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Strengthening

Glad to see a few more key signings coming in pre-season. Vedran Corluka played to hard to get for a while but we signed him for £5M which is pretty good for a regular first-teamer.

Vedran Corluka at age 21

Corluka is not especially great stats-wise as you can see but he gives rock solid performance at right-back while getting a few goals along the way too.

As well as Corluka we splashed the cash and signed our most expensive player for £18M – he will be crucial in the midfield engine room for the next decade or so.

Mikel John Obi is a great midfielder (usually) and with Huddlestone and Sissoko (who also signed, see below) will form the backbone of my team for the next 10-15 years. He gets over 7 consistently and scores and assists a fair few as well. £18M well spent in my book.

As mentioned, I also got Sissoko from Liverpool youth, for £11M.

Momo Sissoko at age 22

Sissoko is arguably the best of the midfield trio, he has the edge in goals scored and this pushes up his average score over the seasons. All three midfielders can tackle and pass to a high standard and all are pretty quick too, so they cover the main stats nicely.

Finally for major signings I’ve gone for Cavenahgi from Bordeax as I think my strike-force is a bit light given the age of Bojan and Saha.

To be honest I am not a massive fan of Cavenaghi but he will do for a season or two until Bojan and Saha are old enough to play every game at a good enough level. He can hit 50 plus goals in a seaon but isn’t as consistent as other top strikers in my experience.

You may notice a lack of centre-backs, to be honest I find that a difficult area to fill as nobody seems up to the job for any length of time, they have a few good seasons and then go off. I quite like Micah Richards but can’t afford him now even with the sales we’ve made, so I will stick with the Spurs default defence of Ledly King and Michael Dawson, they are good enough for now.

Other signings made are just some youngsters for the future, I rate Aaron Ramsey, Victor Moses and John Bostock as well worth getting eary on. The latter two from Palace you can pick them up for £2-300k or so, they are very handy once they get into their 20s, but might not be good enough for my squad with Sissoko and Obi, certainly make a profit on them though!

I did try to sign Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal as well as he is a great midfielder who scores and assists but they wanted silly money – partly as we’re arch-rivals so had to abandon that, I may try again later in the season.

It’s now time to play our first league games (Spurs are not in any other competitions other than the FA and League cups) and we are going with a 4-3-3 formation, this is my default see below:

It’s a standard back 4, I find in a good season I concede less than a goal every other game in the league – it’s simple but effective. The main thing here is 3 in midfield, all central midfielers and 3 up front, all strikers or centre-forwards. As long as you have 3 midfielders who can tackle and pass you will control most games, they need stamina and pace ideally as well. Then with three players up front you should score a sackful of goals too, most seasons I end up with most goals and concede fewest as well.

You’ll notice I also signed Vermuilen as well at centre-back, more on him later.

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First Signings

After a couple of weeks wheeling and dealing, we have a few new players at the club and have managed to offload a few has-beens.

First signings

Pleased to see Bojan signing, he will be a key striker for the next decade and a half. Paid a bit over the odds for him but nothing drastic considering what his value will be in time. Also got Pavlis who is a good if not brilliant striker, that was a good deal at £1.6M. Finally Neuer who again was probably a bit pricey but is number one keeper for a good 15 years or so.

We offloaded Robinson and Murphby, both at good prices so to date we have nearly balanced the books with a couple more signings in progress – a surprise was Corluka deciding he doesn’t want to join the team, so will try him again while looking for another FBR.

Bojan at 16.

As you can see, Bojan’s stats are pretty handy for a 16 year old, but as with most youngsters he won’t be good enough for the first team just yet. I’ll play him as a sub and give him the odd run out until he matures enough.

Now for Pavlis:

Mixalis Pavlis at 17

Now Pavlis is pretty much good enough at age 17 to play in the first team alongside Berbatov, let’s see how he gets on. He’s not quite as prolific as Bojan in my experience (but not played this much so maybe not).

Finally for the first signings, here’s the new keeper Manuel Neuer:

Good stats for a keeper but I am not really a fan of keepers, the game never gives them good ratings, anything around 6.5 is good. I think if you can keep the goals down to 0.5 a game or thereabouts you’re doing well.

I cannot really risk spending more money at the moment with the other transfers I have still in negotiation, hopefully we can sell another couple of players quickly. Three weeks to go to our first competitive game, away at West Ham – tasty!

In the meantime we are doing a tour of Holland playing some friendlies, I usually pick my best team for these and drop in the odd younger player to see how they get on. Try to ensure everyone is fresh and ready to go for the first league game.

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Sales

I’ve just started out managing Spurs and have a budget of £50M at my disposal – not bad for 2008 but as I only have 3 players I’m 100% happy with it’s not enough, so time to sell off some players.

Spurs have a few players around the £8-£12 M mark and I just put them all up for sale, it takes a few months to sell some of them and by then I intend having replacements drafted in.

Robbie Kean, Jermaine Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Darren Bent are all put on the transfer list with the rest – Lennon is actually quite a good player but not with the system I play, more on that later.

Spurs reserves and youth squad don’t have anyone worth much cash so I am keeping them for now.

So that’s done, pretty much the entire squad is now up for sale and this is the fans expectation, before a single signing has been made:

Talk about blind optimism, I’ll see what I can do guys!

Just a matter of time now and waiting for the offers to roll in – meantime I’ll spend what money we currently have sat in the bank.

First signing I’m going for is Bojan – this guy is very heavily tipped as one of the best strikers in the game and it’s good to sign him early when he’s relatively cheap. His stats are not great early on at age 16 but he matures into an excellent striker and I’ve seen his value up around £40M so I am going for him early. First bid of £6M going in.

Other players I want to tempt are Manuel Neuer (GK 21 yo Schalke) , Ben Sahar (Striker 18 yo QPR), Momo Sissoko (Liverpool 16 yo, DMC), Vedran Corluka (FBR Man City), Max Pavlis (18 yo FW at AEK). I’ve put bids in for all of these and now need to wait as funds won’t allow many more purchases – there’s nothing worse than getting a player agreed to sign but then not having the money to complete the transfer so I want to avoid that.

I’ve had a few bids on some of my players alread, I’ve negotiated all for bit more cash and asked for 40% on all future transfers – you tend to find they always agree to this and it’s a nice windfall when the players do move on again.

It’s early July so about a month until the season starts, need to transform this team quickly!

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CM 2008 Blog

You may be wondering why someone is writing a blog about a 12-year-old game. Good question, the fact is I’ve found myself with some spare time on my hands due to the Coronavirus lockdown and wanted to revisit this great title. I used to play the original Championship Manager in the early 90s (on a Commodore Amiga!) and decided to see how the game has evolved. I saw the 2008 version on Steam for £3 so thought it was a bargain and here I am!

It’s also a chance to revisit previous footballing memories – back in 2008 Ronaldo and Messi were virtually unknown, both at the start of their long and illustrious careers. The “old” Ronaldo is in the game, age 30 at Milan as well as some other golden oldies, Romario, Cafu and so on. Youngsters include Mario Ballotelli at 16 and Aguero as a 19-year-old virtual unknown.

Way back when I was playing the original CM (It might have been CM2 come to think of it) you could actually sign Gary Lineker from Grampus 8 in the J League and Gazza was at the height of his powers – showing my age now!

The game is as addictive as it ever was so I thought I’d blog about my exploits and throw in a few tips, plus the usual player recommendations, please leave comments if you have ideas or suggestions.

I usually start out with a small side and try to get them into the big time, but thought I’d go for a quicker hit for the blog and start with a big team and try to win as many titles as quickly as possible. For this I need to begin with a big club with some big players and a budget to match.

As I am in the UK I am starting with an English side, I am not a fan of any team in particular so can be quite mercenary about this – I narrowed the choice down to just a few teams including Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. However, my final choice for team may be a little surprising – Tottenham Hotspur!

Spurs are a big enough side to attract most players (but they do find Arsenal and Chelsea will put a big price on their players heads as they are bitter rivals!) and they also have a decent transfer budget, around £50 M but you can sell some of their “big names” to double that. I usually tick the “benefactor” option at game setup to get a bigger transfer budget, not that £50 M is excessive even back in 2008.

Spurs have a few players who are either the best in the game (at the start) or contenders for that title.

I present to you, Dimitar Berbatov! You can keep your Bojans and Cavenaghis, Berbatov is in my experience simply the best striker in the game, full stop! He once scored 88 goals for me in a season, in all competitions and kept going strong until the age of 36 before retiring – even getting over 50 goals in his final season! His only drawback is he starts the game age 26 so you miss a few years of him at his peak, but he does play well into his thirties so that’s around 10 years of hitting 40 plus goals a season. He can also take free-kicks and penalties, my goal in this blog is to see if I can get him to hit 100 goals in a season! Dimitar is also very fit and doesn’t tend to pick up many injuries, see if I can jinx him with that statement.

His stats are good but nothing too brilliant, but I suspect his hidden stats must be top draw.

Berbatov is good enough on his own that you can pair him with pretty much anyone else and have a good strike force, but Spurs also have Defoe and Bent who are decent in their own right, but I will be signing younger talent that will make a formidable goal scoring line-up. More on that later.

The midfield is an important area for any successful team, arguablly the most important area. For this Spurs have Tom Huddlestone, a young player who really excells at winning the ball as well as scoring the odd goal and setting up a few too. In fact Huddlestone is probably the best player in this role given his age, only question mark is his discipline, he loves a yellow or red card!

Huddlestone is only 20 at the start of the game but good enough to play every game and get ratings well over 7 – he should also score a handful of goals and set up a handful too.

Alongside Huddlestone Boateng and Jenas are good enough to play until you can buy in more talent. I prefer DMC or MC for the midfield as I need midfielders who can tackle and usually WG and AMC are just too much of a luxury, although if I find and AMC with a good tackling skill (over 60, ideally over 80) I sometimes give them a run out. I’ll discuss my preferred formation later and this will shed more light on my thinking here.

The last Spurs player who I consider to be best in the game is Gareth Bale – he’s only17 and specialises as a Left Full Back which is a huge difference from the Bale of today, but he did actually favour that position in his early playing career.

Gareth Bale at age 17

Bale is simply awesome at Left Full Back and I usually get him to take corners (sometimes free kicks and penalties) – he doesn’t score many but as corner taker will rack up 20 plus assists in a good season. He has 15 plus years ahead of him and is often the fans player of the year and often Premier League player of the year as well.

Those are the three key players in my side, you could start as another side (Chelsea would be my second preference and then either Arsenal, Man United or Liverpool as all have some strong players) – if doing that then I’d recommend the three Spurs players highlighted as good signings early on – all should be performing well for at least 10 seasons.

If you do take on the role of Spurs boss, first job I’d recommend is to get rid of some spare players to release funds to buy new ones.

More on that in the next installment! I’ll try to update this daily, depending on how much spare time I have.