CM9798 – The Greatest Team: Attacking Midfielders

The deadline to vote for your greatest CM9798 team is drawing ever closer. You have until October 30th to cast your vote ahead of the game’s 21st birthday on October 31st. Does a game celebrate a birthday? Never mind. The time has come to consider our attacking midfield options and you need to select TWO please, in order to fit into out 2-3-1-2-2.

Here are the contenders:

Phil Mulryne

That’s Father Phil Mulryne to you. It’s yet another member of the Man Utd youth team…

mulryne start

I guess the annoying thing here is that although his potential is locked in his stats are somewhat random. It’s unnoticeable on a lot of stats but set pieces is one where it can change a lot. Anyway, I’m a big fan, I signed him on my very first blog save as Wimbledon and many games since. Here he is on the Aberdeen save:

Mulryne future

mulryne career

That 98/99 season was quite something. If that doesn’t show you the power of what he can achieve then nothing will.


The CM9798 researchers must have been patting themselves on the back the night Denilson signed for Real Betis for a then World record fee of £21.5m. His CM9798 equivalent certainly had all the credentials:

denilson start

Aged just 19 and available for as little as £2m, if Sao Paulo were willing to let him go he was a great option to have. Capable of playing up front as well as his more natural attacking midfield positions, it’s a shame Denilson didn’t live up to his transfer fee.

Ibrahima Bakayoko

Hello old friend. Perhaps the most notable CM9798 gem, Ibrahima Bakayoko would set you back about £6.5m.

Baka start

From the moment I signed him to replace the stricken Alan Shearer, 9 year old me was always impressed by Bakayoko and that bond has grown year on year. Whether you play him up front or in the attacking midfield position, expect high average ratings and goals galore.

bakayoko history

We recently had some Twitter chat with a chap who worked at Everton during the Bakayoko era and the consensus is that he wasn’t as bad as was made out. Sadly he didn’t live up to his CM credentials but he’s been nothing but heroic to me and that’s all I care about. But is it enough to get your vote?

Finidi George

Another of the Betis brigade, George Finidi/Finidi George is a bit under appreciated. Just look at those stats.

Finidi start

Even his injury proneness is low. An absolute belter of a player but he is tricky to tempt away from Betis. Supplying the bullets for Alfonso and Oli is a good job though and Finidi excels at it. Just like someone else…

Sanchez Fernando

There was something in the air that night and looking at his stats it’s no surprise the stars were bright. Fernando.

Fernando start

He usually gets a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid within the first few seasons but, like Finidi, he’s got things pretty sweet where he is. That 20 for shooting comes in handy.

Alex Notman

One of the youngest players in the voting, Alex Notman could feasibly give you 20 seasons if you get him early enough.

Notman start

Yet another of the Man Utd youth team, he usually ends up on loan for a few seasons before moving around the lower divisions on a big club release clause. He can play in attacking midfield or up front but he lacks pace which is why I normally play him in attacking midfield depending on who else I have. Because he’s so young it might be 10 seasons before you really see the best of him but he usually ends up playing for England at some stage.

Antoine Sibierski


Sibi start

This man’s versatility makes him particularly useful. As you can see his stats are pretty good all round, but his shooting being at 15 leads me to pick him in an attacking midfield position rather than a striker. He was an integral part of my Ajax team along with many superstars but he never really hit those heights in real life. Will he make your greatest CM9798 team though?

Remember to vote for your Greatest CM9798 team here

CM9798: The Greatest Team – Left backs/wingbacks

The vote for the Greatest CM9798 team ends next week which means you don’t have long to make your choice. With over 2000 votes so far, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support on my latest project. Today we are looking at left backs or left wingbacks depending on the formation you play. We’ve set them up based on the famous 2-3-1-2-2 but you can of course play any formation you want.

Here are the runners and riders:


But who to choose?

Roberto Carlos

I’ll be honest, the wingback category (both sides) is a bit of a noodle scratcher. Getting somebody to play there a whole season and average over 7 is surprisingly difficult, with midfielder (left) Brian Pinas making a reasonable go at it in the Newcastle save whilst the Academy have had a few youngsters have a crack at it with no success. Anyway, like Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos is really one of the most iconic players of this era. He was already a fantastic player before he moves to Real Madrid but his physics defying free kick in Le Tournoi shot him into prominence.

His stats are ridiculous.

roberto carlos

I’d actually be curious to see how he got on in a more forward position because his stats, aside from heading, suggest he’d do well. One for a rainy day. Anyway, statistically he is obviously up to scratch but I guess the one downside is that he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world so unless you are them you might struggle to get him. He usually gets released several seasons down the line by which point he has declined but for now, enjoy him for what he is.

Bixente Lizarazu

Twitter loves Lizarazu. I asked for suggestions in the left back position and Bixente got plenty of nominations. It’s hardly surprising as France’s starting left back but either way he’s excellent. Bayern Munich seem to love selling their players too so you can probably get him in the first few seasons but as he turns 28 in the first season, he doesn’t have the longest shelf life.


Niclas Alexandersson

There are two ultimate utility men in CM9798. One is Luis Enrique, one of the greatest players in the game. The other is Niclas Alexandersson of Sheff Wed. Fun fact – Alexandersson was only moved to Sheff Wed in the patch so if you’re playing the out of the box version you can get him from Gothenburg for a small fee. Sheff Wed are less keen to sell him.


As you can see from his stats he’s actually quite handy but such is the relative dearth of left backs that’s where I’m putting him. He gets even better too, as we saw in the Aberdeen save.

NA career

Is versatility enough to get your vote?

Darren Young

What makes Darren Young an anomaly is that he is actually a wing back. The others are are all left backs or left midfielders. Not Youngy though. He is a one position man.

young start

He has the big club release clause as we found out in the Aberdeen save (curse you, Rangers) but he usually ends up moving on to bigger things in every save, though he made poor decisions in my example. Anyway, as a natural wing back he is one of the few to thrive in the position but is he your pick?

young career

Lee Hughes

I swear, if I ever meet the Norwegian researcher of this game I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Lee Hughes of Hodd is available for about £50k and is often the go to in the search for a left wingback.

lee hughes

The problem is, I have no idea who he is. Nobody does. It’s not helped that another Lee Hughes played at the top level and had some trouble with the law so he dominates a Google search but this Lee Hughes is always highly rated by the scout and does a job at just about every level. For Aberdeen he played in the Champions League for me, so a job well done.

Hughes future

Robert Jarni

The Croation Roberto Carlos, Robert Jarni is part of the rather tasty Betis team. His stats show just how good he is and one day I’ll do a Betis save to see just how good they can be.

Jarni start

Jarni went on to star in the 1998 World Cup and secured his dream move to…Coventry. Yep. He then moved to Real Madrid without making any appearances for the Sky Blues in a totally legitimate transfer that wasn’t a ruse at all. No further questions.

See all the nominees for the CM9798 Greatest Team here


CM9798: The Greatest Team – Strikers

Strikers are perhaps the most revered of all the candidates for our greatest team. Traditionally, it will be these guys who will plunder the goals that win you leagues, cups and awards, the only difficult thing is trying to pick two from the list. So much so that we put Bakayoko in the attacking midfielders and poor old Mjelde didn’t even make the list. He wasn’t the only one.

We’re looking for two from the below candidates:

Erik Nevland

As with most of the Man Utd youngsters, they are loaded with potential and with a sprinkling of game time, that potential can be unlocked.

nevland start

Man Utd aren’t short of options or money, so good old Erik the Nev is usually available at the end of the first season. If you’re lucky, you might be able to loan him during the first season but they usually keep him around because Scholes, Cole, Sheringham and Solskjaer just isn’t enough. You’ll get yourself a top striker for about £1m and he basically guarantees goals. Just take a look…

Nevland careernev stats

Is it enough to secure your vote?

Perez Munoz Alfonso

The most expensive player on the game is Perez Munoz Alfonso of Real Betis. Everything was expected of this kid and he did get his move to Barcelona, but it didn’t really take off for him.

alfonso start

In game he usually moves to Barcelona or Real Madrid in the first season – Betis have a great team that features throughout the nominations here – where he will continue to score goals for fun. Not one for those on a budget but if you want the best, you have to pay for them.


Let me introduce you to 8th place – Porto’s finest.

Jardel start

Jardel is popular because he is a goal machine. That much is obvious. But he’s also usually available at the end of the first season if his contract expires and as Matt Porter showed, he’ll even sign for Stockport. You can’t get vexed at that.

Graeme Tomlinson

Everybody’s favourite freebie. Released by Man Utd at the end of 96/97, their loss is your gain!

Tomlinson start

If you’re in a lower league save, Tomlinson is your man. Keeping hold of him is often another matter but he will go on to play for England is he is getting regular game time, as you can see here:

tomlinson career

Good old GT can do a job at just about any level. As he’s free he is typically a lower league signing but as we saw in some of the blog saves he can do a job certainly at First Division level and he was excellent in the Scottish Premiership. Will that be enough to secure your vote?

Andrew Mainwaring

Another lower league legend, Mainwaring can be found in Non-League for just £5k.

mainwaring start

He will be available regardless of who you are as he’s effectively out of contract and whether you pair him with Tomlinson or just add him to your squad, he’s capable of going to the very top. The problem usually comes for him when he moves on for his first big move and can’t get regular game time. The story goes that Mainwaring was rattling in the goals at Newport and it was expected he would get a move so was included in the database. For whatever reason, it never transpired, but he’s been a hero for so many of us.


I didn’t want to include too many genuinely world class players but Ronaldo is an exception. For me, Ronaldo was the best player in the world at this time, but had just joined Inter Milan from Barcelona.

Ronaldo start

This is before Ronaldo got his serious injury and before his World Cup 98 performances and I remember being so excited to be able to see Ronaldo on Channel 4’s Serie A coverage. I always wanted to sign Ronaldo on this game and when it was apparent I wouldn’t be able to do it for Newcastle, I had many games as Inter Milan. He might not be a CM icon in the way some others have cult status but I associate him with the game more than most others.

Sean Devine

Back to the bargain bin and Sean Devine of Barnet will set you back £1m or so.

Devine start

You may recall way back on the first ever blog save I signed Devine for Wimbledon. He was reasonably good. He went on to be player-manager of Liverpool which was quite surreal. He was also amazing for Aberdeen before he left for Rangers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stay at Barnet, he usually goes on to play at First Division level or higher whilst playing for Ireland for many years.

Tom Youngs

Some people call Youngs the budget Alfonso. Those people would be correct.

Youngs start

Like a lot of the Cambridge squad, their development seems somewhat random. If they get regular game time they will get moves to the Premier League but a bit like Mainwaring, sometimes their big move comes too soon. With Trevor Benjamin, Jamie Barnwell-Edinboro and others for company, Cambridge can be quite a force in Division 3 but they can’t defend. That’s by the by though. Youngs is a typical purchase for a side in Division 1 who can take advantage of his big club release clause and nurture him to realise his potential.

Youngs career

Remember, we need you to select two when you vote!

You can view all of the Greatest Team nominations here

CM9798 – The Greatest Team: Defensive Midfielders

Welcome back to our search for the greatest CM9798 team. So far we’ve discussed goalkeepers and centre backs, but you are able to vote for all positions here. Today though we’ll be focussing on defensive midfielders, a position integral in the 2-3-1-2-2 we’ve found to be the best formation. Let’s see who is up for nomination?

Matthias Sammer

It should be of no real surprise to find Sammer in this list – afterall, he did win the UEFA Best Player award at Euro 96. He’s at European Champions Borussia Dortmund and starts the game much sought after.


He’s usually courted by Barcelona to play the DM role for Louis van Gaal, obviously helped by his passing stats. He has a lot of very good stats but nothing higher than an 18. He turns 30 shortly after the game starts so unless you are managing one of Europe’s best you probably won’t be buying Sammer, however his average rating wherever he ends up is usually pushing 7.50.

Bjorn Heidenstrom

The man, the myth, the legend. A hero of mine after his interview last year, just look at these stats:

heidenstrom start

Absolutely incredible, the only stat lower than a 12 is injury proneness. He’s equally adept in defence or midfield which is why I’ve placed him in this category, his passing stat means he is probably more useful in the centre of the park. He only played four times for Leyton Orient in real life, so quite why he is rated so highly I’m not sure. Orient are in Division 3 so generally available for £100k or sometimes less and he’ll do a job for any club at any level. If you think of all the blogs we’ve had, he’s turned up in most of them. Including Aberdeen. I keep his hand written letter of encouragement in my notebook at all times but will he get your vote?

Martin Lauchlan

If our first two candidates were all about the here and now, how about one for the future?

Lauchlan start

There aren’t many players in the game aged just 16 but Lauchlan is wiser than his years would suggest. The fact he is left/centre means he also does a reasonable job as a left wing back, but he can only improve from his already pretty good stats. In the Aberdeen save that is now 8 seasons in, Lauchlan is a star player for Scotland and you can see his stats filling out.

Lauchlan stats future

A seal of approval from the interested clubs…

Lauchlan future

He has a big club release clause so he can be signed by most sides in the First Division or higher for a couple of hundred grand. When you consider you can get 15 seasons out of him, why not?

Billy MacDonald

Not Billy Mac from Love Actually, sadly. Partick Thistle’s youth team would seemingly give the class of 92 a run for their money, so what does Billy Mac have to offer?

billy mac start

He’s your typical holding midfielder, loves a tackle and is very determined. Again using the Aberdeen save as an example, Billy Mac has done ok for himself.

billy mac future

Like Lauchlan he has the big club release clause and can be acquired for less than £200k.

Martin Djetou

If the previous entries have been bargain buys, Martin Djetou is pure and simply a legend of the game. Like Heidenstrom he can play equally well in the centre of defence or midfield but at just 22 he is already playing for one of the best clubs on the game. Just look at these stats:


As a result, he’s not that easy to get a hold of. Your best hope is that his contract is running down as Monaco often have financial difficulties owing to their small stadium and massive wage bill. But if you can get him, he’s a Champions League quality player who constantly averages highly.

djetou future

Arnor Gudjohnsen (Icelandic Hero)

The Icelandic hero has a name, it’s just he isn’t normally around more than a season or so. With no fewer than six 20’s he’s already quite good, but at 35 going on 36 he doesn’t have great physical stats.

Icelandic start

However, his re-gen is easy to pick up as there aren’t many Icelandic DM/FC’s and there are even less with stats like this. What an absolute hero. Here he is after 7 seasons of development:


Heading off somewhere?

Dadason career

Play him wherever you want, the man is a hero. If you can wait a season to get him, he’ll slot right into your team and stay there for as long as you want him. Whether you’d waste him in DM is another matter…

Who gets your vote? Don’t forget to check out the other positions here

CM9798: The Greatest Team – Centre backs

As we continue to search for the greatest CM9798 team, the time has come to try and find two centre halves. Here are your options:


How do you select just two? I’ll try and help…

Robert Page

Page starts at Watford and usually gets a move early on to a midrange Premier League club. He’s captain material and has all the vital stats for a decent centre half. Heading, tackling, strength, positioning and even pace. He’ll cost you about £2.5m and I took him to Aberdeen because he’s mint.
Rob Page

With age on his side Page could marshall your defence for 10 years but there’ll be plenty of interest in him on the way, for example on the Newcastle save he ended up at Atletico Madrid!

Page Atletico

Will your vote go to big Rob?

Andrew Duncan

If Page is the man for the upper echelons of the pyramid, Andrew Duncan is probably more for the lower league sides. That’s not to say he wouldn’t do a job for you but as a free transfer he is particularly attractive to those with less budget.

duncan free

As a former member of the Man Utd academy, Duncan has high potential stats so the dreaded big club release clause will come into play. In the Academy save, he went to York to begin with before exercising that release clause to join Chelsea and then latterly West Ham. He’s worth over £2m and progressing nicely.

Duncan Season 4

Has Duncan won a place in your heart for being a lower league legend?

Steve Haslam

Fans of this blog will know why Haslam is included. He can develop into a good centre half, there’s no doubt about that. But did anybody see this coming?

haslam to real madrid

So that sums up the potential Haslam has, so even though he starts at Sheff Wed you can probably get him on loan in the lower leagues and hope he sticks around.


Whether it be sentimental or you just generally love Steve Haslam, is he getting your vote?

Marlon Broomes

Another young centre half with good key stats for a centre half – heading, pace, tackling – he can go on to do very well in the game.


I’ll be honest, I don’t think Broomes will win this vote but if he gets game time he will go on to play for England. In the Academy save he’s progressing nicely and is a regular at Blackburn. His stats are great though.

Broomes future

Maybe Broomes should be a sweeper?

John Curtis

Maybe that should be Sir John Curtis. My personal favourite centre half starts in the Man Utd youth team but you can immediately see that he has the potential to be a star.

John Curtis

Obviously Man Utd’s team is stacked so JC usually ends up moving away but as soon as he gets regular game time. The Aberdeen save is a good example of that – he moved to the SPL, played regularly and then once I left, so did JC. Back to his roots. But he has 56 caps for England and captains them, so it worked out quite well.

JC future

He’s an absolute hero. The one negative about him is that he has turned down my request for an interview on several occasions. Come on John, the world would love to hear from you.

Teddy Lucic

The Swedish have a strong tradition of being bloody brilliant on Championship Manager and Teddy Lucic is always a treat.


He’s already a Swedish International and can be picked up for a couple of hundred thousand. The problem is IFK are in the Champions League so he won’t just join any old chumps…and he has to be available. He is a little bit slow though. His potential was underlined in the Scotland/Waregem save where he went to Napoli, PSV and Man Utd. Look at those average ratings.

Lucic future

Will Teddy be steady for you?

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand starts the game as an 18 year old at West Ham. He is already more than capable of playing Premier League football with 20 for pace and tackling. Holding on to him is not really on the agenda at West Ham – he normally wants a move to a bigger club and he usually gets it.


Of course Rio went on to be one of England’s greatest centre halves and cost £30m, so hats off to the researcher for getting this one right.  In the NUFC save he’s well on the way to greatness.

future rio

The fact he’s young and already ready for the top level makes him one of the best players to sign at the start of the game. Getting him isn’t always easy and it will probably set you back upwards of £5m but West Ham are a struggling Premier League side, so you’ll probably get him.

Michael Duberry

Poor old Dubes. I think what I like most about him is that he was fairly accident prone in real life yet CM regarded him as one of the best centre halves in the league.


Like Rio he is already capable of playing in the Premier League but is at Chelsea, who are a top 6 side. He usually moves on to Man Utd after a couple of seasons, like he did in the Aberdeen save. Look at how many appearances he made!

dubes future

48 caps for England tells it’s own story.  But will Dubes get your vote?

That’s all of our centre halves – but which two get your vote? Remember to make your opinion count!

If you missed it yesterday, here’s a run down of the goalkeepers available to you





CM9798: The Greatest Team – Goalkeepers

Pull up a seat, it’s time to study some of the greatest stoppers in the game. Well, this game anyway. Here’s the five up for discussion today:

Of course it would be churlish of me not to pay respect to those who narrowly missed out. Mickael Landreau, Fabien Barthez, Christophe Revault, Bengt Andersson and probably many more can all consider themselves unlucky. Let’s take a look at who did make it.


Our first candidate for the number 1 jersey is probably best known for not being as good as Jerzy Dudek at saving penalties in the Champions League final. He’s a hero to me though…


Although he has surprisingly few 20s, he is young enough to improve whilst still being more than good enough now. To take some blog saves as examples, obviously he was my number one at Aberdeen throughout the glory days, whilst on the Newcastle save he moved to Liverpool. On the negative side, he will use up a vital non-EU slot in your squad, which you might not want to waste on a goalkeeper. He’s my go to signing for a mid-range club but can we do better?

Richard Wright

What Dida lacks in stats, Richard Wright more than makes up for it.


Wright doesn’t usually last the season at Ipswich before being snapped up by almost anybody else. Youth is on his side and whilst he probably isn’t ready for the Champions League straight away, a couple of seasons of regular playing time and he’ll be good to play anywhere, anytime. A bit like Crash Holly. Here’s an example of how he develops after just a few seasons:

wright future

Minimal changes there but stats aren’t everything. He has two England caps and isn’t that the main thing? Ignore when he gave away a penalty against Malta, please.

Anthony Betterton



At just 17 Betterton is the most popular of the free transfer goalkeepers available at the lower level. Obviously at just 16 he has a lot to improve which will only come with playing time. Some of these stats are randomised at the start of the game, in fact he’s even just 16 in some games for some inexplicable reason, but anyway, using the magic of the CM9798 Academy save, here he is at the start and at the start of season 4.

betterton future

Did I mention he’s free? I can’t emphasise that enough. In summary, one for the future, but if you’re in the lower leagues he’s one for the here and now.

Neil Finn


neil finn

I guess the important thing here is that his shot stopping is 20. The injury proneness stat is random, so it’s just unfortunate that when I need to sell him to you that this stat is disgustingly high. Anyway, I guess Finn is most famous for his time in the blog save that went all the way to the end of time. He was Real Madrid’s Number 1, this screenshot taken 10 seasons in.

Finn future

Whilst that is remarkable it was apparently not deemed remarkable enough to take a screen grab of his vital statistics. What you can take from this though is that he has hidden stats and potential and if he is played enough he can go right to the top. On the Academy save he is currently at Wimbledon…

Neil Alexander

The remarkable thing here is that Alexander has only just retired, having played for Livingston last season.


Alexander has high potential but a lot of his standard stats are randomised, so don’t be alarmed by his progression over 8 years. They are from different saves. That rushing out stat will hurt him, but I guess the fact it is so low on a save where he’s done well (having been at Chelsea and Liverpool) probably means it isn’t worth a huge deal. What does it any of it mean anyway?

alexander future2

Will it be enough to secure your vote though?

Remember to vote at the top of the page and then join me tomorrow where we’ll look at the centre half options.

CM9798: The Greatest Team

Greetings to you. October 31st will be CM9798’s 21st birthday, so to celebrate the game being legally able to drink in America we’re going on the hunt for the greatest CM9798 11. We did a Community 11 about 3 years ago but we are older and wiser now. Neil Sullivan was in the voting for goodness sake.

The voting options are a mix of cult players with the odd genius thrown in. Ask yourself who is the CM9798 player you think of in that position. Somebody you signed all the time, an unlikely hero. We all know Rivaldo and Zidane are better than Emmers but I know who I think of when I load up CM9798.

Lining up in the famous 2-3-1-2-2 formation, I need your help in finding the greatest team of all.

Vote below – there will be weekly articles to try and sway your vote if you want to bide your time before choosing. The results will be announced on October 31st.

Goalkeeper – Click here to read more

Centre Backs – Click here to read more



Defensive Midfielder – Click here to read more

Central Midfielder

Attacking Midfielders/Forwards

Strikers – Click here to read more