Recently I re-read some of the posts on this here blog of mine, specifically focussing on the Football Manager 2028 and Rebuilding Southampton in 2027 stories about my FM exploits. Both of those involved me playing FM and fast forwarding a bunch of time (19 and 12 years respectively) before starting to play, and they triggered an urge to dust off my copy of Football Manager and have another foray into the footballing future.
The idea is to take a copy of FM16, use the Sortitoutsi customer FM start date option and their data update to allow me to begin in the 2016/17 season (so that I start as close to the current state of world football as possible), start up a new game, put myself as an unemployed manager, put myself on holiday and just let the game run itself until some time in the future.
It’d be nice to get it to 2036, so 20 years of in-game time will have passed. By then Marcus Rashford will be 38 and the footballing landscape should be completely different.
I’ve started running the game and it’s currently up to June 2021. So what’s happened in those first 5 years?
The first thing I always check when doing things like this is how Southampton have got on. Have they continued to improve? Have they continued to be raided by the “big clubs”? Who did they appoint to replace Koeman?
Well they appointed Manuel Pellegrini, who lasted all of 190 days before being sacked! He was replaced by David Moyes who left after 18 months and then Roberto Martinez came in, won the League Cup and got sacked the following year. Didier Deschamps lasted just over a year and now Gerardo Martino is gearing up to start his first season in charge. The club have never achieved a league position as high as they did under the management of Ronald Koeman.
As for players, Saints still have Victor Wanyama and Ryan Bertrand in the first team squad. They sold Mane to Chelsea for over £40m, before buying him back for £18m two years later. They also bought back Juanmi, for £15m from Sociedad, while they sold James Ward-Prowse to (surprise surprise) Liverpool for £27.5m. The Saints have been busy in the transfer market over these five years, having bought the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, John Obi Mikel, Alex Song, Mario Balotelli, Christian Benteke, Leighton Baines, Pablo Zabaleta and Pedro (the only one still there).
Arsenal won the league in 2016/17, followed by Spurs the following year. Man Utd won the league for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2018/19 and won it again two years later, with Man City winning it in between. But it wasn’t Mourinho who brought the Premier League back to Old Trafford, he was sacked after 3 years (despite doing the League Cup/FA Cup double in 2017). It was his successor, Carlo Ancelotti who won the league, following with his own cup double the following season. Ancelotti then resigned and Diego Simeone stepped in, winning the Premier League and FA Cup in his first full season.
England still haven’t won a World Cup or a European Championship, but they did win the inaugural European International League in 2019, beating Spain at Wembley. The manager who managed this feat? Rafa Benitez. Roy Hodgson retired in July 2016 and Francesco Guidolin took over, before retiring himself two years later, leading to Rafa’s run. Benitez resigned after 2 years and Carlo Ancelotti is the current England manager.
So on I go, further towards my goal of 2036. I’ll see you in another 15 years…