Football Manager guru says Dortmund fans 'like an orchestra'

    Borussia Dortmund's "yellow wall" makes them the best fans Jacobson's ever seen -- bar Watford.

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    • Football Manager's studio director blown away by Dortmund fans

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    (CNN)Friday the 13th might be unlucky for some -- but this November day is a big one for Miles Jacobson and his team. It's the launch of Football Manager 2016, the latest from the computer game juggernaut that since 2004 has spawned 12 versions and millions of devotees.

    Despite making his fortune with a football management simulation game, studio director Jacobson is an adamant advocate of live football and its intoxicating atmosphere.
      Miles Jacobson is the studio director of Sports Interactive, publisher of the hugely successful Football Manager video games.
      He's been a loyal supporter of English Premier League club Watford FC since he was six, but here he reveals his #MyBeautifulGame moment, explaining why -- bar Watford -- Borussia Dortmund fans are the best.
      Where? The 2013 European Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, at London's Wembley Stadium.
      What? The best supporters I've encountered -- apart from Watford's of course -- were Dortmund at that final. It was the first time I'd seen Dortmund play live, and I've never experienced anything like it.
      I've been to some of the biggest derbies in the world -- Celtic vs. Rangers, Manchester United vs. Liverpool -- but a lot of the chanting tends to be against the other team. Whereas the Dortmund fans weren't singing songs against Munich -- everything that they were doing was just completely and utterly behind their team, even when they weren't playing well.
      They were also the most coordinated set of fans I've ever seen -- they've got a few conductors and they stand at the front of the huge swathe of support who are going crazy. It's like an orchestra. It's not just the small pockets -- with Dortmund, it seemed like every single fan was getting involved. It's a constant wall of noise and support for the people pulling on the shirt.
      How? The atmosphere was utterly fantastic -- I remember more about the atmosphere than I do the game (it ended Bayern 2-1 Dortmund). Champions League finals don't tend to be that great because the players are quite nervous, but Dortmund supporters summed up a lot of what football is for me. It's as much about the atmosphere as the skill on the pitch. In the age we're in where a lot of people's only consumption of football is via TV, I think that gets lost a bit.
      There have been games this season where I've firmly believed that the Watford players have been boosted by the fact that the supporters have been so noisy. If you don't get behind your team, their heads can drop. It's cheesy to use that "12th man" line but if you've got someone standing behind you in any job saying, "We're confident in you, we love you," that's a pretty good thing.
      The emotion of football is something people don't talk about that much. Fans might stand there and rant in their seats but then they get outside and they're perfectly fine. I don't know any other sport that moves people in the way that football does. The level of disappointment (after a loss) or the "making the weekend" that a win can do is like nothing else.
      People go to football because it's the time they see their mates and it's a release from the week. All we're trying to do with Football Manager is to provide people with an escape, the same way that live football does.
      Why? I'm an old b*****d now (44) and I've been going to football since the late '70s. It seems that as football's become a lot more expensive, it's priced some of the younger people out of the market, and they're the ones who tend to sing.
      When I was growing up they had what was called "kid for a quid" -- two kids could go with an adult for £1 each ($1.50). I run a business so I understand supply and demand, but I think there's a generation gap at football that wasn't there when I was growing up, which is quite sad. I'd like there to be more investment into grassroots football too, so we see more pitches for kids to play on.
      #MyBeautifulGame: I started supporting Watford when I was six years old. There was no family connection -- they were the local team. I didn't choose Watford, Watford chose me.
      Football is a massive part of my life. I'm at football every week, thinking about football every day, and somehow I've managed to turn that into a career.
      It's particularly fortunate seeing as while my brain knows what I should be doing on a football pitch, my feet do something completely different. I know in my head that I should be Cristiano Ronaldo, but if I try to do a step-over the only thing that happens is I break my ankle.