I feel I need to air my views over what has been a part of my life for many years - Football / Championship Manager. It is, in my opinion, the greatest game ever. I have played it since day 1 on the Amiga when it was Championship Manager (Domark) and have been hooked ever since (well until Football Manager 2007 anyway). I bought FM2007 and within a few weeks I was playing FM2006 again. I am currently playing the 08 version and guess what, yep, i'm thinking of going back to 06. The reasons for this (there are many) are mainly the media features (which apparantly don't mean anything so why are they there) and what is becoming a very erratic match engine which sometimes throws up very unrealistic results. For example, i'm Crystal Palace, mid-table and on a poor run playing away against the top team Burnley. I won 8-1. There are also a number other little irratations which are cropping up - too many to mention.
Tempted as I have been to wear rose tinted spectacles and re-visit Champ Man 03/04, I have so far resisted as it will probably be very slow, so I think i'll stick to what is in my opinion the next best version - FM2006. The actual 2D match higlights are better in 08 but the actual engine which creates the results is, like I mentioned earlier, inconsistant.
Having just read the PC Gamer review of FM2009, and apart from the 3D match screen, they have hit the nail on the head as to what is happening to the series - it's stagnating. I think Sports Interactive should now be releasing updates each year, just concentrating on the match engine and updating the database for each season instead of adding unnecessary media crap which doesn't mean anything. For people who have recently started playing the series, they might think its great but I would like the opinions of seasoned veterans like myself.
I know that SI / SEGA will continue to release FM every year as a full package but 'At the end of the day' I think they should 'Set their stall out' and concentrate on what they WERE good at, making great Football Manager games.