Life Swap

Greetings from season 26. In a world where a 61 year old Peter Beardsley has inspired England to World Cup glory, you might wonder where we go from here. You’re right to be concerned, it’s an uneasy time for us all. But with Euro 2024 qualification underway, you’ll be glad to know the fame has gone to Pedro’s head and the consequences are worrying. I’ll elaborate…

Firstly though, some managerial movement. Chelsea fill their vacancy with this vagrant

Chandler to Chelsea

Sheff Wed need yet another new manager and after presumably trying to get Bryan Robson again, they opt for Kieron Dyer

dyer to sheff wed

Derby appoint a guy called Richard Fashanu. Dick Fashanu. Make your own jokes.

Some things never change, like the Charity Shield. Obviously it did actually change to the Community Shield some years after the release of this game, but I mean it always opens the season

CS 22

Alex Ferguson scoring against Man Utd is an irony that is not lost on me. Also, Vinny Ironside. great names, great characters.

In this parallel universe, David Beckham doesn’t have it all. In fact, he has very little. Here, he plumbs new depths by being sacked from Chester City

Chester sack Beckham

You’d be forgiven for thinking Beckham and Beardsley should maybe swap

I’m still Milan manager, it’s probably the best side I’ve managed and that is saying something. They’re just brutal, and other than the odd game where the opposition keeper has a worldie, we usually win. The Champions League group isn’t too bad either

CL group draw

As you’d expect with a group like that, we’re under a little bit of pressure from Dortmund but having beaten them at the San Siro, I’d imagine we’ll get through either way given how good our goal difference is compared to the German side.

CL group 4 games

We’re also going along nicely in the Coppa Italia

coppa QF draw

I think I’d like to win everything this year, and then ideally the Darlington job will be available and I can rebuild them. Fingers crossed.

We’re also top of the league but it’s still very early days

serie A top November

With the World Club Cup and the European Super Cup still to come, we’ve got plenty to keep us busy in the winter months.

Back home though and England’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign is underway. It’s an easy group but we’re nearly undone in game one…until everybody’s favourite pensioner pops up with a late winner

england 2 - 1 iceland

Beardsley has decided to start picking himself for Man City. It was ok when he was in Division 3 doing that but at Premier League level…why Peter? I blame myself by and large by giving him these ideas by picking him for England. He’s still found the time to net a couple for Man City though

beardsley prem goal

Silly Blackburn. What a stallion of a man though.

beardsley november

England went on to win their other 2 qualifiers but Beardsley did nothing but grab an assist in one of them, so I don’t really care.

England group 3 games

I am hoping he can fill his boots against Albania and Liechtenstein, as we’ve already beaten the top 3 we’re on good shape to qualify.

As for the Premier League, Steve Haslam’s Arsenal top the pile with Manchester United, Chelsea and…Tranmere in hot pursuit.

prem top november 22

Where’s Beardsley you ask? Look down.

prem bottom nov 22

So, picking himself may well be his undoing at Man City. He’s not under pressure yet, but I imagine he will be before long.

Another update has come to an end then, but please join me next time as we hope Beardsley survives the winter (in every possible sense). Bye for now.

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Peter, Peter he runs like a Cheater

Welcome to the final update of 2021/22, and what’s more is it’s a World Cup year! Woo. But more on that later on, we’ve got domestic bliss to wrap up first. We’ll start with the Pointless Cup.

League Cup

Oh I am so excited. Haslam vs Hull.

LC Final 22

Haslam wins! After extra time mind you but you just can’t defend with tired legs against Tallon and Rastborg. Apparently.

LC final score

On we go then, FA Cup

FA Cup

Haslam’s at it again, I can’t imagine there was any problem with Man Utd playing Everton at Anfield. Great. Man Utd/Arsenal final is probably better for the neutral

FA SF Results

So the old rivalry goes on

fa cup final 22

A thrilling final, turns out you can handle Tallon and Rastborg if they are left on the bench. But we all know there are bigger fish to fry

Champions League

AC Milan and I get on really well, and as if to underline that point we coast to the final after an entertaining semi final with Marseille.

CL SF Results

Atletico Madrid in the final and we’re just too good for them on the night, though we did have the notable advantage of the final being in Italy.

CL Final 22

The ratings sum it all up really, we actually went behind against the run of play but we’re in red hot form.

CL Final ratings

We won Serie A with a couple of games to spare, so it’s all good for me.

league won 2 games spare

And whilst it’s great times for me, it’s less good for Sunderland who drop out of the football league

mackems out

Still, they’ll have the biggest stadium in the Conference.

Premier League

At the top, Scott Colcombe is bringing the good times back to Old Trafford as they complete a League & FA Cup double. There’s also a return to form for Everton as Bryan Robson continues to finish second continually, but Beardsley narrowly misses out on a European tour. Actually, they might get in because of who the cup finalists were…I guess we’ll find out next time.

prem top final

At the bottom, Liverpool are the latest big club to fall through the trap door.

prem bottom final

Player/Manager Des pays for it

liverpool ssack des

But hold on, Liverpool have got a plan. They bring back a club legend

unsworth to liverpool

Now, I know what you are thinking. Unsworth was actually an Everton legend. Well he was, but his first job in manager back in 2008 was player/boss at Liverpool. He won them the Premier League before being lured by the Spain job when I vacated that role back in 2010. So having just won the Spanish league with Real Madrid, it makes perfect sense for him to depart and answer an SOS call. Honourable, and you’ve got to like their chances of coming back at the first attempt.

So with all that in the bag, let’s move on to the Internationals. You may remember last time out I left you with this cliffhanger

Twitter Poll

I can’t let the public down now, can I?

World Cup

Let’s get this out of the way. Yes, I’ve added myself in as England manager. In my eyes, I can’t have done much more to get the job and it seems to be a technicality that, having managed another country, I am overlooked for all other national jobs. So I don’t feel bad about adding myself in, and it’s a decision that is vindicated as Pedro notches on his re-debut, after his last cap in 1996.

holland 0 - 3 england

Blimey. The thing is, England are European Champions but I assumed playing with a pensioner as centre forward would cause some problems. It has seemingly galvanised us.

It’s an all European group of Denmark, Yugoslavia and Greece, so that seems fair. I’ve messed up the squad too, so we’ll only go with 21

england squad 22

What happened was…Darren Edmondson (Owen) got injured so I needed to replace him. I then changed my mind on the replacement and withdrew him and it wouldn’t let me put someone else in. Sack the admin. So we’re somewhat short of forwards, given that one is 61 years old there’s a lot of pressure on the two remainding forwards.

The tournament starts with a shock defeat for the hosts

spain 0 - 1 nigeria

But then it’s time for the main event, Beardsley and friends

england 2 - 0 denmark

Woo. Points on the board.

Bit harsh.

bit harsh

Whatever. Bring on Yugoslavia

yugoslavia 0-0

This was every bit as grim as it looks. Dennis was injured and Cox suspended, it nearly cost us. But we haven’t conceded a goal in two games and isn’t that really all that matters

Meanwhile, I don’t know what is going on with the Australia squad

strange australia

25 man squad, 2 keepers on the bench…only 3 subs. WHAT!?

Back to business though and a point against Greece will see us through

beardsley vs greece

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. I think that makes him the oldest World Cup scorer. I doubt it’ll be beaten.

So that’s us through, here’s the final groups

World Cup Groups final

I assumed it would be South Africa for us next but apparently it’s a more random draw.

Last 16 vs Bolivia

I’m immediately drawn to the fact that Brazil are in our quarter. That can’t end well. Anyway, Bolivia first.

Pens vs Bolivia

Goodness me. Two minutes away from elimination. Lethal pens though.

We might have avoided a shock but Italy are not as lucky.

south africa beat italy

Obviously it is my striker who misses the decisive pen. Brazil scrape through to meet us in the last 8

brazil vs scotland

Pick your winner! You’ve got to be happy if you are France

QF Draw

Brazil then. They’re good.

england 3 -2 brazil

Good grief. A topsy turvy game and perhaps unsurprisingly, Beardsley has nothing to do with any of the goals. But what a win!

It could be a repeat of hte 1990 semi final (well, sort of, West Germany…Germany…work with me here) but Spain are in the way

spain 3 - 2 germany

Two great quarter finals later and it’ll be Spain vs England. France look primed for the final

SF 2

Away to Spain…

SF Draw

We’re getting good at these Penalties!

England vs spain

Cox plays for Valencia but he might never be allowed in Spain again after snatching us a draw and taking it to extra time. With Mendes suspended, we were down to 2 strikers, and Stuart left on a stretcher. So it was Beardsley on his own at the age of 61 and playing 120 minutes. He survived and slotted his pen. We’re in the final!!

We’ll face France. Shocker.

other SF result

France absolutely whipped us in a warm up game (we lost 3-0) so I’ve been dreading it coming to this.

First though, we MUST find out who came 3rd

Yugo 3rd

Spain should probably…practice their pens.

Back to the Nou Camp then and would you bloody believe it, we’ve only won the World Cup!

World Cup final 22

Mendes went off injured so it was Beardsley up front on his own for half an hour. Incredibly, he went on a mazy run and smashed hit shot off the crossbar and Cox knocked in the rebound. Because it sounds unbelievable, here is the proof of the old man’s assist

england ratings

We’ll ignore the fact he had 7 shots and only one on target. Legend.

Mexico to host 2026, that’ll be a nice way for Pedro to spend his 65th birthday (if the game lets us go that far)

mexico 26

We’ll finish with some awards, firstly Italy

award 22 italy

Manager of the year, yippeeee. Here’s England

awards 22 eng

Beardsley should have got something. But he’s a winner in my heart anyway.

David Platt just can’t sit still. So he’s retired

platt retires

But the best news of all, Gordon Milne is out of my life!

milne retires

Still with me? 1200 words later, I’ll wrap this up. I’m already looking forward to Euro 2024 qualification, I’m sure Beardsley will thrive as he edge his way towards 100 caps. In fact, here he is to finish with. See you next time.

beardsley 61 final

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England’s loss…

Good day and welcome to 2022. I am still very bitter after being overlooked for the England job, and I’m taking out my frustrations on…well, pretty much every team in my way. Meanwhile as I am tearing up Italy, some old favourites are stealing the headlines back home. Let’s get to it.

We’ll start with Serie A for a change. In the 90’s, Serie A had a bit of a reputation for being a little bit dull. CM took that to heart and went out of its way to make sure that depiction was inaccurate

classic serie a

What a Sunday. On the plus side, we’ve absolutely dominated the league and with just 6 games to go, we have a 9 point cushion. With our defense still watertight, it’s looking good for us.

serie A top march 22

One of the reasons our defence has been so good is this chap, who was actually my first signing when I arrived.

piraccini

He’s now worth £6m and captained Italy on his debut. Because that happens. Anywhoo, the average ratings make for good reading.

average ratings

And yes, I’ve signed Antonio Carlos (Ronaldo) from Newcastle

carlos to milan

We made it through the Champions League group with flying colours, seeing off Dortmund eventually

CL group final

That lead to an intriguing quarter final tie with Sampdoria, a battle of Italy if you will. We just about egded it.

CL QF Results

The semi finals is set up quite nicely with a representative each from 4 of Europe’s stronger nations.

CL SF draw

Anyway, Man Utd are going strong in the Champions League but it’s leading to a mighty fixture pile up. They have an FA Cup Quarter Final replay with Hull scheduled for a Friday night of all times. The reward will be a semi final with Bryan Robson’s Everton.

FA SF Draw

Hull are still quite a threat under Paul Warhurst and that is underlined by their appearance in the pointless cup final, where they will face a resurgent Steve Haslam’s Arsenal.

LC SF results

So Haslam has got his career back on track with two cup runs, and Bryan Robson has made a reutrn to the big time not only with that FA Cup semi final spot, but he’s top of the ruddy league!

prem top march 22

We’ve been here so many times with Robson though, and he’s yet to see it through and win the title. This time though…who knows. Aston Villa seems like a boring place to be this season, and would you just look at who’s in fourth!

PB 61.JPG

He’s well on his way to being on a European tour, despite never picking himself. Or maybe that is why. Either way, good luck sir.

The bottom of the table is grim reading for two of England’s bigger clubs.

prem bottom march 22

Liverpool and Chelsea are in a dire situation, David Platt has failed miserably as Le Tissier’s replacement. Sheff Wed had some good times under Bryan Robson but it’s unravelled somewhat and their place in the top flight is under threat. Mass drama.

So that’s it for another update, but we’re homing in on the 2022 World Cup. England’s group is…very European

England WC draw

Spain 2022 – we’ll see you there, especially if I act on the result of this Twitter poll

Twitter Poll

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And the winner is…

We asked you to guess the score (here) and plenty of you gave it a go. Here’s how the match played out

I’m delighted to reveal the winner:

comp winner

Perfect score guess and the correct first scorer, Adam pipped @cookdnbombd by being 11 minutes closer to the first goal time. Well played sir, you have won a £30 voucher courtesy of our friends at Classic11.com

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Classic11 Advert 2 747 x 400

Competition Time!

To celebrate the return of the Premier League this coming weekend, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Classic11.com to give you the chance to win a £30 voucher for use over on the Classic11 website. With a huge range of vintage football shirts available, you’re bound to have your eyes on something if you browse through the collection.

To stand a chance of winning the prize, all you need to do is guess the score of Everton vs Tottenham…as played out on CM9798.

To give you a chance, here are the lineups for the game. I’ll record the whole game and upload it in case you want to re-live the action. I’ll also ask you to name who you think the first goalscorer will be and the time of the first goal just to act as tiebreakers in the event that more than one of you guess the score correctly.

How do I enter?

All you need to do is retweet this tweet and reply with your prediction, e.g. 6-6 Beardsley 31. If you don’t retweet, your entry won’t be counted.

Here are the teams…

teams

For those interested in this sort of thing, the database hasn’t been touched and the managers are the late Howard Kendall and Christian Gross. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice both teams have made a few signings to try and improve their fortunes from the real life 97/98 season.

Get your predictions in now! Entries close on Saturday 13th August at 12pm UK time.

Name & Number Shirts Advert

Warning! Boring explanation below:

How the tiebreak works

Let’s say two entrants predict the correct score. Everybody else is essentially eliminated at this point, leaving just the two correct entrants. If either entrant has got the correct first goalscorer, they will win. If both do, or indeed neither of you do, then it’ll go to your time of first goal guess. Whoever is closer will win. In the event that both entrants are equally incorrect (e.g. it is 80th and entrant said 75th and the other 85th) then the winner will be decided by a coin toss and I will question ever running something like this again.

The Man Who Won’t be King

Welcome back! We’ve had a nice close season break here at 97/98 towers but we’re back in business today as we kick off the 21/22 season.

Another new season is upon us and whilst you might think I’m running out of ways to be surprised, yet again this game has gone out of it’s way to not only pull a rabbit out of the hat but also kick me in the nuts. There are job changes galore, and as with seemingly every new season, we start with Bryan Robson

Robson to Everton

What a shock! Just 2 years after taking the Man City job, Robbo is off. To Everton. After guiding Man City to 15th, which is not an achievement, Everton came calling and, like every other offers he’s had, Robson couldn’t want to take it up. Good day to you.

That leaves a vacancy at Man City, and I just didn’t see this coming…

beardsley to man city

Beardsley is back in the big time! After previously giving up management to focus on his playing career, now that he’s 60 he fancies the dugout again and with his reputation somehow deemed “superb” he’s in at Maine Road. Sadly he has stopped short of picking himself so far but we live in hope.

So with Beardsley out of action for the time being, I need to look elsewhere for drama. The Charity Shield provides as much drama as a glorified friendly can.

CS 21

Meanwhile over in Italy, we’re in the Champions League after our Serie A title last season. It’s a tricky group

CL group

Servette FC Geneva. Never noticed that being their full name but whatever. We’ve been decent, if not amazing after 4 games.

CL 4 games

That may as well be our motto, look at how tight our defence is!

serie a top

Goals are hard to come by but with 2 games in hand we could be top if we win even just one of them. It’s a very close league though and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.

So, where is that drama I spoke of?

gagno to go

Yes please! Sack him! Go on, do it!!!

gagno sacked

Thanks. Right, surely this is my time. I’ve won the Champions League numerous times, I’ve won each of the available domestic leagues and multiple World Club and Super Cups. It is a CV that can only be described as glittering. Surely for the love of the game and longevity of this blog they will give me this bloody job so I can cap a 60 year old Peter Beardsley and be done with it. Right? RIGHT?

england appoint delgado

Didn’t want it anyway. Shove it up your arse.

Hang about…

mulryne to go.

Yes, do that as well. Surely I’ll get this one

mulryne sacked

Good. I am eager to manage at the 2022 World Cup

le tissier to italy

The ultimate insult. I must be a better bet than this knacker?

This  got me thinking, is it possible that because I have already managed Spain I can’t manage any other nation? I guess it’s possible, it’s a pretty weird thing to put in the game but I can’t recall even managing multiple national teams in a career. Tweet me if you have anything to add.

So where do we go from here? Well, David Platt goes to Chelsea.

platt to chelsea

But that is of little consolation. I’m absolutely crestfallen, to be honest. Here’s the table

prem top nov 21

Blackburn under Jimmy Clement (formerly Dion Dublin) have opened up a 5 point lead over Haslam’s Arsenal. Darlington sit 6th in the First Division, as they try to recover from Haslam’s stint as manager. Newcastle continue to tread water in the league sincem y departure.

prem bottom nov 21

Not happening for Liverpool under club legend player manager Des Rodosthenous, you’d think he would know about defending but obviously not. Chelsea seem good vlaue for money, Platt will soon see to that after Le Tissier’s seemingly cavalier style, whilst the Champions League campaign is taking its toll on Cardiff.

So as I contemplate what now, I’ll leave you with the managers reputation table and you can decide whether I should have got the England job or not. Think Drogba at the end of that Champions League match with Barcelona…

managers

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Champman & Me: @JC_GreenArrow

Hello! To help bridge the gap during the blog’s summer break, I’ve been speaking to a new blogger in the FM Community, JC_Greenarrow. James is writing an FM13 blog where he has started at Wolves in the Championship and I think you’ll all find it a very enjoyable read. But what brought James to the community? Has he lost days of his life to this series like the rest of us? Let’s find out.

Thanks for your joining me, JC. Can you tell us about your current blog
save?

So my current save is with Wolves on FM13. They’ve just been relegated
from the Premier League to the Championship and so I’ve set about
returning them to the Premier League and then trying to keep them there,
a feat that has eluded quite a few Wolves managers of the past. We’re
comfortably top at the moment, I think fifteen points with about eight
games to go, but we did just lose at Ipswich where we had about 16
chances and only took one, so I’m a little worried about our strikers
going into the run in!

What made you start writing?

My first real exposure to Football Manager writing was Alex Stewart’s
incredible Moneyball series for TheSetPieces, which was just fantastic,
and I still go back and reread them from time to time. Iain Macintosh’s
Everton save on the same website is also a wonderful series. There was
also a series by Charles Pulling where he tried to take Sporting Lisbon
to European glory in five seasons which I really enjoyed. Reading all of
these, I always wondered how I would put together a series. I was too
deep into another save at the time, but when I decided I needed a change
and began this Wolves save, I thought I’d take the plunge.

You use FM13 due to your laptop situation, would you say it was your
favourite version of the series anyway?

It is a fantastic version of the game – I’ve ploughed so many hours into
it! I haven’t played any version since, so I can’t say how it compares
now, but the line between the complexity of the game versus the ability
to play easily is well managed in this particular version.

I noticed you started with a version of CM2 – the foreign leagues to be
precise. What can you remember about that?

It was a copy lent to me by my pal when I was about 12 or 13 – our home
PC was pretty awful so I could never play any better version at the
time. It was a version that only allowed you to play French, Italian or
German teams. All the other teams in the world were there and you could
buy and sell to them but nothing more. I had a good Bayern save with
Effenberg and Kahn and Matthaus – and it was a real gateway into the
whole Championship/Football Manager world.

Everybody has their favourite save of all time – can you tell us about
yours please?

There have been a few but I’d say the save I’ve put the most hours into
on FM13 – Rangers. At the start of the game, they’re at the bottom of
the Scottish football pyramid and so I challenged myself to win the SPL
in five seasons – this would be three successive promotions and allowed
me a season to adapt in the SPL, and I did it, winning the SPL in my
fifth season. At the time, I was having great fun with it so carried on,
trying crack Europe, which we eventually did in 2020 by with the Europa
League and then the Champions League in 2024. I’m now in 2061 and we’ve
won the title every single season since and we’ve won something like 20
Champions Leagues along the way, including 11 in a row. It was only when
Luke Shaw, my assistant manager, retired that I realised how long I’d
been playing! I will certainly go back to it though.

Who do you support in real life? Do you prefer to avoid them on video
games?

I support Bristol City, my local team. I’ve generally shied away from
playing as them as I never seem to do well, and I’m not ruthless enough
to cut a player who I like in real life. I did have one relatively
successful save with them on CM 00/01 when I signed Stan Collymore to
score the goals to promote us, which he did, but we struggled the
following season, Stan went sour and I basically gave up! I’m happier
when others take City and do well, like Alex Stewart did.

Do you like the way the series has gone in terms of detail? Or did you
prefer the CM2/CM3 series?

The original series are great for picking up and rattling through a
season in half a day which can be great fun. But I think the interaction
of the newer series is vital to the whole experience, like the player
chats and the team talks and board interaction. The agents and their
fees annoy me but I guess they’re a realistic part of the game!

If you could make one change in a future FM, what would it be?

One problem I encounter a lot in FM13 is fixture congestion – so many
times, I’ve had fixtures laid out to play Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday,
Saturday, or even playing on an international week, when two thirds of
my squad are away. So this may be something they’ve implemented since,
but the ability to request a fixture rearrangement to avoid these
things. It happens in real life, so it’s no so outlandish.

Thanks again to James for taking the time out to chat to me. You can read JC Football Manager here or follow the man himself on Twitter

Meanwhile your dose of CM9798 will be back on August 7th but if you’d like to get caught up with the story so far, you can check out the season summary page. Tata for now.