Matt Wills put the power in your hands and you chose to send him to Nottingham Forest. For a catch up on what this is all about, click here. Otherwise, over to Matt…
‘Run Forest, run’ is the judgement from Twitter, so here I am, having simmed the game 8 years into the future, I take the reins from Stuart Pearce as Nottingham Forest manager, and find them in the Premiership with £25m in the bank and less than £15m worth of talent in the squad.
My aim is to emulate Cloughie and turn an unfashionable club into the toast of Europe. I’m giving myself a 3 season limit to earn some European silverware.
You can see Forest having really been pulling up any trees and don’t really have anything to shout about squad wise. The team s also full, so I’ll need to shift some deadwood before I can do any major surgery.
Didier Lang is 34 and on £30,000 a week, so he’ll be transfer listed. Of there rest, there’s nothing really to shout about, a real mix of journey men and never-will be’s.
Out in the wider managerial world, there are no big shocks, although George Graham is back at Arsenal
Looking at the player values in England, Man Utd look to have the strongest squad, so I don’t think I’ll be aiming for the Champions League this season. I turn to the free transfer list and spy Vikhash Dhorasoo up for grabs, but I’ll have to beat PSG to his signature ( I don’t).
I start to thin the squad out in readiness for new signings and turn my attention to my favourite Chadian and Liberian regens – Japhet N’Doram and President George Weah – both available for £5K a pop. Both are 27 by Season #9, but that is no issue for me. I’m hoping to get a tune out of Zizi, as in other saves, Weah’s regen is normally a bit of a disappointment unless playing for someone else.
After missing out on Dhorasoo, I use my searching skills and find a young Roy Keane regen ready and willing. I also bring in the regen of Ronald De Boer on loan, but he lasts one friendly before being recalled – excellent.
I decided to get to know my team by playing a few friendless against the other teams in the Twitter vote, but Liverpool are unavailable, so I square up against Lazio, Espanyol and lowly Telford Utd. Two 3-3 draws and a 5-0 demolition of Telford tell me nothing apart from I think Irons is the regen of Bryan Robson.
We kick off the season against Watford, who have Heskey and Mainwaring upfront, who grab a goal each, but we do one better through Debbah, Liverpool reject David Thompson and Frank Lampard to get off to the perfect start. I was surprised to see Michael Owen on the bench, even more surprised to see he’s only been capped twice by England, scoring one goal. I guess he’s no Noel Whelan.
Next up are Premiership Champions Middlesbrough, and although we lose 1-0, I’m satisfied we matched them for most of the match.
Away at Spurs, our new young French defender caps off a dismal performance by scoring an own goal condemning us to a 2-0 reverse. Things go from bad to worse when we lose 4-0 to Norwich at Carrow Road and new Dutch signing Wessel Kemble get himself sent off early doors.
Things pick up in midweek though with the visit of Graham Stuart’s Villa, Debbah, Kemble and Lampard with the goals. During the internationals, we also manage to entice Brendan Fisher (Gazza) away from exotic Grimsby for £300k and a house for his mum and dad.
Star-studded Derby are next to visit after the international break and a chance for our next new signing to make a start, Batistuta regen, Rubini replacing the suspended Kemble. Derby feature David James, Dominic Matteo, Rivaldo, Trezeguet and Michael Branch on the bench. Nelo misses a penalty and we miss the chance at 2 extra points as we languish in the lower half of the league.
The League Cup and a two leg tie with Oldham gives a respite from our indifferent league form and Debbah helps himself to a hat-trick in a 5-2 win. Our young Scottish goalkeeper Jim Coughlin is starting to become a concern, conceding soft goals at an alarming rate.
Back to the league and we nudge aside Wolves, 3-2, with French attacking midfielder Ascencio proving to be an asset and maybe one signing Stuart Pearce got right.
We meet midweek with Man City to play our catch up game due to their Champions League exploits and the closeness of the league means a win would move us from 13th to 5th, but alas it is not to be and we succumb to a late winner by the amusingly named Bradley Hadley.
Bringing us a quarter of the way into the league programme, Newcastle hold us to a 1-1 draw, with another late goal costing us points.
We round out this update with formalities of the League Cup and the return leg against Oldham, gong through comfortably 3-1 on the night and 8-3 on aggregate, setting up a 2nd round tie against Premier league Watford.
All of this leaves us 15th in the table, no improvement on last year’s finish, but only 4 pts off 2nd, with Hull stretching away at the top. At the moment the league is wide open, but despite the calibre of the regens, I’m struggling for consistency if I’m honest and hope my fortunes turn around in the next quarter. Hopefully you’ll join me for the next update where I’ll be looking to add some steel to my defence and pts to the board, but before I go, I’ll just give you a quick update on the other teams which lost the vote:
Liverpool – Currently sitting 3rd in Division 1 and into the 2nd Round of the League Cup, player-manager Alan Shearer looking for a swift return to the top table.
Lazio – With 5 games gone, Lazio are languishing in 12th in Serie B in their bid for promotion but do hold a 2-0 advantage in the first leg of the Cup Winners Cup against Sparta Vladikavkaz.
Espanyol – Sitting 13th in La Liga and already out of the Copa Del Rey, it looks to be a long season for Jose Antonio Camacho’s team.
See you all in a week!
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills