Football Manager 2005 Proves That Tactics are All in the Mind
LONDON, UK – October 12, 2004 – Budding Alex Fergusons and Arsene Wengers will soon be able to mirror the more extreme off-pitch antics of the Premiership’s gaffers thanks to the brand new ‘mind games’ feature in SEGA’s keenly anticipated Football Manager 2005.

Sports Interactive, creators of Championship Manager® series, and SEGA, have given players the opportunity to meddle with the minds of their managerial opposite numbers in response to the suggestions of football fans, who said they’d “just love it” if they could taunt their opponents in the run up to big games.

The new function in the game permits you to taunt, praise or even laugh at your opposition and their chances of success in order to destroy any confidence they had and to build up a feeling of confidence amongst your own squad before the big match.

As with any real life football situation, mind games can work to your advantage but also backfire spectacularly. Players will be taking a gamble that their chosen actions could see their opponent respond like the infamous reaction of Kevin Keegan under the taunts of Sir Alex Ferguson. Their derision might, however, instead cause opponents to respond like Graeme Souness’ Galatasary side who avenged arch rivals Fenerbahce’s suggestion that their boss was not fit to manage following a heart attack by beating them heavily at home. Famously Souness rubbed it in by scurrying across the pitch at the end of the game to plant his club’s flag firmly in the centre of the home team’s centre circle (see below for SEGA’s top ten football mind games).

“Before an important game users will be able to go to the media with their thoughts on the ability of the opposition and the ability of their manager all in the name of unsportsmanlike conduct”, says Miles Jacobson, Managing Director of Sports Interactive.

“Once you’ve sent a comment it will be picked up by the media and anything you say will be made public. Bear in mind your comments affect the way the media deal with you, along with your players. Players in your side can definitely be lifted with some inspiring words from their manager which can result in a much better performance”.

Jacobson is quick to point out that your complex mind games might upset the opposition but it may also have an adverse effect on your team. “It’s easy to upset half of your first team squad by suggesting that a very successful team are going to get relegated. Your players can easily become disheartened by your comments which destroy confidence in the team. This leads to poor performances in the team players wishing to re-negotiating contracts and in exceptional cases players asking for a transfer!”.

Manager Mind games can be devastatingly effective and can also fall flat on their face as can be seen from our list of 10 moments where footballers and managers either laughed or cried all because of the simple spoken word. In the game, as in life, the effects can have serious effects on your ability and reputation as a manager.

Further information on Football Manager 2005 including game specifications and the latest screen shots can be found at www.sigames.com

About The Game
Football Manager 2005 is the first new football management simulation from Sports Interactive, the creator of the Championship Manager® series, since the expiry of its long-term agreement with the software publisher Eidos in September 2003. Sports Interactive signed a five-year publishing deal with the international game-publishing giant SEGA in February of this year and recently released its first non-football title, NHL™ Eastside Hockey Manager, under that agreement.

Football Manager 2005 will be published by SEGA in the final quarter of 2004. Further information is available from the Sports Interactive website, www.sigames.com.

SEGA FOOTBALL MANAGER 2005 – TOP TEN FOOTBALL MIND GAMES:

1. Kevin Keegan v Alex Ferguson
Keegan’s Newcastle had beaten Leeds 1-0 to build a ten point Premiership lead before he gave a now infamous interview to Sky Sports. Keegan claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson had implied Leeds would rollover against Newcastle, and that the Magpies should never have played a testimonial game for Stuart Pearce against Forest soon after. The rest, as they say is history. Cue Kevin: "Things which have been said over the last few days have been almost slanderous. I think you will have to send a tape of the game to Alex Ferguson don't you," he said. "Isn't that what he wants? You just don't say what he said about Leeds, he said it about Stuart Pearce, he is objecting to us playing a testimonial at Nottingham Forest but that was set up months ago. I would love it if we could beat them. Love it. He's gone down in my estimation. Manchester United haven't won this yet, I'd love it if we beat them.” Manchester United were, of course, crowned Champions in the very near future

2. Graeme Souness v Fenerbahce
While managing at Galatasaray, one of the directors at arch-rivals Fenerbahce labels Souness “a cripple”, unfit to manage his team on account of his recent heart attack. As a result, a fired- up Souness and his Galatasaray side steamroller Fenerbahce away from home in the Turkish Cup final. Souness then marches onto the pitch at full time and plants a massive Galatasaray flag in Fenerbahce’s centre circle. A small riot ensues

3. Brian Clough v John Robertson
When Clough arrived at Nottingham Forest, Robertson was, to be blunt, a bit fat, smoked and wasn’t particularly quick. He had tremendous natural ability but lacked the work ethic that Cloughie wished to instil in the side. Previous coaches tried in vain to help Robertson but had given up and placed him on the transfer list. Clough told him he was a fat waste of space and would amount to nothing if he kept up his ways. Robertson buckled down, Clough moved him out wide. The result? One of the greatest players in the clubs history. The evidence? Two European Cup winners’ medals, having supplied the cross for Trevor Francis to score the winner versus Malmo in 1979 and having scored himself against Hamburg in 1980

4. Wim Jansen v Scottish Football
Wim Jansen arrived at Celtic with not much success in evidence on his managerial CV and he looked like he had come straight from the Hair Bear Bunch. Nobody could really understand what he said at press conferences and the media made fun of his shabby attire. Jansen made outrageous claims about what he could do with Celtic and the Scottish Football media simply laughed. The result? Jansen signs Paul Lambert, Lubomir Moravcik and an unknown Swedish centre forward called Henrik Larsson. Celtic won the double in his first and only season with the club

5. Brian Clough and everybody
Another appearance in the top ten for old big ‘ead, but it was always a case of what do you leave out. Never one to over-complicate matters, Brian Clough treated his opponents to his version of the footballing gospel. “I’ve not watched any videos of the opposition, why should I? My team are good enough to beat anyone if they are concentrating on their game and not the opposition’s”
The result? A league title, two European Cups and an unbeaten 42 game unbeaten run

6. Eric Cantona v The Press
Following the announcement of Cantona’s 9 month ban for the infamous Kung-Fu kick, Cantona then appeared before the press to deliver the statement: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown in to the sea". Already a footballing great, the mercurial Frenchman ascends to iconic status through poetry. Following a nine month ban, he scores on his return against Liverpool and Manchester United retain the Premiership title


7. Ally McLeod v Scotland
After an impressive qualification campaign for the 1978 World Cup and boasting some of the best players ever to wear the Scottish shirt, manager Ally McLeod proclaimed that his team could win the World Cup. The official team song even included the lyrics “We’ll really shake them up, when we win the World Cup”. The team are despatched from Glasgow airport with the cheers of an eager nation ringing in their ears. The result? “Ally’s Tartan Army” are beaten by Peru, draw against minnows Iran and then, despite spectacularly beating eventual finalists and tournament favourites Holland 3-2, thanks to a goal from Archie Gemmill that has past into the annals of legend north of the border, still go out on goal difference

8. Mourinho v The English Media
Famed for his well disciplined defences, his “fragile” forwards and his sides’ adept “time management”, the previously unflappable Jose Mourinho explodes after Chelsea are held to a goalless draw at home by Tottenham. Spurs’ defence “parked a bus in front of their goal” and the outfield players “fell as if they were dead and for five minutes each time”. The result? Watch this space. Jose’s millionaires are sitting pretty in the UEFA Champions League and look like they will mount the most serious challenge to Arsenal in the Premiership

9. Wenger’s 90 minute blindness
Arsene Wenger is a world class coach with more silverware in his trophy cabinet than most. His tactical ability is unsurpassed and he has a remarkable talent for spotting promising youngsters before his opponents get a look in. However, should one of his players commit a horrendous foul, be awarded a dubious penalty or get into an altercation with the opposition or the referee, then Mr Wenger suddenly develops temporary blindness. The result, legions of flabbergasted journalists with no quotes to write up beyond the obligatory “I didn’t see the incident”

10. Gerard Houllier – turning so many corners he eventually found the exit
The last few years of Houllier’s inconsistent spell at the helm of a consistently erratic Liverpool were characterised by an extraordinary reliance on one single phrase. So frequently was the expression “we have turned the corner” employed that Houllier can have had no complaints when, at the end of another season of underachievement for the former giants of Europe, the board decided that the team had been going around in circles for too long and it was time for new managerial blood in the form of Rafael Benitez.

About SEGA
SEGA Europe Ltd. is the European Publishing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based SEGA Corporation, a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment both inside and outside the home. The company develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software products for a variety of hardware platforms including PC, wireless devices, and those manufactured by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. SEGA Europe’s web site is located at www.sega-europe.com.

SEGA is a registered trademark of SEGA Corporation. Football Manager and Sports Interactive are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sports Interactive in the UK or other countries.

About Sports Interactive
Sports Interactive (SI), the creator of the Championship Manager® series, is the world's leading developer of sports management simulations. Founded in 1994 and based in Islington, North London, SI has a full-time staff of 34 and employs the services of more than 2,500 part-time researchers across the globe. Five of SI's creations are among the UK's Top 20 best-selling PC games of all time. The company's future games will be published by the global computer and video games giant, SEGA. Further information on the company is available from its website, www.sigames.com.
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