Football Manager

How an obsession with Football Manager could earn you a career in the game

After starting out as a researcher for Football Manager when he was just 15, Matt Neil’s eye for talent was picked up by Plymouth Argyle. He now works as the League Two club’s lead first team analyst, providing data on player performance, opposition reports and potential transfer targets. Here’s Matt’s story, as told to Matt Stanger:

I initially applied for the Truro City researcher job eight years ago, which was advertised on the Football Manager website. I went to five or six Truro games a season back then because it was only about three quid on the train and the ticket was about six quid. I already knew quite a bit about some of the players because they’d been at Argyle, so I thought I’d try to help out in that area because nobody had been doing it for a couple of years.

I got the job and had been following Truro for about six months when I noticed that the Argyle position had become available. I sent an email off to say I think I could do a good job. I’d been watching Argyle for years and Football Manager were impressed with what I’d been doing at Truro. Based on what I sent over – which included an excel spreadsheet with all the players’ histories, stats, etc – and considering I had a season ticket at the time, I was promoted to researcher for Argyle. It was just before I turned 16, so instead of revising for my GCSEs I was spending all my time on Football Manager.

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