The Impossible Dream

The dust has settled in Belgium after Waregem’s unlikely league and cup double. Champions League football will be coming to the Roogy Boogy but are we ready for it? Well, no, obviously not. We have a 15,000 capacity stadium and barely a pot to piss in. That pot becomes even smaller when the board spent the entire budget on 5000 seats. Oh my.

stadium

So whilst the Roogy get a slight expansion, we’ll have to pick carefully how we strengthen the squad. For starters, Champions League football means we’ll have to adhere to the 3 non-EU rule for those games, so it’s probably a good idea to buy some EU nationals.

Duncan Ferguson is my first signing. He’s no spring chicken but he’s a difference maker. A battering ram if you will, and my third Scottish striker. Christian Kempkens arrives to battle Fessem for the goalkeeper jersey, he’s got 2 caps for Germany so he can’t be too shabby. Creve is a defender/midfielder who will cover Emmers’ 38 year old legs, whilst Daniel Mutchell is an England Under 21 who, critically, has an EU passport, something Monka and Kumar can’t claim. That’ll be vital. Quinton Fortune doesn’t but he’s free, whilst Ceulemans plays in the always hilarious defender/forward right position, because there’s been so many of them down the years.

in S8

With the squad beefed out it’s time for the Belgian Charity Shield, where we are given a reminder that we are really not all that good.

BElgian CS

Nevertheless, the league season gets underway with a tepid 1-0 win away at Genk

0-1 Genk

Good old Emmers. Never retire.

Goals are already looking a problem. The shots we have are wayward. Were the two Scottish lads just having a purple patch last season? Chilean Musrri scores here but it’s a poor result

1-1 la louviere

The problems continue away at Lommel. This is unprecedented with this formation. Is it the AI working out the tactic? It certainly didn’t in 5 seasons at Aberdeen.

0-0 Lommel

No. It’s the children who are wrong.

There’s only one thing for it…Big Dunc starts against Standard Liege.

waregem 3-1 standard

Big Dunc!!! Welcome to Belgium. Crisis over?

It’s a very kind Champions League draw, being very honest. There’s no obvious favourite and we’ll just have to hope we can scrape 3 or 4 wins to get through, I can see a lot of teams beating each other.

CL Draw S8

Meanwhile Aberdeen continue to degrade themselves

rio to sunderland

Armed with Big Dunc, we’re off to Antwerp.

antwerp 1-0

Poor. Dunc has a goal ruled out. He’s a difference maker, with him around, we might be ok

big Dunc job

You-fucking-what? Obviously I refuse the approach but he goes anyway. Well that was a short lived love.

ferguson sheff wed

Great

ferguson unveiled

Don’t rub it in. Also, Scottish International? Hmm.

More misery follows at home. Is it the new seats? We’re only half full anyway.

1-2 cercle

For our first Champions League game we’ve got a striking crisis. Monaghan is yet to score this season and the other two are injured. I guess Hoekstra can do a job up front and we’ll figure out the 3 non-EU thing.

CL squad game 1

Great time to get your first goals of the season. Phew.

2-1 panathin

That might prove to be a season changer, as we then waltz into RWDM and win 4-1. Monaghan has the taste again.

RWDM 4-1

Another win, this time against Mechelen, makes it a September to remember.

waregem 3 - 1 mechelen

I’d rather smear jam on my eyelids and be attacked by angry wasps

mackems

Thanks though.

Champions League fun continues and this time Buchanan gets a rare goal to nab us a vital point in Prague.

1-1 sparta

Lovely stuff. We should really win in Aalst too but given how poorly we lost there last season, I’m not too upset with a point.

2-2 aalst

Germinal Ekeren remain a mystery. Who are they? What do they want? They lose 1-0.

1-0 germinal

Really glad we spent all our budget on those 5,000 extra seats.

Champions League time again and our old failings are visible again. A bad result no matter which way you look at it, I choose to look at as 15 shots to 1. 4 on target is awful. Bring back Dunc.

0-0 haifa

Naturally our next move is to follow that up with a 0-0 draw away at Lierse. They are surprise leaders at this stage so it’s not a bad result but our famous ability to find goals from somewhere is being severely tested.

lierse 0-0

Fortunately Beveren are terrible. Our two scorers have a combined age of over 70.

beveren 2-0

Off to Greece for the latest installment of amateurs do the Champions League and somehow Buchanan pulls himself together to score twice. Art attack.

Pana 2 - 2 Waregem

What a grim group. A grim group that we top and are unbeaten in. Sparta Prague at home and Maccabi Haifa away will finish the group.

CL 2 games to go

We’ll finish with a league game, where incredibly both strikers score.

3-1 charleroi home

That leaves us 5th, with Antwerp the surprise leaders. They were managed by Roy Hodgson but he took the Sunderland job after I turned it down. Incidentally the job was available because Peter Reid went to Liverpool. Strange game, sometimes.

Table S8 Nov

Surprise leaders all round as Aston Villa lead the way. Man Utd have never finished outside of the top 2 since the launch of the Premier League, having won the last 6.

prem top S8 Nov

Great times always then from Belgium, setting us up nicely for the middle sprint and the lovely month off I get for Christmas. It’s bubbling up well. See you next week for round 2.

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What a gem!

Greetings and welcome to the final update of season 7. I’ve made a house a home here in Waregem, Belgium, as we look to break the dominance of the big 3 here and hopefully pinch a Champions League spot. We’re still in the UEFA Cup but face a big task to overturn an Aberdeen lead, but we’ve still got the Belgian Cup to go at too. It’s all happening. We pick up in the first weekend in March and a tricky away trip.

3-3 germinal

It feels like they are scoring every time they break forwards but eventually Emmers heads in an equaliser. Is it points dropped? I really can’t tell anymore.

No such troubles against Lommel, who are brushed aside ahead of out Aberdeen rematch.

Lommel 3-0

As usual the problem is that we have far too many non-EU players, plus injuries. Also Zetterberg is banned, the wily old Swede gets booked every game pretty much. It’s not the best squad I’ve ever put out but we’ll have a go. With the Scottish front two we’ll always have a chance.

squad to play aberdeen

Peter’s come to hold what they have. Why would you do that?

aberdeen team

Aberdeen score first which means we need 3 for extra time and 4 to win. Monaghan nets twice before the break before Emmers hauls us level just after half time. Just as I’m gearing up for a big finish, Nalis plunders one in from 30 yards. The dream is over.

3-2 aberdeen

It’s a shame but we’ve punched well above our weight to get this far. As it turns out, Aberdeen go on to win the UEFA Cup. Great days for the under pressure Beardsley.

Back to our bread and butter and Dermot’s at the double again.

4-2 charleroi

That’s followed up with a nervy win at Tongeren. We struggled to get a foothold in the game and were lucky Koshery blasted his pen over.

0-1 tongeren

To put this in context, with 7 games to go we are embroiled in a 5 way scrap at the top. We love a goal, everybody else loves to keep them out. Something’s got to give.

7 games left

A couple of Easter wins are not pretty but very welcome. Are the nerves getting to us?

1-0 cercle brugge2-0 turnhour

It’s actually quite a relief to come to our Belgian Cup semi-final. Having beaten Lierse and Standard in the previous rounds it seems only fair we face the trip to Club Brugge next. We’ve been drawn away in every round, somehow. Anyway, it’s a classic.

3-3 brugge cup

Three times we lead, three times we are pegged back. It goes to penalties and hold our nerve, even if Zetterberg didn’t. What a result. It’s Anderlecht away in the final, because that seems fair.

Take that, Gent.

3-0 gent

Remarkably that puts us top of the table as Anderlecht and Standard fail.

4 games to go

All we have to do is win our remaining 4 games and the league is ours.

2-0 aalst

I ask you to do one thing…

As luck would have it, nobody can take advantage. Except Brugge, they’re coming like a freight train, vengeful for our cup win no doubt.

3 games to go

Lierse are basically out of the running now but if they come to our back yard and win I’ll be pretty mad. Fortunately the proclaimers get the job done

2-0 lierse

Two games to go then and strictly speaking it’s still a 4 horse race. Remember, our last game is against Standard. That’s going to be fun.

2 games to go

Off we go to Harelbeke, so often the graveyard of our hopes (well at least twice that I can recall) and Monka puts us in front early on. They equalise but have a man sent off. We have a whole half to basically secure Champions League football.

1-1 harelbeke

Damn. Standard actually beat Anderlecht 3-2 which preserves our top spot but means we can go into the final day unsure of even Champions League qualification.

1 game to go

last games

Because we face Anderlecht in the cup final on Saturday they’ve moved the fixtures to midweek. I’m nervous.

The game is on a knife edge. It’s 0-0 forever with few chances. 10 minutes from the end Buchanan hits the post and Hoekstra turns in the rebound. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

1-0 standard

Anderlecht fall to a draw and Club Brugge win 3-0 to snatch second by a couple of goals. Bit of a shocker there

JL FInal S7

To the cup final then and honestly, I don’t care what happens. We’ve won the league when I didn’t expect to and if we win the cup, well that’ll be nice too. I tell the players to go out and have a great time.

anderlecht 5-0

I mean that is a great time. We’re magnificent. Playing like champions, Dermot plunders yet another hat-trick and we win the cup in Anderlecht’s back garden. We’ve won at Standard, Brugge and Anderlecht to complete a hat-trick of our own and the most deserved cup win ever.

Elsewhere, Rangers are the Scottish Champions. Aberdeen win the UEFA Cup but they are so far behind the Old Firm now it’s a real shame.

scots prem top final S7

A single tear rolls down my cheek.

mulryne to celtic

The Man Utd dominance continues, the North East try to peg them back but fail. Man Utd also win the Champions League.

Prem top final S7

Euro 2004 is held in Italy and England remarkably take home the trophy.

Euro 2004 final

Scenes.

Awards time now and I’m the greatest man in Belgium.

MOTY

I don’t think I’ve ever won the Fair Play Award, so that’s nice. Buchanan top scorer is also nice.

belgian awards S7

John Curtis wins player of the year. I made you, John.

english awards S7

We’ve got good times ahead, but we’ll have no money to spend. The board act on our success and spend all of our money on 5000 new seats. That’s lovely it really is, but now we have literally nothing in the transfer kitty.

stadium

Season 8 promises to be very interesting indeed! See you next week.

Don’t forget you can vote for us in the FBAs in the category of Best Gaming Football Content Creator – cast your vote here

Standard Deviation

Hello to you from Waregem, Belgium. I sit here in my fictional office feeling moderately content. I’ve taken Waregem from 7th to 4th in one season but that’s not enough. Our next stop needs to be the Champions League. We’re in the UEFA Cup too, which presents it’s own challenge, mainly because I forgot about the non-EU rule coming in to play and I had to have three keepers on the bench in one game. Nevertheless, our league form is good. How good? ICE COLD! Wait, wrong song. Let’s Belgium.

You may recall we hold a 2-0 lead over Croatia Zagreb, with the 13 or so outfield players I can actually name. Well, we drew 0-0 in Croatia. Wasn’t that fun?

0-0 zagreb

Our reward is a last 16 clash with Servette. That actually sounds decent, unless Servette clean up.

There are many teams better than us still in this competition, but it’s probably the kindest draw we could get.

4th round draw

Off we go to Gent, back to the day job. It’s a solid win, the headline reads Perfect Gent and I silently make more Neil Buchanan jokes.

Gent win

You’ll also recall I signed Dermot Monaghan (real name is not actually Dermot) but whatever his name is, here he is netting his third hat trick in the 5 weeks I’ve owned him. Wow.

Waregem 3 - 0 Aalst

Old man Emmers can barely stand these days but he’s a vital cog. He’s now allowed to play against Servette and LOOK WHAT HAPPENS

4-2 servette

Good game for defences. Gao is a lunatic, a mad four minute spell brings 3 goals and a red card. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Two away goals will help, though Monaghan can’t play so it really is all on Neil Buchanan.

I can’t hold the excitement in so I’ll bring you the second leg now. Who’s Dammann???

4-1 Servette

What great days. We’re a force at the Roogyboogy but I think we’re the team everyone wants in the Quarters.

UEFA Cup results

Who do we get? Oh of course.

uefa cup QF draw

See you soon, Peter.

Before that though we’ve got Lierse away, who are 4th. It’s the type of game we usually lose but we’re just a different proposition these days. We can’t defend for toffee but we are from the land of chocolate, so keep your toffee and we’ll just keep scoring sweet Belgian chocolate goals.

Lierse 2 - 3 win

Even when my pair of Scots don’t score, I still have the reliable Chilean to call upon. We make really hard work of this but Musrri arrives from the bench to make it a happy start to December.

waregem 1 - 0 harelbeke

We get a month off soon, but before we can dream of a month of Only Fools and Horses re-runs we have to travel to Poederlee, a non-league side in the Belgian Cup. I assume this is like the English FA Cup where the underdogs put up a stern fight but ultimately lose. Turns out the quality of Belgium’s non-league clubs is pretty much non-existant.

1-9 poederlee

That’s a fourth hat-trick for Dermot. Buchanan remains a force. We did score a 10th but it was disallowed, annoyingly.

It’s Standard Liege in our last game before the break. They’re top, we’re second. It’s an incredible rise for us. Dermot gives us the lead and I’m already wondering what I’ll do with my keys to the city. However, we fade badly in the second half and Standard’s quality that has seen them win 5 out of 6 Belgian titles in this save shines through. Work to be done. Old man Emmers departs early too.

Standard 3-1

We’ve got a month to recover. I use the break to bring in some Belgian nationals who can actually play in the UEFA Cup. A left back called Casper Gabriel, combining my favourite ghost and member of Genesis, is the biggest outlay at £300k. A right fullback called Godart, aged 20, is in for free. It’s all about depth. Here’s the table as we relax.

table xmas S7

It’s top 2 for the Champions League and that’s really the aim here. Are we ready to win the title? That defeat to Standard would suggest not. It’s Lierse away in the cup, which is a bit of a step up from the team of plumbers we beat in the last round. We’re just so damn professional. Emmers nets a second half winner and we’re in round 3.

lierse cup win

It’s Standard away! That seems harsh. It’s another month until that fixture though, so we’ll plod on through the winter.

La Louviere can’t contain Dermot for even a minute. What a front two these boys are

4-0 away La Lou

Mechelen were in a real tussle with us last season for fourth but they’ve fallen away this season. They give us a real game here, Monaghan’s early goal being cancelled out by Paschal sticking one past the excellent Fessem, but Gao and Musrri pull us over the line. Somebody always steps up.

3-1 Mech

Club Brugge are having a bad season by their standards but our trip there is an opportunity to cement our place in the top 3. What transpires is actually the total opposite. A woeful day.

4-0 brugge

Gao makes Roy Keane seem like a calm person. Such is the way the fixtures have fallen, Anderlecht are up next as we run the gauntlet of big teams.

Get in!

2-1 anderlecht

A huge win in the grand scheme of the season, the best Scottish duo since the Proclaimers once again coming up with the goods. Now, to Liege for a big cup game.

cup win at standard

Have it! Peter Hoekstra shows why Stoke signed him by popping up with a late winner. It’s Brugge away in the semis. Give me strength.

Antwerp are in town in our last fixture before Aberdeen. Friday night fun with the usual two seeing us home. Let’s get on the plane.

waregem 3 - 1 antwerp

So then, to Pittodrie. A place I have enjoyed some of my greatest moments in management. My seat in the dugout is now inhabited by Peter Beardsley. The squad I built is still filled with my former players, though it’s a bit like a neglected dog. Peter obviously not a fan of depth.

aberdeen squad vs Waregem

Lauchlan has a broken leg, which is a huge sgame for the lad. Nevland has just joined Milan after being frozen out by Pedro. Aberdeen are back in their place as best of the rest in Scotland.

scots prem March S7

9 of the 11 were signed by me. Domingo from Little Oakley I know nothing about but I’m sure he’s great. Make no mistake though, it’s still an extremely strong team even if they are managed by an idiot.

aberdeen vs waregem

My team is about as strong as I can be, though Gao and Kumar are both suspended. We’ll give it a go.

waregem vs aberdeen

We’re barely in it. Two quickfire goals condemn us to an early deficit and once Domingo makes it 3-0, we’re basically out. Buchanan’s late intervention might at least make it interesting back at the Roogy, but I’ll be surprised if we keep a clean sheet.

aberdeen 3-1

We’ll do it all again in two weeks back in Belgium, we need a famous European night of which I conjured up so many in my time at Aberdeen.

We’re second, 4 points clear of Anderlecht but 5 behind Standard. I’m fine with second. We can use the Champions League money to build. We’ve got a big result in us but Standard won’t lose many more. The last game of the season is at home to them though, so you never know…plus we’ve already played Anderlecht and Club Brugge twice.

JL Top S7 March

I’ve barely mentioned the Premier League so here’s the table. I don’t want to talk about it.

scots prem March S7

Sorry for the mega update, I just got excited. See you next week!

I have Scotland in the CM9798 World Cup. Send help. That all kicks off soon but if you’re at a loose end, I was on Deep Lying Podcast this week discussing the upcoming tournament and CM9798 in general. Give it a listen!

Dodgy Merchandise

Hello! It’s season 7, can you believe it? It’s about to be my second season in Belgium and Waregem will be playing in Europe, so there’s a lot to get through. First though let’s see what sort of kitty the board have afforded me for this season as we look to build on our 4th place

Cash

So kind. So much money to spend. I’m not worried though, nobody wants to join us anyway so it’ll be back to looking at up and coming talent to try and improve us.

Chelsea want me to come to England.

Chelsea job offer

NO! It’s always nice to be offered a job without applying, but I’m a bit busy lads.

The problem I have is that we have a load of big-club release clauses. I can’t list the players for loan as per my own hints and tips page as the board veto it, so you just have to make the most of what you can.

brugge swap

Darko Anic is a talented player from Croatia so hopefully that will offset Van Bremen’s exit.

This also happens:

marchandise

You will be forgiven for asking “who?” but basically I signed him a few weeks ago because he has a funny name. Turns out, he’s a wanted man and he leaves without playing a game. At a loss. I hate that clause.

I’ve spent fairly shrewdly. Peter Hoekstra is as good as you’re going to get on a free transfer, whilst Rondags and Brock and highly rated youngsters. Letchkov was with us last season on loan and £21k is nothing for a Bulgarian Under 21. Gao is one of the players with amazing stats but worth barely anything, like Tucker who I had at Aberdeen. He’s a left back though. Monka is from Democratic Republic of Congo and plays as a D/MRC, so good competition for the 37 year old Petrescu. Datkovic will offer centre half depth, which only leaves Marchandise…

Waregem in S7

A few players have been moved on to help balance the books, they weren’t regulars anyway.

Waregem out S7

The squad is now more or less shaped by me. Here’s how we lineup for the opening day of the season.

Waregem S7 game 1

We make hard work of it but we get the job done in the end.

4-2 la louviere

We go 1-0 up away at Mechelen and I’m already dreaming of our unbeaten championship season. 43 minutes later it’s in tatters.

mechelen 3-1

A 1-1 home draw with champions Club Brugge is a decent result, it shows we can mix it with the big lads.

Brugge 1-1

Hell, we can do more than mix it with the big lads. The biggest lads have been pushed over

anderlecht 1 - 3 waregem

Buchanan continues to show the art of attack.

I don’t think I’ve been this proud. My goalkeeper, who I took to Aberdeen and then to Waregem, is in the Dutch squad! A wonderful day.

dutch keeper

Back to league action though and Nass, good old Lesmond Nass, scores a quickfire hat-trick in Antwerp. My hero.

0-3 antwerp

Don’t let it go to your head Lesmond. LESMOND MAN

Nass out

It’s only a matter of time before he is torn away as he has the dreaded clause. Meanwhile Germinal Ekeren are brushed aside.

3-0 germinal

It’s time for our European campaign. I’m so excited. However, I have forgotten one very important thing ahead of our clash with FC Copenhagen

Europe problems

You see, the Belgian league has no “non-EU” ruling. The UEFA Cup does it. All of a sudden, I can barely name a team.

1-1 copen

A 1-1 draw is deemed a good result by the board. I tend to agree. We’ll see if we can name a team in Denmark.

Oh, we’ll be alright.

copenhagen 0-3

Alright, steady on. We’re not Renford Rejects you know

shock defeat copenhagen

Sadly that is Nass’ last involvement. He’s off to Club Brugge for a mighty £825k. They are in the Champions League but he’s not allowed to play as he’s played in Europe for me. You silly Lesmond.

Nass leaves

With money burning a hole in our pockets, I know a 37 year old who can help

Emmers signs

I also need a new centre forward, preferrably one who is of EU shores. A Scot! He’ll do.

Monaghan

He was on a free but his stats are ideal. He makes his debut against bottom club Tongeren

5-0 Tongeren

Not a bad start. My all Scottish strike force is loving life. The new lad can’t play in Europe until March (if we’re still in it then) so we have to face Croatia Zagreb without him. Neil Buchanan sorts it out.

2-0 zagreb

We’ll find out how we got on in the second leg next week.

We finish with two more league matches. Monaghan scores again in what turns out to be an embarassing 1-1 draw against 9 men.

1-1 cercle

However, he nets another hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Turnhout. Yes, that is Gilles De Bilde. Can he fix it? No he can’t.

5-1 turnhout

Sensational. With that, we’re where we finished last season. 4th.

Jupiler League Top S7 Nov

What’s important though is that we are in touch with the top teams and still in Europe. A good season so far, but it could be even better. Come back next week to see if it is!

 

Best of the Rest

Yoohooo. Welcome back to Belgium, where I’m about to conclude my first season as manager of SV Waregem. This side finished 7th last season, so if we’re going to become a force, our first job is to see off the other also-rans before trying to devise a strategy to chase down the top 3. We’re out of the cup so it’s all on the league. A trip to title hopefuls Club Brugge will be a good indicator of how we are progressing

BRugge 1 - 1 Waregem

Consider us progressed. We stole it, if truth be told, but one of my many nomadic signings scores and that’s all I ask.

A filthy game with Antwerp ends with the 3 points in our pocket

2-0 antwerp

Musrri is starting to find his feet, however we are down to 6th as Harelbeke give us a lesson.

harelbeke 3-0

They’re proving to be a bit of a bogey team for us, with Lemos scoring twice again. Some things just aren’t fair.

Still, it could be worse. It’s Standard next and they’ve won 5 titles out of 5 so far this save. Another of my free signings puts them to the sword.

3-0 Standard

There’s potential in this team. Not title potential but we’re clearly capable of a big result. A shock result, if you will.

shock defeat

We’re off to Dessel. We don’t care for Dessel.

Dessel 0-3

This next match I think is the first time I have ever had to use all my subs in the first 10 minutes. Two “proper” injuries and my goalkeeper was struggling with what turned out to be concussion. I was right to sub him. We lost.

Gent 2-1

It’s a real scrap for that 4th spot, which carries UEFA Cup football. Two Scots score in Belgium for probably the first time ever but it’s our Scot who gets the winner.

2-1 Germinal

The other Brugge briefly threaten to ruin our good work but that man Musrri gets two more. I like that somebody different always seem to step up

cer brugge 1 - 3 waregem

Paschal is a hero, still averaging nearly 8 with just a few games to go. Musrri nets again as Beveren are beaten.

3-0 beveren

That puts us on the verge of securing 4th, all we need to do is draw on the final day, but my strike force score twice in the opening 7 minutes to end any fears of throwing it away.

2-1 Charleroi

Remarkably, Club Brugge win the league! They also lose the UEFA Cup final to AZ, but a rather successful season for them.

Belgian League final S6

Standard lose in the Champions League semis to Man Utd, who in turn lose the final to Barcelona

BArcelona CL win

But the real story is Celtic, who win the Cup Winners Cup…

CWC final

…and the SPL. Also the Scottish Cup. Beardsley’s Aberdeen outscore everybody but they win nothing and don’t even get in the Champions League.

SPL S6 Final

They’re also in debt, so they sell John Curtis to get themselves out of the red

JC to Man Utd

Man Utd don’t really need him. They’ve won the league yet again and by a huge distance, conceding just 11 goals in the process.

prem top S6

Still, they don’t have Onya Paschal, PFA Player of the Year.

BElgian awards

Clement Nalis is given the Football Writers’ award. I imagine he thanked me in his speech. I made him who he is!

Scots awards S6

I’ve always said Paul Gerrard should win player of the year. Underrated.

english awards S6

It’s not a tournament year so it’s the quick end of season turnaround, but I’m met with the news that £2m is available to buy new players. It doesn’t sound much, but to us it’s enormous. Convincing people to sign is quite another matter.

Cash

Not an awful lot to report outside of that in this episode, now that I’ve got the club in a position to compete in multiple competitions we should see better times ahead. Getting these boys up to title winning standard would be my greatest achievement. Join me next time to see if it is any closer to a reality

Don’t InZulte us

Welcome back to my new life in Belgium. I learned this week that SV Waregem would go on to merge with Zulte VV in 2001 and become Zulte Waregem. Who knew? I’ve rather lazily been living in the future and referring to us in my internal monologue as Zulte. A history lesson aside, we’ve got a team to build.

With our new squad taking shape, we have a rather profitable November. Three wins and I’m feeling pretty happy with my transfer business.

1-0 gent3-1 germinal3-1 cercle

December is less good. The thing is, the Belgian league takes a month off before Christmas and I reckon my lads are distracted by it. I’ve already got my bags packed for a month at home which probably doesn’t help our performance at Beveren

beveren 1 - 0 waregem

I tell them to focus and that Christmas will feel better with a trio of wins. Sometimes you’ve got to just be honest.

2-0 cercle brugge cup3-1 charleroi1-0 la louviere

So as we prepare for a month off, here’s how the table looks. It’s going quite well, all I want to achieve this season is a place in Europe next season. The top 3 are comfortably the best teams in the league, but 4th is achievable.

League top winter break

That gives me a month to try and perform some more squad surgery. What I’d like to do to fill this void of in game action is to let you meet some of the team. You know, give it a personal touch.

Firstly, this guy is averaging 8.00 (EIGHT) from 17 games. He is my everything, which is odd considering he’s slow and can’t tackle. But boy, is he ever in the right position. A very reliable centre half.

Paschal

He had a big club release clause too but he’s signed a new contract without one. Joke is on him. His partner in crime is also very good and equally well positioned. He’s being courted by some decent clubs in France, but I don’t want to sell him for £700k as that won’t help anybody.

GP

I showed you Mussri, Dammann and Lesmond in the previous update but I’ve had to use the free transfer market to try and give us some depth. Neil Buchanan will do well, you don’t get many strikers with great heading, pace, shooting and…set pieces. I have high hopes for him.

buchanan

Finally, Jose Carlos De Jesus seemed like a good idea at the time but he’s injured already and he’s knackered after 20 minutes. Also, a Brazilian that can’t dribble? What was I thinking?

De Jesus

So it’s a lovely squad, though injuries and suspensions are mounting up which is incredible considering we’ve had a month off. We celebrate with an exit from the cup at the earliest opportunity.

cup exit

A debut goal for Buchanan gave us the briefest of brief hopes, though Pat’s early red card was pretty ludicrous. TWO DAYS later, we score 4. If I shut my eyes and squint, we were a bit like Aberdeen.

2-4 oostende

Speaking of Aberdeen, they managed a draw in the Nou Camp. It’s remarkable because despite all the talent available to Beardsley he started young Robbie Keane up front then brought himself on after 15 minutes.

aberdeen super cup

The 2nd leg went well.

aberdeen 0 - 3 barca

They’re also out of the Champions League…

CL QF draw 03

…and third in the SPL. Honestly, it’s taken him 5 months to undo 5 years of hard work.

SPL S6

Anyway, back to Belgium and we’re still not as good as Anderlecht. Poor Musrri.

3-0 anderlechy

We can even afford to miss a penalty against Aalst and still win. Lesmond with a double and Zetterberg, who is far too good for this team, atones for his penalty miss.

Aalst 1-3

That brings us to a Valentine’s Day clash with Mechelen, who we’re scrapping with for 4th. We start like a train, Buchanan showing us the art of attack early on though it’s a nervous last half hour. A big win.

2-1 mechelen

That establishes us as the best of the rest with 12 delicious games to go. The goals against column is obviously an issue but it has been better since Fessem signed, though the fact we have 0 draws shows how we play the game. What’s Belgian for “shit or bust”?

Belgian JL top Feb S6

It’s Club Brugge away next so if we can somehow win that we’ll start to dream of being able to hang on to the top 3 but it’ll probably be a heavy defeat. I’m a realist and a poor motivator. I’m quite looking forward to seeing if I can break the top 3 though, it’s a different sort of challenge.

Join me next week for the season finale, I’m off to think of some more Art Attack puns. Toodles!

 

New Beginnings

Hello! Welcome to Season 6. I had a great time at Aberdeen, but from the shrill peep of the full time whistle in the Champions League final at the end of season 5, I knew my time was up. The Scottish League has been good fun, but after taking Aberdeen to the title in season 1 we have barely suffered a defeat domestically. With a side good enough to win the Champions League, it is perhaps no surprise that the likes of Motherwell and Dundee couldn’t lay a finger on us – no disrespect. With every trophy in the cabinet, in some cases retained, I had little motivation to carry on. But I like this save, it is nicely poised, so now it’s time for a fresh challenge for the 2002/03 season. But where will I pitch up?

Waregem

I’ve wanted to go to Belgium for a while – why else would I load the Belgian league? But with none of the top jobs available, 7th placed SV Waregem (now Zulte) is perhaps the perfect club for me. Even if I am ranked as the top manager in the game, I think this might be my spiritual home.

Waregem info

Firstly, the play in a ridiculously named stadium. It even has Regen in the title. I think I’ll call it the roogy boogy. I love that a 15,000 capacity stadium  has only 7,000 seats. Old school. Anyway, as you can see they were promoted in 97/98 and have finished 8th, 7th, 5th and 7th. It’s good, but there’s room to improve. I like that. Here’s the squad:

Waregem squad

The most famous in there is probably Par Zetterberg, a Swede who is an obvious key man. Outside of that though there’s not much to shout about, although a striker called Dammann will lead to lots of opportunities for me to ask just who the man is, whilst this man is called Lesmond.

nass

I’m going to want to put my own stamp on the squad so this will be a slow burner, so I’ll be happy with a top half finish as long as we find a team that works by the end of the season. I want to use the same formation I did at Aberdeen, which will mean signing some players. People like Dan Petrescu and Mark Schwarzer.

Zulte In

Kumar is one of the “super” players I found when I signed David Tucker for Aberdeen – he has 19s and 20s for everything except technique. You can’t have everything.

I lost this guy to Club Brugge – he had a big club release and I am £325k richer at the loss of our Macedonian midfielder.

babunski

That is definitely not the strangest signing of the summer though

shearer to palace

Before I get into the life and times of SV Waregem, I need to tell you what is happening at Aberdeen because it’s ridiculous. I like to think the Aberdeen board asked me who I would pick to replace me (please note this reflects purely on the previous exploits of Beardsley on this blog and not on the recent real life allegations against him)

Beardsley to Aberdeen

Chortle. I’ve got a lot of time for Pedro’s approach to transfers, as he immediately weakens his rivals

negri to aberdeen

Then blows £13m on Robbie Fowler

fowler to aberdeen

It’s a time of change in Scotland though, as Rangers smell blood and see this as the chance to dominate again.

Rangers sack Smith

Rangers appoint Kenny Dalglish, it’s not like he spent a lot of his early career at Celtic or anything.

kenny to rangers

Newcastle appoint Walter Smith just to complete job swap. It’s a great time for the Scottish management scene, as Gordon Strachan is appointed at Liverpool, and of course Fergie is still dominating the Premier League. It’s a three way tie at the top of the SPL.

SPL top Nov 02

Poor East Fife. Anyway, enough of that. That’s the past. The future, or at the very least the present, is SV Waregem, and it’s time for our first game away at La Louviere

first game season 6

Lovely stuff.

5-2 win

A typically quiet affair for one of my teams but very encouraging. Maybe everything will work out. Our first game at the Roogy Boogy is against Oostende

4-0 oostende

Who’s Da Man!? Good old Rene. We’re the greatest team ever, as long as we continue to face below par opposition

Sadly Anderlecht are not sub par. They are very good.

anderlecht 3-0

A reality check if ever there was one. We do need more options and the opportunity to loan a man called Casanova is not one to be sniffed at. Can I borrow a feeling?

Casanova

Can you lend me a jar of love Yordan Letchkov?

Letchy

The visit of Aalst is a chance to get us back on track.

Waregem 3 - 2 Aalst

Lesmond is a bit of a boy. I like him.

What I don’t like is our goalkeeping situation. I firmly believe it’s the most important position on this game, the way the match engine works. Schwarzer isn’t really very good. A 2-0 loss to Club Brugge – who have Esteban Cambiasso – is another reminder that we are maybe the best of the worst but nowhere near the top clubs.

0-2 brugge

Further defeats to Antwerp and unfancied Harelbeke suggest my honeymoon period is over.

antwerp loss0-2 harelbeke

I’m desperate for a win so when Lesmond puts in a late winner at Lierse I do a lap of the house. It was never like this at Aberdeen.

win at Lierse

I’ve seen enough, it’s time to reinforce. We have a small amount to spend and I revisit Aberdeen to get one of the youth goalkeepers I found. He looks incredible apart from the fact that he is as weak as a kitten.

van fessemmusrri

Musrri has unreal stats and if he can deliver on them, he could be a hero here. There’s no non-EU rules in Belgium, so there are no shortage of options for us if we can find other bargains. We’ve also managed to shift two players for £450k, which means we’re up on fees. I notice we had Dennis Bergkamp in February. I don’t know how they pulled that off but fair play.

Out

Musrri gets off to the best possible start. Him and Lesmond could be great together.

waregem 2 - 1 lommel musrri debut

We get nothing off Standard Liege, who are repeated champions, but it’s nice to see my centre half getting man of the match. Everyone else was rubbish.

standard loss

Always finish on a high

3-1 dessel

That leaves us 8th, with a win/loss record BBC 5 live would be proud of. It’s the usual problems – scoring goals is not an issue, stopping them very much is. Hopefully my new goalkeeper can help that.

Jupiler Leagye top Nov 02

That’s all I have to say but this is sad news from Aberdeen:

Bakayoko injury

That leaves Beardsley with just Nevland, Owen, Fowler, Martin, Tomlinson, Negri, Nalis, Dadason and of course himself to pick from up front. How will he manage?

More to the point, how can we build on this start? Is Musrri the new Salas or is it just a flash in the pan? We’ll find out next time. Sorry for the long update, it’s all happening. See you next week.