Mid 90's Milan - Part One

Written by Dave Black (@cm9798)

As you may know, I spend a lot of time playing CM9798. The game itself has been in my life for over 20 years and I’ve been blogging about it for 4 years. I find the whole CM2 series to be the most familiar and the easiest to play. There’s also loads of different versions of it released between 1995 and 1997. Allow me to deploy CM2: The Italian Leagues. 

This doesn’t sound like a big deal and it probably isn’t really but basically there were many versions of CM2 (96/97) released across Europe. I’ve got my grubby mitts on the Italian League version and also the three Scandinavian releases – Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Whether I feel the need to bestow them upon you at some point remains to be seen. 

You may also recall Eidos/SI released a couple of multiple foreign league games with the database from the 1995/96 season. Don’t worry, we’ve got them too. It’s going to be a wonderful retro time for months to come. 

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I’m hoping the Italian version of CM2 has the same match engine as the British CM2, which allowed you manage in England or Scotland. But not both. The ability to run multiple leagues followed in 97/98 but it’s nice to see how it all came together. The date is August 1st 1996. I am manager of AC Milan. 

Why AC Milan? Let me tell you a story. 1995/96 was a great season for AC Milan. Fabio Capello’s side breezed to the Serie A title, finishing 8 points ahead of closest rivals Juventus. Such was the Italian way back then, the success was built on a solid defence, conceding just 24 times in 34 games. George Weah finished as top league scorer with a mighty 11 goals as an attack which had added Roberto Baggio didn’t really gel as Capello would have hoped.  

Milan had won the Champions League in 93/94 and been runners up in 94/95, so winning Serie A also meant a return to the Champions League for the 96/97 season. So why am I here? This is hardly a crisis club. 

Fabio Capello left to manage Real Madrid in the summer of 1996 and it was basically downhill from there. Oscar Tabarez (current Uruguay manager) and Giorgio Morini were tasked with steering the good ship Milan into the Champions League with a raft of new signings, such as Edgar Davids, Jesper Blomqvist, Michael Reiziger and Christophe Dugarry but it was an unmitigated disaster. A Champions League group stage exit in December cost the pair their jobs and Arrigo Sacchi came in to save the day. In the end, Milan finished 11th just 6 points from safety. So let’s try and beat that. 

Admittedly that is quite a low barrier but my first task is to try and find the best way to set up this ridiculously good squad. I’m not surprised Jesper Blomqvist wasn’t up to much but the others are all very good. If this plays out like the British CM2, there are shed loads of goals to be had. Baggio, Weah and Simone can all play as far as I’m concerned. 

Savicevic is wanted by Man Utd. He’s worth £7.5m so if they stump it up I’ll probably sell him. His injury proneness is 20 and I have limited time for that. They regard Denis Irwin a star player, inexplicably. Real life top scorer (in Serie A) Filippo Inzaghi is at Atalanta. He of course got a move to Juventus off the back of his golden season so I’ll keep an eye on how he does. They have Lentini so that can only help. 

We only have £3.5m to spend which is probably fair as the real life transfers in on the four mentioned earlier will have left the coffers a bit empty. 

We barely have time to learn the language before we are thrust into Italian Charity Shield action, or the SuperCoppa Italiana if you prefer. I’ve opted for a 4-3-1-2, which may change but as we lack wingers and have lots of central midfielders, here we are. Davids picks up an injury the day before the game so Desailly is in central midfield. 

Fiorentina are without Batistuta but they have Oliveira and Rui Costa, plus future Derby man Francesco Baiano. My future Derby man, Stefano Eranio, is only a sub. 

Dead easy this. Simone heads in before the break and Maldini and Desailly do likewise after the break. We’re strong from set pieces. Stefan Schwarz gets one back but he’ll go on to play for Sunderland so he can have his fun whilst he’s young. A trophy in the cabinet. 

My good mood is immediately tempered by a stinker of a Champions League group. I’m sure we shouldn’t be allowed to get Juventus. There’s only 4 groups back in these days though so the top 2 will advance and we’re more than capable of that. 

The fun bus moves onto Vicenza away in the cup. They’re in Serie A too so it might not be all that easy.  

I take it back. That wasn’t the banana skin I anticipated. Napoli in the next round though is a bit rough. 

All of that is enough to get me manager of the month though, so a reasonable start to life in James Richardson-town 

My final act of this update is to open up our Serie A campaign away at Piacenza. They have Massimo Taibi in goal and it’s obviously one of the games Fergie watched as he makes many saves, a fact which gets more annoying when Luiso puts them in front. Our performance is disjointed, there are 5s all over the player ratings and changes are needed. Dugarry and Savicevic are thrown on and the pair combine with just two minutes left to help snatch an equaliser. We press for the winner but Taibi holds firm. It’s not a good result but it’s better than a defeat. 

An oddly timed International break makes this a good time to make my exit. I’ll be back next week with the first few months of the season. From what I’ve seen so far, I’ll be very surprised if we are as bad as the real life side but it is me in charge, so don’t rule out any disasters just yet. Arrivederci.