Football Manager has been a big part of my life for longer than I care to remember. I'm that old I remember when it was Championship Manager...

But the modern version of the game is far removed from those early days of Champo.

It openly admits it has tried to replicate the inner workings of the sport to the minutest detail, with one of this year's innovations being the introduction of intermediaries to help smooth transfer dealings.

But one of is more enduring features has come from it's army of researchers, painstakingly replicating the attributes of players to make them as close to reality as possible.

Not all potential ability is reached, we all remember Freddy Adu, but they are often so close to the truth that clubs themselves have even been reputed to use the lists and work with Sports Interactive.

FM24 does not officially get released until Monday but those who pre-ordered the game have been able to play a beta version for the last week.

And because you can trust the level of reality, I have simulated one season into the future to find out what 'might' happen.

What I did

Dead simple. I put myself into the game, started unemployed and went on holiday for a year, meaning the game played out in the background.

I also started the game with one of the new features, that the year followed the same pattern as reality and players like Harvey White, who arrived on deadline day, only joined Stevenage on deadline day in the game.

I also ran the simulation three times, simply because the first time came as a bit of shock.


Amazingly the same thing almost happened in each season, and that was Stevenage finished either 12th or 13th.

Another thing happened in each run was Steve Evans being sacked before November was out. 

Attempt one

The Comet: Stevenage finished 12th in the first simulation of FM24.Stevenage finished 12th in the first simulation of FM24. (Image: Neil Metcalfe)

Boro's 12th placed finish brought a final record stood at 17 wins, 15 draws and 14 defeats, scoring 47 goals and conceding 39 for a total of 66 points.

They were eight points away from the play-offs and 18 above the relegation zone.

Amazingly Reading won the title despite their four points deduction, Derby County also going up automatically with Charlton Athletic joining them through the play-offs.

Northampton Town, Burton Albion, Exeter City and Cheltenham Town were relegated.

The Carabao Cup ended in round two, beaten by Bolton Wanderers, while they did reach the FA Cup third round after wins over Cambridge United and Leyton Orient but lost 1-0 to Shrewsbury Town.

Evans lost his job on November 11 after "losing the confidence of the dressing room", Paul Raynor going with him and leaving Alex Revell in caretaker charge.

The pair took on the Tranmere Rovers job in March of 2024.

Evans was replaced after 16 days by Nigel Pearson who had been sacked by Bristol City just one week before Evans for a "poor league position".

Player wise, Jordan Roberts was the top scorer 12 while Krisztian Hegyi had the best average rating.

Michael Buckmaster became the club's youngest player at 16 years and 245 days when he played in the Carabao Cup first-round game against MK Dons.

On the transfer front, Evans made one more signing in the game than he did in real life, bringing in centre-half Zach Awe from Southampton on loan.

He managed just one goal in 36 games but did manage a club best seven assists.

Pearson made one signing, temporarily capturing right winger Luca Thomas from Leeds United who went on to score four in 14 appearances.

One player left in January, Dan Sweeney jetting off on loan to Australia to play for Central Coast Mariners.

Attempt two

The Comet: Stevenage finished 13th in attempt two in a very congested table.Stevenage finished 13th in attempt two in a very congested table. (Image: Neil Metcalfe)

This time Boro came 13th having amassed 59 points. They managed 15 wins, 14 draws and lost 17 times.

They also scored less and conceded more, 41 to 50.

They were still within touching distance of the play-offs, nine points this time, but only sevebn points away from relegation.

Reading went up again, although this time behind champions Blackpool. Derby beat Charlton in the play-off final to join them in the Championship.

on the title despite their four points deduction, Derby County also going up automatically with Charlton Athletic joining them through the play-offs.

Northampton and Cheltenham again went down but this time it was Leyton Orient and Carlisle United who joined them.

Boro's Carabao Cup ended in round two again. They got past Oxford United in round one 3-0 with goals from Jake Forster-Caskey, Jordan Roberts and Josh March (before his deadline day switch to Harrogate Town), but lost 2-0 at home to Stoke City.

The FA Cup brought huge heartache. Southend United were beaten in round one but fellow National League side AFC Fylde produced the shock in round two with a 2-0 win in Lancashire.

They then played, but lost, at home to Everton in round three.

This was the most bizarre simulation when it came to managers with Phil Wallace a busy boy.

Evans lost his job on October 7 this time because of results but yet again he and Raynor rocked up at Tranmere before the end of the season.

Steve Bruce, Danny Schofield and Robbie Neilson were among the possible choices but the Boro job went to Graham Alexander 17 days later. He had started the game unemployed and not at MK (they start the game managerless).

However, just 137 days later he was gone too, Revell coming in for his second caretaker spell of the year.

The dressing room were not happy with him but did seem to be more impressed with permanent manager number three as Wade Elliott, another who started the game without a club, followed up Revell's work in steadying the ship.

The caretaker won three and drew two of his five games before Elliott arrived on April 2, adding two wins and two draws as Boro went nine games without defeat in the final run-in.

Aaron Pressley had the best average rating, although he made just one start in his 11 games, scoring three goals along the way.

Top scorer was Charlie McNeill with 11, one above Jamie Reid, while Nick Freeman had the most assists with seven.

Alexander made two signings as he tried to stamp his mark, Tolaji Bola from Rotherham United and Josh Tobin of Southampton both coming in on loan.

Bola, a left-back, made 19 appearances while centre-half Tobin, who can also play in midfield, played 15 times, seven of those as a substitute.

There was another outgoing loan to Australia in January as well, Harry Anderson joining Western United.

Attempt three

The Comet: Stevenage finished 13th once again.Stevenage finished 13th once again. (Image: Neil Metcalfe)

It was another 13th-placed finish for Stevenage with a rather pleasing, almost symmetrical record of 15 win, 15 draws and 16 defeats.

They scored 47 goals and conceded just one more to finish with 60 points, 10 behind the play-offs and 13 ahead of relegation.

Reading made it three promotions, Portsmouth winning the the league and Bolton coming through via the play-offs, 

Cheltenham made it three relegations, Burton had a second but for Wigan Athletic and Cambridge United, there was a first season of disappointment.

Disappointment was the name of the game too in the cups for Stevenage.

Bristol Rovers sent them packing in round one of the Carabao Cup while Lincoln City beat them in a first round reply in the FA Cup.

They did, however, make the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy before losing to eventual winners Leyton Orient.

Steve Evans lasted longer in this attempt than in any other, getting to November 25 before being sacked.

Oddly it was Alexander who they turned to again although this time he lasted the entire season and a strong finish to the campaign undoubtedly helped.

After losing 4-0 to Blackpool on February 3, Boro went 15 games without defeat, winning six of them and drawing nine.

Evans remained unemployed at the end of the season.

Louis Thompson was consistently Boro's top player in the season, achieving the best average rating from his 54 games played, 51 of them as a starter.

He also had the highest number of assists with 11 but it was Reid who led the scoring charts with the same number.

Behind him was Shaqueel van Persie with 10 goals and three assists in 46 appearances, 41 of them as starts.

The 17-year-old striker was a summer signing of Evans, coming in loan from Feyenoord, and yes, he is son of Robin.

Alexander made one signing in January, another Southampton loanee, this one central midfielder Cam Bragg.

He only appeared four times off the bench though.

There were two outgoings in January, one permanent and one on loan.

Harry Anderson departed for an initial £31,000 after just 10 appearances, playing two more than that for new club Shrewsbury Town.

Alex MacDonald was the other on his way, although only on loan as he moved to Ayr United, scoring three times in 10 games for The Honest Men.


I thoroughly enjoyed doing this as a 'what if' scenario. At the start of the season, I think a lot of Boro fans would have taken a solid mid-table finish but the real world start has changed a lot of those thoughts.

Evans leaving on each attempt was an eyebrow raiser and in true FM fashion it was funny to see some of the names linked and then given the job.

Might also explain why Steve was so enthusiastic in his praise of Mark Palios, the Tranmere chairman.

If you are getting FM24, enjoy, but let's hope reality outstrips the game when it comes to Stevenage's season.