Happy Blogday

Today marks one year since I launched this blog and in the absence of a party, balloons or a cake, I’d like to take the time to reflect on the last 12 months.

Before I move on though, this seems like as good a time as any to thank you all for reading, commenting, tweeting and generally putting up with me for the past year. If nobody read this, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun. This is a game from getting on 20 years ago and I’m humbled by the amount of nice words sent in my general direction for the memories this blog has evoked. I hope I can continue this in 2016.

What a 12 months it has been though. Right the way from my very post through to yesterday’s offering, we’ve been through a lot together. You’ll be glad to know what I’m not going to re-write every post from the past year, but I do have some highlights. The first save on the blog saw me go from Wimbledon to Deportivo, but my abiding memory will always be the outcry on Twitter when Steve Haslam went to Real Madrid, including one kind soul tweeting the man himself:

haslam tweet

Alan Rogers to Man Utd also raised some eyebrows. That first save saw me move to Auxerre at the start of season 3, and one thing that didn’t make it to blog was that things got so bad I had the “David Black to go?” graphic. I was petrified I was going to be sacked and have to blog my failure, plus a period of being unemployed. Let me tell you, I studied that game to make sure my form turned around and fortunately, it did! Then of course, the  dreaded save game corruption happened.

saved game situation

What was really annoying about this was that I had Deportivo absolutely flying! Considering I hadn’t started that season particularly well, we had a lot of momentum by this stage:

la liga top march 12

I still have the save game (it’s the 3rd blank square on the above screenshot) but it’ll never work again – my laptop ran out of battery as it was saving, so I would think it is gone forever. I handled it well though:


As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. I reached out to twitter and gave the people what they wanted


And so the Darlington legacy was started. Everything about this save turned out perfect for a blog – I didn’t dominate every division or anything like that, but I genuinely felt the love for Darlington. Even after an early mishap regarding whether Darlington FC really still exists after their financial plight,  I was politely corrected, off we went. It just felt like the stars aligned a bit, especially when things like this happened:

nono limit

I absolutely promise you that wasn’t set up either. During all of this madness, I needed ideas to keep the blog interesting, and decided to run with the live text idea. Basically, if a big enough game came about, I decided to give it the full coverage. Yes, I shamefully tweeted some prominent live texters but in my defence, they said these things:

warren tweettom rostanceshamoon tweet

So the Division 2 playoff final was my first attempt, before increasingly grander matches got the treatment. 2 FA Cup finals and a UEFA Cup later, I then wrote about 10 as part of a book. Ridiculous. You can review the live texts (and everything else) over at Season Summaries

Away from updating you on the saves I’ve tried to bring some variety to the page as I wanted this to become a one-stop shop for all your CM9798 needs. The Community XI was a load of fun, again I did fear nobody at all would vote but those fears were misplaced and you did the game proud. Even now, I can see in the site stats people search Google for the game, end up here and trawl through the nominations to try and find that bargain they may have missed. There were also a bunch of list articles in the early days that may be a little outdated now but the point still stands:

5 Players in CM9798 Who went on to Alternative Careers

5 Players in CM9798 with inexplicable positions

10 Current Premier League Managers still playing in CM9798

I could probably re-write the last one every few months, such is the modern management world. Seeing as it’s an anniversary, I do have another of these lined up.

This blog has also introduced me to a number of CM addicts through Twitter and email, and this was really the basis for the Champ Man & Me series. My original plan was to ask willing volunteers to answer a Q&A over e-mail with a view to combining it all. The problem was, more than a dozen of you sent in answers and it became a very cumbersome draft that was already 2000 words long after about 3 sets of answers. I still have the draft to this day. Instead, the series went ahead on a one-to-one basis with various people ranging from the creator of a 90s football podcast to a TV commentator. Just when I thought I’d peaked, the creators of the game Paul & Oliver Collyer agreed to answer some questions on the series, which I’m still amazed by to this day. The full list of Champ Man & Me’s are below:

Chris Darwen (Author & Editor of The Higher Tempo Press)

Ally Bain (Qualified Coach & podcaster)

Mark Carruthers (NonLeagueDaily.com editor and Pundit)

Dan O’Hagan (Football Commentator)

Ash Rose (Alive & Kicking 90s Podcast Creator)

Paul & Oliver Collyer (Co-founders of Sports Interactive)

Incidentally, everybody I asked to do this agreed with one exception, who didn’t reply. It was during the Rugby World Cup and so I asked a rugby player to take part, thinking that was good business. I would imagine he was a tad busy though, so we’ll let him off.

Of course, writing this blog has opened some doors that led to me writing a book about this great game. It started with me writing some pieces for The Higher Tempo Press and before long, Chris had asked me to write a book and now it’s on Amazon. Did I imagine that would happen when I started this 12 months ago? Absolutely not. But if you’re reading this now and you’re considering writing about something, just bloody do it. Who knows what can happen, and what have you got to lose?

It’s been a mad 12 months, to the point where I can’t remember what I did before I wrote this blog. What will this year bring? I have some new ideas that I’ll hopefully be able to roll out, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s still CM9798 at the end of the day. I would like to bring more interaction in though, maybe partnering up with some of the FM Community for scenarios or podcasts. There’s a bottomless pit of opportunity.

For now though, thanks for walking down memory lane with me. This turned into a much longer post than I anticipated, but then I have always had a good memory. Thank you for making this blog what it is.

Happy blogday to you all



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