Football Manager Hero and former Manchester United trialist rolls back the years

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Kennedy Bakircioglu may not be a familiar name to many Manchester United fans, but to players of Championship Manager and Football Manager, he’s a legend

Hammarby fans must be sick of hearing people mention the name of star midfielder Kennedy Bakircioglu and popular PC game Football Manager in the same sentence.

For years the Swedish star has been the subject of much amusement among players of the popular Sports Interactive title, which predicted big things for the now-33 year old midfielder back when he was in his pomp.

A highly-rated attacking midfielder as a youngster at Hammarby, Kennedy Bakircioglu started life on the game as a hidden gem at the Swedish team's squad.

His stock continued to trade highly upon moving to the Eredivisie, where spells at FC Twente and later Ajax appeared to back-up the notion that the midfielder was a star in waiting.

But things began to turn sour for the Swede, with the rot setting in during the 2008-09 season when newly-appointed Ajax boss Marco Van Basten deemed the attacker surplus to requirements at the Amsterdam Arena.

Two seasons spent mostly on the sidelines followed before Kennedy Bakircioglu was given a reprieve of sorts with Racing Santander signing the midfielder in 2010 in a largely unheralded move.

In truth, the transfer was a far cry from the promise many, including Sir Alex Ferguson, had seen when he was a youngster playing in Sweden, as the player himself explains.

"I trained with United for a couple of months when I was 17 and it was a dream come true," he explained in an extract from "Football Manager Stole My Life" by Kenny Millar, which was republished by

"I'd train with their first team and play with the second string at a time when their squad was packed with big names like David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, the Neville brothers, Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham."

A move to Manchester United may never have materialised, but Ferguson and the football world should have been impressed by the way Kennedy Bakircioglu took to life in Santander.

Playing 32 games for the Racing club during his debut season in La Liga, the Swede played a key role in helping the club maintain it’s top-flight status, providing plenty of assists and scoring key goals in wins over Mallorca and Atletico Madrid along the way.

Suddenly it looked like Kennedy Bakircioglu had another chance at making it in the big time, but just as he was about to prove the doubters wrong, disaster struck, with the midfielder suffering an Achilles tendon injury that kept him out for much of the following 2011-12 season.

Without him, Racing Santander slumped to relegation, while the Swede eventually returned to Hammarby at the end of the campaign to see out his final years as a professional at the club where it all began.

But despite Kennedy Bakircioglu now being in the twilight years of his career, the midfielder is still capable of showing flashes of the brilliance that Football Manager fans had come to expect.

In 31 appearances for Hammarby over the past two seasons, he’s already manager 12 goals, including a thunderous strike in the club’s 6-0 triumph over Syrianska FC.

Currently top of the Superettan, the Swedish second-tier, here’s hoping Kennedy Bakircioglu can fire in a few more goals and get his club, and himself, back to the big time in Scandinavia.

Who is your favourite Football Manager legend?

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