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The 11 best Football Manager 2014 players

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The 11 best Football Manager 2014 players

People play Football Manager for lots of different reasons. Some of us do it to discover new talents, others to create the next great revolutionary tactic, but everyone can do with a few good bargain players now and then, which is why we’ve compiled this ‘dream team’ of FM 14 bargains.

These players represent 11 of the game’s best buys arranged in a modern 4-5-1 formation. With this list in hand you’ll be able to plug any gaps in your struggling team for peanuts (well okay a few million) and acquire some young talents that you can build a dynasty with.

We also sent a copy to David Moyes, but for some reason he doesn’t seem to be answering his emails.

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Open goal: Football Manager 2014 breaks UK high street PC charts records

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Open goal: Football Manager 2014 breaks UK high street PC charts records

I have a distinct memory of watching Top of the Pops every Friday of 1999 and becoming slowly distraught that Cliff Richard’s stranglehold on the no. 1 spot with some interminable Christmas ballad had begun to creep too far into Spring - which is odd, because I can’t find any record of it now.

Here’s a certifiable fact, though: Football Manager 2014 has been at the top sales rung in the UK for 16 weeks on the trot - a new record for the most consecutive no. 1s in PC chart history.

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PC games outsold Xbox One and PS4 equivalents on Play.com over Christmas - thanks to Football Manager

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PC games outsold Xbox One and PS4 equivalents on Play.com over Christmas - thanks to Football Manager

The sensible majority with their heads in their wallets haven’t yet seen a next-generation console, let alone knowingly enjoyed one of its questionable exclusives (the best of which, incidentally, appears to be a version of Assassin’s Creed IV that looks about as good as its PC counterpart).

The consequence of that, it seems, is that PC games outsold those of both new consoles on Play.com this Christmas.

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Ghooooul: Typing of the Dead nets free Football Manager DLC

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Ghooooul: Typing of the Dead nets free Football Manager DLC

Sega and Modern Dream have managed to sustain the mildly-amused goodwill of the gaming public in the month since Typing of the Dead’s release via downloadable dictionary updates, in much the same way a dancing rodent might confound its grinning audience for minutes on end with a succession of funny hats.

First Overkill took a turn for the Jacobean with the £2 Shakespeare wordset, and now it’s further secured its reputation for cheap, filthy fun with a Football Manager equivalent.

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Football hooliganism doesn’t belong in the "more utopian world" of Football Manager

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Football hooliganism doesn’t belong in the "more utopian world" of Football Manager

Football Manager 14 offers the most comprehensive simulation of the if-not-beautiful-then-quite-pretty game we’re ever likely to know. Even EA have been forced to admit defeat, retiring the FIFA Manager series earlier this week.

But it’s not quite a true simulation. It turns out there are elements of real football that Miles Jacobson and his team at Sports Interactive would rather forget.

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EA bow out of the football management genre: "One game has dominated the market"

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EA bow out of the football management genre: "One game has dominated the market"

There are two countries in which football management games bewilder the rest of the globe by selling like billyo: England and Germany. It’s the latter where FIFA Manager developers Bright Future reside, but even there they’ve been forced to watch year after year as that other FM claimed hearts and shelf space in their stead.

FIFA Manager was an EA series, so it doesn’t get to be on Steam. Perhaps that’s a small mercy - the numbers would not have been kind. That’s why EA Sports have announced that FIFA Manager 2014 will be the last installment in the subseries.

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Football Manager 2014 release blighted by code activation and region lock issues

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Football Manager 2014 release blighted by code activation and region lock issues

Today was the big kick-off day for football managers across the country. Yet for some of those budding managers, their day was ruined. Not by players being rained off the pitch or the ball being improperly inflated, but by technical issues marring the activation process of Football Manager 2014 on Steam. 

Some players’ beta failed to update to full retail release, whilst others failed to be supplied with a retail release code altogether. Another group of players were region locked out of the game. It’s another ‘launch disaster’ for 2013, but don’t fret too much. Sports Interactive are aware of all the issues and are working hard on getting them fixed. SI team members have been addressing forum users all day, and hopefully resolutions are on their way.

We investigated a little ourselves, and have the fullest picture we could paint for you. 

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Football Manager 2014 beta now open for pre-orderers

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Football Manager 2014 beta now open for pre-orderers

If you’re a budding manager of all things football, you no doubt already have this year’s iteration of Football Manager on pre-order from an outlet of your choice. The good news today is that if you did indeed pre-order, then from right this second you can be bossing around players and buying news one in the beta version of Football Manager 2014.

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Football Manager 2014 match engine looks a bit like the telly

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Football Manager 2014 match engine looks a bit like the telly

Here’s something we could all do over the weekend: build an intricate web of ever-changing statistics modelled on real-world systems, and then transpose them back into something that, to a casual observer, looks an awful lot like real-world people at work.

Don’t feel up to it? Thought not. Thankfully, Sports Interactive have the time and the wherewithal to build something just like that: the 3D match engine for Football Manager 2014. Here it is in action.

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Football Manager 2014 release date / metaphorical kick-off set for October 31

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Football Manager 2014 release date / metaphorical kick-off set for October 31

Sports Interactive director Miles Jacobson has revisited the sheet on which he’d penciled down FM 2014’s potential release date to go over it in permanent marker. Nearby employees were heard to gasp at his recklessness.

“I get so many requests for the release date on Twitter," he said, “but we’ll only ever announce a date when we’re sure we’re going to hit it."

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Football Manager 2014 UI improvements flaunted at length via videos

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Football Manager 2014 UI improvements flaunted at length via videos

I have a theory: that at least part of the reason for Football Manager 2013’s formidable concurrent player total is that, given a cursory glance by a passing boss, it looks a lot like work. For a majority of its playtime, FM13 is graphs, calendars and email inboxes - the data may be fictional, but needs to be sorted and sifted all the same. It is the ideal SFW game.

Sports Interactive, for their part, have to be pretend Google. Pretend Analytics, pretend Calendar, pretend Gmail. The following two videos detail the vast number of usability tweaks coming to the series in its next iteration.

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Football Manager 2014 trailer shows revamped email client

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Football Manager 2014 trailer shows revamped email client

If you’re a manager at one of the country's top football clubs, then your email client is pretty important. It’s likely to be crammed each day with transfer news, questions from the press, and notes from physio that your star player won’t be able to make the next game for fear that his knee will collapse. Navigating all those emails needs to be seamless, so Sports Interactive have rethought Football Manager’s inbox to make the job less taxing. Check the streamlined UI out in a new trailer. 

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Why Football Manager is playable on Linux, but not Windows RT

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Why Football Manager is playable on Linux, but not Windows RT

Football Manager 2014 is coming to Linux! Hooray! And that’s in the properly interconnected, Steam-enabled sense of the phrase.

“People are trying to get their heads around this a little bit," Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson told PCGN. “That if you buy the Linux version, if you have a Linux desktop at home, a Windows laptop and a Mac at work, you buy it once, and you can upload your save game to the cloud to be able to just carry on your save game wherever you are."

There’s still one place Football Manager isn’t, though: Windows RT. And there’s a very good reason for that.

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Football Manager 2013 microtransaction "cheats" sold "way better" than Sports Interactive were expecting

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Football Manager 2013 microtransaction "cheats" sold "way better" than Sports Interactive were expecting

Football Manager 2013 was Sports Interactive’s big push to accommodate a neglected yet growing part of their audience: the no-longer-young men without the luxury of managing their squads through the wee hours like they used to. For them, SI built Football Manager Classic - a liposuctioned remix of the full-fat FM experience - and in-game microtransactions that would allow players a shortcut when faced with a long grind toward promotion.

SI head Miles Jacobson told us that the latter in particular have proven to be spectacularly popular.

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Football Manager 2014 pledges revamped 3D match engine and UI, realistic transfers and negotiations, Linux support

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Football Manager 2014 pledges revamped 3D match engine and UI, realistic transfers and negotiations, Linux support

My favourite jumper and a packet of a polos for your top player. That’s the sort of unrealistic transfer request you won’t be finding in the next Football Manager. Instead, expect ‘real world’ combinations of cash and loans, sub bench appearance fees and a new system to turn those those turn-based negotiations ‘live’.

Of course, you’ll still be able to trade players through the old “tried and tested" method if you like. That’s the game Sports Interactive are pitching for 2014: more sophisticated than ever, but mindful of its past.

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Football Manager 2014 launching Linux; Football Manager 2013 is “the best selling game” in the series

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Football Manager 2014 launching Linux; Football Manager 2013 is “the best selling game” in the series

Football Manger 2014 will be the first entry in the series to support Linux. Better than that, a single purchase of the game will be compatible across Windows, Mac, and the penguin-friendly Linux.

Also, since its release last November, Football Manager 2013 has gone on to become “the best selling game" in the series.

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Football Manager 2013 is selling loads; Colonial Marines is selling far too much

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Football Manager 2013 is selling loads; Colonial Marines is selling far too much

Visit the Steam stats page on any given Friday (or indeed Sunday, or Monday) and you’ll see Football Manager holding its own in the upper echelons of the most-played list. Today it’s the third-most played game on the service, boasting 58,733 players at its peak.

Also today, Sega revealed their financial results and confirmed what we’ve suspected for a while: FM13 has sold by the bucketload. And that Aliens: Colonial Marines has made a much bigger splash than it deserves.

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