The Vanarama National League might be suspended for the entirety of June, but Title Sponsor Vanarama still managed to give out its manager of the month award by delving into the world of the computer game, Football Manager.
In a new campaign alongside creative agency Dark Horses, Vanarama searched the game for players who play with only non-league teams and awarded one with the prestigious award.
The winner was announced as James Elms, currently managing Farsley Celtic, who’s in-game CV includes a number of achievements taking over at struggling non-league sides and keeping them in their respective divisions.
Along with a Vanarama manager of the month trophy, Elms - who sees himself as the ‘Big Sam’ of the National League, in tribute to Former England manager Sam Allardyce whose managerial career saw him succeed with struggling teams - will be given two signed shirts from the clubs that he guided to safety: Farsley Celtic and Alfreton Town.
“We know how much people love the National League and just how much they are missing it, so we want to keep as many of the traditions alive in this time of no football,” said said Daryl West, Head of Sponsorship and Social Media, Vanarama.
“James has been a non-league stalwart for eight seasons keeping teams from the drop and leading them up the league, and it’s about time he got some credit. It’s now time for the other football managers to step up and take him on to win next season’s award.”
Elms, added: "It's a real honour for me to win and become the first Football Manager player to win an actual manager of the month award. It’s not always been the most glamorous work in the Vanarama National League, but it’s real football with real fans who have pride and dedication. People believe Football Manager is just a game, but it's got such a great community behind it, which makes this win even more special!"
The campaign will appear on Vanarama’s social media sites in the same vein as its usual manager of the month award announcements.