Champ Mananger’s Tactics Truck

So here’s the bit where I share my tactical knowledge which ensured that Torino and Anderlecht failed to win their leagues, despite arguably having the best squads….

Back in the day I was a Champ Man 97/98 maestro, I would generally start in Division 3 and would aim to win the league and champions league in 5 or 6 seasons. It was a long time ago however, and at the time I was a student who spent most of his time smoking poor quality hash. As a result, I can’t remember the exact details of tactics (or anything useful about my degree), so I’ve had to reconstruct these tactics as I go along.

I decided to assign a different, successful tactic to each of the three teams. Partly for a bit of variety and partly so they weren’t all chasing the same players.

First up Anderlecht, this was my default Division 3 to Champions League tactic, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to be working as well in this game. I’m not 100% sure that I’ve got it right yet



You can also bring the two wide players into centre midfield, with their arrows still pointing to the same area as in the picture above. This one can leak the odd goal though, often if I’m 1 up in a close game I’ll sub on a midfielder for one of the forwards and put him in the anchor role. Chilavert and Charvet are always worth buying, if you can get hold of them.

As for Doncaster…



I’ve been playing around with this formation for a while but 7 successive big wins at the end of the season suggest it’s on the right track. It’s a 4-2-3-1, which wasn’t really in use in the real world when the game was released, but is used by a lot of clubs today. Three central attacking midfielders always seems to work really well, the team creates a lot of chances and the players in those positions get much higher ratings than they would in the usual midfield positions. You can play an MC, AMC or FC in one of those three spots – even wingers can do OK there. You’ll need a decent striker though (like Andy Mainwaring!)- if your forward is having a bad game you’re going to be on the back foot. There’s a few must-have lower league players in there – Tomlinson, Scully, Atkinson, Mainwaring and Munson can be bought in for a combined 5k at the start of the game. I missed out on Andrew Duncan this time though 😦

Il schemo tattico del Torino



I’ve used this tactic with Torino before, dominating Italy and Europe. The wide players always seem to do well in this tactic, as do the 3 attacking midfielders and striker. Besides centre-forward, the most important position in this tactic is the holding midfielder player. Get the right man in the here and he’ll be a beast winning loads of tackles and headers. But if you don’t have anyone good enough, the tactic doesn’t work anywhere near as well. Stefano Desideri is a decent stop-gap but I’m basically waiting for that 37 year-old Icelandic DM/FC to retire (you know who I mean!) so I can buy his regenerated offspring…

There’s not much info out there on the best cm97/98 tactics so I’d be interested to hear other people’s ideas and experiences


World Cup ’98

England failed to qualify for France 98, meaning we were deprived of a World Cup song, Sun pull-out posters and a Panini sticker frenzy. There was still plenty of good football on show, not much of it from China though to be fair


China aside, all the big guns made it through the groups, which meant that there were some big games in the second round, not least hosts France playing Holland

2nd round

My players’ involvement in the tournament came to an unwanted end when Anderlecht’s goal a game striker James Obiorah broke his leg at Nigeria’s training camp. He’s likely to be out till the New Year which is a major setback, as we just don’t have the finances to buy a replacement anywhere near the same level

France Holland lived up to its billing as the tie of the round. The home team looked to be cruising to victory till the introduction of Clarence Seedorf as a second half sub. Gotta feel sorry for Laurent Blanc, captain of the host team missing the decisive penalty

france holland

Holland knocked out Brazil in the quarters thanks to a Dennis Bergkamp double and Germany knocked out Italy to leave us with these semi-finals


France in the second round, Brazil in the quarters and Spain are the next to suffer at the hands of the Dutch. They’ve had the hardest draw so far but seem to be getting better with each game. 5 in 2 for Bergkamp, and Germany in the final


But Holland dont show up against the Germans, only mustering one attempt over the 90 minutes. Their unusual tactic of subbing a defender after 30 minutes finally backfires


There might be a World Cup going on, but the transfer market is still kicking off. Some big money moves for low-profile players

russel nikiforov

Our star-striker at Doncaster leaves as a result of a big-club release clause, and Rio’s on the move from relegated West Ham

andy rio

It’s End of season awards time. I get an award in Italy and James Obiorah can look at the Belgian Player of the Year trophy while he is lying on his back recovering from a broken leg. Oliver Bierhoff didn’t do much for his club but won the World Cup for Germany, so not such an unusual choice I s’pose. Scholes-y was the top scorer across the three countries. Rio won Young Player of the Year despite relegation

italian english belgian


Oh and then this happened



I didn’t enter some kind of cheat code, honest. I guess my second place finish and disappointing cup defeat was seen as evidence that I needed more funds, not as evidence of my incompetence. Certainly makes the loss of James Obiorah next year easier to bear. Just who I’ll be able to attract to the Jupiler League is another matter though

1998 round-up

Unsurprisingly, the first thing to report is Man Utd’s seemingly unstoppable march. Alex Ferguson’s first silverware of the season was secured in March with a comfortable win in an entertaining League Cup Final. Paul Scholes not on the scoresheet this time, but they still managed to sweep aside Leeds in extra-time


United followed this up with an FA semi-final victory to keep them on course for an unprecedented quadruple. A tricky final awaits against Kenny Dalglish and his Blackburn team after they overcame Villa in the other Semi

semi fa cup

On their day, Toro were capable of hammering anyone, as this performance away to second place Verona showed

verona away

Antonio Paganin was a bit of a controversial choice for man of the match really – part of defence that shipped 4 goals at home…but maybe he shone among the wreckage

Despite results like that, inconsistency plagued us for the rest of the season. The lack of a decent goalkeeper and no top-level striker meant that we lost a lot of games we should have won. Here are a couple of examples in consecutive games against other top-4 teams

toro pastine issues

toro issues 2

We never really looked in danger of missing out on promotion though… but there’s definite room for improvement if we want to do well in Serie A next season..seriebfinal

Back in the Premier League, competing on all four fronts was always likely to take a toll on United, and sure enough, their first defeat came at Easter. Liverpool would have been the last team they would have wanted to lose to though, especially as they were kept bay at by a man-of-the-match performance from Liverpool’s saxophone playing, cash-in-the attic presenting, United old-boy

utd defeat

United lost again in the Champions League Semi’s, a Bayern – PSG final in store in May

cl semis

There is English representation in one European final though. Chelsea overcame a mediocre league campaign to hammer Stuttgart at home in the Cup-Winners Cup semi-final


In the meantime, over in Belgium, we’re doing OK, but OK isn’t good enough with Standard obliterating the league and winning every week. We also lost on penalties to Lierse in the cup Semi-Final. Antwerp didn’t put up as much of a fight in the final, mind.

belgium final

I thought we’d breeze the league this year, 2nd place isn’t terrible for my first season in Belgium, but we need the title next season. I’m guessing the board will be feeling the same way too.

jleague final

While our continental cousins underachieved, Doncaster went the other way. Easter-time saw back to back matches against league leaders Swansea, once in the league and once in the Auto Windscreen/JP Paints or whatever you want to call it final. The Swans had been powered to the top of the league by their daunting, all Welsh, strike -force (and Jan Molby)

swans goalscorers

We put in arguably our best performance of the season at Vetch-field and became the first team to stop them scoring at home.

swansea away result

But for a man-of-the-match performance by Roger Freestone, we would have won more comfortably. Our winning goal came from the boot of our 21 -year old Zambian forward who was making a name as a super-sub for us. A few days later, we met at Wembley, this time the result on the pitch didn’t go our way, but the board (and me, to be honest) were more focused on the £500,000 windfall from gate receipts which wiped off our debts and will give us money to spend in the summer

windscreen final

The defeat didn’t affect our league-form though. The win at Swansea was the start of a 7-match winning streak at the end of the season which saw us catapulted into the automatic promotion places, scoring 24 goals and conceding just 4 in the process. Andy Mainwaring was in particularly good form, scoring 8 goals in 4 games in April.

div 3 final

With money to spend and Division 2 football to look forward to, it’ll be a busy summer at Belle Vue

The first trophy of the Italian season went to Inter in an unusual 2-legged final. Losing 2-0 after the home leg, they won 3-0 at the Delle Alpi thanks to goals from Ronaldo (the original), Simeone and Youri Djorkaeff.


Serie A came down to the same two teams, Juve coming out on top this time

seriea final

As for the Premier League, United eased to the title, despite one more defeat. A mention for the Crazy Gang as well, finishing above the likes of big-spending Blackburn and Chelsea


United completed the domestic treble with a 2-1 win over Blackburn


The Cup Winners Cup was settled by a hat-trick from new signing Kennet Anderson


And free-scoring PSG won a one-sided Champions League final, helped by on Oliver Kahn red card

cl final

Oh and finally, a sad denoument to the club doubt he’ll be back though. The Hammers, however, have got a year out of the top-flight to look forward to


The summer of 1998 is just around the corner, which means a World Cup in France, to follow next..

All to play for

As we reach the last third of the season, all our three teams are in with a chance in their respective leagues.

When the inevitable happened and Toro decided to cut there losses on Dorigo, Doncaster swooped for the antipodean full-back. He made himself a hero on his debut, when this happened

tonys debut


We’re looking good for a play-off spot, but could still up end with automatic promotion, or nothing

35 gamesdoncaster


By the turn on the year it was a two-horse race between us and standard in belgium. a crazy game, featuring hattricks from both teams’ strikers, was decided late on with obiorah grabbing a 4th. he’s quietly becoming a bit of a star for us with a nigh-on a goal a game at the moment

54 standard


Despite this, a few defeats in games we really should be winning have left us off the pace in the Jupiler league



Torino have managed to put the departure of il Tony behind them and look a good bet for promotion to Serie A



Elsewhere in the football world. Spurs got a big name manager


And Paolo Maldini became the most unpopular man in Milan after this shock move on deadline day



He looks like ending the season with a scudetto to his name



Juve are less likely to have it their own way in the Champions League though. No easy games left in the last 8


Man United are on course for a historic season, CL quarter-finals, but take a look at the Premier League



The only question left to answer is whether they will go the season unbeaten, and whether Paul Scholes can continue scoring at this rate




The Story Begins

So its the summer of 1997. Tony Blair is sweeping into power on a wave of optimism, the days of crippling social-inequality, and out-of-touch, war-mongering, politicians are over (right?). The English football team have established themselves as a real force, following up a Euro 96 semi-final with a win in Le Tournoi. A mysterious new computer program called the internet is beginning to catch on, but has yet to be taken over by angry football fans.

Against this backdrop, a number of leading European teams (and Doncaster) have been making the headlines

Torino, aiming to bounce straight back to Serie A, boast a squad including returning hero Gigi Lentini, backed up by the likes of  Matjaz Florijanjic, Marco Ferrante and, er, Tony Dorigo. The city is shocked by the appointment of a novice manager, Vino Cacciatore. Half-way through the first season and they’re sitting in the promotion places and looking good


Tony Dorigo is on-loan at Doncaster, and not getting much of a look-in there either

Apart from Club Bruges and Standard Liege, Anderlecht do not face much competition in Belgium. In a bid to liven things up in the Jupiler League, they have asked unknown Vincent Chasseur to take the reigns this year. He will be taking over a squad with a number of promising youngsters, captained by Red Devils legend Enzo Scifo, they will be a formidable force domestically.


A period of managerial instability has seen Doncaster come into the new season with a bemusing collection of right and left wingers and not much else. To top off their problems, their new first-team coach has no track record in the game, and doesn’t plan on playing any wide men. A few bargains, known to any long-time Champ managers, soon sort the squad out though, and as we move into Christmas they are sitting just outside the play-offs. There’s still a disgruntled group of wingers turning out for the reserves, at some point they’re going to have to be kicked out..


We served up a cracker early on in the season.. 7-1 up after 39 minutes but nearly letting it slip.

85 maccs-1


Yep that’s Dalian Atkinson lining up the red-and-white of Donny Rovers. He’s been banging them in, but we’ll need more from the rest of the squad if we’re going to end the year with promotion