Championship Manager – Pixelated Crack
By Aaron Evans
I left school with 10 GCSE’s, 6 League titles, a Champions League winner’s medal, and a life sized statue of myself outside Barnet’s Underhill Stadium. This will more than likely resonate with most football fans as I am talking about Championship Manager.
I can recall the moment I realised I had a problem, it was when I could hear the birds outside my window greeting the day with a song. Having refused to sleep until I had brought Barnet from the lowly old Second Division to the dizzy heights of the Premier League, I knew I had to come up with a plan. I had been keeping my body going with strong tea and thick toast with lashings of butter; I knew these dishes were high in fat and caffeine; this meant I could eat/sleep less and play more. My then girlfriend had sent me several text messages exclaiming that I was wasting my life and that she didn’t want to be with me anymore. A Guppy lay bloated and decaying at the top of my fish tank, starved to death due to neglect – and the smell emanating from my underpants was acrid!
Speak to any drug addict and the will tell you in detail how the structure of your life falls apart when you’re a slave to dependency. Some people inject potent fluids in to the veins of their arms, or spend their days sitting in dingy betting shops gambling their livelihoods away t to reach the highest of highs, but my addiction was far more irrational. Be it searching for the perfect strike partners, or working out the most effective ‘away’ formation, I am living the dream and indulging my addiction. I could happily spend 9 hours scouting the West African domestic leagues for fresh, cheap, young talent. I’ve caught myself inventing pre-match rituals for important games; I’ve even developed special relationships with my imaginary players.
I think I speak for all players of the game when I say that I’ve even had tears in my eyes when my new signing that I have identified and purchased scores on his debut. If you were to ask a woman what the most fun a man can have on his own, in a room, with a computer is? Their mind would race to the assumption that the simple answer is masturbation. But pose the same question to a man and their mind will be flooded with memories of former glories; the goals, the near misses, the winner’s medals, the runner up medals, the wheeling and dealing, the national job offers, the substitutions (that pay off), and the dreaded vote of confidence.
To call CM a computer game is a huge injustice – it gives football fans a taste of the pressure and excitement that managers have, this is something that no other computer game can offer. When I play Goldeneye I don’t feel like James Bond, I don’t get to gently kiss the lips of sexy ‘Bond Girls’, and I certainly don’t squeeze tubby frame in to a Saville Row bespoke Tuxedo. When I play PGA Tour Golf I can’t feel the sand flick in to my eyes as I escape the bunker and watch the ball creep next to the hole. I don’t feel the lacquer on the trophy when I lift it above my head for the cameras. However when I have an away game at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road on a Monday night on Championship manager – I smell the pies, I feel the nervousness of my fans that follow me and my team across the country, I know my right back is only on 72% fitness, I am well aware that these three points will push us clear of the pack, and I can feel the eyes of our board member s burning the back of my neck from the plush executive lounge the east London club has to offer.
As fans we give so much to football in general and I am not talking about CM. We give up our weekends, and risk bad moods and tantrums. We buy the replica shirts, we receive evil looks from our bosses when caught creeping on football website during work hours. We abandon reason over a tribal and partisan defence of our clubs and players. I have given more to football that any other relationship, knowing that the return is often minimal and disappointing. Would we change this? Would we pack it all in to be one of those guys at social functions that say “I’ve never really been in to football, I prefer Rugby!”. Or are we happy being the small group in the corner of the same party, snarling and spitting like wild beasts, clutching a beer as we argue and defend?
Girlfriends have often asked me if I regret giving so much to time to not only CM but football in general. My answer is always simple, NO!
Posted on May 6, 2011, in *Aaron Evans, Humour, Pub Chat and tagged Brisbane Road, Championship Manager, England, FM2012, Football Manager, Premier League, Soccer, UEFA, Underhill Stadium. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.