Playing Football Manager for a living

Thomas Kelsey aka TomFM
Playing Football Manager for a living
For people new to the Superclub universe, we have a new game in the works called Superclub Rivals. When published, it will owe its entire existence to the success and continued development of the original Superclub and its many expansions over the years. So when we first announced Rivals, we used the phrase «on the shoulders of giants» as a way of acknowledging the Superclub community’s influence. But there are, of course, more giants in this space. Even bigger giants.

The biggest of all is Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series. We’ve never been shy about our admiration for that particular game series, and it’s no surprise to us that many Superclub fans are FM fans – and vice versa.

Thomas Kelsey, perhaps better known as Youtube star TomFM, falls firmly into that category. He loved FM so much that he made it his job to play it. But what does a virtual football manage do in his spare time? Kick back and socialize with a round of Superclub, of course.

We will have introduced you before this question, but in your own words: who are you and what do you do?

Photo: Private

I'm a virtual Football Manager. I'm lucky enough to record myself playing Football Manager, put it on YouTube and get to call it my job. I like to use the game to tell stories about rebuilding fallen giants or creating strange hypothetical situations that you could only dream of happening in real life football.

Nice! Describe your relationship with football. When did it start, did you play yourself and and how intense is the passion now?

My first memory of watching a football match was the 2002/03 Division 3 Playoff final between my team Lincoln City and AFC Bournemouth. We may have lost 5-2 but I caught the bug. Since then I've always been a Lincoln City fan, despite going through school when everyone else supported a top Premier League club.

I played a lot when I was at school, I was always a striker because I loved the glory of scoring goals. I even once had a trial for Lincoln City when I was 11, but given my job is to pretend to be a football manager, you can guess how that went.

Before I went to university I was a season ticket holder, and as soon as I stopped, we got good and had 2 promotions and a cup win. I'm now actually a commentator for the club, I provide the audio descriptive commentary for fans with visual impairments or disabilities who want to come to matches, but need some help to follow what's happening on the pitch. So I would say Lincoln City does feel part of my identity as a person, I'm very attached to the club!

Photo: Private

Amazing. What makes football the greatest sport in the world?

Football is so good because it's so simple. It's just 11 vs 11 trying to put a ball in a net more times than the other team. But it generates such an incredible story and people love a good story. Every season there are so many stories of success and failure, filled with twists and turns. You might think a team is down and out, but they suddenly go on a magical run to be in with a shot of promotion. As a result, you just can't look away.

Agreed. Who’s your all-time favorite footballer and who’s your favourite active player?

My all time favourite player is Simon Yeo. He was Lincoln City's top striker when I first started watching, and as a 6 year old kid who's suddenly discovered the world of football, the guy scoring the goals became my hero. Whilst other kids on the playground pretended to be Michael Owen or David Beckham, I was Simon Yeo. Currently I think it has to be Erling Haaland. To be so young, yet such a dominating player is incredibly impressive and I think he'll go down as one of the greats. It's just a shame he declared for Norway instead of England!

As a Norwegian company, we’ll have to agree to disagree there. Speaking of disagreements: You’re president of FIFA for a day. What’s the one thing about football you would like to change?

Other than giving Lincoln City a Champions League spot, I would actually go the way of American Sports and have salary caps in place. As much as football is unpredictable, there's only a handful of clubs who can actually win the top leagues. So I think having a salary cap would help spread out the talent and make each season less predictable, giving lots more teams the opportunity to win some major trophies.

American sports do indeed have some good ideas, like the draft in our game. Which football game have you spent the most time on in your life?

Photo: Private

By a long shot Football Manager. I started playing Championship Manager 2003/04 copying what my dad would do. And since then I dread to think how many hours I've put into the series. But at least I feel I can now justify it as playing it is my job.

When and where did you first discover Superclub?

I first heard about Superclub from one of my co-commentators, Scott, at Lincoln City. He said he and his friends had been playing it for hours the night before and I had to try it!

Great stuff, no amount of advertisement can replace the power of a friendly recommendation. What made you want to try it out, and why did you keep playing?

So I was pretty keen to give it a go from Scott's review, but my first time actually playing it was when you reached out and offered me a copy. Since then I have been addicted to the game. My friends and I can't stop playing because 1) we're very competitive and 2) it's different every time you play.

We started to recognize some of the same players coming up every game and we start to give them back stories. Then the way our games end are so exciting, one time I managed to win on penalties in the Super Duper Cup Final, and last time we played my girlfriend started in 6th place on 70 points but won every single game in the season to reach 100 points and win the game against the odds. Every time we finish we just want to start again for a new story.

Awesome! Do you have a favourite club in the game, and why were you attracted to that club?

Photo: Private

My favourite team in the game is Green Hill Rangers simply because my favourite colour is green and despite what some might think, Garibaldi looks best in green. Sorry it's not more exciting.

That’s a reason as good as any. Thanks a lot for taking the time, Tom. Finally, what exciting things do you have in the pipeline and where can people find your work?

I managed to get some tickets to the European Championships this summer, so I'm going to make a couple of videos in Germany which I'm really looking forward to. Then later in the year Football Manager 2025 comes out, and the studio is promising there's going to be a complete revamp of the game, so I can't wait to get stuck into that. You can find all my videos on

Great, we always look forward to all the great content you put out in the world. Best of luck, and thanks again!

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