Hello! Welcome to season 4 of the CM9798 Retirement Home. The old boys have done me proud so far, securing successive promotions to Division 1 and then just about holding their own in the second tier. The First Division is difficult to get out of, it hasn’t got any easier over the years either. With a set of 35+ year old veterans it is going to be a huge challenge. With a number of retirements last season it’s time to try and plug some gaps and hopefully find some quality – however, we have a huge debt and once again will be restricted to freebies…
A former England International is the first to sign up for this madness, although he last played for his country in 1988 so he’s not exactly at the peak of his powers. Dave Watson, everybody.
Dave Beasant didn’t want to stick around for another season and has now retired, as has Peter Sirch. With just one goalkeeper on the books we desperately need another. Tommy Wright looks absolutely atrocious but rules are rules. Dave Seaman opts for Walsall instead.
We’re light up front after Ian Rush decided player-managing Norwich was more his kind of thing. Tony “the Edge is fine” Cascarino is sadly the best I can get. Him and Mick Quinn will pose a different kind of threat.
Only one more through the door and it’s yet another centre back. He last played for England in 1992 so again, I’m not expecting much but here is Gary Mabbutt.
I’m going to have to stick with what we did for the second half of last season. It’s the crux of the main formation but with an extra centre half. It won’t be pretty but we just need to hang in until we have the money to attract a better standard of veteran.
It’s actually Rushy’s Norwich where we start our season. Drinkell gets us off to the dream start but we’re soon pegged back and go behind just after half time. We’re lucky to come away with a point thanks to a late Cascarino penalty.
That pesky young Cambridge team is starting to show it’s potential. They might be in Division 2 but they beat us at the Bungalow to give us a lot to do in the return leg.
An average start gets even worse at Elm Park. Carl Asaba scores twice as we are thrashed, a reminder that we really aren’t very good.
42 year old Chris Hutchings puts us ahead on the night at Cambridge but we need two at least to advance. Cambridge get a leveller and we have no response. Another pointless cup exit.
Another away day brings a mighty defeat. Sheff Utd ease past us and we’re really lacking inspiration at the moment.
Newly relegated West Ham are far too good for us. From the first minute we are chasing shadows and we’re fortunate it only ends 5-1. Songo’o got twenty man of the match awards last season but even his magic seems to have waned. We’re in trouble.
Chelsea take us apart. Viv Anderson sees red.
We briefly lead Sunderland but then that goes the same way as all the others. We are bottom of the table with a solitary point, if you’re keeping score.
Defeat at Derby did see us equalise for less than a minute. A goal before half time is meant to gee you up but it just makes Derby mad.
We do at least end our losing streak at home to Ipswich. Ratkovic is our best player by a mile.
A late defeat at Barnsley ensures any progress talk is quashed.
I think it’s time for a change. A check of the transfer list and some serious digging unearths a Togolese chap to boost our ranks. I need attacking players but beggars can’t be choosers.
In a bid to change our fortunes I’ve had to change tactics. Direct just doesn’t work with such a poor crop of attacking players. So we’re going to have to keep it on the deck and pass our way to freedom. It’s a miserable formation, truly awful. But needs must.
It just about earns a point at home to Wrexham. We have a glut of home games and I can’t imagine ticket sales will be booming.
Maurice Malpas! Our first win of the season comes in September but it’s so very badly needed.
It’s followed by a second just three days later. An extra 1,000 on the gate to see Tony Cascarino edge us past Swindon. It’s effective, at least.
It’s less effective against Bolton who escape with a 1-0 win. If we go behind we have so very little to offer.
We’re well beaten at Walsall too. Early signs that our new formation would take us to safety seem to have been extremely premature.
Bottom. Joint lowest scorers and highest conceded. This is a pickle that is going to take some resolving.
I suppose on the plus side we are one win away from being out of the bottom three. On the negative side we are absolutely awful. There’s nothing really available but in a little over one month, David Kelly can join our ranks. He’s not great but with a pace of 6 he immediately becomes our best striker.
Kelly helped Keegan’s Newcastle in the 90s so I’ll be hoping for a similar impact as long as nobody snaps him up between now and November 25th. A relegation wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would be a set back. Would I survive the sack? I don’t think I’ve ever had a relegation on my CV, I don’t want to start now. See you next week!