Classic11 Football Blog

It’s the day of the year where everyone’s encouraged to wear their football shirts to work – and donate £2 to help beat bowel cancer, the illness which ended World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore’s life at just 51.



All you have to do is simply wear your football shirt to work, and donate £2 to Cancer Research - that's it!

“No matter who you support, our only opposition on this day is bowel cancer,” says FA chief executive Martin Glenn. “Bowel cancer is the second biggest killing cancer and 44 people every day die of bowel cancer in the UK, the equivalent to four football teams.

This week, we caught up with Championship Manager 1997/98 blogger, David Black to find out more about his love affair with the retro managerial game.

David blogs regularly about the latest goings-on in his latest career on CM 97/98. You can read more about his work by visiting his website, CM9798.

What was your introduction like to the Championship Manager (CM) series?

My first CM game was CM2 - 1996/97 season. I got it as a Christmas present, I would have been 8 at the time and we'd just got our first computer earlier that year. It was slow and it's fair to say nobody in my family really got it ("it's just text flashing up!") but I was soon hooked, even if I wasn't much of a tactical genius at 8.


You blog about playing the 97/98 edition of the franchise, what is it you like particularly about this one?

There's a few reasons, in recent years it was the pick up and play value of a game that I've spent a lot of time on. I still get Football Manager every year but as I've gotten older I've got less and less time to play it, or certainly to put in the amount of time you need to be any good at it. So I found myself going back to 9798 for a couple of hours and the addiction was back in full force, to the point where I started a blog about it.

I think my fondness of this version stems from when I was a kid though. Where I grew up there was a group of about 10 of us who would play football just about every night and then about 5 of us would pile into my mate Ross' house. His computer wouldn't run any of the newer CM's with any real speed so we stuck with 9798, and we played it to death. Every conceivable scenario; we made our own teams, updated the database ourselves, drafted dream teams...we must have uninstalled and reinstalled so many times to reset the database when we actually wanted a normal game. There'd be about 5 different saves on the go depending on who could make it round that night, it was crazy, but I learned a lot about the game in that time and it certainly contributed towards my addiction.


As fans of the CM titles will know, there are some players on every edition that are ‘diamonds in the rough’ and always perform really well. Would you like to share a few with our readers?

On 97/98 there are a few who will do a job no matter where you are - Graeme Tomlinson and Andrew Mainwaring are two strikers available for £5k for the pair, Bjorn Heidenstrom is a midfielder who can be picked up for £50k from Leyton Orient and Partick Thistle, for some reason, have about 4 very highly rated youngsters available for next to nothing. Then there's the slightly more pricier legends like Richard Rufus, Robert Page, Richard Wright and Kevin Gallen. If you've got money to blow then you'll want Bakayoko, Sibierski & Rio Ferdinand. We actually had people vote on their favourite all time XI which is available here.


What have been your most memorable careers on CM97/98?

The career that caused me the write the blog is one of my favourites. I holidayed for a season and at the end of season 1, a new team is promoted to Division 3 with no real players and very little money. On this save, it was Altrincham. I took them on and took them up to the Premier League, the Champions was a great rise through the ranks. The current blog though is my favourite, which is probably cliche, but it has never stopped giving.

I started at Darlington, in Division 3, and built them up into a Champions League side. Won that a couple of times and then moved onto Real Madrid, which wasn't much of a challenge but I was about to fly to Madrid for a holiday and as I was touring the was too good of an opportunity to turn down. So there's pictures of me being unveiled as Real Madrid manager, I think my wife thought I was clinically insane at this point but there we are. From there I moved on to Sevilla & Norwich before finally getting the Newcastle job - they'd fallen right down to Division 2 and it was the perfect rebuilding task. Happily they are now Champions League winners so I'm looking for my next challenge.

It was during this save that I started to do "live texts" that covered important games minute by minute, which I think added a bit of character to the blog. They also formed a large part of the book I was asked to write last year, The World According to CM9798 where I took the England job and tried to right the wrongs of the 98 World Cup.


As seasons progress on the CM titles, they often develop strange scenarios with clubs, players and managers reaching unlikely levels of success and failure. What have been you most peculiar experiences with this?

Going back to the Altrincham game, Joe Kinnear won the Champions League with Arsenal and then moved onto Inter Milan. Former Barnet striker Sean Devine ended up as player-manager at Barcelona. It was around these incdients I decided to set up the blog and share these sorts of incidents with the Twitter world. On my first save on the blog Steven Haslam ended up as the World's best defender, playing for Real Madrid. He was partnered at centre back for England with Notts Forest hero Alan Rogers, who had turned up at Man Utd. That was all a bit unusual. Sadly the save game corrupted around 15 seasons in so I had to start over.


On the current save, Peter Beardsley is still playing and is approaching 60. We're in 2019 so he's had a long old career!


How often do you play CM nowadays?

It's probably only a couple of hours a week now, along with the blog I do some ad-hoc writing for The Higher Tempo Press, which is usually based around some sort of scenario save. I've just finished a 3 season write-up on "Brits Abroad" - I stole Graeme Souness' idea but took it to the extreme and only signed British players for Benfica. It took 3 seasons but we finally won the Portuguese league. Most of the time though it's the blog, I'm a couple of seasons ahead of 'blog pace' just so I always have an update to post every week even if I have been snowed under with real life.


What do you think of the modern football managerial games?

The game has developed an incredible amount, it really is an impressive game and database. I interviewed the Collyer brothers last year and it was fascinating how far the game had come since it's creation and initial development to the monster it is now. The work that goes on in the FM Community too is outstanding, in depth tactical pieces and analysis, it really is a whole new world of information. I'm determined to make use of it all one day but given it took me 3 hours to play 2 league games on an FM16 save I started the other night, it won't be anytime soon!

Author: Adam - Marching on Together Forum     Date: 27/10/15

Supporting Leeds hasn’t exactly been full of glories over the past ten years. From Champions semi-finalists in 2001 to relegation to League One in 2007 to seventeenth in the Championship where we sit today it’s been a rollercoaster. But it isn’t the first time in our history we have been through years in the darkness. In 1975 Leeds were in the European Cup Final (Though that is another story), the last true outing of the great Revie team. The job of dismantling and rebuilding that team was down to Jimmy Armfield, not an unenviable task and one Revie himself had always maintained he would have found near impossible.

It was a job Armfield wasn’t entirely successful at, his critics claimed he was too indecisive and was too nice an individual to be a success at top-level football management, and he paid the price with his job at the start of the 1978 season. He was replaced by Jock Stein who lasted a mere 44 days before taking the Scotland job. Then came a succession of managers; Jimmy Adamson, Dave Merrington and Allan Clarke and flirtations with relegation until Leeds were finally relegated to the second division in 1982. With victory over Brighton in the final home game at Elland Road the crowd celebrated a supposed safety. Unfortunately with only a point needed at West Bromwich Albion on the following Monday they lost 2-0 and finished in the drop zone.

Leeds were in the Second Division for eight seasons, most of that time was spent flirting outside the play-off places with the exception of 1986-87 when we finished fourth. A plethora of greats at the helm had failed to revive Leeds; Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner and Norman Hunter but it was 10th October 1988 that was the key date in Leeds Uniteds future. It was the day that Howard Wilkinson became Leeds United manager. Howard Wilkinson’s arrival was a total surprise as Leeds were next to the bottom of the Second Division, while Sheffield Wednesday were in the top half of the First Division. To lure a Manager of Wilkinson’s undoubted ability on a four year contract was a major coup for the club.

When Wilkinson arrived United were a precarious 23rd with just 6 points to show for their 9 games played. They duly won his first game 3-1 against Peterborough United to progress to the 3rd Round of the League Cup. Three consecutive draws were achieved before the first League victory of his reign came, 2-1 over Hull City at Elland Road. League survival was the priority and a steady accumulation of points saw United safe long before the season’s end, finally finishing tenth. Wilko now started to look to the future and began his team-building in earnest by signing Scottish International midfielder Gordon Strachan from Manchester United.

At the start of the 1989-90 season Wilkinson continued his rebuilding. Skipper Mark Aizlewood, who had been stripped of the captaincy and banned for 14 days for making rude gestures to the crowd not surprisingly left the club to join Bradford City. In came the likes of Chris Fairclough, Vinnie Jones, John Hendrie, Mel Sterland, John McClelland, Lee Chapman and Chris Kamara. The arrival of Chapman and Kamara along with the emergence of Gary Speed who had emerged from the junior ranks proved to be the final pieces in the promotion jigsaw for United, as a three way battle developed between the three United’s of Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle for the two promotion places.

A win at Elland Road against Leicester City in front of a crown of 32,597 left United in the box seat, as a win at relegation-threatened Bournemouth would bring not only promotion but also the Second Division title. Sheffield United, who visited Leicester City, and Newcastle United, who had to visit relegation candidates Middlesbrough, were both ready to pounce. Chris Kamara crossed for Lee Chapman to rise and head the winner, and United had little difficulty in hanging on to their lead to win the championship with 85 points, on goal difference from Sheffield United who won at Leicester City.

Back in the top flight Wilkinson continued to strengthen his squad with the acquisitions of John Lukic, Gary McAllister and Chris Whyte. United could have been forgiven if they had settled for mid-table respectability after such an hard season but it was to their credit that they battled all the odds to finish fourth on 64 points, with some tremendous efforts. Chapman had a stellar season and after scoring twice in a last day 4-3 loss to Nottingham Forest to finished the top scorer in the First Division with 21 league goals and 31 in all.

The 1991-92 season was when the history was made though. The previous two seasons had seen spending of £5.5 million but the board again backed Wilkinson who strengthened his squad further. A new record £1.6 million for striker Rod Wallace, £1.3 million for Tony Dorigo plus the signings of Steve Hodge, David Wetherall and Jon Newsome completed the squad. With 20,000 Season Tickets sold, bringing in £3.5 million and the prospect of high TV and broadcasting income, the Board felt it well worthwhile in their strife to bring the title to Elland Road.

After ten games Leeds and Manchester United remained the only unbeaten teams in the Division. Ironically Leeds lost the next game and Manchester became firm favourites with 26 points from ten games, already six points ahead of Leeds who had played a game more. Manchester wasted their game in hand when beaten 1-0 by bottom of the table West Ham United and Leeds now had destiny in their own hands. If they won their remaining games at Sheffield United and at home to Norwich City the championship was theirs, falter and Manchester, who had to visit Liverpool at Anfield before finishing at home to Tottenham Hotspur, or the fast finishing Sheffield Wednesday could claim English Football’s major prize.

Leeds won 3-2 at Bramall Lane with goals from Jon Newsome, Rod Wallace and an own goal from Brian Gayle. The 3-2 win meant Manchester had to win at Anfield to keep their hopes alive. An early Ian Rush strike and a late Mark Walters goal ensured a 2-0 defeat and many thousands of Leeds fans all over the world were jubilant as they reclaimed the championship after 18 years to become the final winners of the Football League Division One as the country’s top League, as it became the English Premier League in 1992-93.

I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter how low things are there is always hope. Football may have changed, money speaks more than ever and it is impossible to win the Premiership without substantial backing but in the Championship things are still possible. All that’s needed is the right manager, a board that will back them and a plan for recruiting players to play to a system and a great youth system to bring through the stars of the future. I seriously doubt Cellino and Evans are the men to take us forward in that way but it does not mean I have given up hope. That Wilko team, those last Champions, give us all the hope that one day we will rise again.

This month our resident blogger, Jams Lupton caught up with the ex-Chelsea and Spurs goalkeeper, Carlo Cudicini.

Today at Score More we have had the pleasure of interviewing a Chelsea and Tottenham legend Carlo Cudicini. Starting he’s career with AC Milan playing for clubs all across Italy Carlo eventually came over to play in England in the year 1999 signing for Chelsea FC initially on a one season loan deal before signing a permanent deal in 2000, after 141 games for the blues Carlo made the move across London to Tottenham in  2009. Cudicini is currently a free agent after a short stint at LA Galaxy and in he’s free time he has kindly allowed Score More to interview him, enjoy the read:

ScoreMore Question 1) Sepp Blatter was reported to want to introduce a white card into our game, what are your thoughts on the white card? It would lead to a sin bin for 10 minutes for protesting to the referee.

Cudicini: I am not sure it would be beneficial for football. I would personally stick with the yellow card.

ScoreMore Question 2) Will the Indian Super League be a success for football globally?

Cudicini: Is going to be a big challenge. Recruiting famous players around the world in their late 30’s doesn’t guarantee success. US football in the 80’s is a good example. They’ll have a great chance of success if they can structure it well with the right amount of space and time for young local players to develop.

ScoreMore Question 3) With Stevie Gerrard moving to the MLS will the MLS ever make the breakthrough and become one of the worlds biggest leagues or will it always be the league where players go to just before they retire ?

Cudicini: MLS is growing fast. 20 years ago they laid the foundation and it’s now slowly paying off. Almost every club has its own stadium and families, especially kids, loves to go to the matches. Last year the MLS had the 3rd highest average attendance after MLB and NFL, more than Hockey and basketball. My personal opinion is that they have reached a moment where they need to change a few of the existing rules in order to keep the momentum. It’s early to say but I think in 5 to 10 years time the MLS will be a stronger league that is able to produce a lot of young talented footballers.

ScoreMore Question 4) Carlo who was your footballing hero whilst growing up?

Cudicini: My idol when I was a kid was Walter Zenga, Inter Milan and Italy national team GK. When I become a professional player and understood the rules of it, I finally realized how much my Dad achieved in his career and I appreciated even more the success he had. So he is definitely my hero too

ScoreMore Question 5) Who would make your all time classic 11 and who would manage that team?



JT          BARESI     MALDINI





ScoreMore Question 6) Which youngster do you think has the most potential to become a footballing great?

Cudicini: Here in UK Sterling is doing very well. He’s definitely one youngster to watch.

And finally last question.

ScoreMore Question 7) Out of all the staff behind the scenes who made the biggest impact on your time at any club?

Cudicini: I have to thank each and everyone of my goalkeeping coaches. I managed to learn a lot from everyone. The one that had most influence on me has to be undoubtedly Giorgio Pellizzaro when Claudio Ranieri was at Chelsea.

For another reason, but as much important as my coaches, I ‘d like to mention all the medical staff at Tottenham, in particular the Head physio Wayne Diesel. They managed to save my career after the motorbike accident.

That wraps up our interview today, thank you for your time.

I hope you the readers enjoy the interview and as always you can catch up on all my interviews on twitter @ScoreMoreBlog

This month our resident blogger and owner of ScoreMore blog, James Lupton met up with ex Arsenal, Leicester City & England striker Alan Smith for a quick Q & A session. Find out who made his all-time Classic11?

The former Leicester and Arsenal front man who was born in Hollywood no not that one, a village in Worcestershire, Alan Smith the man who won nearly every trophy with Arsenal including the league twice, the FA Cup and the European cup winners cup in which Alan scored the only goal of the game that night has held an exclusive interview for the Score More readers! Check it out.

ScoreMore: Question 1) Who was your footballing hero whilst growing up?

Alan Smith: My hero as a very young boy was Colin Bell at Man City.

ScoreMore: Same choice as another former Arsenal hero we interviewed, Lee Dixon!

Question 2) Who would make your all time classic 11 and who would manage that team?

Alan Smith: I will pick my all time classic from players I’ve played with; David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Kenny Sansom, David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle, Bryan Robson, Paul Gazza, John ‘Digger’ Barnes, Gary Lineker, Ian Wright. Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

ScoreMore: That is some team of collegues!

Question 3) Which youngster do you think has the most potential to become a footballing great?

Alan Smith: Youngster with most potential – Raheem Sterling

ScoreMore: Question 4) With Steven Gerrard agreeing a move to the MLS will the MLS ever make the breakthrough and become one of the worlds biggest leagues, or will it always be the league where players go to just before they retire?

Alan Smith: Football in US always promises to take off. Much more popular during world cups now but it all calms down afterwards. As long as TV networks prefer broadcasting traditional US sports football will always be the poor relation.

ScoreMore: Question 5) Out of all the staff behind the scenes who made the biggest impact on your career?

Alan Smith: George Graham was of course my boss so he was most important in terms of deciding my progress. But Tony Donnelly, our legendary old kit man at Arsenal, was a big part of all our lives, as was his wife Ethel who washed the kit upstairs.

ScoreMore: Alan that wraps up the interview I would like to say thank you for giving me your time to interview you for our Score More readers. As always all my interviews are found on my twitter page @scoremoreblog so get following!

James Lupton is our resident blogger and this week, he was very lucky to catch Lee Dixon for an interview just before he set off to wembley for the England’s 3-1 victory over Slovenia.

Hi Lee

Question One: What are your thoughts on the white card proposed by Sepp Blatter? This would mean any players protesting to the referee would be sin binned for ten minutes.

LD: I definitely feel that a more rugby like respect for referees would improve the game. Managers would be tougher on players if they were sat on the sidelines for ref abuse. I think it should be tested out.

Question Two: In your opinion will the Indian Super League be a success for football globally?

LD: I have not taken much interest in the Indian Super league to be honest. Anything that expands the football world to increase its popularity in traditionally none football areas is surely a good thing though.

Question Three:  As a child growing up who was your footballing hero?

LD: Colin Bell of Manchester City. I used to play inside right/striker when a boy( believe it or not!)

Question Four: What eleven players would make it into your all time best team? And who would manage that team?

LD: Best 11 I have played with would be  David Seaman Lee Dixon(biased)Tony Adams Steve Bould Nigel Winterburn David Rocastle Patrick Vieira Emmanuel Petit Marc Overmars Dennis Bergkamp Ian Wright. Yes Thierry Henry would be on the bench! Manager would be George Wenger! A bit of both George Graham and Arsene Wenger.

Question Five: Who do you think is one for the future, who has the greatest potential?

LD: I do like Ross Barkley. A lot of work to be done still. I do like Nathanial Clyne too. Fullbacks are my thing!

Hope that’s okay, I’m off to wembley now!

That’s superb thank you Lee your a gentleman for taking part, I hope you the reader enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this up, as always keep up to date with my progress and future interviews on my twitter page @lupto_blogger


Hello readers I am back with another interview today with ex Manchester United player and ex Scotland international Lou Macari. Hope you enjoy the read.

Hi Lou question one is; What are your thoughts on the white card being brought into our game for a ten minute sin bin for dissent? 

LM: I would love the white card to be a part of the game! There should only be one man in charge and the players need to know that. I think Platini is on to a winner with this idea.

Question two for you is; Will the Indian Super League be a success for football globally?

LM: I really hope so! It is largely down to which players the league can attract. A massive good luck to the IPL from me.

I am sure they appreciate the good luck messages Lou,  with the players they have brought in so far I can see it doing very well, players like Anelka, Pires, David James and managers like Peter Reid I can see it taking off quickly!

Lou Macari who was your footballing hero whilst growing up? 

LM: Jimmy Johnstone, Celtic FC, GENIUS! Check him out on youtube.

Q4: Who would make your all time XI? And who would manage that team?

LM: Sir Alex Ferguson would be my all time greatest manager, as for a team I just cannot choose, there are to many great players to pick just eleven from.

And final question I have to ask you Lou is who do you think is the next best thing? The biggest young prospect.

LM: Again I'm sorry but I cannot pick one from so many. The problem with modern day football is advisors, money orientation, distractions, wrong companies and not enough strong bosses like in the past when managers were mentally firmer.

Excellent thank you for your time Lou it has been a pleasure. Thank you to the reader for taking the time to read this interview and like I said follow me on twitter @lupto_blogger and look out for future interviews!


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