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29th Oct 2015

The things we learned from playing Championship Manager in our youth

Simon Lloyd

Blokes of a certain age will be overcome with nostalgia at the mere whisper of the words ‘Championship Manager’.

Just like a Snickers used to be called a Marathon, or Starburst used to be called Opal Fruits, this was the original name for the game we now know as Football Manager.

In the early years of the millennium, the game was arguably at the peak of its popularity, with thousands becoming dangerously addicted to it.

The countless hours wasted  spent sitting in front of a PC playing the greatest ever football-management simulation games is something that many of us can relate to.

Now, with the release of the latest instalment of Football Manager just around the corner, here’s a look back at some of the things we learned.

Your education was not as important

No matter how many times your parents told you, your GCSEs were never going to come anywhere close to the joy of experiencing Cherno Samba or Freddy Adu tear your virtual-reality opponent to pieces.

When you were in front of that screen, your real-life future simply didn’t matter.

Why bother chasing girls when this was all you’d ever need?

The later years of high school are difficult ones for boys. Hormones are flying everywhere, yet the girls of your age will only even consider the older boys that had already passed their driving tests.

But who gave a sh*t? Championship Manager more than filled up the void.

We all struggled to remember who a player played for because of CM

Such was our levels of commitment to the game, very often the line between the simulated world of our game and the real-life football became blurred.

It wasn’t uncommon to wrongly forget that a player represented a certain team because he’d been signed by one of your rivals on the game – or that Ibrahima Bakayoko was actually good.

Ibrahim Bakayoko of Everton passes Patrick Vieira and Gilles Grimandi of Arsenal

Using the editor made you feel dirty

Let’s be honest, as much as we loved the game, it could be utterly infuriating at times. There was always a temptation to cheat, and most of us did.

By using the editor, you could attach unlimited funds to the team of your choice and switch a few players over if you so wished. It made winning much easier, but after a few days the realisation of what you’d done started to creep in.

There was something satisfying about playing for so long, you didn’t recognise any of the players

If you put in enough time, it was possible to reach far off dates in the future like ‘2016’, where the only recognisable players were that overrated Rooney kid that Everton fans keep banging on about and some lad called Milner at Leeds that would be the one to take them to Premier League glory.

The majority of other players were regens, and there was something immensely satisfying in knowing that you were the Marty McFly of the Championship Manager world.

Nowadays some people have even created Twitter profiles for their favourite regens.