Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Manager Interview: Phil Sinkins speaks...

Over lunchtime today I caught up with Phil Sinkins, GW4 mod and manager extraordinaire for a chat about all things FML...

NIK: So Phil... How did you get into the beta?

PHIL: I read about football manager live in PC Gamer preview for 2008, read up on the SI website regarding how I could sign up, stuck my name down and started on the beta in GW4 in December 2007

NIK: Were you a long time FM player, or had you lapsed in recent years. (and if so, why?)

PHIL: I’ve played CM/FM back since Championship Manager Italia (woot Bari) on and off, I tend to play quite hardcore for a month when the game first comes out then I come back every so often. This year with FM08 I spent a lot of time researching for playing FML (tactics, players etc). On a side note, I’m yet to play any CM since the split

NIK: So what was your first impression of SIs new game then?

PHIL: Dazed and confused! I was one of the first people into the gameworld. My immediate plan was to sign players I had been using in FM08 ignoring any sort of visual help I went straight for the search

PHIL: I signed over 20 players who were in my FM08 team into my initial squad. I then proceeded to use my FM08 tactics and play as many games as possible - maybe 200 games in 2 days.

NIK: Which side are you in FM?

PHIL: I always play as Chelsea in FM, but I gut the team as soon as I start and buy youngsters. only people I normally ever keep is Essien, Terry and Cech, everyone else is free game.

NIK: So any tips for a new manager into FML? You were pretty lucky in signing so many players you recognised I guess!

PHIL: I’ve been very lucky, I’ve made some lucky signings who have turned out to be superb players, 17 year olds in my first team is a sight you wouldn’t see in the real world Premier League.

PHIL: when new people start my top tip would be don’t spend above what you can afford, money is a big thing in FML. I released a lot of people at first as I couldn’t be bothered to sell, which meant that I ended up with massive debts that could have been put to better use.

PHIL: once we go retail, scouting is my big tip for people. Get in, focus on a region and milk it for what its worth, get some people in for a week sell them on, whilst at the same time keeping the great ones in your team and playing them. Combine Scouting with a high level of coaching and you'll be knocking out fantastic youngsters for seasons and seasons.

NIK: Supporting buying-to-sell? Controversial!

PHIL: Absolutely, for me, Buy To Sell is my way of getting money regardless of status, it took me 5 seasons to get to my team quality, I have made very small amounts of financial dealings, when I did it was to fund someone else straight off (Reyes and Falcao my two top players, to fund Essien). I can’t compete with the tacticians so I won’t be winning these big money high risk competitions, the only way for me to get money is to sell people

NIK: Where did the team name come from? It’s surely going to be the first big decision for most new managers!

PHIL: I used to be an Online FPS player and due to my innovative style of play I was often referred to as a "Fruitloop" I then chose to steal the spelling from the American Cereal and FrootLoops was born. I’ve been using the handle since early 2001 and felt natural to continue that over into FML, thus I am FrootLoops FC (temporarily I was renamed whilst on Holiday to Gone T'Egypt in honour of the holiday)

NIK: So what's been your favourite (and least favourite features in FML)?

PHIL: Starting with the negatives, I don’t like a ranking system being in the game it takes away the fun of the game, I end up being upset when I go down rankings when I should be proud that my team went unbeaten for 40+ games. I love the skills system, I want this to be built on as much as possible - really make it so that your manager in-game is like your Avatar in World of Warcraft (or any other MMO available from Publishers).

NIK: What can those who've missed out on the beta (so far) look forward to most?

PHIL: People not in the beta can look forward to a game where they don’t have to constantly remind people were on Beta when things go wrong! And everything will be a lot more stable.

NIK: I've been amazed things have been as good as they have been to be honest!

NIK: How's this season been for the Loops? (Phil's side currently lie in a very respectable 12th position in the senior world rankings)

PHIL: As the current PFA Premiership title holders its gonna be hard to keep my title - I have Uppsala Gunners (spelling) above me and FC Coconuts below me… not a good place to be, but I’m 2nd in league. I’m yet to play Henrik (Uppsala’s mod manager) and a win there could win me the Premiership for the second year running. I’m not the most positive when it comes to predicting my form (last year I thought I would be relegated!) so at the moment I don’t see myself in the top 2 come the last game…

NIK: You've been a mod for a few months now, I guess - have you got any tips or advice for anyone wanting to be a mod?

PHIL: Don’t let the bastards get you down!

NIK: Perhaps a general comment to SI and mods alike there...! How have you enjoyed it?

PHIL: Moderating has been good fun, its nice to be a key part of the community and the opportunity to talk directly to Miles, Marc Duffy and Ov Collyer isn’t something you get everyday. If you get the chance and you’re a fan of FM itself then I’d recommend moderating to anyone.

NIK: Cool! Well, thanks for your time, and good luck for the rest of the season!

PHIL: Cheers Nik gl with your Blades team!

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