Everybody knows that the true joy of playing Football Manager is getting a decade or so into the future and seeing the new Messis and Ronaldos and Mourinhos and Guardiolas come and go. Reddit user “Lorf_Yimzo” took this to its logical conclusion, setting up a save in England, simulating into the year 3015, and checking out the stats.
You should check out the whole post over there, but we’ll give you a few of the highlights. The largest and most in depth document to come from the “Millennial Sim” is a spreadsheet collecting all the results of each EPL, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, and League Cup results and creating a point system depending on their placement in those competitions to determine who was the most successful club in that span. The results are not what you’d expect.
By far the two most decorated English clubs between 2015 and 3015 were Burnley and Sheffield United. Burnley won the Prem 138 times, second only to Sheffield’s 167 league trophies. In fact, the only usual suspects among the top 10 in this guy’s formula are Arsenal (5th) and Manchester City (9th). Joining that top-tier of dominating clubs are teams like Plymouth Argyle, Southend United, and Rotherham United. The biggest loser in the coming millennium is easily Chelsea, whose one Premier League trophy was less than such English luminaries like Exeter City, Maidstone United, and Chesterfield.
Now this is just conjecture on my part, but I think there are a few factors playing into the unreality of this simulation that prides itself on verisimilitude. One is the financial realities of big clubs and small ones in Football Manager. It’s much easier for an up-and-coming second division team to up-and-come their way into the Champions League in the game than in real life. For smaller teams, all of the money and prestige that comes with being a UCL regular is basically profit, allowing them to reinvest it in better players, better coaches, and bigger stadiums, which doubles down on their growth.
On the other hand, the game is kind of dumb in that it will let big clubs spend themselves into oblivion, usually on bloated contracts for former greats. When those greats of yesteryear no longer perform to their reputation and weekly wages, it sends the club into a financial death spiral that is exacerbated by their existing debt. In short, smaller, debt-free clubs are better able to capitalize on success and weather failure than big ones are.
Also, by making only England a playable nation, that country will grow more wonderkid regens than other countries. With none but the biggest handful of traditional European powers there to pluck these budding stars up, it’s possible to ride a homegrown, star-studded forward line to glory that reverberates for generations. This is also reflected in England’s dominance in the World Cup in this simulation. (All stats here but England’s 41 World Cup trophies dwarf all comers; somewhat bizarrely, Venezuela wind up second best with 25.)
Some of what’s so interesting about this whole thing are the comparison between records that are and are not broken. Here’s a screencap of an assortment of league records in the Premier League:
The biggest win is still Man Utd’s 9-0 demolition of Ipswich in 1995, and Arsenal’s 49-match unbeaten streak between 2003-04 also stands the test of time. Shrewsbury Town reached a new nadir for incompetence, going 37 consecutive games in the 2986-87 season without eking out a single win, while Cardo Kiaku of Preston breaks all current single-season scoring record with his 36 goals in 2606-07. Keep an eye on that Cardo Kiaku.
The European competitions offer more intrigue. (Screenshot of Champions League records above, Europa League here.) Real Madrid keep their spot as best club in Europe, at some point getting La Centécima before settling for 108 cups. Cristiano Ronaldo’s 17 goals in a UCL campaign is also never bested, which is probably the case in La Liga, too, validating the idea that he and Lionel Messi are so insanely dominant that their goal-scoring numbers are too outrageous even for video games.
One of the ways you can see the game sort of crack under the weight of 1,000 years, though, is in the stadium sizes. In 2987-88, Celtic set the all-time Champions League average attendance record with over 500,000 people showing up to the stands each game. That’s basically the entire population of modern-day Glasgow.
Again, check out the whole thread for more. You can even download the save yourself to either investigate more or start up a managerial career of your own starting then. Winning in 3015 can’t be that hard if England are doing it.