The Retirement Academy – Part 26: Swings and Rombouts

Welcome back! Here at the Retirement Academy season 9 is proving every bit as tricky as the previous 8. Whilst I long for the day we get out of the traps quickly, this once again is not it and we sit 12th and going nowhere fast.

Reigning champions Feyenoord absolutely dominate us from start to finish, with brief joy coming from Nick’s boy Reuser having his penalty saved by Betterton. Anyway, let the misery continue.

Roda are yet another team who seem to beat us with ease in every game, except that cup final where they battered us until they were tired and the Micker pushed them down. No heroics here though and it’s another loss.

Respite does arrive in the form of the Cup Winners Cup, where we show Hajduk Split what for. Signs of life from the Micker who has not been able to reproduce his heroics from last season so far.

Oh hello! A home game with the telephone company is heading nowhere fast but a pair of goals look like making it a score draw. Micker smashes in his second from 30 yards and there’s hope once more.

It’s followed up by a good away success at Utrecht. Rombouts is attracting interest from PSV so hopefully they keep their money in their pocket.

0-0 with Vitesse is like a win given our record against them. It’s fine.

A professional job in the return leg here as Chapuisat provides the icing on the quarter final cake. Please, nobody good in the last 8.

Ah, hell. Inter. They’ve still got Ronaldo too, so that’s not going to be fun.

Back to league action and we steal a point at the Hague when Ruudy junior heads in from a rare attacking set piece. We’re not great.

0-0 at Fortuna Sittard sums up our plight. We just aren’t scoring enough in the league.

Time to check in with Nikolai and what he’s up to and his latest suggestion is to get the keeper running out. It sounds mad but Charlemaagne did it in the CM Cup to great effect, so maybe it’ll work for us. It also means one less centre back.

Oh, hello! All of a sudden, goals. Four of them to be precise. Let’s see if that’s just Groningen being poor or a new dawn for us.

An unconvincing win over old rivals Go Ahead Eagles in the cup doesn’t make me confident but a place in the next round is all that matters.

More old lads score as NAC are knacked. Wenschlag is a satisfying name to say. Three wins on the spin!

The ultimate test of any formation is Sparta away, the equivalent of going to Old Trafford for us. Twice we come from behind to steal a point…only for it to be snatched away in the last minute. Some things never change.

We are unceremoniously thrashed at AZ. The bubble is bursting.

Heerenveen always beat us and today is no different. Three straight losses. To make matters worse our winter break is truncated this time because we have a European Super Cup to win. It’s a nice problem to have.

Make that 4 losses in a row though. I didn’t expect to beat the mighty Parma though and to only lose 1-0 could be worse with a second leg still to follow.

Goodbye Luc Nilis. You are old.

PSV are defeated! We’ve found some form again after a few weeks off and we’ll have to hope this is the real us.

The Cup game with Den Haag is a real struggle. We lead twice only to be pegged back and it goes to extra time. Extra time is where the Micker pounces, calling on his many years experience of lock ins to score what turns out to be the winner. Quarter finals beckon…

Oh, come on man. Our chances of playing in Europe next season seem slim.

There is however a minor miracle in Italy. When Veron puts Parma in the lead we’re in trouble but it doesn’t really change our requirements. We need two goals. Pounder gets one and remarkably Rombouts gets another as we hit two late sucker punches to win the European Super Cup on away goals. WOW!

The lads are absolutely flying now and the toughest test of all awaits as we face Ajax in the final league game of today. De Boer gives Ajax the lead but Splinter, the rat from Ninja Turtles, gets sent off and that’s all the encouragement we need. Onopko heads in from a corner, Degryse turns up the head and Querella deville seals the points. Shove it up your arses.

Eat my shock defeat.

There we are then, all that effort to take us up to 9th. We are now a whopping 21 points behind Ajax though so I guess that dream is dead for another season. It’s looking very ropey for us even being in Europe next season. We need a great run to try and get into the top 5 or some miracles to happen to either knock out Inter or Ajax to stay in the cups. If anybody can, the Micker can.

It’s not been vintage Micker but his average rating is the best it’s been for 8 years, which I can’t really explain. He is about on track to match his 1 in 2 efforts from last season but he’s not going to have as many games unless we can pull off the miracle in Milan.

See you next week for more fun as we finish the season and hope none of the good old ones retire. Bye for now!

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