|What do David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery all have in common? That's right, they are not fit to lace the boots of Kennedy Bakircioglu, Fabio Paim or Mads Jørgensen. Now we’re talking proper AMR’s – Football Manager style.
We’re now entering the realm of the attacking players in this part of the vote, which is what we’ve all really been waiting for. Yes, finding an unknown defender like Anthony Vanden Borre was great, but it doesn’t even come close to the levels of excitement you felt when you found that one player who was going to light up your computer screens with assists and goals galore!
In Championship Manager 93, I fondly remember Julian Joachim being the main man. His preferred position was up front, but you’re the boss so he’ll play where you want him to dammit and he was equally adapt at playing out wide on the right. In the game you could pick him up from Leicester City and the player I like to describe as the youngest man with the oldest face I’d ever seen could be incredible.
Joachim enjoyed spells at Aston Villa, Coventry City and Leeds United in real life, but he was never the player we knew he could be. He's still playing now at 39 for Oadby Town. Exactly, I have no idea either.
Simon Davies is a player Tottenham, Everton and Fulham fans will be familiar with, but fans of Championship Manager 3 will have the fondest memories of the Welsh winger. Alongside his Peterborough teammates Matthew Etherington and Gareth Jellyman, you just had to buy Davies and watch as he became the next Ryan Giggs.The truth is he was probably just on par with Giggy's left arm.
Championship Manager 99/00 delivers us three of arguably the best right wingers ever to have graced our computer screens. Mads Jørgensen, Sharbel Touma and Kennedy Bakircioglu are names that if you don’t know, quite frankly you are not a fan of the game! All could be snapped up for peanuts in the grand scheme of things and all three would deliver you assists on a plate. Jørgensen spent his whole career in Scandanavia, Touma spent time in the Eredivisie and Bundesliga, and Bakircioglu I simply have a bit of a man crush on. Oh, and he spent some time at Ajax but he was never the player I bought from Hammarby all those years ago. Ah, good times…
There are some players who you won’t believe have Premier League medals in real life. Luke Chadwick would be one of those players, but if you went by his CM 00/01 career then it wouldn’t come as a surprise at all. Chadwick was another one of those Manchester United players we expected to be great because Scholes and co had been amazing 10 years earlier. Unfortunately for Chadwick he floated around at various clubs at home before a five-year stint at MK Dons. He’s now playing for Cambridge United.
Three players make the list from Championship Manager 01/02. Richie Partridge was meant to be the next big thing at Liverpool, Julius Aghahowa is another one of those CM/FM players who are given super human powers simply due to the fact they play for Shakhtar Donetsk, and Stefan Selakovic was a classic Champ Man Swedish superstar. None were able to achieve the glory they achieved when we were managing them. Partridge never kicked a ball in a league game for Liverpool and has fallen down the footballing ladder and is now at Airbus UK Broughton, Aghahowa spent a season at Wigan before finishing his career back at Shakhtar where he presumably regained his super powers, and Selakovic only managed three seasons outside of Sweden with Heerenveen in Holland.
Fabio Paim is a classic Championship Manager wonderkid. He was just 14 at the start of Championship Manager 4 and was an essential free signing that would see him become a first team regular by 16. Luis Felipe Scolari signed Paim on loan when he first arrived at Chelsea, but maybe we should have taken that as some sort of sign seeing as how Scolari’s tenure at the Bridge ended up. Sadly for Paim, at 26 he has only ever made a handful of appearances for the 13 clubs he has played for and alas has a touch of the Sonny Pike’s about him.
Daniel Braaten was the man we turned to in Championship Manager 03/04. He had everything you wanted from a wide man – pace, skill, and the ability to dribble past his 2D opponents at ease. In real life he has travelled about and played in Norway (Rosenborg), England (Bolton Wanderers), France (Toulouse), and now in Sweden (F.C. Copenhagen).
The next player on the list is Sherman Cardenas who for the life of me I can’t remember as a gamer, but I found a whole lot of love for him online. I am now starting to wonder what the hell I was doing in 2007 because to have missed out on a player of this quality seems criminal. He was that good in the game that even Tim Vickery wrote in his column on the BBC that the Sherminator (as fans like to call him) suffered as a result of the expectation put on his shoulders and cited the high stats on FM as an example. Despite early promise, Cardenas continues to ply his trade in the Colombian league.
In Football Manager 2008, Alex Teixeira was the Brazilian left winger you would almost always try to raid Vasco for. I am guessing that the board over at Shakhtar Donetsk were aware of his FM potential and therefore snapped him up in real life in 2010, and guess what – he’s not as good as we thought.
The final two players are young Dutch stars who could yet live up to their FM names. Georginio Wijnaldum you could argue is on his way after appearing for the Dutch at the World Cup, but he still has some way to go before he becomes that kid with the dreads that we had to sign in FM09. And we all tried to sign Luc Castaignos in FM10 from Feyenoord and it even looked as though he could be about to make that step-up when Inter bought him in 2011. But it didn’t work out and he was back in the Eredivisie a season later with Twente.
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