Welcome back! The end of season 11 is nigh. Our regens are proving quite useful and have us in the European places in the league, whilst we’re still in the UEFA Cup. Things are looking promising as we head into the final few months of the season.
We also had the boost of signing the Peter Schmeichel regen to hopefully finally solve our goalkeeping issues. He can’t play in the UEFA Cup though, which is where we start. Sunderland away.
Alfonso junior is worth his weight in gold. Two away goals and a foot in the semi finals.
He’s at it again at the weekend. We’re not free flowing but he gets the all important goal and our European push continues.
Palace away. Somewhat of a bogey team, especially with Chesney Hawkes leading the line. Getting out with a 0-0 might not be the worst result.
Derby are another team who have troubled us previously but Ikpeba is old now and barely plays. That helps. We’re rather good on the day and McBoyaboy is brilliant. He goes off injured which is less good but an impressive win.
The return leg of the UEFA Cup shouldn’t be a problem. We’re 2-0 up inside 15 minutes and that means Sunderland need four. They get three and I am worried but McBride calms our nerves and we’ll be in the semi final.
Oh, man. I hate the team Man City have assembled.
Coventry are fighting relegation but they take an early lead against us. Alfonso kicks up a gear though and a quick fire treble gets us back in charge. The second goal is a wonderful free kick after the dismissal of Beresford. He’s some boy.
Oh, hello. Alan Lavin is off.
He rejects. Again. Whatever.
Blackburn come and go. McBride might be getting on but he’s a big game player. Rovers are near us in the table but this was an impressive result.
We should be set up nicely for Man City away in the UEFA Cup. We get our away goal and frankly I’d like the game to end now. Instead, we lose 4-1. Karaa and Lino beat us heavily earlier in the season too. Sigh.
If our UEFA Cup campaign is in tatters, a win at Goodison reignites our hopes of a late run at the Champions League places. Everton’s title challenge has hit the skids so this is a huge result for us.
Our momentum looks set to be checked at home to West Ham. Then that man McBride is on hand to score an injury time winner. It’s a huge result and swings the pendulum back in our favour.
A face saving draw changes very little. We’re out at the semi final but that’s ok.
Another big win, this time at home to Chelsea. The Darren Eadie re-gen has been quietly progressing and it’s nice to see him get the headlines. He’s already an England Under 21 regular along with Anderton.
Man City are in the mix for the top two so going there again doesn’t really fill me with joy. We get battered but a strong showing from Kanne keeps his sheet clean. A useful point.
Arsenal seem to have finally got bored of Claudio Lopez but Warrell Benstock, which is a stupid name, has emerged as one of the best players in the league. At 2-0 down our hopes look shattered but a Spanish comeback sees us seal an unlikely win and move into 3rd place with a game in hand.
Relegated Sheffield Wednesday are that game in hand. Thankfully they’ve got very little to worry us and our ascent to the top two is complete.
Man Utd are Champions with a game to spare but it’s a three horse race for the 2nd spot.
Sunderland away. Again. That’s all that stands between us and a shot at the Champions League.
It’s never in doubt. Captain Colomba gets us off to a great start and it’s party time once Alfonso nets his 30th of the season. It finishes 4-2. Prepare the music.
Yippee! It’s taken 11 seasons but we’re close to being a title challenging team.
The build up to Euro 2008 sees Alfonso score two in his first two caps before being benched for the tournament. Him and Canas go as Spain reach the quarter finals of their home competition. They lose to Italy. England go out in the groups but Alex Lawrie and Scotland make the last 8 before losing to eventual champions Holland. They beat Norway 3-2 in the final, Iversen amongst the scorers. Let me taste your tears…
Canas averaged 7.77 and now wants a move to a bigger club. This squad is ready though, I probably won’t make too many adjustments this summer.
Things are looking good. We’ve got a good mix of youth and now experience – the likes of Lukic, McBride, Hool, Colomba and Lawrie all have a number of seasons under their belts and can be considered “proper” Premier League players. Garcia Pimienta is a genuine world class player whilst Canas (Abelardo) will hopefully settle once our reputation updates with Champions League qualification.
Join me next week as Season 12 gets underway. It’s a tough draw but more on that next week. For now, here’s the graduate of the week. Adios.
Graduate of the week
Ian McCormack had a strange rise to fame. He played only 21 games for the Academy before being snapped up by Celtic for a whopping £2.3m. I say whopping, not many Grads have gone for more than this price but most have had more of an impact.
As is usually the case, the grass wasn’t greener. He barely played for Celtic before they cut their losses and sold him to Bolton for £600k. He’s been in and out of the Bolton side – they are a Premier League side but his averages suggest he is out of his depth. The easiest £2.3m ever banked.