Multi Player Soccer Manager
Copyright/Publisher: Cult/D&H Games, Written By: John Atkinson,
C64 Version By: Richard Walker, Illustrated By: Andy Probert,
Release Year: 1991, Genre: Football/Soccer, Number Of Players: 1 to 4

Ever since Football Manager started the ball rolling, there seems to have been a constant stream of footy management games. Most have claimed extra features over previous efforts, but what's truly innovative about D&H's latest is that it allows up to four human managers to take part, each in charge of their own team.

Of course, you can't expect to manage Liverpool straight away - you're each given a lowly Fourth Division team to start with sponsored by a suitable firm, eg Commode Antiques, who'll give you money if you do well. Should you do exceptionally well a bigger club may ask you to be their manager.

Each player takes it in turn to access the management options from the icons of the main menu. The most important option is Squad which allows you, via a sub-menu, to pick your team for the next match. All your players have a set position (goalie, defender, midfielder, attacker) and a general skill rating out of 10.

This can be improved by training in one of three skill relavant to their position (eg tackling, control and passing for a defender). However, as there is no reference to these individual skills anywhere else, how are you meant to know what to train each player in?

Some players are beyond help though, so you can sell these (only one per week), choosing between the cash offers made by other clubs. To buy players, you have to select Transfers from the main menu. This presents you with a list of about half a dozen players currently for sale.

No prices are shown as it's all done via an auction system with each of the managers making bids in turn (if you want to keep your bid secret from your rivals, tell them to close their eyes!). If you're employing a scout, he'll give you an estimate of the player's worth. When all bids have been made, they're shown along with bids by computer managers. The selling club will then usually choose the highest or decide not to sell.

The other options in the main menu are mainly status displays: your bank statement, league tables (also allows you to see any team's squad), fixture list (for this week), results (from last week), and your next FA and League Cup matches.

There's also a save/load function and a novel Ground Improvements option. This allows you to increase ground capacity (you're not likely to need this unless it's a top club!) and safety (if this is low, you're more likely to be fined for crowd violence).

And finally, of course, there's the Play Match option. So what match representation do you get? A neat graphical view of the action? Okay, how about a running commentary? Maybe a clock ticking down with goals and other events occasionally being flashed up? No, not a sausage! All you get is the result along with any scorers and injuries.

This I could put up with if the management options were any good. But once you've bought a few players there really isn't much to do other than compare your team's Goalkeeping, Defence, Midfield and Attack ratings with your opposition's to maybe make the odd tactical team alteration.

But this is no advance on the ancient Football Manager - and even that had match graphics! The addition of the multi-player feature can lead to some fun rivalry between managers, but it can't make up for the total lack of real tactical depth.

I'm afraid in my opinion Multi Player Soccer Manager is little better than most budget football management games, and totally outclassed by the recently rereleased and infinitely superior Tracksuit Manager.


Woefully inadequate instruction, neat icon-driven main menu.
Disappointingly no match representation, but some simple fun can be had with two or more managers.
There's not nearly enough management decisions to make, especially match-related ones, so it soon gets dull.
Not worth the transfer fee.