What did he say about a big gnome? Rob Tait is here with the end of season 2 of his Portugese adventure with Uniao Madeira. His all Brazilian squad have been a mix of Brazil and Norwich so far, but how will season two end? Catch up with part 5 here.
Welcome back to the final third of the season, 12 games to see how high we can go after this crazy first season in the top flight. At the end of the last update we had just won three in a row against top five opposition and I was high as a CM kite. The first game of the update and Leca come to the Barreiros, a close games but we take the three points.
Our winning run has not gone unnoticed and want away Brazilian international Antonio Carlos is interested in joining little old Uniao. I still haven’t spent that money the board gave me at the beginning of the season and this guy is a “jogador de grande nome” (big name player) so I just have to do it, also I wronged him on my Roma save and promised I would make it up to him.
Antonio’s arrival immediately unsettles the whole team including centre back partner Peu and just like that our little resurgence is over.
Or is it? We have developed some bounce back ability, this Nene might be a bit of a find. Every unknown Brazilian I sign is a bit of a shot in the dark but he seems to be doing it at the moment.
We then beat Varzim away in another game where I can’t believe they scored two goals.
Before dispatching Academica, competition for his starting place brings the best out of Marquinhos who bags a hat-trick.
That’s 7 wins from the last eight games and everyone is starting to believe we belong in the top flight. Which is why away to Vit. Setubal we lose 0-1 after conceding a 77th minute penalty, that was one of the two shots they had on target the whole game!!!!
After that game hosting Sporting Lisbon was always going to be tough and it was, they are still a way ahead of us.
Confidence is gone, we are about as resilient as cheese cracker so when derby day rolls around the following week we do nothing but wallow in our own self pity against Maritimo.
The Easter break can’t come soon enough for us. A couple of weeks off to think about resurrection and all that. It works though as we win the next three games, scoring 13 and conceding only 2.
Those three wins leave us in 8th. Our final game is at home to Benfica, we have 53 points and a long shot at 6th if we win but we could drop to 9th if we lose.
The season is finished off in style with a 2-0 win against Benfica, Laelson nets his 20th of the season and Nene adds another. Results go against us though and it is 8th place after all with Porto crowned champions.
We have been infuriating and also a little unlucky this year but in the end 8th is pretty good going I think. I’m not really sure where to go from here though. I need a little bit more quality for those close games but I also need to make some money as our finances are consistently precarious. I will worry about all this another day. For now here are some season stats to round off the year.
Helcinho still getting it done, he has been good.
Da Silva and Leonidas are both good left wingers, it is a shame they can’t both play, maybe Leonidas can play wingback.
Laelson got better as the year went on and 20 goals is a good return, hopefully he will kick on.
Nene was a good signing towards the end and some of those 7 goals were vital.
Marquinhos was a bit hot and cold, he might have reached his peak.
Peu and and Antonio Carlos will hopefully gel next year, Antonio needs a full season before judgment as he has made a slow-ish start.
Centre mid and the full backs are my areas of concern.
The annual awards see a Radek Bejbl get the European Footballer award, no team or individual awards for Madeira United. DMC Sergio Duarte retires and I won’t be going after his regen he peaked in Division 2 and Jefferson isn’t too bad. Dunga might even retire soon as well.
I’m going to do some serious cost analysis and marketing in the close season we need to expand the Uniao Madeira brand in order to afford and attract the better Brazilian players. Until next week…
You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator