Happy 25th birthday to Championship Manager - now called Football Manager, and much more than a mere computer game. A worldwide network of scouts now yields data that is so extensive that many professional football teams actually rely on it in the early stages of looking for new recruits. I must confess to only having owned Championship Manager 2 - a good thing, too, as it used to take me half an hour for a single game weekend, so anything more detailed and complex would have consumed my whole life.
For his BBC article celebrating the game's impact and longevity, Alex Bysouth simply had to speak to one of the original game's superstars, Tonton Zola Moukoko, who was at the time a hot prospect at Derby. The anticipated glittering career never materialised, and while manufacturers Sports Interactive have a meeting room named after him, it's a bit cruel for the company's director Miles Jacobson to describe players like Moukoko and Cherno Samba as "data errors".
In the second version of the game, my favourite under-the-radar signings were attacking midfielder Ivica Mornar and central defender Teddy Lucic. Neither could be considered "data errors", given they were both full internationals in real life, but when they found their way into the Premier League with Portsmouth and Leeds respectively, neither excelled in the way they did for my title-winning Newcastle sides.
It was probably a "data error" or at least a deficiency in the realism of early versions that allowed me to get away with playing an absurdly attack-minded 3-4-3 formation that saw Zinedine Zidane on the left of a three-man defence, Alessandro Del Piero in defensive midfield and a hyperprolific ex-Peterborough striker called Mike Eyre up front...
(Thanks to Sam for the link.)