Football Manager, or to the older crowd Championship Manager, is a football management simulation game for the PC that has encapsulated the minds of many. To some it has become a second life, as you’re writing down copious notes on players to buy or tactics instead of revising for your exams. The game comes with an emotional package as you build (or destruct) relationships with players and fellow managers with the virtual world submerging with the reality. The game’s scouting database was hit or miss. For every Lionel Messi was a Tonton Zola Moukoko. Enjoy!
GK- Dionisis Chiotis
In the highly acclaimed 01/02 Championship Manager, this Greek goalie was available to purchase for as little as £300,000 from AEK Athens. His wage demands were also relatively modest. A man who thrived on the big occasion, Chiotis is known amongst the Football Manager community as an excellent penalty shot stopper, who wins a fair few accolades along the way.
In reality Chiotis played once for Greece in 2002 and participated in the 2009-10 Champions League group stage for Cypriot outfit APOEL.
RB- Michael Duff
A solid no nonsense stubborn right-back who plies his trade at Cheltenham Town in the 01/02 edition. His attributes are very rangy but he has all the stats needed to be a reliable defender, think of him as the virtual Gary Neville.
Although in the game he is English, Duff has played international football for Northern Ireland and is currently playing in his 12th season for Burnley
CB- Ian Murray
The tough tackling Scotsman is a man in demand as many mid-table Premier League clubs are queueing up for his signature in Football Manager 2005. A good depth player for the big clubs who usually achieves a high average rating for the season.
In reality, Murray signed for Rangers in the summer of 2005 in what proved to be a injury ravaged spell. Other clubs in his CV include Norwich, Hibernian and Dumbarton.
CB – Issac Okoronkwo
Arguably one of the best and versatile defenders the game has ever produced. The Nigerian can play anywhere across the backline and with relative ease as well. A major problem was that if you were playing with an English team, you would have to wait a couple of years until you could purchase Okoronkwo due to him needing a work permit to play on these shores. In saying this he is definitely worth it
Believe it or not Okoronkwo actually played in the Premier League for Wolves in their 2003-04 campaign.
LB- Gareth Jelleyman
One third of the Peterborough United Trio (the other two are Simon Davies and Matthew Etherington) and the least known. Dubbed the “Welsh Roberto Carlos” on numerous FM forums, Jelleyman like Carlos had a humdinger of a left foot and scored quite frequently for a left-back.
Jelleyman remains a cult figure to many due to being ridiculed by Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling for being sent off whilst playing for Mansfield Town. Stelling said; “looks like Jelleyman’s thrown a wobbler.”
RM – Kennedy Bakircioglu
A player who will live on in Football Manager folklore. Bakircioglu was the Cristiano Ronaldo of the 99/00 Championship Manager. A skilful winger with a penchant for scoring in a flamboyant manner, the Swede won me numerous trophies.
Although he didn’t live up to his billing from the game. Bakircioglu was capped 14 times for Sweden and had a 3-year spell at Dutch giants Ajax.
CM – Mark Kerr
A box-to-box midfielder akin to Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Kerr was the real deal, however like his fellow Scot Murray, once you declare interest in him a number of clubs are vying to purchase him too. His determination would get the better of him sometimes with rash tackles that would lead to him getting sent off.
Kerr now plays for Falkirk of the Scottish Championship
CM – Freddy Adu
Perhaps the biggest disappointment on this list. At the tender age of 14 Adu signed his first professional contract, with a $1 million Nike sponsorship around the corner. He was even billed as “the next Pele”. Unfortunately for Adu things never really took off and he is already considered a journeyman at the tender age of 26. In Championship Manager 4 you can snap up the wonderkid on a free transfer.
LM – Emil Debski
Like To Madeira (Who we’ll come to later), Debski was a fictional player and was in fact a researcher who put himself in the 01/02 installment. He starts off at an obscure Danish club and can be bought in the excess of around £50,000. His development (starts off at 17) is something to behold as he eventually becomes one of the best players in the game
FC – Maxim Tsigalko
A personal favourite of mine. An absolute goal-machine who would score five goals in a game without breaking a sweat. When I eventually signed Tsigalko (due to Work Permit constrictions) my Leeds team went up another level. His most prolific season under my tutelage was 80 goals in 52. Staggering!
In reality, The Belarusian retired at the age of 26 with 2 caps for his national team.
FC – To Madeira
To Madeira, like Emil Debski was another fictional player created by a researcher working for the game producers. Just like the aforementioned Tsigalko, Madeira was a goal machine with excellent technical attributes to boot (could strike a mean free-kick). Another personal favourite of mine as he along with Tsigalko helped resurrect my Leeds career and lead me onto greatness.
When word spread among the Football Manager community that To Madeira was in a fact a fictional player. He was removed from later instalments.
Hope you enjoyed my list. If I have missed anyone out, remember to leave a comment or share.