Yesterday, it was reported that Cherno Samba retired - and a generation of football fans wept.
A CV that includes Millwall and Plymouth in England, as well as a host of foreign teams, Samba also appeared for England at youth level - and once for Gambia at senior international level.
A prolific youth striker, his career never lived up to its potential, unless you managed him on Championship Manager 01/02.
The Millwall academy star was available for a pittance, and went on to become the key part of every player’s team. He scored goals for fun, and was regularly a shoe in for England at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
Samba is one of many of these ‘Championship Manager legends’ who have become cult heroes due to their work in the game, and the collapse of their careers in real life.
To celebrate Samba’s career (or lack of), we take a look at five other Championship Manager legends who failed to replicate their fictional feats in real life.
Tonton Zola Moukoko
The player that everyone signed first on their game of CM 99/00, Moukoko started the game in Derby County’s youth academy. Arguably the best player in the game, he could be signed for a budget price, and was an attacking midfielder of real class. However, his career tailed off into lower league football in Sweden.
23 games for Everton in real life could not match the fictional form of Bakayoko, who was a prolific striker in CM 97/98. He netted four goals for the Toffees after a £4.5 million move, and left in 1999 to move around Europe’s minor leagues.
A failed trial at Manchester United early in his career did little to prevent the European playmaker acting like Zinedine Zidane in CM 01/02. He did play for Ajax and Racing Santander, meaning his career was far more successful than many of his CM contemporaries, but he never reached the heights expected.
Scotland’s greatest ever footballer, according to the game, Kerr was the midfielder anchor to all great CM teams, although his career was mostly spent with Falkirk, Dundee United and Aberdeen. With United, he was most famous for messing up a cup final tie against Rangers with a back-pass that was incredible dreadful.
At 14-years-old Adu was good enough for any team in the game, and was guaranteed to become the best player in the world. Dubbed the ‘next Pele’ in real life, he made his DC United debut at 14, and was a prolific youth footballer. However, 13 clubs later, and 11 years after his breakthrough, it is hard to believe he is still just 26. The ultimate example of never to believe the future when predicted by a video game.