Well, it’s time to crack on with it I guess. Following the unexpected success of the two “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” books to date (“The Story of Mansfield Town FC 99/00” & “The Second Season Syndrome”) it is time for me to put pen to paper once more on the third season of Johnny’s management career.
A few people have asked me how I got into writing the books. It was simple really, I had jacked in my corporate job (I had been a sales manager for over a decade), started my own company selling yoga clothing (yes, stay with me) and had been filling up some spare time in the summer of 2014 by downloading and playing the old, original Championship Manager games.
I started with ’93 and worked my way through to 99/00 – the game that I felt was the beginning of the change into true brilliance for the series. Over breakfast with my girlfriend, Jess, we started talking about writing books and how it seemed to be much easier to publish nowadays, given the advent of self-publishing through Amazon and other such companies. She asked me what I would write a book on, and suddenly the idea for “Johnny Cooper” was coming out of my mouth.
I knew people wrote about their “saves” and I knew a book had been written on FM by someone, but nobody had written a parody diary in the way I was thinking. Plus it gave me an excuse to lose day after day in the fantasy world of the game!
So I started. I put all the teams in the bottom division into a hat and pulled out Mansfield Town. By lunchtime the diary was taking shape as I wrote down all the crazy internal monologue that I was having whilst playing as Mansfield in 99/00.
It was fun writing it and pretending to be a “proper” manager – I was able to give “Johnny” his own persona, create a character and commit it to text. I was able to create the characters of his players, his backroom team, his chairman. It was coming together beautifully.
In the first book, I could not have got luckier with the way the game unfolded for me. Everything I wrote down happened, there was no cheating. It made a good story, and not just in my opinion.
Book two, “The Second Season Syndrome” was much harder to write as people wanted me to expand “Johnny” a little more as they wanted to know more about his past so there was an element of proper writing in there, but I enjoyed it and I think it came out ok.
So, this week I start writing the third book in the series. “Johnny Cooper” is in the third season of his management career and it has all gone quite well so far. I am really excited to see what happens to him next and share it with you all.
The book should be launched by the end of February and I will be looking for a team of test readers to give me feedback in the middle of the month. If you are interested in being a test reader for me, let me know!