Make extra time for your loved ones now, stock up on excuses and book off a solid week for the start of November: Football Manager 18 has been announced.
The world's most realistic – or should that be irritatingly brilliant? – football management sim will return on Friday, November 10 and it's sure to end a few relationships, as well as guaranteeing we become obsessed with a regen from the Bolivian Third Division.
No further details have been announced yet so anything is possible. With that in mind, we've come up with a list of six features we're desperate to see included in Football Manager 18.
1. Month-to-month contracts
For those of us who like a challenge away from the bright lights of the Premier League, being able to sign a player before binning him a few weeks later is a staple.
In fact, managing a lower league or non-league club is much easier in the sense that players are transient. You can't sign Neymar for £198million only to decide he doesn't fit your meticulously-crafted system.
But further down the pyramid that is a reality. There are more players of the requisite calibre readily available and that means you are constantly on the look out for the player who'll make all the difference. Naturally, the downside is you need to move someone on to make room for your latest masterstroke of a signing.
Month-to-month contracts allow for that. You won't see Neymar, or anyone playing higher than the Championship, sign one but they give some flexibility – especially when it comes to sudden injuries outside the transfer window.
2. Enhanced press interaction
While the opportunities to babble some thoughts into a dictaphone have been increased in recent editions of Football Manager, with the latest offering being game-day interviews in the tunnel, press interactions feel like an appendage with little purpose at present.
You can give your considered thoughts before and after a game, when you sign someone and when you sell them, as well as ringing a journalist in the week to spout off about a player or manager.
But there doesn't appear to be a great deal of depth to those interactions and building relationships with journalists is non-existent. There should be benefits to giving reporters repeat custom – perhaps they go easier with their line of questioning or back you in their paper.
And what you say should have more impact. For example, if you criticise a player publicly, expect them to be knocking on your door. There is a world of opportunity with press interaction which is yet to be tapped into.
3. Megalomaniac owners
Apart from being sacked for poor performance, the worst things that can happen to you on Football Manager are being booted out when a new owner comes in or having the board sell players from undermyour feet.
Both are parts of modern football – see Birmingham City's nonsensical decision to can Gary Rowett in favour of Gianfranco Zola or Chelsea's sale of Nemanja Matić when Antonio Conte wanted to keep the Serb.
However, one pitfall of the modern owner is they're all frustrated managers. Take Glenn Tamplin at Bostik Premier League side Billericay Town. He has pumped millions into the Essex club and is footing a weekly wage bill in excess of £30,000 per week. But the pay-off is he is also manager.
And while having the owner take the reins is an extension of being forced out by owners who don't like the look of your face, another dimension would be owners meddling in team matters.
Remember when Roman Abramovich kindly bequeathed a hapless Andriy Shevchenko on José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti? Or, worse still, the reportedly part controversial former Leyton Orient owner Francesco Bechetti played in team selection during his nightmare reign at Brisbane Road.
4. Quirky pre-season activities
David Wagner made headlines last summer when he took his Huddersfield Town squad to Sweden for a camping trip as part of their pre-season preparations.
This was no normal getting to know you exercise, though. The German boss had his players catch, kill and cook their own meals – without the use of electricity – as they lived off the land. And mobile phones were not permitted.
And it clearly worked. Despite integrating a number of new signings, the Terriers began the season in flying form and won promotion via the Championship play-offs, beating Reading at Wembley.
Your pre-season options on Football Manager are limited to tours of countries. But, if the budget allowed, a range of options for slightly different pre-season activities, with the aim of building team spirit and improving certain mental attributes, would be an interesting addition.
Naturally, it could all backfire. ‘Your physio reports that Philippe Coutinho is out for four weeks after cutting off a finger during our pre-season training camp' is a headline we'd all like to see.
5. Club captains
We've all had a John Terry on our hands. A player who holds too much influence in the changing room but can no longer offer anything on the field. But moving them on is politically challenging and making someone else captain is lighting the blue touch paper.
With the introduction of club captains, you could have a figurehead like Terry who won't play but is being kept onside before being put out to pasture and then your on-field captain and vice-captain.
It's only a small tweak, but it would make life easier when you've got an iconic player who can no longer cut the mustard.
6. Club dictated recruitment policies
Everyone knows Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino prefers to sign young players with a high sell-on value. The same way Peterborough United polish up rough diamonds from non-league football and sell them on at huge profit. And at Watford, signing players from the Pozzo family's extensive scouting network is the preferred method.
The introduction of Directors of Football a few editions ago was a nice touch. But they feel kind of toothless while you can choose how much power they have in terms of recruitment.
But if clubs were to stipulate making signings which stayed within their recruitment policy, that would make things more interesting. Of course, you could deviate. However, you'd be risking the owner's wrath.