Football Manager Live Game

  • Release date: November 2008 (Now Shut Down)
  • Platform: PC/Mac Downloadable Online Game.
  • Our rating: 91%
football manager live

The football manager following is large to say the least; and this is why it consistently tops the PC gaming charts for months on end every year. Developers at SI also dipped their toes into the MMOG world and started an online football manager game. In this guide, we will look at the football manager live game in more detail.

Essentially, the football manager live game was the 'regular' football manager series, but simplified, to ensure that thousands of players could play on various online servers.

At the end of May 2011, Football Manager Live shut down their servers to the public, in this guide, we will also explore why this was the case.

How it works

As a MMOG, Football manager live worked on a monthly subscription basis, you could choose to pay via PayPal or credit/debit card. After you paid, you decided which game world you wanted to enter, selected your team name, designed your teams badge and colours, and essentially developed your club from the ground up.

When you went ahead, the first choice you had to make was to select a team, or have one chosen for you. You could either choose from 'well known' players who asked for higher wages, or lesser known players that did not ask for as much money.

Types of Game world

Before you proceeded, you need to make a choice as to what type of game world you would like to enter:

  • Returning Stars - The game world starts off with all of the 'regular players', that you know and love, and once they had retired they would come back and be assigned to teams based on their quality.
  • Benefit - You always knew a few of the players at all times.
  • Downfall - Poorer teams got the better players which meant that at the end of every season the game world balanced itself out.
  • Fantasy Players - The game world started off the same way as returning stars, but never reset any of its players. Instead regenerated players were introduced to the game.
  • Benefit - Game world would never reset, which meant that if you had developed a good team you would not have to worry about other teams gaining a potential 'unfair advantage'.
  • Downfall - There were never any recognisable players.

Buying and selling

When you started, the main way to get to the top was by buying very good players for the cheapest possible price and selling your players for the highest possible price. Of course, the better players and tactics you had the more chance you had of winning games.

If you wanted to sell one or more players then you can either agree a price with one person or put them in an auction so managers could bid on the player over a specified amount of time. The best way that you could have described the selling process was to compare it to eBay. Players can be bought or sold, either in an auction or 'buy it now' format.

There was also a free transfer market; which involved any player that was not signed to a club. These players could be purchased at any time, and when you lodged a bid you started a one day wage 'war' which ended with the highest bidder taking that player for their specified wage.


Playing games on football manager live was simple. When you started, you need to join one of four available FA's that had been designed to accommodate all levels of play. There was a guide on the game which allowed new players to choose the right FA based on the amount of hours you intended to play. One rule that needed to be followed was that you played a certain amount of league and cup games every season; failure to play these games would mean instant relegation, and, if it happened too much, then you would have been booted out of the FA.

After you joined an FA you needed to contact a moderator of that FA and ask them to put you in the relevant league and cup competitions.

If you came in at the middle of a season, then you could still play friendly games. When you find somebody, you are given 5 minutes to decide your team and submit your game tactics. You could also create or enter tournaments at any point in the season.


One rather large difference between the 'regular series' and the live game surrounded how you learnt tactics. When you logged on, you needed to check to see if you were learning anything, if you were not then you needed to drag and drop a required skill into a box in order to learn it. When you started with a new team you got to select between, club doctor, tracksuit manager, talent spotter, fast learner and other skills. By selecting one of those skills you would speed up your ability to learn in one of these areas.

You were required to learn tactics for a number of reasons. First, if you did not have a tactical skill then you could not do various things, which you would consider 'normal' in the regular FM series (like play the long ball, or use a target man). Also, learning skills like finance would ensure that you saved 5% on every transfer you made, or Physio skills would reduce the length of an injury by 10%. This made learning these skills a huge benefit.

Match Engine

Watching your game on FML was straightforward. You could either choose from a 3D match view (which few did) or the 'regular' 2D quick view engine. The match engine showed you any key highlights/goals/cards that happened. When viewing the match, you could also make tactical adjustments by requesting a time out.

Based on how the games run, your match lasted from about seven minutes to fifteen, which was much longer than the regular FM series but good enough to allow you time to make any required changes to turn the match in your favour or make sure you secure the result.


Unlike the regular football manager series, if your player picked up a knock or an injury, then you were shown a game injury period. This meant that if your player got injured in a league game then they may be out for 8 official (league and cup) games, but be able to play in friendly league or cup competitions.


One of the new additions to the game before it stopped was the stadium development. Every player started with a 'standard' stadium which they could build on at any point, providing they had the money available. You always needed to keep an eye on your average capacity against the size of your stadium, and players then made any development based on any difference in this number. Ticket revenue was one of the best ways to make money on football manager live; therefore, upgrading seating (while expensive) could be worthwhile in the long run.


If you enjoy being rewarded, then FML was one of the best games on the market. Every member of every game world had a certain amount of respect for those teams that were near the top of the rankings. League winners were also always congratulated on their success. Rewards (in the form of badges) were offered to players if they unlocked one of their achievements. Last but not least, every week a game email was sent around to inform you of the best and most improved teams in the game world for that week, if you were either one of those teams then you will be rewarded with game cash.

System Specifications


  • 1.6 GHz Processor
  • Internet connection
  • 256 MB Ram

Game Cessation

In March 2011, after the game has been in operation for just over three years, SI decided that it was time to pull the plug on football manager live. They sent an email around to inform all its remaining customers that the servers would stop running at the end of May 2011. There was uproar (to say the least) in every game world, as dedicated fans of the series felt betrayed, but the decision had been made and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Why did such a Successful Game Stop?

There are plenty of rumours flying around as to why the game stopped. SI's official reason was that they could not afford to keep the games' servers up and running, even though it was believed that they were making in the region of 40,000 a month when they decided to close.

Looking at the logistics of it all, the only viable reason that football manager live closed was because it was not making enough money. Keeping something running that is losing money does not make any sense, and when you take into account all the expenses like licensing (per game world), developer costs and server hosting you can understand why SI was losing money at the end.

Of course, there was one huge error that led to the games' downfall. About 15 months after the game was released, football manager live boasted roughly 100,000 members, and this meant that SI were turning a massive monthly profit (believed to be in the region of 1,000,000 per month). There were some members that started to leave, but others were coming in, which meant that the figure was only varying slightly. However, there was one huge problem, which SI must have missed before release, even though they ran extensive Alpha and Beta testing. After 15 months of the game, all the normal players had retired leaving players with teams of un-recognisable players. This came with two problems; first, a lot of people played the game because they liked signing the best players in real life. The other problem was that amazing regenerated players were not coming in quick enough, which meant that great teams could turn mediocre in just a couple of seasons.

To stop this problem, SI preformed a system reset and came back with the returning stars and regenerated players' idea. However, all this did was infuriate the majority of players who spent 15 months building a wonderful team, just for it to be taken away due to an SI error. While all of this was taking place, SI lost about 75,000 players, and it never recovered, meaning that the game was essentially doomed from the start.

If you talk to any football manager live player, they will tell you that if the game started off with a returning star and regenerated player system then this error could have been stopped, which would probably mean that the game would still be in operation today.

Once the announcement was made, thousands more fled, making the last couple of seasons like playing the computer. However, all this being said, while the game was in operation it was one of the most well loved MMOG's available. If you believe what you read, there are also plans for future re-development of the game, a task which has been taken on by a few of the departing football manager live players, but whether this comes about remains to be seen, and the likelihood is without large financial backing the game will never be as good as football manager live.


To sum up, while the game was clearly not as big in terms of player size, football manger live more than made up for it with its sense of community and other additions. If you were more of a community player than football manager, live was the perfect game for you.

One thing that the sports interactive developers did flawlessly was to allow newcomers to blend in with the game, while keeping the game suitable for fans of the series. The game (while different to the football manager series) still kept the same feel of football manager and the same layout.

On the same point, one of the main downfalls of the game was that if you had not been there from the start of the game world then it was very hard to compete with those that had. This was because they were in a better league which was gaining more revenue, had a better team and a higher reputation, which gave them more money in ticket revenue, and this makes bridging the gap almost impossible. However, on the other hand, higher reputation clubs often helped out those new players by loaning those teams players (because it will benefit their players to get game time). Another spin on this point was that you would not face those teams because you were in a lower league. Some of the best players on the game were those that bridged the gap, and this was something that kept all new players hooked.

Game rating (out of 10)

Graphics - 7/10

The graphics never needed to be on par with Barcelona and instead were more the same level as Wycombe Wanders, but this did not take anything away from the game. The addition of the 3D match engine was welcomed among fans of the game, and this added to the graphics score above.

Playability - 9/10

Once you get into the game, getting away from it was a problem! You always wanted to improve your team, and there was always something that you can do to make sure that this happened. Regardless of what time you logged in, you could always find a game; therefore, playability was one of the games stronger points.

Originality - 10/10

There was no other football management game that compared to the football manager live series, and football manager live was the first MMOG of its kind. At this point, there are still no games that come close to what football manager live offered.

Game Depth - 9/10

This game did not have as much depth as the regular football manager series, but having this amount of information would have been impractical. When you took into account everything that the game offered like all the skills you could learn, the amount of players/tournaments/cup and leagues that happened every single season then you saw why depth was not an issue.

Addictiveness - 10/10

Due to the amount of features, its high playability rate and the sense of strong community that could be found on football manager live; its addictiveness rating has to score top marks.

Value for Money - 7/10

Just before it went off the servers, the game cost 4.99 a month with a reduction in price if you signed up for a longer period of time. However, when you looked at a yearly cost it added up to about 60. One positive point was that you were not tied in to the game, so getting out was not hard.

Overall Rating - 91%

When you take into account that the only two places this game scored below a 9 was on graphics (which as mentioned did not really affect the game) and value for money (which you had control over) you can see why this game was the best selling MMOG in its genre.

If you are now searching for another football management multiplayer game to play why not try this free browser one - MG Soccer Manager which has scored a 90% with us.