If you were cool, and alive, at the start of the Century there was only one game you played. That game was Championship Manager.
It turned people down the pub into Alex Ferguson, signalled a major downturn in internet porn usage and was probably the reason for many divorces.
Not only did the game create thousands of armchair managers, it also created many Championship Manager legends. World beaters in the computer game, absolute rubbish in real life.
For example, in the game, Julius Aghahowa was a star. You could buy him on the cheap, he would score you loads of goals, get a load of assists and then you could flog him for millions. He would always end up playing for Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United. In real life, things did not work out too well for Julius. His crack at the Premiership did not go too well. 20 games and no goals later, he was shipped out to Turkey. He now plays for PFC Sevastopol in the Ukraine.
Cherno Samba was another one. He was a wonder kid who was poised to set the world a light. You could sign him and be guaranteed goals when he hit his peak. Everyone signed him, he was one of the first players you looked for. In reality things did not go too well for Cherno. 1 professional carer goal (for Plymouth Argyle) and now without a club.
I could go on all day. Stefan Selakovic, Taribo West, Anatoli Todorov, Lebohang Mokoena and Tonton Zola Moukoko have all been legends on the game over the years. I would say they get things wrong 99.9% of the time when it comes to players who are not already well known in the game..
However, there is one player who is starting to live up to his Championship Manager hype. Ever Banega was a player who you could pick up from Valencia’s reserves for a few Million, and he would walk in to most teams. He was a star in the making.
In real life, things have not gone too well for Banega. After moving from Boca Juniors for 18 million euros, he found things tough. He was loaned to Atletico Madrid due to not getting much game time at Valencia and found him self not getting much game time in Madrid.
When he returned, due to their financial troubles, Valencia tried to offload him. A move to Everton fell through due to him not being eligible for a work permit. They couldn’t give him away. Boy, are they now glad they couldn’t.
Since then, Banega has shone. A good passer of the ball, decent reader of the game and not scared to put in a tackle he has nailed down a first choice spot in the Valencia team. He is also on the verge of doing the same for Argentina despite the quality they have in the middle of the pitch.
In my opinion, he would be great for Manchester United. With Scholes, Hargreaves and probably Gibson gone, we are at least one midfielder short. He is not the attacking midfielder that many are asking for, but he would add something to our midfield.
I’m sure there will be many doubters, but I ask you to watch the video of him against Barcelona a few months back. He was probably the best player on the pitch. He broke up the play, he put in some tackles and pinged some good balls about. He really disturbed the way Barcelona like to play and made it tough for the. In my opinion, all the things we were missing in the Champions League final.
He wouldn’t be cheap, but then again he wouldn’t cost anything near what Wesley Sneijder would cost us. He is still only 22, so a good age, but still a bit raw due to that. I feel that the club could really help him improve and transform him to his Championship Manager legend status.