Sunday, February 08, 2004

Ball control

To suggest Championship Manager is a popular football management simulation game is like saying your fingers are the frilly things that make your hands look pretty.

The current 4th edition is exquisitely detailed, so much so that there’s a story that Leeds United once tried to buy a fictional Championship Manager player that had been planted deep inside the game.

Personally, I favour Championship Manager 2; partly because the gameplay is less comprehensive so processing power can be handed over to the Angolan 4th Division as well as La Liga. Mostly it’s because years ago I went from managing Oxford in the 2nd division to the European Cup Final with Everton. The game took place in front of my dad’s Amiga at four in the morning, and as we figuratively lifted the trophy I realised my parents were probably upstairs fretting as to why I hadn’t spent my teens experimented with recreation drugs.

In the real world, Jamie Brooks is a prodigiously talented Oxford United striker who two days before a trial with Arsenal was struck down with a debilitating illness called Guillain Barre Syndrome. It nearly cost him his life, and may yet cost him his professional football career.

I’m currently playing Championship Manager 4, and as usual I’m managing Oxford. I’ve let my heart rule my head and let Brooksey rehabilitate on my weighty wage bill. He’s been permanently injured for two seasons, commanding a status of ‘Out for several months with a viral infection’.

During a mammoth session on Sunday a message popped up to say that Brooks was finally available again, apparently (and this is genuinely what it said)…

“Jamie Brooks has resumed full training after his bollock fell off.”


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