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A wonderful quirk of Championship Manager

Like most football fan gamers, I have lost many years of my life to Football Manager (nee Championship Manager), and while in my case it was definitely more luck than judgement, I had some reasonable success with it.

Anyway, I had two pseudonyms for any manager I created: Spup van Kipelrooy, a suave former Dutch international and, erm, Roger McTodger, my school in-joke Scottish alter-ego. Yes, yes I know: but it’s important to the story.

What I discovered - purely by accident - was that in those days the games couldn’t have never ending databases, and when it ran out of players it would use the manager name to auto generate some more. If your surname was Martin, that would go unnoticed, but when I did a search for ‘McTodger’… well, I wish I still had the screenshot of randomly generated players it did. Over 50 of them, all oddly Nigerian given I’d definitely put my nationality as Scottish.

I literally laughed out loud, and sent screenshots to friends. My eye was immediately drawn to one particular star: Nigeria international holding midfielder Lucky McTodger, who had 4 caps and 1 goal for his country, and available from VfL Wolfsburg for the bargain price of £1.5m.

I repeatedly tried to sign the young lad, much no doubt to the bemusement of the Wolfsburg manager, but it was to no avail: he couldn’t get a work permit, so he never pulled on the shirt of… whatever club I was managing at the time.

Anyway, I lost the screenshots when I switched PCs, and had forgotten about this whole escapade until last month, when I was browsing our site, and discovered the high-score holder of our latest game was one Lucky McTodger. I immediately knew who was responsible and dropped him an email: one of the guys who I sent the screenshot to still uses it as his alias on our site to this day… and he had no way of knowing I’d see it.

Too bad I never got to sign him from Wolfsburg. A holding midfielder with a 25% goal rate would have slotted in nicely.

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Note: This post originally appeared on The Inquirer, which heartbreakingly closed in December 2019, losing a huge amount of my best work in the process. Given it's all been scrubbed from the internet