The start of the season - you sit by the side of the pitch, breathing in the rich fragrance of grass that has been carefully nurtured all summer - apart from the odd carnival and farewell concert by The Who - in preparation for this day.
Then out of the tunnel, with the roar of the crowd building to a crescendo in their ears, come Stalin, Lenin, Thatcher, Reagan and the rest of the lads - because this isn't the real game, just the next best thing, Football Manager.
You manage a clapped out team somewhere in darkest Division Four. Your goal, if you'll pardon the expression, is to battle your way up to the top of the First Division, winning the FA Cup as many times as you can on your way.
You can pick any team you fancy, and can rename one (along with the players) if the cream of four divisions holds no joys for you.
Considering the enormity of the task, even the best of us will take five or six seasons at five to six hours per season to crack this one, and if you choose the most difficult level you may not crack it at all.
I started out by renaming my team Dundee Utd - Scottish readers would do well to consider a similar course - and ploughed through the player pool, amassing an ill-assorted bunch of history's hard-men.
At the easy level I found it plain sailing. I could manage the team well, snapping up good players when they came on the market, swopping them round so they didn't get too tired, until I had a side that could see off even the First Division giants.
But I forsook the trophies, got over-confident and switched by the mode - you can do this in mid-play - to "genius". Legs started breaking and groins straining, and my team soon became microcomputing's answer to Tranmere Rovers. Two seasons with no wins and only three goals scored, and I was back on "easy". Another feeble season while I paid the bills and repaired the damage.
You bite your nails as the goal-mouth dramas are played out, you can buy Rasputin, sell Kevin Keagan, and if you ever get good at it, you just have to turn up the skill level for your one-way ticket back to the Isthmian League.