Welcome to the first instalment of our '90s Football and Me' blog series! Each installment will see us interview a friend of 90s Football and find out all about their memories of the 90s.
This week we'd like to welcome David Black, owner of the brilliant @CM9798 twitter account. Let's take it away...
I'm a Newcastle fan. I was born 88 so really started watching football properly towards the end of 94/95 season. Unfortunately the trade off for seeing fantastic football being played was throwing the title away in 96 but there's some great memories from that era. It was a harsh lesson in football to see us lose the title in 96 and then watch England lose on penalties in Euro 96, really I should have seen the writing on the wall then!
We had some good times even after that - the Champions League campaign in 97 was short lived but Tino's hat-trick against Barcelona will live long in the memory. Then there's two FA Cup final appearances to round off the decade...I think there's a few players would like those days back.
Where to start?! The obvious answer is Alan Shearer, you couldn't turn away the Premier League's record goalscorer. Rob Lee would thrive though, he works hard enough for Rafa's tastes and would chip in with some goals.
Sky's Monday night football theme! Because Newcastle were on the TV so much in 95/96 in particular my Grandad used to come over to watch most of the games. My Dad isn't a massive football fan but takes an interest but I'd spend hours watching through old videos with my Grandad - he'd record everything Newcastle related to VHS, everything from Match of the Day highlights to snippets on the news. I've still got a lot of them and will get them converted to DVD one day. The way Sky worked back then we had some weird signal box thing which basically meant if the stars were aligned and the conditions were perfect I could watch Sky in my room provided it was left on that channel downstairs and my parents could watch terrestrial or whatever. I've fond memories of watching fuzzy pictures of various midweek games!
Then there was Channel 4's coverage of Serie A. Saturday morning highlights with James Richardson enjoying a frothy coffee then the live game on Sunday. Simpler times.
Probably the 5-0 against Man Utd. Probably the most perfect day imaginable, given what had happened a few months earlier. The hatred for Man Utd was pretty strong so being able to smash them to bits, the "look at Shearer" moment celebrating in front of their fans and Albert's chip to round it off. Just magic.
I had a load of management type games for the Amstrad 64 - my Gran's next door neighbour just gave me a massive box of games one day, he was a lot older than me and probably got a Sega or something. I can't remember any of the games but they were decent. Once I got a SNES I played a lot of Kick Off and Super Soccer. Kick Off 3 hasn't aged well but Super Soccer is still a laugh. I played FIFA 97 on the PS One but then I discovered PES.
Other than Champ Manager, PES is my gaming love. Everybody played FIFA but I remember the PS mag I used to get had ISS 98 rated at something like 95% and I thought I had to try it. I'd played Actua Soccer too but other than Barry Davies it wasn't great. I still play PES now when I can.
The sticker albums always demolished my pocket money but my main collectable were Corinthian Figures. It started off with the England squad before Euro 96 and then the Newcastle squad came out. I probably have about 200 of them dotted around and recently put them on display to show to @CorinthianHead on Twitter.
I've always had an urge to write about football and sport in general but never the platform. I took bad advice at sixth form about what career to pursue and was told there were no jobs in sports writing - this was 2004 and whoever gave me the advice hadn't factored in the internet. Anyway I was getting on with my business career and writing about football, tennis, snooker, anything on the side but it was going nowhere.
Once Twitter became a thing I realised this was the missing link and started writing regularly about football but it was such a saturated market. I wanted to write about something unique and as it happened I was playing a lot of CM9798 at this point. It's always been my go to version but working full time had me too tired to play the new FM's and it was an easy go to. I was in the pub with friends one day and we started reminiscing about the old CM games and I decided that day to start a blog about it. So many strange things happen in a game from 20 years ago there was more than enough incident to make it interesting. Thankfully a certain 90s account helped me on my way and the rest is history.
A few! Bjorn Heidenstrom is a real gent and signed some copies of my book for me to give away. I interviewed Cherno Samba about his upcoming book, he's been through a lot but he's very open about it and loves Champ. Also I met Mark Kerr at an event, he's a good laugh and just wanted to talk to me about Newcastle's Scottish contingent.
I'm desperate to get John Curtis on for interview but although he has agreed for me to send him questions, he hasn't replied.
We'll be launching the CM9798 Cup very soon. Twenty teams picked from a unique draft process and one overall winner. It's my most ambitious event yet but I'm really looking forward to it.
It should really be a black and white one but my favourite ever shirt is the 95/96 away kit. Maroon and blue hoops, our current away kit is a throw back to it, sadly without the collar.