Matt returns to the Stockport hotseat after a small break. As Stockport embark on February 1998, Matt has his work cut out to keep The Hatters in the promotion mix. You can catch up with the previous entry here.
Well it has been a while, so here’s a quick reminder, we are doing pretty damn well for such a small club, but did have a wobble in November and December, but got back on track in January. We’re out of the cups although did claim the scalp of Everton on the way, and now we have 15 games to consolidate our play off place and push for the automatics. I have also signed Remi Garde from Arsenal, and no I wasn’t playing drunk, I promise.
We have 4 games this month and all our opponents are in the bottom half, so surely this will give us a decent chance to continue our upward momentum. There is a big dilemma for our supporters as we play West Brom away on Valentine’s Day, well they do say Birmingham is the Venice of the Midlands so why not combine the football with a romantic meal there afterwards? There may be a few extra single men in Stockport by the end of the month…
Oh unlucky ladies of Stockport, Birmingham will have to wait, the FA have rescheduled the West Brom match, probably because said ladies went down to Lancaster Gate and threatened them, anything to avoid a night in Birmingham.
Our last game seems ages ago, but we are on a good run so I see no reason to change things for the visit of Forest. I am a bit disconcerted to see Freddy Leon up front for them, I remember him vaguely being very good in the Premier League and they’ve paid £4.5 million for him, sums I can only dream of.
Another boring first half but we are behind to pretty much the only thing that happens. At least it’s not Freddy Leon, but we are behind. How are this lot in the bottom half?
Well that was rubbish. I changed formations, changed personnel, nothing. Yawn fest for everyone and no points, sod it I’m off for a beer, we don’t play for a fortnight now for no apparent reason. It’s so tight at the top!
I still feel I need a striker, and I am going for a bit of a Hail Mary to start, it probably won’t happen but we’ll give it a go. My other target is a Champ Man legend apparently, I don’t remember him first time around, but I saw him mentioned on Twitter so looked him up and damn he’s good!
Surely Arsenal won’t need Anelka anyway, he’ll never turn into anything. Gifton Noel-Williams on the other hand will win England a World Cup, I’m sure…
Ah well maybe not…
But for half the price I have the ‘legend’, now I’m sure I can turn him into a bang average striker…
We finally have another game, 2 weeks later. I hate those weeks off, but at least I went to scout a few players (‘it’s the chairman luv, he insisted), rather than having to spend the day and that damn awful Swedish shop. They do have better hotdogs than Edgeley Park though, I will give them that.
Stoke at home now before a couple of away games to finish off the year. Youngs is on the bench and I drop Armstrong completely for Charana as his form and morale are rock bottom and let’s face it he’s been rubbish for ages. Connelly has picked up a training knock so in comes Tetradze, otherwise it’s as you were. We could really do with a result here, I just hope Carl Muggleton isn’t as inspired as the return fixture in their goal. It should be Jim Gannon’s return, but he is suspended so will watch from the stands.
As you can tell from the late screenshot not much happens in the first 11 minutes, but then groans are audible around the ground as we concede to the forgettable Peter Thorne. Thankfully though their lead lasts about a minute before the fit again Kiko Charana equalises. To be honest we’ve not been good but at least we are level at half time.
We got away with one there, no goals in the second half and although Charana hit the bar we were second best, but we out Stoked Stoke so I can’t complain. Where has our Keegan football gone?!
I still harbour ambitions of a top 2 finish but time is running out!
Good start to your Stockport career lad…. The latest was for kicking the ball away. I contemplate throwing my tea at him, but think better of it…
West Brom away next, and I make 3 changes, Connelly is fit again and comes in, with Youngs and Carlita starting. West Brom is a pretty bleak place to come to in February, its bloody freezing and not exactly picturesque. We need a run at some point surely, I know I sound a bit desperate there and really ought to remind myself I was aiming to avoid relegation this season.
I can’t even click off the match screen to screenshot before Flynn is booked, and to be fair it should be red, the ref completely bottled it. Hope it gets better! It doesn’t, when 30 seconds later Cavaco goes off with an injury that it turns out makes 4 minutes of injury time, ominous.
That’s as bad as the first half gets though as we wind back the clock to proper Keegan football, we are 2-0 up at half time, the first coming in the 2nd minute through Cavaco’s replacement, some things are meant to be…. We should be about 5 up, this is more like it!
Annoyingly I forgot to screenshot one of my best first half performances, but no matter, It continues and only a superb performance from Paul Crichton in the West Brom net stops us adding to the score, and Carlita is superb, running the show from midfield. Tony who? (The answer is Dinning in case you aren’t a Stockport diehard). Mission accomplished, I leave West Bromwich with a smile and not just because, you know, I’m leaving West Bromwich.
That was our game in hand and whilst its looking hard to catch Boro in second, we can only keep winning and hope.
Good news, Cavaco is only out for a week with a bruised head, the wuss, however Flynn and Armstrong will both miss 2 matches in a fortnight through suspension. Annoyingly I think Youngs will also miss at least one of those.
Last up this month is a trip down to Portsmouth, another glamour destination, and my team is the same as the one that started the second minute against West Brom.
Once again I forgot to screenshot before the game, but we absolutely batter them, however our finishing is woeful and we go undeservedly behind. Just before half time however we pull a goal back through Carlita, slotting home past Zeljko Kalac, the not especially impressive keeper who somehow will soon end up at AC Milan, give that agent a knighthood. Carry this on in the second half and surely we will come away with all 3 points.
Well the second half was more even, but we do carve out more chances, in fact they only have 2, so of course inevitably they score both through the man with the lovely hair, Paul Walsh, and we lose 3-1. I am off to scream into a pillow. See you in March
You can follow Matt on Twitter @PorterMatt