The Championship Manager Years
Created by brothers Paul and Oliver Collyer in their bedroom in Shropshire, England, Championship Manager was released in September 1992 to a modest critical and commercial reception. The main complaints were primitive graphics, consisting of coloured text on a background image, and match engine, which comprised of a clock, a meter showing each teams possession, and lines of text describing the action. The lack of licensed players was also a hindrance. These issues were all addressed in the follow up, Championship Manager '93, which was a much bigger hit for critics and players. It was also the first game in the series to be developed by Sports Interactive, the company set up by the Collyers to focus on Championship Manager. The series continued to add yearly updates, such as new leagues, updating the rules to keep up with real football (such as the Bosman rule), and a 2D match engine in Championship Manager 4.
Move to Sega
After Championship Manager: Season 03/04, Sports Interactive left publisher Eidos and signed a deal with Sega, with both parties keeping their intellectual properties: SI kept the base code, game database and programming of the game, and Eidos holding the rights to the Championship Manager name and interface. For legal reasons, the cause for the split has never been fully revealed, although it is theorised the Sega offered the SI team more creative freedom then they had enjoyed with Eidos. Football Manager 2005 was the first game of the new partnership, with the Eidos published Championship Manager 5 being developed by Beautiful Game Studios.
As of 2014, Championship and Football Manager have sold over a combined 15 millions copies worldwide, with the series being responsible for 6 of the top 10 fastest selling games PC of all time in the UK, and an accumulated 200 weeks at the top of the PC charts.
The series vast database has been used a tool for real life football clubs to scout players. In 2008, Everton signed an official deal to use the Football Manager database to search for prospective players and staff. Former Cardiff City boss Ole Gunner Solskjaer has also claimed to have used the game to prepare himself for a managerial career. In 2012, Azerbaijan student Vugar Huseynzade was even given the role of FC Baku's reserve team manager on the basis of his success in the game, reportedly beating out former French player Jean-Pierre Pain for the job.
Football Manager has become notorious for its addictiveness, with many players dreaming of taking lower league teams to Champions League glory, consuming hundreds of hours of playtime. In the UK, the series has also been cited in 35 divorce cases since 2004. More involved players have been known to wear suits during cup final, and give team talks to inanimate objects at half time.