Welcome to a continuation on the regular series on The 94th Minute, called “Starting XI”. This is where I ask various people, who are fans of football, a number of questions to get to know them better! The first few questions will differ for each person, but the final question will always be:
“Who would be in your all-time, favourite starting XI?”
This is a question where anyone can be put into their starting eleven, whether they are famous footballers, football legends, past or unknown players who had an impact on their childhood, or even players they have played with or coached. Anyone is acceptable in their XI providing they give a reason for their inclusion!
The fifteenth instalment of the series is an interview with the manager of the Swindon Devils CMFC, a club who competes in the CM0102 Super League. I wanted to know more about how the side became part of the league, the media work that is done to promote the side, the fortunes of the other (and slightly more famous) Swindon team, and finally, the players that would be chosen in the all-time, starting eleven.
Q. Could you give the readers some details on how you got initially involved with the CM0102 Super League?
When the idea of the CM0102 Super League was very first floated about on Twitter, I put my name in the hat to take charge of a team and, thankfully, was granted a place. I’ve never looked back.
Q. Could you provide some details about your CM0102SL club, the Swindon Devils?
Swindon Devils are the longest serving team in the Super League. We have never, yet, made the end of season playoffs but we continue to aspire.
We are currently second bottom, without a win yet this season and we have a historic inability to defend.
We do not see ourselves as having a rival, but the rest of the Super League would say it is Palmerthinaikos. Generally, it is good-natured banter between us, which stems from their manager imposing his own media ban and transfer embargo against us.
Q. You are involved in the gameweekly CM0102 Super League Show on YouTube, how did you get started into that, and how much preparation do you do for it before filming?
The YouTube show started this season and the different managers join in on commentary each week. As someone who always wanted to be a sports journalist, I really enjoy it, although still get nervous. What I will say is Martin, the League Chairman and main commentator, is superb at the preparation. He gives you a small info pack before the broadcast to guide the conversation, the rest is improvisation to what is happening.
[The most recent CM0102 Super League show is linked below:]
[NOTE: You can also read MartinPlaysCM’s Starting XI HERE]
Q. Also during this past international break, it has seen you start you own YouTube series, the #DevilReview. What information could you provide about that?
I am committed to making the Super League as interactive as possible. The midweek show has been popular this season, so with outside commitments meaning there wasn’t one this week, I took it upon myself to do a version. Earlier this season I did a Devils Talk Q+A which seemed popular, so for this, I hijacked my favourite parts of the usual midweek show and other podcasts and vlogs I have enjoyed lately.
[The most recent Devils Review episode is below:]
Generally, a few managers put some ‘silly’ videos out each week on Twitter so it is worth staying engaged with us.
Q. In addition, there is also your blogsite, L.I.F.E. (Living in Fyfe’s Eyes), how did that all that come about?
I write a weekly Super League blog containing match reports, manager interviews, team of the week, sponsors comments, previews to the next week’s games, polls and more.
It is usually a good conversation starter, gets read in around 15 different countries, and helps fans engage with us. It is also how I have been introduced to so many contacts to collaborate with, which is nice.
My ‘real life’ alter ego also writes other football related content, generally Swindon Town related.
Q. What are your hopes for the Swindon Devils this season in the CM0102SL?
We have had a terrible start, but there are still 20 games remaining, and a transfer window, to put it right. My aim remains the same, get in top six and then see what we can do in the crazy playoffs system.
Q. Talking about Championship Manager / Football Manager in general, what has been your best ever achievement on the game?
Greatest achievement was definitely in CM. FM games aren’t fit to be considered a relation…😉👍😂
I would say my dad and I were about 15 years in to a shared game, left our jobs at Manchester United and Leeds United in the Premier League, and I took [then] Division 3 side Kidderminster Harriers to four successive league titles.
Either that or getting Elgin City from Scottish Division 3 to a Champions League semi-final in seven years.
Q. Switching to slightly less eventful world of EFL football, how do you think Swindon Town are getting on this season? What are your hopes for the Robins for their 2019-20 League Two season?
As for Swindon Town, they started really well but injuries have caused a slight derailment of our season. I’m confident in Wellens [Richie Wellens, Swindon Town’s current manager] and, if we are still in the mix come January, we should achieve our goal of promotion.
Playoffs simply must be a minimum expectation!
Q. Finally, who is in your all-time, favourite starting eleven and why?
Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon
In goal I’m going for an absolute legend in Buffon. In truth it could have been him or Casillas, as they were the Messi and Ronaldo of keepers, but I opted for a man who has won everything and did everything you want from a keeper for the longest time.
Defender: Paolo Maldini
Paolo Maldini is my first defender because he oozes class. To play at the level he did for the time he did is incredible. He was a true leader on the pitch and won so many medals.
Defender: Nemanja Vidić
Nemanja Vidić was unbelievable and so reliable. He won every tackle, every header, could mark the world’s best strikers out of a game. The perfect centre-back?
Defender: Sergio Ramos
Third is Sergio Ramos. Football is all about characters and Ramos is right up. Divisive character but you’d rather have him with you than against you. Plus he’s good for a goal.
Defensive midfielder: N’Golo Kanté
In front of them is N’Golo Kanté. Took the “Makélélé role” and made it better. Added to his game since joining Chelsea with better passing and shooting and still improving.
Right midfielder: David Beckham
On the right I’ve gone for David Beckham. The first footballer I adored and a man who created so many moments.
Left midfielder: Gareth Bale
On the left is Gareth Bale. He can literally do everything. Fast, strong, good in the air, can pass, and shoot. Why Zidane don’t rate him, I have no idea???
Central midfielder: Xavi
Between Beckham and Bale is Xavi. Literally incredible. He made global sensations of his team mates with his ability to create and provide.
Attacking midfielder: Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho is behind the front two. He, for me, is the GOAT. The things he could do with a football was unbelievable. Produced so many moments and had the smile to match. So lucky I got to watch him live once.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo
CR7 is up front. Literally can do everything ball on the floor or in the air. Importantly, has done it all over the world and seems a genuinely sound guy off the pitch too.
Forward: Charlie Austin
Finally, and perhaps controversially, Charlie Austin completes my team. I am not suggesting he has ever been the best striker in the world, but as a Swindon fan, he produced so many moments that generated emotional responses from me I will always remember him. Should have achieved so much more and got a bigger move and international recognition.
A massive thank you to the manager of the Swindon Devils CMFC for answering my questions and being a brilliant guest on the Starting XI series! I have certainly learnt more about the CM0102 Super League, and much more about the Swindon Devils themselves. Plus that Starting XI team is a corker – that defensive five is just pure quality, and could probably keep the tide at bay!!
To find out more about Swindon Devils CMFC, the links to the blogsite, YouTube channel, and social media accounts can be found below:
- Blogsite: https://smfyfe.wordpress.com/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaC_aKYZFCiaBkVeq_YzQ-A
- Twitter: @SDCMFC
To read or catch up on the previous Starting XI episodes, they can all be found at the following link HERE.
If there you have any feedback, comments or suggestions on who I should interview next in the series, let me know either below in the comments box, tweet me @The94thMin or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! It would be good to hear what you think about the series, and what have been your favourite episodes so far!