We asked Iain Macintosh to use his copy of Football Manager 2015 to simulate 10 years of football and then report back to us. The poor man has been pressing ‘Continue’ since last Saturday. He told us what life is like in 2025 and then he passed out.
ENGLAND: The 54-year-old Sean Dyche is the new England manager, boldly stepping into the breach after Rafa Benitez’s six year reign came to an ignominious end with European Nations League relegation. Obviously, England still haven’t won anything since 1966. The closest they came was in 2016 when Roy Hodgson’s long career ended with a European Championship semi-final defeat to France.
His replacement, Andre Villas-Boas, was sacked after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, a competition that was eventually won by Colombia. It really is a mystery as to why England keep falling short. With regenerated goal machine Thomas Middleton up front and battered centurion Phil Jones at the back, they should be challenging for silverware. Something for Dyche to ponder, I’d wager.
MAN UTD: If United’s supporters though that life was hard under David Moyes, they had no idea what awaited them. Louis van Gaal didn’t last a season. Unai Emery was gone after 253 days. In November 2015, Jose Mourinho was finally granted his chance at Old Trafford. He was out the door 10 months later. Russell Slade and Julen Lopetegui did less than a year, Mauricio Pochettino and Villas-Boas did ever so slightly more than a year.
It wasn’t until Mark Hughes’ appointment in 2019 that the recovery began. One Europa League title secured his position and in 2025, United won their first title in 12 years. Still, it’s not all bad news. The Glazers left in 2021, replaced by a German consortium. Huzzah!
LIVERPOOL: These are strange days for Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers’ 13-year reign came to an end in June 2025 when he decided to try his luck with Juventus, having won the Merseysiders a sixth and then a seventh European Cup. The Premier League, however, remains out of touch.
It’s now 35 years since Kenny Dalglish last brought the title to Merseyside and Antonio Conte is the latest man to take up the quest for the holy grail. Captain Jordan Henderson was born shortly after that triumph and he’s still going strong, along with vice-captain Jon Flanagan and right-back Raheem Sterling, who wasn’t too tired to earn 118 caps for his country.
CHELSEA: Jose Mourinho is eight years into his third spell as Chelsea manager, having been sacked in 2015 for finishing fifth. His replacement, the shamed Van Gaal, won the title in his first season in charge and promptly retired from football. That brought the Special One, a failure at Old Trafford, back to Stamford Bridge where he reasserted himself with five Premier League titles, all secured in the 58,000 capacity Zola Stadium.
Eden Hazard continues to make magic behind the striker, 13 years after first signing for the Blues. In the meantime, John Terry has had a short, but eventful managerial career, winning the League Cup with both Leicester and Newcastle, but getting the sack from both.
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ARSENAL: Jurgen Klopp is the current manager of Arsenal, having taken over in January 2025 after spells with Manchester City, Germany, Dortmund again and Borussia Monchengladbach. Perhaps he can end the trophy drought that stretches all the way back to 2014?
After Arsene Wenger’s retirement in 2017, both Steve Davis and Didier Deschamps were granted four years, but neither man could supply silver. Arsenal are ludicrously wealthy, boast incredible facilities and have a host of locally sourced regenerated players, but they just never seem to step up. Poor Wojciech Szczesny has now spent 19 years with the Gunners, but the closest he has come to glory was when he sat on the bench for the 2014 FA Cup Final.
MANCHESTER CITY: Pep Guardiola fulfilled his destiny and took over at the Etihad in 2023 after successful spells with Bayern Munich, Spain and Napoli and he has already brought the title back to the blue half of Manchester. Joachim Löw did the same thing in 2021, but Diego Simeone, Emery and Klopp all fell short.
As well-financed as ever, the only surviving player from the old days is Matija Nastasic. In every position, City have superstar regenerated talents from around the world, but they’ve never really replaced Manuel Pellegrini, winner of three Champions League titles in four seasons.
BITS AND BOBS
Coventry now lurk in the lower reaches of the Vanarama Conference under the stewardship of Ryan Shotton. They are one place above Bolton Wanderers, whose slide down the divisions shows no sign of stopping.
It’s grim up in the North-East. Two bad seasons in a row sent Middlesbrough down from the Championship to League Two. Newcastle and Sunderland are both marooned in the Championship.
Daniel Levy no longer rules the roost at White Hart Lane, but his methods live on. No Tottenham manager has lasted more than two years since Pochettino was sacked in 2016. Nine more have come and gone since then, but Spurs have never finished lower than 11th.
The longest serving manager in the English leagues is Eddie Howe. He took over at Nottingham Forest in 2015 and has never looked back. Or indeed won anything. But he did just spend £45m on a regenerated super forward called Florian Teixeira.
Dougie Freedman has been relegated four times in the last 10 years, but it didn’t stop him getting the West Ham job.
Former Liverpool youth starlet Michael Ngoo is the youngest manager in the game, leading Newport County at the tender age of 33.
At 66, Crawley boss Gary Megson is the elder statesman of English bosses. No-one likes him, but he doesn’t care.
Iain Macintosh is one of the authors of the acclaimed book 'Football Manager Stole My Life'
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