I think FM09 is the best yet, in terms of realism and where the game is heading.
As always though tweaks are needed.
I rarely post on this forum but I have some spare time at work so have decided to have a butchers. Haven't read the whole thread so apologies if some of my suggestions have already been mentioned.
- Media - tweakments are a must. The media play a massive part in our game today and it simply isn't reflected enough in Football Manager. We should be able to approach the media rather than them just approach us. This could be to talk out about a current players attitude, or his failure to make the international squad etc etc.
- Player interaction - again, tweakments are a must. We still can't really speak to our players. We can't talk to them when they're unsettled as we should be able to, or talk to them if they wish to move. We should now be able to hold a set of discussions trying to resolve an issue.
- More off field coverage - By this I mean players and fans conduct off the field. Players are always in the limelight and it would be good to see this included in the game. You may have a bit of a jack the lad that is constantly out on the town that needs bringing down a peg or two. You can build relationships and a stature. You could be seen as somewhat of an easy touch or a tough disciplinarian and it all depends on the attitudes/mentality of the players and indeed yourself in regards to how they react. With fans it would add more realism if in "tense" games incidents occured which led to the club possibly getting fined due to crowd disturbances. Wouldn't add to your gaming experience, but would add to the realism of the game.
- Attendances - This is something that really grates me. The attendances simply aren't realistic enough. I have taken Bristol Rovers to the Championship and we're on the brink of the Premiership yet we're still only getting 9,000 a game, despite the stadium being increased to around 18,000. First game of the season should always draw a big crowd, and attendances should be reflected in terms of how your team is doing. We should also be able to approach the media to call on fans support which could lead to a positive or negative effect.
- Discussions with other managers - We should be able to hold conversations with other managers. Build proper relationships and perhaps help each other out where required. In football managers always do each other favours here and there and this isn't reflected in the game. I know FM09 currently has the "feels we could become friends" stuff but it's too basic and pretty much means sod all to be honest.
- Board interaction/fans opinion - Remains very patchy and annoying and totally unrealistic and is one of the more annoying things the game has to offer. I know in todays footballing world success is demanded here and now, but I think it's far fetched somewhat in FM. The mood of supporters after certain games is ridiculous. Getting a battling 0-0 draw away at a top side and your fans come away feeling "okay" makes no sense whatsoever. There needs to be more realism here and understanding. The board interaction as it is just may not aswell be there it's that bad. The board play a massive role in football today but it isn't even slightly reflected in FM09.
- Training - There needs to be more work done here. Certain drills to perhaps get the players doing. It's far too simplistic and easy in it's current structure.
- Interviews with players - Something that should be included at least once a week in the game with a local newspaper as you do in real life. Thoughts on how the season is progressing, thoughts on the boss and team-mates etc etc.
- Organising trips away - Had a torrid three or four weeks? Got a two week break before your next fixture? How's about having the option to approach the board to ask whether you could take the players away for a few days either abroad or somewhere in England (country you're playing). Team morale bonding session. Could work or could make things worse depending on personalities of the players?
These are the things that I've thought of today pretty much off the top of my head. Like I say apologies if already mentioned and apologies if it comes across as if I'm moaning. I love FM09 but would love to help in anyway I can to make it even better.
Keep up the great work guys.