WILLIAM Still has said that Football Manager helped him hone his skills as head coach for a top league team.
Still was recently promoted to head coach of Reims in France’s Ligue 1, after the team’s spectacular performance in the run-up to the World Cup.
Stade de Reims rose up the table from the relegation zone to eleventh place after a series of wins under Still’s coaching.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Still said that obsessively playing Football Manager as a child helped him earn his success.
Still said: “I got fixated on it as a kid, and playing the game probably ignited the fire in me that I have now as a coach on the touchline.
“I’d been obsessed with it growing up. Me and my brother would play it relentlessly – we weren’t allowed a PlayStation, so we played Football Manager on the family computer.
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“We got into building a squad, picking a team, organising training, making sure the team was going in the right direction – all of the details.
“There was nothing better than that, even if it was virtual!”
He continued to use Football Manager to help him when he was the head coach for Belgian team Sint-Truiden.
He describes using the management sim to try ideas out before introducing them to the team.
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He explains: “Although I was the head coach of a professional team, I was also still trying things out in Football Manager as well.
“I’d never considered that Football Manager had had an influence on my real-life career but, thinking about it now, it definitely did.
“And then here I was, doing it for real. I remember, when I was at Sint-Truiden, I was trying to win the league with them in the game as well!”
Now head coach at one of France’s top clubs he doesn’t have as much time to play Football Manager as he used to.
However, he still compares doing well in real life to rising up the league in game.
He says: “Just like the bug you get on Football Manager, I wanted to get another opportunity as a head coach.
“But just like at every other stage in my career, I hadn’t planned it.
“I hadn’t thought at any point that I would be Stade de Reims’ head coach. Especially not yet.”
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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