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.
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.