The player takes a football team and manages them to win games and eventually the championship. The player does not control each individual team member directly. Instead, he designs plays and acquires players from other teams in order to make the perfect team. Kevin Keegan was one of the more popular football managers during the 1990s. The graphics were considered minimalist in contrast to games released in North America and that is why the game was never released there.
Unlike the majority of football management sims, both of the time and today, Kevin Keegan's Player Manager gave the player the option of having direct control of your team on the pitch like a regular football sim (but only if your own personal character was still within playing age and currently representing your team on the pitch), as well as doing all the managerial side of the gameplay as in regular football management sims. The actual on the pitch gameplay was made using the Kick Off 2 engine developed by Dino Dini. You were the player-coach, and you begin the game as a 28-year-old. When you become 35 years old at the end of the 2000 season you automatically declare your retirement and it becomes impossible to control the players during a match from that point onwards. It would also be impossible to control the players if he missed a game to injury or being put in reserves. After a few more seasons, however you could sign his nephew or other family member and you are then again able to control the players on the pitch again. There were only forty-eight teams in a three division structure, and the top tier was titled 'Division 1' as this was before the days of the Premier League. It also featured the FA Cup (titled the Misawa Cup), and Football League Cup (titled Premier Cup) competitions.
The game has features which are evident in today's football management games, like training, scouting and newspaper reports. Other football sim conventions which may have began with Kevin Keegan's Player Manager include colour associated positions. It is common in football sims for Goalkeepers to be green, Defenders blue and Strikers being red. Player Manager is believed to be the first game to employ this colour code, although it also had colours such as Sky blue for Sweepers, Black for midfielders (now commonly yellow), Yellow for Wingers and White for Utility players.
Source: Wikipedia, "Kevin Keegan's Player Manager", available under the CC-BY-SA License.