A CM9798 reason to support every World Cup team this summer

In a rare break from the CM9798 World Cup, let’s not forget there’s a real World Cup this summer…

The World Cup is coming! Whilst that is no secret, it posed a new challenge for me. You may have seen my articles earlier in the season where I looked for players in CM9798 that are still playing today and then located all of the current Premier League managers, so it was only natural that I’d try and tie the World Cup back to a game from 20 years ago.

If you’re a fan of tedious links and players from the 90s, this is the article for you. If you’re looking for a team to follow this summer, why not do it based on CM9798?

Group A

Russia
This is an easy start as manager Stanislav Cherchesov was still playing in CM9798 as a goalkeeper at Tirol Innsbruck. He played 39 times for his country and will be hoping to lead the host nation to glory this summer.

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Cherchesov has been tasked with reaching at least the semi-finals and having watched the Confederations Cup last summer, I’d say that is very optimistic. He’s not a bad keeper though.

His assistant is also on the game; you’ll find Miroslav Romaschenko pulling the strings in the Spartak Moscow midfield. He’s not quick but he can run forever…and boy can he shoot.

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Saudi Arabia
Group A keeps serving me up open goals, frankly it is all downhill from here. Saudi Arabia are managed by Juan Antonio Pizzi. Who? Well he was at Barcelona in the 90s but because he isn’t Ronaldo, Anderson or Stoichkov nobody remembers him. He got 22 caps for his country and went to World Cup 98. I actually really like him on 9798, his high shooting stat is ideal in a team where Rivaldo and Figo are supplying the bullets.

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In management, he was Chile manager at the Confederations Cup last year but after losing the final, Chile then failed to qualify for this year’s tournament. Whilst the rest of that Chile team will watch from home, Pizzi will lead Saudi Arabia into the tournament.

Egypt
This was a little trickier, but their manager is Hector Cuper. You can find Hector in CM9798 managing Real Mallorca.

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What I was really surprised about is that Cuper is only 62. He has of course had a very successful coaching career having managed Valencia and Inter Milan among others. The Argentine has been Egypt manager for 3 years and is armed with Mo Salah, which I imagine will make the Egyptians very popular on Merseyside.

Uruguay
On a similar note, the best I can offer you from Uruguay is their manager Oscar Tabarez. He’s also been managing forever and 20 years ago you could find him at Real Oviedo under his Sunday name.

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This is actually his second spell in charge of Uruguay having also taken them to Italia 90, though he has been in charge since 2006. It is widely anticipated he will leave after the World Cup, though he must be happy with the group he has been drawn here. Luis Suarez is licking his lips (figuratively, I hope).

Group B

Portugal
Euro 2016 winners Portugal are managed by Fernando Santos who you’ll find in CM9798 managing Estrela Amadora. They’re in the top league in Portugal but are very midtable. For a change of pace, here he is from the database. He likes to play a narrow 4-4-2 apparently. He doesn’t have Cristiano Ronaldo in 1997 though so he’s not as successful.

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Spain
Good news! Spain’s manager was playing in CM9798. Julen Lopetegui had just grown tired of sitting on Barcelona’s bench behind Carlos Busquets and left for Rayo Vallecano. Here he is in playing form:

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We may as well make this a double whammy and point out that the aforementioned Busquets is the father of Spain midfielder Sergio. How lovely. Here’s Carlos too for your viewing pleasure:

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Morocco
French manager Herve Renard is nowhere to be found on CM9798, so some digging was required. Thankfully, Renard did the old FM trick of appointing a favourite to get some favour from the fans. Happily for me, it’s Mustapha Hadji

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A few years before Hadji moved to Coventry, he was delivering apparently terrible set pieces in Deportivo. Now though he’ll be one of the two assistant managers at Morocco this summer. Good luck, in a group containing Portugal and Spain.

Iran
The links between the teams in this group are uncanny. Iran are managed by Carlos Queiroz, who is of course Portugese and probably best known in Premier League terms as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant. Carlos was between jobs in 1997/98 but again he’s done me a huge favour by appointing Oceano da Cruz as his assistant. Who you ask? Let me remove his surname

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He’s a star player for Sporting Lisbon! Looking at his stats I’m not really sure what that says about Sporting Lisbon, but he’s experienced. With that influence figure he must have always known he could go on to be Iran’s assistant manager.

Group C

France
Nice bit of symmetry starts us off in group C, as France are managed by Didier Deschamps. The former Juventus midfielder captained France to victory in the 1998 World Cup, so obviously he’s my link to the past here.

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As a World Cup winner it’s hardly surprising to see such great stats, although I suppose at the time of the games release he was just plain old France captain. Incidentally he is assisted by Guy Stephan who is the Bordeaux manager in CM9798. Pointless fact for you there.

Australia
I think Group C was the kindest group to research. Bert Van Marwijk is the manager of Australia, though you may know him as the man who masterminded the Dutch kicking everything that moved in the 2010 World Cup. Anyway, in CM9798 Bert is the Fortuna Sittard manager. So what? Well, he was manager of Mark Van Bommel there, and he’s only gone and appointed Mark as his assistant!

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For that, I am very grateful. As Van Bommel’s career went on he dropped the whole “being a striker” thing and just focused on scoring blasties from well outside the box. For conspiracy theorists, he is actually Van Marwijk’s son in law. Jobs for the boys?

Peru
Peru are lead by Argentine Ricardo Gareca, who was managing in Argentina in 1997 so didn’t make the cut for CM9798. Not to worry, a little digging tells me what none other than Premier League legend Nobby Solano is on the coaching staff. Despite his relatively small stature, Solano is classified as a centre half.

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Solano’s official title is “assistant technical director” which hopefully involves him playing his trumpet at half time, or any time for that matter. Personally I’d have him training the set pieces. 14 does not do him justice.

Denmark
If I asked you to name a Danish goalkeeper from the 90s, most of you would say Peter Schmeichel. He is one of my links, but there is also a goalkeeper by the name of Sten Christensen. Here he is in CM9798:

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As you may have guessed, he is the father of Andreas Christensen, who has made a name for himself at Chelsea this season and should find himself in the Denmark squad this summer. So that’s two Danish Goalkeepers with their sons in the current day squad. Here’s Peter, father of Kasper, for completeness sake:

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Group D

Argentina
I mentioned in the intro that some of these links were tedious at best and this is probably the worst. I hunted high and low to find a proper link and this is the best I could do. Manager Jorge Sampaoli is off the grid in 1997 with his coaching career still at an early stage following a young retirement due to injury. With him out and his backroom staff offering little inspiration to me, I had to start digging through the squad to find a link back to 1997.

Step forward Sergio Aguero. The Man City forward was married to Gianinna Maradona, daughter of Diego, and together they have a son. It’s not the point that they are now divorced. Maradona is the grandad of Aguero’s kid and that’s good enough for me.

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Maradona is just about on CM9798 having left Boca Juniors in 1997 he remains in the database on a free transfer. They couldn’t even be bothered to research his caps. Let’s move on.

Iceland
This is more like it. We all fell in love with Iceland during Euro 2016, even when they knocked England out it was hard to be mad at them. You may also some famous commentary being uttered at full time in that match. Well, that commentator was Guðmundur Benediktsson

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I know that isn’t a link. I’m getting to that. His son is Albert Guðmundsson who plays for PSV and is a full Icelandic International. I really hope, after all of this, he makes the final squad.

Croatia
Another assistant manager comes good. Zlatko Dalic is Croatia’s manager and he was playing for Hajduk Split in 1997, but he didn’t make the CM9798 database. Luckily he has an assistant who did, and you’ll find Drazen Ladic at Croatia Zagreb. I’m sure it’s not a point of contention that Ladic is on the database and Dalic isn’t. They presumably have better things to argue about.

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Nigeria
Another straightforward one. If you’ve ever watched Alex Iwobi and thought “that’s like watching Jay-Jay Okocha in his prime” then you are probably lying. They are however, related, as Okocha is Iwobi’s uncle. Imagine having an uncle Jay-Jay. Or maybe that should be Uncle Augustine

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Sadly there isn’t a stat for ‘rainbow flicks’ or whatever they are being called these days but that creativity of 13 seems a little light. Maybe he just got all his creativity from Big Sam? Either way, if Iwobi turns out to be half as good as Okocha was he’ll be just fine.

Group E

Brazil
Considering their rich history and the fact they made three consecutive World Cup finals, this was quite difficult to find a connection. Their manager, Tite, was at Juventude in the 97/98 season so isn’t on the CM database, and I think it would be a cop out even by my standards to select Cafu as the most capped Brazilian. No, if we dig a little deeper it’s to my huge relief that Claudio Taffarel is the goalkeeping coach. Brazil aren’t exactly known for their goalkeepers and it came as quite a surprise to me to learn Taffarel got 101 caps over the course of his career. But then I am ignorant.

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First off, that 15 caps is wrong. Sack the researcher. Actually the date of birth is wrong too, but the year is right. So…I don’t know, I guess I’m not the only ignorant one. His stats are pretty decent though, I’m surely he’ll do a great job with Ederson this summer.

Switzerland
The Swiss have a similar disregard for my retro passion. Manager Vladimir Petkovic was at the very end of his playing days in 1997 and doesn’t make the database, whilst none of the current squad seem to have many links to the past. Once again though the goalkeeping coach comes to my rescue, good old Patrick Foletti. Who you ask? You mean you don’t remember his 11 games for Grasshoppers in the 90s? Shame on you. He also played twice for Derby County in 2002. Totally passed me by but here he is in 97/98 for your amusement.

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Serbia
This was by far my least favourite group. It was around Group E that I considered just knocking the whole thing on the head but having committed more hours of research to this than I care to admit I set to work on Serbia. Now, on that note, who remembers Goran Djorovic?

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With 7 for heading and 6 for tackling, I’m pretty sure I would never even try and sign this man. He can pick a pass and also shoot, so he’s actually a sweeping dream, but it isn’t 1990 and you aren’t Mark Wright, so unlucky. Anyway, Goran is on the coaching staff, hence his inclusion here. With manager Mladen Krstajić not making the cut despite being on Partizan’s books, it’s left to Djorovic to be our link to the 90s.

Costa Rica
Look, some nations are very poorly represented on CM97/98. It would have been ideal if Paulo Wanchope could have held on to the job for a few more years, but he has been fighting fans and I can’t see him being reappointed somehow, so this was always going to be difficult. With no sign of Mauricio Solis, I was soon out of Costa Ricans. Looking at the squad list was equally useless, but then…

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I’m sorry. Costa Rica have a player called Rodney Wallace, that’s the best I can do. Cheer on Rodney for old Rodney.

Group F

Germany
After the horror show of Group E, F was bound to be plain sailing. It really wasn’t. Germany aren’t so bad, but it’s very much downhill from here. Joachim Low himself is in the game at Stuttgart manager

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We can do better though. His assistant, Thomas Schneider, is actually a player for him in 97/98. In this save he has a broken leg but don’t let that put you off.

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Those stats are terrifically average. When injury proneness is your highest rating you know you’re in trouble.

Andreas Kopke, saver of Gareth Southgate penalties, is the current goalkeeper coach, you’ll find him at Marseille in 97/98, whilst they rather bizarrely have the need for a business manager – a role filled by Oliver Bierhoff. Who else would it be?

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Sweden
You’ll notice I gave Germany a big build there as these next three get progressively worse. Sweden Manager Janne Andersson was managing in his homeland and didn’t make the database and assistant Peter Wettergren is equally unknown. Jonas Thern, of Rangers fame, is a scout, but that hardly seems relevant here. I then notice a chap on the player list with the last name Larsson. Could it be?

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Yes, Jordan Larsson is the son of Henrik and has 2 caps. He’s not as good as his Dad. He also seem to take a lot of the blame from the fans when it went wrong at Helsingborg when Henrik was in charge, but ignore that. He’s an outsider to make the squad, so just in case he doesn’t, here’s Jonas Thern.

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Mexico
I researched Mexico for hours. Surely there’d be something, anything to relate things back to 1998? Well if there is, I can’t find it. Colombian manager Juan Carlos Osorio is nowhere to be found, whilst his staff are similarly missing from history. The best I can give you is Mexico’s all time most capped player, Claudio Suarez. Again, they haven’t researched his caps so you’ll just have to believe me.

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There is absolutely no link here to their current squad, it’s just a current statistic. I did recently buy their 1998 kit though and it’s lush, so…yeah.

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South Korea
South Korea are not well represented on CM97/98. Manager Shin Tae-Yong is sadly missing as are the other 50.8m South Koreans estimated to be in the world. Their assistant manager is a Spaniard called Toni Grande though, and he was Real Madrid’s assistant manager in 97/98. Which means he worked with this squad:

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They won the 97/98 Champions League too, which perhaps isn’t a surprise and if I were him I’d be taking all the credit for it. It must come up in job interviews. Anyway, Toni Grande – 97/98 legend.

Group G

England
After that nightmare, things could only improve. We’re in England’s group and of course Gareth Southgate is well known for his 90s antics. Missing penalties, the pizza hut advert and generally being a solid centre half.

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Out of that entire Euro 96 squad I think Southgate will have been towards the bottom of the list of players you would predict to manage England in a future World Cup, but here we are. I actually quite like him, though if he doesn’t get us out of the group he may never manage again.

Belgium
Another easy one. Belgium are managed by Roberto Martinez who played for Wigan in 97/98.

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As if to say “I’m fully on board with this” he has Thierry Henry as an assistant, so let’s have the pair of them on here for good measure

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If only all countries were like Belgium…

Panama
It’s always nice to see a nation qualify who we don’t usually see but it doesn’t really help me. They are managed by Hernán Darío Gómez Jaramillo who actually managed Colombia during the 1998 World Cup. So there is that. Colombia of course were in England’s group in 1998 and lost 2-0 to Beckham and Anderton, so get your money on somebody scoring a direct free kick if you believe in history repeating. Anyway, here are two of my favourite Colombians in 97/98

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Yes, before you ask, I am taking “they played under the current manager in the past” as a link. Besides, there is only one Panama player in the whole CM9798 database. Here he is:

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Tunisia
I have so little for Tunisia. Head Coach Nabil Maâloul was managing in Tunisia in 1997 so that won’t help us and his coaching staff were even later to the party. Maaloul played for Tunisia in the 1988 Olympics, where Tunisia were in a group with West Germany. Although Maaloul scored twice, Tunisia didn’t get through the group. They faced West Germany, who had a certain Jurgen Klinsmann leading the line:

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Can you really claim that as a link? Probably not. But this guy scored the winner for the Soviet Union in the Gold Medal match, so if nothing else you’ve learnt some pointless trivia.

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Group H

Poland
The final group and it’s another mixed bag. Poland was a tricky one, with manager Michał Żewłakow playing for Polonia Warsaw in 1997 but not making the database. Even finding the coaching staff was tricky but with no successful links found, I was fearing the worst. Trawling through Wikipedia bios is a dangerous game but, eventually, it came to light that Jakub Blaszczykowski has an uncle who had a big influence on his career. He also happens to be in CM9798 at Tirol Innsbruck (with the Russia manager, funnily enough) and so here he is. If that’s not a reason to cheer on a nation, I don’t know what is.

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“Crap but pacey” said the reviews.

Senegal
Sometimes you just need an easy result. Senegal manager Aliou Cisse is on CM97/98, though he is clubless.

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Cisse actually captained Senegal to the 2002 World Cup, a breakout tournament for so many of their players, earning several of the squad moves. Cisse transferred to Birmingham and later Portsmouth after he fell out with Steve Bruce. Whether Cisse can get Senegal to reach the heights of 2002 remains to be seen but at least sign him on a free if you’re playing 97/98 anytime soon.

Colombia
I feel like we’ve already done Colombia but it just turns out there’s a few Colombian managers knocking around and I took a few liberties and starting claiming Valderrama and Higuita were involved. Anyway, Jose Pekerman is Colombia Manager and in 1997 he was managing Argentina Under 20s, so he’s out. Once again though he’s got an assistant who knew where to be in the 90s, good old Patricio Camps.

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I’d never actually heard of this man but those stats are rather good, with pace and shooting he’s pretty much all I look for in a striker. Heading is very much optional in my teams.

Japan
We’ll finish on a low. I really tried. Japan manager Akira Nishino has stopped playing by 1997 and was managing Japan’s Under-23s, which isn’t enough to earn you a spot in the CM9798 database. After hunting high and low through the squad, I threw the towel in. All I can offer you is two players who have caps for Japan who are on CM9798 and still playing now. I just hope they get a very surprise recall.

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Nakamura is 39 now and playing for Jubilo Iwata, whilst Miura is a ridiculous 51 and still turning out for Yokohama every now and then. I don’t think either will feature this summer.

There we go then. A reason to follow any of the 32 teams involved in the World Cup this summer. Not necessarily good reasons but where has logic ever got anybody? Thanks for reading and putting up with the madness!

Townsend’s Tactics – The origin of the Tactics Truck?

With the CM9798 World Cup just around the corner, he of Roma-save fame Rob Tait has written up a tactics bible to help our competitors decide how to set-up. He’s got some help from a stricken member of the Irish squad…

I’ve recently named my Republic of Ireland World Cup squad and unfortunately (on many levels) Andy Townsend is out due to injury. Luckily Andy has a plan for after he retires, he is going to become a pundit, offering valuable insight into the tactics used during top flight football matches. He has decided to use his enforced time off to develop these skills and help our World Cup bid. He has bought himself a Winnebago from Bill Murray in order to travel around Europe and discover the best tactics for us to use on our World Cup adventure. He’s even named it “The Tactics Truck.”

Townsend

What Andy wants to know is, should we run a custom formation or one of the CM9798 in-game formations. To find out he is going to visit 6 teams who are all using a custom formation I have found from looking on the internet, thank you internet and thank you people who put these tactics out there. He will then travel back in time to the beginning of the season and watch those teams running one of the in-game formations. Andy only wants to see a Direct style of play, it’s his favourite.

In order to make it as fair as possible I decided to do the following;

  • I copied the save just before the first game of the season so that both times through each team will have the same players with the same stats and the order of games will be the same.
  • I decided to only buy a player if he was really needed for the formation and again this was all done before a ball was kicked so squads are identical. (Well almost but more on that later, Spurs).
  • I tried as best I could to find a squad who had players who fit well into both the in-game formation and the custom one.
  • I played 10 league games minimum with each team.
  • If injuries happened, and they did, Liverpool, then I just accepted this and didn’t sign a replacement. I decided part of what might make a formation good is the ability to move players in and out while still getting results.
  • I didn’t change any of the runs on the in-game formations, I just left them as is.
    As was said above we only played a Direct style.

So to the teams and formations, and a little comparison of the two saves. All the in-game formations are on the left. I really just want to see how the custom formations do against the standard ones after about 10 league games. Would there be any obvious differences in the team’s performance. Let’s look at the stats for each team in turn and then Andy will help us do a final summary, after all this is all thanks to his truck.

From England we have,

Liverpool, with the 4-3-3 attacking formation and a custom 4-3-1-2.

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Liverpool signed CM legend Bakayoko for a measly £3.2 million

I loved the custom formation here, I felt like it was raining goals. The first couple of league games started started slowly but then this and it just continued.

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We only lost two league games out of 12, both away and both 1:0 to Leeds and Man Utd. It was pretty even against Utd.

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We even overturned a 2:0 home defeat to Udinese in the UEFA cup by going to their place and winning 3-0. I felt like we could win every game, we didn’t, but I felt like we could. Even at the point in the season when this happened.

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We kept scoring goals, even with Mark Kennedy up front.

The attacking 4-3-3 I did not like as much. The formations are so similar I thought that we would score a similar amount and it started so well, 2:0 and 6:0 victories but after that the goals dried up and I never felt confident of a win. The 4-3-3 just didn’t seem to get the best out of the players. After 12 games of each here are the two leagues and results list.

Custom:

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In-game

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I would say a victory for the custom tactic. I think I am going to try this one at some point and it seems like it was built for Bakayoko behind your front two. Also David James only conceded 6 league goals so if it can do that for him then it’s surely worth a try.

On to Tottenham, with the classic normal 4-4-2 and a custom 3-4-1-2.

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Spurs, I thought didn’t need to sign anyone as they had players to fit both tactics. I was so very wrong.

I had high hopes for the custom tactic here, however after 10 league games I had only won 3 times and two of them were in August. It just wasn’t working and I couldn’t help myself, I had to buy a couple of players to see if it was the team or the tactic. I bought Heidenstrom and Emmers in at the beginning of October after crashing out of the League cup to Middlesbrough. We did win the last two games scoring 5 and not conceding but it was all too little too late. We made lots of chances in some games but even when we scored the other team seemed to score more, which is really the opposite of what one is aiming for.

The classic 4-4-2 normal felt like it worked much better but when you look there wasn’t much in it. I signed Emmers and Heidenstrom again but didn’t play them until October as in the previous game. In all honesty I didn’t really feel like I needed them but I wanted to make it as similar as possible. I didn’t lose as many games with the classic 4-4-2 but I didn’t win any more either.

Custom

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In- game

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All in all both tactics were a bit duff with Spurs, maybe Spurs just aren’t that good at the start of the 97/98 season. To make either tactic work better I think a number of new signings would need to be made. The tactics might also work better if passing style was used but that is just me speculating.

Andy’s off to Spain next and the capital Madrid.

Atletico Madrid, are playing 4-4-2 attacking and custom 3-1-2-2-2.

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Atletico signed Welsh central defensive goliath Robert Page for £2.9 million

Both of these tactics seemed to work really well with the direct style and in terms of team performance it was very close with the attacking 4-4-2 edging it on points, league position and goals conceded. The custom bagged you more goals, at close to one extra per game. I love goals and they are the hardest thing to come by in this game yet sometimes it seems the easiest things to give away cheaply. I wonder if a bit of playing with the full back runs and buying some quality in defense would make the custom tactic fly? Vieri and Kiko combined for 23 goals in the custom tactic but only 13 in the attacking 4-4-2. Lardin didn’t take to the attacking 4-4-2 averaging a 7.00 compared to his 7.54 in the custom, others were relatively similar. He’s a pretty good player so if you can get him firing as well that is good.

Custom

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In-game

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I would say that both tactics have held up well here and either would be a good choice and give you a chance of great things. As was said earlier I only made one signing, if you played for longer and started to identify areas to improve and make a few more strong acquisitions both of these could do really well.

Real Betis, play a diamond and my favourite custom tactic, the 2-3-1-2-2.

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Betis signed Swede Par Zetterberg for £1.8 million and highly rated (in this game) Michael Brown for £1 million.

Well what can I say about the custom tactic here. I have used this on many saves, you just seem to score so many goals compared to the AI. When I compared Alfonso and Oli’s returns they were very similar for both tactics 15 in total with the custom and 14 with the diamond. With the custom however lots of other players chipped in which just wasn’t happening with the diamond. Custom goals on the left.

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Where this custom tactic falls down is in defense, you concede a lot of goals and the only way to stop this is find real quality defenders, fortunately there are some around early on in the game, Worns, Santos and Page to name a few. The other challenge is the wing back positions, traditional fullbacks will work there, I’ve had great success with Panucci who is a right back rather than a wing back but I’ve also struggled at times to find a player to fit.

The diamond was a little disappointing in my opinion. On CM2 it was my go to formation but I haven’t found it as successful in 97/98. I really don’t like the player behind the front two running back to the middle of the park and I usually remove this run when I use it. It might also suit passing style rather than direct. I was better at defending with the diamond but scored less than half as many goals which for me is just not what it is about. The final thing I will say about the custom formation, and it really highlight it’s strengths and weaknesses is just look at this result, what entertaining mayhem.

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Here are the league tables to compare.

Custom

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In-game

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A clear win for the custom formation here, 8 more points and no lost games. Sort out the defense and you are on your way to being world beaters. On a final note Finidi George is amazing on this game as that inside right support player. I’ve had him average close to 8.00 at the end of a season, and he does it consistently. If you can sign him do, then play him there and enjoy. Just don’t call him George Finidi like the game does!

Finally Andy is off to Italy.

Fiorentina, playing the 5-3-2 attacking and custom 4-2-3-1.

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Fiorentina signed two full backs in Mirko Conte and Francesco Cozza, both rated by League Scout 1 and costing a combined £4.4 million.

Fiorentina were really fun to play with using the custom formation, Batistuta scored 17 goals, he was a one man wrecking ball, the problem seemed to be that if he didn’t score, which was rarely then we didn’t have any other players to get those vital goals. Again conceding too many goals was an issue, too many score draws and not enough wins. It’s another formation that could have some of the runs played around with and also might be helped by having some qualify defenders. It’s worth a try as it seems very free scoring which is what I like, especially if you can find a goal machine to play up top.

Attacking 5-3-2 direct did not work for me at all. I’m not sure why or what happened, maybe I had the wrong players or it needs to be passing rather than direct but I was bad, really really bad. Batistuta got 2 goals, 2 goals in 10 games. I know people love this formation and have made it work really well but it just didn’t work for me this time. I would have been sacked or we would have got relegated, or both, if I had played the whole season like those first 10 games.

Custom

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In-game

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So I would try the custom tactic here, with some tweaks and I know that attacking 5-3-2 can work well even though it didn’t here.

Inter, 5-3-2 normal and custom 3-1-2-3-1

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Inter signed Dane Morten Bisgaard for £4.1 million.

I did not enjoy either formation with Inter. The custom was solid, we didn’t concede many and we scored a similar amount to the teams around us. After 10 games we were 3rd, two points off the lead but at no time was I excited. I had the best striker in the game up front and he wasn’t getting it done. In hindsight it might not have been the best custom formation for Inter, it had clearly been used very successfully by the person who had it on their website so there is potential.

The standard 5-3-2 is what Inter start the game playing but they make more signings than I did, probably because they have too many non-EU players. It was difficult to get all the best players I had on the pitch. We didn’t defend as well playing the normal 5-3-2, six more goals conceded in 10 games hence four places further down in the table. Normal 5-3-2 might also be better suited to a passing style.

Custom

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In-game

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These two saves upset me the most out of all of them, I just wanted to see Fat Ronaldo who at this point in time was The Ronaldo, and for me always will be The Ronaldo, score lots of goals and it didn’t happen. As I said the custom has potential and maybe some personnel changes would get the goals flowing.

So that is it, 12 tactics have been looked at and given the once over. One of the things I like about this game is a number of tactics that can be successful, both in-game and custom. There is a lot of satisfaction in building a team to fit the formation you have chosen especially if that formation brings you goals, goals, goals and more goals. I’m not sure if the less successful formations were due to style of play or just not quite having the right players for the job. I would have to play a season properly and see how it went. It was very interesting to see that moving Lardin from wide left to inside left raised his performance from 7.00 to 7.54 that is only a small positional change that brought big benefits, maybe indicating a small tweak to any formation can have a big effect.

Rating them is hard to do, even with all the variables I tried to control there are still many more that I didn’t. The best I can do is break them down into groups based on my preferences.

25

All that is left to do is say thanks to Andy for collecting all this information using his Tactics Truck and ask him his opinion regarding our World Cup bid.

Me: So Andy you’ve watched all the matches, what do you think?

Andy: Well Rob I think one of those formations will be the best one to choose. If you want to win the World Cup you will need your strikers to score goals but you don’t want your defense to concede too many. If you can just score more goals than your opponents then you have a chance in every game.

Me: Thanks Andy, that’s really insightful.

Thanks to Rob for taking the time out to solve all your tactical needs. Rob will be back tomorrow with the latest from Roma, or you can catch up with him on Twitter @Taitanator

Saving Vale from Fail – Part 2

Welcome back. Which idiot decided on this title? Anyway, part 1 is here – the gist is, I took over Port Vale with 12 games of the season to go and they were miles from safety. 13 points to be exact. But now, that mile is more like 1,000 metres. It’s still a long way, basically. But with 6 games to go, we just need to make up 7 points on Tranmere. The debt also continues to spiral, but that is not my concern…

It’s Stockport at home next, who are thankfully not managed by Matt Porter so they sit 14th. Now seems like a good time to remind you of my team, which is missing Tommy Widdrington through injury but is otherwise, sadly, full strength.

vs stockport

It’s a good game to get an early goal in, especially as we spend the next 88 missing numerous chances. I’ve never seen a team get as many goals disallowed as we do either, Foyle has a toe poke ruled out for offside. In one game we had a goal disallowed because their defender sliced it onto the bar and Foyle tapped it in. How can that be offside? Anyway, 3 precious points and we sit waiting for Tranmere’s score to tick through. Why did I load three countries?

stockport

They’ve lost 2-0 at Swindon. Good. Crewe, in 22nd, have been hammered 4-1 at home to Man City. This is a good weekend for us.

5 to go

These are the Easter weekend fixtures so we actually play again 2 days later. We’ve lost Jeffers to a thigh injury but Widdrington is back to sit in front of the centre halves. It’s a trip to Portsmouth, who are 16th and beatable. Tranmere will go to Man City a day later, though I notice Aldridge as player-manager rates himself as a star player but also has himself on the transfer list. I can’t explain some things.

aldridge

Anyway, Portsmouth. It’s a dull game with nothing happening until Portsmouth score. From a corner. Foyle equalises against the run of play on half time and I’ll take a point.

Alex Notman won’t. He’s on hand to tap in from Rankin’s spilled shot and we’ll take all three points back from the south coast. It’s a great bus ride home.

pompey 1-2

Crewe are humped 4-0 at Huddersfield. The day is soured though as Notman pulls a hamstring moonwalking down the bus. That’s a problem.

John Aldridge grabs a point for Tranmere at Man City. City are already promoted which doesn’t help. It means Rovers have a 1 point advantage over us with 4 games to go.

Sunderland are our next visitors. They have a very strong squad and usually go up, but find themselves 4th. They’ve added Sasa Ciric to their lineup and he’s a very useful striker. Rankin gives us the lead but Ciric pegs us back. A point is ok. Tranmere have lost at home to Huddersfield, who are fast becoming my 2nd favourite team.

mackems 1-1

Crewe throw a curveball into the mix by beating 9th placed West Brom 4-1. That pulls them back into contention, though Bradford are relegated. The equation is clear.

3 games to go

Bury away is a game we need to win. They are basically safe, barring an unprecedented series of results, but they are nearly as bad defensively as us. Jeffers returns to the bench with Frank continuing in the place of Notman.

We’re awful. We’re behind and after 63 minutes, I have to introduce a 16 year old in the hope he saves the day.

He does.

bury 1-2

Within seconds of his arrival he equalises and then rams in a winner. More likes Francis Jeff-Hurst. Am I right? (Man on the Post, if you read this, sorry I stole your joke).

Aldridge nicks a point for Tranmere whilst Crewe draw at Stoke. We’re out of the bottom 3!

2 games to go

Notman’s back but Snijders, one of the centre halves, is banned for a game. Widdrington’s season is over due to injury, but I can’t really complain when you see the state of Crewe’s injury situation.

crewe

Tony Naylor wants a move. He’s unhappy at being left out of the side, but as he played 19 games and scored 2 goals at an average of 6.05, he’s lucky he hasn’t been put down. Goodbye Tony.

The board are satisfied. Is that it? I mean yes, the debt is spiralling but I didn’t shell out £1.8m on Tommy Widdrington, did I?

Our final home game of the season is against Charlton. They are 18th. We should win. We are effectively at match point. A win here coupled with results elsewhere could secure it for us.

0-2 charlton

We’re awful. Call it pressure. Nerves. Lack of talent. We can barely muster a shot in target and not even Jeffers can save us. Salvation comes in the form of the other results. Home defeats for Tranmere and Crewe leave us in the driving seat.

table 1 to go

Crewe have to go to terrible Bradford. Tranmere face Wolves who are fighting for a playoff place. We’re at Sheff Utd, who are 19th.

Ainsworth is injured but Snijders is back. The terrible right wing back I inherited is also injured, so a young lad called Matthew Carragher is in. Sheff Utd have Paul McGrath and Dean Saunders, which is problematic enough in 1998 but I’m pleased it isn’t 1994.

I’m confident a point will do it. Surely Tranmere won’t win at Molineux. I decide to view the Crewe game. Bradford may as well not turn up, like the fans. 5,000 are dotted around Valley Parade to watch Gary Walsh have a tab whilst Crewe run riot. They win 4-1. I need at least a point.

It’s not pretty. Sheff Utd are far the better team but we equalise straight away after going behind. It’s 3-1 at half time though, and it’s a borderline disaster. Aspin heads on in on 52 and there’s loads of time to get another goal. Rankin obliges. There’s 24 minutes to go and I really don’t know whether to stick or twist. A Tranmere win would scupper us. We’ll have to wait and see.

3-3 sheff utd

Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

tranmere

WHEY!

final table

Bloody. Hell. That was hard work. Every match was a struggle, but we’ve survived by the skin of our teeth. What days.

I’m off for a lie down but I’ll be back Sunday with Aberdeen and the last update of season 4. Until then, have a go at the survival challenge and tweet me your results. It’s exhausting.

 

 

 

Saving Vale from Fail – Part 1

Good day to you. With both Matt Stockport and Matt Man Utd (not real names) having a week off I decided to step into the gaping hole in my schedule with another survival challenge. You might recall, way back last summer, I took over Swindon who were in a load of trouble and managed to save them. You can relive that through part 1 and part 2.

As it’s a nice an easy two part series to keep you entertained why the Matt’s recharge their batteries, I’ve loaded another game, fast forwarded (left it on holiday…) and come to see what’s available with 12 games to go. Across all the divisions, this was the most perilous:

League table

Port Vale, who have as many points as they do goals, and not in a good way, seems like a good challenge. 13 points (14 when you take into account goal difference) from safety and not a dime to spend.

debt

Great times. It seems they spent all of their money on Tommy Widdrington, for reasons I will never understand

PV squad

Aspin is of course the current real life manager. Ainsworth has 6 goals and Foyle 4, to say there aren’t many goals in the team is an understatement. Sadly they can’t defend either, having shipped 62 so far this season.

Richie Wellens, on loan from Man Utd, is at least a talented player but he is recalled the day after my arrival. A bit rude, especially as they go on to loan him to Macclesfield. I have to move quickly and loan in Ben Thornley, also from Man Utd, and Francis Jeffers, who is 16 but seems willing to run about for me. Beggars can’t be choosers.

With Swindon I could build a solid base as they had a solid enough defence, but there’s no chance of that here. I’m breaking out the Aberdeen formation in the hope we can score one more than you/them.

game 1

It’s Huddersfield who are our visitors, they sit 13th and have nothing to play for. Let’s turn this disaster around

5-1 hudds

Yikes. I didn’t expect that. Thornley doesn’t score but does everything else, I just hope he can wait a month until the window closes before he realises he can do far better than this

thornley recalled

One day. ONE DAY. Cheers Fergie. That won’t help, so it’s back into the loan market but nobody is keen to come. Sigh. Off to West Brom

Andy Hunt has chance after chance and the game descends into a battle.

wba 0 - 1 PV

It’s FOYLE’S WAR. Does that work? As a pun? Anyway, we’re 3 points richer thanks to the veteran striker who has 3 in 2 for me and has nearly matched his tally for the season.

It’s the big derby next, at home to Stoke. If I can win this the fans will love me forever, but Stoke are on the fringes of the playoffs and it won’t be easy.

Alex Notman joins on loan, again from Man Utd, but it’s all for nothing. We dominate the chances but can’t score before an Aspin handball hands them a penalty and three points. One step forward, two steps back.

PV 0 - 1 stoke

Games are running out so home defeats can be critical, so a trip to Molineux could spell curtains for us. Isiah Rankin arrives on loan from Arsenal, our final permitted loan signing, and he goes straight into the team.

We trail early on and we’re being battered, but Rankin smashes one in on the counter. Wolves are pushing for a winner but we get a corner. A scramble ensues and Aspin bundles it in. The away end erupts.

Wolves 2-1

That result takes us off the bottom of the table at the expense of Bradford, who are our next opponents. First though, it’s deadline day and with no loan spots left I’m trailing the freebies for anybody who could improve us. This guy has as good a chance as any

frank

He’s straight onto the bench for the Bradford game, which is an absolute must win.

I fear the worst when we are 1-0 down but Talbot and that man Foyle have a great 15 minutes and we’re looking comfortable until Steiner makes it a tricky last half hour. Big Poppa Pump will do that to you.

3-2 bradford

Still, a vital win and we’re within 3 points of safety, though our goal difference is still rancid.

QPR is a horrible fixture on this game. They have so many good players who usually get moves to the Premier League after a season or so – sometimes less. Sadly Sheron and Gallen are still at Loftus Road and they absolutely rinse us. Foyle gets a late consolation that I tell myself might make help our goal difference. It’s a bare faced lie that not even I believe.

5-2 QPE

With 6 games to go, we’re 6 points from safety. Though that minus 40 goal difference is going to be problematic.

6 games to go

We’ve got out work cutout. This is going to go right to the wire, and by that I mean Thursday when this series ends. See you then!

How to manage ANY International team on CM9798

Ahoy-hoy. I like to think I’ve seen just about everything there is to see in CM9798, but it turns out I was wrong. Friend of the blog Adam tweeted me a while ago telling me the story of his Romania side at World Cup 98. His Romania side? How could that be?

What we do know

The game as we know it allows you to control the International sides of each of the 9 playable nations plus Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales. In order to do that, you need to select the league to load that contains your nation of choice. If you want to play as France, load the French league, so on and so forth. You also have to know the name of the manager, which can easily be got from the General Information tab on each team page, or from the editor. You’ll need to enter your name as the current manager name e.g. Glenn Hoddle if you want to be England manager.

How to select the other nations

Right, this is the clever bit. You can manage any nation in the game, you just need to make a few tweaks. Here’s how:

Load up the editor (cm2ed.exe in dosbox or drag the cm2ed icon onto the Dosbox icon) and go to load database. Go to edit database and then search records. Type in the nation you want to manage.

After selecting them from the list (note: if you search Germany you’ll get all the German clubs, just find the nation in the list, they will either be at the beginning or the end of the list from experience) you’ll need to skip to the second page. In this example, I have selected Australia

editor

You’ll see I have highlighted the Division field – you need to edit this to be one of the divisions you are planning to load. In this case, I have chosen EPR (English Premier League) but it can really be any league you want to load, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to change anything else. Of course you can mess about with the stadium name and such if you want to but that won’t effect what we are doing here.

Click done until you get back to the main editor screen and save the database. At this point, if you know the name of the manager of your national team, you are done. If not, you need to click load database and type in mgdata. This will load the manager database. Now, I know the Australia manager here is Terry Venables, but let’s say I want to be Brazil. I need to put somebody in charge of Brazil so I can type their name in. I have chosen Steve Bruce.

Brazil

You’ll see on the right hand side I have entered Brazil in the National Job field. Again, that’s all you need to do. Come out of that, save the database and then quit the editor. It’s time to load the game.

Load the game up as normal, 8MB or 16MB. Remember to select the league you have plonked your Nation of choice into – don’t worry, they won’t actually be in the Premier League. Adam has done the testing and there’s no game breaking changes in there.

Once the game loads, select your team(s) to manage. I have picked Australia and Nigeria for this example

australia infoNigeria info

As far as I can see, the game will load all players of a nation that has been added to the playable leagues, so you should be able to pick most nations, though obviously the more nations the bigger your database so it might take a bit longer to create the game. I did try adding San Marino, you can manage them but they have no players.

san marino

san marino no players

You’d have to holiday in order to continue, or you could, you know, just not manage these nations.

It’s worth pointing out that you can do this trick with all nations, so for example even though you could select the German league to play as Germany, I have moved them to EPR and loaded England, Spain and Italy. Germany is available to select:

Selected Teams

Also note that only the European Qualifiers are in the game, so if you pick Argentina you’ve got months to wait until the World Cup but you will have a load of friendlies. For the 98 World Cup, Brazil have qualified automatically but the other South American nations are included at random, the likes of Argentina will be fine but some others are not guaranteed.

What now?

In the summer, I will be running the CM9798 World Cup. Think the CM9798 Cup we ran in October but over the summer with 16 human controlled teams. Why 16? That’s the maximum number of players allowed at one time in the game. It’s ambitious but I think it has to be done. Keep your eyes peeled for more information, I’ll need 15 friends.

Get practicing with your nations of choice and of course let me know on Twitter how you’re getting on. This is the type of thing I get excited about so please do share.

Merry Christmas

Seasonal greetings to you. Normally at this time I’d bring you the latest from Pittodrie but seeing as we’re all a bit pre-occupied with Christmas (eating and drinking counts as occupied) I thought I’d take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to thank you for your support during 2017.

It’s been a great year for the blog but any success is only down to the reaction I get from all of you. The year started with the American Takeover, before we moved on to Ajax, the 20 year anniversary events and now Aberdeen. We’ve given away prizes, we’ve interviewed some great fans (even Bjorn Heidenstrom!) of the game, released a second book and been invited on podcasts. The Classic CM community is stronger than ever and you should all be very proud of yourselves. Without you, there is no me (well, you know what I mean) so I can never thank you enough for liking, re-tweeting, tagging and all those other words which mean more people see what we’re up to over here.

I must also thank the two Matt’s, who have become guest bloggers, as well as MK who did a shift for me earlier in the year. As I mentioned during the 20 year update, my ambition for 2018 is to get more regular bloggers involved and have a constant selection of content for you, which is easier said than done. We’ve got another guest blogger signed up to start in January so the more the merrier, we just need new ideas.

I have a couple of things in mind, what with it being a World Cup year, but there’s plenty of mileage in the Aberdeen save yet. That’ll be back in January.

On a personal level, this blog has taken me further than I could imagine. I was able to cover a match live from the press box a few months ago, which has long been a dream of mine, and it all traces back to starting this blog about a game from 20 years ago. If you’re considering writing, give it a go. You don’t know who is watching and reading, but you do know that nobody is reading if it’s never been written.

I’ve posted the final CM Advent so go and check that on Twitter if you haven’t already, but all that’s left for me to say is have a great Christmas and a wonderful new year and I hope to see you back here in January.

The Current Premier League Managers in CM9798

If you’ve ever wondered what the current crop of Premier League managers were up to on CM97/98, congratulations! You are as stuck in the past as I am. To celebrate, here’s a run through of who you can find on a game from 20 years ago

Eddie Howe

1 Howe

Rewind 20 years and you’ll find Eddie Howe exactly where you’ll find him now. Some people just like to stay on the south coast, alright? Before Howe was a manager though he was a promising defender, racking up more than 200 appearances for Bournemouth and even featuring for the England Under 21s. Much like his managerial career, he briefly left to try something else, didn’t like it and went back to being a Cherry. It wasn’t that long ago that Howe was being linked with every job that became available, though that now falls on Sean Dyche to deal with.

Arsene Wenger

We all know where Wenger is. Even on 9798 you’ll find Wenger struggling to zip his coat up in the dugout, albeit at Highbury rather than The Emirates. Steve Bould is sat next to him as a substitute rather than an assistant, though.

Chris Hughton

Sadly, there’s no sign of Hughton on 1997/98. Having retired from playing in 1993 he joined Tottenham’s coaching staff, and there were no place for coaches in the CM2 series.

Sean Dyche

2 Dyche

Current flavour of the month Sean Dyche has Burnley flying high in the Premier League at the moment, but back in 1997/98 Dyche was a versatile player apparently capable of playing on either flank in defence or attack. Sadly there is no stat for how gravelly a voice somebody has, or that would be a certain 20 for old Dychey. He did however get to play with the most suave man in football Paul Tisdale and Shaun Goater during his time at Bristol City, so it’s not all bad.

Antonio Conte

3 Conte

If you aren’t familiar with the Juventus side of the mid 1990’s, I can heartily recommend you look them up. They were quite good. Conte was an integral figure in the heart of the midfield as Juventus won 5 Serie A titles and the Champions League, among other things. Conte is of course now the Chelsea manager, and he lead the Blues to the Premier League title in his first season in England. A lot of Conte’s traits as a player can be found in his management, he’s arguably as all action in the dugout as he was in midfield, but we’ve also seen the intelligence and tactical versatility to switch Chelsea to a 3-4-3 last season to take them on an 11 game winning run.

Roy Hodgson

Dear old Roy was managing Blackburn 20 years ago, which really shows you just how long the Crystal Palace manager has been in the game for. Managers don’t have profiles on CM9798 so here he is in the editor

4 Hodgson

Fair to say that ‘passing’ playing style disappeared over the years, but he’s doing an admirable job at Crystal Palace in my view and he may yet keep them up. It was around 1997 that Hodgson’s reputation was at its highest having been Switzerland and then Inter Milan manager, which makes it all the more remarkable that he’d go on to manage his country 15 years later.

David Unsworth

When I wrote this, David Unsworth had been caretaker boss for what felt like forever. It was more like 6 weeks, and results had been mixed at best. As the enormous shadow of Sam Allardyce loomed and eventually eclipsed old Unsy, I’d already written this, so bear with me. Back in 1997/98, he had just signed for West Ham ahead of a one season stay. He’s going to need all of that 20 for determination if he’s going to make Everton a decent side again, but I suspect his influence is already well below 15.

5 Unsworth

A bit like Eddie Howe, Unsworth always returns like a homing pigeon and a move to Aston Villa lasted one month before he returned to Everton. He can expect a similar shift back to Everton’s Under-23s. Anyway, it’s not our problem now and Big Sam is in charge. Back in 97/98, he was at Notts County and basically a blank slate, still to learn the term “get it in the mixer.”

5a Allardyce

David Wagner

6 Wagner

The eagle eyed amongst you will spot some errors with above CM9798 screenshot before we’ve even started. Firstly, the date of birth is wrong. I mean, it’s not even close. Wrong month and three years out. Also, Wagner was representing the USA by this point, as despite being German by birth and representing Germany’s youth sides, Wagner held an American passport and was given his first cap in 1996. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not him at all, but he was at least at Gutersloh in the 1997/98 season so I’m putting it down to dodgy researching. His stats are extremely average but at least he won’t get injured.

Claude Puel

Puel retired from playing in 1996 and took his first management job in 1999, so he’s nowhere to be found in CM97/98 I’m afraid.

Jurgen Klopp

7 Klopp

Klopp spent 11 years as a Mainz player before getting the management job towards the very end of his playing career. He was actually a striker in his early playing days but reverted to being a defender, like a German Dion Dublin. In reverse. Either way, with strong heading and tackling he’s not a bad centre half. I think that aggression needs upping though. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

Pep Guardiola

Long before Pep was a managerial genius, he was dominating the centre of the park for Barcelona

8 Pep

Pep spent most of his playing career with Barcelona before going on to manage them (after a spell in charge of the B team). Of course now find Pep at Man City, bringing his unique brand of pass and move football to the Premier League. As a player, it’s no surprise to see high marks for creativity, passing and technique, making him one of the best central midfielders on the game. As a manager, you don’t need me to tell you what he’s about!

Jose Mourinho

It’s well documented that Mourinho didn’t play at a particularly high level, and indeed he retired 10 years before CM97/98. By the time of release, Mourinho was assistant manager to Louis Van Gaal at Barcelona following the departure of Bobby Robson. Again, as there are no coaches in the game, Mourinho can not be found in CM97/98.

Rafa Benitez

In 1997, Benitez could be found managing Extremadura as a young manager trying to build a reputation. He would go on to guide them to promotion from the Segunda Division, but they only survived one season in the Primera. Here’s his editor stats for your entertainment

9 Rafa

It’s funny to see his reputation being so low compared to Hodgson’s that we saw earlier, but that’s just how their stock was in the football world 20 years ago. Benitez is now at Newcastle hoping to go one better than he did at Extremadura, having gained promotion he is now looking to keep them in the Premier League.

Mauricio Pellegrino

Southampton’s manager Pellegrino was actually a player for Rafael Benitez during their time at Valencia, which is not only a fact but a beautiful link from one manager in this list to another. Back in 1997 though and Pellegrino was still in his native Argentina, playing for Velez Sarsfield.

10 Pell

He played in both Champions League final defeats for Valencia (under Benitez), even missing the decisive penalty in the shootout in 2001. Benitez forgave him and signed him for Liverpool, though his best days were gone by then. Looking at his playing stats, he looks a decent if unspectacular centre half, that low positioning rating would be problematic, especially without great pace to recover.

Mark Hughes

11 Hughes

It’s easy to forget what a wonderful career Mark Hughes had. He’s in the twilight of his career by 1997, but that injury proneness of 1 highlights how he managed to play on for another 5 years after this. I think the fact that he is a very irritating manager clouds the fact that he played for Man Utd, Barcelona and Bayern Munich – obviously no mean feat and he was still very useful in 1997. As manager of Stoke, he’s completed his usual objective of making a team very mid-table, which is fine at Stoke but was less good at Man City.

Paul Clement

Clement played non-league football until 1994 and then concentrated on getting his coaching qualifications whilst working as a PE teacher. He was a long way from the CM radar at this point.

Mauricio Pochettino

Step forward the man who has made Spurs rather good, most of the time anyway. Pochettino can be found in 97/98 at Espanyol, with the seemingly customary high aggression rating for Argentinian defenders. His vital stats for a centre half are actually pretty good, though a 14 for tackling might explain why he fouled Michael Owen for England’s penalty against Argentina in 2002.

12 Poch

Marco Silva

It’s probably not unkind to say Marco Silva didn’t really reach any great heights as a player. He played in a total of two top flight Portugese league matches and only really finding a permanent home at Estoril, where he spent the final 6 years of his career before becoming their manager in 2011. Back in 1997 though and Silva is a pretty promising right back, with stamina, strength and pace actually being a pretty good description of the Watford side he currently manages.

13 Marco SIlva

Alan Pardew

Mr Popular is back in the Premier League, with West Brom being the latest to be taken in by the large amounts of hot air coming from his face. Bias aside, Pardew has a knack of getting results when he first arrives at a club and he’ll almost certainly keep West Brom up, so maybe not a bad appointment in the short term. Back in 1997 and Pardew’s playing career was just about to grind to a halt.

14 Pards

Having been player-coach at Barnet in the 1996/97 season, Pardew moved to Reading with Terry Bullivant in 1997. His profile is still on CM97/98 as a player as he was technically still registered as a player. As a special treat for you, here he is at Barnet on CM2 96/97 season:

14a Pardew

Personally, I feel 6 for intelligence is a bit high.

David Moyes

He will probably tell you we’re saving the best until last, but it’s just alphabetical by team David I’m afraid. Anyway, remember back in 1997 when Moyes was English?

15 Moyes

He’s certainly shown that 20 for adaptability, as he adapts from life at mid-table Everton to high flying Man Utd and then very low flying Sunderland and doing a terrible job at both. Still, with heading of 20 and tackling of 19, it’s only a matter of time before he limbers up alongside Winston Reid at West Ham, with pace of 5 he’s still quicker than James Collins.

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