CM3 98/99 Season – The Treble Challenge: Did Fergie Have It Easy? | @KOTR

Well, hello there! In case you didn’t already know this week is all about Championship Manager 3, the 1998-99 season release. We’ve got several challengers taking on the task of emulating, doing better than, or failing to be Fergie and his treble winners. And today, it’s my turn. God help me. The squad:

A decent squad but lacking in depth. I’m recalling Notman as anyone who knows CM3 knows he’s an absolute legend. The keeping situation is grim. Given how good the defenders are, we’ll risk an attacking setup as three should be enough to deal with it, or even just Stam on his own.

We’ll alternate between 1 in the hole, 3 strikers and a flat 5-man midfield opposition dependent. 3-5-2 is the go-to formation that works all the way through the CM series. Our Champions League qualifier opponents are a team we beat 5-0 in pre-season so we should be okay.

Wenger gets the better of us in the Charity Shield, although a much more respectable result than Fergie achieved, Arsenal were all over us.

Scores on the doors: Fergie 0 – 0 KOTR

The next piece of news is a Raymond of sunshine. It truly isn’t. If there’s anything Fergie deserves a slap for, its his ‘keeping situations. No doubt he hurt his shoulder falling backwards after getting lobbed.

The Champions League gets off to a worrying start. We win, but bloody hell we can’t shoot.

We start the league season in good shape and the peak result is against Forest.

Yes, I’m blooding the youth as you can’t win anything without kids. We overcome the Swiss insects 5-0 on aggregate in the CL and our group draw is a bit of a nightmare.

We need avoid defeat against Real to have any hope of at least a best second place spot. Probably easier than Fergie’s real-life group but still. Solskjaer and Scholes pick up injuries and we pick up our first loss.

Sometimes we can’t even finish our dinner. Almost on a secret mission from Wenger, its Ian Wright who does us over in Champ Man style. After blasting the Dons 4-0 we take to action against Madrid. Mission accomplished.

The peak finishing standards continue against Newcastle. If only Fergie had landed Shearer.

F*** off Barca.

I don’t know what they get up to, but the injuries come thick and fast, most commonly the age old ‘bruised shin’…wear some f****** shin pads lads! Cole then does his neck trying to find all the goals we should have scored.

Then Nicky is the butt of all jokes.

The Champion’s League is fruitful as we beat Red Star and Ekranas (who?) to top the group at the half-way stage. Our setup dominates teams but maybe the game thinks we’re overloading?

We keep pace with Fergie in the League Cup, although against much more difficult opponents than Bury. No, it’s not the Micker. That was a f****** message to you, Rudi.

What a f****** k******.

Next up, its Arsenal and the game starts like a firecracker from the off. Keano has us too hyped in the tunnel.

A brutal and hard-fought game, typical of these teams, ends in defeat for us.

If this was the CD Dons, Johnson would be applauded (a 4 match ban too!). But it isn’t. And yes, he killed the game for us. Unfortunately, in CM3 fines were not yet an available feature so crack on. The league leaders, however, are surprising us all.

We’re in the same position as Fergie as of the 31st October so that will do for me. Giggs is out for a month. At least we get to play a bunch of nobodies.

Notman and Keane will now miss a European game. I bet it’s bloody Real Madrid too. League Cup time and we’ve equalled Fergie by making it to the League Cup 5th round. In style…

For once, positive news in a game for Bobby Gould (FYI they are 20th).

Cole and Solskjaer are both now out. The timing is brutal as we have Real coming up. F***!

We scrape a point. Finishing could be improved…must remember that…

Yes, finishing school.

I’m taking this as a win over Fergie, we’re into the League Cup semi-finals.

We’ll play Liverpool. Fowler and Owen in peak form. Daunting. We wrap up our Champions League fate with a 3-1 win over Red Star.

Not sure why, but I always expected to beat Red Star. The draw is a pure f*****. One round too soon. 2nd place get the comforts of Spartak.

A proud moment for all the Gateshead fans out there. “Big Ben Clark my lord, big Ben Clark. Oh lord big Ben Clark”.

Half-way and there’s nothing in it.

Notman is out again. He’s our best attacker by a million miles.

No Ryan Reynolds at this racecourse. Job done.

Wenger thinks he’s f****** hilarious. You can’t get in our head professor.

Keane picks up his third ban of the season and we draw Liverpool in the FA Cup to add to our task against them in the League Cup. We bleed in more youth to aid our rotation. Thorrington has a blinder.

Neville can’t tackle, can he? Tries to do us over but a replay it is.

Straight up again in the League Cup and it’s much better.

Schmeichel is out again for a month. Burned himself on some chips…Raymond puts in a MotM display.

Our reward? Gillingham. Excellent! Excellent.

Liverpool do us in the League Cup but away goals still exist.

We mess on with the tactics to try and better Arsenal it doesn’t work (0-0).

We’ve built up a 4-point cushion.

Juventus arrive, all cocky with their excellent squad. We go 3-5-2 flat and squeeze it. Cole-den!

There’ll be no Keano (banned) or Butt (injured) for the return leg in Turin. That could be critical. We arrive in the FA Cup with a semi, against Leicester.

We head to Turin weary, tired and with a load of injuries. We hold out for penalties. Geeeeet up!

Notman with the clincher! We have another chance to better Fergie, but Alan Smith has other plans.

Scores on the doors: Fergie 0 – 0 KOTR

Wins against Derby, Newcastle, Villa and Sheff Wed keep us ticking over in the league. We get Barca in the Champions League semi-final. Amazingly Spartak made it through and get Ronaldo’s Inter. We brave the first leg admirably.

We’ve matched Fergie in the FA Cup so far as we make the final thanks to a Keane penalty. It’s the sharp end now.

A draw and a win (Leicester and Boro) see us making a gap with 4 games to go.

Phil Neville goes into midfield for the Barca showdown, our squad is knacked.

But it’s all Dwight on the night!

The draw for the final is epic. We’ve earned that!

Stam will miss the final. Poor lad he’s been tremendous.

We lose to Liverpool but its all over. It’s 1-1 Fergie mate!

Scores on the doors: Fergie 1 – 1 KOTR

The final day of the seasons sees us throw all the kids in the mix. And they send Charlton down.

Big Ben Clark! I notice Palour has all of Arsenal’s assists so put Giggs on a man marking mission in the FA Cup. It does well, we’re 3-0 up so I make some subs with the Spartak game in mind…and nearly f*** it all up.

Le Sulk misses the critical penalty. Howzat Wenger!!!

Scores on the doors: Fergie 2 – 2 KOTR

As far as Champions League finals go, piece of p***. A very kind draw. No last minute’s dramatics. Cool. Calm. Collected.

Scores on the doors: Fergie 3 – 3 KOTR

And there we have it; we even gave Big Ben Clark an 89th minute appearance in that final too. We’ve equalled Fergie with the same trophies but boy was it hard. We’ve left it to penalties too much for me there.

Stam the man. What a player. Ronny Johnson was trash and never got back in. Well, what have we proved here? I’ll give him his dues, but boy when you look at it, Fergie had some good luck, and so did we! Thank you for staying with this long read, hopefully you are inspired to have a go.

You can follow Andrew on twitter: @KingOfTheRooks

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