Scouts here, scouts there. You here, you there.
Club to club, league to league, country to country, managers the world over are hard at work building extensive scouting networks, hunting the best young talent as well as seasoned campaigners for their tilt at glory.
There are hidden gems out there everywhere in the football world just waiting to be discovered, raring to get their opportunity and prove their worth at the highest level.
With Football Manager 2019, a world of football talent can be at your fingertips, players sourced by every day people – some 500,000 of them, all up – other gamers.
“We have researchers who act as scouts so all the data that’s fed into the game is being collated by real people,” Sports Interactive’s Tom Davidson said of FM19.
It is not unheard of for those people to find their way into real world employment tracking talent for the intelligent management simulator.
“(One scout) was researching for a club in League Two here in the UK and he got in the stadium during under-23 games, under-18 games where there’d be no one in the stadium apart from the staff on the sidelines,” Davidson explained.
“They talked to him and then they hired a new manager and he wanted to modernise the club a little bit, so they hired this guy as the performance analyst at the club and he’s been there for two or three seasons now.
“They’ve been really progressing as a result of it, so that’s always a nice one.”
Another of those scouts was Daily Football Show‘s own Tony Persoglia, who acted as Sports Interactive’s head Australian scout to bring us the best of the old National Soccer League pre-2005.
“My first job in sport, technically, was through Sports Interactive,” Persoglia revealed.
“When you look through the credits … you’ll see my name in there. I was the official Australian researcher.
“My first role … was researching Aussie players because they didn’t have the A-League back then.”
Persoglia has since worked for Football Federation Victoria and elsewhere in sport, with Hockey Australia.
His story is one Davidson hopes to see repeats of upon the launch of the new and improved FM19.
“There’s a lot of people who want to work for us directly or on the research side of things as a way into football and it’s something that we’re really proud of, we’re able to have that influence in the game now,” he added.
“We want these stories to continue. The great thing is now there’s a whole generation of new managers who have probably grown up playing the game.
“There’s going to be a point where people are more open about ‘I used to get my tactics on the game, or know these players to sign on the game’.
“Andre Villas-Boas said he used to play the game when he was 10 or 11 and said that he used to make notes on players that he would then go and look up online and scout, and that helped him get the job at Porto as a scout and he went on to become a manager as well.”
You just never know. The next time you are at an A-League stadium across Australia, there is a fair chance there is a scout in your midst.