World of Sport

Student lands job running football team thanks to Football Manager on the computer

Vugar Huseynzade (l) and the national stadium in Baku where his side are basedWhen a 25-year-old football fan applied for the vacant boss's job at Middlesbrough on the strength of his experience playing Football Manager on the computer, sports fans across the world were left chuckling by the brilliant application letter.

Six years on from John Boileau's correspondence with Boro chairman Steve Gibson, dozens of others have followed suit - not least when hundreds of people applied recently for the Dumbarton job on the basis of their prowess playing FIFA 12.

But for one fan, video game prowess has finally paid off in the form of a job as manager of Azerbaijan side FC Baku's 'A' team.

Vugar Huseynzade, a 21-year-old student from Sweden, landed the job at one of Azerbaijan's top football clubs - reportedly beating off big names including France legend Jean-Pierre Papin to the post - despite his only experience of managing a team being on his computer.

Yet that devotion to the virtual game - along with some work experience stint with a sports agency in the USA - were apparently enough to land him the job.

"I've always wanted to work in football and have played Football Manager since 2002," Huseynzade told Scandinavian newspaper Aftonbladet.

Azerbaijan-born Huseynzade took over the job - equivalent to reserve team manager - after previous incumbent Kamran Ismayilov left by mutual consent after more than two years.

But while Ismayilov was a balding, greying veteran, Huseynzade is anything but. The newspaper reports that a chance encounter with the vice-president of FC Baku helped him get a job at the club as an assistant last February. When Ismayilov left, Huseynzade was fast-tracked in to take charge of the 'A' team at the current Azerbaijani champions.