Let’s get the shameful business out of the way first. Every year on Football Manager, I choose to manage Manchester United. United – or, ahem, Man UFC – are the team I support here in the real world, and that’s about as far as my thought process goes when starting up a new FM save. There are two philosophies, basically: the fashionable, hipster choice of managing somewhere a little trendy, a little half-step out of the limelight, an AS Saint-Étienne, maybe, or for a greater challenge someone like AFC Wimbledon or your local ultra-underdogs of choice; or, you manage the team you support. There is technically a third way which we don’t speak about (PSG), but broadly speaking, those are your options.
The reason I like Manchester United is because they straddle a bit of both. I know the club inside out, I’m desperate for us to win and loathe to see City win the race for another five attacking midfielders ahead of us, and frankly I just like having all my dreams fulfilled. At the same time Manchester United is a god awful mess of a club, and it brings me immeasurable joy to step into the breach every year and be the hero who comes and fixes it. So, like I said, best of both: favourite-team fantasy plus the pleasure of mending that which is fundamentally broken.