Champ Man & Me: Dan O’Hagan

This week on Champ Man & Me we’re joined by football commentator Dan O’Hagan. Dan’s voice has been heard worldwide, covering just about any competition you can name including the World Cup. You may also be familiar with his work as a commentator for Match of the Day. Behind the voice though, he’s also a big fan of Championship Manager:

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Thanks for joining us Dan. Would you mind telling us how you got into the world of football commentary?

Had no idea what to do as a career, and failed to grow sufficiently to be a goalkeeper so decided to chance my arm talking about the game rather than playing it. Journalism degree at Bournemouth led to a job at MUTV, then onto ITV Anglia before going freelance in 2005. Still keeping my head above water.

As we alluded to in the intro, you’re clearly a big fan of the series. What was your first CM experience?

My first one was one of the Domark versions. Think it was 1993/94. Remember that Pavel Srnicek’s name was spelt incorrectly, and that pre-Andrew Andy Cole was very good. And there were about ten “foreign” players, including Gazza and a Belgian called “Van Geungden” or something.

Clearly, we love CM9798. Do you have any memories of this version in particular?

Yes, got given the CD by a work colleague at MUTV after she upgraded to the newer edition! Played the backside off this version – remember an especially epic career with Wycombe.

Would you say you have a favourite version?

The daddy is CM01/02. Perfect. Proof you don’t need a 3D match engine.

Everybody has at least one CM story – care to share yours?

My fixation with Byron Bubb on CM01/02. Began a Conference career with Woking and picked up Bubb (AMC) on a free as one of my first signings. Ten seasons later he was still playing in my Woking team that won the Premier League and then Champions League. Nerdishly I’ve followed/stalked his career in real life. I think he’s packed in now and is a personal trainer. I commentated on his brother Bradley once, playing in the Gold Cup for Grenada.

Do you think the series has assisted you in your job at all? Either in your early days or now?

It is helpful when you recognise names from the game in real life. Never got to commentate on Kennedy Bakircioglu though.

Have you crossed over into Football Manager? If so, how do you think it stacks up as a game vs the retro versions?

Yes, I’m an FM player. Not got beyond FM2011 though, as I’m now 70 seasons into a one-club career with Huddersfield. Currently on a run of 60 straight Premier League titles. Got out of League One into the Championship and then Premier League by being fantastically tight with money. Only spent £30,000 on transfer fees in getting those promotions, and even now refuse to sanction wages over £80,000 a week. After “I” reached 100 years old, I added a new manager and adopted the persona of one of my retired great players…

I suppose this question was inevitable – have you ever “practiced” your commentary skills whilst watching a game on CM!? I know I have…

Damn right I have! And imagine myself being interviewed post-match.

A big thanks to Dan for taking the time to talk to us about CM – if you want to learn more about Dan’s work you can visit his website here or follow him on twitter @danohagan

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