What ever happened to…Natipong “Alfred” Sritong-In

There are many hidden gems in the CM9798 database and “Alfred” is one of them, with a potential of -1. Natipong spent his youth career in France eventually making his professional bow at Olympique Noisy-le-Sec where he scored 3 goals in 21 appearances. In 1994 he signed for Thai Farmers scoring 66 goals in 89 appearances.

He won 55 caps for his Country scoring 25 goals in two years and winning the gold medal at both the 1995 and 1997 Sea Games. Wikipedia suggests that he retired from football to take up golf! He was last noted as managing the Royal Thai Navy FC but appears to have left after they were relegated to the Thai League Two.

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Mission Impossible – Saving Barnsley (Part 4)

You may recall Andrew did the impossible and kept Barnsley in the Premier League. Not satisfied with one miracle, he’s setting about keeping them there using only the players Barnsley really signed. Catch up with how Andrew kept them in the Premier League here.

Hello and welcome back to another adventure in deepest darkest Yorkshire! Last time out you found us dreaming of and delivering on the impossible; turning the clock back to 1997, unpicking the mistakes of Danny Wilson, and ensuring Barnsley’s survival against the odds in their debut Premier League season with the original squad only.

As you’ll no doubt be aware, it all ended so tragically in real life. So, to follow-up with a rather more impossible feat again, we’ll be looking to repeat the feat, only allowing ourselves to sign players whom John Hendrie’s Barnsley signed for their First Division season of 1998-99.

This means, the list of possible signings are;

Fumaca, Bruce Dyer, Alan Moore, Deon Burton, Don Goodman, Craig Hignett, Mike Sheron, Robin van der Laan, Clayton Blackmore, Scott Jones, Pirri, Chris Barker, Jon Parkin, Brian O’Callaghan, Rory Fallon, Paul Bagshaw, Marc Heckingbottom, Paul Kennedy, or Richard Siddall (if they exist in the database anyway).

And to top that off, the players we must sell, or release (or just plain ignore) are;

Neil Redfearn, Andy Liddell, Jan Age Fjortoft, Jon Perry, Neil Thompson, Laurens Ten-Heuval, Govo Bosancic, Deane Bullock, Rory Prendergast, Dean Jones and Ashley Ward.

That…seems like it will inevitably end in pain. We can play Fjortoft and Andy Liddell until we sell them given they went mid-season in reality, but Redfearn mustn’t be played.

We’ll try our best to offload the players for sale in player exchanges to avoid offending the board/destroying our budget if we cannot shift them.

So far our preparatory mission is going great guns…

No thanks. Meanwhile Hristov has had his work permit declined. And we have shifted Ashley Ward.

Pre-season rings some massive alarm bells. If we manage to survive then this will be the biggest escape on record. However, I have a feeling we’ll be propping the table up/getting sacked. Okay, that confirms it, we’re done for…

F****** hell lads I said to keep it nice and sensible! Well we make our way to Filbert Street with absolutely ground zero expectations, and to my surprise we dominate proceedings, have three cleared off the line and come away with a respectable 0-0 draw against a Leicester side that finished 10th last season.

Our first game at Oakwell and we earn another shut-out where we’ve kept West Ham down to just one chance all game. I’m calling that another point in the bag!

We make our first signing of the season as Mike Sheron becomes available for a cool £1.1m, a proven goal scorer in the First Division (that will keep the punters happy…), can he help us survive in the Premier League?

Looking at the positive, we have our first goal! We follow it up by dropping points to 9th placed Sunderland. Sheron spurned a 89th minute open goal too.

We get off lightly at Stamford Bridge:

It seems that, for love nor money, we cannot buy a goal. Tottenham practically begged us to win and we stubbornly (how very Yorkshire of us) refused.

Onwards and downwards we march. Brad Friedel prevents us from getting a point. Kluivert, Sevchenko and co squeeze over the line.

Sandwiched in-between our absolute epic failures in the Premier League we manage a 1-0 win over Bury in the League Cup. Next up Derby County come-a-calling and it has all the trappings of the Sunderland game, 1-0 up, cruising, throw it away.

4th placed Aston Villa are the next side to add to our shame at the foot of the table as the only winless team in the division (it was 2-0). That said, the gap to safety isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

It’s a classic top vs. bottom, and we pull out all the stops, dominate the game, but our inability to score continues to plague us. Note again, the opposing ‘keeper getting man of the match. The positive…we’re now 19th (unlucky Coventry).

We advance thanks to a draw in the League Cup vs. Bury. John Hendrie gets scythed down and is out with a groin injury for three months, the last thing we needed after putting in a great shift at Man Utd. No doubt he’ll be out on the hoy too and come back in a fine shape…

Another action packed Yorkshire derby…at least we didn’t lose, but that’s more points pissed away. Mike Sheron still to set the Premier League alight. In other news, Art imitates life as Malcolm Crosby takes over from Denis Smith…

Oh my I’ve gone all dizzy…we double our goals tally in one game as Boro get terrorised by the Tykes! Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeron!!!

We follow up with a predictable 1-0 loss to mid-table Blackburn having spurned chance after chance, normal service has been resumed! A break from the stress as we visit Division 3 Macclesfield to secure a 3-0 victory and reach the League Cup 4th round. But the big end to October is a battle at the bottom as we take on 20th placed Coventry in a real 6 pointer.

It started so well, and we dominated the game, but it was all ruined in a very short spell.

And with that, October comes to a close. I would estimate our chances of survival as 1 in 100 at this point. That said we’ve improved and taken 5 points from the last 15 which is over half our total to date. We’re also only 4 points from safety despite our abysmal form.

Defensively we are actually very sound, and it’s no wonder big clubs are circling for the man from Leek Town (Tony Bullock) and Adi Moses who are phenomenal. Up top Sheron is certainly no Shearer, and as the shortlist goes, only Clayton Blackmore remains available when I could desperately do with Goodman, Burton or Dyer to mix things up in front of goal.

The board have a clear understanding that I’m trying to keep a team that finished 13th in the First Division in real life in the Premier League. So, please stay with us and we’ll see you next time to see if we can make it through winter within touching distance of our ridiculous goal!

You can follow Andrew on Twitter @kingoftherooks

CM9798 Retirement Home – Part 4: Level up

Hello! Welcome back to the Retirement Home, where I’m attempting to manage a team of over 35’s up the football league. Things have started well, as we romped to the Third Division title securing over 100 points in the process. But with five calling it quits last week we need to replenish the golden oldies with new blood. Well, old blood…some blood. You get the idea. We need to find players capable of playing in Division 2 as well, as let’s face it, the current crop aren’t going to improve much. We have £2m to help us out.

debt cleared

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What ever happened to…Anthony Betterton

Little is known about the career of Anthony Betterton, he doesn’t even have an entry on Wikipedia. The little data available suggest he spent some time at Swindon Town, before signing for Highworth Town, Swindon Supermarine and Shrivenham before moving back to Highworth Town at some point (Only known thanks to an online Wooton Bassett Town FC programme from 2012).

However, in 2006 he made a report in the Swindon Advisor on a non-league match between North Leigh and Shrivenham where he was written to be involved in a “farcical mix-up” with a defender costing his side a goal to former Nottingham Forest player Chris Allen.

CM97/98: Playable Norwegian League

Andrew is back again with some Scandinavian tinkering. He’s made the Norwegian league playable which is summarised below. You can download the database here.

So, you probably noticed by now that I have a small obsession with the Scandinavian content of CM9798. But isn’t the most infuriating thing, that, despite all these hidden secrets, the teams remain unplayable? Well, fear not any longer, as my itchy editing finger has been hard at work.

Scotland is the victim, and I have traded their clubs out and replaced with the Norwegian structure. The nature of the Norwegian leagues in 1997 means this isn’t an exact replica, but largely adheres to the previous seasons finishing positions. We’ll watch the season pan out so, let’s meet the new Norwegian Premier League:

I’ve allowed the season to play out without interference and to see how the AI deploys the players on offer. The big challenge will be the volume of dreaded big-club release clauses due to the relatively low ranking of the Norwegian clubs. There are also some players on offer that I have NEVER seen in an active game. Haugesund have two Nigerian’s Garba and Adimole who look fantastic. So how did the season end up? Let’s see.

Norwegian Premier League

In a surprising turn up for the books, Molde were crowned the inaugural champions of the newly formed Norwegian Premier League. Stabaek were relegated following the sale of Tommy Svindal-Larsen mid-season which saw their form drop through the proverbial trapdoor with them.

Stromsgodset survived a relegation play-off to stay up and can probably lay claim to the best export as usual.

Rosenborg shone on the European stage, making the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, bowing out 1-0 over two legs to Lazio, underwhelmed in the League.

The biggest exporters of the season were Brann. The fact they finished second after their squad took a battering is some achievement.

The top goal scorers’ charts were a bit of a surprise. Kjetil Lovvik has a shooting rating of just 10, whilst Kristian Sorli only 12. Clearly Mons-Ivar Mjelde would have took the gong having scored 16 in 15 before leaving for the Bundesliga.

A fairly similar story in the assists table. Garba and Adimole in the top 10 assists though, suggest Haugesund have potential. Kjetil Lovvik again playing beyond the capability his ratings would suggest.

Norwegian Division One

Moss grows fat on a rolling stone, and they would have been drinking plenty of it in celebration back in 1998. Stian Neset and Erik Bakke relegated at Sogndal. Skeid went downhill after selling Christer George to Genoa.

Eik-Tonsberg also fell away after selling Christian Bye Andersen to OB Odense.

Byasen’s goals against is…just wow!

Valerenga scored 62 goals, and Kaasa scoring over half of them.

Jo Tessem breaking the top ten, again with limited finishing ability. Bye Andersen might have surpassed Kaasa, but I guess we’ll never know!

Ulrik Balling may well have done better playing in a stronger side.

In the assist charts Kaasa must have been setting himself up! Unlike the Premier League this mixes things up a bit. Moss’ lack of players in either chart is astonishing for the league winners.

Norwegian Division Two

Bryne took the league title by 7 points, leaving Ham Kam a bit salty in their wake. Mjondalen didn’t impress as much as I thought they would with Anders Rotevaten in the sticks, Kim Pedersen at the back and Bollerud creating the chances.

In the goal scoring charts a familiar face pops up, having signed for Ham Kam, but 6th? Poor effort.

Good to see Vidar Hasund up there with 14 goals.

Looking at the assists chart, GT has become an assists man. Rune Medalen the perennial runner-up.

Norwegian Division Three

Drobak-Frogn will be disappointed to fail on goal difference especially as they managed to make it to the Norwegian FA Cup final (losing 3-1 to Rosenborg).

The top goal scorers chart shows just how Sarpsborg managed to sneak ahead of Drobak-Frogn.

Sulja couldn’t get his shots off in the FA Cup but he’s tore a hole through division three that’s for sure.

Sarpsborg are a talented squad for such a lowly side:

The top three dominate the proceedings, but, given between them they scored 197 goals, that’s not surprising. Harstad would have had another in the standings had he not been so good he was snapped up early doors.

Soderlund and Sulja showing themselves to be clinical and selfless all in one.

The Cups

A showdown between eventual runners-up of the top two divisions. Unfortunately for the Odd lads it was all Brann.

In the Norwegian League Challenge Cup, Christer George settled the game for Skeid.

And as we’ve already said, lowly Drobak-Frogn made it to the FA Cup final against Rosenborg. Despite taking the lead, it collapsed pretty quickly.

And with that, I leave you with a gift. The gift of the three required databases to play the Norwegian season out to your hearts content! Just add these databases to your file (make sure to back up the old ones!) and you too can have a Norwegian adventure.

CM9798 Retirement Home – Part 3: Pints make prizes

Hello and welcome back to the CM9798 Retirement Home. It’s the end of the first season of this little experiment and so far, the old timers have more than held their own. Mick Quinn and Kerry Dixon are smashing the goals in and Dave Beasant is doing an admirable job of keeping them out. Here’s where we are with basically half a season to play:

Div 3 top December

Buckle in as this might end up being quite a long update!

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