Many thanks to all for the replies. I've enacted a few of the suggestions and I do find the game is flowing at a much better pace, though I can't say i'm holidaying between matches or even over matches.
I do agree with you Padders in that the beauty of FM is in the detail that the game can bring. I'm never going to be a real life football manager but, like many others, can get damn close by playing this game. However i've not got a large amount of time on my hands at the moment and the way I enjoy playing, like dafuge mentioned, is to actually see progress in the game.
Back in FM 07 I did a challenge similar to dafuge's and I took a team from nowhere up to the dizzying heights of the premier league and I loved all the time I spent really analysing scout reports and trying to sign the best players at the lowest price. However if I spent that kind of time again I would probably only get through maybe a season or two before the next game comes out, which I guess is the difference between being 17 and 22, and I get enticed by all the new features to the point where I ditch the game and move on to the new iteration.
3 hours a season does seem pretty excessive and I think I would lose some of the magic missing out on that 91st minute winner. Though saying that the heartache of it happening against you.. worrying that i'd use heartache but I would say that the feeling is similar... even though its Ronaldinho knocking your wonder West Brom side out of the champions league it hurts bad