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Five free football games to play in lockdown

Tuesday 26th January 2021
We take a look at five games that will not cost you a penny this lockdown, just your time
We take a look at five games that will not cost you a penny this lockdown, just your time

These are hard times we’re living in. Many of us are stuck at home are out of work and looking for things to do. For football fans, things might be especially difficult with many competitions disrupted by the dreaded coronavirus and the chances of getting to a match about the same as Celtic winning ten in a row.

But hope is on the horizon. If you’re reading this article, that means you have an internet connection. And while the death of Flash means so many games have gone the way of Macclesfield Town, you can still enjoy the magic of football through a range of free games. Here are five of the best free ones you can play right now.

Today's Football Tips

#5 - New Star Soccer

New Star Soccer is a great game for those without access to a computer. Available on smartphones, the game allows players to create their own 2D footballer and guide them through their football career. Beginning in the lower leagues, players work their way up the divisions and can play for hundreds of real-world clubs from around the world. Score goals, make assists, lead your team to titles and become club captain.

While players on the free version of the game are limited to playing three matches per day,  it’s more than enough to get started and while away some downtime.


ITSAGOAL is a fairly detailed management game. Teams play matches each weekday, making it perfect for those who play games on work computers (only in downtime of course!). Matches are played against other real players from around the world and there’s a chance to guide your team through multiple tiers of a country’s league system.

Along with standard managerial duties like team selection, transfers, and the like, players can set training regimes, develop their club’s stadium and develop a youth team.

Guiding a team from the 7th tier to the top of the pile is incredibly rewarding, and the game’s small but passionate community means you can become an online legend.


#3 - Rocket League

Okay, strictly speaking, Rocket League is not association football. No FA across the world would accept rocket-powered cars instead of players (well, maybe Wales), but it involves a ball and two nets, so it's close enough. The game was made free to play in late 2020 and is well worth a go.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you ought to. It’s chaotic fun, there are multiple game modes to keep players interested, you can customise your car and it has rockets and explosions. What’s not to like? Players can choose between casual fun with friends or strangers or try and climb the ranked ladder in competitive mode. There really is something for everyone.

Rocket League is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
Rocket League is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

#2 - Championship Manager: Season 01/02

Everyone loves a classic and Championship Manager 01/02 is a giant among them but also a time thief, you have been warned! The game is available for free download and although it can be a bit fiddly, requiring you to read some instructions before it can be played, but the extra effort is well worth it though for the fun you’ll have.

There’s plenty of exciting teams to take control of. Manchester United’s side features the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Arsenal has Freddy Ljungberg and Thierry Henry in the squad and if you want to play as Manchester City, well, you’ll have to start in the old second division with no billionaire owners!

That said if you don’t fancy making use of these historic greats. You can always download an update featuring updated team rosters as of November 2020. Sure, it may lack some of the features of the latest manager games but this classic still holds up 20 years on from its original release and will work on most home computers, not the massive gaming rigs you need for some games. 

Be prepared to lose a lot of time, not advisable to play if you are due to hand in a big project...
Be prepared to lose a lot of time, not advisable to play if you are due to hand in a big project...

#1 - Hattrick

Incredibly fun and addictive, Hattrick is another game where players form a team and guide them through a league system against other players from around the world. While it's a little more wacky and chaotic than other management games, with many teams utilising wild formations and crazy in-game events a regular occurrence, this is a game that's perfect for players who like to enjoy Hattrick playing every day or even once a week. Games are normally played every couple of weeks, but you can set instructions in advance if you only have internet access at certain times.

While it’s similar to ITSAGOAL in many ways, but lacks a lot of the former game’s realism and detail, it’s lots of fun and a little easier for new players to dive into.

Manchester United News Manchester City News
Jonny Keen

Glasgow based writer keen (geddit?) on the cultural elements of football. More interested in the fortunes of Cefn Druids or HJK Helsinki than the latest goings on at Manchester City or Real Madrid.

Once played 10 minutes of a game in the 17th tier of English football. He thinks the best food in football is to be found at Forest Green Rovers and Rayo Vallecano are the only club in Madrid. 

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