Hints and Tips

I’ve decided to make a central area for some hints and tips we’ve picked up on our journey through CM9798. On this page you’ll find top players, the best formations and some other tips.


We trialled some formations in the summer of 2017, my absolute favourite was the 2-3-1-2-2 which I use in the Aberdeen save. You’ll notice the constant in a lot of these formations is playing with a direct style, which is also the case in the 4-2-3-1 which was also very good.

We had unprecedented success using a narrow 4-4-2 diamond with Aston Villa but to date that seems like a fluke. If you want to keep it simple, my go to formation is always 5-3-2, it’s probably the most balanced formation and was in style at the time the game was released. Your midfielder in the centre of the three will have a small forward run, if you’re using the formations as listed on the tactics screen, and my advice for that player is that you have somebody with good heading. I have no idea why but it works.


The mistake I made in the Community XI was including the top players like Ronaldo and Zidane. We all know they are good. Here’s my selection of must have bargains

John Curtis (CB, £2m) – Starts in Man Utd’s youth team but can never get a game. You’ll possibly be able to loan him in season one and buy him shortly thereafter. Depending on his contract he may be much cheaper than £2m but he will go on to captain England.

Bjorn Heidenstrom (CB/CM, £50k)Friend of the blog Bjorn Heidenstrom starts at Leyton Orient and his value will fluctuate depending on his contract situation, but you can usually pick him cheaply in the first season. He’s a must have if you’re in the lower leagues but will also do a job at a higher level. Takes a mean penalty.

Erik Nevland (CF, £1m) – Goal machine! Basically any of Man Utd’s youth players are worth snapping up. Nevland will be available after season one.

Andrew Duncan (CB, Free) – Discarded by Man Utd in the off season, Duncan is a promising centre half who can be picked up for free. Definitely one for the lower leagues but can certainly improve.

Anthony Betterton (GK, Free) – A freebie keeper who will do a good job for you, again in the lower leagues though.

Andrew Mainwaring (CF, £5k) – Plays for ‘Non-League’ and can be signed for £5k. Will improve with game time and did a decent job for me at Barnsley in the Premier League once, so provided you aren’t a European giant you don’t need to panic (sorry).

Graeme Tomlinson (CF, Free) – Another discarded by Man Utd and available for free. Sign him, play him, enjoy him. Similar to Mainwaring, certainly one for the lower leagues and will do a job in the higher tiers.

Tommy Svindal Larsen (CM, £500k) – I think he was dumbed down a bit in the patch but this has been unproven. Cult hero, icon. Can also play out on the left, if you are Souness.

See Also: Dida (GK), Evar Moas (CB), Kieron Dyer (D/M RL), Marcus Purk (CF), Phil Mulryne (AM LC), Martin Lauchlan (DM LC), Alex Martin (CF), Billy MacDonald (DMC), John Ritchie (CF), Robert Dunn (M/FC), Neil Alexander (GK), everybody’s favourite Icelandic re-gen (DM/FC – wait one season, let the real one retire then pounce).

General Tips

Data Editor – A lot of fun can be had with the data editor, not in a cheating sense but in terms of looking at potential abilities and re-adding old players (Cantona, Lineker). I wrote a guide to the data editor here

Manage a National Team – It’s actually possible to manage any national team and not just those represented by the leagues you can play as. I wrote a comprehensive guide for that here

Big Club Release – We’ve all fallen victim to the big club release clause, but you can get past it by listing your players with the clause for loan. You’ll have to do this straight away or the board will veto it once they become important. Might not work forever but you’ll end up with well over the asking price rather than the tribunal fee.

Re-gens – Find an old player and bid for them on July 15th before the game updates. If the player retires, your bid will carry over to the re-gen. Some re-gens are easier to find than others, best way to do that is to look at young players in a certain position of a certain nationality. For example, the likes of Chilavert’s re-gen will be easy to find as there aren’t loads of young Paraguayan goalkeepers, or Luis Enrique’s because there won’t be many outfield players who can play every outfield position. Players on your shortlist never retire.

Greatest Team

The Community XI (below) was looking a little bit dated, so in October 2018 we ran a series of polls to find the Greatest CM9798 Team. Here it is or you can follow the link to see all of the nominees:

Community XI

Back when the blog first started in 2015, I asked you all to nominate your ultimate players and then we had a vote on it. After 2 months of voting and nominating, here is the team you’ve selected. The nominations and results are below:


[15/6/2015] Click here for the striking options – You voted Ronaldo (25%) and Ibrahima Bakayoko (22%) as your front two.

[1/6/2015] Click here to have a look at the central midfielders – You picked Zinedine Zidane (24%) and Bjorn Heidenstrom (15%) as your midfield pairing.

[25/5/2015] Click here to check out the left sided midfielders – 47% of you went for Rivaldo

[18/5/2015] Click here for right sided midfielder options – 38% of you chose Luis Figo.

[11/5/2015] Click here to see the centre back category – you voted Mark Iuliano (38%) and Martin Djetou (15%) as your centre half pairing

[4/5/2015] Click here to review the left back vote – 43% of you picked Paolo Maldini

[27/4/2015] Click here for the right back nominees – Javier Zanetti was your choice with 41% of the votes

[20/4/2015] Click here to see the best goalkeepers CM97/98 has to offer – Mickael Landreau won the spot with 42% of the votes

Cover Photo

53 thoughts on “Hints and Tips

  1. Pingback: Happy Blogday | CM 97/98

  2. Hi Dave, I love your blog and it has inspired me to play cm9798 again. I’m not sure if this is a hint or tip but something interesting I found while managing Sporting Lisbon in portugal. First there is no limit of forign players in the Portuguese league but what is even better is when you play in the champions league Brazilian players aren’t considered forign when playing for a Portuguese team. I’m currently using to try and make my sporting Lisbon team and unstoppable European force filled with Brazilian internationals and maybe the odd Portuguese one too. Finally I’m using the 2-3-1-2-2 which I think is amazing.


  3. Hi everyone,
    I’m wondering what you all think of the ‘tactical wall’ – fact or fiction? (The idea that the game figures your tactics out and suddenly you can’t buy a win).
    I’m in season 3 with Lincoln, was sitting pretty at the top of div 1 in January, only lost once in the league, then the wheels came off. A run of 8 defeats in 10 games has put me 12th!!!
    I’ve had no mad injuries, the only thing I can think of is I bought a youngster from Swansea; he had a ‘big club’ clause and wasn’t happy in div3, perhaps his low morale has tipped the balance in my squad and upset everyone!??


    • This happened to me, won the premier two years in a row with everton, signed a few new (expensive) players then everything turned sour, finished 12th the following season, ended up jumping ship to napoli as nothing seemed to work


  4. Hi David, can you advise in detail how to find regens please? I have no idea how to know if they are regens or not as there are so many players to search through. What technique do you use? Thanks Gary


      • Thanks for the reply Chris. This opens up a whole new dimension to the game. Sadly just lost a saved one which had got up to 05/06 season but it’s totally vanished now. Starting a new one now. Gutted.


  5. Pingback: The CM9798.co.uk Year in Review | CM 97/98

  6. hello friends 🙂
    i have 2 questions
    1) how to make the players morale up ??
    2) sometimes when have international games all my team go and i don’t have players to play in the cup or league what to do ??
    thanks and good day.


  7. “Captaincy issues!”
    Always a common phrase when my brother and I are going head to head on this…as we have done for 21 years!
    A phenomenon which occurs frequently when you have multiple players in your squad capable of leading the team on the field.
    How do you choose the right one?? We’ve ended up selling all other high influence players off in order to stop the run of terrible results, which seems to happen without warning!
    Any assistance greatly received as I have to bin off some gems over the years 😦


    • Is this why my teams end up self-destructing? Seem to find hidden gems who’ll rise quickly in terms of talent averages, yet the teams’ performances always err towards mediocrity! Recently played as Fiorentina with Batistuta and Edmundo up front (both roughly 180 through 195 in terms of ‘talent’), yet would lose ridiculous games to Vicenza by six goals whilst using a 5-3-2 formation with world class defenders, midfielders and goalkeeper!


  8. I’ve recently restarted CM97/98 and stumbled on the blog looking for unknown talents I may have missed back in my youth (turns out there’s a lot!). I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the hints, the entertaining read and that regeneration guide!


  9. Have to say a big thank you for the advice on re-gens. Came back to the game after reading some stuff on FT and won the prem within 3 years and runner up to the champions league on the 4th. Won’t list everyone but my front 5 in regens playing a 5 -3-2 7 Figo, 8 Bergkamp, 9 Raul, 10 Shearer and 11 Luis Enrique.given me 10 years winning title and at leas one cup although I tend to lose the league cup. The only thing I cannot seem to do is have ziane and Figo regens in the same side.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cheat is to start the game, immediately take off your GK and sub him with an outfield player. Means instead of 10 outfielders you get 11. The LB will act as both the GK and LB and always has huge ratings each game. With that advantage it’s possible to win all leagues and cups. I have done this for years. Downsides are the number of times the post set all are struck and the number of opposition GK MOM’s there are. They will also sometimes cheat back by putting their own extra players on specially in the lower leagues. In the main though this cheat has worked for me for nigh on 30 years.


  11. Thanks for an awesome page!

    I do have one question tho.
    When I start a game, sometimes some players are there but missing others.
    Thomas Gravesen from Denmark as an example.

    Is there any way to load in all players when I make a game and not just random ones.



  12. Awesome page, really reignited my love (and hate) for this game
    However I cannot seem to find Tommy Svindal Larsen anywhere!
    Also the games iconic Icelandic midfielder is not retiring at 38!
    Any help please?


  13. Great blog! I have a lot of experience playing this game, still have some laptops an pcs with original windows xp and dos in the basement. One thing I have never found a way around is to speed up the game beyond pressing the space key. Sometimes when i exit the game through pressing the windows key, the match runs at higher speed, but only for a short while. Anyone figured out how to increase match speed beyond pressing the space key? For example in the database, data editor etc???


    • Do you play using DS BOX? If so, there should be an option to make the game run faster in general although that’s not something that I tried and do.


      • Thanks for the responsen. I use an old laptop with original Windows xp. Usually the speed of the game increase if I press the Windows button during a gameand then returen to the game. But the speed bump only last for a few seconds. I play the original game loaded from cd in 97. Usually I play 3 others while we have a few on saturday night. Would be Great if anyone have an idea.


      • See my response at the bottom of the comments section. If you install SWOS 9697, there is a trick you can use to incredibly (!) speed things up.


  14. Has anyone ever had a player stuck on loan? Is there a way to fix this? Recalled someone on deadline day, get a message everybweek telling me he’s on his way back yet he never arrives


  15. Pingback: Talking Tactics – Nikolai’s MW | CM 97/98

  16. HI Dave,thanks for this blog…Ii have played this game in my teen age,nowi am 40 now but i still love it today.
    i have never totally understood how the current ability and potential (the two hidden visible from editor or scout16) work in this game .
    How to search for a good player? How to retain the best players?
    I would like to understand if and when the abilities (showed in the player page description) are updated or remains the same?
    Could you dedicate one page of your blog to this arguments?
    Thanks for this blog and i keep following your CM tales


    • Potential is how good a player can become, 200 is the highest, 150 is about a standard international player for their nation. if a player has -1 then his ability will be randomly created. -1 is given to good young players and depending on how much they play/do well will impact on how high the number gets. Anyone with -1 tends to probably go on to be at least about 150.

      Current ability is how good the player is when the game starts in the first season. Look up maradona, his potential is really high but current ability not great because he is old.

      When potential and ability are the same the player has hit their peak. Ability will reduce as the player gets older and quicker if not playing much.

      Current ability and -1 potential are updated at the end of each season. These stats remain hidden as there is no editor for saved games so you never really know where players are at.

      To find the best players dont always rely on stats, players can have great stats but rubbish ability and potential. Some players from Congo have amazing stats but are rubbish. Use your scouts they tend to pick a few good players out for you if big clubs are interested in players its usually a sign that their potential and/or ability are good. Players called up for international duty also tend to have good potential and ability.regardless of stats. However great stats, great ability and great potential does make for an amazing player I.e Bakayoko

      Knowing who are the great players/diamonds in the rough can be tricky. I have often found stats to be irrelevant, like the Congo guys. The best way to know who the gems are is to play the hell out of the game for several seasons and see who does well.

      Each season players retire and re-enter the game as a youngelster with a new name, if you could make a note of all the old players stats then search for them in the new season and find the new younger versions, you will have an epic team within a few years. Their stats will remain the same excluding stamina, strength, influence and adaptability (may be another) these will be lower and improve with age. These are the only stats that change for any player as players get older stamina and strength reduce Again these stats update at the end of the season.

      Hope that helps!

      If you find players stats change from save to save this will be because in the editor the value is 0, the game will randomly create these each game which give the game some randomness.


  17. HI Guys,
    Excellent site, good to know you share same joy playing this game, do you have some tips also for economic figures or for example stadium size, I just once had a size stadium change during all my years playing this game, is there a way to influence or generate a stadium capacity improvement?


  18. Here are my tips/cheats for those who are still playing the game of games:

    1- You can choose any national team if you edit the teams data before starting your career. To do that, you need to go to the editor (i.e., run cm2ed.exe, edit TMDATA) find the national team you want to manage and add the league abbreviation to the division part (e.g., ISA for Serie A). The national team will show up as a selection in the league you started. I used to play la Liga and Serie A a lot and had Turkey and France national teams just to spice things up.

    2- Rage-qiut: Press * (asterisk) to quit without saving the game.

    3- Negotiations: if there is more than 2 teams interested in your player, press “consider” for the first offer, then “refuse” the second offer. The third club will increase the fee.

    4- Super speed!!: I found this out coincidentally, and haven’t heard from anyone else. So this will be a pretty unique tip! Back in the day, I used to play Sensible world of soccer (SWOS) and CM9798 a lot. So you need to install SWOS9697 for this to work. Go to SWOS9697 career mode, select a Greek team, and before the end of the season, SWOS will crash and will kick you back to the DOS. Now, run CM9798. If you do this on actual DOS environment, you will notice that background matches and your actual game speed is a LOT faster, and even faster when you press space. Warning: you may not be able to read the text during the game. In DOSBOX, the super speed only works during the match (not for the background matches counting on the top right corner as a percentage).



  19. Can anything be done about expired work permit players- or is it a case of then setting value at 1k and hoping someone takes? I just paid 400k to release Freddy Leon after 2 years


    • Best thing to do is edit the database. Load up the tmdata and edit every national team.

      Edit the field “EEC Member” box which effects which players have “fgn” after their name 1 means they are European Union members, 0 means they will require a work permit. Change every country to 1 and no more work permits ever required again.


      • Cheers- I think will leave on to add to the challenge but great to know. A Croatian striker I didn’t overly play anyway just did his cruciate for 8 months- so assume he’s done for now too 🙂

        Also love the blog I downloaded just at the start of lockdown and flick in and out but Season 6 with Sunderland and a big champions league quarter final against Inter coming up- as a player tip Ariel Ibagaza absolute box to box legend goals, tackles yellow cards the lot.


  20. Hi guys. I’ve just downloaded the game as per your guide (mainly after all the talk of it on the 90s football podcast). Thrilled to get it working. However, I can’t seem to find the legend that is Tommy svindal larsen. Why might that be?
    The version I downloaded is as per your guide and the file is cm9798v2. Thanks


    • Hi
      It’s a really dull answer but basically most people are familiar with the “out of the box” release where TSL was always there. The download on this site is the patch version, released in early 98 which updates transfers and fixes bugs. For example Asprilla is at Parma and the wages aren’t capped at £50k per week. If you load England or Scotland it uses more of the maximum player count as there are more teams so TSL doesn’t load. If you load England try and load a small league like Portugal to make room for him


  21. Hi All, Can anyone assist with a resolution issue? I run the game on Dosbox. It opens up as a tiny window, at which point I press ‘alt + enter’ to activate full screen mode. This stretches the graphics to fill the screen and looks distorted. It used to run in the traditional resolution with black spaces down either side to make up the rest of the picture, but I can’t seem to get back to this. Any guidance would be very welcome. Thanks, Aidan.


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