It’s something when a player who’s won four league championships in two different countries, played just under a hundred games for his country and been a fixture in the Champions League for years can be considered a disappointment. But Kim Kallstrom can. Mainly because he was the first Championship Manager prospect who I then followed in real life. He first popped up on CM2001 as a 17 year old AM/FC with already ridiculous stats and a stupidly low value. You bought him immediately wherever you started your game. Within a year he was the best player in your team. Within three or four the best player in the world. Everywhere you went you’d use that old formation, which was basically just this:
RB CB CB LB
CM DMC CM
As long as you had Kimmy in there then your team would click. As the game went on he’d provide as many assists as he would score goals. His name would inevitably pop up on the flashing commentary more than anyone else’s. In (slightly) later editions he was listed as the deep lying playmaker that he became in real life but it still didn’t stop him running games, scoring screamers and freekicks from distance seemingly at will (this was in the first edition of the game with ‘highlights,’ the unbridled joy I found in watching the dot with Kallstrom’s number power them in may never again be matched). And then back in the real world he moved to France, first to Rennes and then on to Lyon and we all waited for him to become a world beater. And instead he was merely very good. Forever a disappointment because he didn’t live up to a computer programmer’s idea of how good he would become at 17. A large part of me will always love him.
* In mitigation during that Germany–Sweden game that they were losing 4-0 and came back to draw Kim was on the pitch from halftime and set up three goals. And also he was responsible for these:
He really has been a very good player (and still is, he’s only 30 and doing well at Spartak Moscow). He’ll just never be as good as a generation of massive nerds thought he should have been.