CM9798 Academy – Part 2: No Defence

Welcome back to our experiment. If you’re not sure what this is all about, the post from last week is here. In short, we’ve made an Academy which only signs free transfers under 23. We’ve got a squad together and made a reasonable start, but can we kick on?

table august

The problem is of course that our players will be poached if we do well. But on we go. Look busy, Colchester are coming.

2-1 Colchester

A late winner from Morrison, who is interesting Oxford, but we’ll worry about that later. A home game with Notts County goes badly as Betterton is away with England Under 21s and he’s the best of an awful bunch.

1-2 Notts

The CM9798 academy has had a huge impact on the world, so much so that I had a Twitter conversation with Nicky Byrne of Westlife.


On that basis, he’s in. I mean he fits the criteria and Ike Mashley senses a business opportunity.

byrne signs

An easy 3-0 win at Macclesfield continues out good start. I feel like nothing can ever go wrong.

3-0 macc away

Swansea at home, they’ve done alright since 1997 and the filthy Swans give away 3 penalties. Pearson converts them all and adds two more in a 6-1 win. What is going on here?

6-1 swans

It is a great footballing irony therefore that a few days later we lose 3-0 and have two men sent off…inside 6 minutes. Southend are a division higher so we were up against it anyway but that more or less ends our stay in the League Cup.

0-3 southend

That seems to trigger something that leads to a lot of problems. First, Lincoln defeat us 3-2.

3-2 lincoln

Then Cardiff win late on. No shame…

cardiff 2 - 1

Some form is rediscovered against Mark Hateley’s Hull. Pearson is really motoring now

2-2 hull

Another 2-2 draw, this time in the return leg, is barely cause for celebration but it’s nice to compete at a 2nd Division club. Cassin, the young Irishman, is starting to be useful.

2-2 southend

We even manage to beat Mansfield, what was I even worried about?

2-1 mansfield

Then the wheels start to come off. Two defeats in 3 days including a harrowing loss at home to Torquay

barnet 2 -0

1-4 torquay

McVeigh was available for free. I should have got him. Our fury is taken out on Shrewsbury in the Windscreen Shield. They are 3rd in our division so this is a good result, but I would rather it was a league game.

4-1 shrewsbury

Let’s concede 6 goals in 4 days…and somehow win one of them. What is really remarkable is that Betterton managed to get sent off twice in 2 games.

3-4 exeterchester 3-2


betterton ban

So yes, I’m a little bit tense. Then the first offer comes in.

Gee bid

We’ll miss Danny Gee. £400k banked for Ike Mashley, a whole in our already leaky defence has appeared.

Gee to Swindon

It seems a bit unfair that we have to face Cambridge of all teams without him

5-4 cambridge

This team man. One minute you’re conceding to Trevor Benjamin, then you’re pulling it back to 4-4. To lose 5-4. Who wants to buy these idiots anyway?

I may as well get another one in. This chap will do.

Smorrison signs

He doesn’t have a big club release, which as I mentioned last time immediately makes me think he’s rubbish.

Another goalfest, this time Freeman (in for the banned Betterton) concedes 3 in 5 minutes. Why have nearly 10,000 turned up for this?

3-3 wrexham

We’ll play Burnley in round 2 of the Shield. Chris Waddle is older than at least 2 of my players added together.

Freeman gets injured so I’ve moved for another keeper, a Twitter recommendation. He’s got…1 for technique. Send help.


He makes his debut at Colwyn Bay in the FA Cup. He’s not exactly great but a win is a win. Watford in Round 2.

colwyn bay 2-3

He does however get man of the match at Millmoor. This win means a lot, I feel like we haven’t won a league game in ages.

rotherham 2 - 3

We’ve kept two clean sheets in the league in TWENTY ONE MATCHES MAN. Maybe I should change the formation to something that protects our goalkeeper, isn’t it amazing that I have four goalies and not one of them can catch? Anyway, off we go to Hartlepool for more of the same.

3-4 hartlepool

Yay. However…

gowshall injured

Back to the free transfer list I go. First though, Burnley away. They are 2nd in Division 2 so I’m more than a little surprised when we’re 2-0 up at half time, but less surprised when they coming roaring back to force extra time. We lose, obviously. Heritage gets a 9, which gives me a dilemma about whether to bring Betterton back or not.

3-2 burnley

Reinforcements have arrived

gary simpson

That injury proneness means I’m really not expecting much but he only wants £300 a week.

He can actually have the armband, this team has no leadership, probably because they are all children. Watford in the cup, Sir Elton takes his seat in the Arena, Heritage keeps his spot in goal and…

1-0 watford

What a time to get a clean sheet. Simpson immediately earns hero status by marshalling a defence to a cleansheet against opposition a division higher. They are 8th in Division 2. Incredible.

Last game of the update and we host Peterborough. I’ve got a good feeling now with Simmo at the back. Obviously, he lasts 10 minutes, we blow a 2-0 lead and my other centre half also goes off injured. I don’t know why I bother.

2-3 peter

All of that leaves us in a worrying 11th, 6 points off the playoffs. We’re the top scorers but our defence is abysmal.

table december

Speaking of which, Simpson is out for a month. McCaffrey for 3 months. In the words of Kel, WHHHYYY?

I’ll be back next week to try and put this back together. I’ll end every episode with a look at those who have graduated the academy. So far, it’s just Danny Gee. And look what he’s aspired to…

Gee Swindon




Introducing the CM9798 Academy

We’re back! Arguably, we never left, as I gave you all a massive 4 week break for the World Cup before returning with the Newcastle United short story. I asked YOU what should happen next:


The people have spoken. It was quite close though, so I will keep the NUFC save going too. Probably on a Wednesday, leaving Sunday free for the new long term save. But what? WHAT?


Oh great, he’s been messing with the editor again.

The CM9798 Academy are a club in the English 3rd Division. They start the game with no players or budget and a strict instruction to only recruit free transfers under the age of 23. The academy has been set up as a way for crazy owner Ike Mashley to make an income. Using the “list for loan” glitch to stop clubs exploiting the big club release clause is banned. Roll with the punches. What have I signed myself up for?

The aim is to take the club to the top. That’s going to take some doing, the “long term” thing wasn’t a joke. So let’s crack on.

An additional issue is only being able to bid for 5 players at a time, so it’s a real scramble to get a squad together for our season opener at Scunthorpe. Tomlinson turns us down, which is an early blow. Andrew Duncan goes to York and Andrew Mainwaring technically costs £5k. Of all the players I sign, I only know Anthony Betterton. He’s a promising goalkeeper but as he has already been called into the England Under 21 squad, I don’t think I will have him for very long. Here’s the squad:


Now, none of these players will mean anything to you. Here’s some more information:

Anthony Betterton


As mentioned, he’s a well known useful freebie. He’ll only improve too but I suspect he will be one of the first to go. I have three keepers and will try to make sure I have three on the books at all times.

Danny Gee


This guy was “Highly recommended” which I guess covers his high tackling, heading and positioning but that low technique could be a problem.

James Gallagher


He’s aggressive but he’s Scottish so it’s just the way he was raised. Hoping this chap will fit nicely into one of the two attacking midfield positions, he can pass and run but lacks creativity so we’ll see how he goes.

Chris Pearson


Logically, this guy should be my top scorer by a mile. Pace, off the ball and shooting are three of the things I really look for in a striker in a direct formation. His poor heading might prove to be an issue but beggars can’t be choosers at this level. He has been at Notts County previously, so read into that what you will.

Just confirmation that we signed all these chaps:



The first game of the season is at Scunthorpe. Obviously I want instant success but realistically it will take time for these lads to gel. The usual formation is applied:

team game 1

To give you an idea of the task ahead of me, we are 3-0 down after 46 minutes. We do rally, briefly, to get one back but it’s a bad start.

scunny loss

The only slight plus is that Joby Gowshall gets man of the match, somehow.


Here he is:


Got a lot of time for young Joby. Tackling and pace and decent positioning. Long may it continue.

Another arrival ahead of a League Cup tie with Barnet and he’s bang average. But that should be it for the squad depth for now.


Barnet have Sean Devine, but we have…Ryan Morrison. Call it a draw?

barnet 1-1

That’s not a bad result. Guess who gets man of the match?

barnet 1-1 ratings

Joby the magnificent.

Our first ever game at the Arena is against Darlington. The irony. It’s been a rough 2 days of training as Betterton and Bryers have strained a wrist each. Make your own jokes. Weathers has a damaged foot, I really hope that is from a separate incident.

Just over 1,000 people turn up to watch us dismantle Darlington. Who supports this movement? Scouts? I guess it would have to be local to somebody. Anyway, I digress. Pearson gets his first goals for the club and it’s all very promising. Group wanks all round next week if this is the result.

5-1 darlington

There are a handful of players in the squad who don’t have big club release clauses. None of the good ones, obviously. I always think these players are obviously crap rather than just being loyal. Time will tell. Incidentally Danny Gee got man of the match in that Darlo win. Love these centre halves.

They face the Devine test again and the crowd is 7 times bigger. If you build it, they will come. Pearson and Buckley are at it again and Round 2 awaits.

2-0 barnet

Southend over two legs in Round 2 could have been a lot worse. I don’t really know what the aim of these cups is for us. The money is not going to be spent, except on wages, so we’ll just save it for the day that will eventually come where we are trying to attract Europe’s finest Under 23s that are available on free transfers. Christ.

Brighton away. Things have gone quite well for the Seagulls in the last 20 years but here at Priestfield, nobody cares. Well, 1,352 people do. Our strikers have an off day, their keeper gets man of the match and we lose 2-0. Ho hum.

brighton 2-0

Gowshall stubbed a toe. Phew. He’ll miss a few weeks. At this level, that’s about 400 games, but at least it’s not the season or anything.

Leyton Orient at home and to my amazement they don’t play Bjorn Heidenstrom. In fact, he’s listed for transfer. I’ve never understood how the AI doesn’t exploit how great he is. If he was 7 years younger and on a free, I’d sign him in an instant. Anyway, the Welsh Dion Dublin stars at centre back and we absolutely piss it.


Pearson hits the post several times a game but eventually Buckley gets a rebound and the game is won.

Random Champions League news. Poor Legia Warsaw…

CL draw

I’ve broken my own rule and passed 1,000 words so the last game of this update is Scarborough away. A rough first half is put right with one of our special half times and before long we’ve got the cigars out. Our first away win!

4-1 scarbs

It’s all going well so far but it’s only going to get tougher. The first vultures have arrived at the table…

Gee transfer

On the plus side, we’re 6th.

table august

That brings us to the end of a rather wordy first update but hopefully you’re on board for the journey. See you next week!