Battle of the Tactics: The Ultimate Formation | @KingOfTheRooks

Philip is out of action for a few weeks – get well soon my friend. We’ll be back with Lierse to see the finale later in the year but we have a treat of an Andrew experiment in his absence. What’s the best tactic in CM9798? An impossible question you may think but Andrew has been editing…

Following the Blog Squad’s Champions League Manager escapades and the frequent CM Cup the question always lingers…which non-AI formation is the best? Well, here we’ve taken the 10 most popular formations (and some guests) and pitted them against each other in the Scottish Premier League. Feels the best template given they’ll face off with each other more frequently due to the size of the league. So which formations have we chosen?

The Tactics:

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A Game of Luck: Is the Game Engine Against You? | @KingOfTheRooks

Philip is having a well deserved week off so we’ve let Andrew loose for this one off special…is the game against you?

You’re probably wondering what on earth this is all about, well…last year we ran a test on ability vs. stats (you can re-read it here) and that’s all well and good but…what impact does luck have on a save? Have you ever had the perfect squad, but things just go against you (like getting beaten by a terrible side)? Annoying, isn’t it? To test this theory that the random winds of change are stacked against you at times we’ve gone wild…

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Return of the Summer Special – Grey’s Athletic: Grey All Over

Hello and welcome back to this year’s ‘Summer Specials’ or in this case singular special. Now, after all last summer’s madness, how could I possibly begin to top it all again? Well…have you ever tried to play a season without a signing? Have you ever tried to never replace a player? Have you ever…played an entire season with ‘grey’ players…

The mission is simple; survive in Division Three without a single real player. And Graham Taylor thought he had an impossible job!

It will be a revolving door squad, never guaranteed the same players match to match – and we should be prepared to deal with this all year:

We set up the best way possible for the lower division and 4-4-2 as opposition:

Wayne Haydon on both wings at the same time should hopefully confuse the opposition a bit. Pre-season gives us positive vibes:

If we can retain the same ‘keeper, we should be in with half a chance:

The opening day comes, and Hartlepool do us 2-1. We’re in for a tough season. Having won in the League Cup 1st round against Division Two opposition, we go out on away-goals thanks to a limp third second leg. We size up an opportunity for a win…the chip men:

Disallowed goals and our ‘keeper sent off. That might be a game changer. Torquay visit and we hold out for 75 minutes until it ends in a haze of static and tears. The tears continue, until we switch to this:

And get a 0-0 draw with 22nd and then:

WE’RE OFF THE MARK!!! We needed that win.

Happiness is a warm gun (bang bang, shoot shoot, score!).

Play well, keep it tight, get sent off, crumble. Repeat. This is traumatic. It’s taken 10/11 games, but we’ve finally sunk to the bottom. We lose to 19th Rotherham. We need to be beating or at least drawing with those around us. We come close to a result but just not enough:

Never before have things been this bad:

Yet still we survive the sack. DESMOND!!!

We should have won. We follow up by losing, Scarborough draw and the gap is back to 2 points.

If we could keep it tighter at the back, we could draw our way out of trouble. It’s the cup, its Barrow…we WIN!

Cambridge destroy us 6-2 in the league but we’re still flying so high. So high…

Scarborough win too so it means nothing. Peterborough are 5th, so this is quite the scalp. We follow it up in style:

How many reds now? I’ve lost count. We throw a 2-0 lead away to draw with Darlington and then at 4th placed Hartlepool…

We survive yet ANOTHER red to scrape a victory. We’re still not off the bottom, however.

It ain’t over until its…oh.

Tears for heroes dressed in grey…Scarborough appoint Aldridge and they turn it round. I think that’s the end.

We get the sack…

But immediately reinstate ourselves. We might as well see out the season. This is the s**** we’re up against, can’t even come back against 10-men!

Following defeats to Shrewsbury and Doncaster (whom we beat 2-0 at the beginning of the season) we have an absolute Danny Baker VHS of a game. Own goals and gaffs indeed.

We can’t finish except in our own net. We get red cards every other game. The run of luck is never ours (excluding that 10-game period where we won and drew a few mid-season). One player was suspended for ‘one match’ for three consecutive games. It’s brutal. If we are going to survive now, we need to more than double our points with 15 games to go. And they say the England job is impossible! Leyton Orient say no as they diddle us with the best McVeigh I’ve ever seen:

We get lashed 6-1 at Scunthorpe as I half forget to set my formation (we were moving to 2-2-2-2-2), we proceed to tighten up and only lose 3-0 at 5th Hull then…

We even had 2 disallowed. We follow up with a loss to Chester (4-1), but the follow-up gives me real faith we can nick 12 points from 4 games…

Scarborough, however, win 3-2 to send us down to non-league and myself to the second (and now unrecoverable) sacking of the season:

So close. If only we’d moved to 2-2-2-2-2 earlier.

A success? Far from it. That said we didn’t do too much worse than Scarborough but without any players. There are no vitals as none of the stats stick. And the proof we didn’t cheat:

Just as they drop into non-league, all of a sudden, the squad has twice the volume of players, who are, stats wise, a million miles better. That awful run from December to April without a point killed our hopes off. I think the game engine is stacked against this in 97-98. And so, I hope you’ve enjoyed the one and only sad and lonely Summer Special of 2021 – I think this one might get a re-run with 2-2-2-2-2 all season long. We’ll see. Thanks for reading – see you again at some point for another dose of complete madness.

You can follow Andrew on twitter: @KingOfTheRooks

CM2 97/98 – Player Database: Comparison Tool

Well hello there! You may know I’ve taken a break from a regular slot at www.cm9798.co.uk and that’s because I’ve been working up some mad ideas again. Speaking of which, ever wanted to really interrogate the player database before starting/during a save in an easy manner? Well thanks to the help of Dave and his Twitter contacts, we managed to get v2.93 players.db1 file into CSV format which allowed me to import into Excel and create the CM2 Player Comparison Tool. So, what does it entail?

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Cheering Up Peter Reid – Part Ten: Picking Up Points

Put away the pink slice. Take down the illuminations. No celebratory cheesy chips. Hold the cowies. We are in trouble. If you missed our journey to the centre of the Earth last week, here it is. So, we can absolutely score goals, at times plenty. But every formation we’ve tried at present, we’ve got more leaks than a greengrocer. The table looks terrifying.

Spurs, Derby, Blackburn and Everton are amongst our next 5 opponents. If that isn’t an opportunity to get back up the table then what is? We make an attempt to shore up the defence but it fails.

We get beyond Hartlepool in the FA Cup, the board feel it is a ‘good result’. That is telling. Then the Spurs game arrives, and we continue to pick up red cards. That said, it’s a bloody win!

At Everton, there is another red, but its not for us. Oster punishing his old club.

We get poor Howard the sack. He was a lame duck…

Another Oster masterclass sees us bag three more points. What is happening here?!?!

We can smell 7th place.

This is a problem.

This is life changing.

20 months of injuries in his career so far. Give up son. We bring in some cover on the cheap.

We draw with Division Three Bournemouth in the FA Cup. Woeful, but I’d not be fussed about losing. Wenger taking over at PSG and really looking for a top ‘keeper…

Dirty Leeds nick a late equaliser. We remain defensively frail.

We lose to Bournemouth in the replay as I field a weakened side. I’m not counting that against the run. FFS.

We pick up an excellent result in the big Derby, but we could really have done without that red. We’re like having the skids. Dirty.

Ed De LOL has a mare and the run goes on. This is absolutely waxa!

Carter-off. This is bad, he’s been a critical player since joining with goals and assists galore.

Jody Craddock will have to step in at the back. I don’t trust Brown anymore. Wow!

Not wow…

Are we running a football club or a fight club? Bloody hell. We adjust to cope with the threat of Rosler and, we don’t keep him out, but we keep the run going!

The board are happy. There will be jaffa cakes back in the biscuit tin at half-time.

We finish this save against 20th placed Palace at home. It would seem like the sort of game for this run to end, especially with 20-goal Saha out suspended.

Oster comes back and picks up a booking he could do without. Don is making the central role his own, finally finding form. I am now happy to look at the table:

That said, 7th is still the target. There’s no way we can win the bragging rights given we are 11 points behind Newcastle. Well, that was a turn up for the books wasn’t it? I’m not sure why or how our form has turned around. Weaver came back in and we’ve stuck to 3 at the back – maybe Kevin Ball is just too old now and needs to sit it out? We’ll be back next week for the final run-in and see if we can get over the line 7th or higher. By now in reality Sunderland had fallen to 9th after a woeful run of form and were two games away from finding their first win since 18th December. We can still beat Peter’s win ratio, but there’s a hard road ahead. See you next time marras!

You can follow Andrew on twitter: @KingOfTheRooks

Cheering Up Peter Reid – Part Eight: False Start | @KingoftheRooks

Well, marra’s…we’re back for another crack at the big time. The Disco lights of Sunderland are officially dead as Quinny has retired and the board have spent all our money on a new second tier stand. This is going to be our final crack at finishing 7th or higher. You can catch-up on our great escape last season here. We make transfer progress at last:

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Cheering Up Peter Reid – Part Seven: Big Spenders

Haway in me marras! Welcome back to another episode of “boy, this is a struggle” brought to you from the beautiful and scenic Wearside. Trying to be Peter Reid is hard. If you want to feel my pain, you can catch up with last week here. Last time out we played around with the formation and personnel and improved our form – just not enough to keep out the relegation zone, but it feels promising:

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