Guest Blog: Seagull Shouts – Part 4

As Dave’s holiday draws to a conclusion, so too does the first season of MK‘s save with Brighton. Can they get over the line and secure promotion at the first attempt? Catch up with Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 if you missed them

So, last time I mentioned that there may be a new arrival. Someone who is a bit of a legend. Well… Enter Man Utd man Brian ‘Choccy’ McClair. The first man to score more than 20 goals in a season at Utd since George Best! He’s a 4 time Premier League winner and 3 time F.A. Cup winner. That sure is some pedigree, eh?

mcclair

It’s a long way into the season and he’s well into his 30’s, but very capable at this level and will be a useful backup for next season too, even if we make it up.

mcclair stats

Interest is high for my in form star men. Look at this offer and these clubs. So glad of that little loan market listing fix!

bid for Heid

bid for tomlinson.JPG

bid for lakin

The season is drawing to a close and although we’re flying high there are others close by too. Having said that, 39 league games down and not only are we still in the running, we’re out in front!

39 game table

Brighton Fixtures played

Looking at the remaining fixtures, that last game against Chester could be a title decider. What are the chances?

remaning fixtures

Meanwhile, Newcastle have won the League Cup final.

LC final 98

Did I mention we had reached a (tin pot) cup final against the team at the top of Division 2? A trip to Wembley and a shot to lift the W/Screen Shield!

Blackpool squad

Recognise that keeper? A 90’s football legend. It’s Shaka!

After a tight first half we’re at 2-2 to my surprise. Less possession, more chances but more wasteful too. One of the rare days that Tomlinson can’t hit a barn door.

wscreen shield

But then… The flashing screen… The sudden death rule (remember that?)

sudden death

Got to love the drama of a cup final, even if it is a minor one. Maybe this side will reach Wembley again in the not too distant future, but if they do you can bet it will be a playoff rather than a cup.

shield winners

That has earned us a few £s, although the cup run has set us back in the league.

But after winning our games in hand and Chester dropping points we manage secure promotion!

40 played

In the Premier League there was a walkover. Coventry dropped off from that second spot they had earlier on in the season.

prem top 98

Now with promotion in the bag all there was left to play for was the title

promotion fixtures

One win would do it. Would that last game be the decider?

hull 4-0

What a spoiler. The drama of a last day decider would have been great, but I’m more than happy to secure the title ahead of what will be a tricky fixture.

brighton win

Chester smashed us 3-0, which made it look really tight but even so. Won it by a point. Glad it didn’t come down to that last game!

Cup final time. Sorry Liverpool. A young Michael Owen hasn’t had the immediate impact he usually has in the game.

ajax 3-0

Chelsea stumble in finals both in Europe and at home, which would have salvaged something from a weak league campaign. They always seem to make strange signings.

chelsea CWC

FA Cup

Although there was further joy for Man Utd with a League and Champions League double!

CL Final

So it is end of season time and I won manager of the year

awards

I’d like to make a special mention to Superman, I mean Graeme Tomlinson. Here’s how he compared to the other players in our league:

GT average ratings

top scorers

Assists

We’ve made a decent profit this season from the decent attendances and the cup win at Wembley. We have just over £1,000,000 in the coffers.

It will be interesting to see how Tomlinson and Co. cope with the step up to Division 2 and whether he makes the grade there or whether it will be time to cash in on his ever increasing market valuation.

Let’s see if there are any decent players we can attract and if we can carry the momentum on in to the new season.

See you in Division 2!

You can follow MK on Twitter @SeagullShouts – MK will be back later in the year with season two.

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Blog: Seagull Shouts – Part 3

MK of Seagull Shouts has the keys to the blog this week. He has set out on the challenge of replicating Brighton’s 20 year journey through the football league but if he continues as he has started, it’ll be a much shorter story…

I’m going to reveal a very useful tip to hang on to your star players today, but you’ll have to read on for that…

I’ll be covering two pages of fixtures today, so hold tight! 2 pages of fixtures where the Seagulls suffer only 2 defeats, both in the cup. It’s a run that I can’t quite believe. I’ve played Brighton before in this game, but not with results like this. Admittedly, these are new tactics for me and some new players. I’d like to say I’m some kind of CM god and this always happens, but I’d be lying.

Fixtures part 3

Tomlinson carries on in the same vein that he started the season with the only goal to finish off Port Vale in the second leg of the cup. He then bags back-to-back hat-tricks against Cardiff and Rochdale. He’s a man possessed!

Really happy to see the men behind him chipping in with the goals too, particularly Lakin and Gregory.

6-1

5-0

Our League Cup run came to an end (even after coming back from behind twice) when we came up against Premier League surprise package Coventry, who were
sitting in second in the league, albeit behind runaway leaders Man Utd. I still get that sad feeling when checking Man Utd’s squad with this being the first season after Cantona’s premature retirement.

brighton 2 - 3 coventry

Time came to move on Atkinson, who was performing well, but our finances needed a boost and I scouted a replacement available on a free and another I hoped to bring in someone on loan from one of the big boys.

atkinson

I though £425k was a decent return for a play who I’d inherited with the squad and although performing well, I could replace fairly easily at this stage.

Enter Alan Johnson. Creative, decent with the ball and a strong level of flair. Good off the ball and with it and can play a pass and hit a dead ball. He can play in defence but look at that tackling…

alan johnson

I didn’t get my loan man in until a couple of months later and any regular players of the game will recognise this young lad from Man Utd.

Notman

Bids came in for many players and here is where my tip is revealed. If you sign players as a smaller stature club, players will often require a ‘big club release clause’. This means that if they do perform as you want them to, they often get bought from you by bigger clubs against your will.

Now if you sign a player with this clause, you can immediately list them for loan. Do it immediately as if you wait until their value increases then your board will block it. All the time the player is listed for loan, potential suitors will only make offers to loan the player and you can always refuse their advances. This helped me keep my squad together.

I would have lost half of my strongest 11 without this and for far less than the’ll be worth by the end of the season!

Brighton loans

As usual if you play Brighton, Peter Smith wants out. NOPE, SORRY MATE!

smith transfer

Would you look at that league table?

div 3 table

Next time we’ll hopefully see a legend arrive at the club and also we’ll bring the season to a close. Will we be sitting pretty at the top or will we bottle it at the last?

You can follow MK on Twitter @SeagullShouts – catch up with Part 1 & Part 2

Catch up as we met Quickly Kevin producer Michael Marden

 

 

 

Guest Blog: Seagull Shouts – Part 2

With Dave still on the road, MK from Seagull Shouts is back with the second part of his guest blog. Can Brighton hit the ground running in Division 3? Catch up with part 1 here

So in the last post I’d assembled my squad for the start of the season on a very limited budget and with very little attraction to anyone with even the slightest bit of profile in the game. To be honest, who wanted to play for a team that stayed up by the skin of their teeth, with terrible facilities and have to travel for over an hour to get to their own home games. With that in mind I feel pleased with the business I’ve done…

First up it’s Torquay away. Things start well with the 4-2-3-1 formation and we win well with a strong performance. Lot’s of chances, but Tomlinson is off the mark. Might take him a while to find his feet as his adaptability is only at 12. I usually give players about 6 weeks or so to fit in and find their form, often limiting them to appearances off the bench initially. With a squad overhaul like this it’s impossible.

match 1

Next up we make a start in the League Cup with a first round tie against Division 2’s Northampton. A convincing win with Tomlinson finding his scoring boots and chipping in with an assist. This was helped of course by Turley getting himself sent off and sparking a goal fest!

match 2

After a blip at Lincoln and a draw in the return leg in the cup, the good results continue. The only other defeat in the first page of fixtures comes away at Leyton Orient who always perform well, even without Heidenstrom it would seem. Along the way we managed a surprise result in the cup against Division 1 strugglers Port Vale.

Whilst we’ve conceded a few goals, we’ve managed to find the net way more often and the front 4 are all chipping in nicely. My only real concern is that Nick Colgan isn’t up to it. He’s conceding fairly often, even in games where the opposition aren’t creating too many chances.

fixtures

Tomlinson is leading the charge finding the net 20 times and making 8 assists in only 15 games! He finishes September with a hat-trick away at Hartlepool in another 5-0 win. Really hoping that he doesn’t pick up many injuries or suspensions throughout the course of the season, although any of the 3 just in behind him are forwards and could move into that strikers position and do the job (I hope).

Looking forward to sharing the next instalment with you later in the week, but so far it’s looking good for the seagulls and I’m excited to play on. I really have the CM bug. The Mrs. is asking to use the laptop when I decide to have a break from the game (and writing about it)!

You can follow MK on Twitter @SeagullShouts

Catch up on our interview with Quickly Kevin’s Michael Marden here

Guest Blog: Seagull Shouts – Part 1

Whilst Dave is on International duty, the keys have been left with MK of Seagull Shouts. Can he accelerate Brighton’s rise from Division 3 to the Premier League?

So the 97/98 season was 20 years ago. Where did that time go!?

My beloved Brighton were on the back of the last season at their spiritual home, The Goldstone Ground. They had managed to stay in the football league with a draw on the last day of the previous season.

The game starts with the club playing their home games at Gillingham, last season’s top scorer Craig Maskell has left the club and in reality it wasn’t a great season. The club finished 23rd again in the old division 3.

It would take exactly 20 years to turn the club’s fortunes around and get them to the Premier League for the start of the 2017/18 season with a 30,000 seater stadium back in Brighton and a state of the art training facility and academy. What a turn around!
This being a blog about cm97/98, let us see if we can get the club up there a little quicker shall we?

The squad at the start of the game is pretty bare bones and other than a handful of decent performers it’s some way off challenging at the top end of the table. Peter Smith always does well and usually wants out, but I’ll try and hang on to him.

Squad

Here are the players who could cut it in the formation I’m going for: 4-2-3-1. Not a common formation back in 97, but one we see often today and one which can bring results with the right attacking players and a solid defence. Someone strong tucked in with Smith will pull the strings and I know just the man if he’s available.

early tactics

Time to draft in a few players to bolster the depleted squad!

Heiden

Players 1

players 2

So here is the squad for the start of the season. Bolstered by CM legend Bjorn Heidenstrom (I’d buy this guy for any team in the game even as a squad player) and Chelsea’s young goalkeeper Nick Colgan (who looks solid enough at this level). A few free transfers will have to bulk out the squad, so I’ve drafted in Matthew Bound, Barry Lakin, Andy Gregory and ex-Man Utd man Graeme Tomlinson. Also young goalkeeper Anthony Betterton arrived on a free as a 16 year old who usually has decent potential.

tactics 2

I’ve signed Bound before and know he is pretty consistent. I’m excited about unearthing Lakin and Gregory as they have the attributes to be great attacking players, but you never know with these free transfer players who’s attributes and even positions can vary highly from game to game. Only time will tell.

It’s game time and here are the first batch of fixtures. The one that jumps out is Leyton Orient. They always do well in the game. Hopefully this squad can deliver or these blog posts will make for grim reading, potentially in line with the reality for Brighton back in 97.

brighton fixtures

Let’s see how the new squad gel and whether the tactics are right. I’m aiming for automatic promotions, but what are your predictions?

MK will be here throughout the week bringing you Brighton’s 97/98 season. You can follow MK on Twitter @SeagullShouts

 

Champ Man & Me: Michael Marden from Quickly Kevin Will He Score? Podcast

As we edge closer to the 20th annviersary of the release of CM9798, I’ve got another treat for you in the CM9798.co.uk interview chair. 90s nostalgia is very much in at the moment, and that suits us down to the ground. Today I’m joined by Michael Marden, who you may know as the ‘Director of Podcast’ over on the Quickly Kevin, will he score? podcast. The podcast sees Josh Widdicombe, Chris Scull and Michael join forces with a guest to discuss various aspects of football in the 1990s. I’ll let Michael explain further…

Thank you for joining me, Michael. For anybody uninitiated, please can you explain the concept of Quickly Kevin, Will He Score?

Hi Dave, pleasure to be here – any opportunity to wax lyrical about the greatest invention known to man (the Champ/Football manager series, not the ‘Quickly Kevin…’ podcast!!) is one I’m happy to be a part of.

I guess the best way to describe the podcast is it’s a willfully niche exploration of what is for us, the most important and interesting decade in British football – the 1990’s.

We wanted to take a nostalgic look back at that period and get the answers to questions we were obsessed with during our formative years (and still are if I’m honest) and make it a funny and informative, sideways look at the subject. We didn’t want to hear the same answers to the same questions we’ve all heard before. We wanted to treat it a bit like the old fanzines of that decade and offer up a different take on the period in question from a fans perspective. So if you love 90’s football then hopefully you’ll find something of interest in there for you.

QK image

Source: quicklykevin.com

How did the podcast come about? Have the three of you been planning this for a while?

The genesis of the show came from Chris, who used to co-host a West Ham podcast, and was looking to branch out and explore a broader subject. We’re all friends and on most nights out we’d inevitably end up in the corner talking about some niche aspect of 90’s football. From shirt sponsors, episodes of Football Italia, to what we imagined happened behind the scenes during that time. So whilst on holiday together last year we thought why not try and translate this obsession of ours into a podcast and see if there was an audience for it. Luckily it’s been well received and we’ve been able to pass off our desire to ask Matt Le Tissier about Saints shirt sponsors as some form of legitimate journalism.

For me personally, it was also a way to validate the many years spent ‘wasted’ poring over Panini sticker books, transfer gossip and old VHS recordings of Match of the Day goal of the month competitions. Because lets face it, if you’re not obsessed with finding out if Chris Bart Williams does have tiny feet, if David Batty was really paid in cash? Or if Efan Ekoku did steal a Drifter chocolate bar from a small child on a school trip then frankly, you’ve been wasting your life up until this point.

What is it about 90s football that makes you look back on it so fondly?

Partly it’s to do with age, I was ten years old during Italia 90 and completely fell in love with football during that tournament. I remember watching my ‘Every Goal of Italia 90’ VHS over and over until it wore thin and disintegrated inside the machine because that was literally the only place I could see those matches and goals again and again. Then the gentrification of the game that happened in the coming years with the creation of the Premier League, followed by the influx of foreign players and managers as the success of the league grew and the increase in revenue wasn’t far behind. How exotic and exciting everything seemed when on the back page of the newspaper every day in the summer a club was linked with a player you’d seen at USA 94, Euro 96, or had signed on Champ Man but in reality knew absolutely nothing about.

every goal of italia 90

All of this at a time when the internet was very much in its infancy, so the access to information and instant gratification didn’t exist. All these factors led to this perfect alchemy to create an obsession with the game that was in a state of evolution in a way in which we will never see again. A documentary as brilliant as The Impossible Job, or even something as simple as a clip of Aston Villa players listing their favourite food and drink isn’t something you’d ever have the opportunity to experience in the modern game as everything is so protected and the players and staff are so media savvy and trained. It was the last generation where the clash of cultures like Arsenal’s infamous Tuesday club and Arsene Wenger’s sports science revolution will ever collide.

For many, the game has become too sanitized now, and although the seeds of that were planted in the 90’s, the decade is a fascinating document of how and why football has evolved the way it has. And not just for listeners of a particular age either, we get lots of messages from people of all ages from around the world who didn’t experience it first hand, but are interested retrospectively in the decade. You don’t have to know anything ahead of time about Bobby Gould’s time as Wales manager to enjoy the episode as a fascinating character study and exploration of a period in football that feels so simultaneously near yet paradoxically so far away. 

Series 1 was very well received, what can we expect from series 2?

The usual mix of ex-footballer, broadcaster, and comedian guests old and new taking an irreverent look at any and every topic that peaks our interest. We’ve got Frank Skinner coming on to talk about Fantasy Football League and Three Lions, Darren Anderton talking about his time at Spurs and with England for Euro 96 and France 98. And referee Dermot Gallagher’s thoughts on the garish cream Liverpool FA Final kits and what it was like being in charge during the infamous David Busst leg break. Basically, if Quickly Kevin Series 1 ticked any of your boxes then expect more of the same, but better. We’re hoping to avoid the cliched ‘difficult second album’ syndrome and deliver ‘The Bends’ as opposed to ‘The Second Coming’. And due to mild popular demand there will be the traditional end of series ‘Quickly Kevin 90’s Football Quiz’ complete with trademark factual inaccuracies.

There are also some exciting extra curricular events being announced soon so if you don’t already then follow us on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and join the mailing list to get the latest on those. But basically, series 2 will be more of the same. If you’ve always wanted to know what kind of coin referee’s use during the toss, or how Hoddle broke the news to Gazza and the team about his omission from the France 98 squad then make sure you tune in. The first episode is out on 18th September.

There is an episode about Championship Manager where you spoke to Miles Jacobson – as a fan of the series that must have been pretty exciting?

They say never meet your heroes, and as someone who has played the game in every incarnation under the Collyer brothers and then Miles, it’s safe to say he was up there as this mythical gatekeeper who controlled the Champ / Football Manager world. But he couldn’t have been nicer and that episode was for me, an absolute delight. To get to pull back the curtain and clear up the legend of To Madeira, how the scouting for the game worked back in the early days and what they had planned for future versions was amazing, and Miles was interesting and engaging and a fascinating man to chat to. All I need to do now is convince him to put me in the game as a regen youth player and I can die a happy man. If any of your readers aren’t familiar with the podcast but do have a passion for Champ Man then I’d recommend starting with that episode (before going back and listening to all the others of course!) as it’s a really great insight into the evolution of the game from the man who was there at the forefront.

 

What is your history with the series? Where does CM9798 rank for you in the all-time list?

I first began playing way back in 1993 on the Amiga 500+ on the first release to have real players. So I’m 24+ years deep into the addiction as we speak and I don’t see it fading anytime soon. Life gets busy as you get older, so the entire weekend long sessions are a thing of the past, but I still try and squeeze in a few hours here and there when I can. I’ve done all the classic cliched things over the years – dressed in a suit for a cup final. Did press conferences in the mirror before they were a part of the game. Even had the name of my favourite newgen printed on the back of shirt. I don’t have any kids yet, but I’ll be surprised if the pride of holding my first born child in my arms will ever feel as good as when Callum Cleaver, the prodigious wonderkid I developed through the youth ranks from 15 years old, scored the winning goal in both the Champions League and World Cup final in the same season, dedicating both to me. Unless one of my offspring win an Academy Award for writing and directing a Zombie Western, that moment will be tough to eclipse.

I’d say CM97/98 is in my top three versions of the game. You never forget your first, so the ’93 original with the three bars for Def / Mid / Att and the virtually unobtainable foreign players transfer list is up there. Towards the end of it’s life the floppy disk drive on my Amiga broke which meant I couldn’t save any games. My way round this was to leave the computer on 24 hours a day for close to 2 years and I got about 90 season into that one game. The problem was, the algorithm back then was so simple you could overload the match engine by playing a 1-5-4 formation (or some variation of) so although you’d concede a few goals you’d win almost every match as your midfield and attack were so powerful. I was basically playing a more successful version of Keegan’s Newcastle tactics in the 90’s, but with Nii Lamptey instead of Faustino Asprillia.

What happened on that first version as well though, was once you moved to another team your old club kept the formation you used that made them successful, which with each managerial move made it increasingly more difficult to win the league as you were essentially facing off against ever increasing versions of yourself. All with the same game breaking formations. If you’ve ever wanted to experience a computer simulated version of what pre-war football was like before they tactically inverted the pyramid, then load a copy of Champ Man ’93 and play for close to 100 seasons. And let me know if you ever manage to sign Gazza or David Platt from the foreign players transfer page, I’m still chasing that great white whale…

I’m also always a big advocate of whatever the latest version is (I’m currently 12 seasons deep with Leyton Orient on FM17 and fighting for a European Place with Rashford at the heart of my attack and Rooney as assistant manager) but 97/98 has a special place in my heart. The data editor played a big part, being able to update the game with all the new transfers was a huge deal for me, there was nothing worse than starting a new game and having someone score against you who should have been in your squad at that point. I also loved the ability to be able to play multiple leagues across Europe. Friends and I would draw randomly from a hat which league and then which team we would start a save as, and I still have a love for Real Betis because of a particular save we played. Going so far as to track down their original shirt from that season (a lovely green and white Kappa number) which has pride of place in the vintage football top collection.

Everybody has one save that takes over their life – can you share yours with us please?

Where to begin! There are so many over the decades to choose from, but probably the most ridiculous one actually comes from 97/98 so is an apt choice for here. In the summer of 1998, just after finishing our A-Levels, myself and two other friends had started a three player game. I was Nottingham Forrest, they were Derby and Wolves respectively. The aim being to return these fallen giants to their former glories. So instead of celebrating the end of our school education before heading off to university in the usual manner, we spent that summer side by side in my dimly lit room endlessly playing Champ Man 97/98 until the early hours, living off a diet of Frazzles, Lilt and Wine-gums.

So engrossed were we in the game that once our A-level results came in, the impending disappointment of going our separate ways to different Uni’s and not being able to play the game became too much to bear. We hatched a plan and decided to tell our parents that we weren’t happy with our grades, that we’d fallen short of the UCAS points required to get into our top choice university and rather than end up at some sub par institution our time would be better spent deferring a year and going to college to do another A-Level to fulfill our ambitions. Seduced by the maturity and forethought of our decision, the parents signed off on this mad plan and before we knew it we were attending a single two hour Media Studies A-Level class per week with the rest of the time free to go deep into the Champ Man 97/98 save. It was, I can safely say, one of the happiest year of my life and although we’re no longer regularly in touch, on the rare occasion we do see each other it isn’t long before we’re reminiscing about the glorious three way battles we had for the Premier League and Champions League season after season. One of us attending to their scouting and tactical business as the other two played Goldeneye or Mario Kart on the N64. Switching turns until match-day. Some people take a gap year to see the world, get a regrettable tattoo somewhere in Asia and ‘find themselves’. Grow up. I spent mine making Tommy Svindal Larsen the most decorated midfielder in English history. And I don’t regret a single day.

The series has of course evolved into Football Manager, what do you think of the more modern releases? Do you still play them or the older games?

I’m still a huge fan of the series, I know for some people the game has become too complicated and involved, but I feel the opposite. Despite a few bumps on the way with the odd version, the evolution of the game over the last three decades is one of the things I always look forward to. Although quite rightly they’ve avoided the option to micro manage the minutiae of a football club – like setting the price of pies on match day as you could on the likes of Ultimate Soccer Manager. However, I’m still waiting for the version of the game where you can dictate exactly where your full-back stands when the opposing team has a throw-in on the opposite side of the pitch in their half.

The level of tactical control you can attempt will never be too deep or too involved in my mind.

SWOS

I remember fondly a version of Sensible World of Soccer where the pitch was broken down into a grid system and you could tell your player exactly where to stand for each variation of the balls pitch position and phase of play. I once spent an entire weekend dedicated to just this process alone, without playing a single match, in the hope of developing an unplayable team of perfectly drilled footballing T-100’s, able to crush everything before them with their relentless tactical and positional perfection. I was then sacked before Christmas as my team more closely resembled a group of inept Under 9’s, headleslsy chasing the ball round the pitch regardless of opposition intent or positioning. It was a harsh lesson, but even Guardiola had to start somewhere. So when Football Manager brings that type of detail I’ll be delighted to take a shot at dictatorial tactical redemption.

Who do you support in the real world? What do you think of their chances this season?

I am, for my sins, a Manchester United fan. And no I’m not from Manchester. In fact I’m not sure it’s possible to be born in a hospital in England geographically further from Manchester than where I was born on the Isle of Wight. But in my defence, if one is required, I started supporting them at the end of the Ron Atkinson and start of the Fergie era so were it a glory hunting land grab I’d have pinned my flag to the Anfield mast. Which I openly defied despite the best efforts of my Liverpool based Uncle sensing there was another young and undecided fan ready to be swayed. His twice yearly Xmas and Birthday gifts of Crown Paint sponsored Adidas Liverpool shirt gifts were sadly futile as Clayton Blackmore and Mark Hughes had already won my heart.

liverpool

As for chances this season, I think there will be a genuine title challenge for the first time post Fergie. Which is the minimum you’d expect from the club with Mourinho at the helm and the money spent. I think the squad is a few signings away from being able to challenge on multiple fronts, but the easy group stage should see us comfortably into the knockout stages and then it’s the luck of the draw. We’re not quite back up there again with the elite clubs in Europe (yet!) but I’d expect Jose to build towards that next season and onward if he can get beyond his third season syndrome.

I believe the days of legacy building managerial dynasties will die out with Arsene Wenger, when his sad little bastion of ‘football played the correct way’ fizzles out with a whimper soon. After that, with the money in the Premier League, it will be an endless cycle of elite managers at elite clubs content with, at best, one league title every few years as long as they remain competitive in the Champions League so they can be considered for the inevitable breakaway European Super League within the next decade or so.

One of the regular discussions on QKWHS is strange places people have seen/met footballers. Have you ever had such an encounter?!

Sadly never an encounter with a footballer in a strange place, I did however meet the 1990 Liverpool Squad on my 10th birthday as part of said Uncle’s attempts to turn me to the Mersey-side of the force. I didn’t care about the likes of Barnes, Beardlsey or Daglish – it was Steve Nicol who was a hero of mine and I remember his confusion at me wanting a photo with him over the more popular flair players. I had also, for close to 20 years, been telling people I had a small kick-about with Ian Rush. Much to their disbelief. When I eventually found the photo in my mum’s loft decades later it turned out it wasn’t Ian Rush at all, but similarly moustached striker John Aldridge.

Seeing as we’re celebrating 20 years of CM9798, I need one name from you. Favourite ever CM player?

That is a huge question. Like asking which of your children you prefer. If we’re talking 97/98, then the aforementioned Tommy Svindal Larsen was arguably the first name on my ‘to buy’ list, but if I had to choose only one as my favourite, it would be the inimitable Ibrahima Bakayoko. Playing behind the front two he was devastating for me season after season and I remember once a friend and I getting into an actual fight over who would sign him during a multiplayer save, such was his allure. I felt Walter Smith’s pain when his signing for Everton didn’t work out.

Thanks again to Michael for joining us, series two of Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? begins on the 18th of September and there will be weekly episodes. You can follow the podcast on Twitter @QuicklyKevin or Michael himself @_Michael_Marden. The podcast is available on iTunes or on Acast

Champ Man & Me: Paddy from @90sFootball

The revolving interview door here at CM9798.co.uk has been busier than ever, it seems a lot of people want to come and talk about Championship Manager. This week I’m joined by the man behind @90sfootball – the Twitter account bringing you all the football nostalgia you could ever need from the 1990s.

Thanks for joining me, Paddy. What made you start @90sfootball in the first place?

I used to follow an account on Twitter called @90sFootballers which I enjoyed – but they stopped tweeting regularly which I thought was a huge shame as I could see it had plenty of potential. It was then that I thought I’d give it a go myself! I had to wait a while before I set up the account as someone was using the @90sfootball handle for their personal account – but luckily they changed their handle, I quickly took it and the rest is history…

You have hundreds of thousands of followers now, but was there a particular tweet that got you off the ground?

It’s quite a random one, but it was a tweet about Wolf from Gladiators appearing for Gillingham reserves in 1994! A fact I never expected to find and it just suddenly blew up. It was my first ever tweet to get triple figure retweets!

What is it that draws you towards the 90s era particularly?

It was the era that I first discovered and fell in love with football. From collecting Merlin stickers and Corinthian figures to watching Match of the Day and Football Italia – it was brilliant. I love nostalgia and luckily other people seem to like reminiscing too!

Is there anybody who has interacted with you on Twitter where you’ve had to pinch yourself and thought “this is crazy”?

I think the first time I thought that was when Nuri Sahin followed me. I was just sat there thinking ‘what on earth did I tweet for him to want to follow me?’ I’ve had interactions with some of the greats over the years – and it’s pretty cool knowing the likes of Claudio Marchisio, Hernan Crespo and Alessandro Del Piero are seeing your tweets about them! Probably my favourite interaction was when Engelbert Humperdinck retweetd me. Does it get more random than that? Probably not!

We’ve seen from your Twitter that you’re a fan of the Championship Manager games, where does CM97/98 rank for you?

Champ Manager 97/98 was a brilliant edition – I only wish I had played it more back then! Sadly I was more of a ISS person during the 90s, and I didn’t regularly play ‘management’ games until the early 00s. Since then I’ve lost many an hour to Champ Manager, LMA Manager and more recently Football Manager.

Do you have a particular save that stands out about all others? Everybody has at least one!

I can do better than that – I have a 4 minutes that stand out! It was a long time ago now but I remember being 3-1 going into the 90th minute. I’d given up all hope and left the room – and when I came back big Paolo Di Canio had scored a hat-trick in 4 minutes of extra time! I couldn’t believe it – I had missed the greatest comeback in football history (probably). I also take my dislike for players from video games to real life. For example Kenny Miller – I’ve still never forgiven him for leaving my Norwich side on a bosman ruling on LMA Manager 2007. Fuming!

What do you think about the more modern Football Manager series? Do you ever have chance to play them?

I still play Football Manager on a regular basis, although mainly the tablet version these days as it’s perfect for when travelling! In one of my recent saves a Newgen Liverpool legend retired… what was his name? A Brazilian called Everton. You really couldn’t make it up.

Who do you support in the real world? What do you think this season holds for them?

I was born near Carrow Road so Norwich could be the only team for me! A bit of a yo-yo team of late, I think the jury is still out on how this season is going to pan out… but fingers crossed it’s better than last season!

As well as @90sfootball, you have other Twitter accounts. Can you tell us about them please?

I also run @ClassicGoaIs which I have used a lot more recently – and basically consists of all of the content I can’t post on @90sfootball! I would love to own more and give that account more attention but sadly my free time doesn’t allow it, which is why I concentrate most of my time on creating and sourcing new content for @90sfootball.

 

What are your plans for the future? Can you take @90sfootball beyond a Twitter account?

I’m hoping so, yes! I have recently fully launched a website for @90sfootball (www.90sfootball.com) and have some brilliant writers on board to create quality blogs and quizzes. I’d love to do more merchandise also as the 90s Football mug went down well. Watch this space!

Thanks again to Paddy for taking the time out to answer my questions and for the ongoing support he gives to the CM9798 twitter account. It is incredibly valuable when a well followed accounts spreads your work so I will always be grateful for that.

Remember to follow @90sfootball or you can follow Paddy’s personal twitter @Paddy90s

Talking Tactics: 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond

Greetings! It’s the final part of our tactics project today, and so far we’ve seen three excellent, goal-laden formations. So what have we got to finish with? Well, crank up the Shirley Bassey because maybe diamonds are forever after all…

My appeal for your tactics was answered. You’re all very good like that. Matt Gregory gave me some detail.

Interesting. I laid out what I thought it looked like to Matt, and I asked for the style.

Message

I’m loving direct. It’s my new favourite thing. However, I’ve already tried Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea to try and dethrone Man Utd with various degrees of success. Who to be next? I need someone who fits the formation

Matt Tactic

Ok, so it’s a big ask and maybe a bit unfair. But Villa have decent players, well 7 or 8 of them are canny, so as long as we get no injuries and sign a few, we’ll be fine. I have high hopes for Dwight Yorke in particular and Mark Draper is underrated. Let’s do this.

I think we need another striker, Milosevic and Collymore aren’t the worst two strikers in the world but if I can get somebody to really rely on, we’ll be laughing. Or at the very least not frowning. It’s all we can aim for.

Likewise I don’t really want to rely on Ian Taylor. Good backup but we need more in the engine room. I’ve also realised Fernando Nelson is better than Gary Charles. Gary Charles has England caps. Imagine that.

Anyway, the signings didn’t all arrive in time but I feasted on some CM legends to help bolster the ranks.

players in

Emmers and Sevchenko (who is actually Shevchenko, according to the internet) both get into the first 11 whilst the other three are very able deputies.

Match one arrives and we field this lineup. It’s direct and I think I’d be happier if I could use Yorke as a striker but we’ll give it a chance.

match 1

It’s only a Midlands derby. Coventry can’t handle Sheva

3-1 coventry

A solid start. That’s followed up by a hard fought win in my first home game, and it’s two from two.

Derby 3-2

The thing is, the wins just keep coming. No matter which of our apparent 3 strips we play in

2-1 sheff wedsbarnsley 4-1

bolton 5-2

Not an awful lot of clean sheets around but you can blame Bosnich for that. A 3-1 win over Palace puts us on a ridiculous 6 wins in a row and Spurs become the first team to take points off us, but Savo climbs off the bench to by the SAVOiour. Saviour. You get it?

spurs 1-1

Anyway it looks nice but you have to say it’s been the kindest fixtures you could ask for

7 games

The UEFA Cup gets underway, just to add further strain on the squad, but we carry our form on. On rather Sheva does.

Guimares

Chelsea are our next visitors, which should provide more of an indication of where we are. We concede early but that just angers us. Never anger Stan.

3-1 chelsea

You know things are going well when Real Madrid want…your right back

Nelson bid

Off to Anfield then and a real test of our credentials.

liverpool 3-0

Oh sweet Lord what have we created here? Even with 10 men Liverpool couldn’t get near us. A trip to Leeds might bring us back down to earth.

leeds 3-1

Nope. 12 games in, 7 points clear. It wasn’t even like this at Ajax. Well, it sort of was, except that was Ronaldo and Zidane against the Dutch League. This is Riccy Scimeca and Stan Collymore against the Premier League!

league 12 games

Just as I’m about to announce Matt as the King, our trip to Ewood proves to be unlucky 13

4-0 blackburn

We were actually lucky to get 0. Blackburn absolutely destroyed us – maybe our European adventures are beginning to take effect on the squad?

Nah, turns out we just can’t defend against Kevin Gallacher.

man utd 4-1

I don’t think I’ve ever won 4-1 at Old Trafford. I’m not quite sure what is going on here, but I like it.

West Ham are swept aside at Villa Par, though it costs us one Ukranian

west ham 3-1

That leads us into a clash with 2nd placed Arsenal. Can we still thrive without Sheva?

Arsenal 2-1

Bjorn! He’s a big game player. The Vieira/Heidenstrom battle is one for the ages but Stan settles the game. It’s just as well he’s on form as Sheva is done

Sev out

Problems there. Still, it’s not like we have to face Inter Milan

Inter 2-1

Collymore has scored a few own goals in his time but at least he atoned for this one.

I’m definitely blaming fatigue for this though:

wimbledon 4-4

Is it ever acceptable to ship four goals to Jon Goodman?

Goodman

I blame Bosnich. After we pick Everton apart 3-0, that takes us to the half way point in the season. Time to step back and review what the heck just happened.

table 19 games

It’s not bad, I think you’ll agree. It’s a strange concept, I haven’t felt like I’ve dominated teams with this tactic in the way I perhaps did with the first two, but the goals just seem to happen and seemingly at an average of nearly 3 a game. It’s also worth bearing in mind Villa aren’t exactly a title challenging team – I’m interested to see how this goes with a big team. In theory, it should be incredible.

My fears about Yorke were not founded, he ran the show in terms of performance…

average ratings

…and assists (with help from Stan)

Assists

The main goalscorer was Sheva – this isn’t a bad record (ignore the DOB!)

Sheva

The team didn’t get a lot of goals outside of the front 3 but why would they? Playing direct gets the ball forward into the strikers and they’re clearly doing a good job.

Goals

Have we stumbled across the next winning tactic? Feel free to give it a go and tweet me your results. Maybe it’s all down to Sheva? Toodles for now.

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