Real life Football Manager club under threat

🚀 Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets!
Skybet
New Customer Offer 18+. T&Cs Apply. Free bets non withdraw-able. Single & E/W bets only. Free bet stake not included in returns. 30 day free bet expiry. gambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus

'FOOTBALL MANAGER FC'

All regular players of Football Manager will have the success story of guiding a team from the lower divisions of the country up to the top flight and further.

For the last few seasons in France, thousands of supporters have had the opportunity to do so as part of an online community. The only difference with this is you can’t save the game before you play it and re-play it afterwards if the result doesn’t go your way.

That’s because French sixth division side Avant Garde Caennaise have been playing Football Manager in real life, with supporters able to vote during each game on what decisions the manager, Julien Le Pen, has to make.

It’s one of the most bizarre stories in football, with tactics, formations, substitutions and more all being decided by thousands of virtual managers, who vote on proposed options to essentially make the manager’s decision for him.

Known as ‘Umans’, the supporters make decisions via the United Managers’ app which began working with AG Caen back in 2017. Last season the club won promotion, showing that there could well be method to the madness of the idea.

Football Manager
Le Pen is still responsible for his own press conferences.

WHAT THE MANAGER THINKS

For manager Le Pen, he is in charge of training the players and preparing them for matches, but ultimately little else. Umans vote for decisions to be made via coins which are earned via using the app, or that can be purchased with a subscription fee. The more coins a Uman has, the greater the weight of their decision in the manager’s outcome.

As for Le Pen, he is content with the current setup of the club, telling BBC Sport: "Before, I used to choose the team with my two assistants, now I do it in collaboration with thousands of people so that's the big difference. They make plenty of decisions that a normal coach would make."

As the manager, Le Pen can make tactical suggestions to the Umans, which they then individually vote on and have the power to overturn the manager’s decision. They are able to watch the game via live stream on the app, or those who are local to the club can go in person to see for themselves what they think should happen next.

"It's filmed in a way that would be worthy of professional football," says Le Pen. "Having stats is unusual at this level too.

"I'm still the manager, I'm the link between the Umans and the team but if there's a decision that needs to be made quickly because there isn't time to consult the Umans, I can do that.

"There aren't any fixed rules around that, we just use common sense on the day. The objective is that the team performs better so decisions need to be made as quickly as possible.

"If there was a bug in the app, I'd retake control. That hasn't happened so far. The community has been great so far, they're behind us not against us. It's a collaboration and that's what's so nice about the concept."

Coutinho Klopp
Could fans making substitutions be something we see in the future?

WHY IS IT UNDER THREAT?

It’s not been a particularly popular concept amongst sides at a similar level to AG Caen, with it helping the club in their recruitment of players and the resources available to them, such as the access to Opta stats.

Midfielder Nicolas Suzanne says the concept of the Umans played a significant part in his decision to join the club, saying that it helps increase the standards both in training and on matchdays, with Umans also able to watch the team’s training sessions.

"The goal in this project is to convince as many Umans as possible to be part of the team," the 29-year-old said. "Having to give the best at each training to please the Umans pulls the team up in its performances.

"If the community decides to replace me, I take it, it's part of the game. We accepted the conditions by signing for the project, even if nobody likes to be taken off.

"Personally, I haven't yet had too much disagreement with a decision made by the Umans except when they decide to substitute me."

Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid
The FFF want to keep the status quo within football management.

However, the French Football Federation has since made the following rule changes, which would well bring the Managers’ United collaboration to an end which would:

  • Prevent clubs from establishing a partnership with a third party to "influence the performance of its teams"
  • Prevent a third party from "questioning the real responsibility of the team held by the head coach"
  • Prevent the broadcast of live matches without permission of the league.

Despite the rule changes, both the club and app developer insist they will continue working together, also claiming that the FFF can’t make such rule changes midway through a season.

They are targeting another promotion this season that would take them into the fifth tier of French football - equivalent to the National League in England - and are determined to continue with the Umans making the majority of decisions for them.

🚀 Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets!
Skybet
New Customer Offer 18+. T&Cs Apply. Free bets non withdraw-able. Single & E/W bets only. Free bet stake not included in returns. 30 day free bet expiry. gambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus

FREE BETS & OFFERS

Bet £10 & Get £30 in FREE BETS! 🏆
MoPlay
£10+. Odds 1.50 (1/2)+. 13 days expiry. Opt-in. Bet types/free bet restrictions apply. Limited availability. Full T&Cs apply. 18+. New customers only.
Claim Bonus
🚀 Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets!
Skybet
New Customer Offer 18+. T&Cs Apply. Free bets non withdraw-able. Single & E/W bets only. Free bet stake not included in returns. 30 day free bet expiry. gambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Bet365
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits.Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits Stake. Time Limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏆 Get a RISK FREE bet on any sports market up to £20 - money back in CASH if it loses! 🏆
Paddy Power
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Free Bets 🌟
BetVictor
New Customers Only. Deposit via Credit/Debit card only and bet £5 @ odds 2.0+ within 7 days of registering; Cashed out bets excluded. Get 2x £10 free bets, valid for set types (1 @ odds 2.0+ or greater) & a £10 casino bonus, wagered 40x to withdraw; Bonuses expire in 7 days; Geographical restrictions apply. Click for T&C?s. 18+|begambleaware.org
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £40 in Free Bets! (Mobile only) 💥
William Hill
New customers who register via Mobile only, min £10 / €10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10 / €10 (30 day expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in FREE BETS! 🔥
Betfair
New customers only, place a min €/£10 bet on any Sportsbook market at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) and we’ll give you €/£30 in free bets. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. See below for full T&C's.
Claim Bonus
💥 Bet £20 & Get £40 in Free Bets & Bonuses! 💥
Unibet
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Minimum deposit £10. Place any sportsbook bet (except Racing) of £20+ at minimum odds of 1.40 (2/5) to receive your free bets and casino bonus. 35x wagering on casino bonus. Free bet will expire 7 days after opt in. £20 Casino bonus will expire after 30 days of opt-in.
Claim Bonus
⚫️ £30 Welcome Offer! ⚫️
Betway
*New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Credit Card, Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus
Get up to £50 in Free Bets! ☄️
Boylesports
*18+. UK/Irish customers only. Cash stakes only. Min €10 stake required for initial £10 free bet. Min odds ½. Max €50 in free bets. One free bet per day. Subsequent free bets credited day after placement. Qualifying bet must be first bet placed within 30 days of opening account on a Sportsbook market. Free/Void or Cash out bets won’t qualify. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & get a £10 Welcome Bonus!
Bet Regal
This offer is for new customers only and is available once per household. Max. Free Bet amount £10. The “Welcome Free Bet” may not be used in conjunction with any other bonus, promotion or offer. The “Welcome Free Bet” must be used at BetRegal.com within 14 days of being credited to your account. BetRegal.com reserves the right, at any time, to revoke any Welcome Free Bet bonus not used within the allotted time period. Full terms & Conditions apply. 18+
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in FREE BETS + 30 free spins! ⚡️
Betfred
New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 💪🏻
888
New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method & withdrawal restrictions apply & full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
Get a £10 FREE bet when you bet £10!
Karamba
18+, welcome bonus: New players only, first deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. Click to see full T&Cs.
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.