Imagine if Chelsea were suddenly stripped of their millions and ego-driven superstars. They'd still be Chelsea, but the rebuilding process would take years.
This is pretty much what happened to Championship Manager a few years ago when Sports Interactive parted company with Eidos, took all but the franchise's name and handed over the Champ Man reins to Beautiful Game Studios, who were forced to start the series from scratch.
So it's hardly surprising then that while this third season under new management continues to show progress, the series is still some way off competing with Football Manager 2007.
Among this year's additions are ProZone, an ugly but hugely in-depth tactical analysis tool with which to chart player performances and a team-talk option that proves more throwaway than a used condom.
The match engine continues to improve, and while viewing a whole fixture can often be akin to watching a local pub match - with the odd flash of genius thrown in for good measure - it does work well as a highlights simulator. Your tactical changes also seem to have slightly more impact this time around than in CM2006.
While player stats and valuations are pretty hit-and-miss, wheeling and dealing is hugely enjoyable and unlike FM, you actually have a chance of buying your favourite players.
Sadly, for every merit that CM possesses, there's a shortfall, glitch or contradiction that mars it. Why can you put in a transfer offer that matches a player's valuation, only to be admonished by the club that your offer is insulting? Why do random players suddenly become utterly exhausted midway through a match for no reason? These are just a couple of many irksome oversights that blemish an otherwise enjoyable management experience.
While the CM series is certainly improving, it does seem to be suffering somewhat from an identity crisis. On one side, it's offering a more mainstream approach to management gaming with its generous stats and lax transfer market; on the other, it's trying to be FM with its detailed match analysis tools.
Ultimately, if realism's not your numberone priority, you'll find enjoyment here. CM2007 may be the second best footy management sim on the market, but it's still akin to playing in the Championship rather than the Premier League.
Fun but flawed
- Better than CM2006
- Fun transfer dealings
- Detailed match analysis tool
- Entertaining match highlights
- Too many glitches
- Watching full matches is still frustrating