when robins, mistletoe and stage-coaches traditionally go out into the streets and distribute goodwill, love and Masters Of The Universe battlecruisers to all the children singing in the snow-dusted market place. Still, it'd be more than my job's worth to give JSM 100% and a bag of nuts, humbugs and yule logs. Bah!
I don't expect this will score in your goal. If it does, make sure sure it's obeyed the off-side rule! (Eh? Ed)
10 CHRISTMAS FOOTBALLING FACTS
On the Outer Hebrides, the population traditionally play football with a stuffed turkey just before eating it.In 1915, the Germans and English in the First World War stopped fighting and played football together. It was a very moving moment, especially seeing as we won 4-2.Paul McCartney wrote a song about it a couple of years later. It got to number one.The Football League don't play fixtures on Christmas Day cos it's usually too cold.The Pools Panels sit and pull crackers and drink pope and eat After Eights instead.Gary Lineker's name in Turkish means Gary Christmas. This is cos Lineker means Christmas in Turkish.In ancient times, Christmas was a time for people who were injured to play in friendlies against other hospitals.In really ancient times, neither Christmas nor football existed. This was before the Earth cooled.Football and Christmas aren't linked together at all really.And there's no number 10 fact. They're all made up anyway.
What's this? The Crap Results Service?
Get the gen on your team by selecting each player's info screen. You also get a high-quality passport-style photo.
Meet the gang cos the boys are here, the boys to, erm, entertain you.
Here you see the hub of an international footballing operation, I don't think.