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Man who has spent 8% of his waking life on Football Manager hired by real-life club in Iceland

Jack Kenmare

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Man who has spent 8% of his waking life on Football Manager hired by real-life club in Iceland

A fallen giant of Icelandic football have hired a devoted gamer with more than 13,700 hours of playing time on Football Manager as their new head coach.

Orri Thorisson, from Reykjavik, will take charge of fourth-tier side Knattspyrnufelag Vesturbæjar in the coming months as they look to bounce back from two consecutive relegations.

KV, who currently record an average attendance of around 400, have been known to attract more than 2,000 people to home games at the KV-Park stadium in Vesturbær.

And on their 20th anniversary year, Orri is desperate to get them back to where they belong. "My dream is to achieve promotion this season and make my family proud," he tells SPORTbible.

"I want to help my players gain more confidence and more joy from playing this beautiful game."

The 27-year-old, who works full-time in the masonry and tile-laying business, has a limited CV when it comes to real-life management.

In fact the majority of his coaching experience prior to this role has come from playing Football Manager, but the near 571 days of virtual coaching has translated into valuable lessons beyond the laptop.

"I genuinely believe it’s had a positive impact on my real-life management abilities," Orri says.

"The game's intricate mechanics, strategic decision-making and pressure-filled scenarios have allowed me to hone my analytical thinking and problem-solving skills."

Orri wearing the black and white of Icelandic side Knattspyrnufelag Vesturbæjar. Image credit: X/@KVfotbolti
Orri wearing the black and white of Icelandic side Knattspyrnufelag Vesturbæjar. Image credit: X/@KVfotbolti

Orri, who has taken over first-team duties following the departure of former FC Utrecht and Lillestrom midfielder Viktor Bjarki Arnarsson, says he has spent around eight per cent of his waking life playing FM.

More recently he lifted six consecutive Premier League titles with Leicester City – a save with over 600 hours of play time to its name; not to mention a record of 84 losses in 833 games.

The game continues to help prepare Orri for life on the touchline but it has also offered comfort in difficult times.

"Football Manager has been a therapeutic escape during harder periods in my life," he says. "I find solace and distraction from playing the game and it allows my mind to momentarily detach from real-world struggles.

"The strategic challenge definitely provides a welcome respite, offering a sense of control and achievement. I know it sounds bad but when I'm doing good in the game, I feel like I'm doing good in life."

Orri continued: "For me, it's the thrill of leading your favourite team to victory and the satisfaction of nurturing young talents.

"I have a genuine love and enthusiasm for the dynamic and strategic aspects of FM; whether that be navigating through transfer windows or handling press conferences. Oh, and the 4-2-3-1 formation I've used throughout my entire FM career? I’ll definitely play a form of that tactic in real life."

Orri has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Leicester City on Football Manager 2024. Image credit: Sports Interactive
Orri has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Leicester City on Football Manager 2024. Image credit: Sports Interactive

The Reykjavik native has previously dipped his inexperienced toes into the world of real-life management.

After hanging up his boots last year following hip surgery, Orri felt like he had "lost something in my life" so in the summer, he asked some friends that own 5. division side Kría if he could become head coach.

It turned out to be an inspired move. "After winning 13 games out of 16, we got promoted to the 4. division," he said. "Then, at the end of the season, KV called to express an interest in making me their new manager.

"A few meetings later and I signed a one-year contract. I took the job knowing it could be a really good stepping stone in my career, and to have some extra income to provide for my family, including my pregnant girlfriend, is huge."

Because he has yet to complete any coaching badges, Orri's friends call him "the Icelandic Will Still" but new club Knattspyrnufelag Vesturbæjar are convinced by his talents.

Auðunn Örn Gylfason, the chairman of KV, was full of praise for the inexperienced Thorisson.

"We wanted to take different route in appointing a manager this time around," he told SPORTbible. "Orri is a young, promising lad who not only has huge ambitions with our club, but a different experience and background from other candidates.

"We know success in Football Manager doesn't just happen with the swing of a magic wand. You need to have a deep understanding of the game and now time will tell if he can meet up to our expectations in real life."

Orri with KV chairman Auðunn Örn Gylfason. Image credit: X/@KVfotbolti
Orri with KV chairman Auðunn Örn Gylfason. Image credit: X/@KVfotbolti
KV announced the signing of Orri by using Football Manager. Image credit: Sports Interactive
KV announced the signing of Orri by using Football Manager. Image credit: Sports Interactive

Orri is certainly excited about the future. "So far, the management of the club has been unreal. The board and everyone around the club are so supportive and try to help me in any way they can.

"I can't wait for the season to start in May and I hope to see any Football Manager fanatics who might be travelling to Iceland this summer to come and watch us play."

Knattspyrnufelag Vesturbæjar will begin their league campaign against Iþrottafelag Hafnarfjardar on May 4.

Featured Image Credit: Orri Fannar Þórisson

Topics: Football Manager, Gaming, Iceland, Spotlight

Jack Kenmare
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