Stefan Selakovic secures Noel another easy win.

by Noel Draper

Mike Duff, Stefan Selakovic, Tonton Zola Moukoko, Maxim Tsigalko and To Madeira,. Five names that you, my beloved reader, will probably know not a lot about. I, on the other hand, have a weird sort of man love with all five of them for one reason and one reason only. Let me explain. In 2001 a company called Sports Interactive released a football management computer game called Championship Manager 01/02. It was easy to use, quick and above all fun to play. I was hooked. Within a few weeks of playing word got to me about certain players who, if bought, transformed your team into world beaters (as long as you had a decent tactic as well.) Of course, I bought them all and yes, my team turned into world beaters. That is the reason for the man love and this is their story.

Mike Duff holds a fantastic claim to fame in that he has played in all the top six levels of the English game in ascending order. He started with Cheltenham Town in the old Southern League and promoted with them all the way up to League One. He then moved to Burnley and played in the Championship and the Premiership with them. In the middle of all this excitement Mike had a year out with a serious injury picked up during a game against Crystal Palace. He also played in two of Northern Ireland’s greatest recent triumphs, the 1-0 win against England in 2005 and the 3-2 victory against Spain in 2006. He is still playing for Burnley in the Championship as a centre half. That is nothing compared to his computer game double who, when bought by my good self from Cheltenham Town for the princely sum of £50,000, turned into an English international attacking right back with a penchant for assists. He never moaned about wages or not being picked. He was a model
professional. I loved him.

Stefan Selakovic is also still playing professional football. He has had a checkered career starting in the lower Swedish leagues before moving to Halmstads in 1996 and winning the Swedish title with them in 2000 whilst also being the leagues top scorer. This good form took him to Heerenveen in Holland where he stayed for 4 seasons before returning to Sweden in 2005 joining IFK Goteborg who he still plays for. Stefan has also played 12 times for his country and scored 4 times. Without being too harsh that seems like an average career in football but, like with Mr Duff, his computer persona far exceeded his real life one. I bought Stefan for around £200,000 and stuck him on the right wing in front of Mike. Together they terrorised any team put in front of them without complaint. Stefan played nearly 100 times for Sweden, most as captain and scored loads. Honestly, loads. He also remained injury free. How can you not love that?

He has since played in the lower reaches of the Swedish football leagues without ever setting anything at all alight.

Next up is Mr Moukoko who in 2000, when he was 15, was signed by Derby County from Swedish club Djurgarden ahead of several other leading European clubs including A.C Milan. They thought that they had bought one of the most exciting youngsters in the world, and they did for a while, but as with most of the so called teenage prodigy’s Tonton didn’t live up to the early promise leading him to return to Sweden due to family issues within two years. He has since played in the lower reaches of the Swedish football leagues without ever setting anything at all alight. The same couldn’t be said about Tonton in the game. Bought from Derby on a free transfer as a 17 year old, Tonton is an immediate hit sitting just behind the striker and providing assist after assist. He also weights in with his fair share of goals, remains loyal to you for his entire career, plays nearly 100 times for Sweden and scores loads of goals. Loads. Honest. Slightly prone to injury
but loveable none the less.

Maxim Tsigalko is quite possibly the most famous Belarus football player the world has ever seen and yet he has only played twice for his country. Mr Tsigalko started his career at Dinamo Minsk’s youth team before moving up to the full team within a year due to his goal every .75 of a game ratio. Unfortunately, Maxim only played 50 odd times over the next five years for Dynamo due to persistent injuries. He still managed a goal every other game though. His career then meandered down level after level before he retired due to injury at the age of 26. Which is a shame as his alter ego is a goal machine for years. If you can buy Maxim at the start, work permit issues mean you can only sign him for an English club if you offer him over £40,000 a week weirdly, then the world is your oyster. He will score at least 60 goals a season no matter what league he is plying his trade in. Champions League? No problem. Just give him the ball and he will score. Loads.
All the time. Maxim is top of my man love pile.

Last but not least is To Madeira who, like Maxim, is a goal machine. The perfect player to have in reserve as he never complains about not playing games and yet, when called upon, jumps off the bench and repeatedly sticks the ball in the net. In real life, To, didn’t stick the ball in the net repeatedly. He also didn’t sit on the bench waiting for his moment to shine or never complain about not playing because he never existed. That’s right, he never existed. In real life he was the figment of the imagination of a Portuguese scout who thought that it would be funny to see if he could sneak a fake player into the game. He succeeded. No one cared though as To could be bought for peanuts from his Portuguese club and be relied upon to score. In nearly every game. I loved him for that. I loved the fact that he wasn’t real. I just loved him.

So there you go, five players, one of them imaginary, who, if bought, will transform your team into world beaters. There is no need to thank me for this but you can now download Championship Manager 01/02 for free, officially, and sign the above players yourself. You can then experience the joys of watching them, via the medium of coloured text, score and assist in nearly every game and then you, yes you, will be in love as well. With men. Even with the imaginary one. Football is special sometimes, isn’t it?

I Was A Football Manager Addict