Hello! Welcome to that awkward mid season update. Season 10 started really promising, I thought corners had been turned and a new era of domination was here. Then we lost a few times are it was soon apparent that I am a fool. That said, there’s still a lot to play for and if we can finish higher than 12th, it’s progress.
Naturally we set about doing that with a heavy home loss.
We hold a slender one goal lead as we head to Croatia for the second leg of our Cup Winners Cup tie. We get absolutely battered in the first half and frankly it’s a relief when McCallum nets against the run of play. That away goal means they need two and they don’t manage any. Time for us to make like a banana and split.
It’ll be Sporting Lisbon in the spring. Not one for this update.
The trip to Sunderland is typically dull. Lukic seals us a point.
Repeat that last paragraph but replace Sunderland with Bolton. At least we aren’t losing.
Bottom club Brentford have signed Robbie Fowler. He doesn’t score but we’re having a nightmare at the minute. The wins just aren’t coming and it comes to something when a late rally sneaks us a point thanks to Lukic and McBoyaboy.
As luck would have it, we face them again in the League Cup. This is a much easier day out and we seal a quarter final place.
Time for our annual mauling off Palace. Even with Hawkes injured, we still get turned over.
Our training sessions basically resemble a standard episode of Takeshi’s Castle. The classic version, with Craig Charles. Here Quaranta was overly ambitious on stepping stones and will miss the remainder of the season.
The winless league run stretches back 2 months. A 0-0 with Man City is not progress.
Another centre half bites the dust. It’s a good job I strengthened that area in the summer.
Finally, just before Christmas, it all comes together. Deary is in because De Rold is out for 4 months. He scores and McBride adds two. A WIN!
STOP KNACKING EACH OTHER MAN.
You can always rely on Hull to provide some respite. Cambiasso still turns out for them, somehow.
At the turn of the year we are 11th. Two points from 6th is the way I’m choosing to look at things.
The FA Cup has been kind to us recently. We lead at Preston thanks to Sedgey but they secure a replay. I’m not massively surprised.
Ah yes the Super Cup. It’s barely even worth trying. Torino are a fully functioning adult side who have won back to back Champions Leagues. I have a man called Tony Hool in centre midfield.
Give me strength. Off we go to Highbury. Claudio Lopez has a napkin around his shirt collar, I’m not sure why.
The Pointless Cup has brought us up against 2nd Division Stockport. You’d think a Premier League side would win such an event, but no. It’s a 0-0 draw with barely a chance created. Thankfully we take penalties with aplomb and book a semi final spot in a cup I barely care about.
A home game with Fulham gets off to the perfect start. Conceding to Jason Euell is an obvious blow but Lukic and Powell put us 3-1 up with 4 minutes to go. You know the rest.
It’s just one disaster after another. We’re 1-0 down to Preston in the replay but rally to win. Carl Serrant’s red card is helpful.
Such is our fixture pile up, our reward is a fourth round tie with Blackburn 3 days later. Four goals are shared in five minutes before Lukic has the final say. A 5th round tie at home to unfancied Reading will doubtless end in disaster next week.
The Torino game is next. It’s a game we can’t win but look at the state of this squad. Granted I am partially to blame for loaning out so many players but the injuries are out of control. I have to have two keepers on the bench, the ultimate indignity.
It’s not a bad effort in the circumstances. We are not the Super Cup champs though.
Reinforcements are required and I opt for a man called Mario. Let’s hope he is super. He looks reasonable, in fairness.
We played about 400 matches in January and we start February with a 0-0 draw. We face Blackburn over two legs in the League Cup semis, something I really can’t be bothered with. On the face of this game, neither will anybody else.
We are still 11th. 4 points from 6th. Quite how we’ve managed that I don’t know, we’ve barely won.
The squad had already played 37 games and there’s a minimum of 19 more. No wonder everybody is injured.
The positives? We haven’t played well but we’re still in three cups and not a million miles away in the league. It’s another season of development and as long as we find a way to play European football next season, it’ll be a success. I fancy a crack at the UEFA Cup, there are more games for me to blood these idiots. Also, it will mean we don’t play Thursday-Saturday. That will involve finishing in the top 6 though which I’m not sure we have in us. On the negative side, we’re scoring less and even creating less than ever before. Attacking reinforcements are desperately needed but anyone we sign will go through the development phase. Ideally someone like Bert will come good but he’s got 3 in 24. In other words, he’s crap. Lukic has 18 though, the one positive.
Your Academy player of the week is below but until next Sunday, goodbye for now.
Academy player of the week – Steve Williams
Dr Death as I used to call him was a complete hero. He scored 36 in 41 games for the Academy in Division 1 before Sheff Utd splashed £3.5m on him. They barely played him for 2 seasons before selling him off to Stockport of all places for £500k. Idiots. Naturally he scored lots for them and earned a move to derby for £1.2m. They didn’t play him much either so he moved back to Sheff Utd, seemingly having learned nothing from this experience. He cost them £3.6m, meaning they have spent over £7m on a player. He sits on the bench waiting for Steffen Iversen to get injured.
The Ian Rush re-gen has made some questionable choices but will always be fondly remembered for his record during his short time with the Academy.