As the ongoing Wayne Rooney saga is demonstrating, being a football manager isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. To achieve success the very best managers must overcome tactical dilemmas, player conflict and the unerring scrutiny of the media if they are to write their names into the history books. That said, the romanticised ideal of football management is something to which many aspire, a challenge many of us would love to have the opportunity to take on.

While taking charge of a real football club is little but a pipe dream for the vast majority of us, thousands of football fans have played out their managerial dreams through the medium of the Football Manager game for years. The latest edition in the series, Football Manager 2011, will be in the shops from November 5th but, in an exclusive deal with Mirror Football, readers can gain access to the game before anyone else on October 21st (today).

If you were in charge of your club who would you buy? Who would you sell? Which formation would you use? To answer these questions all you have to do is visit the Mirror Football website to claim your free download code and get the chance to prove that you know best, making the changes that you think are needed at your club to take them to the very top.

If Football Manager in advance with Mirror Football isn’t enough for you, check out Mirror Football Goals, a free Facebook fantasy 5-a-side game that you can play with your friends and do battle for virtual managerial supremacy. Pick your team, set up your mini-league and invite your mates at http://www.mirror.co.uk/goals.

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