The price of success

As the year on the calendar ticks over to 2005, it’s fair to say the problems facing Darlington now are much nicer issues than back in 1997. Now an established Premier League club, there’s success to be had on several fronts – all of which comes at a price. What am I babbling about? Let’s find out…

One thing that hasn’t changed is that we’re still relatively small fry in the grand scheme of things – Japhet N’doram’s regenerated player is testament to that

ayew wants outHe’s still the best £5k ever spent, now worth a massive £8m at 24 years of age. He’s not going anywhere…

I’m still confident we can match his ambition – a good run in Europe to get ourselves established will certainly help matters. It goes right down to the wire against Anderlecht

anderlecht penalty shoot outA rare 100% success record there from the spot, why Carlos Germano went 6th I’ll never known but he scored and then saved from his opposite number. Good lad. It’s a decent quarter final draw too

UEFA Cup QF DrawThey push us right to the limit and just as I’m preparing to pick 5 takers, my Uruguayan comes to the table

darlo spartaThe semi-final draw has a very Anglo-Italian feel about it, except the Italian sides are of a very high quality

uefa cup sf drawHow we’ve got ourselves into this situation, I’ll never know. We’ll have to do all of this with our Gazza re-incarnation, who sustains a nasty injury

oakes spineWe’re somehow still in the FA Cup too, but we’ve got a potential tie with Everton to look forward to.

fa cup sf 05We’ve actually done the hard bit of drawing at Stamford Bridge to earn a replay at Feethams, but that brings its own problems. Look at this schedule:

brutal week4 very tough games in 8 days…that’s going to hurt.

It’s almost with relief that I tell you we’re not involved in the League Cup – clearly the same view most of the top end clubs have followed

LC Sf 04Wolves.vs Bristol City should not be the final of anything. Actually, Wolves were enjoying a UEFA Cup run, until a goal keeping disaster ended up with Phil Mulryne in nets at the San Siro

wolves keeper30 minutes of Marcus Bent is rather too much.

England are well represented in the Champions League, although 3 become 1 for the Semi finals

CL QF resultsThe Semi final draw is high quality, as you would expect. With the holders Liverpool out, we’re guaranteed a new champion.

CL SFThere’s been a handful of big transfers across Europe

domi to barca Raul to Man Utd bjornebye to milanBy big, I of course mean hilarious. Sadly that’s a different Stig Bjornebye, not the one of Liverpool fame. La Liga is actually really tight for once

la ligaThere are 4 potential winners there, but we’re still waiting for our first non El Clasico winner.

Finally, let’s take a moment to appreciate this

armenia 1 - 0 holland10 man Armenia just too strong for Holland. World Cup 2006 is in England, remember.

So with just a couple of months to go in the 04/05 season, here’s the table

Prem top March 05It couldn’t be tighter at the top, with just 4 goals separating West Ham from Man Utd. Chelsea, under Gerry Francis, could close to within a point if they win their game in hand. I’m fairly content being in the top 6, given our success in the UEFA Cup and still being in the FA Cup, though with Everton in 4th that’s going to be a tough tie should we beat 3rd placed Chelsea.

prem bottom march 05It’s a rough time for Yorkshire and the surrounding areas. Barnsley look done with Hull not in good shape. It’s any one from about 5 though for the last spot. Incidentally, Matt Le Tisser has found his feet at Arsenal and they are top of Division 1 with a 16 point cushion to the playoffs.

That brings you up to date with the happenings in this crazy game, and to celebrate the return of the (real life) Premier League season we have a whole week of updates! Keep your eye on our twitter account for regular updates all week, culminating in the season finale next Sunday.

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