Make Southampton Great Again

Hello and happy Friday to you. Just a quick one from me today. This blog has always focused solely on CM9798 but there are two more seasons covered by the CM2 series.

Our friend Edison has been video blogging his Southampton save in the 95/96 version of CM2. Can he keep hold of Le Tissier and make Southampton a force to be reckoned with?

It is Friday after all so why not binge watch the whole thing?

You can follow Edison on Twitter @EdisonTanCC

Building Brazil – Part 11: Laelson, talisma

Rob’s Brazilian experiment has taken Uniao Madeira into Europe…and back out again. Can they push on for domestic glory as season 4 heats up? Catch up with part 10 here.

In part one our European adventure was prematurely ended due to a CM conspiracy however our league form was recovering slightly and we now only have the Taca and the league to concentrate on so hopefully we can continue improving and secure a second season of European football.

First game up and we are away to Varzim who play at a stadium of the same name. It’s a positive start to the this update and Laelson is scoring again. For all the frustration this save idea has caused finding this random Brazilian guy who actually seems quite good has been brilliant. One of the things I love about this game is the random players in the database who get generated, it really makes you feel like you have found a hidden gem.

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Our Portuguese reputation has increased enough that we are entered straight into the third round of the Taca, with league rivals Beira Mar (sea view) our opponents.

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Back to the league and our talisman (talisma) Laelson scores again, we’ve got a little run developing, two wins on the bounce and four victories and a draw in the last five games when you look back to part ten.

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I make another sale, Maga-sarus was average at best so over £1 million is good value.

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Our first game in December is a real test, away to Porto, it is a close match but our clinical finishing makes all the difference. It wasn’t as one sided as the scoreline suggests.

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It’s Taca taco time next and Beira Mar are no match for us in this rich vein of form. Laelson with another brace. I need to win a trophy just for him.

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The quarter final draw sees us face the winner of Sporting and Felgueiras. I know who I would prefer.

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Another league victory follows, young Bebeto gets a couple, he hasn’t been as prolific as I was hoping he might be, his stats suggest he is a perfect fit for the formation and direct style.

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Bugi has had enough of this nonsense and wants to go and play in Serie A, Roma and Juve are keen but I’m not selling yet. I want max value for him and he is really good. It seems Zenga’s regen is a must buy if you need a solid cheap keeper.

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It is a real test next in the league as we host Benfica. As if to prove how good he is Bugi get MOM and keeps us in the game as we earn a point a hard fought point.

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Obviously Sporting win their third round Taca tie so we travel to Lisbon.

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Everton come calling for our left winger Da Silva, he is really good but his strength and stamina are so low that I can’t turn down the £3.5 million. Especially when we have Leonidas waiting in the wings.

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New years eve, our final game of 2000 and Leonidas repays my faith in him as we finish the year with a bang. E.Claudio is starting to show some potential too.

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December really has been good to us, Robson however doesn’t agree. If you’re not with us you’re against us Robbo.

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I put the profits towards another unknown with good stats and a solid sounding name. Will he be the next Laelson?

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The first game of 2001 is our local derby, Laelson puts us in front and E.Claud and Leonidas do the rest.

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That game was the halfway point in the season and we have come back strong, 2nd place and Champions league football are achievable but Benfica seem to be running away with the league. Bugi is really coming through in goal, we have only conceded 10 goals. We’ve never been a defensive powerhouse before so it feels a little strange.

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Off to the coast next and new boy Vieira opens his account as we cruise to an early 2-0 lead and then relax into another clean sheet.

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Our great form has continued into the new year and the lad Laelson is at it again. Jefferson made it tough but we battled to a victory.

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The last game of January is away to Alverca, we concede however we score four, Euclides de Claudio is coming into his own on the inside right and H. da Silva da Costa (Rai) is playing great through the middle.

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Of course he is, it is a tough blow, he is averaging over 7.50 and has made that centre mid position his own. He will be missed.

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Next up Espinho and new boy Vieira gets a perfect (I like to think it was) hat-trick.

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The final game of this update and we travel to the Bessa to face Boavista. Unfortunately we are woeful and 0:0 at half time really flatters us. Boavista take advantage of Bugi being sent off and our impotence in front of goal to run out worthy winners.

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What a record to hold! It is a disappointing end to a brilliant middle third of the season but when I look at the table I can’t be upset. We are profiting from Porto being below par but with 12 games left to go second place is still on the table.

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Join me next week for part twelve, I can’t wait, it’s the first time since season one that things seem to be falling into place as a breeze of positivity blows through Madeira.

You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator 

Run Forest, Run – Part 3: Zizi Top

Here’s Matt Wills with his Nottingham Forest save. He’s been parachuted in 8 seasons down the line and it’s a strange and confusing world. Matt’s found his feet though. Catch up with part 2 here.

Welcome back to my Nottingham Forest odyssey, it’s 2006 and the world is not as we know/knew it.

My reassembled regen squad have climbed up the table and are about to embark on our FA Cup run.

To carry on our good form, I feel we need to cut some chaff from the squad and add some recognisable wheat, so I transfer list a handful of no-hopers and go looking for some recognisable names – set search to Age – 30+ and sort by caps.

Jesper Blomqvist and Erik Nevland catch my eye, but bids will have to wait until I trim my bloated squad.

The FA Cup is our best (only) chance of silverware this season and our 3rd round tie is against Division 2 Sheffield Wednesday, who have Spanish playmaker Julen Guerrero, amongst their ranks and are player-managed by Shaka Hislop.

I send out my strongest side and we put the opposite manager to the test right from the off and Debbah scores after 8 minutes. He gets his second on 37 minutes, 2 minutes after an own goal. Wednesday grab back a goal before half time. Another goal for Wednesday after half time makes me anxious but we hold out to take our place in the 4th round.

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Our reward is an away trip to Division 1 Burnley. In the meantime, we’re back in action 2 days later in the league, at home to Watford and tiredness requires changes. Our weakened state shows and we’re two down by half time. The break does us no favours, my pleas for a comeback fall on death ears and I begin to rue not snapping up Figo. I love the fact Watford have a player called Barnes.

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Things are no better away at Middlesbrough and after McAnenay and Giovanni from Brazil cancel out Debbah’s equalisers, Rubi-Gol gives away a penalty and all 3 pts. We’re sliding backwards.

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I’m fed up (Lynn) – that was a negative and right now I need two positives, You know, one to cancel out the negative and another one just so I can have a positive. I decide I can’t wait for offers on my dud squad players so I release a few on free transfers.

Australian Craig Moore is shown the Doore. It costs me £350k, but he’ll lose his work permit at some point anyway as he never plays. Stig Johmasen and Willie Souness follow him out with their P45’s and I hit the shops.

I bid £140K for 31 year old Blomqvist but Nevland is not for sale at AIK, so I bid for Udinese’s Fabio Cannavaro – hey, he has 4 caps for Italy! Another to catch my eye is Scotsman Steven McManaman.

On Friday 13th January, I secure the signings of Jesper Blomqvist, Fabio Cannavaro and the Scottish McManaman. That’s 3 positives!

My new charges inspire the team, or at least make them fearful for their starting positions, as we demolish Spurs 4-1. My mood is only slightly diminished by realising Alfonso has signed for them and I’ve missed out. Oh Well, it’s a dominant display even if the new signings didn’t even feature.

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That hauls us back up to 7th after 22 games, only 3 pts off Watford at the top, its still wide open. 3 days later Neil Warnock resigns as Spurs manager with them languishing in 17th.

Back to the FA Cup and once we’re 3 nil up and coasting, Blomqvist and Cannavaro get their debuts and even a Barry Smith second yellow doesn’t stop us in a 4 nil win to set up a 5th round tie against Sheff Utd – this cup run might just have legs!

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Debbah gets a treble away to Man City in the league and everything is looking rosy again. I even manage to ship off some squad players to free up squad space. This allows me to make a £1m offer to Roma for Totti. They accept, he doesn’t – silly lad.

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Norwich are our next victims in the league, sunk 2-0 and we’re up to 3rd, 3 pts still behind Watford at the top.

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Our FA Cup quest takes a battering in the first 5 minutes against Sheff Utd, Zabek scoring from a corner and then getting himself injured. Ascensio levels before half time and sets up the last 45 nicely. I bring on Blomqvist and Kemble late in the second half to try and break the deadlock, but we fall to a sucker punch and that’s our FA Cup dreams over for the season. My best chance now for European glory is to try and secure a EUFA Cup place in the league.

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I’m thankful there is no FA Cup hangover as we destroy Derby 4-0. It should have been more.

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It is more of the same away to Villa, who have a decent side, but we are far too strong for them, and Lloyd Kaye gets a Perfect 10, what a signing he has been.

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Wolves, are made of sterner stuff and when Barry Manilow song-soundalike Campobianco, equalises I feel our luck may be running out, but Nelo nudges us in front and we hang on for all 3 pts, which moves us nicely up to 2nd in the table, and only 1 pt behind Watford now.

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The quarter finals of the Champions League are upon us and Gordon Milne’s Man City put themselves in the driving seat for the semi’s, whilst Jimmy Nicholl’s Middlesbrough give themselves a shot against Milan. That’s Erik Nevland’s AIK beating Sevilla by the way.

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Farewell Irons, you weren’t getting a game, and when you did you were a bit crap. Together with a couple of other recent sales to lower league clubs frees up a bit of space in the squad and I consider bringing in another striker to back up Debbah and Rubi-gol for the final run in.

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This guy looks alright and not much of a gamble…

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With stats like that I reckon he’s the regen of Andrea Silenzi.

I’m also going to bid £6k for this Norwegian lad…

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I also make bids for Paul Scholes and Raul as I have £32m in the bank. Regens save a lot of money it seems.

While I wait for the approaches to be considered, we head to St james’ Park to play 5th placed Newcastle. Their squad is packed with players running out of contract, and have James Beattie amongst their ranks.

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Bogie has a sprained ankle, so Cannavaro gets his first start in defence, but apart from that, it’s the usual 11.

Mackenzie gets sent off for 2 yellow cards and I think the floodgates have opened when Rubini races through, only for his goal to be ruled out for off-side. Just as with the previous meeting, Angelo Pagotto plays a blinder in goal for the Magpies and it isn’t until Bak puts through his own net that we make the breakthrough and grab all 3 points.

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Our win puts us ahead of Watford at the top, but they have a game in hand due to their FA Cup exploits. They try and unnerve me by bidding £1.9m for Hamish Chappell but I’m wise to it. Borgonovo makes the right choice and signs for us on a Free and I’ll put him on the bench for the visit of Leeds.

Leeds have Victor Ikpeba upfront and Taribo West in defense and are in the Semi’s of the FA Cup but their league form is patchy and they sit mid-table in 9th.

Nigel Quashie benefits form a Lizarralde fumble from a cross and that’s the only notable action from the first half. I decide to replace Rubi-gol with The Borg for the second half. Nelo does well to get us back into it, but it’s a chaotic last 5 minutes when Ikpeba hots the post and Ioan Timofte is on hand to stab in the rebound. Frustrations boil over and Cannavro gets himself sent off and it’s basically a crap day at the office.

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Still the board are happy, and Kaye’s exploits haven’t been ignored, which was a nice surprise.

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This wasn’t a surprise…

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And nor was this really. Perhaps if I’d taken charge of Oldham instead….

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The European competitions have all reached the semi-final stage…

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English teams represented across all competitions there, hope we can join them next season.

So, with 9 league games to go, here’s how the table looks. Watford can leapfrog us with their game in hand and Man Utd can close the gap on us to 1 pt. It looks like being a 4-horse race for the title and we’ve put ourselves in a great position.

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And for completeness, here’s the bottom section…

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So, can we hold on or will Figo, Owen, Heskey and Mainwaring of Watford overtake us and add to last seasons Eufa Cup win? Or will Everton claim their first ever Premier League title and no-one can rule out Man Utd, but will Scholes regret his snub. Please join me next week to see how it all unfolds.

Before we go, just enough time to look at what we could have won…

Liverpool – hanging on in 6th place in Division 1 and a playoff spot. Shearer hasn’t added to his solitary strike from 2 games.

Lazio – Top of Serie B by a point after 27 games, they are looking good for a return to the top. They lost 2-1 on aggregate to Juventus in the European Super Cup and their defence of the Cup Winners Cup ended in the quarterfinals to Man Utd.

Espanyol – 4th in La Liga, but 22 points behind run-away leaders Deportivo. Playing for pride and a European slot for next season.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills

Starting from Scratch – Part 7

Twitterless Matthew Cooper is here with the penultimate update of his first season as Altrincham manager. He’s built this from nothing but are they closing in on promotion? Or will Rotherham ruin it? Catch up with part 6 here.

Hello, welcome back. It’s the business end of the season and we’re on course for a back to back promotion, so long as we can navigate the final 14 games of the season. To recap, my playmaker Zerrouki was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken pelvis and my star midfielder Jermaine Wright has just been sold for £1.2m to balance the books. I had settled on another Algerian as a replacement, however I changed my mind at the last minute and made an approach for this guy instead:

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He’s had two seasons of excellent match ratings in the league above us so he just seems like a safer bet than my previous choice, though he’s much pricier at £475k. I could have had them both, but I’d then have 3 non-EU midfielders and I didn’t want to be effectively forced to play all three for most games to avoid work permit issues. There’s still a space for another midfielder, and my eye is caught by a familiar face

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It’s Sir Alex’s son, Darren. He was a pretty average player but made a decent manager in real life, however he can do a job for us in Division 3 and won’t break the bank at a little under £50k. I put in a bid and hope he’s willing to take a step down 2 divisions for more game time. There will still be over £500k left after these purchases so we’ve got room to manoeuvrer if another injury disaster befalls us. I’ve also approached a young Barnsley midfielder on loan just for some cover.

We’re away to Man City for the FA cup 5th round, and we’re predictably outclassed. The scoreline is extremely flattering, as they had two goals disallowed before their third finally stuck. I’m pleased nonetheless with our run this year and now we can concentrate on getting over the line in the league. A full round of fixtures are played along with our cup game, so we’re knocked down to third but with a game in hand.

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N’Diaye and Ferguson agree terms and are welcomed into the squad, however it’s a less happy day for his dad as Man Utd are dumped out of the league cup at the Semis to leave Villa v Blackburn in the final of the competition that no-one cares about.

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I sodding hate Rotherham.

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On the plus side, N’Diaye has a great first game for us and we seem to be just as fluent as we were before. Our game in hand is up next against 3rd from bottom Notts Country, Gattuso is suspended so Ferguson makes his first start.

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What was I saying about fluency? I may have spoken to soon as we do just about enough to scrape a win against a pretty poor side, but at this stage the result is all that matters and we’re back up to second, restoring our 4 point cushion to the playoff spots.

The cup run is starting to take its toll, and there are some pretty tired legs in the side as we travel to Macclesfield for the next game. I’d love to rotate but we simply don’t have enough strength in depth and I field the same 11 from the last game, intending to swap out a couple of fading players in the last half hour or so. Their keeper is annoyingly in Teflon mode, stopping everything we throw at him, but we take the lead with Ferguson’s first goal for the club. They equalise through a corner and then a rare Hammond error sees him punch it to their forward for a tap-in. It’s starting to feel as if the wheels are coming off, but we find another gear and Williamson comes to the rescue, scoring two and creating another to put us out of sight. I would have been pissed off to lose this one, considering the chances ratio

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It’s three months in a row!

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Oh…shite. I wasn’t prepared for this

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I scramble to find a replacement, Exeter’s Cyrus appearing to be the best option, so I hastily put in a £200k bid.

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Watford also come in for Strong after I make him available to bump up his price , the cheeky gits, so I tell them where to shove their £1m bid and refuse Man City too, hoping the tribunal ups the price slightly in light of his £1.3m value.

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Eugh, nope. Man City get a bargain and I’m left without a competent wing back until Cyrus signs. It’s a case of fortunate timing though as the next game is against perennial punching bags Doncaster Rovers. I bring in Lou Kidd for the departed Strong and swap in Gattuso for the suspended Browning. It’s not exactly a dream start as Allardyce is sent off after 2 minutes, but Doncaster are so utterly dreadful that it doesn’t affect us at all. We race into a 2-0 lead by half-time and add a third towards the end for the most routine of routine wins

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Allardyce picks up a three match ban for violent conduct, but Tokely is a good enough replacement so whatever. Annoyingly the Cyrus transfer is no closer to completion by our next game, away to the Orient. I needn’t have worried though as Kidd has another mystifyingly solid game and we run out easy 3-0 winners, dominating to such an extent that even Heidenstrom has a quiet game

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I’m beginning to re-think if a replacement wingback is even needed now. I decide to withdraw the bid and leave it until the summer, hoping that Hansen is wrong again and we are able to win something with Kidd(s). Our win puts us back into first place and the gap extends to 9 points with 9 games left to play. Meanwhile, Donny go down 6-1 to Cambridge to bring up a century of goals conceded in some style

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Arsenal recall Gislason for some reason, which is annoying but we should be okay with what we’ve got for the rest of the season so I don’t intend to bring in any more cover

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A home game against 22nd placed Shrewsbury is next up, and Allardyce’s 3 game suspension starts. Tokely takes his place and performs admirably, as both strikers get a goal along with Ferguson’s 3rd goal in 6 games. I wasn’t sure it would work out but he’s turning out to be a very handy player for us – I’m not sure there’s going to be a place in the midfield for Zerrouki to return to when he’s back to fitness at this rate, as N’Diaye has been a revelation in the playmaker role and aside from sentiment I can’t really make a case for replacing him.

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I was hoping to finish off the season in this update, but a quick glance at the word count confirms that’s clearly not going to happen. I’ll stop it here to leave the final 8 games for next week. Before I wrap it up, here’s the tables:

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10 points now between us and 4th place, it’s going to have to be a pretty drastic loss of form to deny us automatic promotion now. That’s also the gap at the bottom, as Scarborough’s win in the most recent round of fixtures has put them above Shrewsbury and further towards safety. Donny are pretty doomed at this stage – conceding goals at almost twice the rate of everyone else has a tendency to do that to you.

So, the final update of the season is going to be next week. Join me to see how the season finishes and who gets their hands on the various cups amongst other stuff. See you then.

The B’s of Manchester – Part 3

SupernovaDragon started the Man Utd B experiment to see how the youth team would get on in Division 2. Unfortunately that also involves the Windscreen Shield. Catch up with part 2 here.

Back to the experiment and carrying on from where we left off. We had just been beaten by Brentford and Johnny boy Curtis had just gone back to the Premier League to sign for Leeds.

This is starting to get difficult for defenders:

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God damn that pulled hamstring, looks like Duncan will be starting. I have been on the parent club’s page and noticed David May has not been playing (can’t say I blame them.) I did go to make a bid but he is “unavailable” currently and current Manchester United manager Solskjaer is unhappy at not being in the first team. I will be keeping an eye on that situation. Eric Cantona still does not have a club. That is a possibility.

In managerial news, John Gregory got sacked by Aston Villa (I forgot to mention in the last update) and has now become manager of Kilmarnock.

Our first game of the update is away to 8th placed Bristol Rovers. With Curtis sold and Brown and Casper being injured, this is a makeshift defence:

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At half time it is 1-1. Notman put us ahead after a through ball from Nevland put him through. 11 minutes later and Morgan’s shot was saved by Pilkington only for it to run free and put into the empty net by Skinner.

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This match was petering out to a dull 1-1 until Duncan brought down Morgan and was sent of for a professional foul. I then had to move Appleton to centre back and brought the Tree on for Cooke but all that did was open up the space for the Bennett and finally Cureton to finish us off. This does not bode well for the the rest of the month.

Some good news on the injury front:

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Chances are he’ll at least be on the bench next match.

Meanwhile, Gerry Francis is new manager of Aston Villa, surprising appointment I thought.

Our next match is at home to 6th place Gillingham, I am very much hoping for a good response here. However, due to McGibbon again being away on international duty Appleton is in defence with Casper only fit for the bench and will only be used if he is truly needed. My Tree has dropped back as defensive midfielder.

Half-time and 1-0 down through Akinbiyi and it’s already not looking good. I send them back out hoping for better.

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Second half was a rather full affair if truth be told, until an effort from Cooke was parried by the keeper and Nevland pounced on the loose ball. Then it looked like it was heading to a 1-1 draw until Notman got put through by Nevland to score the win in the last 2 minutes. Back to winning ways.

Our parent club have been in the transfer market again:

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In some ways, you could almost suggest that our B team is helping them create a bit of an amazing team.

Our next match is away to Hull in the Windowscreen pointless cup. Just before this match, Pilkington who was going to be dropped anyway picked up a gashed head injury, looks like Culkin will definitely be starting. I have decided to bring in the likes of Brebner as he has never played for us.

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Just as I thought, we got beat and barely created anything. The entire team was poor and I was surprised Hull didn’t score more to be honest.

West Ham then come in with a bid but for Clegge but as he hasn’t handed in a transfer request, he isn’t leaving.

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West Ham are trying to decimate our squad:

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Again, refused!

Next match is away to Northampton, so I have named a full strength side but Pilkington is still injured.

Half-time and we are are 2-0 up thanks to Nevland in the first minute after Tomlinson put him through. Then later in the half, Nevland got put through by Tomlinson again but this time Nevland tried the lob, it was parried and Tomlinson followed it up.

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In the end we blew the lead, for some reason our team just seemed to stop playing from the hour mark onwards and Northampton deserved the point. The goal that brought them back into it was after a mix-up between captain for the day Clegg and Culkin that resulted in the ball hitting the post and bouncing out to the grateful Brightwell who put it in an empty net. I have serious doubts about Culkin and look forward to the day our parent club sells Van Der Gouw.

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Next up is the trip to play Preston, who of course now no longer have Macken and Appleton which is quite possibly why they are 20th but then they usually struggle when I play on this game.

Pilkington is straight back into the team after injury, Duncan is suspended so into the centre comes Casper with Clegg going left back with O’Kane right back. The rest of the team is unchanged.

Well, Pilkington lasted long. 2 minutes in fact until he got himself sent off for bringing down Nogan when he was through. Nogan scored the penalty and then a McGibbon foul, which got him a yellow card, resulted in a free-kick that Culkin dropped and put into the net by Cissoko. Then as the half went out we slowly came back into it. McKenna then went off on a stretcher and 11 minutes later Tomlinson put Nevland through to score. Just before half-time Eyres elbowed Clegg in the face, for some reason, which led to his sending off. Still 2-1 down but now we have a chance.

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In the end we gained the point we probably could have lost in this match. Tomlinson played Mulryne in who slotted home nicely to earn us the point. To be honest, after Pilkington was sent off, which means we’ll be missing him and having to rely on Culkin again, I’d have taken the point.

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I don’t think so somehow Middlesbrough. Not just 1 player, not just 2 players but 3? You are bloody dreaming!

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Back home for our next match at home to Blackpool. Again it was the only match of the day on the Sunday, I think I have figured out why and I think I have been stupid. It’s because it’s at Old Trafford.

Anyway, I have tweaked the formation a little bit, I have moved Cooke and Mulryne out wide. Problem is, it may leave us exposed in the middle. We will soon see.

At half-time we are 2-0 up thanks to Notman suddenly turning on the style for us. First he got put through by Tomlinson and he finished with ease. Then Philpot climbed all over Appleton from a Mulryne corner and Notman converted the penalty easily. This then actually led to Philpot being taken off. All in all, a good first half by us for the first time in a while.

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Second half and we almost threw the game away again. Quinn pulled one back to put them back into the game. Then I brought Twiss on for Tomlinson and within 3 minutes of that sub, got put through by Notman and scored by taking it round the keeper. Then in the last 5 minutes, Quinn scored again. We won but we almost didn’t. Also, I am not surprised their keeper was man of the match. I just thought Notman deserved it also, he was really good today.

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We haven’t been the same in defence since Johnny boy left. On the plus side, I think, Brown is back from injury.

Oh please, leave my kids alone:

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Also, what is it with the same club coming in for several players at the same time?

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Thank you for the kind words and also, that profit is mainly through Johnny boy.

Not now Nevland:

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I think he’ll be back in time for Christmas. Though, it has to be said, the injury could not have come at a worse time. Our next match is against top of the table Walsall away. Brown is starting for Duncan and with Nevland injured, Twiss is starting with Macken on the bench.

At half-time it’s 0-0 and we have barely threatened them. In fact, Walsall have been over us quite a bit if truth be told.

At full-time we had lost and had surrendered top spot for sure now. Beckford with the only goal on 50 minutes after slotting it past Pilkington. I did think we equalised when Twiss but Tomlinson through 9 minutes later and Tomlinson slotted it home but the flag was up for offside.

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We deserved nothing from this match if truth be told.

Meanwhile in Scotland, it’s a good day to be a Dumbarton fan:

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Meanwhile, I have brought through motions to bring Dennis Irwin (wants first team football), David May (I need a centre back) and Solskjaer (transfer listed by request) down to the B team. I am hoping to get at least 2 of the 3. Especially the defenders.

Next up is at home in the Windowscreen Pointless Cup to Wrexham. Luckily this is the one game Pilkington is suspended for so it won’t make a difference as he wouldn’t have played anyway. I will be making several changes and to add to it, Twiss is out for a few days so he couldn’t play anyway.

At half-time we are 2-1 up, Notman played Macken through who put it in the net with such ease. Then in the 40th minute, Macken had a shot, it bounced off the keeper and Notman slotted it home. Then on the restart, Wrexham went straight down the other end, Clegg miskicked and Connelly put them back in it.

By full-time we scored a 3rd after Macken’s shot was parried by the keeper and David Brown scored his first goal for us. Somehow, his rating jumped from an average 6 to being man of the match with that 1 goal.

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Just 1 addition to this, how many people come to watch this pointless match?

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God damnit, what I didn’t want to see.

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I’m expecting a fixture pile-up soon.

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Blackpool it is then.

Both Solskjaer and Irwin rejected me. Just May to go. I will bide my time and hopefully I will be able to tempt Dennis soon. Solskjaer is on his way to Italy.

Next match is away in the FA Cup first round to Farnbrough. I am expecting us to net a lot of goals in this match. I am going for the FA Cup. I want the 3rd round and I want us to draw our parent club.

This is not a fair match, this is shooting practice:

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Thornley’s goal was a shimmy and then finished with ease, Brown scored his from a Thronley corner after he threw himself at the ball and Notman’s 2 goals came from rebounds.

It ended 5-1. I am very disappointed that we even conceded a goal. Appleton’s goal was a header from a corner.

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Our next round opponents are Chesterfield:

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Bye bye Ole Gunnar

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Our next match, as we try to get back to winning ways is Plymouth away. Just the one change as Twiss comes in for David Brown.

First half was a damp squib with not a lot happening, Plymouth did have a goal ruled out for offside but that’s it. The second half though:

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As you can see, I brought the completely ineffective Twiss off for Tomlinson and the same minute Hamilton scored from 25 yards from nothing. 6 minutes later, Thornley put Tomlinson through to score a simple finish. A minute later and Perkins handballed when Tomlinson was through on goal and was sent off. With 6 minutes to go, Tomlinson got brought down in the box, Notman blasted wide and 2 minutes later Tomlinson was put through by Macken to win the game for us. We barely deserved much from this match but a wins a win.

David May refused the drop down to the B team.

Our next match is home to York, Twiss is definitely out for Tomlinson but that’s the only change. At half-time we are 2 to the good thanks to Tomlinson pouncing on a loose ball after Thornley struck the post and then Thornley being put through by Macken to score with ease. However, what seemed like it may become a plain simple win:

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We went to 3-1 up thanks to Cooke’s cross and Macken putting the ball in the net, only for Toulson to jump on a mistake by Pilkington. We then got a 4th through Twiss jumping on a loose ball from Tomlinson’s shot that hit the woodwork. Then we proceeded to almost throw away the win as both Bull and Tolson again got behind our defence to put it to 4-3. At least we won this. Something I did notice is their number 3:

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Jon ‘Jonathan’ Greening used to actually play for Man United but didn’t sign him until after 1998 to which he was more of a left sided midfielder than defender. My question though is this. Can I sign him? Unfortunately I don’t think I can as he isn’t at Man United now, which is a shame as I need all the defenders I can get.

Meanwhile in the World Cup qualifiers:

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England are out on penalties to Bulgaria and Scotland are at the World cup along with the Republic of Ireland. Which has led to one hell of a group:

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Our next match is away to Milwall. Will we be able to keep this back to winning ways going?

At half-time it’s 1-0 to us as Macken put Tomlinson through to finish on the half hour mark. In the end it ended 1-1 which I feel was a fair result.

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Meanwhile in Scotland, Dumbarton couldn’t quite make it a double:

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Next match is home in the Windowscreen Pointless Cup to Blackpool. This fixture feels in the way for me. A totally changed side, or at least as changed as I can make it.

At half-time it seems my players care more about this thing than I do as Macken has got himself 2 and even my lovely Tree scoring 1 to put us 3-0 up. Looks like this change around has worked unless Blackpool care less for this than what I personally do.

In the end we won 3-2 as the defence did seem to want to throw away the match. The problem is though, we finished the match with 2 injures:

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4243

The Macken injury is the worst of the two in terms of the team but it won’t be the same without a Tree hanging around the training pitch for a couple of weeks.

Interesting signing for Chelsea:

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Oh joy, another game in the Window Screen:

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At least it’s over until January.

Final game of this big update of a couple of months is away to Chesterfield in the FA Cup 2nd round. Back to as full strength as I can get.

At half-time it’s 2-2 as we went 1-0 up thanks to Tomlinson, conceded 2 to Reeves, who I swear scored against me last time and David Brown equalised in the 40th minute after pouncing on a loose ball after Tomlinson’s shot hit the woodwork.

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It’s a replay for us then. We went 3-2 down on 55 minutes thanks to Reeves shot hitting the woodwork and Howard putting the ball into the empty net. Then the longer it went on, the more I thought we were going out. Until Cooke got put through 1-on-1 and slotted the ball under the keeper in the last 4 minutes. Tomlinson then hit the woodwork in the 90th minute.

I’m still making that profit:

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Before I leave you, here’s the current table:

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As you can see, we have played a game more and 4 points behind and since Johnny boy left, our goals against as really shot up. We just haven’t been the same since he left. Talking of which:

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He’s had a decent enough start for Leeds.

Where is our parent club in the Premier League?

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With the squad they have assembled, did you expect them to be anywhere else?

With that, it’s goodbye from the B’s for this part. Join us next time to see if we can progress to round 3 and see who we could play and see if we can get back to the top of the table over Christmas.

 

Building Brazil – Part 10: A Europa Acena

It’s time for season 4 of Rob’s Brazilian challenge. He set out to make an all Brazilian team to storm the Portugese league and…it’s sort of worked out. Catch up with part 9 here.

Season four starts early for us, we have such a low reputation that we have to play in the UEFA Preliminary round on July 26th. Oh and as usual I am struggling to attract players and the ones that do want to come aren’t prepared to be paid the £800 p/w that the board have capped my wages at. This save is frustrating and enjoyable in equal measure not to worry we are on a europa acena (European adventure) to Malta and the Naxxer Lions.

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The squad is a bit low in numbers and because I’m starting so earlier nobody I sign can play in Europe until the quarter finals, which I am optimistically hoping we reach.

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Rai – not interested

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Joel – not interested

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Nene – wants to leave

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Bebeto – says no

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I just wanted to show how hard I am trying to actually sign some Brazilians so that you empathises with all the non Brazilian signings I’m going to make in a minute. Before that though, it is the end of July and Naxxer are here. European football in Madeira! It is safe to say they were not great.

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Told you, I have no idea who Keates is but Craib is Gary McCallister.

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The second leg in Malta is just a formality and despite theses stats, the result was a little bit shocking.

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Doesn’t matter though, we are through and the next stop on our great adventure is…

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Portugal. Vitoria Secrets finished 5th last year but somehow they didn’t need to go through a preliminary qualifier!

I sell Carlos because he’s 33 and doesn’t play so £190k seems a good price.

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Then, something amazing happens. Word travels back to Brazil about trips to Malta and suddenly they all come running, well sort of.

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The squad is assembled ready for the UEFA cup first round and guess what, loanees don’t seem to get cup tied, amazing.

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It’s a tight affair away to Vitoria but Da Silva comes up trumps and we take a strong victory and away goal into the second leg.

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At this point they all start asking to leave again, I’m going to stop putting in pictures, just assume they all want to leave, it’s easier. I also add a young Italian as midfield cover and John Lukic’s son Nigel as keeper cover. Onto the season opener hosting Beira Mar and all our hard work in europe means we are slow and tired and therefore lose, not the best of starts.

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Two days later and it’s clear we were saving ourselves for big game. Bring on round two and £250k prize money.

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The second round sees us face TSV Munich 1860.

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As we move through the gears in europe the domestic front sees us stall. We lose at home for the second game in a row and we were bad, really really bad, the two goals were undeserved.

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Away to Estrela next and we dominate but cannot score, it ends 0-0 and we have one point from nine, not the start I was looking for. European football has proved an unwelcome distraction we clearly can’t concentrate on two competitions at the same time. We follow up that 0-0 with another against Espinho, they don’t even have a shot on target but we can’t take advantage, I’m starting to worry.

We have our UEFA tie against Munich next and I don’t fancy our chances however we are fantastic, we play them off the park and lose 2-3, they had five shots on target we had eleven, it’s unjust but with two away goals I’m confident we can still make it through.

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Uh oh this is not good news

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This week’s league game is against Boavista at home and it’s another 0-0 draw. After five games we are 15th one place above the relegation zone, Sporting Lisbon are doing even worse than us though so they sack Carlos Manuel just in time for our league match next.

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It’s just what we need and after they miss a penalty early on we make them pay in the second half. The win takes us up to 12th, few.

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We host TSV Munich next so this victory and the two away goals are just what we need to overturn the deficit. But then disaster, I don’t know what has happened, well I do but just can’t believe it.

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I sold Carlos and got a couple of free transfer keepers as backup but since the cup started so early they are both cup tied and Bugi is suspended. The game though can generate a player when this happens but they generate me H Filipe a FUCKING left back, this is BULLSHIT. I’m sorry for swearing but a non keeper in goal is disastrous, you concede pretty much every shot! Edinaldo Peu gets the nod and we give it a really good go but ultimately we lose after extra time. I almost believed at 3-1 up but Becker did us in with his second goal.

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After that result I go on tilt and sell Nene to Braga because he isn’t scoring and the money is too good to turn down.

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We go back to the league and another 0-0 away to Belenenses, scoring used to be our thing in the league. There is a little ray of hope though, He’s back.

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Even though Laelson doesn’t play just having him back makes all difference against Braga, we finally score and win.

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Next up we travel to Vit. Setubal and it’s another win. I was so happy when Joel scored, I was resigned to another 0-0 draw, I think the tide maybe turning.

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The final game of this long and eventful update and we face Academica at the Barreiros. It’s another game that we dominate only to concede a late goal that stops us taking all three points. Some games we just seem to concede a goal every time they hit the target. Young Zenga is still a little inconsistent it seems.

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Our up and down performances leave us in 7th place but with two thirds of the season left to play hopefully we can secure European football for a second season.

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See you next week for more of this bizarre adventure.

You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator