The Football Manager Steam Ad Saga

Tension! Drama! And strange hat-hair! On a football field! On Steam!

Written by ritabuuk and dubiousdisc
Posted on December 25th 2017
Last Updated on December 25th 2018

Oh boy, the Football Manager Steam ads.

So, when you start up Steam, it shows the ads for the most recent releases, updates, sales, and so on. We have a private game of reviewing these ads as if they were fine wines. Because, very often, these ads are some text slapped on some piece of official art of some game, or some horrific render collage done by the proverbial Nephew (the nephew from "Why should I pay for a graphic designer, my nephew can do it"). So, they're bad. And we love to make fun of them.

Let us introduce you to our favorite saga of these ads: the Football Manager series.

Football Manager 15

This was the Steam ad that started our entire game.

So okay, on the right we see the Manager, looking pumped, alright. But what the fuck is going on in the field? There are two players of the red team, doing a victory leapfrog? Where's the rest of the teams? A football field, as big as it is, still has to contain 22 people plus the referee. We only see a goalie in the distance, who looks dejected and collapsed to the floor. We can see the ball next to him, so we guess he just failed to block the winning goal. But then the two players are already celebrating, while the goalie is still in shock. Are the players really prematurely celebrating, or has the goalie been in the throes of defeat for the last several minutes?

And who's that next to the players? Is that the referee? Denise, who knows nothing about soccer, asked Rosy, who is Italian, "Is that the referee? Do they always wear a hat like that?".

On closer inspection, the white thing that looks like a cap is, we guess, dyed hair that looks extra shiny. And those that look like suspenders might just be stripes on the shirt, like the ones that the players in red have. Wait a moment. Is that just a player of the other team? It probably is. Look at what a bad sport he's being, if that's the case. Wait, is the goalie actually yelling at him? Is that player the one responsible for fucking up?

All in all, what an intense picture. And it took us extreme zoom to make sense of any of it.

The next year, we missed on taking the screenshot of the ad, but we traced it back. We didn't find the exact Steam ad, but we're pretty sure it's the same picture.

Football Manager 16

Dang, the manager has no fucking taste in ties. He likes to wear cardboard ties wrapped in patterned wrapping paper. Also walking crotch-first into the logo. Maybe that's what he's gesturing at. "Who the fuck put that logo right there? In a football field? That's dangerous".

They make the point of not showing the manager's face because he's supposed to be You!, except he's white, male, and has a wedding ring. And a terrible taste in ties. What a specific You you need to be.

Look, there's the player with the hat-hair again. He must be an important player. We don't keep up with football, so we don't know, don't actually write us.

The billboards on the stands are mirror-flipped, so that, when you watch the football game in a mirror, you can be advertised at. They even reversed the Sega logo and didn't notice...

We suppose that the white team is losing again, because there's the player with the bun crying on the ground. The other guy looks like he's going to kick the grass in dejection.

Football Manager 17

This is where shit gets real. The manager has just flung the referee (in yellow) like he were a frisbee. This time, we're not seeing the post-failure of team white. We're seeing them fuck up in real time. This is an action shot. All the players are fear-hugging in mid-air. We don't know what happens, we see the ball and the goalie leaping to catch it, but maybe #4 on team red will get the ball in with his head. It's a cliffhanger. We can't deal with the tension.

Football Manager 18

We had to wait an entire year for the conclusion, but here it is. Team red must have scored. The centerpiece of this shot is the crotch of the Manager, with which he is humping the logo in victory. Behold the wrinkles of his pants. He's got a winning boner right now.

He also got a new tie... and he divorced!! Scandal!

What's even going on in the back? There's two crossing guards whispering over a dentist's chair! They're gossiping about the manager's marital status!! What's that on the ground, cases of beer? Gatorade? Toblerones?

Bonus round!

One day we log into Steam and we are greeted by an unexpected Manager crossover:

Four Managers

We've seen the 2018 Manager before, boner and all. Is that also him in Football Manager Touch? Yeah, he must be. And he's not wearing his jacket, oho! That's because it's Football Manager TOUCH. You touch the manager. He's single now, after all!

Also, the juxtaposition. The Football Manager ads feature a handsome man in a football field, cheering and winning. The game cover tells you, this man will be YOU if you play this game! You want to be that man, boner and all! Yeah!

But, when you play Motorsport Manager, you're... some nerd in front of a bunch of screens. Here there is no imagining yourself as a handsome man in a suit: when you play this game, you're a dork looking at the screens, plain and simple. The honesty here is commendable, but we're not sure if reminding your target audience of how pathetic they are is a good marketing strategy.

As for what concerns Hockey Manager, the manager... isn't there at all. That doesn't inspire much confidence. Is he invisible? Is he late? Maybe that's why the Manager of Football Manager Touch is yelling. "You're 20 minutes late, and we've already started the photoshoot!"

Football Manager 19

Oh no, it seems the Football Manager has also gone missing. The players are organizing a search party to find him in the field. Maybe they'll find the Hockey Manager too if we're lucky.

Unless we're seeing from the point of view of the Football Manager himself. He's breathing down the necks of On and Wo. "You better win", he whispers into On's ear, "or I'll do to you what I did to Hockey Manager".


Tune in when Football Manager 2020 comes out for the next installment of this saga rife with drama and intrigue! Will we ever find out what happened to Hockey Manager? To Football Manager's ex? Are they one and the same? Will Football Manager ever pay for his sins? Only time will tell!