Mission Impossible – Saving Barnsley: Part 3

Andrew is trying to pull off the unlikely scenario of Barnsley staying in the Premier League with the default squad. It’s going quite well but now we’re into the business end of the season. Can he do it? Catch up with part two here.

Ey-up and welcome back to part three of our mission impossible as I attempt to keep the bad boys of Barnsley in the promised land. Previously we cruised through summer and autumn in the top half, but a winter of discontent has seen us slide down to 13th place only 8 points above the drop zone with 14 games remaining. As positives go, we’re above Man Utd in the league and we’re still in the FA Cup (for now, pending a trip to Leeds). The average ratings tell you a pretty good story and a reason why I haven’t diverted from a core number of players, even for the cups, despite the imperative of staying up;

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Markstedt has been a revelation at left wing back since being introduced despite his absolutely shocking ratings. Meanwhile Liddell has forced his way in with 8 assists so far.

Next up it’s Arsenal and I just can’t get my head around this signing, I’ve never seen anything so bizarre…Lee peaked at Scunthorpe and by 2002 his career was spiralling towards ten transfers across the next ten years…

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The man from Leek Town just keeps on keeping on. We had several chances to bury the game in the last 4 minutes, but I’ll take that!!!

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Another Yorkshire derby, another red card and a game thrown away. We had them under pressure until the sending off. Gutted, but at least that’s us focusing on staying up.

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A chance for revenge goes missing. Must remember dirty Leeds are top, but the ref doesn’t help us. Kewell fouls Redfearn when through on goal…not even a yellow. Wallace commits a cynical foul on Markstedt and again no card and he’s off injured. Nigel gets MoM and that just says it all about our derby day luck!

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We lose a vital relegation six-pointer against Southampton. We are nothing without Fjortoft as Hristov continues to fire blanks following his lack of competitive action…

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Things go from bad to worse as we lose to 20th placed Bolton. Shooting boots have gone awol in the last two games.

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He’s only De Goey’n and let us score a sack full as the floodgates open. As you can see from his 9th MoM award, it could have been a 5-6 loss but for Tony.

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I am delighted, but Fjortoft gets a 5 and the stats tell the tale of the game. Lucky!

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Tony, Tony Tony, Tony Tony, Tony Tony Bullock! The man from Leek Town gets his 10th MoM of the season to date and we climb up to 9th place in the table, and reach the elusive 40 pts marker with plenty of games to go.

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Reality Check: At this stage of the season the real Barnsley had won 9, drawn 4 and lost 18, but were putting up a similar late fight to ourselves. They had conceded 69 and scored 31 and were sat in 18th place with a shot at survival possible. We’re 9 points and 9 places better off.

Elsewhere this save just keeps getting stranger…

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And stranger…

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And stranger…

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And then there’s this…Man Utd sit 4pts from safety with Sir Alex having plumped for this striker from Partick Thistle in pre-season.

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5 minutes of madness and the Dons go crazy.

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We can’t repeat that famous night at Anfield with our two attacking midfielders out we had to resort to 4 strikers…so close.

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We are fading fast and that see’s us drop to within 7pts of the trap door with 4 games left to play.

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We’ll be without Hendrie, Sheridan, Martin Bullock, and Fjortoft for the next game. Down to the bare bones up top.

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Whatever possessed Danny Wilson to sign Hristov…I’d like to know who the scout was for that one, a lot to answer for.

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Twitchy bum time…we are below Man Utd for the first time this season.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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With two games to spare, victory in a South Yorkshire derby and we’re safe!!! The fans storm the pitch and hold the captain aloft.

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You absolute beauties. Did not see that victory coming.

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We’re now fighting for 11th place, top of the bottom half.

Disappointing 79th minute.

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We tamely fizzle out with a whimper having secured our survival a few games ago.

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Our rag-tag bunch of, what can loosely be termed, footballers have survived against all the odds and all the history. Here is the final table;

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And at the top, Liverpool pip dirty Leeds to the title, justice!!!

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So we closed the season out with 11 more points than Danny Wilson’s Barnsley back in 1998 and we’ve kept that goals against down by 20 odd goals too! I am grateful to the following few who enter the fake Barnsley hall of fame;

Tony Bullock and his 11 MoM’s plus a host of other great games, was our best rated player.

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Fjortoft sure would have been handy from the start of the season in real life, he is no doubt the difference maker in my survival along with Tony.

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The man, the myth, the legend. Captain of the relegation favourites and living up to his real life hype he reached double figures.

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So there you have it. A Yorkshire vintage survival. I just can’t quite believe it. In 20+ years I’ve never seen them survive that season. I can attest to just how hard that was, and I think if I’d had a more punishing spell of injuries during the season I might have failed.

I hope you have enjoyed your stay in Barnsley, I’ll be back soon (hopefully) with another mildly interesting tedious tale to tell.

That’s T’goodbye from me.

My thanks to Andrew for a hugely enjoyable season. You can follow him on Twitter @KingOfTheRooks

Mission Impossible – Saving Barnsley: Part 2

Andrew took on mission impossible last week by taking over Barnsley in the Premier League. He pledged to sign no players and set about rewriting history. Will he be able to build on a promising start? Catch up with part one here.

Welcome back to deepest darkest Yorkshire where Premier League players rub shoulders with the public in kebab shops and piss on the floor instead of going to the bathroom. Previously we navigated the summer to find ourselves a top-half side in stark contrast to the fortunes of Danny Wilson’s Barnsley in late 1998. Despite this, any injuries to our key players and we are ruined as half our side couldn’t get a game in Division Two! The vultures continue to circle Moses, and despite his average rating being sky high and well within contract his value remains at just £2.2m.

Pretty much most things so far have been oddly unusual…including this…Man Utd in 13th; note worthy at this point for Utd, Leeds are top.

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The Toon come to town, our lead lasts all of three minutes as we can’t hit a Barnsley lass’s arse with a banjo and Batty pokes a loose ball home (I know that whole sentence just doesn’t feel right).

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The man from Leek Town with the peroxide blonde head, he say no…

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It’s all up-hill(sborogh) against 19th placed Sheff Wed. Bullock is the dogs do-dahs but he can’t get us another point.

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The fearsome roar of Oakwell is too much of Lie-chester and their kicker in the sticks.

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I’ve tightened up the wing-backs to run a little less distance which has made a difference defensively, but we do feel a little less potent.

Reality Check: By the end of November the real Barnsley had won 4, drawn 1 and lost the rest sitting in 19th place having scored 14 and conceded 43. We’re (unbelievably) in 8th place having won 7 drawn 4 and lost 7 scoring 27 goals and conceding 24. However, 24 of our 27 goals have been scored by Redfearn and Fjortoft #reliant

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The Coca-Cola cup was not what we needed it to be. Extra time, Redfearn injured, Bullock injured. We were cruising 2-0 until Leese came on and flapped at every shot he faced. Tall as trees my arse.

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We have an absolute tinkler at Ewood Park with our South African international getting an early bath for a reckless challenge on Heskey when really all he had to do was blow in his direction to knock him over.

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Finally got lucky in Barnsley after all…

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We could do with a result soon, its looking like history repeating with a poor December.

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Nope…

Everything isn’t gay in the meadow for us, we scrape a 2-2 draw with Division Three Shrewsbury in the FA Cup. An unneeded replay on the 14th it is.

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Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet up! A win-away! Timone and Pumba will be pleased.

We make it into the 4th round where we’ll face the might of Division Three Lincoln City, if this result is anything to go by it will be a massive challenge for my Tykes.

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Normal service is resumed as we crumble to 20th place Palace.

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Goals galore as we find out shooting boots for the cup. That said, we had 18 shots and 3 goals disallowed.

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January is no olive branch…and comes to an end leaving us feeling as flat as pancakes. We just cannot find the onion bag at the minute.

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Yes Jovo, you can count our shots on target…

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Reality Check: At the end of January Danny Wilson’s boys were rock bottom in 20th place. We find ourselves in 13th place, having lost our top-half status and we’re now in negative goal difference territory. At least we are still above Man Utd!

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Will the lads get their survival bonus chippy tea and ten pints? Can the multi-national dressing room avoid pissing each other off too much? And can I keep Redfearn and Fjortfoft fit?

See you back in Yorkshire soon, as we try our best to avoid being drawn back into a serious relegation dog-fight, although by name it’s a task we should be up for!

You can follow Andrew on Twitter @KingOfTheRooks

Mission Impossible – Saving Barnsley: Part 1

Andrew Chapman brings us a new series for the next few Thursdays. Trying to keep Barnsley in the Premier League is one of the toughest tasks in the game – doing it with their original squad must be nigh on impossible. Right? Here’s part one for your reading pleasure.

Welcome to a new adventure where I’ll try and achieve the unachievable, keeping a terrible Barnsley side in the Premier League. In real life Danny Wilson’s Barnsley spent almost the entire season in the bottom 3, conceding a 2nd worst ever 82 goals in a season (until 07/08 when Derby picked that place up), that’s over 2 per game on average, and their top scorer was on 10 goals from midfield. Barnsley’s squad in the database is so large it never loads the same, so I’ve shuffled some players out who left in the season (Davis, Beckett, Shirtliff) and had to sign 5 more (Ten Heuvel, Leese, Gregory, Perry and Rose).

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[Oakwell, Barnsley, 1997]

Barnsley have some obvious flaws, as can be deduced from real-life; some terrible defenders and strikers who left their shooting boots…well, never found them! On a plus we have Fjortoft the full season. But to stick to reality, we’ll try and do this without any signings. Here’s the squad;

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We arrange some relatively local warm-ups to get the squad match ready and experiment in a safe environment.

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The ‘keepers are decent ratings wise and at the back Adi Moses is a potential wonderkid in the database with a -1, however, the more he plays, the more that big club release clause is at risk of coming back to haunt us. Redfearn should provide a solid base for the team and Fjortoft and Ten-Heuvel should be able to muster at least 10-15 goals each. Other than that, the squad is certainly more chaff and less wheat. We’re reet up against it.

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12,000 of t’ Barnsley folk watched that absolute drivel…we are in for a long old season. Ten-Heuvel a stand out player, burying both the chances he was given.

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The way pre-season has gone, I might have to bring back those motivational pre-match farting contests from the coaching manual of Danny Wilson…

The opening day arrives at Oakwell, the fans are in fine voice, somehow, we’ve joined the big time. Man Utd are the opponents. Tony Bullock has a blinder in the sticks, and we go in only 0-1 down at half-time. The pressure soon tells, and a Sheringham master-class later we’re 19th.

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It was going so well but then Upton funked us up…

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Tinkler is still out with a broken wrist, but John “the joker” Hendrie is back from his bruised ribs…either way our obvious flaws in defence are a nightmare. Rock bottom.

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The star man has us off the mark with a hattrick and we’re on our way. Exceptional performances all-round the park.

Reality Check: At this stage, the real Barnsley had scored two, conceded 8, but still had 3 points on the board (and had also been beaten at Upton Park)

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It all comes together at the Palace as the man from Leek Town in the sticks plays a blinder and the strikers have their day in the sun.

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Madar takes a dive and the lino gives it…a quick-fire double sinks us as Ten-Heuvel and Fjortoft miss some golden opportunities. The man from Leek Town takes the MoM award again.

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With Ten-Heuvel on U21 duty, and Liddell stretchered off after 34 minutes, Ashley Ward comes on and makes the assist for both goals, he will keep his place.

The wolves are already circling for Moses as we try to keep him in our basket…meanwhile, Chelsea are just too good despite Bullock putting his buttock on the line for us. Ward has a stinker.

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A feisty Yorkshire derby at Oakwell, and, after taking the lead, we soon make it too hard for ourselves. Although, the score line only reflects the number of chances we threw away…

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BATTLE OF THE NORWEGIANS: We finally managed a draw. Initially thought we’d won when Ten-Heuvel had the ball in the net but the man from VAR he say no.

A royal relegation rumble at Oakwell; battle of roses, the bang below averages. WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE SAY WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE. We turn in an accomplished performance, Bolton don’t get a sniff. A fantastic end to September.

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Reality Check: At this stage, the real Barnsley had won two and lost 8, and were rock bottom in 20th place having scored 7 and conceded 23. As similarities go, there were wins over Bolton and Palace.

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Our reality is much more comforting (so far).

A 5-2 aggregate win in the Coca-Cola Cup see’s us into the third round with a home tie against Sheffield Utd. I thought about giving Hristov a game, but he’s got about as much chance as scoring a goal as he does getting a girlfriend in Barnsley…

Somebody sang that it only takes one match, but in this case it only took Wanchope, as Derby put us to the sword.

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Mind you, I’m not having as hard a time as some, eh Glen…

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We muster a point against a villain’s side containing Zetterberg and Novotny and the board deem it a very good result.

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The boy “don” good. Selhurst Park is an enjoyable place to go this season!

Oh my. We make it to the end of October in style. We were battered by the storm but the man from Leek Town got another MoM.

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I could do without the added pressure on my massive squad full of awful players but…we scrape through.

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Reality Check: by the end of October the real Barnsley had won 3, drawn 1, and lost 10 sitting rock-bottom having scored 11 and conceded 40 having also crashed out the Coca-Cola Cup in the 3rd Round to Southampton

We are every much fighting for our survival in 9th place mostly thanks to Fjortoft’s 14 goals.

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See you next time out when we’ll see if we can make it through the Christmas party period without any shenanigans, if Hristov can “score”, and whether the motivational pre-match farting lasts a little bit longer.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter @KingOfTheRooks

The Golden Generation: Part 4 – The Nation Goes Potty

It’s the final part of Andrew Chapman’s Golden Generation series. The England youth have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup so it’s time to find out if Alan Hansen was right. Catch up with part 3 here, which includes the database for download.

Hello and welcome back to “The Golden Generation”. We’ve escaped what should have been an easy group with extreme difficulty but somehow still managed to finish top of the group. We were rewarded with a last 16 tie against the masters of total football, the Dutch. This could be a really short episode…

Seaman is back from a fractured cheek, so he goes straight back in for Nigel who can get back to his barrow on the market. Sol ‘Solid’ Campbell returns to the CB slot replacing Gary Neville.

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The Golden Generation: Part 3 – Throwing the Potty out the Window

Andy is here with part 3 of his Golden Generation challenge. It’s time for the tournament, will the young lions become…men lions? Old Lions? Animals aren’t a strong point for me. You can catch up with part two here. You can also download the players database here

Bonjour and welcome back to “The Golden Generation”. We’ve managed to squeeze past Italy and qualify automatically for France 98, have been given a fairly positive group stage, and have managed some very indifferent friendly results in between then and now. I think, the reality is, the potty training is over, and its time for these bairns to show what they are made of.

Here is the confirmed squad for the finals;

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The Golden Generation: Part 2 – Warming Up

Andrew is back with England’s Golden Generation but in 1998. Catch up with Part 1 here

Hello and welcome back to “The Golden Generation”. So, let’s catch you up. After a poor start in Cyprus, we worked out an expected win at Wembley against Moldova, and then, after going a goal down in 60 seconds and totally against the wave after wave of blue shirts in Rome, including Zola uncharacteristically fluffing a glut of clear chances, we saw out a famous win in Rome even though the team we’re up well after their bedtime. The celebrations were over quickly when the Mam’s arrived to take Gerrard et al home.

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The Golden Generation: Part 1 – Potty Training 101 – Qualification

Please welcome back Andrew Chapman to cm9798.co.uk. You may remember Andrew from the Gateshead series last year and he’s back with a look at England’s Golden Generation. How you ask? I’ll leave that to Andrew to explain…

Hello and welcome to “The Golden Generation” where we will follow England’s much feted players from World Cup 2002, but as wee bairns in 1997/8 attempting to qualify for and win the World Cup. Fast forward (rewind, whatever) to 2002, cast your mind back.

Sven had been in his post for 1 ½ years and had moulded together a squad of youngsters mixed with some experience to qualify top of a group including arch-rivals Germany thanks to that famous 5-1 thumping in Munich.

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