Good day to you. The danger of me having time off work is that you will grow tired of mwe trying to combine the past and the present. Hot on the heels of locating the current Premier League managers in CM9798, I’ve done the same for the EFL clubs. There are 37 on offer, so if you’re of a quizzical nature try and name the 37 before you scroll down.
Ready? Good. Let’s start in the Championship.
Aston Villa – Dean Smith
New Aston Villa manager will be the toast of the claret and blue side of Birmingham having just secured a derby victory for his new side and that influence of 20 looks well placed given how much Villa have improved under him and how much worse Brentford are without him. That aggression of 20 will cost him more than a few games but like a lot of Leyton Orient players he’s really quite good.
Birmingham City – Garry Monk
The blue side of Birmingham had been going quite well recently until that loss but back in 97/98 Garry Monk is just a young lad trying to find his way in the game.
Blackburn Rovers – Tony Mowbray
Happy Tony is coming towards the end of his playing career but still has reasonable stats for a centre half, obviously pace is starting to go but he can head and tackle so what more do you want? It’s a shame his passing is just 1 as he used to have a good style of football at West Brom in those great days.
Bolton Wanderers – Phil Parkinson
After giving up his chat show to focus on management, it hadn’t really been going particularly well until he turned up at Bradford. A promotion and a league cup final later and his reputation is good but a move to cash strapped Bolton has been every bit as challenging as it sounds. In 97/98 he’s a solid holding midfield option for Reading in Division 1.
Derby County – Frank Lampard
We all know about Frank Lampard but did he ever have pace of 20? He’s doing well at Derby but he had such a brilliant playing career he rarely gets anywhere near that in 97/98.
Ipswich Town – Paul Lambert
Lambert has reached that stage of his career where he takes on increasingly more difficult tasks to try and restart what was once a very promising career. Fresh from not improving Stoke he’s now at Championship bottom club Ipswich, whereas in 97/98 he’s just returned to Scotland from Borussia Dortmund. I have so many questions about how that happened in the first place.
Nottingham Forest – Aitor Karanka
Karanka is at Real Madrid on CM9798 and therefore obviously very highly rated. He never actually added to that one Spain cap. You could probably argue he didn’t hit the heights expected of him, which is basically the same for his time at Nottingham Forest. Recent good form has seen them rise to be playoff contenders though and he did of course get Middlesbrough out of this division, so there’s every chance he can repeat the trick.
Sheffield United – Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder is loved by all at Sheff Utd from what I can gather and he is certainly taking the Blades in the right direction. He’s a reasonable right back for first division Bradford
Stoke City – Gary Rowett
I’m actually a bit sick of Gary Rowett. He seems to get a new job every season where he is expected to take a team to the Premier League and he never does. Last season it was Derby, where he did at least play in 97/98. He’s not at Stoke and doing a fine job of messing that up too.
Swansea City – Graham Potter
Potter made his name managing in Sweden but he can be found as a young man at West Brom and he’s really nothing remarkable…just like his time at Swansea thus far.
West Brom – Darren Moore
I wouldn’t fight Darren Moore. He is a very big man. As well as being part of Derby’s record points low team, Moore also played for Bradford in his younger days before going on to excel for West Brom, who he now manages after a successful caretaker spell. He’s a solid if unremarkable centre back in 97/98.
Wigan Athletic – Paul Cook
Paul Cook felt the need to rule himself out of the running for Ireland job. He’s done really well for Wigan, with all of that determinaton coming through and he’s another sold second tier player who has gone to make a good manager.
That does it for the Championship but let’s move on to League One.
AFC Wimbledon – Neil Ardley
I knew Wimbledon had parted ways with Ardley but I didn’t expect him to already be in a new job at League Two Notts County. That was a shocker. I liked that a 97/98 player was managing the club he played for back then but they have yet to appoint a new manager. Fingers crossed it’s Efan Ekoku.
Barnsley – Daniel Stendel
Having a German coach was what all the cool kids were doing, based almost entirely on the back of David Wagner getting Huddersfield promoted. Whilst Daniel Farke tops the Championship with Norwich, Daniel Stendel is doing a reasonable job of rebuilding Barnsley in League One. In 97/98 he’s a fairly poor striker for Meppen in the 2. Bundesliga, where they would finish bottom in real life.
Bradford City – David Hopkin
Bradford are having a bit of a crisis at the moment but David Hopkin has been appointed so things will soon be on the up. Hopkin is a star player for Leeds having starred for Crystal Palace in the playoff final.
Bristol Rovers – Darrell Clarke
Bristol Rovers are struggling in League One but Darrell Clarke was down as being some sort of wing wizard back in 1997. He was just a young lad though and went on to have a decent career with Mansfield and Hartlepool. Clarke has taken Bristol Rovers from the National League to League One though so he’s made a bright start to his management career too.
Burton Albion – Nigel Clough
Clough junior is coming towards the end of his playing career in CM97/98, though he would end up moving on loan to Sheff Wed for one last Premier League appearance. His influence of 17 will set him up well for a future career in management and he has of course worked wonders with Burton over the years.
Charlton Athletic – Lee Bowyer
I really didn’t expect Lee Bowyer to end up in the dugout based on his playing career but he is doing a good job in difficult circumstances at Charlton. In 97/98 he is a promising young midfielder who goes on to be an England International in most saves.
Coventry City – Mark Robins
The man who saved Fergie is trying his hand at Orense in Spain in 97/98. I have no idea why. Robins has brought Coventry back to League One but I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for keeping Fergie in a job all those years ago.
Luton Town – Nathan Jones
Luton play a fun brand of attacking football under the guidance of Nathan Jones, who is a pretty unremarkable left winger back in CM9798.
Plymouth Argyle – Derek Adams
First things first, Derek Adams is Scottish. Anyway, his stats are fairly awful except for pace, tackling and positioning. He’s a better manager having done well with Plymouth last season although it’s been a bit slow so far this season.
Rochdale – Keith Hill
Mr Hill is a decent centre half in CM9798 and one of the few to be managing the same club he played for back then. I like that.
Scunthorpe – Stuart McCall
Everyone loves that clip of Stuart McCall falling off the car. He’s currently trying to stop Scunthorpe falling out of League One. In 97/98 he’s part of a pretty excellent Rangers team who sometimes moves to Man Utd or Liverpool such are his talents.
Southend United – Chris Powell
Sven’s favourite Chris Powell took over at Southend when they finally got rid of Phil Brown. They’re midtable and I’ve never seen Powell replicate his five England caps.
Walsall – Dean Keates
Another who is managing the same club he played for in 97/98 and is therefore a hero in my eyes. He’s got potential as a young midfielder in the game but I’ve rarely seen him amount to much.
Wycombe Wanderers – Gareth Ainsworth
Ainsworth is technically still playing now as he won’t give up his playing registration. He was good for me in my Port Value survival story and he’s doing well for Wycombe after securing promotion last season.
That’s League One done and dusted, off we go to League Two for the finale.
Cambridge United – Joe Dunne
I don’t think I have anything to say about Joe Dunne as a player but he did come back to manage Colchester in his managerial career. He’s now at Cambridge who are struggling in League Two.
Carlisle United – John Sheridan
John Sheridan is a Premier League player in 97/98 but would ultimately be relegated. Now he’s the Carlisle manager having taken over from Keith Curle.
Colchester – John McGreal
McGreal played in the UEFA Cup with Ipswich but in 97/98 he has 4 20 ratings at Tranmere. That’s quite good. He has no pace which won’t help but 19 for positioning should mean he doesn’t need to move.
Forest Green Rovers – Mark Cooper
Cooper is between clubs on 97/98 having left Hartlepool and would sign for Leyton Orient later in the season. To be honest his stats would probably make him ok in Division 3 and he would go on to play for Forest Green in 2001, where he now manages.
Macclesfield Town – Sol Campbell
Hot off the press this one. Sol Campbell has finally got his first job in management and it’s Macclesfield Town, bottom of the whole football league. Good luck, Sol.
Mansfield Town – David Flitcroft
Not bad statistics for Mansfield manager David Flitcroft, who is the brother of Garry Flitcroft who you’ll find at Premier League Blackburn. Chester are in Division 3 in the game which is where you’ll find Mansfield (in new money: League Two) and they’re going well in 4th.
MK Dons – Paul Tisdale
Sadly there is no stat for fashion or Tisdale would have a 20, if not more. Tisdale left Exeter after being there forever and has been tasked with getting MK Dons back up to League One. MK Dons of course don’t exist on CM9798.
Northampton Town – Keith Curle
Ooooooohhhhh, mysterious Curle, I want to play 3-5-2. Curle is at First Division Wolves albeit he is coming towards the end of his playing career. He’s pretty good for a season before he begins to decline. Curle left Carlisle after 4 years in the summer but has done a good job of rescuing Northampton in League Two so far.
Port Vale – Neil Aspin
Our third manager who is at the same club now as he was in 97/98. Aspin left Gateshead to take over at Port Vale and he just about managed to keep them in League Two. He’s a star player for Port Vale in the First Division back in 97/98.
Swindon Town – Richard Wellens
Wellens has replaced Phil Brown with Swindon 14th in League Two. Things have got off to a bad start but back in 97/98 he’s at Man Utd and is probably the only Man Utd player who doesn’t amount to much. He has so little going for him in terms of stats.
Tranmere Rovers – Micky Mellon
We finish with another who is at the same club as he is in 97/98. Micky Mellon used to really amuse me as a name back in the day but now he’s doing quite well as a manager having got Tranmere promoted back to the football league.
Apologies to all those clubs who don’t have a manager who was playing in CM9798!