Getting a job with Football Manager!
Matt Neil tells Chris Berrow how he ended up being a football analyst...
Matt - I think my Gran gave me a box of Cheerios when I was through. Must have been ten ten or so or nine or ten and it was Ultimate Soccer Manager 98 or 99. That's what it was. Yeah. So I moved on to the EA versions which was a Premier League Manager and Total Club Manager which you could do your own stadium and stuff and as a 10, 11, 12 year old kid that was ah yeah it was brilliant. I think Football Manager was the first one out of all the Champ Man series of Football Manager series I properly played. The detail of everything was great and I just continued to play them... probably did very poorly in my GCSEs is because of the game. But I did win with Huddersfield Town two Champions Leagues in a row and had a stadium named after me. So at the end of it mate who's the winner at the end of the day. I think I am. I had a stadium named after me.
Chris - So from that success to real life success with Plymouth Argyle.
Matt - The club had been in administration just before I joined and had around 20 million pounds worth of debt and went from the championship to league two in two seasons so two successive relegations. Now I was volunteering every day and kind of got to see the players and the staff and got to know them a little bit and I was drunk one night and randomly suggested to the manager at the time that there was a good player that he should sign and then went back a few days later with the stats and the video and stuff and I didn't know what an analyst was before I got the job myself. I genuinely had no idea. I'd never seen one never heard of one because this is seven and a half years ago now when that role was starting to grow massively. It was incredibly lucky to be honest that everything just fell into place the way it did.
Chris - You actually do stats for Football Manager now. So do any of the players ask you to boost their stats?
Matt - Well luckily the lads at Rotherham don't know that I do it yet yeah but I don't know if any of them play it. So at Plymouth they were quite a few we had a good read a good little school on the bus for a few years ago we had about eight or nine of us who were playing it. And yeah some of them would give me a little nudge. Just hang on a second mate. Why was he quicker than me. So yeah that every now and then but I had to be a bit impartial in the way it was always. Yeah it would always be a bit tough if someone was genuinely be annoyed with how I rated them. But this is what I saw at the end of the day.