The Football Manager Legends… Where Are They Now?

Posted: March 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Football Manager. You were a cruel mistress. You were responsible for years-worth of wasted time, shattered relationships, failed A-levels, broken keyboards, tears of sorrow and moments of jubilant bliss. And we love you for it.

But sometimes, you lied to us. Sometimes the 16-year-old Paraguayan forward you told us would be the next Gabriel Batistuta turned out to be rubbish in real life! HOW COULD YOU!

You may have been right with the Cesc Fabregas’, Gonzalo Higuian’s and Carlos Tevez’s of this world, but you had a few nightmares along the way too. Here’s the top six “FM Legends, Real Life Nobodies.”

*Including Championship Manager.

6. Nicolas Millan

Nicolas Millan

The Best Chilean Ever...

Something that was always the first order of business in Football Manager 2007 was to get this 14-year-old future legend into your under-18 squad. With stats of 20 for finishing, dribbling and crossing before he was old enough to get into a 15-rated film, it was criminal to let the opportunity go by. As soon as he turned 17, you could place him in the first team for the odd cameo, and then shriek in excitement whenever he notched up a goal at such a tender age. Dubbed as the “Chilean Cristiano Ronaldo”, Chelsea reportedly tried to take the starlet on trial in 2006, with Everton allegedly showing interest last winter. Now 18, he’s not one to chuck on the “FM Real Life Flops” pile just yet.

5. Anthony Vanden Borre

Anthony Vanden Borre

The Premier League = Sexy

Starting as United in Football Manager 07? This was your man. Available for a cool million at the start of the game from Anderlecht, the 18-year-old (who appeared to be pushing 40 at least, judging from his picture) could slot in at right back at any time, and would make the position his own over the years. Terrific tackling and crossing stats were only let down by average concentration, but that never deterred anyone. He finally realised his dream of being a Premiership icon when he made a move to Portsmouth (via Fiorentina & Genoa) last summer. Reports suggest that due to Portsmouth’s dire financial situation, poor Vanden Borre is currently being paid in Freddo bars. He deserves better.

4. Freddy Adu

Freddy Adu

Oh what could of been...

Freddy Adu seemed destined for greatness before his 13th birthday, yet all the hype seemed to stem from his Football Manager antics. “The American Pele” was a must buy in FM 2005, 2006 and 2007, costing a very reasonable £2 million (at most.) As an attacking midfielder or out on the left, Adu would quickly become a fixture in any team. Getting a work permit could prove to be tricky, but after enough persistence you could land him, and watch his stats leap up. Despite his in-game efforts, things haven’t worked out quite as well for Freddy. In FM 06, by the time 2010 swung around, your mercurial American attacker was a trophy laden demigod. In reality though, he is battling out in the Greek Super League with giants Aris Thessaloniki, currently on loan from Benfica.

 3. Ibrahima Bakayoko



Bakayoko... he's still got it.

 He was arguably the most lethal striker ever to grace the football management simulation genre. In the mid/late 90’s, Bakayoko was the hottest property around in Championship Manager with a ridiculous scoring record that dwarfed anything in the real world. When Everton signed up the Ivorian for a cheeky £4.5 million in 1998, CM addicts all across the blue half of Merseyside wept tears of joy. After a wretched first season where he became notorious for missing penalties, the Toffees quickly shipped him back to where he once came. Bakayoko joins an increasingly number of people on this list in the Greek Super League, applying his *ahem* trade with minnows PAS Giannina. But for the 90’s CM-addicts out there, he will always be… a hero. 

2. Cherno Samba

Cherno Samba

England's future... once upon a time

The 14-year-old wonderkid was one of Championship Manager’s finest. He started out at Millwall, quickly developing into an unstoppable forward who was certain to bag you 40 goals a season at least, providing you could stump up the £1 million price tag in CM’s surreal universe. The Gambian-born powerhouse towered above his rivals as a young teen, and was constantly linked with moves away from south east London, most notably Liverpool. Considering his awesome return of 132 goals in 32 games in a season as a youth, you would of been silly not to expect excitement. However by 2004, everyone else had caught up with him, and he sloped off for a career in Spain. Several years of obscurity passed for Cherno, whose last club was Haka in Finland. He was last spotted in Streatham Common Park, avidly challenging a group of 12-year-olds to a match.

1. Eddie Johnson

Eddie Johnson


EDDIE JOHNSON. EDDIE BLOODY JOHNSON. The man was a bona fide legend in FM 07. The American’s goal scoring feats went largely unmatched. Willing to jump from FC Dallas to any Premier League or Championship club for a paltry fee (between 700k and 900k), he would instantly start banging the goals in. Johnson had deceiving stats for the un-trained FM eye. Very average technical figures were made up for with physical stats of 18’s, 19’s and 20’s. Bought over as part of USA invasion at Fulham at the start of 2008, old reliable Eddie slipped down the pecking order. Unlike myself, they were not able to unleash his splendid potential on the league. He can now be found chilling with Freddy Adu at Aris Thessaloniki, whose chairman must have really been into FM 07.

You’ll make it someday Eddie. We salute you.


  1. Jonny Turvey says:

    mental. I remember Nicolas Millan. He was sooooo good. It was always weird though cos I bought him when he was 14 or 15 and it just didn’t seem right. And he had like 20 finishing already. I quite proudly still play football manager intermittently. I hope 09 and 10 are right about Mamadou Sakho and Nicolas Otamendi. Oh yeah and zuccililini.

    Good blog. Took me back a few years to excellent summer days indoors.

  2. tonymogan says:

    Ha, know what you mean about Millan, had to be done though, he debut was always the highlight of FM07. Sakho was an absolute beast, him and Henri Saviet were always first on the shopping list too.

    Should of mentioned Sherman Cardenas too, another random south American. He would always turn into a little twat though and reject my contract offers as soon as he became established. Git.

    I had an epic game with Southampton in FM 2010, 4 seasons in, but my laptop crashed, was gutted. Haven’t been able to start a game since.

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