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(30/06/2002) During the World Cup, we really got into the spirit of things here at the Sinclair Lair. Oh yes, we were down the pub for 7am, and singing and dancing gaily through the streets on our way home. Well, why break the habit of a lifetime for a football tournament?!?

But now that all the excitement is over, Sinclair Lair Webmaster Alex Waddington has been pondering the best five footy games he's ever played on the Speccy. Here's what he came up with...

1. Match Day II (Ocean)

Released in 1988, John Ritman's excellent all action arcade soccer simulation featured variable strength volleys, lobs, backheels and ground shots, jumping headers, barging, diving keepers, variable tactics and the highly accurate diamond deflection system. The ace thing about it was you could play against a computer team, a friend, or you and a mate could even team up against the computer - and lose in embarrassing fashion because you kept getting in each other's way. My most vivid memory of this game is tossing a coin to see who got to use the single Kempston joystick, and who had to use the crap keys. Oh, and the graphics were pretty good as well, courtesy of Bernie Drummond of Batman and Head Over Heels fame.

Useless fact: Match Day II was a Crash Smash and Game of the Month in Your Sinclair.

2. Football Manager - Addictive

I didn't play this a lot but remember enjoying it, although I didn't discover it until years after it was released in 1982. I think it was about the same time I was into Soccer Boss, which I found similarly addictive. I also recall the author Kevin Toms, and his big hair, buck teeth, and grinning beared face, which peered out rather bizarrely from magazine advertisements for the game. Football Manager was a game of strategy where you chose the team, paid the bills, transferred players, and when ready, opted to play the game. Except, you didn't play - you just watched stick men play highlights of the game, and you had no control. After a while, this got boring, and on a few occasions I remember buggering off outside, getting distracted, and returning hours later to find the game had finished and my Speccy was red hot. Am I right in thinking you couldn't skip the action sequences?

Useless fact: Then bad boy Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas is quoted on the back of the Commodore 64 version as saying: "The different things you can do... like putting players up for sale. It's incredible. The Highlight sequences are pure magic. And then you have to sit on the sidelines and sweat it out! Completely fantastic. I want one." Champagne Charlie apparently said this in April 1984 in 'Big K', whatever the hell that was. Anyone?

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