Sold his story to promote a book,
Cherno Samba admits his Championship Manager fame “just got too much” and eventually “haunted” him, with even rival defenders taunting him about it.
Mid-90s editions of popular computer game predicted Samba would develop from a wonder-kid to world beater of a striker without fail.
Virtual managers simply had to buy then teenage Millwall prospect Samba and a bucketload of goals and trophies came guaranteed, making him a cult hero among Championship Manager fans.
But it also contributed to the 'what happened to Cherno Samba?' guessing game around the globe when he did not explode onto the scene and become the player he was tipped to in real life.
His notoriety came with benefits like getting his phone delivery time cut from three months to next day and lightening the mood when he was being questioned by police in Iran all because he was “THE Cherno Samba.”
But he said in his upcoming autobiography Still In The Game: “Before I announced my retirement from real football at the age of 29, it could be said that I had become just, if not more, famous for my ‘legendary’ status on Championship Manager.
“Arguably my impressive in-game stats enabled my virtual presence to overtake my real life football career at certain times in my career.
“I was the greatest English footballer of my generation, but only on the hugely popular computer simulation game.
“For a long time, I was haunted by the discrepancy between my abilities in Championship Manager and my record in real life. Opposition defenders would sometimes taunt me about it.“When I was at Plymouth, one day in training I shot well wide, and Barry Hayles, said: “F***ing hell, Cherno. That’s not why I bought you in Championship Manager.”
"So I started pretending I didn’t play it. It just got too much.”
Samba has since gone on to work with the game's makers and featured in their advertising campaigns.
He added: “I must admit I’m very pleased to have been associated with the game and, if anything, it has reminded people of my story.
“Even after 12 years, people still talk to me about the game and how well I played for them – or not.
“Most people still know me as a ‘legend’ of Championship Manager / Football Manager and it’s nice to make people happy."https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/how-football-manager-fame-ruined-13473445
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How Football Manager cult hero Cherno Samba is on the fast track to becoming a "top" boss in real life
Samba says he's learned from his mistakes as a player and is eager to use his experience to help mould a new generationhttps://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/football-manager-cherno-samba-coach-10626466