South Shields FC makes debut in Football Manager
Written by Joshua Nichol on 8th November 2023
When the latest instalment of cult game Football Manager released on November 6 it featured something that it hadn’t before, the small coastal town of South Shields.
South Shields FC play in the sixth tier of English football, two divisions below the Football League. An ambitious outfit, their current head coach is former Middlesbrough and Sunderland midfielder Julio Arca and at the time of writing sit second in the league.
OUT NOW across platforms 😍
Turn young stars into household names in #FM24
— Football Manager (@FootballManager) November 7, 2023
Spark spoke exclusively to Billy Reid, the man behind the popular X page Out of Context Football Manager which has over 340,000 followers on the platform.
Reid, a Leeds United fan, is currently managing South Shields on the game and recalls the reasons why he chose the Mariners as his club on the game.
“I chose South Shields because they had never been in the game before,” Reid told us.
“The North East is already dominated by a couple of teams (Newcastle and Sunderland) – so it felt good to try and break that monopoly.
“I think it’s very important to have them as an official part of the game,” he said responding to the question of how important he felt it was that Football Manager held the licences to replicate non-league football properly.
“Taking a smaller team to glory is a fundamental part and it feels more immersive for the player if [FM] have the licence.”
We asked the social media influencer and seasoned FM player what it was about the lower leagues of England that attracted many managers to the game.
He said: “I think Football Manager players love the idea of taking a team which is fairly unheard of and hasn’t had any success, trophies wise and transforming them.
“It’s a big challenge and just something that won’t be replicated in real-life football where the same teams dominate. The challenge aspect is key.
“Managing Manchester United or a team like that in the game is too easy. FM players want something that will give them a challenge and obstacles to overcome.”
The game has a cult following online, evidenced by Reid’s following through account Out of Context Football Manager (@nocontextfm1 on X) which has over 340,000 followers, with the thread detailing his ‘road to glory’ challenge with South Shields currently sitting at 1.2 million views.
South Shields – road to glory – a thread. pic.twitter.com/PYilxQ5Qob
— Out of Context Football Manager (@nocontextfm1) October 20, 2023
“I think it’s so shareable because so many people have such similar experiences,” he told us about the online community surrounding the game.
“A lot of the challenges you face in the game will have been faced by thousands of other people.”
We quizzed him on whether his virtual experience with South Shields would ever translate to a more tangible real visit to the area.
“I have never visited,” he said.
“To be honest before the start of this save, I had no idea where it even was!
“If the save keeps going and gets more interest, I’d definitely be down for going.”
Tactical masterminds and budding Guardiolas can purchase Football Manager 2024 now: https://www.footballmanager.com/buy-fm24.