Good morning! It might be a bank holiday but Rob is still here with the latest from Sao Paulo and the CM World League
It’s the final run in of season four, we are in a position to win both the Premier League and FA Cup. Winning both would mean that we will have won every domestic trophy possible in four seasons. It seems a long time since we won the Auto Windscreen Shield and Division 3 in season one. There is a long way to go before that though.
Our first game is at home to Sporting Lisbon, the stats for this game are ridiculous and I really hope it is not a sign of things to come. By the looks of it they barely touched the ball in our defensive third but we only hit the target 33% of the time so only have ourselves to blame for this 0-0 draw.
There is a lot more action a week later at Filbert Street. Leicester have been knocking around the third Division since the start, making the playoffs every season but never gaining promotion. They put up a good fight in our FA Cup Quarter Final but in the end Fowler, Denilson and da Costa are too good for them.
Back to the Morumbi for a midweek game against Ajax. They have a great side, young Alex Notman is working wonders, having blossomed into one of the best players in the league after leaving Man Utd. However today was not their day, our 33 shots to their 4 mean we win comfortably. We are still having these stupid attendance figures which actually mean we have the lowest average attendance of all clubs at about 3,000 people.
Saturday rolls around and Real Sociedad head over to Brazil. The story of this game is Richard Wright’s rating of 4. Sociedad have one shot on target all match and manage to come away with a 2-2 draw. It could have been worse but this game was infuriating to watch and when Abel Xavier scored that own goal I actually screamed!,
Another midweek game, we head to France to face the surprise package of the season, Breton side Guingamp. It is another incredibly painful game to watch, we just don’t seem to be able to get going. Guingamp’s 15th minute strike doesn’t kick us into life and we get lucky at the beginning of the second half when Denilson scores against the run of play. A draw flatters us and we seem to have been very stop-start so far.
Fenerbahce are our next league opponents. We have to come from behind twice to scrape a draw. We seem to be in a little bit of a slump at the moment. In the last five league games we have drawn four and won only one. This certainly isn’t the form of league champions.
At the beginning of April we head over to Italy and the Stadio Delle Alpi for our FA Cup Semi Final against Boca. Boca are coming off a 0-1 defeat to Ajax in the League Cup Final. This is another game to forget, both teams creating very few chances. However thanks to John Curtis putting the ball into his own net in the 62nd minute we are heading to Wembley.
On the back of our lucky Semi Final win we head to the Westfalenstadion for a league game against Dortmund. After a frenetic first half it is 2-2 at the break. The second half is a more cagey affair. In the 83rd minute I bring on Erik Nevland for Robbie Fowler and in the 85th minute he scores the winner, it’s our first league win in a month.
Two days later we are back in Brazil for a Monday night match against Coventry. The last gasp win against Dortmund has allowed us to reset and in this match we demonstrate everything that we have been missing for the past month. Despite all the draws this match puts us six points clear of Fiorentina with five to play.
We stay in Brazil to play against Corinthians at Parque São Jorge. Corinthians are at the bottom of the league and have struggled with life in the Premier League after three successive promotions. Despite their poor league position the game is close and the only difference is Alessio Pirri’s free kick in the 78th minute, he was only taking free kicks because Denilson had been subbed off. Fiorentina only manage a draw so we are eight points clear with four to play.
A little side note from the International break, Robbie Fowler finally gets called up to the England Squad however he doesn’t even make the subs bench as Andy Cole is preferred up front. I have nothing against Andy Cole but let’s just compare domestic records from this season.
I have to wonder what Robbie has done to upset Marcello Lippi so much that his 28 goals aren’t enough to get him in the team ahead of Andy’s two.
May begins with a home match against Torino, if we win and results go our way this could be where we become League champions, and make it four first places in four seasons. Christer makes the most of a rare start thanks to Robbie’s suspension and Denilson gets the other as we win 2-0.
A check of the table shows Fiorentina are seven points behind with only two to play and that means we are the champions!
The final three league games are against Sampdoria, Man Utd and Bayern Munich as we finish the season with one win and two draws. The only drama is Richie Wright breaking his arm against Sampdoria, meaning want away keeper Dida is in for the rest of the season. Also our home attendance issues seem to have fixed themselves in the last two games.
May 19th 2001, FA Cup final day, the story is that Herfolge of Division 2 have made it to the final facing newly crowned champions Sao Paulo. My heart says I can’t lose this, my head says this could end up being the ultimate Champ Man. Thankfully Fowler back fresh from his suspension and Denilson are not going to let that happen and we round off the season with a League and FA Cup double.
These are the other teams that had winning seasons, adding some silverware to their trophy cabinets in the 2000/01 season.
English International League
League Cup: Ajax beat Boca 1-0 thanks to a Ronald De Boer goal
FA Cup: São Paulo
Premier League: São Paulo
Div 1: Velez Sarsfield, we will be facing Steve Bruce again next season
Div 2: AEK Athens
Div 3: Nacional, Leicester made the playoff again but lost out to Bradford who were a non-league side at the start of this adventure.
Italian International League
Coppa Italia: Barcelona beat Bordeaux 4:2 on aggregate
Serie A: Barcelona
Serie B: Spartak Moscow
Spanish International League
Copa del Rey: AC Milan
Primera Division: AC Milan on penalties against Deportivo
Segunda Division: Galatasaray
International (European) Trophies
UEFA Cup: Auxerre beat Fiorentina 3-1, Stephane Guivarc’h with one of Auxerre’s goals.
Cup Winners Cup: Union Deportiva Las Palmas of Denmark beat Chievo of Belgium 1:0 at Celtic Park in Spain
Champions League: Barcelona a 2:0 win against Boca in the final.
So that is it for this season, it seems that League and Cup doubles were the order of the day. Barce have finally hit some form in season four. I’m going to play one more year so I get to take on some of the other elite teams in the Champions League and also see if we can win another Premier League. Join me for the start of season five next week as we enter Sao Paulo’s “Last Dance”.