Thursday, 6 June 2013

Top 10 best Championship / Football Manager players ever!

UPDATE! This vote has now closed so make sure you vote on the greatest CM/FM First XI all of time - click here! To see the result of this poll, you can read the article here.

 I'm not sure there is a man on the planet that at some point in their life has not played Championship (and later on Football) Manager. Champ Man, as it still affectionately known today by its legion of fans, has been cited in over 30 divorce cases and tales of wives and girlfriends coming home to find their men sitting with their head in their hands after an agonizing defeat or conducting a pre-match press conference in the kitchen before the big cup final are all too familiar.

I remember playing Championship Manager 93 for the very first time on the Amiga. It was a life-changing moment and 20 years later I am still addicted now as a 35-year-old-man as I was then as a 15-year-old boy. My sleeping patterns would never be the same again!

And even today, all these years later, there remains one common theme that still conjures up an explosion of of excitement that is so strong it has even managed to convince hardcore Champ Man players to actually apply for real-life football managerial vacancies, because nothing beats plucking out a future world class superstar that no one has ever heard of before for peanuts!

For all the hidden gems who turned out to be the real deal (see Cristiano Ronaldo, Vincent Kompany, Javier Saviola, et al), there are plenty who never quite made the grade in the real game. But those are the players that stand out the most for die-hard CM/FM fans. It's almost as if they really were our players and they made their names at our teams. We are the ones who moulded them into world beaters whereas those coaches with Uefa grade badges failed!

Who is the greatest CM/FM player of all time? (It may take a couple of minutes for your vote to register)

The game was so popular that those who worked on the game (Mark Collis & Ferrah Orosco in 1993/94 and Tó Madeira in 2001/02) even went as far to put themselves in the game as wonderkids. This A-Z Top 10 is dedicated to the best players from my own personal experience of playing. It was not an easy decision, and many great players were left out but we all have our own opinions - that's what makes this game so great!

The Top 10 Best CM/FM Players of all Time (A-Z)

1. Andri Sigporsson
Starting Club: KR (Reykjavík FC)
Position: S C
Era: Championship Manager 3
Nationality: Iceland

It's often been said that Kerry Katona has done more for Iceland than this Scandinavian striker, but back in 1999 when CM3 loaded on to our laptops, Sigporsson was the ultimate leading man and could be picked up for around £100k. In the real world, despite starting his career at Bayern Munich, his playing days finished in Austria and Norway.

2. Cherno Samba
Starting Club: Millwall
Position: S C
Era: Championship Manager 01/02
Nationality: English

England have always had a reputation of heaping too much pressure on their young starlets but that wasn't a problem for 16-year-old Cherno Samba who took it all in his stride and scored a bucketload of goals in the process! Despite nearly signing for Liverpool in real life, it never quite took off for Samba but we'll still have the memories of his free-scoring antics!

3. Freddy Adu
Starting Club: DC United
Position: AM/F RLC
Era: Championship Manager 03/04
Nationality: U.S.A.

The US love their superstars, and back in 2004 they thought they had their own when they stole 14-year-old Freddy Adu from Ghana! For years Champ Man kept faith in the youngster that even the great Pelé raved about, and he didn't let us down on screen. Despite spells at Benfica and Monaco it never really worked out for Adu and he is now at Portuguese club Bahia.

4. Ibrahima Bakayoko
Starting Club: Montpellier
Position: S C
Era: Championship Manger 97/98
Nationality: Ivory Coast

I signed Bakayoko for my beloved Everton at the start of my CM 97/98 game, and he absolutely ran rampant tearing Premier League defences apart, scoring 30 goals a season at least. So you can imagine my delight when he signed for Everton for real in 1998/99 and bagged himself 4 goals before being shipped of back to France. Her was last seen playing in the Greek league.

5. Jan Lastuvka
Starting Club: Shakhtar Donetsk
Position: GK
Era: Football Manager 2005
Nationality: Czech Republic

In 2005 I was on the lookout for a keeper to replace the aging Nigel Martyn in my Everton squad when this little nugget of Czech gold fell into my laps. For around £1.9m you could purchase yourself at least 15-years worth of world class service in between the sticks. The reality was that you'd more likely get 15-years worth of bench warming!

6. Kennedy Bakircioglu
Starting Club: Hammarby
Position: AM/F RLC
Era: Championship Manager 99/00
Nationality: Sweden

I bet anyone who bought the half-Swedish, half-Turkish, exotically-yet-unpronounceably named Kennedy Bakircioglu didn't picture their playmaker of the 99/00 season to be a balding journeyman who never quite lived up to his Champ Man fame despite a spell at Ajax. The attacking midfielder was a genuine bargain and pulled all the strings.

7. Lebokhang Mokoena
Starting Club: Orlando Pirates
Position: AMC
Era: Football Manager 2005
Nationality: South Africa

If you were smart, the first bit of business you would do at the start of Football Manager 2005 would be to raid the Orlando Pirates for the creativity and flair of Lebokhang Mokoena and the rock-solid anchor man Benedict Vilakazi. Both could be bought for £1m and you would have the mainstay of your midfield for many seasons to come. Mokoena never even left South Africa!

8. Nii Lamptey
Starting Club: Anderlecht
Position: M/A RLC
Era: Championship Manager ‘93
Nationality: Ghana

Arguably the greatest CM/FM player of all time! If you could snap up Lamptey from the International Transfer Market (as it was known in the days of CM 93) then you could pretty much sit back and watch the league titles pile up! Lamptey's real career saw him take in stints at Anderlecht, PSV, Aston Villa and Coventry, but too much football too early in his career burnt him out.

9. Pablo Piatti
Starting Club: Estudiantes
Position: AM/S C
Era: Football Manager 2008

The fact that Piatti's second nationality was Italian meant that you could pick up the South American wonderkid and Lionel Messi lookalike for around £250k without any work permit problems! Some might say that in the game he was even better than Messi! Not in real life though, despite Spanish side Valencia forking out €7.5 million for his services.

10. Tonton Zola Moukoko
Starting Club: Derby County
Position: AM/F C
Era: Championship Manager 01/02
Nationality: Swedish/Ghanaian

They say save the best until last and here we have a player that had everything - the name, goals, unbelievable tekkers, and an ever lasting adulation from fans who set up a Facebook appreciation group. You have to ask how did Champ Man get this one so spectacularly wrong?! After playing at Derby he would return to Sweden and was last known to be playing in Finland.

Well that is the countdown complete! If anything this has been a glorious trip down Nostalgia Lane! Let me know if you agree and who your most memorable CM/FM players are and remember to vote!


  1. You have got Andri Sigþórsson´s brother in the picture there, current Ajax no 9 Kolbeinn Sigþórsson.

    1. Thanks for the heads up! I've changed the pic - hopefully I have the correct Sigþórsson this time!

  2. My personal fave was/is Mark Kerr...a midfield general from the moment you sign him