This week for Champ Man & Me we’re joined by Mark Carruthers, editor of nonleaguedaily.com. As well as keeping the world updated on all matters non-league, Mark is also Press Officer for Blyth Spartans – but what part has CM played in his career?
Thanks for joining us Mark. You’re very active in the non-league side of things, how did you come to be involved in nonleaguedaily.com?
I was writing for them as a blogger, mostly about working with Blyth Spartans but then moved into more general commentary on the non-league scene and anything that took my fancy really.
I knew the previous editor and when he left I got in touch with the publishing company who run the site and it kind of went from there.
I was set to go to Liverpool with Spartans on a Tuesday afternoon for an evening game against Marine but it was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. As that call was made I got a call from my now boss saying come and chat with us.
By the Thursday I had the job so in some ways it feels like it was meant to be I guess
You also work with Blyth Spartans, tell us how that came about?
Twitter!! I had only just joined Twitter and I saw a tweet about a vacancy for a Press Officer at the club.
Having had a long-standing urge to be part of the football media I had to go for it. My only experience was writing my own blog, one on a prominent and under-performing North East football club(take your pick really!), the other a more general football one.
Despite that I made contact with the club and had an interview with the chairman and Media Manager on the day after the supercell storms in Newcastle in June 2013…anyone up here must remember them!
Anyway I was told as soon as the interview finished I had the job and that was that. Safe to say I’ve fallen in love with the club ever since
You’re often commenting on this blog on twitter, so I know you’re a fan of the game, when did you first get into the CM series?
CM96/97 I’d say was when I first played CM but, and I’m not just saying this, CM97/98 was my first love. Well, apart from a girl in my history class at school but she still doesn’t know that so…anyway I digress.
Who couldn’t love the game when I took Barnet from Division Three also-rans to Champions League regulars in the space of five years. Underhill became the home of football, with a 16,000 capacity, feasting their eyes on the team of all talents including messrs Heidenstrom, Alexandersson, Svindal-Larson, Emmers and Nevland.
Of particular fondness was a Hibs team I had with a Ronaldo/Weah frontline too.
Obviously we think CM9798 is the best in the series – what’s your view?
I would agree! I love FM and the most recent ones are unbelievably addictive. However if we are talking CM then 97/98 is the holy grail, nothing comes remotely close.
There was a thrill in somehow finding a world class star from the likes of Angola or Papua New Guinea. Or being able to put together a top team of free transfers purely by using stats searches. Simplicity yes, but rewarding because of it
What’s your CM story? Everybody has at least one!
Well can I have two?
Firstly CM97/98 almost caused me to be kicked off my advanced GMVQ in sixth form! It was a two year course and my mate Chris Tullin and I were the only lads in our sixth form group so we used to spend every minute we had playing on the game.
By the end of the first year I had completed five out of forty assignments and Chris left to play for Nuneaton Borough, ironically ending up being in the game three years later!
Anyway I bucked my ideas up and just about passed the course, getting the remaining assignments done in the space of nine months! I still found time for CM mind, although it tended to be at around 2am!
Secondly, and rather more seriously, FM2009 arguably helped me cope with the stress of a marital break up.
I was with my now ex-wife and we were having a rough time. The end was inevitable and I was really struggling. FM09 became an escape from reality, a way to block out the issues and a way to smile again.
When the end came for the relationship I moved back home and wasn’t in a great place but FM was always there.
Now I am in a very happy relationship, I am a Dad of a one year old called William and have just set a date for my wedding with my lovely fiancée Jacqueline…..and await the release of FM2016!!!!!
Are you playing CM/FM at present?
Of course!!! I’m actually Blyth Spartans on a database I downloaded! Promotion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League was gained in my debut season with only two players signed and I currently sit second in the Conference North after about eighteen games.
I should tell you a funny story! I was playing it on the team bus on the way to an away game at Salford City two weeks ago when our captain Robbie Dale (he scored twice in our 2-3 loss to Birmingham in the FA Cup Third Round last season) walked past and asked if he was playing.
Naturally I said yes! He’s not though! He’s been replaced by a Colombian lad that was released by Newcastle called Esteban Cardona-Lopez and he has twelve goals in eighteen from the wing and has been called up to the Colombian U20s side.
Robbie has been released and is currently playing for Frickley Athletic in the Evo-Stik League.
Do you think the Non-League clubs are correctly represented on the series? The more modern games seem to have a lot more detail but is it accurate?
On the whole it does seem very accurate. I can only compliment SI on that because they do one hell of a job. Obviously and naturally there is the odd error, that’s only natural but from what I can see it’s fairly accurate
In regards to non-league I find they have it pretty close to reality! There are clubs with money who rise to the top but there are some who do what Blyth do and identify good youngsters to develop. They tend to be just as successful.
I hope that trait continues in the coming years, maybe even add another tier of the non-league pyramid
Once again thanks to Mark for joining us and sharing his CM history with us. If you want to see more of Mark’s work, be sure to visit the Non-League daily website.