Hello hello. It’s time for our annual catch up on where the current crop of Premier League managers can be found in CM9798. I’ve done this for a few years now and this is the first time without Arsene Wenger. Anyway, let’s start with his successor…
Arsenal – Unai Emery
Long before Emery was helping Arsenal win away games again he was plying his trade for Toledo in the second tier of Spanish football. His stats actually seem quite good, what he lacks in pace he makes up for in passing and set pieces. Not to mention heading, oddly. The David Silva of his day.
Emery had a fairly modest playing career but of course went on to enjoy a lot of success in his native Spain, managing Almeria, Valencia and Sevilla. He became Mr Europa League in the latter which is probably what drew Arsenal to him. Cheap shot, I know.
Bournemouth – Eddie Howe
Ah, young Eddie. He’s doing a great job at Bournemouth but back in 1997 he was barely on the radar as a 19 year old defender. Howe has been a regular when I’ve ran this piece in previous seasons so I’ve nothing new to say except he gets better as a manager with every passing year and I’ve still never seen him in the dugout on CM9798, but then I don’t often get through 15 or so seasons.
Brighton – Chris Hughton
Sadly Chris Hughton is not in CM9798, his career had yet to reach the dugout. He is however assisted by Paul Trollope, who we can find at Fulham. So let’s enjoy that.
I do love an attacking midfielder who can tackle. Number one quality.
Burnley – Sean Dyche
Voice of an angel Sean Dyche is up next. Flair of 16. Just let that sink in. Dyche was apparently quite the utility man in his day and was part of that Chesterfield team that made the FA Cup semi finals the previous season.
Again I’ve never really seen Dyche end up in management in the game but you’d be looking at 10 or so seasons for that.
Cardiff – Neil Warnock
Neil Warnock starts the game as Oldham manager, in the Second Division
Warnock was appointed at Oldham to try and secure an immediate promotion back to the First Division. Instead they finished 13th and Warnock resigned never to be heard of again. Half of that sentence is true.
Warnock’s long time assistant Kevin Blackwell is on the game though. Rejoice! Blackwell was working as assistant manager to Mick Jones at Plymouth but actually returned to playing in March 1998. He appears on a free transfer as he was essentially not playing in the 97/98 season. Looking at his stats, that’s not a bad thing.
Chelsea – Maurizio Sarri
Sarri was managing a team called Antella in 1997/98 who don’t have a Wikipedia page. He’s not in the game. He is assisted by Gianfranco Zola though, so let’s look at him.
We all know and love Zola – great player, average manager. I’m sure he does a decent job assisting Mr Sarri.
Crystal Palace – Roy Hodgson
Ah Roy. He’s always here. After replacing Frank De Boer as Crystal Palace manager last season he went on to keep them up and is battling to do the same this season. Back in 1997 he’s Blackburn manager and from experience usually ends up at Chelsea when Vialli quits. He doesn’t make Tore Andre Flo take the corners though, so that’s something he developed over time.
Also, I’ve never seem him end up with the England job. Just a passing comment. So you don’t go empty handed, here’s goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely before he was Irish
Everton – Marco Silva
Marco Silva is only just 20 when CM9798 loads up and is a right back for Belenenses. That name sounds made up, but I assure you it isn’t. Anyway, he’s got potential has young Marco.
Everton are going well in 6th this season but Silva will be hoping to complete a full season after trying to rescue the mess that was Hull City and then losing his job at Watford halfway through last season. Third time is the charm.
Fulham – Claudio Ranieri
The new Fulham manager, Claudio Ranieri, is manager of Valencia at the start of CM9798.
When I started writing this, Slavisa Jokanovic was still in charge. He’s playing for Tenerife, where he can now spend his days recovering from nightmares of trying to teach Denis Odoi how to play offside.
Huddersfield Town – David Wagner
I learned the other day that it is Wagner and not Vagner (it terms of pronunciation) because he is apparently American. He’s German in CM9798 and as far as I can see, he was born in Germany. He got caps for the USA though, so maybe it’s a family name thing. Anyway, enough of this. He’s a very average striker for Gutersloh but not injury prone. So that’s good.
Leicester City – Claude Puel
Puel retired from playing in 1996 and started managing in 1999, so I have nothing for Leicester. What they do have though is long time Wolves goalkeeper Mike Stowell as first team coach, so let’s marvel at him and move on.
Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is doing great things at Liverpool but as a defender in CM9798 he is average at best. That aggression of 10 is kind, we’ve all seen mad Klopp. Also stamina of 8 is ironic given his gegenpressing ways. Klopp did go on to manage Mainz which lead him to Dortmund where he really came to flourish as a coach.
Manchester City – Pep Guardiola
Guardiola was excellent as a player and somehow even better as a manager. He is quite possibly the best player we have in the list today. As you’d expect, creativity, passing and technique are all very high. What else can you say really?
Manchester United – Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho was still a translator and coach back in 1997 so isn’t in CM9798. Not to be denied, I found that Mourinho’s long serving goal keeper coach is on the game at Salgueiros in Portugal. He’s 38 so past his best but he must have been good in his day to get 20 caps.
Newcastle United – Rafael Benitez
Before Rafa spent his days arguing with Mike Ashley he managed several real clubs. Back in 1997 though and he’s just making his way up the managerial ladder at Extremadura in Spain. He went on to improve somewhat over the years and if he’s in this list next season with Newcastle it will be a miracle.
Here’s Antonio Gomez, one of Benitez’s trusted colleagues.
Southampton – Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes is at risk of being next on the chopping block as goal difference keeps Southampton off the bottom of the league. His managerial career has been a mixed bag and it’s sometimes easy to forget what a great player he was back in the day. In 1997 he’s coming towards the end of his playing days (though he would go on for another 5 years, somehow) but he’s still more than a little useful. That aggression of 20 is now utilised in throwing his coat to the floor every time he disagrees with a decision. Which is all the time.
Tottenham Hotspur – Mauricio Pochettino
In 1997 Poch was still 5 years away from tripping Michael Owen in the 2002 World Cup. He was however a very reasonable centre half with decent stats in all the key areas – heading, pace, tackling and positioning. He went on to get 20 caps for his country and also played for PSG…before they were really good.
Watford – Javi Gracia
A newcomer to the list, Javi Gracia can be found at Real Sociedad in CM9798. He’s a pretty good central midfield option – creative, good passing, shooting, dribbling. I’ve never really seem him amount to much though but that’s perhaps down to the fact I hadn’t heard of him until he rocked up at Watford earlier in the year. Another one very good at avoiding injury. I like that.
West Ham – Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini was between jobs in 1997 but rather than leave you Hammer-less, here’s goalkeeping coaching Vincente Valero.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Nuno
I’ve made so many safe pair of hands jokes about Nuno which nobody gets (or maybe people have just grown tired of me, you can’t rule that out) so here he is. A GOALKEEPER. SAFE HANDS. He’s only 21 back in 97/98 and hadn’t really gone on to much but his stats suggest he could be good in future…though really who wants an injury prone goalkeeper? That’s just asking for trouble.
If nothing else, he now has a big grey beard and I tell you what, he looks a lot older than 42. Because he is. That date of birth is wrong and he’s actually 45 in January.
Catch up with the latest episode of the CM9798 Academy here