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I know it can happen in the real world, because it sounds just like a video game
August 23, 2012 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I had chosen a team to save that couldn't possibly be saved in real life. And here they were, in real life, being saved.
Brian Phillips of Run of Play, looks at the surreal fate of the real Pro Vercelli, the team he steered to footballing glory in Football Manager 3 years ago.
posted by juv3nal (26 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is an incredible story and one which warms my heart like it hasn't been warmed since... I don't know... about when I read the first bit in Run of Play.
posted by Inkoate at 2:32 PM on August 23, 2012


I know I sound like a stereotypically ugly American every time I say this, but reading about the incredibly interesting and involved history of football throughout the world always makes me wish I liked the game play more.

(In an alternate universe, an MCMikeNamara born in Europe rather than the American Midwest is making this exact comment in a thread about baseball.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:35 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


By the way, if you haven't gone through his Pro Vercelli saga, it's a great, great read. But, be warned, it's one of those things where you look up with bleary eyes and can't believe it's already 3AM.
posted by Malor at 2:36 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


The rise of Pro Vercelli could just be a coincidence, but for safety's sake I think we should ban Brian Philips from playing any video game involving World War III or the like.
posted by kmz at 2:40 PM on August 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Fantastic article, loved the Pro Vercelli Run of Play peices, they were very funny.

"I can say that the project spiraled hopelessly out of control1

And then the footnote says : "To the point that I taught myself both Photoshop and medium-serious video-editing software to make highlight reels and design covers for fake nonfiction best sellers about Pro Vercelli's near-future exploits under my management. I'm not not proud of this." Wow, dedication.

"but reading about the incredibly interesting and involved history of football throughout the world always makes me wish I liked the game play more.
posted by MCMikeNamara

Unlucky, but then you can just enjoy the history of it. I think maybe it is because football (soccer) has one of the longest (almost) continuous histories of any mayjor sport, and it caught on rapidly around the world. Back in the day, Austria and Hungary were football powerhouses, which is fascinating (well, it is to me!)

And how the game got to South America and how they played it and it developed is another interesting facet.
posted by marienbad at 2:49 PM on August 23, 2012


Here is the previous post about this. Which I loved and read all the way through. It's the most emotional investment I've ever had in any professional sport, which is a little embarrassing.

So now, reading about Pro Vercelli's recent success in real life gave me chills again.
posted by aubilenon at 2:54 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's the first link in the post, aubilenon.
posted by juv3nal at 2:59 PM on August 23, 2012


A similar thing happened to me, but with Ultimate Soccer Manager '98 and Yeovil Town. Admittedly, my blogging about it would have been very poor if I'd even had a blog back then (unlike Run of Play which was/is delightful). As an American with very little skin in the game of European soccer, one of the things I love best about Football Manager is how it's given me very strong favorites in a bunch of the minor European leagues based on nothing more than which completely unknown-to-me Bulgarian/Croatian/Danish/Welsh/etc team happened to fall under my mouse.
posted by Copronymus at 3:04 PM on August 23, 2012


Oh wow - hadn't realised they actually managed to get promoted into Serie B! I'd seen they were doing surprisingly well but had assumed the bubble would burst at some point!

The Run of Play Pro-Vercelli series is the reason that I now own an FC Brussels shirt, as the series inspired me to expand my horizons a bit and stop always playing as a British lower league team.

He's spot on that you end up developing a strange real world love of your chosen club as well.
posted by garius at 3:21 PM on August 23, 2012


It's the first link in the post, aubilenon.

oops.
posted by aubilenon at 3:27 PM on August 23, 2012


I just finished going through some HoI2 AARs I had really liked a couple of years ago. I'd managed to avoid the EU2 ones for a moment.

A reference to this wisped through my head at some point in the last week, and hadn't quite anchored itself in my brain...until this afternoon.

On preview, what Malor said.

*click click click*
posted by Earthtopus at 3:34 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, dedication.

He's not kidding. I love absolutely everything about his video of the 3-4-3 in action.
posted by asterix at 3:37 PM on August 23, 2012


marienbad: Unlucky, but then you can just enjoy the history of it. I think maybe it is because football (soccer) has one of the longest (almost) continuous histories of any mayjor sport, and it caught on rapidly around the world. Back in the day, Austria and Hungary were football powerhouses, which is fascinating (well, it is to me!)

I wrote a radio essay about this in Icelandic. Basically, the reason why the Central European national teams were so dominant in the early-to-mid 20th Century (Italy won two world cups, Hungary and Czechoslovakia lost two finals each) was because that the Austro-Hungarian national coach, Hugo Meisl, and the rest of the old Austro-Hungarian football people, wanted to keep in touch. So they organized three international contests, the International European Cup, contested between Austria, Hungary, Italy, Czecholovakia and Switzerland (Yugoslavia later joined), an amateur version of said contest, and the Mitropa Cup, which was between club teams. This knitted together a huge region and allowed these teams to get to know often radically different playing styles. Also, Central European football professionalized quickly, adding to the advantage. It's a fascinating story.

As to Football Manager... one of the weirder moments in my life in terms of video games was when I was talking with a guy I know while he was working on a night shift. He had Football Manager running. That's not the weird thing, the weird thing was that he was managing himself, or rather the FM version of him (he had played the previous summer in an Icelandic football team). That game and Dwarf Fortress are the most complete world simulations that exist.

Oh, and speaking of connecting with clubs in Football Manager. I feel vaguely bad everytime something bad happens to Port Vale in real life, ever since my ignominious reign of terror as their manager.
posted by Kattullus at 3:44 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


If this is how it works, then I expect Vauxhall Motors FC to continue to languish exactly where they are as a series of new managers come in every year, each to quit about mid season.
posted by fleacircus at 4:11 PM on August 23, 2012


That Run of Play was quite something. I smiled when I noticed that Juventus (defending champions in Italy) signed a player of Pro Vercelli this summer.

Basically, the reason why the Central European national teams were so dominant in the early-to-mid 20th Century (Italy won two world cups, Hungary and Czechoslovakia lost two finals each) was because that the Austro-Hungarian national coach, Hugo Meisl, and the rest of the old Austro-Hungarian football people, wanted to keep in touch

That's an explanation the writer of Soccernomics would agree with.
posted by ersatz at 4:52 PM on August 23, 2012


So that's where Run of Play had gone. Is a 302 or a post pointing the way too much to ask? Gods damn.
posted by palbo at 5:09 PM on August 23, 2012


palbo: Did you click on the top post on the old site ("Fire and the Sword")? It links to the tumblr.
posted by asterix at 5:30 PM on August 23, 2012


The big image that reads "fire and the sword" on runofplay.com is a link to the new location, palbo.
posted by juv3nal at 5:30 PM on August 23, 2012


a jinx on you, asterix.
posted by juv3nal at 5:31 PM on August 23, 2012


If you missed it, Brian's article on the US Women's National Team is also incredible.
posted by 256 at 5:43 PM on August 23, 2012


I know I sound like a stereotypically ugly American every time I say this, but reading about the incredibly interesting and involved history of football throughout the world always makes me wish I liked the game play more.

Soccer is in the category of Things I Like Reading Analysis Of More Than The Actual Content. The group also includes EVE Online, Minecraft, Linux, and David Foster Wallace.

Now seems like a good time to mention that I am still addicted to New Star Soccer on iOS.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:42 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a fantastic post.

I missed the '09 version of this run but as an avid FM fan, I was totally glued to the whole epic ride. It made me fondly remember my run with West Brom back in FM'09. Except I didn't have cool ass music videos with my successes and failures.

I've tried several times to get friends into FM, but they never, ever like it.
posted by Sphinx at 8:59 PM on August 23, 2012


That earlier post, when it was relinked from here earlier in the year, prompted me to get into FM, which has been eating up my spare time ever since. But at least Plymouth Argyle, struggling to survive in League Two when I joined as manager, is now on course to win the Premier League for the fourth time in a row, in the final of the League Cup for the fourth time, doing well in the FA Cup, has won the Supercup and Community Shield, not to mention the team worldcup and is through the groups phase of the Champions League.

But the most fun is seeing the players that are superstars for me in 2018 pop up in real life, like Jack Butland at the Olympic games, who has been my best goalie for donkeys ages.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:01 PM on August 23, 2012


But the most fun is seeing the players that are superstars for me in 2018 pop up in real life, like Jack Butland at the Olympic games, who has been my best goalie for donkeys ages.

Which manager was it who admitted he scouted players based on their FM performances? It was Aidy Boothroyd or Ian Holloway or someone like that.
posted by garius at 12:22 AM on August 24, 2012


ersatz: That's an explanation the writer of Soccernomics would agree with.

There's a chapter about that in Soccernomics? I'll need to read that now. There's awful little written on the Central European Cup in English.
posted by Kattullus at 3:56 AM on August 24, 2012


Which manager was it who admitted he scouted players based on their FM performances? It was Aidy Boothroyd or Ian Holloway or someone like that.

It's gone further than that - Everton actually bought rights to the FM database so they could scout new players.
posted by ZsigE at 5:34 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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