Short Stories: Newcastle United – The Aftermath

Hello! Just a quick note, I’ve uploaded the NUFC save file for download so you can carry on where I’ve left off. The only way to do it is for me to upload the whole folder, but it is the only saved game. Basically treat it as a new download and follow the instructions on the How To page. The good thing is you can have multiple CM9798 folders and just mount them all on separate drives, I’ve got about 4 on the go, so do enjoy.

The NUFC save can be downloaded here

Let me know how you get on, there’s £50m in the bank so whether you want to continue my legacy of blooding the youngsters or splashing the cash, the choice is yours. Do tweet me with anything good that happens.

Have a great weekend – see you on Sunday for the Academy

Dave

Short Stories: Newcastle United – Part 12

Hello! Here we are then, the final edition of the NUFC “short” story. You get a feel for when a story is no longer interesting, so hopefully I can bow out at a high point. I will however upload the save file so if you really want to continue this save, be my guest. Here we go then, three months to go and four competitions to try and win…starting with the FA Cup.

The last 16 sees us welcome Liverpool to St James’. It’s a tough tie, as you’d expect, but my hero and yours Bjarni the Gud sees us through.

Liverpool 2-0 FA

It’s a quarter final clash at home to 1st Division Leicester which is music to my ears.

FA QF Draw

February continues with the second leg of the league cup. With a 3-0 advantage I can rest a few and settle for a narrow defeat. Needs must.

1-0 arsenal LC

It’s Spurs in the final at the end of March.

I swear we draw 0-0 with Derby at least once a season. It’s best not to dwell on these things

0-0 derby S3

The excitement continues with a trip to Middlesbrough. These fixtures are coming thick and fast. Andreas Andersson was brilliant last season but he’s been utterly garbage this year, so it’s a relief when he grabs the winner here.

Boro 0-1

Whether it is fatigue or just not being very good, we’re dull to watch at the moment. The whole team is rotated ahead of a clash with Milan, so Birmingham face our reserves. Disco Des ends their resistance.

brum 1-0

Milan then and it seems a little unfair that they’ve added Henry, Zidane and Juninho to the squad. The little Brazilian enjoys his return to the north east before a needless red card opens the door and we jam our foot in it to give us a good lead to take to Italy.

3-1 milan

A problem though is that Shearer and Tomasson both pick up cards that mean they will miss the return leg. An FA Cup quarter final against 1st Division Leicester sees both play alongside the B team and a bit of a shambolic display.

1-1 leicester FA Cup

The last thing we need is another match but we got the ultimate CM treatment.

leicester stats

Oh what a prize…

FA SF Draw S3

The games continue to come thick and fast and West Ham get a clobbering for their troubles. Disco Des though is without a hamstring for 6 weeks.

5-2 west ham

We have a dress rehearsal for the League Cup final but it’s also a matter of days before the Milan return leg. Once again Shearer and Tomasson do the damage ahead of their watching brief in Milan, whilst young Woody adds the third.

3-0 spurs

How are we meant to subdue THIS for 90 minutes?

milan team

That bench man. Meanwhile…

vs milan

Our attacking options are stretched. I’m considering recalling Paul Brayson, that’s what it has come to. It’s not pretty but we survive a 1-0 loss. We’re through!

milan 1-0

Good on Ajax but…there’s no good draw to be had.

CL QF results S3

Well at least it isn’t Barcelona.

CL SF draw

Weirdos.

barton man utd

The squad is at breaking point but we’re 2-0 up at Southampton inside 10 minutes. But this is the Dell, never a happy hunting ground for us, and even Ian Ashbee scores as Given plays a 4. Woodcock briefly gets us back to 3-3 but it’s a loss.

Soton 4-3

That leads to the International break and a welcome rest.

Oh ffs.

gudjonsson 1 month

Still, we’ve got the League Cup final to get to and even if Shearer is slowing down, he’s still the man for the big occasion. Two more goals for the great man and it’s a trophy in the bag.

spurs 0 - 2 toon LC final

However, if we’re going to add the Champions League to that bag we’re going to have to find a way past this (over 2 legs)

lazio

Andreas Andersson & Woodcock are banned, Disco Des and Bjarni the Gud are injured so it’s Paul Dalglish up front with Al. Urgh.

vs lazio

It’s about as good as you’d expect as we’re 3-0 down inside 21 minutes, and Shaka in net with Given dimissed in the penalty incident. Shearer pulls one back and mercifully it finishes that way. You know, I’ll take that, in the circumstances.

3-1 lazio

The fixture list is so congested we have a replay with Leicester on the Friday night. The winners will play Sunderland just 2 days later. Who schedules these things? We win despite Graham Fenton trying to ruin things again.

leicester 2-1

We’re in the middle of 9 matches in 21 days.

fixture pile up

Off to Anfield then for the latest installment of Tyne/Wear fun. Shearer settles it. To Wembley!

mackems 0-1

A pair of wins over struggling side – with a goal and red card for Warren Barton – moves us closer to the league title. We have many games in hand it’s silly. Also, I recalled Paul Brayson.

2-0 forest1-0 fulham

Once again though I have been able to rest players ahead of the big game. Lazio.

This would be hard enough with Shay in net but with him banned, Hislop needs to be good. We’re 2-0 up in no time but Peacock’s dismissal followed by Boksic getting the vital away goal and our bubble bursts. It’s 2-2 shortly afterwards and we’re done. But a pen from Shearer and sub Woodcock sees us get back to 4-2 and we only need one more for an unlikely comeback. That lasts a minute before Par Andersson shatters us again. Never beaten, Woodcock scores our 5th. There is to be no drama though and we’re out on the damn away goals rule.

5-3 lazio

Curses. It’ll be Barcelona vs Lazio in the final.

Shearer has 32 this season which is more than any other season, so much for him declining. He has played more games, I suppose.

A disappointing draw with Chelsea follows, but I think the squad is at breaking point. The conditions are also mid 80%s

1-1 chelsea S3

What won’t help that is this is Easter weekend and a Monday game is not what we need right now.

Still, when life hands you tired lemons, make lemonade.

sheff wed 3-0

That moves us closer to the title, with 3rd and 4th already close to being out of the equation and Tottenham emerging as our main rivals having won 4 on the spin.

6 games to go

They close that gap to 3 points with a win over Chelsea. But I’m not worried, Disco Des is back in training!

During the International break, England live the dream by playing Warren Barton and Lee Sharpe as wingbacks in a 7-0 win over Saudi Arabia. Shearer scores twice but I still think Glenn is losing the plot.

Speaking of losing the plot, we’re off to Anfield in a vital match. There’s no Stan Collymore but we still lose.

liverpool 2-1 away

On the same night, Spurs win at Villa. Level on points. Gulp.

It’s Villa for us next and eventually we see them off. Shearer continues to hold things together.

2-0 villa

Spurs also win, whilst Tomasson’s season is over. It’s another bank holiday too, so Old Trafford beckons.

Man Utd still have Neil Sullivan in goal and they’ve spent £45k on Alan Fettis to be his backup. Mad really.

Anyway, I mentioned Collymore earlier and here, in the role of old Stan, is Phil Neville. For crying out loud, shove the class of 92 up your arse.

4-3 man utd

Coventry beat Tottenham. Phew. Two games to go…

It’s the blue side of Manchester for us, just two days later. Spurs host Man Utd – come on Neil, please have learned to catch in the last couple of days.

We do our bit, even old man Barnes scored.

1-3 man city

Spurs win 1-0. Sullivan gets man of the match, to be fair.

Last game of the season and we play Arsenal. The irony that Arsenal could win Spurs the league is equalled by Middlesbrough being Tottenham’s opponents. There’s only goal difference separating us.

As it is, Shearer gets his 39th of the season and secures us the title. Spurs can only draw 0-0 which is irrelevant anyway.

1-0 arsenal S3

The bad news is Shearer will miss the FA Cup final.

S3 table

In a repeat of the 1998 final, we face Blackburn at Wembley. With Shearer out, Pinas is captain. Don’t ask me how or why but his influence is 20. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Pinas is always a main influence but it’s bold to admit it.

FA Final

It’s Coming Home.

England squad.JPG

Lazio won the Champions League, by the way. As we’ve reached the end of our matches let’s just take some stock on how this played out.

The aim of the game was initially to survive without Shearer. We did that, thanks for Andersson, Rush and Bjarni the Gud. We vowed not to buy any players and bring through the youth – Pinas, Gudjonsson, Woodcock and Aaron Hughes all became regulars, whilst Disco Des is always part of the squad and should get England honours.

values S3

Pinas is in the Dutch squad for their home Championships, surely he’ll get his first cap soon?

Pinas

But the real star is of course Shearer.

shearer career

99 goals for me from the big man. A phenomenal return. Two Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and two League Cups.

England played Watson, Woodcock, Barton and Shearer (Des an unused sub) but they drew 0-0 with China in a warmup. Great. Watson is considered a star player by Hoddle, which just raises further questions. Where’s Eileen?

Pinas makes his Holland debut in the opening game of the tournament, coming on at 3-0 down against France. England lose 3-0 to Portugal, though Shearer does score in a 1-1 draw with Romania. Woodcock then scores the winner against Poland as England sneak through to play Denmark.

A Michael Owen hat-trick sees England through to the semis and a rematch with Portugal. It’s penalties this time and Lee Sharpe is the hero.

portugal pens

In the final, Shearer gives England the lead but they can’t hold on. It is penalties again and everybodu misses…except Andy Marshall and, to finish on an NUFC note, future centre half Franck Dumas scores the winner.

Euro 2000 final

That’s it then, the final mega-update and the end of the save. If you’re interested in carrying on where I left off let me know and I’ll send you the file.

Thanks for putting up with my little project for 12 episodes, I’ll be back soon with another but in the meantime the Academy will continue on a Sunday and we have various guest blogs for you the rest of the week. Bye for now!

 

 

 

Short Stories: Newcastle United – Part 11

Good day! We’re here for the penultimate episode of the NUFC “short” story. We’ve made a riproaring start to life in season 3, the pressure of being champions is being thrived upon rather than being a weight on our shoulders and life is good. So, how far can we go? It’s Liverpool first.

We’re actually unbeaten in all competitions at the moment and although Liverpool won’t just leave us alone we’ll take a point. Nuisances.

2-2 Liverpool S3

We thrashed Dortmund 5-0 earlier in the season but our visit to Germany is a lot less fun. It looks set to be a 0-0 draw but a last minute penalty leads to our first loss of the season. I could see it from here, never a pen.

dortmund 1-0

Anyway, Fulham are bottom of the table. What they need is a Michael Jackson statue. Thankfully they defend like statues and it’s another win.

3-1 fulham

After an International break where Gudjonsson gets his first goal for Iceland, it’s back to the capital to play Chelsea away. Look, Jesper. Get another hobby. Bjarni the Gud continues his recent run of form and it’s a share of the spoils.

chelsea 2 - 2 toon

We can secure a place in the last 8 of the Champions League with a win over Brondby. Dortmund have made a proper hash of this group. We win, we’re through, what more can you ask?

2-1 brondby

We’re just not ruthless anymore. We are denied time and time again by the always annoying Kevin Pressman before known psycho Paolo Di Canio looks to have claimed a point for Sheff Wed. Andreas Andersson, who has been nowhere near as impressive as he was last year, but he climbs off the bench to net a late winner.

2-1 sheff wed

The League Cup – always a favourite on the blog – is next. Shearer sticks it to QPR despite Kevin Gallen reducing the arrears. It’s Villa at home in the quarters.

2-1 QPR

Ironically that’s where we are off now. What a way to suffer your first domestic defeat of the season.

3-1 villa

Stan Collymore and a young Alan Lee. That’s a pity but it’s also December, so not a bad time to lose your first domestic game.

As we’re already through I can rest a few for the trip to Bulgaria. The front 4 all score and if nothing else that shows we could survive without Shearer, who is definitely on the decline.

1-4 CSKA

Yay.

CL Group top

That’s a strong last 8. I wouldn’t have wanted to play any of them. On the plus side, Milan have just sold Maldini to Juventus.

CL QF draw S3

That’s future Dave’s problem. Current Dave has to play Man Utd, who we are joint top with at present. It could have been any score but some poor finishing keeps it to 3. Later that night on Match of the Day, Alan Hansen makes the bold claim that you’ll never win anything with Neil Sullivan in net. I think he’s probably right.

3-0 man utd

Boxing Day should be a time for celebration but we’re off to Arsenal. Wenger has got these in a right mess. They’re 16th and field a 36 year old Ian Wright alongside Isiah Rankin up front. Jordi Cruyff and Craig Burley are deemed star players and despite all that they win 3-2. Urgh.

arsenal 3-2

We’re still top, mainly because everybody else is as incompetent as we are. Wrexham are our visitors in the FA Cup and a dour game is settled by Woodcock. On New Year’s Day.

1-0 wrexham

Just two days later it’s the usually fruitless trip to Ewood Park. Petri Jakonen gets man of the match as always but he can’t stop Keith Gillespie – not many can – and it’s 3 welcome points.

1-0 blackburn

Another two days later it’s time to seek revenge against Aston Villa. Both sides are knackered and much rotated but Aaron Hughes scores just after half time to put us in a 2 legged semi final

1-0 villa LC

It’s the revenge cup this year, as it’s Arsenal over 2 legs. Why don’t you try and stop me?

LC SF draw S3

We pipped Leeds to the title on the final day of last season on goal difference only and they’ve got themselves in second place here as Man Utd have fallen off a cliff over Christmas. Aaron Hughes gets his 6th red card of a career that is not even 100 games old yet and it’s backs to the wall, but a flurry just after half time gives us a lead which we just about hold on to. A huge result!

4-3 leeds.JPG

That puts us 3 points clear of Leeds heading to the Wear-Tyne derby. They are 13th and we should really win but form goes out of the window in a derby. Or something. A terrible game comes to life in the final 4 minutes, where we lead for a minute and look set for a point after being pegged back immediately. Then…BJARNI THE GUD

1-2 mackems

Writing his name into history. What days.

FA Cup 4th round time and we’re off to QPR. We knocked them out of the League Cup so sticking with the theme, they’re out for some form of revenge. They were an awkward opponent then and it’s more of the same here, with Bjarni the Gud showing he is the natural heir to the Shearer throne. Apparently.

1-2 qpr

It’ll be Liverpool at home in Round 5. That’s…not great. It’s before the Champions League returns though so we’ll hopefully avoid the mega fixture pile up for now.

Coventry are 7th yet park the bus on their visit up north. I suppose it’s their bus they can do what they want with it. They score with their only shot on goal, a Stuart Nethercott header from a corner. We equalise but can’t find a winner. By can’t find I mean there are literally no highlights for the last 25 minutes. Incredible. Consider that bus parked. David Batty gets man of the match.

1-1 coventry S3

Grumble. Our lead is cut to 2 points which we’ll come to in a minute. First though, it’s time for the final game of this update and it’s the first leg of the League Cup semi final against Arsenal. I don’t believe in counting your chickens before they’ve hatched but I think we’ve got one foot in the final. Even Shay Given saved a penalty.

3-0 arsenal

So all is well in the City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Our form has been patchy and the goals have not flowed as they once did but we’re still top, that’s the main thing.

prem top Feb S3

With the second leg, the FA Cup and the Champions League all to come it’s going to be a test of our resources in the closing months of the season. It could end up being a bumper last episode next week…or we could crash out in the next game of every cup. Join me then to find out which it is. Bye for now!

 

 

 

Short Stories: Newcastle United – Part 10

Greetings and welcome back to the Newcastle United “short story”. This was meant to only be a one season thing to see how we did without the injured Shearer but it turns out blooding youngsters and signing nobody is more fun than I imagined. Seeing as we are now Premier League champions, we’ll carry on for a third and final season before moving on with our lives. The only signings I am allowed are re-gens of my players who retire, so with Rush and Pearce hanging up their boots…

Pearce regenrush regen

Sadly Geoff “Psycho” Mail has damaged his spine so we won’t be able to play him until the new year. Rush Hour II will hopefully get a loan move but I’ll keep him in mind for cup games if I can’t shift him.

The last thing I can afford to do is sell players, let alone to rivals, so bids for Gillespie and Disco Des from the red side of Manchester are knocked back.

gillespie biddes bid

They are also sniffing around Steve Watson, along with Liverpool, but they can dream on.

We get to play in the Charity Shield, a fine day in any manager’s life, and despite trailing at half time Shearer sorts them out before Jackie McNamara lashes in our winner.

2-1 CS

It’s an inauspicious start to the season though. Blackburn have Petri Jakonen in goal and play everybody behind the ball. We run out of ideas remarkably quickly and 0-0 is about as good as we deserve.

0-0 blackburn

It’s a tough start to our season as we’re off to Leeds, who we only pipped to the title on goal difference. John Hartson gives us that sinking feeling but those old pals Gillespie and Shearer rally to get us all three points. Phew.

leeds 1 - 3

Elland Road is looking large. It’s time for our derby next and it’s a bit of a ding dong affair, our two goal lead is immediately halved before we get two more. Even though we concede again it’s a welcome home win.

4-2 mackems

We’re still not firing on all cylinders as Coventry get the better of us at Highfield Road. We’re awful, but Chris Woodcock climbs off the bench to nick a point. Sign of a good team or the beginning of the end?

1-1 coventry

Champions League draw could have been a lot worse. Dortmund will be tough but by this stage some of their better players have been poached, I think we’ll get through being very honest.

CL group S3

Middlesbrough are our next visitors and our uncertain start to the season continues. The new craze is for teams to play ultra defensive against us – a compliment, in many ways – but when you can’t find a way past Mark Schwarzer it’s not great.

0-0 Boro

David Batty departs injured and will miss the England game, but don’t worry…

barnes 99

WHY?

0-0 west ham

Crikey. We just can’t score. A 2-0 win over Derby is more important than I ever thought imaginable.

derby 2-0

Bjarni can start with Shearer going forward, Andersson was immense last season but dreadful so far. Dortmund are smashed to bits.

5-0 dortmund

Before newly promoted Birmingham also taste defeat.

brum 1-2

Our new found momentum even sees us win despite playing with 10 men for 55 minutes. Shearer’s back in the goals and Disco Des weighs in too. He’s still waiting that England cap though he has been in several squads.

3-1 man city

The goals continue to flow in Denmark, Woodcock getting the nod up front and rewarding me with a quick fire brace. It’s closer than it needs to be but who cares?

brondby 3-4

Tottenham were title challengers last year but thankfully aren’t quite as good this year. We’ve hit a groove now and not even Jurgen Klinsmann can stop us

1-3 spurs

After the International break – no cap for Des, no game time for Barnes – it’s Southampton. They are Shearered and those 0-0s of a month ago are a distant memory.

3-1 southampton

It’s four more against the Bulgarian champions. Shearer’s recent return is incredible.

4-1 CSKA

The party is somewhat halted at The City Ground. A ridiculously open game sees us have a winner from Woody chalked off but a point is better than a loss. We’re actually unbeaten still.

1-1 forest

So after 12 fun filled games we’re top, by a single point. But still too early to get excited.

PL table top October 99

Man Utd just don’t stop. No.

MUFC woodcock

He sort of underlines his credentials with a pair at first Division Southend in the League Cup. A complete shadow side also sees Rush II score though we’ll be missing Steve Watson for a month. Swings and roundabouts.

3-0 southend

We’ll resume battle next week. Thanks for your company.

 

Short Stories: Newcastle United – Part 9

Hello! Welcome to the end of season 2 of my Newcastle United save, which started as a short story to see how we coped without Shearer but has evolved into so much more. I’m refusing to buy anybody and just blooding the youngsters. It’s lead to us being involved in the title race and the League Cup final whilst still maintaining an interest in the Cup Winners Cup. Let’s dance.

That interest extends to the semi finals, as our 1-0 with at St James’ is followed up by a 2-1 win in the Portugese capital. We are loving life.

2-1 sportin

Battle of Britian anyone?

Rangers SF

The League Cup final brings no actual reward but it’s against first division Wolves and a trophy is a trophy. Yoink.

LC win

The fixtures are coming thick and fast but it’s soon time to meet Rangers. Shearer gets us off to the perfect start before his old mate Gary Speed adds a second. Gillespie and Batty depart injured though which stretches our resources somewhat.

rangers 0 -2

The reason we’ve had such a good run recently is our final league fixtures are mostly all pains in the arse. Little rat Kieron Dyer takes a point off us at Pride Park

1-1 derby

Whilst lovely Kevin Gallacher does the same at Ewood. Two future Newcastle players doing their bit to mess us around.

1-1 blackburn

It’s a relief to be back on Tyneside but there’s no let up, as Liverpool are in town. Disco Des puts us in front but we are immediately pegged back before Mr Reliable pops up with the winner. A good Easter Monday.

liverpool 2-1 home

With 5 games to play it’s very tight at the top. We still have to go to Spurs whilst Man Utd are coming up strong on the outside.

5 games to go

4 games in 7 days will decide out season, a pesky International break in between times.

remaining games

First though it’s Rangers and Shearer continues to annoy the Scottish, scoring twice and missing a pen which he blazed over the bar. Antti Niemi in goal for that one after Goram’s dismissal. Quite the day, really.

3-0 rangers

It’ll be Lazio in the final

CWC SF

Lazio who have decided they need Roberto Baggio to beef up their attack…

lazio squad

Uh oh.

Off to Spurs then for a huge game. Klinsmann and Les Ferdinand have been great for them but Peacock and Albert cope admirably with them and Andreas Andersson does the rest. Big result!

2-0 spurs away

That International break arrives and wouldn’t you just know it…

shearer injured again

That is a pickle. It’s atrociously timed as it accompanies suspensions for Andersson and Tomasson, with Bjarni the Gud already out for the season. So it’s Rushy and Woodcock against Chelsea.

squad vs Chelsea

We’re behind, we’re in front, we’re level. 20 mad minutes bring all the goals but a point, in the circumstances, is not a bad result. But we can afford few slip ups at this stage

2-2 Chelsea

Three points behind Leeds. Their run in is ok but they finish at Arsenal, for all we have scored more goals we’ve also shipped far more, it’s going to be tight.

3 games to go

A big win at Sheff Wed on bank holiday Monday at least keeps us competitive. Shearer’s early return is nothing less than I expected from the great man.

4-1 sheff wed

Hold on, what’s this?

leeds loss

Yes! Thank you Everton. It’s on!

top 3

Just two days later the title rollercoaster is back in action. Man Utd are 5th but have oddly sold Peter Schmeichel to Man City and replaced him with Neil Sullivan. That, you would think, can only help us.

game in hand

Get it up ya

4-1 man utd

Leeds win 3-0. But that doesn’t matter. We are ahead by 2 goals. Three really because we have scored loads more.

1 game to go

I watch the Arsenal/Leeds game. Leeds win despite Lee Bowyer being Lee Bowyer. That means as long as we beat Coventry, we are the champions.

leeds 1-0 arsenal

Coventry set up with a flat back 9. Thankfully Magnus Hedman is injured and it’s old man Ogrizovic in goal.

2-0 coventry

CHAMPIONS. You can almost imagine the special 40 page pull out in the Chronicle to celebrate such an achievement.

title win

Kevin Keegan would be proud. Who said attacking football wouldn’t pay off?

We’re not done though, it’s off to Amsterdam – not to celebrate, but for the Cup Winners Cup final.

Lazio though, bloody hell. To make matters worse, we don’t have Brian Pinas who is suspended.

lazio team

No Pinas no party

CWC final

We are soundly beaten. I can have no complaints, we’ve won the league man!

Shearer finishes top scorer with 30, though Andersson’s 27 is a great effort.

goals scored

Plenty of assists from the front 2 as well

assists s2

The average ratings aren’t really that impressive. Rush only played twice, once against Portadown, so you probably can ignore that.

averages

Nooooo/oh well I’ll get his re-gen

rush retires

The awards and the football journalists of the world have decided Andreas Andersson is the best there is.

awards S2

So that’s it, season 2 is in the bag. I think I’ll be back with a third season – we have a Champions League to win!

Short Stories: Newcastle United – Part 8

Welcome back! This NUFC save is settling in to it’s Wednesday home quite nicely and the 98/99 season has not failed to disappoint. What started out as the “survive without Shearer” save has become a challenge of blooding youngsters and not buying anbody. It seems to have worked, as an FA Cup win in season one came alongside a 4th placed finish. Can we improve on that? Let’s find out.

We reached January last time out, securing a place in the League Cup semi finals and much less impressively the FA Cup 4th round, but our first game in this update in the Tyne-Wear derby. Well Wear-Tyne now I guess as we’re away. Anyway. We’ve all scored a Pinas own goal in our time but it’s how you react. Speed levels it up and then big Al pops up with a late, late winner to give us a very happy away end.

mackems 1-2

That hurdle negotiated, table toppers Leeds visit St James’ Park and this is really where our season can be made or broken. Thankfully, the floppy haired Andersson gets us a vital 3 points and leaves us right in the title mix.

1-0 leeds

Also in the title mix are Tottenham, Klinsmann and Les Ferdinand proving to be quite the handful. We’ve got them in the 4th round of the FA Cup and we simply can’t handle them. Andersson briefly gives us hope but we don’t deserve anything and we’re out. We won’t be defending our FA Cup.

2-1 spurs FA

A reaction is needed and that man Andersson is at it again. We are briefly pegged back by Leicester but old double A gets two and we’re loving life.

3-1 leics

That sets us up nicely for the League Cup tie against Liverpool. It’s over two legs and we absolutely take it to Liverpool but can’t score. Dida is in great form. Then he gets sent off for a foul on Gillespie and Shearer does the rest. See you in 10 days for the return.

1-0 liverpool LC

As it is, we have no game between times due to our FA Cup exit. Liverpool take an early lead to wipe out our advantage but the battery levels it up. McManaman forces extra time which brings no further goals and a passage to the final. It does however cost Alan Shearer a broken jaw. A month without our talisman is a worry.

liverpool 2-1

Wolves in the final. Bit odd.

LC SF results

Life without Shearer begins at home Aston Villa. We look a bit lethargic and barely create anything but Tomasson scores on the stroke of half time and thankfully it’s enough. On we roll…

1-0 villa

Bjarni Gudjonsson has been tasked with filling Shearer’s boots, a task he excelled at last season, and he finally gets his reward with the 3rd goal against Everton. 3-0 at half time against a struggling side becomes 3-2 as I withdraw a few players but a wins a win, and what’s more, it puts us top of the table.

3-2 everton

That comes about following Leeds taking a 3-0 thrashing off Spurs, who are really in this for the long haul. Bjarni is at it again at the Riverside and despite Andy Cole getting one back, we’re on a great run.

2-1 boro

Out of nowhere it’s back to Cup Winners Cup action. Where does the time go? It’s March so the 1st leg of our Quarter Final against Sporting Lisbon shouldn’t be that much of a surprise but with Shearer still absent we can’t really put them away. Tomasson settles it but it is closer than it needed to be.

1-0 sporting lisbon

Back to Thursday-Saturday which is a problem for any squad, so I ring the changes for the visit of Nottingham Forest. We are always in control and despite a mad 4 goals in 3 minutes in the second half it’s three more points. Des Hamilton gets our 5th. Remember the name.

5-2 forest

The games are coming thick and fast and Arsenal are nothing but a midtable side this season, so I’m livid we don’t manage to win from a position of being a goal and a man up. David Johnson scores a screamer to equalise.

1-1 arsenal

We’re about to play Bolton at home when another disaster strikes. Who dares to knack his spine?!

Gud injured

Woodcock starts alongside Andersson and it’s a 1-0 thrashing. We’ve done well to negotiate this Shearer-less time with minimal damage so far but if we want to go far in the Cup Winners, we need all the players we can get.

1-0 bolton

Shearer is approaching fitness but…hang on a minute. Shearer, Batty and…

hamilton england squad

Disco Des! The man who barely plays for us is in the England squad. What is life?

It’s the Sporting return game next and look who’s back and probably angry.

shearer returns again

Drink it in. We lead this five horse race. It’s going to be a tight finish but with the main man back, we might be able to pull this off. Look out for Man Utd though, that game in hand could put them within striking distance.

prem march 99

Don’t forget we have the League Cup final to look forward to. You get no reward for winning it, not even a UEFA Cup place, but a trophy is a trophy.

The youth haven’t had as much chance to develop but they still are. Pinas is now worth £7m, whilst England’s latest call up comes in at £4.3m Aaron Hughes is also making a steady rise, so it’s all going rather swimmingly.

squad march 99

See you next week for the end of the season!

Short Stories: Newcastle United – Part 7

Welcome back! Season 2 of the “no purchase” challenge with Newcastle, where I’m putting an emphasis on bringing youth players through to try and support Shearer and co. After winning the FA Cup in season 1, you would be forgiven for thinking it would be all downhill from there, but surprisingly it’s been above average. That said, it’s barely October, so still plenty of time for disaster to strike.

Derby at home is a nice gentle start.

3-0 derby

After we ruthlessly dismantled Portadown in the first round, Dinamo Moscow is an all together tougher draw. The fixture is played on a Thursday with a trip to Old Trafford in the offing two days later, so some squad rotation is needed.

1-0 moscow

Chris Woodcock is coming on nicely. His late intervention puts us is a strong position ahead of the trip to Moscow.

Old Trafford and I’m getting a little bit sick of Paul Scholes. What a nuisance.

2-1 man utd away

Gudjonsson’s record at Old Trafford is obscene.

The League Cup gives us a tie against Leeds who knocked us out in the semi finals last season. They’re flying high in 2nd with John Hartson doing the business for George Graham, though what “the business” is will later be debated in court.

Bottom line is we thrash the tits off them. Revenge!

4-0 leeds

Aaron Hughes becomes the latest youngster to make his mark.

Blackburn are also dismantled. We’re cooking on gas at the moment.

3-1 blackburn

Even in Russia when I take another risk by playing a shadow side and Woodcock adds two more. He’s only 18 but he’s already a hated man in Russia.

0-2 dinamo

Who is Chris Woodcock? His stats are sensational, even if he can’t pass or run but my can he head. Also, set pieces? Who is this guy?

woody

There’s an interview with him here but if that’s not your style, here’s a picture of him. The least footballer looking man of all time:

woody 2

Source: Essentia

So this was an eye opener. Let’s get back to 1998 quickly. It’ll be Sporting Lisbon in the quarter finals but that won’t happen until March.

CWC QF

Anfield is our next reward and bloody hell we’re 2-0 up. Bloody hell it finishes 2-2. Nuisance Paul Ince equalises with the last kick of the game. I would have liked those points.

2-2 liverpool

That seems to mess with us a little bit and after the International break we host top of the table Tottenham. Despite taking an early lead we concede to Gary Mabbutt and Nicola Berti. Incidentally if you are at a loose end find the episode of the Quickly Kevin podcast with James Richardson and just listen to him say Nicola Berti. Sensational.

1-2 spurs

Chelsea have sacked Gianluca Vialli and his replace is Roy Hodgson. Shearer piles on the misery.

chelsea 0-1

December arrives and our daily tiny chocolates power us to a mighty 1-0 success against Bristol Rovers in the League Cup. Gudjonsson is once again the brightest of a young team and a win is a win.

1-0 bristol

The last 8 draw could have been worse. We’ll re-visit this later in the update.

LC QF draw

We’re going through a bit of a spell where goals are hard to come by. Kevin Pressman is having the game of his life but the boy Woodcock climbs off the bench to finally down 10 man Wednesday. Hinchcliffe dismissed for terrible banter with Daniel Mann followed by some poor analysis where he somehow claimed Brighton were the better team.

1-0 sheff wed

Highfield Road is a much missed stadium, fair to say things haven’t really gone to plan for Coventry since leave it behind. Gillespie and Speed make sure we take 3 points from them in a dress rehearsal for the quarter final.

0-2 coventry

Southampton away though has always been a disaster. The Dell. I hate the Dell. We’re ahead, we’re behind, we’re level for a minute, we’re grateful to Big Al getting us level late on. It’s 2 points dropped.

3-3 soton

That leads us into Christmas where Kestbaia offers to host our Christmas do. Everybody gets the shits – mostly defenders, for some reason, which gives us a selection headache.

illness bug

Luckily West Ham are the visitors and they are poor at best.

3-0 west ham

We’ll finish with two cup games. 1999 dawns with a tricky trip to Millwall. Woody thrives in tricky situations.

millwall

It’s Spurs away in Round 4 which is a terrible draw for us. Spurs are 2nd and flying so I’m not looking forward to that.

The League Cup quarter final with Coventry ends up being a frustrating affair until Speed finally breaks the deadlock. Darren Peacock looks to have sealed our passage but former Magpie Darren Huckerby makes us sweat.

2-1 LC Coventry

As ever we get the hardest available draw. We’ll fancy beating anybody over two legs.

LC SF draw

Just a sneak peak at how the squad is developing. A lot of the young lads are starting to come to fruition. Pinas is thriving. Hamilton and Watson are wanted by Man Utd and Steve Howey is wanted by Arsenal despite never playing. Albert is interesting Ajax and I have sold Rob Lee to Derby. That man deserves to play.

values January 99

We’re 7 points off the top but it’s looking like a bit of a 5 horse race.

prem top January 99

When we resume next week we face a trip to Sunderland for the derby and then we welcome Leeds to SJP for a match we really need to win. You won’t want to miss that so I’ll see you next Wednesday for more of the same. Bye for now!