CM9798 Academy – Part 12: Flying the nest

Welcome back to the CM9798 Academy. The middle update of any season is usually the most pivotal as it shapes what exactly we will be playing for in the final few months of the season. The Academy – made up entirely of free transfers signed under the age of 23 – endured a rough start to season 4, dropping into the First Division relegation zone before briefly recovering to reach midtable.

Div 1 bottom S4 October

There’s a lot to get through in this update so I’ll crack on with our home game against Shrewsbury. 16 shots to 8 in our favour and it needs Buckley to snatch a point against a relegation threatened side. The struggle continues.

1-1 shrewsbury

Sometimes though you have to take a step back to take two forward. I’ve decided to restore Stevey Morrison to the backline, last season’s captain, and it pays immediate dividends. West Brom are brushed aside.

WBA 0-3

He mught not be as good statistically as Fleming but it works.

3-0 bradford

Dr Death is in good form. Two more goals from him see off Vinny Jones’ Wimbledon.

2-0 wimbledon

Maybe try singing…

vinny jones sacked

Actually, don’t.

VJ

Shudder. Williams beats Wimbledon’s neighbours a week later and we’ve finally turned it around. Are they still neighbours if they share a house? More like flatmates. Anyway…

0-1 palace

We head into our League Cup tie with Premier League Spurs full of confidence. Williams is the greatest living human and he puts us in the lead – twice – beofre Spurs eventually break our resolve with a second half onslaught. Leon McKenzie is a boxer now I think. Ole Solskjaer will always be a baby faced turd.

5-2 spurs

Angry? Just let Williams loose on Tranmere. Billing is back with a bang too and we’ve got a potent pair up top now. Just try and stop us like poor old Eggiman did.

6-1 tranmere

Then we lose at the Dell. We always lose at the bloody Dell. Against 10 men as well. Nigel Quashie. Let’s move on.

2-1 southampton

Time for a departure. Cox out.

Cox to Brighton

Those 4 games he played must have been really good. A load of average teams, mostly in the Lancashire area, come in for him. They love Cox round there.

Cox to Stockport

To the relief of many, he’s gone now. Then we beat Swindon to celebrate.

2-1 swindon S4

Ah, now this is more of a problem. McCormack is Scotland captain and my starting right wing back. He is however on £40k a week and has a big club release clause. I’ll miss him.

celtic mccormach

Derby offer up a token bid but the Scotland captain was always going to sign for Celtic.

McCormack Celtic

As if that wasn’t bad enough, both of my centre halves get sent off at Coventry. Paul McVeigh, who has been scoring goals against me for years (he was at Torquay) puts Coventry ahead but my 9 men recover to equalise and it’s a good point in the end.

1-1 Coventry

A third departure? The fact he’s going to Scottish 3rd division Clyde speaks volumes.

Clyde Pearson

It’s a bit strange. He was unbelievable for us and got 101 in 160 games for us but nobody ever batted an eyelid at him. He only made 7 appearances this season at an average of 5.85…mad really.

Pearson signs for CLyde

My new right back arrives. He can also play left back which I’m sure will have some use.

Finnan signs

A home game with Port Vale is our chance to get revenge for them essentially costing us a playoff place last season. They lead after 6 minutes and Shaka Hislop saves everything. Cambiasso eventually rams in a leveller. Phew.

1-1 port vale

We’re such a weird team. Here we are having our arses handed to us by Wrexham for the second time this season.

wrexham 1-3

Sigh.

wrexham stats

Then we head to Huddersfield and thrash them. I have to say though, their squad was decimated by a flu virus for some reason. It is December I suppose.

4-0 hudds

Bury are the next to feel our force. By force I mean we turn it on when we can be bothered it seems. 3-0 doesn’t flatter us.

3-0 bury

We’re afforded Boxing Day off for little to no reason and then welcome Chelsea to the Arena. We got toe to toe with Twiss and his friends and finally we get the break when Le Saux handballs a corner. Buckley is denied by Charbonnier. He’s too good for this league. Gazza gets man of the match. I…don’t know, right?

0-0 Chelsea

We now play Birmingham twice in 3 days, firstly in the league in the Boxing day game that was held over for reasons I’m still not sure of. Anyway, long story short they are awful and we run riot.

5-0 brum

Playing them in the cup at home should be a piece of cake. Right? Wrong.

fa cup exit

We were level for 5 minutes and it was beautiful. But we’re out now and I guess it means we can focus on getting out of this mad world.

Oh look, we’ve scored 5 again. I don’t understand what motivates these boys.

5-1 Charlton

Williams is now on 26 for the season. There’s no interest in him just yet thankfully and he and Billing see us to win over much fancied Everton.

3-1 everton

That brings an end to a quite incredible update where we’ve rocketed up to 4th. We’re top scorers by a mile but our defence is still poor, though you have to say it has improved immeasuraby this update with the return of Morrison.

Div 1 top January S4

He’s not even that good…

Stevey

Williams has 27 in 33 and Billing has 20 in 24. Buckley has 20 assists. We’re in great form heading into the last 16 games of the season, or maybe more if we get into the playoffs. Join me next week to see how we get on!

Graduates

A bit of a half arsed graduate update but totally necessary because Ryan Morrison has signed for Man Utd!

Morrison Man Utd

Loves a move does Ryan. Will he play for the Red Devils?

Bolton are 7th in the Prem, with Simpson and Brazier both involved. However they have Romario and Brian Deane, so what’s not to love. Colin Todd is a genius.

Bolton S4

Gerard Lyttle is unhappy and wants to leave Leicester. He’s just been on loan at Scunthorpe so who can blame him? Betterton is a star player for Barnsley but they are bottom of the Premier League. James Stones has broken his leg and has only played 5 times for Blackburn this season, he’s 3 months from recovery yet.

Of those recently graduated, Will Davies has already secured a move to Dunfermline. McCormack has barely played for Celtic whilst Cox is doing well at Stockport. Pearson has 4 in 11 for Clyde. Lee Norfolk is still at St Johnstone but Fulham are interested and he has a clause.

CM9798 Academy – Part 11: Defending for Dummies

Hello hello! Welcome to Season 4, where the CM9798 Academy will have to find a way to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on the First Division playoffs last season. I promised a squad overhaul but with nobody to keen to buy from us, I’ll just crack on with the new blood. A reminder of the rules:

  • Free Transfers
  • Aged 23 or under
  • All bids accepted by Ike Mashley.

Here are my 6 new faces who are going to propel us to glory…I hope.

Williams signsshilton signsmccormack signsOlneyflembodeary

Fleming will come in as captain, whilst Deary will be the new starting left wing back. McCormack will be the right sided wing back whilst Williams will compete for a start up front with Billing, Howard and Pearson, though Pearson is entering the last chance saloon.

I might not be able to shift players but one former Academy player on the move is Michael Twiss…

twiss to chelsea

What’s stupid about this is that Chelsea have just been relegated. They will surely win the league and with also-relegated Everton in the mix, getting out of this division has never seemed tougher.

We start away at newly promoted Wrexham and…we get stuffed. Bit of a concern, I won’t lie.

4-2 wrexham

A weird twist of fate (not you, the Hardy Boyz) means we face Bury three times in a row. Twice in the League Cup and a league game sandwiched in between. The home leg is a comfortable win and Dr Death Steve Williams is off and running.

2-0 bury

Our defence is going to be a problem this season. Call it a hunch. At least Bury are equally leaky and we win 6-4. We’ll see them again in 3 days for the second set.

6-4 bury away

Three more shipped. Unbelievable tekkers man Andy Ansah gets two more but we get away with it. That’s 11 conceded in 4 games but we won’t play Bury every week.

3-3 bury

We will however play better teams. Like Chelsea.

chelsea 3-0

Twiss doesn’t celebrate his 30 yard rocket. Look at this squad man. It would be competitive in the Premier League but under the watchful eye of Des Walker (who got them relegated) they are in good shape to go straight back up.

chelsea squad

Huddersfield at home. Should be a laugh? It isn’t. My word we are rancid.

0-3 hudds

3-0 down to Everton inside 32 minutes. That makes it only one match this season where we haven’t conceded three goals. Some half time home truths see us restore some pride but we’re in all sorts of trouble here.

everton 3-2

At least Billing is still scoring goals. He did briefly interest Leicester but they settled on Des Hamilton instead. That’s 100% true. Anyway, Billing nets twice to help see off Birmingham before departing on a stretcher. That’s cruel.

3-1 brum

Two months out. An expensive day for us.

billing 2 months

Never mind though, a home game with QPR will give us the…ah diddly hell dong crap, can’t you morons do anything right?

2-1 QPR

I’m sure we had good intentions but we’re in the relegation zone. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Another home game, another disaster only just averted.

2-2 charlton S4

It’s not hard to see where I’m apportioning the blame. Heritage not having a good time of it.

CAFC stats

When things are going badly, I do what I always do. I put Cox in. Immature jokes are all I have.

Cox in

In Cox we trust.

2-0 ipswich

I would go as far as to say I love Cox.

Reading leg 1

Cox out.

4-3 hull

Literally that second half at Hull was like playing without a goalkeeper. Every shot flew in. Come back Heritage, all is forgiven. It also brings an end to those sorts of jokes, to the relief of everyone.

Off to Southend on sea and Dr Death is really coming up with the goods. Buckley has been moved alongside him and they’ve formed a reasonable partnership. We’ve never been good at defending but it’s also never been so vital that we are capable of scoring three or more to win a match.

4-2 southend

Peterborough are the only team in the league to have scored more than us, so our visit there should bring goals, goals, goals. They are 4th yet somehow we cancel each other out into a 0-0. Heritage weeps at full time, his first league clean sheet of the season.

0-0 Peterborough

After seeing off Reading 1-0 at Elm Park it’s rather more comprehensive at the Arena. At least if we get relegated we know we can still smash the second division.

4-1 Reading

Well, this my sting a bit.

Spurs away

A clash with 2nd placed Middlesbrough will bring this update to a close. We have to dig deep after going 2-0 up and an onslaught from Noel-Williams, Merson and Griffiths is withstood. A much needed three points that just about keeps our season going.

2-1 boro

Let’s look at the table. A few things…Chelsea’s defence is outstanding, Everton somehow are only 9th whilst QPR are looking well placed to go up even at this early stage. Our losses to Huddersfield, Wrexham and Chelsea don’t look so bad all of a sudden. You will notice though that we aren’t in the top half…

Div 1 top S4 October

There we are! Just 6 points off the playoffs which at this stage is not too bad. Obviously the goals against column is a concern, as is the fact that Bury got 7 against us across two games. They’ve just sacked their manager. Poor Stan.

Div 1 bottom S4 October

Billing is just a few weeks away from a welcome return but the obvious concerns for us are at the other end of the field, where we’ve totally forgotten how to defend. That’s an itch we are struggling to scratch. Do join me next time to find out if we can salvage something from this rocky start. Toodles!

Have you voted for your Greatest CM9798 Team yet?

CM9798 Academy – Part 10: Last Minute Plans

The CM9798 Academy have had a short but illustrious history. Consecutive promotions after being launched into the murky world of Division 3 were as welcome as they were unexpected and life in Division 1 has been a mixed bag. If you’re new to this, the gist of the Academy is that we can only sign free transfers aged 23 and under and everybody is up for sale. We’re just a cash cow. There’ll be a full graduate review at the end of this episode, but first we have to end the season. Can we get out of Division 1 at the first attempt? The table says: Possibly.

Div 1 top january S3

For the second consecutive update we start with a game against QPR. We’re 3-0 down again too, Kevin Gallen is too good for us. We’re inconsistent at best.

QPR 1-3

We have a fleeting interest in the FA Cup, if we can just beat 2nd Division Bristol Rovers we’ll be off to Elland Road. However that’s just not how we roll and despite Billing’s best efforts, we lose in extra time. Maaaaan

bristol rovers 3-2

A full on crisis is averted with a home win over Bradford. The front two both score and it’s a cleansheet. The ideal day.

2-0 bradford

We’re off to struggling Pompey next and even the most optimistic of fan can’t imagine being 3-0 up after 14 minutes. We go on to win 4-0 and all is right in our world again.

0-4 pompey

A home game with Swindon starts badly and gets worse when Billing misses a pen but Walshy equalises before half time and the floodgates aren’t so much opened as smashed to bits. SEVEN

7-1 swindon

Our good form continues at Portman Road. Billing nets for the 5th consecutive game and Hussin, who is starting to look worthy of his £25k a week pay packet, nets the winner.

ipswich 1-2

Bottom of the table Wigan should be the ideal opportunity to stretch our lead but Billing fails from the spot again and we can only salvage a point. That’s a bad result.

1-1 wigan

The problems continue at Highfield Road. Coventry’s team is ludicrous and Moldovan and Armstrong have too much for us, even though Billing has an equaliser disallowed.

2-1 coventry

If that was unfortunate, we are absolutely rancid at home to Fulham. It could have been ten. I don’t know where these performances come from.

0-4 fulham

You may remember one such performance came at home to Vinny Jones’ Wimbledon. Well, Billing makes sure that doesn’t happen again. Big crowd for the game too.

wimbledon 4-1

We survive deadline day without losing any of the jewels in our crown. One graduate on the move though is Ryan Morrison, who has joined Stonesy at Blackburn. More on that later.

morrison to blackburn

We’re holding it together and after battering West Brom again we look like having to settle for a point but Pearson has other ideas. Mr Reliable has been…less reliable this season but he still knows where the goal is.

2-1 WBA

Sunderland are running away with the league and they smash 5 past us. I don’t want to dwell on that.

5-2 mackems

Two goals in a minute see off Southend. That’s more like it.

2-0 southend

Bury are in the relegation zone but fighting like beavers (see Kamara, Chris) to stay up. It’s an Easter Monday to forget for us as we are comfortably beaten. That’s an onion in the ointment.

bury 2-0

We are a point outside the playoffs, with Port Vale in 6th. Guess who are our next visitors?

It’s a mad game. Billing and Pearson are both banned and we lose two to injury and Gowshall gets sent off with the score at 1-1. We go behind, level straight away thanks to Howard’s first goals for the club before the unlikely figure of Crowe puts us in front. We’re going to do it! We’re going to the playoffs Port Vale equalise in the 89th minute. That’s a significant punch to the groin.

3-3 port vale

It’s a tough ask now especially with fellow rivals Tranmere next up. We lose that too. It’s slipping away.

tranmere 3-1

There’s a scenario on the last day of the season where if we win and lots of team lose, we can take 6th. We win…

hull 1-0 win

Fulham and Tranmere both draw (not with each other) and we’ll finish 8th. That last minute Port Vale goal cost us a great deal. Then again we shouldn’t have lost 5-1 at home to Wimbledon, among other terrible results.

Div 1 table May

Balls. It’s respectable and in fairness we’d have been eaten alive in the Premier League.

S3 ratings

Some fairly average performances, three centre halves did well. Dow is a bit of a false rating as he only played a handful of games.

goals S3

Not enough goals from elsewhere. We really missed Twiss in that regard. Billing though has been a real hero.

Billing stats

There’s going to be an overhaul this summer. A lot of the squad players were signed in division 3 and need moving on, I’ll sign new kids who are able to compete for a first team place.

First out the door is Big Bill. He’s done a great job as a utility man in Divisions 2 and 3 but he wanted out and I can’t refuse bids, so good day to you.

Big Bill leaves

Join me next time to see how the overhaul goes as we try to have another go at Division 1. In the meantime, here’s a graduate update. Toodles!

The Graduates

Michael Twiss – Deemed a star player by Wolves, they stayed up by the skin of their teeth in 17th.

Twiss S3

Jeff Brazier – Played regularly for Bolton and helped them to 6th in the table, which should secure them a UEFA Cup berth next season.

brazier S3

Gary Simpson – Also part of that Bolton team, the centre half has made 27 appearances in the Premier League this season for The Wanderers.

Simpson S3

Stuart McCaffrey – Can’t get a game for Huddersfield having joined from Stoke.

Danny Gee – Our first graduate is now at Grimsby, having left Wimbledon for £325k. He still has a big club release so presumably still has the potential to go higher.

Gee S3

Lee Norfolk – Helped St Johnstone to 6th in the SPL, playing 42 times. Also holds a big club release clause.

Ryan Morrison – Joined Blackburn for £3.2m earlier in this update, has made 5 appearances so far.

James Stones – Played European football and helped Blackburn to 10th in the Premier League. Now reunited with Morrison.

Stones S3

Anthony Betterton – Helped Barnsley get promoted at the first attempt in his first season as Barnsley’s number one.

betterton S3

That’s all for our most prominent graduates, it’ll be interesting to see who is the first to gain an England cap.

Have you voted for your favourite CM9798 players yet? Get over to our Greatest Team poll now!

CM9798 Academy – Part 9: Rich Heritage

Welcome back! It’s fair to say we found adapting to life in Division 1 tougher than we did during the step up to Division 2. We’ve taken some hammerings but shown we can still mix it with the big lads on our day. With such a young team, it’s inevitable there will be up days and down days. Are the playoffs a step too far for the Academy? The eternal struggles continues with a trip to QPR.

3-0 down by half time? This is fine. We do rally in the second half but the damage is done. It’s not really fair to expect us to compete with a team that have Kevin Gallen and Chris Bart Williams.

3-2 QPR

We’re much better at the Hawthorns. In fact we absolutely batter poor old West Brom but there’s no way through. One of those CM days. Two points dropped…but a clean sheet after conceding 8 in 2 is welcome.

0-0 wba

League leaders Sunderland are the next visitors and they have a goalkeeper called Casagrande. That translates as Big House and it’s appropriate as he’s a big nuisance who keeps everything out. Michael Bridges settles it as our midtable mediocrity continues.

0-1 mackems

Finally our problems are solved in Essex. Like so many of lifes problems. Son’s Pear and John score the goals that see off Southend and arrest our slide down the table. For now.

1-3 southend

Bury are really struggling so we’re licking our lips as they arrive in Academy land. Dean Kiely keeps us out for 68 minutes but it’s a win for persistence despite Adie Mike’s late penalty.

2-1 bury

When we take an early lead at Vale Park and I’m already starting to ready the chapter in my autobiography in years to come of how a 5-1 loss at home to Wimbledon stirred a remarkable mid season turn around. Then we lose 2-1 and the harsh reality that we just can’t defend is there for all to see.

2-1 PV

We need more forward options, obviously. James Gallagher, who you may recall was a constant pain in the arse refusing to sign a new contract until he got a serious injury then he signed an extra year, is once again in the final year of his deal. He won’t sign it. I don’t know why, he earns £400 a week and doesn’t even have a release clause. Anyway, in the words of Mike, I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be Charlie McBride.

McBride

He’ll do, a lot of decent stats and I don’t need him to tackle. Third placed Tranmere are brushed aside as he debuts from the bench.

2-0 tranmere

Hull have come through the divisions with us under the rugged eye of Mark Hateley. They’re 5th, whilst we aren’t, but our trip to Humberside turns into an all out war as Hull leave with 9 men and we have to leave two behind at the local hospital.

Hull 0-1

6 weeks out for Buckley makes the signing of McBride all the more important. We’re on fire, or rather Billing is as he single handedly takes down Huddersfield. What do you call a woman who sets fire to her bills?

hudds 3-2

Bernadette. I don’t know what it is about Southampton but earlier in the season every shot they had went in…and the same thing happened here. Maybe Heritage is a Southampton fan?

4-0 soton

From our current goalkeeper to the former custodian, Anthony Betterton. Obviously he gets man of the match as high flying Barnsley win 1-0. Boo.

barnsley 1-0

We’re a weird team really, lurching from one disaster to another with some good results in between. McBride gets his first goal as Middlesbrough are defeated on Boxing Day.

3-1 boro

I’ll take the opportunity to rest a few as we treck to Bournemouth for the FA Cup 3rd round and Ugo Howard gets his first goal for the club several months after arriving. He hasn’t been very good. It’s a draw though so we’ll have to do it all again shortly.

1-1 bournemouth

Before that though it’s a trip to Charlton. What’s this? The Pearson of old is alive and full of beans!

3-0 charlton

Take that, Curbs. Then it’s a chance to avenge the Peter Ndlovu mauling we took earlier in the season and thanks to the front two, we manage it.

3-1 birmingham

I don’t know what is wrong with us in the FA Cup but we seem unable to beat third Division Bournemouth. From 2-0 up we’re soon 3-2 down and Billing has to complete a hat-trick in extra time to eventually see us through 5-4. Bristol Rovers at home in Round 4.

5-4 bournemoiuth

There’s no question we’ve improved though and even if clean sheets are hard to come by, having a front 2 hitting form allows us to come from behind to beat Oldham in a frantic opening 22 minutes. That, remarkably, puts us in the final playoff position.

3-2 oldham

We’ve sold Stephen Melton. Who? He was our centre midfielder for about 7 games when we first started but he wasn’t very good and was eventually replaced by Jeff Brazier. Lovely Jeff.

melton leaves

All we have to do is beat Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup to finish on a high but Jeremy Beadle equalises and it’ll be a replay in Bristol in 10 days time. ‘sakes.

1-1 bristol

It’ll be Leeds away if we can win the replay. That’ll be brutal.

The table looks like this – our defensive record the worst in the top half by a margin but you would say we’ve taken a few pastings at odd times.

Div 1 top january S3

It’s building up quite nicely ahead of next week where we will return as usual with the final part of this season. First though, some graduate news:

Graduates

Jeff Brazier – Has played 18 Premier League games for Bolton, scoring once.

Michael Twiss – Is deemed a star player for Wolves in the Premier League, he has 11 in 27 this season.

Anthony Betterton – Barnsley’s number 1, as you can see from the table has only conceded 20 in the league.

Ryan Morrison – A regular in Barnsley’s midfield, he’s now worth £3.2m and wanted by Aston Villa.

Gary Simpson – Has made 11 appearances for Bolton.

Danny Gee – Listed for loan by Vinny Jones at Wimbledon.

Andrew Weathers – Left for Arbroath for £275k but is now at Southend with a big club release clause. Suggests he has something to offer still.

That’s all for now, see you next week.

CM9798 Academy – Part 8: Top Billing

Welcome back! Part 7 was out of this world. I really didn’t expect to be promoted to Division 1 at the first attempt so winning Division 2 came as a complete surprise. This update will pick up in the close season and will take you through to October 99 – which means I owe you a graduates update but as I alluded to at the end of Part 7, there’s more on the move. Sigh.

Everton can’t afford Twiss! So he’s had to go to Wolves.

Twiss to wolves

Silly Everton. I’ve signed Cambiasso on a free.

cambiasso

He’s average at best but his versatility means a lot to me. Weathers and Smith are moved on for a combined £300k, both barely feature so I’m quite happy to move on some of the fringe members of the squad. With the two backup keepers asking for transfers, I’ve moved for two new backups in case somebody is stupid enough to buy them

Mailcox

Cox Mail sounds just awful.

Bids arrive for the last remaining “wanted” amongst the squad.

Bolton Brazier

Sheff Utd and Crystal Palace also table offers, as well as a late bid from The National Lottery. On the advice of Vernon Kay, Jeff chooses Bolton.

brazier to bolton

Third choice keeper Freeman heads to Cowdenbeath for £275k and that ends the outs before the season starts. There’ll be a couple of frees coming in to add some depth but overall, we’re obviously weaker. I just have to hope the lads we do have continue to improve.

squad opening day

Right then, as promised, here’s a full list of the graduates so far:

Danny Gee – Yet to make an appearance for Wimbledon after joining from Swindon for £400k. Vinny Jones is the new manager there so God help him.

Lee Norfolk – Did well for Huddersfield and got a “big” move to St Johnstone. £625k is actually less than the £825k we received for him.

Gary Simpson – Our former captain was sold to Man City for £475k. He played 10 times before losing his place and being sold to Watford, also for £475k. After making 8 appearances for the Hornets, Bolton swooped with a £475k offer. He’ll be a Premier League player this season if he makes an appearance.

Stuart McCaffrey – Was sold to First Division Stoke for £120k. Played 36 times for Stoke in 98/99 before moving to Huddersfield for £450k. Could come up agains us this season.

Gerard Lyttle – Sold to Premier League Leicester for £375k. Has made 13 appearances for them and finished the season in the team.

Anthony Betterton – Went to Barnsley for £1.2m part way through last season. Was backup to David Watson but took over as number 1 when Watson left for Derby. Made 8 appearances at an average of 7.62 but Barnsley were relegated.

Ryan Morrison – Also sold to Barnsley, for £1.4m. Made 5 appearances in the Premier League before relegation.

James Stones – Took over as captain but left for Blackburn who tabled at £1.2m bid. Has made 13 appearances but will be looking to impress new manager Ron Atkinson.

The following have just left, so nothing to report just yet.

Out 9899

Huddersfield are our first visitors and we get an early indication of the task at hand

1-3 hudds

Reinforcements arrive. Dow is just back up, whereas Hussin wants £25k a week which means he is a re-gen of somebody good. I hope.

Dowhussin

We are absolutely loaded after the summer so it’ll not be an issue.

He makes his debut at home to Tranmere in the League Cup.

tranmere 3-3

This is going well. Tranmere are at least a Division 1 side too.

Morrison and Betterton are back at the Arena and once again we throw away a lead, though I think Barnsley will do well this season so I’m not too upset with a draw.

1-1 barnsley

A bad night in front of goal ends our involvement in the League Cup.

1-0 tranmere

It’s just not happening for us at the moment. I miss Jeff. And Twissy.

Gowshall is banned as Charlton are in town. Cassin scores twice and despite a late Mendoca onslaught, we win. 3 precious points.

charlton 2-1

A midweek trip to Southampton is always a treat. A losing treat.

soton 2-1

Early signs are that this will be an eternal struggle. A 1-1 draw with Oldham does little to change my opinion, though Nicky Byrne’s 30 yard strike is a rare highlight.

1-1 oldham

Billing recovers from a fractured wrist to hopefully give us more firepower. Pearson has been quite poor so far, but he was the same last season. But now we have 4 away games in a row. Great scheduling.

Hussin hasn’t looked great at all but he’s in the England Under 21 squad. So I think that means he will be good.

Billing’s return brings immediate dividends as Festa the clown takes him out in the opening seconds. Boro have to play 89 minutes with 10 men and Billing runs wild, Buckley helps out and even Pearson scores. It’s a mess and we’d probably have lost 11 vs 11, but this is a big win. Probably our biggest to date.

5-3 boro

Tranmere are top having won 6 out of 6 whilst Charlton are second having only lost to us. It’s a funny old game.

Our trip to bottom club Braford continues our rebuilding process. Billing remains our saviour.

1-0 bradford

No matter how much you think you have improved, when you concede a first half hat-trick to Peter Ndlovu it can’t be good news. We are 10th.

brum 4-0

Have we sold our ground or something? Actually, don’t give him ideas. Another poor result.

2-1 swindon

Pearson’s value has dropped to £800k. From £3m, that’s quite a fall. It’s like the game has decided he has peaked and that’s it for him. He has 76 in 116 for the Academy, but 3 in 11 so far this term. Morrison’s injury opens the door for the Walshinator.

The Walshinator lasts 37 minutes.

1-1 Ipswich

I’ve written us off from worse positions but this is definitely a step up in class and I’m worried that our former main man is now garbage. Maybe it’s time to step back into the freebies market?

Before there’s time to strengthen our ranks, it’s Pompey at home. Proof we can still mix it.

4-0 pompey

Siri Scout, can you find me somebody who is quick, determined and a good finisher but is weak as a kitten and smokes 90 a day?

Ugo

Welcome aboard.

Ugo makes his debut at home to Coventry. Gallagher scores after replacing Buckley but John Salako, who must be pushing 40, equalises.

1-1 cov

Off to Fulham next and a drab encounter is settled when Pearson emerges from the bench to replace the disappointing Howard to net the winner. That my friends is man management.

0-1 fulham

Gowshall out for a month. Centre halves are falling apart.

We shared 10 goals with Wigan last season and now we meet a division higher. There are less goals, in fact we score half as many as last time but that doesn’t matter. We’re mint.

Maybe we’ve cracked Division 1 life. We’re just on the cusp of the playoffs and it’s Wimbledon at home to finish this update. Big Bill Davies is the latest centre half to depart on a stretcher and it turns out Cambiasso is not big enough to deal with Wimbledon’s directness.

1-5 dons

Sigh. That drops us to 12th – I mean, I’m not blameless in this but I lose a centre half a match at the moment.

S3 top

Tranmere and Coventry flying the unbeaten flag. Our goals against column is the worst in the top half by a long way.

I did an Academy update earlier so it will return to it’s rightful place at the end of the post next Sunday. I think a goal difference of zero really sums up where we are. Very average in this league bit that’s fine. We’re in no hurry. Nobody wants any of the squad which probably means they’re all crap. We’ll see. Bye for now!

 

 

 

CM9798 Academy – Part 7: Twiss & Shout

Welcome back! There are 20 games between the CM9798 Acamdemy and a second consecutive promotion, but we’re dodging obstacles from all angles. Our captain, Stonesy as I once called him, is the latest to depart. He followed creator in chief Ryan Morrison out the door and owner Ike Mashley is swimming in cash. We’ve found free replacements – which is all we are allowed – but now we have our top scorer injured for January. It’s a good job we’re second.

Div 2 top Jan

Good news though, Twiss is back for our visit to Millwall. Ricky Newman does the most stereotypical Millwall thing and gets sent off for an elbow to the face after a minute. Good. Twiss departs with a hamstring injury. Bad.

4-0 millwall

Our last two away games have been 4-0 wins but now we’re at home for two in a row. A month without Twiss though.

Without Pearson, Twiss and the departed Morrison we are the opposite of ruthless. I don’t know what that is. Toothless? Big Bill Davies (centre half/striker) nets a late winner after Cassin and Billing miss a truck load.

1-0 plymouth

To celebrate, Davies gets injured in training. ‘sakes.

My options are few and far between up top. I’m fortunate that Billing has really hit the ground running since signing, though he is inconsistent like a lot of the team really.

injuries

Lowly Gillingham are next up and we’re just not at it. They deservedly lead and Cassin eventually manages a shot on target to equalise. It’s two points dropped.

1-1 Gills

As luck would have it results elsewhere go our way. 4th placed Oxford beat 3rd placed Wigan and Shrewsbury can only draw. So we’re still 2nd and no worse off.

We are however in Bristol. Nicky Byrne is the only absentee to return and I’ve decided to play him in the AMRC role, with Johnson dropping out. He picks up two assists on one of our more impressive days out.

3-0 bristol city

Shrewsbury lose so this puts us top of the pile. FLYING WITHOUT WINGS.

Byrne’s new lease of life continues as he heads us in front against Carlisle. We lose Gowshall to injury though and although Billing adds a second, the return of big Bill lasts one minute before he is the victim of a bad challenge and he departs on a stretcher. My sub keeper plays the last 23 minutes up front.

2-0 carlisle

It’s a month for Davies and two weeks for Gowshall. Pearson returns to training though, which is great timing with a trip to 3rd placed Wigan coming at the weekend.

Twiss returns to training the day before the game so the pair of them are subs.

We’re 2-0 down inside 8 minutes. It’s the type of form that got Graeme Jones the assistant managers job with Belgium. Johnson pulls one back but it’s soon 3-1, Heritage having a shocker in nets for us. Billing reduces the arrears before Byrne scores an OG from a corner. What is life?

We have a serious key change at half time though and with Johnson departing due to a thigh injury, Twiss is in the action. Byrne pulls one back at the right end before Billing and Cassin both round Roy Carroll. 5-4 up and Pearson arrives from the bench to make it 6. Game, set, match.

wigan 6-4

We’ve got options for the visit of 6th placed Oxford. Only Johnson (and long term Gallagher) are missing from the forward options and I think we’re approaching some sort of Utopia in terms of our form. 5-0 doesn’t flatter us and what’s more – nobody gets injured.

Oxford 5-0

5 points clear at the top and 8 points ahead of 3rd place. We’re well set for automaitc promotion with 13 games to go.

It’s Shrewsbury who lead the chasing pack and that’s where we’re off now. We’re in the form of our lives and this is our opportunity to make the Meadow less Gay. However, we fail at that. To paraphrase Jimmy White, I’m beginning to get a little tired of them.

shrews 2-1

Nevermind. Still top and as 3rd place lost, still 8 clear of the playoff positions.

Just outside of those playoff positions are Wrexham. We’re in no mood for their shenanigans and it’s an easy win.

3-1 rexham

On to the last page of fixtures now but with 33 points still available, our 10 point gap back to 3rd can still be cut down.

3 months out for Brazier. What we do to each other in training I dread to think. Byrne starts out of position in central midfield as Luton are disposed of.

3-1 luton

10 games to go, 10 points the gap to 3rd.

A win over Norwich costs us Twiss for two weeks

2-1 norwich

But a win over Crewe is without incident. Sides around us faulter too, so it’s a 12 point gap now with 8 to play.

3-1 crewe

Cassin and Byrne both play for Eire Under 21s whilst Heritage makes the bench for England’s equivalent. The transfer deadline looms…

deadline

Phew. Twiss has three Premier League clubs circling but as he is valued at £4m, maybe his recent injuries have put them off. Good.

Hull have tiptoed into 3rd place which makes our trip there quite important. Brian McClair settles it though and we are momentarily pegged back.

1-0 hull

It’s still very much in our hands though.

7 games to go

Twiss wants to move to a bigger club. Now is not the time, Michael. You quite literally can’t. A sketchy performance agaisnt Cardiff brings a point thanks to Heritage saving a pen.

2-2 cardiff

Hull lose so there’s no damage done. Everybody else seems quite intent on beating each other. 6 to go.

We don’t have a game on Easter Saturday as our opponents, Bristol Rovers, are in the Windscreen shield final. It means we are raring to go on Easter Monday against 21st placed Chesterfield. Pearson is banned but Gallagher is back after a long absence.

1-3 chesterfield

That. Was. Awful. The gap is down to 6, though we have a game in hand. Don’t blow it now!

No Gowshall and without him the defence is weak. 4-1 down at half time, I really question why any of us bother and fortunately it rouses us to immediately reduce the arrears, but it is soon 5-2. A fight back ensues and we sneak a point. Bloody hell man.

5-5 wycombe

The game in hand is away at 5th placed Bristol Rovers and we have a further curveball to deal with – International call ups. Heritage, Byrne and Cassin are all away yet somehow old crisp packet hands Aldous keeps a clean sheet.

2-0 bristol r

9 ahead of 3rd, 9 points available. In the words of Boris Becker, any point will do.

Name the dullest way to seal promotion

0-0 preston

We’re up! That’s the main thing.

What’s more…we’re the champions!

champs

table 2 games to go

We round off the season with a win at Walsall and a thrashing of Burnley. Pearson had a great bank holiday,

1-2 walsall

4-1 burnley

That leaves us on 99 league goals, annoyingly.

Div 2 table final

Barnsley have been releagted from the Premier League so we’ll up against Betterton and Ryan Morrison next season. Amazingly we lost nobody in this update, I will save the graduates update for next time though as I’ve covered so much already, you’ll be sick of me.

Tottenham have won the Premier League, quite who has allowed that to happen I don’t know. They also won the UEFA Cup so Jack Charlton is obviously a genius. Shrewsbury go out of the playoffs on away goals to Crewe. Good. Wigan win the playoff final. Coventry are in the 1st Division yet win the FA Cup and then lose the playoff final. So they’ll have a fixture nightmare next season with Saturday/Wednesday confused by Thursday fixtures thrown into the mix too.

Anyway, we’re going to have a lot to sort out ahead of our life in Division 1. Jeff Brazier wants to move to a bigger club, Channel 4 are weighing up a bid, whilst Twiss…

everton bid for twiss

With that, here’s some awards. Obviously only one matters.

awards S2

Give Pearson the golden boot. If he gets it next season things have gone really well. See you then as I try and convince Twiss to stay or more accurately hunt for a free replacement. Bye for now.

 

 

CM9798 Academy – Part 6: Skipping Stones

Greetings and welcome back to Academy life. My team of young freebies are doing themselves proud in Division 2 after our surprise promotion in the first season, but seeing as our number 1 graduated in September, we’ve got a job on our hands. So, what now?

Things get worse before they get better. We drop to 15th after a valiant but ultimately fruitless trip to Luton.

3-2 Luton

You may recall we drew 2-2 with Charlton in the 1st leg, well we’ve done exactly that again. Sadly, nobody except Pearson can take a penalty and that’s the end of that.

charlton pens

Finally some better news as we thrash a side who defend worse than we do.

Crewe 0-4

As ever though good news is followed up by extremely bad news. I’ll miss Ryan Morrison. Barnsley better have plans for my young’uns.

barnsley morrison

So long.

morrison to barnsley

Not to worry though, Billing gets his first goal for the club in a 3-0 mauling of Norwich.

3-0 norwich

Then we show Cardiff how it’s done. Hurrah.

cardiff 1-3

To fill the Morrison hole I’ve opted for Chris Johnson. He’s a flairy type. I like that.

Johnson signs

Wish he could pass. We ease pass Rotherham in the Windscreen Shield. We lost our first game 5-0, so we’re not guaranteed to go through but who cares.

Rothrham 3-0

The schedule shows no sign of letting up and 3 days later we host Bristol Rovers. We’re both in the hunt for the playoffs so it’s a shame when Jeremy Beadle scores twice.

0-2 Bristol Rovers

High-flying Hull are our next visitors though and we raise our game – young Billing getting the decisive goal and reigniting our promotion hopes.

Hull 1-0

We’ve got the taste for it now and even when we fall behind at Chesterfield, a quick response lays the platform for two more goals and 3 more points. Howay!

chesterfield 1-3

Wrexham have made their way to the top of the pile so our trip there on a Wednesday night fills me with dread. TV personality Jeff Brazier gives us the lead but it soon disappears and that’s that. A huge shame.

wrexham 2-1

Nevermind though, our anger is taken out on manager-less Wycombe. We had to come from behind but who cares? The young lads are going from strength to strength.

3-1 wycombe

The FA Cup 1st round is always a special day on the calendar but I’m not really sure it applies to a club ran solely as a cash cow. Nevertheless, Gillingham are brushed aside and we’ll face Brentford in round 2. Ike Mashley can’t wait.

3-1 Gills

Back to league action as Oxford sit 7th whislt we are 6th. A draw is more than reasonable. That keeps us in the hunt at least.

1-1 Oxford

Preston are a bit filthy. Two red cards and a 3-0 deficit, I bet Deepdale was a wonderful place to be at half time. We decide it’s best not to make it any worse.

3-0 preston

I rarely step outside of the Academy bubble but I love it when things like this happen

southall player manager

Walsall are the next to taste defeat at the Arena.

3-1 walsall

Windscreen Shield time now. Huge game. You’ll remember I cared so much about this tournament I changed my entire team and lost 5-0 to Shrewsbury. Well, good news! We’re playing them again in the first knockout round. That’s poor planning. Anyway, short story longer than necessary, we are out.

shrews 1-2

I hope we have bigger fish to fry. Brentford visit us for an FA Cup 2nd round tie and it would mean…literally nothing to a club like us to make the FA Cup 3rd round. Prestige, history…are just two of the things we don’t have. Oh we won.

1-0 brentford

Don’t get me wrong, I love the FA Cup and we’ll try and go as far as we can but Ike. Oh Ike. He couldn’t give a Michael Twiss. It’ll be Norwich away in Round 3, who of course are also in Division 2 and were smashed to bits by us a few months ago.

Struggling Burnley is our next destination and like so many before us Paul Furlong stings us and we have to settle for a point. We’re 4th, remarkably.

1-1 burnley

6th placed Grimsby therefore is a bit of a crunch tie. The boy Billing puts us in front and a nervous hour ensues, but Gowshall gets on the end of a set piece to secure the points. It keeps us 4th but we’re only 2 points off top spot. Bloody nora!

2-0 grimsby

The squad is showing signs of being weathered though. The two keepers who can’t catch are unhappy and keep asking to move. Shut up the pair of you. There’s a few injuries and suspensions cropping up, Twiss is the latest to be out for a few weeks whilst Pearson departs on a stretcher against Brentford. Bloody Brentford.

2-2 brentford

A point in the cirucmstances will do and actually moves us up to 3rd. But the news Pearson will be missing for 6 weeks is not what I wanted to hear. He’s played just about every minute since he joined so it’ll be a tough test to see how we get on without our main man.

Happy bastard Christmas.

bolton for stones

Blackburn and Palace join the bidding and the reality is my captain will be departing in the near future. He hangs on until Boxing Day though, obviously desperate to play away at Watford but probably more accurately keen to save on travel expenses.

watford 4-0

Take that, Sir Elton John. That puts us second. Why would you want to leave this, Stonesy?

Stones to Blackburn

In his defence, they are in the Premier League. 7th as well. Will never get a game.

Off to find his replacement then and all roads lead to Matty Walsh. Walshy. The Walshster.

Walshy

Signed on his birthday too. He doesn’t want a clause, which immediately makes me suspicious that he is actually rubbish. I guess we’ll see.

We’ll finish with Norwich away in the cup. I’m left with a squad who are all timid as a scared cat, not a captain amongst them. The armband is thrown to TV personality Jeff Brazier. Walshy in for his debut.

2-0 norwich

Hopeless. Walshy had to be pulled after an hour as he played a 5 and was rancid. Barely any chances created, hopefully not a sign of things to come.

This seems like a good time to call it a day. A lot has happened in this update but the upshot of it all is that we have 20 games left and if we win them all we’ll be promoted. Even if we win some of them. Who knows?

Div 2 top Jan

On the negative side, we’ve lost our captain, our top scorer is out for another month or so and Nicky Byrne is unhappy. In a world of his own that boy. Still, I hope none of that puts you off joining me next Sunday for those remaining 20 games. See you there!

Graduations

Not to worry anybody but Michael Twiss is worth £3.2m and wanted by Everton. Gulp. Billing is already worth £1m whilst Brazier is up to £1.7m. But for those who have flown the nest…

James Stones has just left so is yet to appear for Blackburn as he was cup tied. Ryan Morrison has played 4 games for Premier League Barnsley but made little impact, whilst Anthony Betterton can’t displace Dave Watson in the Oakwell goal. Gerard Lyttle is only on £5k at Leicester, not that I’m bitter, but he has made 9 appearances for them as they prop up the Premier League. Stuart McCaffrey has played 21 times for Stoke this season, so he’s a regular, as is Lee Norfolk at Huddersfiled with 27 games and 5 goals under his belt.

The big news though is Danny Gee, who is the first graduate to…graduate? He’s now doing a masters at Wimbledon or something along those lines. I don’t know how deep these metaphors can go, but look out for somebody doing a doctrate at Sparta Prague by 2006.

WimbleGee

See you next week.