I was first drawn to writing this book in the summer of 2014, having downloaded a copy of Championship Manager ’93, then Championship Manager 2, then Championship Manager 3, then Championship Manager 99/00.
My girlfriend, Jess, started asking quite a few of the standard “girlfriend” questions that I have encountered over the years, for example “how can you spend so many hours just watching words on a screen?” If you think about it sensibly, rationally, and take yourself away from our addiction just long enough, you can see it is a very fair question. But that is not the point.
A couple of years ago, the excellent book, “Football Manager Stole My Life” by Iain Macintosh, Kenny Millar and Neil White went a really long way to helping people understand what it had been like to be part of the generation that lost months, maybe even years, playing Champ Man and then Football Manager. But I felt it only scratched the surface of my own addiction. Many times I had gone to bed, wondering where I was going to find that striker that could lead us to promotion, or been sitting on the toilet having an imaginary press conference in my head about our most recent defeat. Sometimes I would come back from work at lunchtime, just to get another hour in and then forget to go back to work as I was worried it would jinx the run we were on. I, and I know many others, have not just played this game but lived this game in our heads and it has become real to us.
Once I was able to finally explain this, to Jess, not my therapist, I realized that I had to write my own book about it, and that was when Johnny Cooper was born in my head. I hope you enjoy this book, I really think that if you are one of the millions that are just like me then there is lot in here that you will relate to. I think it is important to point out at this stage, that this is a work of fiction, Any actual people that are mentioned in the book, please take it in the spirit has been intended, I am sure you have had a lot worse said in your real life management careers!
Mansfield, for some reason you will always have a place in my heart, and if anyone can tell me where in Spain Onesimo now lives, I would love to meet him.
Chris Darwen, September 2nd, 2014.