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1 Player

Game Type

Sports Management Simulation

Mem. Card

Review Date

July 1997


Setting the Scene

Over the years management games have been phenomenally popular, but two years on since the birth of the PSX and I find it extraordinary that there is very little available in this genre. I would have thought that Sensible World of Soccer would have been ported over from the PC long before now with it's highly playable soccer game blending perfectly with its management options.

Ultimate Soccer Manager allowed you to build your own stadium as well as adjoining stores and even burger stalls. On The Ball became a type of true life adventure game where the players on-field performances were affected by their social life, most realistic.

Suddenly we hear of two imminent releases. Gremlin have been working tirelessly on their PSX version of Premier Manager to be released prior to the new soccer season, while Anco performed a sliding tackle to slot in their offering before the old campaign had ended in the form of Player Manager.


This is the first soccer management sim for the Playstation and allows you to sample the pleasures and pressures associated with managing a football club. You will be responsible for your staff, finances, team selection, coaching, tactics, sponsorship, facing the press, transfers and sales. Oh, and you must also play in the games because you are not only a manager, you are the Player Manager.


Let's be honest, management games are about statistics, not graphics. The only sign of movement on screen is when you enter the Boot Room to play your matches. There are three ways to view the game. First is a 'Predict' option where the score is guessed. Next is the 'Management Scanner' where you can watch the game from a top down perspective. Colored blobs represent the players and this is the preferred view if you wish to make substitutions or change tactics during the course of the game. Finally there is the edited 'Match Highlights' option where the screen is split into four sections. Within each is a short rendered animation showing the fouls, saves and goals from the match. This idea works for the first few games but as there are only a dozen clips on offer you will soon know the outcome of each animation as soon as it begins.

Sounds and Effects

Not much to report in the sound effects department. A roar of the crowd, the plink of an item selected with the cursor while there are no speaking voices as all information is relayed in text format. The game is backed by the usual bland music that is associated with building sims.


Load up the game and you are faced with the options screen, your first of many decisions. There are three different ways to play P.M. A "Quick Start" offers you control of a Premier Division club for one season, "Challenge" sets you a target of points to achieve by the end of the season, but "New Game" is the reason we all bought our season tickets. The opportunity to claw your way up from the lower divisions and reach the pinnacle of your career as manager of a top Premiership club.

There are two possible ways to achieve your goal, first is the loyal route. Grind your way through season after season taking the ups and downs, good days and bad days, lucky breaks and downright disasters. Eventually you may succeed. Me, I prefer the ruthless approach. Buy a few top quality players, string together a few good results, then check out the vacancies board and jump ship to a higher division.

Player Manager offers appointments at a selection of European clubs with a choice from three difficulty settings normal, easy or very easy. Select your team, preferred playing position, sign on the dotted line and the position is yours. Your first appointments are decided on the final days of your vacation. Sponsorship deals must be agreed, scouts, physio's and coaches appointed and pre-season friendlies arranged.

A cut-out picture of your football club is shown which is split into seven offices. Archives is packed with info on each clubs achievements. The Financial Directors office is where the books are kept. The Press Room keeps you informed on all the latest news and gossip. The Board Room informs you of your rating as a manager. The Coach Room allows you to set the correct balance of team practice, coaching and team tactics, while the physio can be accessed via the medical box. The Boot Room is where the games take place, but most of your time will be spent in your own Managers office. Here you can check out the fixtures and tables, receive messages from your scout and secretary, hire and fire via the hot line telephone and most importantly mull over your team selection. Access to each area is easy enough, simply point and click and if an error is made your staff will be on hand to set you back on the correct path.

It's first worth mentioning that Player Manager is mouse compatible and must be recommended due to the snail-like pace that the cursor moves across the screen when using the joypad. Also half of a standard memory card is required to save your progress.

Team performance is essential. When the team is playing well, the gates will go up and more money will become available. This may be used to buy new players or invest in ground improvements. A string of poor results will have the press hounding you for quotes and if the team continues its losing streak expect the dreaded message that the board is behind you 100%. Certain dismissal. When this happens you are summoned to the boardroom and firmly told to hand in your car keys and the keys to the executive drinks cabinet. Doh!

Value for Money

Overall, Player Manager is not a bad game. It is a complex game presented in a simple format and is jam packed with a wealth of information and options. There are a few niggles such as the leagues only containing 16 teams, many facts are incorrect including Wimbledon still playing in the first division (come on that's ten years out of date) and the graphics are not exactly next generation. If you have never played a management sim before then Player Manager will be a good baptism. Experienced players may choose to wait for the forthcoming Premier Manager before deciding.





Warning:- Soccer management games are highly addictive. There is no way that you could pick up a game of this genre and dabble with it for a couple of hours. Player Manager requires patience and PLENTY of spare time, rush it and your unemployed. You will require a notebook and pen constantly by your side, or else suffer the slow menu system. e.g. signing a new striker involves selecting a player from the transfer list and comparing his attributes with the standard required. To do this you must leave the info screen, check out the transfer mode, leave the managers office, enter the coach room, enter the training mode, highlight the skills table, write down the divisional rating, then return to the transfer screen via the same route. This eventually becomes boring and you end up 'chancing your luck' on a player. If this backfires, the game is ruined.











If you love the thought of drowning in statistics, then you will find this game very appealing. You will still be playing it for months due to its nature. A very good attempt at translating a very P.C oriented game onto the Playstation.








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