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Review: Tony Jameson: Football Manager Ruined My Life, The Stand, Newcastle

Comedian Tony James spills the beans on his addiction to the Football Manager computer game. Arthur Roberts caught the show

****
Steve Ullathorne
Comedian Tony Jameson

This was Washington comedian Jameson’s “homecoming gig” following sell-out appearances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

His show is entirely based on a computer game.

Jameson, a self-confessed 34½, started with a power point presentation calculating how long he has played the game over the course of his life. Two and a half years, roughly.

The show would fly past people who have never played Football Manager. It suggests a rather specific target audience, but he hits the target – his near sell-out show being very well received by an audience of around 90% males aged 20-40.

This specificity does help Jameson. He strikes up a personal relationship with his audience, at one point calling them fellow managers.

Simply by reciting his list of favourite ‘Football Manger stars who turned out to be a little bit sh*t’ he earned cheers and laughs.

But Jameson does go deeper. He talks of his parents’ divorce; moving cities for a job he disliked and then quitting; breaking and making up with his girlfriend; even a drinking habit.

However, he links it all to football and the game, with the lowest part of his life defined by Aston Villa signing Emile Heskey.

Jameson follows this by going through his highest achievements on the game, such as spending 50 seasons with Blyth Spartans and winning the Champions League.

He displays screen shots of his game, which are a hit with the audience. Perhaps it comes as a slight relief to the locals that in a virtual world Newcastle and Sunderland do get some success.

These screen shots made me feel slightly better about how much I enjoyed the show. Sure, I’m ashamed of how much I play, but I’m not as bad as this guy.

Needing to tinker with his tactics, there are a couple of parts that maybe hit the post. The video he made of himself unveiling his new signing at Blyth’s ground is one example that was slightly more cringe that crease.

The man sitting in front of me spat out his beer in laughter at one point, though, and there is constant winger-like delivery of funny and relatable jokes.

His show’s poster poses the question: “Could I have made more of my life having not played it as much?” Maybe a less niche stand-up show

But Football Manager Ruined My Life may have been hastily named. Football Manager seems to be sustaining Jameson’s life. He has managed to create an entertaining show and successfully tour it.

He knows it, too: “Do comedy on something you feel passionate about.” he said. “Football Manager is something I feel passionate about.”

Jameson’s show is a hit. It’s unique, well researched and well thought-out but under his rules he need to be seen twice more before I can file a scout report.

Arthur Roberts

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