Welcome to my blog which will no doubt be some inane rambling about Football Manager and my “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” books. It might even be worth reading, but I cannot guarantee it.
Here is an interview I gave for a magazine back in September 2014 that might tell you a little bit more about me.
Name, age, location?
Chris Darwen, 36, Spain!
What is it you actually do?
I still do not know the answer to this! I’m the author of the Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager books and Football Manager blogger.
Why did you decide to write a book?
I was getting bored of being told “everyone has a book in them,” I needed an excuse to be able to spend hours playing Champ Man without losing my relationship and I thought it would be fun to find out if I could become a self-published author. Turns out it was!
Football teams supported?
Real Oviedo, Luton Town FC and more recently, Clapton FC
Do you play football yourself?
Yes, I still manage to just about get around the pitch on a Sunday. I was still playing Saturday and Sunday football up until last season. As a Saturday centre back I went from modelling myself on Rio Ferdinand/Bobby Moore to modelling myself on Terry Butcher. On a Sunday, I like to pretend I am in the Pirlo mould, when I am probably more in the Carlton Palmer mould without the passing range.
Who are your role models?
This is a tough one to answer, as they change all the time. Growing up it was Peter Shilton, Les Sealey and my cousin Rich – all of which were exceptional goalkeepers. Then there was Gazza, Lineker, Maradona, Cantona. I loved reading about Muhammad Ali. Then Jose Mourinho appeared. Nowadays, I think my role models are people I actually know – and they know who they are.
What are the top five things to do on your bucket list?
I appear to be ticking them off at quite a rate currently! Living in Spain – tick. Write and publish book, tick. Present a popular football podcast, tick. See Oviedo play Barcelona at the Carlos Tartiere – it will happen!
When you are not playing Championship Manager, what else do you like to do with your time?
I like to practise yoga, meditate, read other football books, listen to other football podcasts, play for Corinthian Guildford.
First footballing memory?
As a child, my first memory of a proper game was the 1987 Littlewoods Cup Final where Arsenal beat Liverpool. After that I remember very clearly the FA Cup Final. My first memory as a player was playing right midfield for Weybourne First School against Badshot Lea First School – we won 2-0 and a young Jonny Wilkinson scored both goals.
First team played for?
My first proper team was Heath End Wanderers. By this point I had decided I was a goalkeeper despite having never played in goal before. After a shocking first game I was given a crash course in how to catch and actually became half decent for a few years!
Favourite ever football kit?
Again, as a kid, my favourite was the goalkeeper kit Les Sealey used to wear in his season with Manchester United – it bad black zig zags down the front of the green shirt. The Italia ’90 England kit will always strike a chord with me, as it was such an amazing tournament. I think I owned the Euro ’88 one, I remember being Steve Bull in the back garden in it, randomly.
Greatest ever Championship Manager signing?
Onesimo Sanchez, no question.
Proudest moments with the book?
So far, getting retweeted by Sid Lowe, Cherno Samba (Champ Man legend), being on actual radio promoting it and all the positive reviews it has been getting!
Greatest footballing moments?
As a player, playing in a National Cup Final at University, marking Ossie Ardiles’ son and spending the whole game pulling his long hair and telling him he wasn’t as good as his old man, scoring after 7 seconds in the 2000 Alan Berry Cup Final. As a coach, anytime I see Tom Folan do anything freestyle. As a fan, my first game in the Tartiere – what a weekend.
What’s next for Johnny Cooper?
Well, in the next month, you will be able to find out what happened in his second season at Mansfield. You’ll get to know more about the man and the people around him, to see if he can build on his first season and can he resist the lure of jobs elsewhere?
Interview given on 30th September 2014.