Lebkuchen from Aldi. Fights over when's too soon to put the heating on. Someone – in the house, the office, the street – insisting it's too soon for Mariah Carey, and take that inflatable reindeer down it's November you nobhead


Turning all the lights off, shutting the door and throwing the new Football Manager into the laptop. 


These things are autumn. 


Football Manager 2020 officially drops on 19 November (the closest to Christmas an instalment of the long-running series has ever launched, fact fans) and 90min can exclusively reveal to you that – yep – it's definitely another Football Manager game. 

Reviewing games is a pretty formulaic process, for the most part. Tip your opinion on the game early on, talk about the gameplay a bit, compare and contrast it with other games in the same genre, wrap up with an anecdote and a final opinion, file the invoice, knock off for lunch. 


It's Football Manager though. This is the 16th edition of the game. If you have the slightest interest in the series – and presumably you do, because you're already 200 words deep into a review of the new game – then you know how it plays. It plays like a Football Manager game. There aren't any contemporaries to compare it to, because Football Manager has eaten the genre. It is the genre. 


There are a couple of little changes, but the game is the same. The game is always the same. If you want to have a look the little tweaks that have been made, we've gone into how they play a little bit ​here. Maybe the game will change seismically as and when women's teams are ever added, but until then, you know what you're getting. If you've played a version of this game in the last few years, you know how it goes.


The opinion bit? Yeah, it's a Football Manager game. I like Football Manager games, this is the 16th one I've owned. Obviously I'm going to like this Football Manager game, because it's a shinier version of the thing I already liked. If you violently, viscerally hate Football Manager games, there is exactly nothing in Football Manager 2020 that will change your mind. 


If you play it – when you play it – there's a little bump as you figure out the new features (club vision and a little player development overhaul for 2020, enough for a squint but not something that'll change your day-to-day much) and then you'll fall back into the same habits as always. 


You'll load up the game, create your little manager avatar, get slightly offended that it's given you a tiny peanut head until your colleague tells you that removing the jacket makes your head look normal-sized, and start a save with your club. You're a Carlisle fan, so you head to Brunton. 

Pre-season will pass. The board refuse to find you a parent club for easy loans, so you'll bring in two players (from City and Leeds) and tap out your £0 budget for new moves. Gut the coaching staff, bring in your own men, breeze through the friendlies, nearly throw your MacBook out the window when you concede an equaliser 14 seconds from the end of stoppage time in the opening league game that you were 2-0 up in, then remember that it belongs to 90min and carefully lower it back onto the desk. 


Then you'll knuckle down, figure out a couple of formations, go five games without conceding a goal while your number one keeper's out injured, have your leading forward win back-to-back Player of the Month awards, win Manager of the Month yourself, then drop another 2-0 lead to concede an equaliser in the last 15 seconds again and you'll make a sound that's halfway between a swear and a gnashing of teeth – 'FGGUND', or 'SHAAAAAANG' – that's that it for that laptop. 

You'll curse Sports Interactive. You'll curse Miles Jacobson. You'll curse yourself for thinking that this time, in the 16th year of trying, things might be different. 


And then the next night you'll pick it up and go again. 


Or maybe you won't do any of that at all. It's Football Manager. You make your own story. 


Football Manager 2020 is available to pre-order on Steam, and will be released on Google Stadia on 19th November


For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209