Warning: The following post will only be of interest to football fans, specifically those who play football-management-simulation-games.
Hello. My name is Sashi, and I’m a Championship Manager addict.
Oh, the stories I can tell about my virtual adventures as a pseudo-football-manager!
How about the time I took Brighton into the Premiership and finished two rungs below a UEFA Cup place? Or the time a player I signed for Liverpool for less than £2k ended up winning the World Player of the Year Award some years later? Or how about when Robbie Fowler, who in his final season before retirement, scored the winning goal a minute before time to win the World Cup for England (who I was managing)? Or how about when in a last ditch attempt to avoid defeat in the European Champions League final, I sent the goalkeeper up to join the attack – and he scores – not once, not twice, but – THREE times to win the cup for us?!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “This hombre has gone loco…”
When I first started playing the game (way back in 1996), naturally like most first-time players, I selected my favourite team – Liverpool – as the team to manage and went on from there. While it’s always a blast and quite challenging to manage any team in this game, I soon came to realise that to enjoy the full CM experience, one has to approach it in the most realistic way possible (i.e. similar to how someone in real life would start his managerial career) – at the bottom rung.
Hence it has become something of a tradition for me to start every CM game at the 3rd Division (I only ever play the English leagues – although I have been interested in Spanish and Italian leagues, I stick to England for sentimental and practical reasons too (CM tends to demand huge computing power when you play more than one league at the same time)….
A few weeks ago, I started a CM 03/04 game as manager of Third Division Huddersfield Town. I have several reasons for selecting this club. They’re a club with a national reputation, they were one of the clubs managed by Bill Shankly before he came to Liverpool, they have (in the game, at least) two very good young players in Jonathan Stead (who, in real life, is currently playing for Blackburn Rovers) and winger John Thorrington. (I know that they’re good based on previous game experiences).
It’s been an interesting ride, so far.
I got them promoted to the 2nd Division in my first season in charge, finishing strongly despite a weak start, and squeaked in at 2nd place.
The following season, despite the Board’s expectations that we ‘consolidate our position’, I led my team into the playoffs and won the final to gain promotion into the First Division. We scored a record 103 goals too during the 2nd Division campaign…
A dream start to my managerial career, indeed. 🙂
I am now plotting the team’s charge for promotion to the Holy Grail – Premiership football. It’s not going to be easy; both the Board and the supporters ‘expect the club to battle bravely against relegation’. Once again my team has confounded the pundits – we currently sit comfortably just off the main pack (it’s December 2005 in game time), and poised to make a sustained challenge for promotion.
However, there are problems. First of all, the club’s financial position remains insecure. During the entire two and a half seasons I’ve been in charge, I’ve only paid a transfer fee for one player. (Bradley Orr for £7k). I’ve signed a few other journeyman players for free, but my best players (not including the aforementioned Stead and Thorrington) are my loan signings. Two of them, left winger Courtney Pitt and striker Craig Fagan have been such excellent players that I’m honestly surprised they haven’t been signed by other teams. In any case, I’m preparing for such an eventuality by bringing in youth players for free and hoping they’ll be good enough to take over those positions.
Nevertheless, my main aim right now is to build a solid enough reputation to catch the attention of the ‘big’ clubs, because, honestly, I don’t think I can do much more than what I’ve done for Huddersfield Town, given the size of the club and financial position.
Like Shankly, I too am waiting for Liverpool to come and get me….
Of course, one can always cheat, but where’s the fun in that? 😉