Retro Gaming

Mid 90's Milan - Part Five

Written by Dave Black @cm9798

Welcome back! This is all going rather well isn’t it? I took over Milan in 1996 with low expectations after their disastrous real life season. Turns out it is a lot easier on Championship Manager. We sit 4 points clear at the top of the table at the start of December. Sure, there’s been a lot of injuries, but we get patched up and we go again. Repeatedly.

We’re also through in the Champions League with a game to spare. This is a magnificent link to where we pick up today’s update, in the wonderful surrounds of Sofia as we look to seek a table topping finish.

For once, we are efficient. 87 minutes of efficiency in fact. And yes, we make it hard for ourselves but only for three minutes.

There are no easy draws in the quarter finals but Barcelona seems like a total stinker. Why couldn’t we get Steaua?

Back to domestic fun and a home game with Reggiana. They’re bottom of the table and really this should be our bread and butter. They have Franz Carr, who moved to Italy after leaving Aston Villa in 1996. He didn’t do particularly well.

We’re a bit laboured and when it’s 0-0 at half time, I’m concerned. We have a lack of options on the bench thanks to the injury situation and I can only throw on Blomqvist. That doesn’t help and their keeper gets man of the match. ‘sakes.

That is a bad result. It’s also an ill timed International break which not only sees Italy lose to Iceland but Costacurta and Panucci go off injured. Both will be out for a couple of weeks.

Fiorentina away is the last match before Christmas and we’re without Desailly, who is banned for three games following a misdemeanour a few weeks ago. That means the veteran duo of Baresi and Vierchowod have to deal with Batistuta. That will not end well. La Viola have a wonderful team. Alongside Batistuta is Oliveira (good dog – tweet me if you get this reference), Rui Costa and of course future Derby forward Francesco Baiano. Francesco Toldo is in goal so no matter how you look at it, this is a tough fixture.

The good news is, Batistuta doesn’t score. The bad news is that everybody else does. This was a battering. Rui Costa pulls the strings and the old lads are busy trying to stop Batistuta to notice. Happy bloody Christmas.

Amazingly, Lazio and Juventus both lose and we retain top spot. The turkey tastes a little sweeter – metaphorically.

Parma visit the San Siro and it’s another tough fixture. Parma have always had an exciting CM team – Crespo, Stanic, Chiesa, Dino Baggio, Sensini, Thuram, Cannavaro, Buffon…I could go on. Cannavaro was never really rated on the early CMs, I guess he was a late bloomer. For us, Maldini moves to centre back with Coco at left back. Davids is finally back from injury to line up in central midfield.

It’s a wild game and I’m starting to worry about Rossi in goal. He concedes two shots out of four and we’re indebted to Albertini for his late solo run and finish to snatch a draw.

That puts us third as our luck runs out. Into 1997 we go.

They celebrate new year’s a little differently in Italy. It’s apparently the perfect day to play the 2nd leg of Coppa Italia Quarter Finals. We are already 3-0 up against Serie C Ancona but it’s a little bit embarrassing to draw 2-2. Coco gets injured because he likes to follow a trend.

That’s no win in four and it’s time for Juventus away next. First though, the draw for the semi finals sees us tangle with Udinese. Serie B side Foggia hilariously knocked out Juventus, it’s a bit of a lopsided draw.

It’s time to focus on Juventus now though. Costacurta and Desailly are reunited at centre half and that will hopefully be enough to make us competitive again.

You know when I said I was worried about Rossi? Those chickens have come home to roost. This was HALF TIME.

Wow. That’s how it finished, mercifully. A goalkeeper scoring a two rating is frankly ridiculous.

Five games without a win and down to fourth. This has been a very poor winter indeed.

Midtable Piacenza should not be a concern to us but we are more vulnerable that ever at the moment. They have Taibi in goal though who is possibly an inspiration to Rossi at the moment. Eranio and an Albertini free kick build the platform before the lead is halved. A double from George Weah settles things and gets us back to winning ways.

Juventus and Lazio went head to head and drew 0-0. That is a good result for us.

We finish this update with Lazio away – a monumental game in the title race. We’re level on points with them and have scored the same number of goals, so it should be a tight affair. We are out of sorts defensively though and that makes any away trip like this a recipe for disaster.

Savicevic returns! He’s only 70% though so will have to be a sub. It’s quite the game, too. We’re 2-0 up inside 10 minutes as attack proves to be the best form of defence. Typically though Lazio come storming back, despite persisting with Jody Morris in central midfield. Naturally, it’s soon 2-2. Panucci is sent off for a terrible lunge and as we’re hanging on for a point, Desailly makes a lung busting run from central midfield to get on the end of a cross and win the day for us. Phew!

Juventus manage to draw 0-0 at bottom side Cagliari to cap off a great day for us. Let’s drink the table in.

Top and loving life. Somehow. Our goals against has taken a battering but we are nothing if not resilient.

Join me next week to see if Rossi has learned to catch. I feel it is imperative he does that before Barcelona turn up. Arrivederci!

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.