Football Tycoon
| Football Tycoon

The press may give football managers a hard time, but sometimes the lashings journalists hand out to the billionaires who flash the cash to help pull in the trophies for the teams they own can be even worse.

Have a wander around Manchester, for instance, and you'll see stickers on lamp posts across the city calling for United's conquerors, the Glazers, to pull out. And that's despite all the silverware currently weighing down the shelves at Old Trafford.

How would you fancy throwing yourself to the lions by having a go at taking over a club and running it to the top of the league? Football Tycoon aims to replicate the business side of football, giving you the opportunity to spend a wad of cash on a club of your choice without giving you direct control over either the team or the matches themselves.

A dream, perhaps, for megalomaniac football fans who have a problem with pages and pages of statistics, but one that poses completely new problems.

Namely, how do you assert control over a team, propelling it up through league after league, when the actual play on the field has very little to do with you? Football Tycoon seems to think that success comes from having fingers in many different pies.

Your main concern, naturally, is monetary. Starting off with £40 million, picking up the club in the first place eats into a fair chunk of that, and it's then up to you to determine just how much of the rest of the funds you want to hand over to the day to day running of your new team.

Of course, even when you've transferred your personal funds over to the team, just how they're spent is still up to you. Investing in new stands for your stadium, upping your manager's transfer budget or even spending less on the team's training ritual is all down to you.

The trick, aside from merely keeping the team afloat, is to remember your goals, whether that be to secure promotion, bring home the championship or pick up cups. And there's always the need to win over your town's fans.

In a neat little trick, clubs come with city rivals, the game constantly monitoring just how many local fans are backing your team compared to the number following your nearest neighbour. It's a nice touch that actually adds a sense of realism lost in some managerial sims. But realism is not something Football Tycoon does very well on the whole.

Without any official licenses, real team names are a no-no, while all league matches - home or away - actually take place in your own stadium.

Conversely, despite these niggles, Football Tycoon conveys an authenticity that doesn't rely on shelling out on licenses. Watching your stadium build up from a non-league shack to a 60,000 all-seater is a sight, while play also delves into the tycoon's shady world of sports betting and, most importantly, courting player's agents.

It's a novel system that sees you making contact with said agents while frittering money away at the casino or betting on the horses - a depiction of football business that, for all we know, could be entirely on the money.

But it's this haphazard nature of earning cash that highlights Football Tycoon's most frustrating facet. There's no way of guaranteeing that the horse you bet on is going to win you any cash and, in much the same way, having a solid team with a full fanbase is no promise of picking up three points match after match.

This might be entirely true of the real beautiful game, but in a title where topping the league is the only way to win, it can prove a little frustrating to watch your good work unravel before your eyes.

Football Tycoon is a little loose, a little slack, for what is essentially a management title. But if you don't take it too seriously and enjoy its lighter sides, it delivers a unique and contemporary perspective on the side of football that only the rich ever get a glimpse of.

Football Tycoon

Acknowledging the money magnate's role in modern day football, Player One's Football Tycoon brings a topical perspective to the management sim, but doesn't quite have the sphere of influence needed to serve up a full package