The popular PC game Football Manager earned a Daventry man £2,500 last month.
Using the online streaming service Twitch, Leigh Reeve, 31, of Timpkin, made thousands as people watched him play Football Manager 2018.
As his online alias, Fox in the Box, Leigh played the game for up to ten hours at a time, streaming his gameplay to hundreds of viewers who paid to subscribe to his channel or donated.
Leigh said: “I never thought a hobby would turn into this."
Leigh’s obsession began when his uncle, a stadium announcer, took him to watch Coventry City as a child.
There was a PC at the ground where Leigh was introduced to Football Manager which he used to play while his uncle worked.
Leigh continued to play Football Manager into his adult life.
“The game absolutely wrecked my GCSEs,” said Leigh.
“I was quite a dysfunctional kid and I wasn’t very social. Football Manager took me into a different world.”
When Leigh left school he worked as a qualified football coach at Burton Albion’s youth team and with the Solihull Moors reserves.
Carpenter Ian Hemmingway, 28, who worked with Leigh at Burton Albion, said: “Leigh’s an all or nothing kind of coach and I’m sure he will be the first to admit he probably becomes too attached to the sides he was involved with.
“I think you can still see that with his Twitch channel and it’s probably a massive reason why so many people come back.
"The passion and emotion he shows in both is how we feel watching our beloved teams on a Saturday.”
Leigh also helped set up the Junior Premier League, which now has the biggest grassroots funding in the whole of England.
Leigh said: “There are several players on this game that I’ve coached!"
He also worked as a researcher for Sports Interactive, the company which develops the Football Manager series, before he stepped away from football.
Leigh would watch Watford FC every weekend and input digital attributes for each player to be used in the game.
“This helped me to understand the game a lot more,” he said.
“That’s when I started to work out that it is a football game but it’s also a game, like a chess game.
“My mentality for the game started to change. Before, I just played casually.”
Leigh then discovered Twitch, a site which streams video gameplay of its users to viewers.
“That’s where it began to really take off,” said Leigh.
“People see you playing live and when you know what you’re doing it’s interesting to them.”
Leigh became a Twitch partner last year, allowing him to earn money from the site and viewers as he streams.
Oliver Kemp, a 19-year-old student, has been watching Leigh’s stream for almost three years.
“I was looking through the FM category on Twitch and found his channel and the way he played the game and his positive personality kept me watching,” he said.
“He deserves his success, for the effort he’s put into the stream.”
With consistent streams throughout December, Leigh earnt almost £2,500 and had 220 people subscribe to his account.
“Football Manager wasn’t full-time until December,” said Leigh.
“Twitch’s guideline says: ‘be careful, don’t think you can get rich from doing it' and that, for me, has never been the interest.
“To be able to earn something from a hobby that I enjoy doing is a nice bonus.”