When choosing a new save to start on Football Manager, it always proves to be a tough decision in terms of what career route to take. Do you go for the glitz and glamour of Europe’s elite or do you rough it out in the English non-league pyramid?
Some players think it is more fulfilling to take the likes of Dover up to the top flight in five seasons, while others want to secure an unprecedented (and unlikely) quadruple in their first season in charge of Manchester City.
No two games are ever the same and that is the beauty of both this legendary management sim and the real-life game. And, should you want to have a crack at winning major silverware from the off without mimicking Pep Guardiola and the expenditure involved in building his light blue City juggernaut, there is always the option to start a career with Tottenham instead.
And where the point of the game is to challenge the player with the same (virtual) financial struggles faced by Managers in the sport in real life, we’d argue the parallels that can be drawn with Spurs are the clearest.
What’s the deal in real life?
The club have almost everything at their disposal to be the best in the land and when they eventually complete their new stadium build, they will be well positioned to finally claim the top spot that has eluded them for so long.
After a season of either being in the title race or not, depending on the narrative you prefer, it seems clear they will have to make do with competing for a place in the top four and a potential return to the Champions League next season.
Many pundits feel that they will eventually get the better of crosstown rivals Arsenal and Chelsea and secure either a third or fourth place finish. A look at the current Premier League betting confirms that is a feeling shared by the bookmakers.
At the time of writing, bet365 had priced Tottenham at odds of 4/11 to secure a place in the top four. In all likelihood, they’ll eventually finish behind Manchester City and Liverpool and, should this be the case, fans will be left asking questions concerning transfers and spending.
What if Tottenham did actually go out and spend some money in either of the two transfer windows this season? Had they done so, could we have seen a three-horse race for the Premier League title instead?
It’s not so simple. Mauricio Pochettino has faced as many constraints as a Football Manager player, almost finding himself in the impossible position of having money to spend but no-one to fill the brief in terms of new personnel. That situation will sound highly familiar to those taking charge of the club in a virtual environment.
The lines begin to blur
As managers in the virtual game, when taking charge of the North Londoners, we have to ask ourselves: just who can you purchase in order to improve the starting eleven? And the players who can fill this remit, of course, come at a premium.
Add the fact that because Tottenham are not considered one of Europe’s true elite: trying to convince a top tier player to join such a club is a much harder sell and that is the entry point to a transfer impasse.
Spurs’ transfer struggles have been well documented and trying to sign players has become an additional challenge, one that makes their ability to compete for trophies all the more impressive and a battle that could be seen as closer to the struggles of the fictional game than of the real-life sport.
Yet, if and when Tottenham’s long trophy drought is ended, the man who oversees their success will be rightfully lauded as a club legend. Still, while Mauricio Pochettino could be the man to return the glory days back to the N17 postcode, those achieving the same feat via the digital medium of Football Manager will have to settle for a sense of personal satisfaction instead.