Hello! The end of Season 13 has arrived for the Academy. It is also the last update before we take a break for the summer and the CM9798 Cup. Season 13 has been a mixed bag. We’re still in with a shout on three fronts but some of our results have been a real struggle. We’re second but only by a point, we have a Champions League quarter final to look forward to and right now, we’re in the FA Cup 5th round.
We’re frustrated for large parts of the tie but just as we start to make plans for a replay in 10 days, Alfonso Junior scores yet another vital goal and we’re into the last 8. Well done.
A week later and all the action happens in the first five minutes rather than the last. An own goal after one minute sets us on our way and then a red card seals an easier afternoon. It’s not convincing but is it the sign of champions?
Let’s hope so as just four days later we sneak a third consecutive 1-0 success. The Scottish Messi opens the scoring but captain Lawrie is dismissed. Still, points are points.
It’s a far more entertaining game when Arsenal pay us a visit. They usually do a number on us but three of our delicious front four are on the scoresheet and a fun filled 22 minutes is all we need. No jokes.
That leads us into the Champions League and the awkward trip to Amsterdam. At 2-0 down, we’ve got our work cutout but as is our want at the moment we only play for 15 minutes and a last minute goal from McBoyaboy means we leave with a spring in our step.
You’d forgive us for being weary in the FA Cup but McCallum settles the tie in the second half to book us a place in the semi finals where we’ll meet Crystal Palace.
We’ve got 11 days until we play again so we’re nice and rested for Ajax. Sticking with the theme, we score three in 7 minutes and then relax. How a tie can turn around eh?
Two Portugese representatives in the last four – we’ll be playing Porto, who we beat over two legs in the qualifying round last season. Torino remain the dominant force of European football.
Chester, who unsurprisingly prop up the table, is our next destination. A very quick start and an early red for them should make for a comfortable afternoon. Although they do half the arrears with 10 men, McCallum settles it and a mix of our “no more than 20 minutes” attitude plus resting a few for Porto means it finishes 3-1.
The International break doesn’t cost us any players but Porto have had their raw meat. 2-0 up inside 15 minutes and it’s looking bleak. As usual though we find something from within, McCallum pulling one back and Powell chipping in before the break. 2-2 at half time would be good but Da Rold heads into his own goal from a corner. Hmm. 3-2 wouldn’t be so bad but 4-2 leaves us with a hill to climb.
The big games are coming thick and fast. We’re 2-0 up against Palace but it finishes 2-2 due to a sloppy second half. Colomba heads us in front and Lukic surely settles it although George Benson makes sure we’re having to fight to the bitter end. What a nuisance.
Wolves are a lot less of a threat. Phew.
Blackburn go 2-0 up inside 8 minutes though. That’s a problem. The lads fight back though and although Eadie junior is dismissed late on, it’s a significant result.
The games and thankfully the wins have been coming thick and fast, a pause to look at the table shows we have an 8 point lead and a game in hand. With the schedule taking us to Goodison Park on Easter Monday before Porto away two days later, it’s time to rotate.
As we’ve discussed before, I have about 14 good players and 8 terrible ones. The 8 terrible ones are very much in action here and we barely manage a shot. Everton are ruthless. A well deserved thrashing.
I don’t care though. My selection is totally vindicated when we face Porto two days later. Fresh and rampant, we win 5-0.
It’ll be Torino in the final. That’s going to be tough.
Time to focus on winning the league though and a 2-0 win over Derby helps us along the way.
Our game in hand comes at White Hart Lane, where an efficient performance sees us open a ten point gap with four games to go.
We’re on the verge!
We could win the title at Hull but instead…
I’d much rather win it at home anyway. Leeds put up a great battle but Giggsy junior climbs off the bench to save the day. The title has been retained!
The remaining two games are formalities. We lose at Bolton with little Dunc scoring for them.
We thrash Sheff Utd though, I can’t have Iversen getting one over on us.
Nice. A comfortable retention.
It’s second place Arsenal in the cup final and it’s frankly one of the oddest games I’ve ever been involved in. Pretty much every shot goes in, 2-0 after 13 minutes is 2-2 after 17, McCalum scores a 13 minute hat-trick and it’s 6-3 at half time. It ends 6-4. Not bad for one set of tennis.
The double has been completed but the treble…well that would be a wonderful end. Torino play this crazy mess of a formation:
Gudnason is the famous Icelandic re-gen, Denilson is of course a hero and Puschmann has been banging them in for years.
But not today!
Captain Colomba seals the game, a lovely moment for him and the Academy have gone from nothing to European champions in 13 seasons.
Many of the lads are involved in the World Cup, which is nice. Somehow it’s an England vs Scotland semi final, Powell & Larmour vs Lawrie…
Powell puts England in the final!
Both Academy lads play the final and are now World Champions. What a time.
Let’s take a look at the club now in 2010. That attendance has come on some way.
As we’ve never purchased a player our balance of £171m is healthy to say the least.
Charting our rise through the ranks, it only took 13 seasons for the defence to be sorted out.
Here’s what lined Ike Mashley’s pockets.
Alfonso Junior gets the gong from the writers. Rightly so.
McCallum takes the golden boot and I get the manager award. We’ve had a wonderful time.
If this is the last time we talk about the Academy, what a ride it has been. 40 weeks of trials and tribulations but we got there in the end. Of all the saves I’ve blogged, this one has captured the imagination of you readers more than any other. Thank you for humouring me and convincing me to keep it going during the bleak years where I thought we were never going to get out of the bottom half of the table. Whether there’s a new save or a continuation in August we’ll have to wait and see.
For now though, I’ll be giving the CM Cup all my attention. A lot of effort has already gone into it from the lads involved and I hope you’ll all stick around to see how it plays out. Goodbye for now.