Matt Wills is back with the second part of his latest endeavour. He’s taken over Nottingham Forest in 2005 and is trying to bring the good times back. Catch up with part 1 here.
Hey, and thanks for coming back to my latest blog project – simming the game 8 seasons and taking over Nottingham Forest at the bequest of Dave’s twitter followers to lead them back to glory.
At the end of Part 1, that glory looked to be further away than ever, with my struggling team of regen new comers languishing in 15th in the Premier league, hopefully things would change soon.
A corner looks to have been turned in our next league game away to Leeds, Fisher (Gazza) and Rubini (Batistuta) scoring either side of half time. At the top, Hull keep winning while we jump up to 10th.
2-0 away win against Leeds moves us up to 10th, Hull still winning.
With not wanting to rely solely on the young clones of Weah and Batistuta for goals, I make a cheeky £3.2m bid for out of favour Barcelona Striker Alfonso Munoz Perez which I’m surprised to have accepted, but less surprised to be rejected by one of the legends of the game, We could have built something beautiful Alfonso.
My disappointment evaporates when I notice he is 33 and his regen might be available next season!
Talking of regens, I put a bid in for the regen of Victor Onopko to add some steel to the defence.
The International Break comes and goes and the Onopko regen Cherchesov is refused a Work Permit, sad times.
In more positive news, my guilt at usurping Forest legend Stuart Pearce from the Forest hotseat is abated when he is appointed manager of Bradford City – best of luck Psycho!
The international break recharges my players and they run riot in a 4-1 demolition of Millwall, moving us up to 7th in the table. Rubi-gol with a brace, Debbah and Scottish wingback Chappell with the others.
Chappell’s rich vein of form earns a bid from Sunderland for his services, but this is quickly rebuffed. Instead of selling a wingback, I decide to sign one and you guessed it, its another regen. This time, Croatian D/M L Robert Baksa, or Robert Jarni Junior for simplicity.
Playing Jarni-Junoir in our next game doesn’t save us from a 4-1 reverse at the hands of Sunderland. The defence is becoming a concern.
In the League Cup 3rd round, normal and extra time can’t separate ourselves and Watford and we squeeze through 3-2 on penalties setting up a 4th round tie with Division 1 Reading.
Back to league action, we lose 2-1 at home to Arsenal. Baksa gets his first goal for the club buts its not enough to save us from a disappointing result.
I decide its time to sort out the defence. It seems my young French hope Chagnaud is just a young French dope and the rest of the defenders I inherited from Psycho had none of his grit and determination.
I turn to the player search and set up some attributes to find myself a decent centre half to add some back bone to this team. A young English free transfer called Lloyd Kaye catches my eye, so in goes a bid, but I also spy a recent signing at Wycombe called Jason Bogie who happens to have a useful Big Club Release Clause – the bid is accepted and hey, we’re a Big Club!
Bogie is 26 and looks as though he appeared in the second season, joining Crewe before moving onto Chester and then a £2.m move to Everton where he barely features. His search for more playing time at Wycombe last 2 games before I swoop and place all my hopes and dreams on young Jason.
My faith is instantly rewarded when Bogie and Kaye help keep a clean sheet at Old Trafford. These two even kept Noel Whelan quiet.
Luis, if only I’d have known you were available…..
Everton are next up in the league and our new found defensive solidity allow Rubi-gol and Frank Lampard to add to Farrell’s own goal in a 3-0 win.
That’s two clean sheets in a row for Bogie and Kaye, we’re turning a corner at last!
Huddersfield are next to fall to Rubini and Debbah. I’ve even made Bogie captain now, he’s been excellent next to Kaye in the centre of defence.
It’s a break from the league next and Reading in the League Cup. It’s another 2-2 draw and penalties but Debbah and Nelo snuff their efforts and we’re out. It’s same as this was a competition that Forest did well under Clough in the late 80’s. It’s my own fault though, as I always, always forget it’s only 3 subs allowed and when I look to bring some fresh attacking talent I remember. Now, I’m a creature of habit, so I my subs all line up like this:
12 – My back up goalie – who rarely plays
13 – A versatile defender who can play wingback – they are usually young and get fed up not playing
14 – A central defender – solid and dependable, but not first choice
15 – An attacking midfielder – this guy always gets a game, usually coming on after 60 minutes to chase a goal
16 – Back up striker – of the goal strikers I normally play, I usually sub this guy on for the one who has scored to give the other a chance of finishing the game with a goal.
So, all the above is great – until I forget about the League Cup rules. Anyway, enough pointless rambling, back to the league and high flying Hull visit the County Ground.
I need no subs this time, as Nelo, Debbah and Rubini all combine to consign Hull to defeat. To paraphrase The Housemartins – Forest 4 Hull 0.
We’re now up to 5th and 3 points off top spot, I could hardly have thought it at the start of Part 2.
In International news, Noel Whelan will being leading the front line against Denmark, South Korea and Spain at the World Cup next year.
In the last game of this part, we visit basement club Blackburn. Ascensio gets us off the mark and after Craggs get sent off, the deadly duo of Debbah and Rubini both get on the score street. That’s 14 goals in 21 games for Debbah and 12 in 17 for Rubini.
Another bargain passes me by…..although I’m slightly shocked he didn’t make the move until 28!
We definitely have a post xmas hangover on boxing day, losing 1-0 to Sheffield United, which I’m too annoyed to show you a screenshot of.
What I will show you though is the table at the halfway stage. 4th and 4 points off the top, which is excellent, but our form graph shows how inconsistent we’ve been this season. It’s very annoying!
As with last week, I’ll give you a quick update on the teams you turned down and hope you join me next week as the calendar ticks into 2006 and world cup year and we play Sheff Wednesday in the start of our FA Cup campaign – cheers!
Liverpool – 5th in Division 1 but out of the League Cup, losing to Man Utd. Shearer has 1 goal in 2 games.
Lazio – Up to 3rd in Serie B – promotion is on the cards!
Espanyol – Also up to 3rd in their league, William Gallas their star player at the back.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills