Champ Man & Me: Paul from FM Central

After a short absence, I’m delighted to say we’re back with a new edition of Champ Man & Me. We’re joined by Paul from FM Central, a resource site for all your Football Manager needs. I spoke to Paul about the site, his favourite memories of the series and the new #Wearethecommunity initiative

Hello Paul, thanks for taking the time to join me. FM Central is a tremendously popular resource site for not only FM content but there’s also some real-life analysis. Can you sum it up for us as a starter?

FM Central was born due to a burning love for Football Manager, we wanted to create a home for people to feel happy whilst talking FM, setting up the website we knew we needed to make a base for the followers we hoped we would get so setting up a facebook group we never knew it would explode how it did and now we are closing in on 6000 as we speak.

FM Central is a community based site, we focus on making sure people in our community have what they need, from guides to stories, from Graphics to the Online League. My main aim was to always make FM Central feel like a down to earth place, somewhere people wanted to be and wanted to discuss FM and in all aspects myself and my admin team try to do that, be it talking to myself on twitter to posting on the group.

How did you come to be involved with the site? Is this your first role within such a project?

I had set up a site with a previous group I helped on but the group was unfortunately on a downward spiral so I decided I wanted to make somewhere better, bigger and stronger. Looking into it and talking with some lads who wanted to make the move with me it became simple, I messaged them within minutes knowing the name I wanted to call the site and everything went from there, I am proud to be the owner of FM Central and I know the lads who help on it have the same passion for it which is great to know and see.

What are your thoughts on FM16? How does it stack up to other versions of the game?

I love this FM, the detail is fantastic, the additions to the game with prozone and making sections like the tactics easier to navigate in my opinion, it is nice they listened to views and implemented them.
I am a fan of the online additions but also wary of the need to please the younger generation in my view with the fast paced draft mode. As long as it does not effect the making of the full detailed version I shall remain happy.

When did you first catch the CM/FM ‘bug’?

The bug hit early, in 98/99 it took control, the early mornings before school getting up at 5am to get some games played, running home to finish a season, it was a time of my life I remember well, my teacher at the time also was a fan of Champ Man and he used to print off his team and bring it in when he made new signings, the old paper, with the holed paper strip on the side, classic paper for a classic game.

Obviously I’m a big fan of CM97/98, do you have any memories of this particular version?

This was my first ever Football Manager, my brother had built me a computer and he had borrowed the game off a friend, I was the only football fan in the house so games like this did not get purchased randomly and I had not heard of it, I was moving up to the older school at the time and they wanted a way to keep me from mixing with the wrong crowds it seems, well it worked.

I had no idea what I was doing when firing the game up and made many mistakes but it was the first time I played it, I remember I had played for two or three months straight when his friend wanted it back. I cried myself to sleep that night hoping my parents would hear and get me it back, little did I know my brother had already planned on the following version being in my stocking along with a new computer.

Everybody has a favourite save – what’s yours?

A save that lives long in the memory, Cork City, a visit to the Irish league in FM08 which would turn my management style forever. Taking charge I had always being save before that, Italy, England, Scotland, Spain etc but I wanted to try to and expand, i was now hitting the age of 19/20, I had got sick of the late nights drinking and replaced it with pretending to be at Turners Cross, I think it held about 7,500 but when I was done, that place rocked like it held 90k.

It started well, Andy Jackson, I still remember him now, I am sure he plays in Scotland and I signed a Polish winger, his name slips my mind but he was amazing, with the core sticking together we romped to 7 titles in a row, in that time bringing players like Alex Bruce to play in Ireland, the big issue was signing Irish players who had not come from Ireland so they did not count as home grown for the European Squads, I did get some good youth but not to many.

Well season 8 came round, we were in Europe again, the Champions League, we had touched the groups before but never settled in them and the draw was made… Tottenham, Inter and arghhh it slips my mind. Anyways I had no hope, we were tired by the kick off of the groups with our season coming to an end but we pushed on, picking up points and before we knew it, we had got to the knockout rounds! This dream continued till the last eight of the competition before going out 2-0 to Barcelona. We never reached the heights again in my four further years but it was a journey with the Irish minnows I loved and lived every minute of it.

#Wearethecommunity is a new initiative launched by the online FM Community, can you explain what the goal of this movement is?

When I approached a group of my close FM community friends with an idea I never thought it would take off, with support from the likes of Guido at strikerless I knew we would do well, his friendship is a reason that FMCentral does so well, support from friends in the community is vital in motivational ways more than anything.
The idea of it is a starting point in reminding Sports Interactive who the community is, the new fondness to promote FIFA Youtubers, Stats sites and others is something that we are not against but it seems that promotion of FM Content is down, the interest to share and promote the community was down so we needed to take a stand and do it ourselves. Now I am not saying it does not happen, we have the likes of @Cleon81 who I think many if not all would agree is a community leader in terms of giving back, he does so much and we can all strive to take a leaf from his beliefs in community giving.
The # is there to give people a chance to share work in a group, you select the # and you see a list, now is it about self promotion, maybe a little as you always want people to know you have a site, you do videos etc but the main reason I want this # and wanted to do this is I love content, I watch Second Yellow Card Daily, I read Cleon81 weekly when posts are out, I check out TheFMWhizzkids on facebook daily but I wanted more and at times it was a struggle where to start, who to see, who did others suggest. Now I can go on the #, see a recommendation and check it out, it is about people recommending others, if you see something you like, hashtag it and tell us why you like it, this will get others viewing. If you hashtag your own work it might not appeal but if your recommending others who you genuinely like, it has an influence and its more than a RT, it is a statement of: I like this, check him out and give him a follow if you do too.
If you could introduce one change to the FM Series, what would it be?
At the minute, I would fix prozone as for starters having both sides coloured the same on the screen is just stupid, who ever passed that through in design should be buying the beers for a month or two.
Many thanks to Paul for taking time out to answer my questions, head over to Twitter to check out the #wearethecommunity articles – you may as well follow FM Central whilst you are there!
If you’d like to feature on Champ Man & Me, please get in touch on twitter or by e-mail to


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