People take games like Championship Manager and Football Manager pretty seriously, but probably not quite as seriously as Huang Wenbin, a Chinese player who travelled to the UK to see the team he manages virtually. They’re called Runcorn Linnets, and if you’ve never heard of them, that’s probably because you don’t follow the North West Counties Football League.
Even here in the UK, you’d be hard pressed to find many people who have heard of the Runcorn Linnets outside of North West England. And the city of Xiamen in China.
Wenbin became aware of the team while playing Championship Manager 3, the series that would eventually be turned into Football Manager when developer Sports Interactive split up with the series’ then publisher, Eidos Interactive.
i am a fan who come from china.i like runcorn fc when i play the cm01/02 game since https://t.co/TCgGNqZJIh i plan to visit your team.October 11, 2017
Visiting his favourite team wasn’t the only reason for his family vacation to the UK, obviously, but it’s unlikely he would have visited Runcorn, Cheshire for any other reason. No offence, Runcorn, I’m sure you’re great.
Runcorn Linnets should maybe consider hiring Wenbin, as screenshots from the game reveal that he’s a pretty good manager. He even managed to get Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard to play for the team.
pic.twitter.com/F4i5QsJqg9October 14, 2017
Wenbin headed to Runcorn with his family after watching a game in Liverpool, but he missed his bus and got a bit lost, he told The Mirror.
"We all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw that someone was waiting for us in front of the stadium. We spent over 24 hours to arrive in Liverpool from Xiamen in China."
He got a tour of the club, met the club chairman, and even got to kick a ball around with his son on the pitch, though lamentably, he never got to watch a game.
This isn’t unheard of, either. A year ago, strategy streamer Quill18, who plays a lot of Football Manager, took a detour so he could visit his team, Scotland’s Ayr United, when he was on holiday from Canada.