Wembley Winners

Here we are again then, update o’clock. We’ve reached boiling point in the 2024/25 season, with Darlington not only scrapping it out for European places via the league but also just one game from Wembley too. Added to that we’ve got a trio of home friendlies for England as 64 year old Beardsley edges towards 100 caps. What are we waiting for? To the next paragraph!

Oh yeah, as ever we start with the pointless cup. First Division Crewe are looking to spring a surprise over Chelsea.

LC final 25

They’ve only bloody done it! Crewe celebrate by going on to win the playoffs so they’ll be in the Premier League next season. It’s what Dario Gradi would want.

FA Cup

So, the Darlo boys have rallied a bit and having survived a couple of replays, it’s a kind draw with First Division Derby facing us at Old Trafford.

FA SF Results

Not exactly upset that West Ham saw off Arsenal, they are far more beatable in the final.

Final day comes and these two sides battle it out for 120 minutes, with a very late equaliser from Monsieur Christanval. Penalties!

FA Cup final

No! In the FA’s wisdom, in these days you battle out 120 minutes in front of 80,000 people and at the end of extra time, shake hands and come back and do it all again on a Wednesday night. Stupidity.

final replay

We get the job done though, stupid scheduling aside, and we will play in Europe next season. Hurrah! The Cup Winners Cup won’t know what hit it.

Champions League

Those of you with attention to detail will realise that the FA Cup final replay takes place at the same time as the Champions League final. It got me wondering what would happen if I’d been in the Champions League final and had to face an FA Cup final replay…scheduling nightmare. Anyway, not my problem. The Champions League final will feature Hercules for the third season in a row, and they are defending champions afterall. For once though, the Milan team they will face is Inter rather than AC.

CL SF Results

What an enthralling night. Anyway, the final is an absolute belter.

CL Final 25

Last minute equaliser from one of the Ferrante brothers forces extra time but it’s heartbreak for the Italians. Hercules retain! For those wondering, Arsenal won the Cup Winners Cup but Atletico Madird beat Aston Villa in the final of the UEFA Cup.

Premier League

With the cups decided, it’s a pretty tight table from 3rd onwards. Leeds and Chelsea are the most consistent sides in the league and Leeds actually retain the Premier League title from Chelsea for the second consecutive year.

prem top final

I’m happy with fifth, it would get us into the UEFA Cup but our FA Cup exploits mean we take Cup Winners Cup action on next season. At the bottom, Norwich & Blackburn are relegated with plenty of time to spare whilst Wolves narrowly miss out to Stoke. Beardsley limps to 14th.

prem bottom final

Mind you, Beardsley has been pretty busy. A trio of England friendlies round off the season, and the big man gets stuck in.

england 5 - 0 caymans

10 out of 10. Take that, Cayman Islands.

england 3 - 0 uruguay

Penalty against the Uruguayans? No bother.

england 4 - 0 yemen

Two against Yemen? I should think so.

He’s some lad. 96 caps on the board now as we head into a World Cup season.

pedro end of season

Time for some awards to finish with

Domoraud footballer of the year

Bakayoko junior-junior taking the plaudits. He has played a huge part in transforming us from Division 1 also-rans to FA Cup winners. No awards of note elsewhere

awards 25

Unfortunately, these awards come with a price. His head is turned…

bigger club

He doesn’t have a big club release clause though, so that’s tough mate.

That’s all for now though. Join me next time as we head into our final season, with Darlington on a European tour and Beardsley homing in on 100 caps. Bye for now!

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Will you still need me?

Steady on, we’re about to cross into 2025. The penultimate season of this crazy story is reaching a typically exciting finale, as Darlington aim to survive in the deep end in their return season to top flight football. Elsewhere, England’s pointless array of friendlies continue and the season’s first final is set. Superstar DJ, here we go!

The Pointless Cup can be a good way to build confidence but as we’re going well in the league and the FA Cup yet to get underway, I’m even less bothered than usual that we exit on penalties

LC exit

The semi-finals are a little bit unusual. Beardsley’s Man City have a first leg lead but Chelsea turn it round. Meanwhile first division Crewe stun Boro and it’s Chelsea vs Crewe in the first final of the season.

LC SF Results

Speaking of Beardsley, the old fella has turned 64. He celebrates with a goal against Scotland a few months before his birthday

england 2 - 0 scotland

Then by saving my skin with a draw against the USA. Dooley indeed.

USA 1-1

Here’s Beardsley at 64 for your viewing pleasure

beardsley 64

In the real cup, my aim to use it as a passageway to Europe is still alive. Seeing off Leicester in the quarters gets us to the neutral venue stage

FA QF Results

So I’m not exactly heartbroken to be drawn against Derby or Hull. Especially when Derby stun Hull in the replay – so First Division opposition in the semis for us.

FA SF Draw

With Crewe representing the football league in the Pointless cup final, and our step up to the Premier League being rather seamless, it does make me think that the gap between the Premier and First division is narrowing by the year. However it’s 2025 and I doubt anybody really cares.

Meanwhile, English interest in the Champions League is over after Leeds are beaten by Inter Milan.

CL QF Results

Hercules are a very consistent Spanish side, they’re always in the latter stages. Milan have recovered from my loss and top the Italian league so they’ll be back next year, whereas Twente have made it this far without having Steve McClaren, so that fake Dutch accent is for nothing. The semi final draw could lead to an all Italian final

CL SF Draw

All that’s left for me to do is show you the League table. Leeds are looking a steady bet to retain their title, whilst we are flying high in 5th

prem top march 25

The 2nd Champions League spot is probably out of reach, but we’re on for European qualification one way or another. At the bottom, it’s looking like 3 from 4 to go down, but at least Beardsley is relatively safe, even if the entertainment value at Maine Road hasn’t improved.

prem bottom march 25

I’ve ditched the 3-1-3-3 and got back to my favoured 5-3-2, finally some bids came in for fringe players and it’s allowed me to buy some more centre backs. We’ve had a lot of annoying injurites, of which Domoraud and McNiven are the latest so I’ll have to patch them up

daarlo squad march

Just 4 updates to go now then, so make the most of my wittering. The finale to this season will hopefully see me in a cup final, plus Beardsley’s glamour friendlies against Yemen & The Cayman Islands. It might be better than it sounds. Bye for now.

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Back in the big time

Did somebody say season 28? Well if they didn’t, they should be, because that is what the 2024/25 season is better known as. Darlington take their first steps back in the Premier League whereas England, as holders of the World Cup, are saved the indignity of having to qualify. It’s just a meaningless run of friendlies, all about preparation for World Cup 2026…and a chance to get Beardsley ever closer to his 100th cap. I’ve arranged friendlies next June against the Cayman Islands and Yemen to help him on his way, but more on that later.

So, Darlington. The first season after promotion is always one of the toughest, and I’m not helped by having a very full squad. As a result it’s taken a few months to get somewhere near where I want to be. Here’s the squad as we reach November

darlo squad nov 24

I’ve stuck with the 3-1-3-3 that saw us shoot up the Division 1 table to snatch automatic promotion, partially because I built a squad around it but also because I can’t attract any decent centre halves. So having just one works for us.


Christanval is my newest signing, I can’t believe he was only £250k


Great tackling, heading, positioning whilst being creative with good passing. He’s a dream. Other famous faces including Bakayoko v3 Joel Domoraud and Rui Eusebio, who is about the 4th version of Luis Figo. Nogueira you may remember is Zidane, who I had at Newcastle.

More on how Darlington have got on later. Where are my manners though, the season opener has happened and it went to penalties.

CS 24

Great times there then. Meanwhile England’s friendlies are underway, with Chile visiting Wembley

england vs chile

Love you, Peter. He’s approaching 64, which the Beatles sang a song about, but he’s hit 90 caps, which is great news.

pedro 63

He’s still not picking himself for Man City, so I suppose that’s helping his managerial career.

We’re in the last 16 of the pointless cup, words can’t do justice to my excitement here but Palace away is what dreams are made of in a competition with no actual reward.

LC 4th round draw

My aim this season is to get back into Europe, whether it be through League position (unlikely) or by winning the FA Cup…which is probably as unlikely but you never know. The league is going ok so far, we’re not in the bottom 5 which is a plus

prem top nov 24

Unsurprisingly my open formation means we score as many as we concede – we’re particularly rough on the road, where we have won once and that was at Boro, which is barely away at all for us.

At least we’re not Blackburn…

prem bottom nov 24

Not looking great for Beardsley either, with seemingly no incidents taking place in their matches.

So there we go, part 1 is banked and we can all get on with our days. I make it 5 updates to go if the rumours are true and the end comes in 2026…I am nervous. See you next time!

No Pedro, No Party

It’s the end of season 27 and that of course means it’s Euro 2024. England head to Portugal having won Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022, which begs the question would our media still got mad for it if we were that good? Who knows. Elsewhere, Darlington’s promotion crusade reaches a pivotal end – will it be automatic promotion or the dreaded playoffs again? Let’s find out.

Why break a 26 season habit? Pointless Cup up first

League Cup

Everton vs Man Utd is a decent game historically, this is not one of them

LC Final 24

Silverware for Francis Jeffers, and who can really say they are surprised by that?

FA Cup

Semi final time first

FA Cup SF results 24

Hurrah for symmetry.

Sheff Wed are of course defending champions as Kieron Dyer brings the good times back to Sheffield

FA Cup final 24

For one year. Big Des wins the trophy for Arsenal.

Division 1

When I left you last, Darlington had rocketed up the table into a playoff position with an outside chance of going up automatically. Incredibly, with one game to go we’re still in with a shout

div 1 top 1 game to go

Liverpool’s run of form has been even better than our own, all it took was David Unsworth to go to Man Utd. The last game of the season sees both ourselves and Liverpool travel away. Leicester have half a chance.if they score a hatful away at champions Forest

last game

We do our bit…

chesterfield 0 - 3 darlo

Can Liverpool deny us automatic promotion?

oldham 1 - 0 liverpool

They can’t! We’re going up!

div 1 top final

Leicester winning 1-0 at Forest could have been a heartbreaker but we won through in the end. Crystal Palace win the playoffs, so it’s bad news all round for Liverpool.

In the Premier League, Leeds are champions. It’s a story, I guess, but it not of much amusement so I won’t dwell on it. What I will focus on is Beardsley being in 3rd and Scott Colcombe securing 2nd for Chelsea.

prem top final

Into the bottom half and I won’t be facing Derby, Burnley or Cardiff. Derby have been around in the top flight for a fair while, but not any more.

prem bottom final

In the Champions League, Milan failed to defend the title I won for them, losing to Hercules in a reverse of last year’s final.

CL Final 24

So all that’s left for us to do is hop over to Euro 2024. Here’s the England squad I have picked

england squad 24

Beardsley is in the mood, scoring the winner in a friendly against Scotland

scotland friendly

That form is carried over into the tournament, with an opening game win over Sweden

england 2 - 1 sweden

We injured Thor, which is quite an achievement considering he has a hammer. Another nation in yellow are defeated which pretty much guarantees us a place in the last 8

romania 0 - 2 england

Finally, it’s a game against Greece. Guess who?

greece 1 - 2 england

He might be 63 but he loves a 90th minute winner here to take us to 3 out of 3

Armenia do us a massive favour and stun Spain, leaving the groups looking like this

Euro groups

A last 8 game with Armenia suits me just fine

Euros QF Draw

We nearly mess it up but we were never in any real danger

england 2 - 1 armenia

The other quarter finals go to form

other QF

So it is the hosts Portugal in the semi finals, not an easy tie but we hang on for penalties…

Euro SF vs Portugal

The final awaits! We’re strangely good at penalties. However, there’s one man who really pays the penalty

Beardsley banned

Noooooooo! Anything but this. Facing Italy or France without the main man is a huge blow

italy 2 - 0 france

Italy it is then, and the great irony that many of the team played for me at Milan. No Pedro, no party though

Euros final 24

Ossari was my captain at Milan for a time, a midfielder no less but he’s kicked me in the nuts here. When substitute Stuart rammed in to take us to extra time I thought we were going to win it, but sudden death extra time has killed us. A huge shame. Would this man have helped?

Beardsley 63 end of season

Probably not, to be fair, but whatever. As we’re World Champions we qualify automatically for World Cup 2026 in Mexico, so there’s about 14 friendlies for Beardsley to enjoy.

Interestingly the game didn’t tell me where Euro 2028 will be, so it’s fair to say that won’t happen. The 30 season cut off point is looming large. Let’s finish with some awards

English awards

So on the plus side, Darlington will be back in the Premier League but on the negative side, there are, by my reckoning, only 2 seasons left to make them winners. The race is on! Join me again, won’t you?

To the wire

Good day to you. I’ve got my feet back under the table at Darlington and have a bit of a job on my hands to try and get promotion at the first attempt. Elsewhere, England look to seal qualification to Euro 2024 and Milan look to defend every title without me. Let’s get on with it.

Firstly, I managed to keep England’s 100% record with a final win in the qualfiying campaign. Beardsley didn’t score so I don’t care

10 out of 10

The group for the Euro’s isn’t that bad, but then it’s hard to know who is good anymore 27 seasons down the line

euro group

We’ll have full coverage of that in the next update.

Back in the here and now and it’s been a great run of form for Darlington. I’ve had to sell to buy but slowly I’ve formed a team that is just a point off automatic promotion.

div 1 top march 24

I’ll take the playoffs if needs be but we’re in there with about 6 others scrapping for that 2nd spot. Phil Mulryne’s Notts Forest have ran away with it, he is a former Darlington gaffer of course.

I’ve rolled out the old 3-1-3-3 which is very attacking but I felt it was a risk worth taking. Zidane’s re-gen has joined after falling out of favour at Newcastle


So we’re well set for the remaining weeks of the season. This guy had scored 27 in 16, which I thought was worth taking a punt on. He also has a great name

Jin Ok

He’s been fairly rubbish so far though, but we’ll see. Our League Cup campaign came to abrupt end at Old Trafford

LC QF results

Mulryne is cruely denied a final place though after a penalties loss, so it’ll be Everton vs Man Utd in the first final of the season.

LC SF Results

Everton actually ended our FA Cup campaign in round 4, but they have since been knocked out. Mulryne’s going for it again though!

FA SF Results

Meanwhile in Europe, Milan are struggling domestically since I left but they are doing well in trying to retain their Champions League title

CL QF Results

Arsenal haven’t been the same without Haslam, but that’s life.

CL SF Draw

But domestically, what on earth has Savino done to them?

serie A table

Disgusting. Anyway, it’s Leeds who top the Premier League, closely followed by Colcombe’s Chelsea. Beardsley has Man City well placed in 4th, though he still isn’t picking himself. He’s 63 now and City are also on the verge of making the UEFA Cup final, bidding to retain the trophy they won. Arsenal are 5th trying to defend their Premier League title.

prem top march 24

It’s looking very dicey indeed for Middlesbrough, they are looknig a bit cut adrift along with Burnley. It can all change though as the pressure grows!

prem bottom march 24

So then, another update banked and we’re now on the way to Euro 2024. Can I go there with a spring in my step with promotion in my back pocket? We’ll find out next time. Here’s 63 year old Peter Beardsley to see us out

Beardsley 63

Look at his 9 assists in the last 2 season internationally! He doesn’t have 19 creativity for nothing. See you next time!

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Wish it and it will happen

Did somebody say Season 27? Well regardless, that’s where we are now, the 23/24 season promises much and ends with Portugal 2024. England are just a point away from qualifying with 3 games to go, and even then I could play a team of Peter Beardsley’s and still get through on goal difference. But this, my friends, is an update of great change. It’s all happening. In the words of Monday night football in the 90s, here we go here we go here we go THIS IS IT!

I’ll try and do this in chronological order, to really tell a story. Firstly, the managers seat at Everton needs filling. This is…actually quite feasible.

Jeffers to Everton

Going back to his roots, I like it.

Steve Haslam wins the Charity Shield as the curtain lifts on another drama filled season

charity shield 23

I want to leave Milan but nowhere takes my fancy, I’m desperate for the Darlington job. We win a surprisingly entertaining Italian Charity Shield

super coppa

We save the defensive stuff for Serie A. Just as I’m contemplating another all conquering season, IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED

Chema resigns

Feethams, I am coming home.

Darlo job offer

Unsurprisingly the board jump at the opportunity to appoint a Multi Champions League winning club legend. If you are new to the blog, I started this career at Darlington and took them to Champions League glory. Now though they sit marooned midtable in Division 1, with a mess of a squad and some re-building to do

darlo squad

It’s going to take some sorting out but time is on our side.

Our first win arrives at White Hart Lane

first win

Meanwhile it seems the rest of the world is going manager crazy

spain job

Spain qualify for the Euros but the manager…just doesn’t fancy it. Who do you get?

haslam to spain

Obviously. Haslam follows in my footsteps and takes the Spain gig. Hopefully we meet in the final. Arsenal opt for former Liverpool failure big Des

des to arsenal

He has taken Stoke to the Prem but they could surely have done better. Milan replace me with Roma’s manager

savino to milan

Chelsea also decide to get involved and sack Dean Chandler

chelsea sack chandler

For the second time in this save, Chelsea poach Man Utd’s manager.

colcombe to chelsea

Man Utd have no care and take Unsworth from Liverpool.

unsworth to man utd

Unsworth has no morals. The former Everton man has done great work at Liverpool and now Manchester United. Having said that, he leaves Liverpool 18th in Division 1.

In the middle of all that, England secured qualification by winning game 8 and then going on to win game 9 of their campaign

beardsley vs wales

Beardsley digs deep with 10 men to see off Wales

england 4 - 0 albania

One more for the old man. Lovely stuff.

Meanwhile it’s a period of transition at Darlington but there are signs that things are turning round, this is a big derby win in the pointless cup

LC 3rd round win

The reward? Plymouth away.

LC 4th round draw

When things need improving, you can always rely on a certain Ivory Coast re-gen.

baka re-gen

Division 1 is notoriosuly unpredictable though. I mean, who saw this coming?

Bolton 12-1

For those wondering, Swindon had both goalkeepers injured and a full squad. Silly boys.

So as we enter November, we’re just 6 points off the playoffs but we need to hit a run of form sooner rather than later. Goals are a problem.

div 1 top nov

In the Premier League, Chelsea are probably justified in sacking their manager

prem top november

It’s very tight at the top though, that could turn into an epic battle as the season goes on. Even Beardsley is in there! Some rough starts at the bottom but there are already 4 looking a bit adrift.

prem bottom nov

So with that, we’ve reached the end of another update. Milan sit in 11th in Serie A, which I think says more about Alberto Savino than me. But join me next time as we look to take Darlo back to the big time, it’s going to be a long old slog!

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A Fine Wine

Good hello to you all, and welcome to the final months of season 26. It’s 2023 and, with no tournament this summer, England are focusing on maintaining their 100% record in qualification for Euro 2024, spearheaded by 62 year old Peter Beardsley. Milan are looking to win all 5 trophies they are in for whilst Bryan Robson looks to finally break his league title duck.

As ever though, let’s start with the least important.

League Cup

Aston Villa take on Man Utd. NOBODY CARES.

LC Final 23

I guess that’s a shock? Nothing is really a shock in 2023. Let’s move on.

FA Cup

I do wonder if the famous cup competition still gets decent coverage in 2023? Anyway, it’s failure again for Man Utd, this time at the hands of Sheff Wed. Swansea, battling relegation, stun Newcastle in the other semi.

FA Cup SF results

Damien Johnson is slowly destroying my Newcastle legacy. Anyway, Sheff Wed vs Swansea is the final everybody wanted. Especially Sheff Wed.

fa cup final 23

So there you go. FA Cup Magic.

My Milan side went on the hunt for their own bit of history, trying to win all 5 of the competitions we entered this season. With the World Club Cup and the European Super Cup already secured (be still my beating heart) next on the list was the Italian FA Cup, or the Coppa Italia is you speak the lingo

Coppa Italia win

The drama is taken out of it somewhat by the final being over 2 legs. That will never catch on. Anyway, that’s three. Let’s get the fourth

serie a top final

Great. We absolutely pissed Serie A. That’s four!

Champions League

The final piece of this silvery jigsaw is the Champions League, can we retain it?

CL SF Results

Phew. Bryan Robson’s lads gave us a real scare but we’re in the final to face Spanish champions Hercules. We’ll have to do it without star man Horodouto, who has picked up an injury

CL Final 23

It matters not, we are the champions again. The champions of everything. The squad have done a great job

AC milan ratings

I’ve focused a lot on Peter Beardsley as a player but he’s now earning his corn as a manager as well. Here he is making the UEFA Cup final.

City Uefa cup final

Subbing himself off after 33 minutes. Bold decision.

It’s an all English final against Aston Villa. You know the rest.

uefa cup final

Just the 70 minutes for the main man but he lifts the trophy. I’m like a proud Dad. Or Grandson. Whatever.

Can he keep Man City up though?

Premier League

We’ll focus on the top of the table first, and would you believe it, Bryan Robson has blown another title challenge. So badly in fact they’ve dropped to 4th. STEVE HASLAM WINS THE LEAGUE

prem top final

It’s a goal difference win, had Blackburn managed to win at Hull they would have won it. But they didn’t, and Arsenal win title at Old Trafford. Drama.

last day results

As you’ll see, Man City used their UEFA Cup form as a springboard and their form post March was outstanding. Beardsley’s done it, they’re safe!

prem bottom final

Sadly, my old mate Owen Wellens is relegated with Tranmere. Newcastle are reduced to mid table fodder, finishing just a point ahead of Beardsley.

It’s all too much for some

bryan robson retires

He’s World Cup 1990 team mate though is like a fine wine. Here he is scoring twice for his country in a 7-0 rout

england 7 - 0

What a guy. England will qualify, wins over Iceland and Bosnia mean we are 7 for 7 and packing our bags for Portugal 2024

England group 7 games

Just a point needed but I want 10 out of 10. So does this man

Beardsley 62 end of season

Give all the awards to me

italian awards 23

Give all the awards to…Francis Jeffers?

English awards 23

So there we are, another season in the bag. I’m excited for Euro 2024 and so is Peter Beardsley. I’ve done all there is to do with Milan and now I must decide what to do next. There’s only one club I want to return to, but the job isn’t available. Bring me home, Darlington.

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