The Retirement Academy – Part 18: Hold your nerve

Greetings! It’s the end of another season for the Retirement Academy and I’ve got a good feeling that this is the season we actually make noticeable progress. It has been steady so far and probably not riveting for you, the noble reader. So if you’ve stuck with us, I hope today brings you some gratification. The Academy are 14 games from Europe. Let’s not screw it up!

Interesting start to the day as Pizzi junior receives an offer from Spain. Rules are rules.

He rejected, which I didn’t expect. Then again he probably wouldn’t want to miss another win over Feyenoord, who are in relegation trouble.

TOP Oss are ironically named as they have 1 point and are rock bottom. More like TOSS am I right guys? We won 6-1.

It was a fairly even contest with Willem but two goals in two minutes gives us the point. I can almost smell those European stereotype jokes I’ll make next season.

Fortuna turn out to be the toughest nut of the update to crack. They lead twice and Bellamy gets sent off but his centre back partner Watt lights up De Bungalow with a double and Spoonz sneaks us the win.

De Graafschap have caused us problems before so I’m quite happy to take a 0-0 and move on unscathed.

Veendam are holding us at arm’s length but they didn’t bargain on the Micker scoring twice in a minute, he calls it Micker time.

Heerenveen look like they’ll beat us – yes, that is Diego Simeone – but old man Sirakov seals the points. We’ve definitely turned a corner.

However, Ajax prove to be a fixture too far. The task is to overthrow these lads and we’re found wanting. Both centre backs and the keeper play well but nobody else does.

OH WHY NOW Sheff Wed? That’s a great price though.

God bless their stupidity.

Some things never change, we lose 1-0 at Sparta.

…and at home to Roda. Damn you Ajax. You did this.

There’s 4 games to go and the chasing pack are closing in. It’s a huge game away at 4th placed NAC so it needs to get better before it gets worse.

Thank goodness. Well done the front two. Poor Watt though.

Six weeks out! I hope that doesn’t matter.

PSV at home is a tough game in the circumstances and a point will do – Betterton saves a late penalty which he also gave away.

Vitesse are another team we always seem to struggle against and it looks like another bad day out when Uncle Bulgaria is dismissed for an elbow. We go behind but Laudrup responds the only way he knows how – bending in a free kick to secure us a point.

We just need a point on the final day to secure 3rd and although it’s a game we really should win, it’s not a day for taking chances.

Third! We are going to the UEFA Cup!

Some might averages on show. Watt is a monster, all the centre backs do well in this formation.

Roger rabbit wins our own golden boot race but isn’t it great to see the Micker back mixing it with the best? What a lad.

His generosity knows no bounds too. The front 3 did a great job.

Special mention for TOSS who have probably the worst record I’ve ever seen. Nice to see them finish with a -100 goal difference, very rounded.

Will Feyenoord go down though? Spoiler: Yes.

Here come Everton again…

Vetoed, again. Lol.

Here’s a new signing. Hope he enjoys sitting on the bench.

Betteron didn’t win any awards for once

BRIAN LITTLE! I didn’t know he was there.

Let’s look at the retirements as two legends of the game bow out.

I won’t miss his £25k a week wages.

Chris Waddle was on considerably lower wages and I’ll miss him more.

Only two is a good result. De Wolf and De Jesus are both released, it is coincidence that they’re both De’s but there we are.

Ajax lost the Champions League final – if they’d won I think we would have been in the Champions League qualifiers. That would have been good. The UEFA Cup awaits though, there’s a lot of fun to be had there I’m sure. See you next week!

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