We were delighted last week to discover that Cherno Samba, the former Millwall youth striker once courted by Liverpool, has pitched up again in this country after a spell on the continent, trying (but sadly failing) to earn a place in Bristol City's squad for the upcoming season. We remember him with affection as the spearhead of more than one of our Championship Manager 3 sides from the top-selling computer game's heydey around the turn of the century.
We wish Cherno all the best in trying to find a new club and his re-appearance set us wondering what had happened to some of the other CM legends from those far off days when seemingly all of our spare time was devoured in switchback despair and delight, staring at a stream of text commentary in the dark. Everybody knows what became of the likes of Arjen Robben, Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but In the first of two articles we focus on players who won barrow loads of caps in CM3 and its updates, but have not attained quite such giddy heights in real life. We start today with the back four and a 'keeper who's still bubbling under.
Now 25, the 6 foot 5 custodian was a popular choice as England Number One In Waiting during his years understudying David Seaman at Highbury, not least in CM3 where he would emerge as a dominant 'keeper after a year or two in the reserves. Since those days, however, he’s only played a dozen actual league games, firstly on loan at Leicester and just two more last season after a permanent move to Aston Villa. Goalkeepers do blossom later than outfield players and the imminent change of management at Villa Park might help, but, if he's going to catch Paul Robinson, Stuart had better get a move on.
A product of Cheltenham Town’s youth ranks this tall, speedy right back was a top choice on many a CM transfer shortlist. Mike clocked up over 200 appearances for the Cotswold side before he followed managerial mentor Steve Cotterill to the Championship and Burnley two summers ago. He's a regular first teamer there and hinted at his CM potential in winning the first of eight Northern Ireland caps in 2002, but is currently the standby for former Watford loanee Chris Baird at international level.
Picture of the Robogames 2006 in San Francisco via brunkfordbraun's Flickr stream.
Follow the link below to read about Clint Hill, Isaac Okoronkwo and former Leyton Orient stopper Simon Downer.
A staunch admirer of JK Rowling, George Orwell and FHM, Clint amassed 140 appearances for his first club, Tranmere Rovers, along with 16 goals, which is a pretty impressive return for a defender. After five years on the Wirrall he moved on, initially to Oldham in 2002 and then Stoke a year later. He made a promising start at the Victoria Ground, but has been out for a long time with a cruciate knee ligament injury before making a strong return to the Potters' first team during last season's run-in.
A D RLC who, after a quiet first season following his transfer from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, became the mainstay of Londonist’s Champions League winning Newcastle CM3 back four. In reality, Isaac failed to set England alight in eight appearances during Wolves’ only Premiership season in 2003/04. His personal website proclaims itself “the only place to come for news of my new life in Russia as I continue my career with Alania Vladikavkaz”. It could do with updating. He’s been at FK Moskva since January and featured the other day as the Muscovites fell at the final Intertoto hurdle to Hertha Berlin.
We remember having to prize this regular CM3 England centre back away from Inter Milan to get him into our squad. Starting as a YTS trainee at Leyton Orient he made his real life first team debut aged 17 and it wasn’t long before he was being invited for a week’s training at Newcastle, the sort of attention that got him such good stats in the computer game. Orient’s run to the playoffs kept him from returning and soon after that recurring knee and groin injuries forced him, after a brief time on loan at Aldershot, from the professional game. A comeback with Hornchurch was cut short by another knee injury, but after spells at Grays and Redbridge he has now settled at Weymouth where this excellent feature and interview will tell you everything you need to know about Simon and his Conference ambitions with the Terras.
By the way, we notice that Scotland have just reached the UEFA Under 19 final on Saturday evening. Maybe all those world cups they won when we were playing CM weren't so far fetched after all.
Next time we'll round things off with a look at Cherno himself and some of his attacking chums.