Championship Manager 97/98 is a game in the Championship Manager series of football management computer games, based on the Championship Manager 2 game engine. It was developed by Sports Interactive and released in October 1997, exclusively for the PC, as the final game in the second generation of CM games.
The gameplay in CM97/98 remained very similar to other games based on CM2, but as usual this installment offered far more than a simple database update. It was a clear indication of Sports Interactive's intent for the future of the franchise in two ways: the inclusion of a database editor with the game showed that SI were actively encouraging users to modify and customise the game; and the inclusion of nine playable leagues from across Europe was a clear sign of things to come, in terms of the growing depth and global scope of the game.
CM97/98 marked a huge step forward for this aspect of the game - nine playable nations/league systems, three times more than in the previous version. It was also the first time ever that players could run more than one league concurrently (up to three in this edition). For example, the English, Spanish and Italian leagues would all be simulated and players could manage a club in any of these nations and move between them. It also allowed the user to view results and league tables in these selected leagues, adding to the sense of realism. The full selection of playable leagues was as follows:
This was also the first time in the series that the Portuguese league system had ever been a playable league.
Data Editor and Updates
Ever since the first game in the series, people had been trying (with varying degrees of success) to find a way of editing the data within Championship Manager, either to cheat or simply to add themselves as a player in the CM world. With this version Sports Interactive included an editor that allowed users to do this and much more.
There were many notable players within the game who gained cult status for their high abilities and potential which often contrasted with their real life abilities. Some of them (i.e. Ibrahima Bakayoko) were really wonderkids at that time but didn't eventually evolve into world class players, whilst some others were already mature players of minor league clubs (i.e. Bjørn Heidenstrøm) with inexplicably high abilities within the game.[ ]
- Andrew Mainwaring a SC in Non League.
- Anthony Betterton, a GK available as a 'Schoolboy'.
- Stian Neset, a Norwegian SC for Sogndal I.L.
- Martin Lauchlan, DMLC for Partick Thistle
- John Ritchie, SC for Partick Thistle
- Alex Martin, SC for Partick Thistle
- Robert Dunn, M/SC for Partick Thistle
- Billy MacDonald, DMC for Partick Thistle
- Graeme Tomlinson, FC available on a Free transfer.
- Jesper Ljung, a Swedish AM/FC for Helsingborgs IF.
- Francisco Viveros, a Chilean SC for Sporting Lisbon.
- Marc Emmers, a Belgium MC available on a Free Transfer.
- Trevor Steven AMRC available on a Free Transfer.
- Dalian Atkinson FC available on a Free Transfer.
- Chris Kiwomya SC available on a Free Transfer.
Aside from the added playable leagues, bug fixes and updated player data, there were also other new features in the game. Club squads could now contain 32 players (2 more than the previous version), Champions League and UEFA Cup formats were changed to reflect their real-life counterparts, added control over tactics (including selection of set-piece takers) and international under-21 matches were now simulated fully.
- Championship Manager 97/98 was the top selling PC game of 1997, despite Sports Interactive encouraging game-sharing by not including any CD-protection; The game could be installed on any number of PCs without needing a copy of the CD to play it, which indicates that it was most likely even more popular than it seemed. SI have since said that this move was to gain as much exposure from the CM2 series as possible before the release of the CM3 series.
- A number of players including Eric Cantona and Lionel Perez had their full player histories available should they be manually created in Editor mode.