'I've spent 273 days of my life managing Dartford on Football Manager 2012 and I'm still going'
| Last updated
A man from Denmark has spent more than 273 days playing the 2012 version of Football Manager – and he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.
Mikkel Enemark, a 44-year-old factory worker from Them; an idyllic town in Central Denmark with a population of just over 2,000, can often be found tinkering tactics and formations on the decade-old game.
In fact, since taking over then-Conference South side Dartford on December 5, 2011, Mikkel has played a total of 29,669 games with the Kent-based club, lifting 237 league titles and 1,488 individual awards in the process.
But the question remains; why Dartford? "I chose them after looking for a small club with potential," he tells SPORTbible.
"They had an okay-ish stadium and it's close to London so I thought they could grow. I just started with the intent of seeing how big I could make them... now they are an old friend."
Since his much-talked about arrival in the winter of 2011, Enemark has become a cult hero at the 139,621 capacity Princes Park.
He has signed a total of 7,336 players, helping Dartford become the richest club in world football with a valuation of £1.75 billion; a figure that trumps the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Inter Milan.
And despite there being many new installments of the game, Enemark has continued to improve his win ratio of 67 per cent on Football Manager 2012.
While others watch Erling Haaland score a hat-trick in the majority of games on FM23, Mikkel is currently on his way to securing a 238th league title with The Darts after picking up 11 wins in 12 games during the opening stages of the 2512/13 campaign. The goal difference? 43 scored. Two conceded.
"For me, FM 12 is the perfect match between the old version and the new," he tells us.
"It's fast and simple but with more options to develop players and build a team. I'm all about youth players and making the next superstar. Dartford are now the best in the world at everything, so I often focus on all the fun things like finding wonderkids."
One of the many gems from his beloved Dartford save include John Becerra, the Colombian striker who would become a club legend with 897 goals in 1019 matches. After signing him from a South American club in 2331, Becerra would make the Best Eleven squad as seen below.
"He will always be my favourite player," Mikkel says with a grin.
Away from the in-game records and Enemark has thanked those at Sports Interactive for making a huge impact in his life.
"Football Manager means a lot to me," he says. "It has helped me overcome hard times. I got divorced in 2015 and it was my getaway from it all.
"When I play, the game takes my mind off all the hard things. It's like a break that gives you energy to overcome tough times. Life is full of ups and downs but when I play FM, I am 100 per cent in control.
"It's my own little world where I get to decide what's going to happen."
Although the Dartford adventure has somewhat taken over his life n the past decade or so, Mikkel's family don't mind too much because they know he is a "football freak".
In fact, all they talk about is football when they spend time together at home.
"I don't play as much as many think," he admits. "Sometimes it's zero hours a week and sometimes it's 20 hours. It all depends on my work schedule and if my wife and kids are home. I play a lot when I'm home alone."
Mikkel also points to the attention he gets on social media, where he often shares updates from his save in the popular Football Manager Facebook group; a community with over 131,000 members.
"I remember the day when I broke the record [333 seasons] and posted it in the group," he laughs. "People went crazy. One guy even accused me of cheating because of all the world class players in my squad. He got so angry he left the group.
"They treat me like I'm Ronaldinho or David Beckham. Everyone is so nice and encouraging."
With an addictiveness rating of, 'Congratulations from everyone at Sports Interactive... we never thought you'd make it this far' on FM12, the experienced gamer has naturally built an affiliation with Dartford FC.
He regularly checks up on their progress in the National League South; a division in which they narrowly missed out on promotion last season following a play-off defeat against St Albans.
"I'd love to go there on a match day and see it all," Mikkel says. "I hope they can reach the Football League one day so I can follow them closer."
The 44-year-old has also tried his hand at real life management, when he recently became the assistant manager of his son's club at youth level.
"I used Football Manager in my preparations of course," he smiles. "I would adjust tactics and formations in my Dartford save before trying it in real life."