The first time the Championship Manager (CM) series hit serious success was with CM2. This replaced the original CM in about the 95-96 football season and went on until CM3 replaced it in the 98-99 season. For many however, CM2 remains as the classic game.
More recently, CM has been re-vamped. The simple game engine that millions fell in love with was out, replaced with lots of strange, new features such as training, picking set-piece takers, hiring coaches and even think up tactics. Many found the transition difficult to handle, and many simply couldn't be arsed, but most were won over.
Cheating is rife in the world of CM. Shortly after the realisation that the game is actually quite difficult hits you, many turn to cheating in order to obtain the best players in the game, making success a formality.
CM is, however, highly addictive. Many students, for example, have failed exams due to playing CM instead of revising. Sleep, social life, friends and family can all be lost by excessive CM playing.
Many games have attempted to challenge CM to the title of 'best football management sim', the most notable title being Premier Manager, but CM has so far stayed streets ahead of the competition. And it will for a long, long time.