The Gialloblu Chronicles – Part 8

Part 8 already? Ross is back with the latest from Parma but is he having a Part A? It’s the end of season 2 and Parma are looking for the Serie A title and the Champions League to go with it. Can they do it?

Hey there, a more serious intro this week. My Parma side on the cusp of something great. We are going for both Serie A and Champions League. In all honesty I’d be happy with one but something tells why not go for both. Although later I work out it was Buffon whispering through the air vent.

Anyway, enough of that I have trophies to win.

We welcome Lazio to the Ennio, a tough team to break down.

1

Or maybe not. We are fast out of the blocks and 3 up within 15 mins. A few changes on 75 mins lets Lazio back in, but we stand up and are a step closure to the holy grail.

2

As you can see its tighter than ducks behind. Odd that with players like Ronaldo etc Inter haven’t out scored us. I’m not showing the lads this, as I’ve said in previous weeks the numbers will just confuse them all.

We host Rangers next up and training has gone a bit crazy. Like a bunch of kids in a school playground they are over excited. I tell them to cut training short and go have a sleep. Problem is, no one set an alarm and we were all still there at 7pm.

The semi-finals await us. I tell the lads to keep it tight and we will easily go through.

3

Odd game. Rangers barely came at us and Hernan just pocked on home.

Udinese are dealt easily; a 2-0 win and my pager comes up with the massage that Inter have lost. Two horse race? I’m not ruling them out.

4

The semi final draw for the CL throws us against the Mighty Barcelona. We have to go the Nou Camp or Camp Nou or whatever people call it, I swear it changes every week.

5

Wow what a match. Niclas stupidly went in two footed on Nadal, oddly Nadal was seething and decided to try and decapitate Crespo. Chiesa slams home the winner. What would I do without these two?

Someone must be laughing at Serie A HQ as the next game is Inter away. With them slipping a bit I’ll take anything bar a loss.

6

Two injuries on a already tight squad isn’t helping, but the draw I’ll take. Not seen who are playing next.

Who? Juve? At home? FFS. I need some strong minds out there.

7

EASY EASY EASY!!! Surely that will sew up the title. Leroy’s sending off really helped. Forgotten man Helveg helps himself to a goal. Dyer was rested, turns up in his PJs. Lad never learns.

8

Somehow still only 1 point in it. But as long as I can keep the squad healthy a I’m still confident. Next is the 4th big game in a row. 2nd Leg vs Barca.

A few more rotations. Dyer comes back in. I remind them not to panic, and the longer the game goes on with them scoring the more spaces will open up for us.

9

Oh yeah!!!! Final here we come. Never thought it would be as straight forward. But no parties yet. Much to the squad’s disappointment, a local McDonalds had offered a free burger for getting through, I’m not having that.

Next is another good performance, having to come from behind doesn’t do much for the worry.

10

4 to play and 2 points in it. I still can’t shake off the fact Inter may come back strong.

11

They do win the cup, maybe that’s their launch pad?

12

Ravenna prove tougher than previous games. But we have a happy knack of nicking games.

13

Mass celebrations in the stands when the fans get wind of Juve losing. A 6 point lead with 3 to go. Surely, we won’t throw this away now?

14

Damn it. 2 to play and the lead is down to 3 points.

Chievo at home is our next game. I’m starting to think maybe playing the top teams benefits us.

15

Or maybe not… at full time I’m being hugged and kissed, I know its back to winning ways but this is a bit ott. Chants of ‘CHAMPIONS’ start. I need to get back to the changing room to find out what’s going on.

I find the figure of Thuram smiling.

16

I could not be prouder. In only 2 seasons we have gone from a top 5 team to top of the lot. I dedicate this to the fans who have never won it.

We celebrate long into the night.

I leave you on tenter hooks. You will have to wait until next week for the Champions League final.

Ciao for now.

You can follow Ross on Twitter @Riddley82

 

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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

Totti’s Team: Part 5

Rob’s been moved to Thursday so now you get your Totti update a day earlier than previously. Roma are entering the middle third of season 2 and momentum is building in the capital…(Catch part 4 here if you missed it)

Well part one was busy busy, we have made a positive start to our second season and apart from our slip up in the Coppa Italia to Chievo we are going well in the Serie A and the CL.

Some news fresh out of Amsterdam starts our second part of the season.

1

Dennis returning to where it all began, he left Ajax in 93 to go to Inter before signing for Arsenal in 95. By 98 he is obviously homesick, I love the fact that in 1998 £7.5 million was a national record, everything was simpler back then.

Champions league group action at the beginning of November, with Barca in our group we need to win all our other games to make sure we are one of the two best second placed teams. My words of wisdom fall on deaf ears.

2

Want away TSL scores a much needed equaliser but really not the result we want, especially since they scored with their only bloody shot on target! I don’t feel confident about getting anything off Barca so getting out of the group just got a whole lot harder.

We win our next game away to Perugia 2:0 and head into the international break on a high.

3

That’s not the result they were looking for but in some ways I don’t want Italy to qualify. I would really like the national job so I need Daddy Maldini to get sacked. It’s also double bad news for Roma fans.

4

This however, I care about even less than when Antonio Carlos had a cold. (see season 2 part 1).

5

I’ve tried to trick Balbo into signing a higher paid contract that expires this season but he saw right through it. As it is he will be hanging around on £34,000 till June 2001 at this rate. Please somebody buy him, he is still getting called up by Argentina after all.

Back to the league after the international break and we batter Fiorentina but only manage a draw.

6

We are 2:1 up at half time but they equalise in the 61st minute and we can’t get back ahead.

Tommy is finally off.

7

A tidy profit on a player who I bought for about 200 K and only played sporadically. A day after TSL leaves and four days after Di Biagio goes down this happens.

8

If only TSL had stayed he would have had the chance to prove himself. As it is I now have a mini crisis in centre midfield. I’m lacking depth and experience at the position. The only positive is a while back when I first found Pirlo was on the game I changed his position in the editor from Forward Left to Centre Mid. I think Pirlo is also a -1 potential player so I know if I play him a bit he should keep improving.

Thanks Diego, that could have been a whole lot more tricky.

9

We are still ticking along nicely in the league and for good measure Pirlo gets on the score sheet. We host Bromby mid week in the CL. It is a must win game, I really hope they understand that this time.

10

They do, I don’t know why I was worried. We are second with 10 points, maybe we can beat Barca at the Stadio Olimpico, we are playing really well at the moment. Our good form continues as we beat Genoa 3:0 away in our final game in November. The manager of the month awards are handed out and Lippi gets it for the second time. I mutter darkly under my breath.

The 6th December is derby day, we are in the home team dressing room and on a good run of form, what could go wrong?

11

Nothing! That is unusual for this game. It’s a great result, Telli and Totti are turning into a deadly duo the board will be ecstatic.

12

Come on… bragging rights in the local derby and all we get is ‘a good result’ where is their passion? Next up is our final CL group game against Barca, in second place with 10 points I feel like we really need something from the game to get through and i have almost accepted that this is probably the end of our European adventure for the year.

13

Oh well, that’s disappointing especially when you look at the stats.

14

It was very close and you could argue that we outplayed them so how did we lose 0:3? We will need to see how the other results went.

15

Woo hoo, we have snuck in, Lady Luck was on our side, it’s knock out football now and anything can happen.

16

Very pleased, we are getting there, they might even smile soon, soulless robots.

Ahh, not the easiest draw, off to face Fergie in his prime.

17

Here is the whole draw:

18

Post CL qualification we are off to Turin for a big game 2nd vs 1st at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

19

What a result, a come from behind victory. I really can’t believe how good our league form is. I think Micky Landreau is making himself irreplaceable and he is only 19. I could get 15 more years out of him which isn’t bad for £5 million. I do question the logic of Lippi buying Raul when he has Del Piero, they play in exactly the same position, he’ll probably go after Henry next. I check the stats out for the game and decide that i might actually have robbed Juve blind in this one.

20

I decide to strengthen the midfield with this guy, his stats are beastly I only hope he can live up to them but for £220k it is a gamble worth taking.

21

22

A future Black Stars captain I hope. Our final game before the christmas break sees us waltz past Atalanta 3:0. I think we have earned our Turkey dinner looking at our results so far this season. Napoli send us an early christmas gift.

23

The league at Christmas and we can finally defend like Italians, even though we don’t have a single Italian defender in the usual starting eleven.

24

Bet Lazio wish they hadn’t called that impromptu Christmas break kick about.

25

At last, justice. I almost buckled and started playing Telli as a sweeper during December but I’m glad I’ve won it the right way and not the Capello way.

26

We pick up where we left off before the break, although a 6 week injury to Bisgaard is not helpful, however it will give young Matteo Pelatti a chance to show us why he is rated as an U21 star.

27

Our 17th game of the season sees us beat Piacenza in the Stadio Olimpico 2:0. At the halfway stage we 11 points clear of Juve and Fiorentina who are 2nd and 3rd respectively on 36 pts. Game 18 and another clean sheet and another win 1:0 at home to Lecce.

One of the longest injuries I have seen. Poor Albert, but anything that weakens Juve is good for me.

28

No way, my three way rotating strike force was working really well. I was never the biggest fan of Inzaghi as a player in real life but as a name in a flashing box on this match engine I imagine him to be a digital lightning bolt exploding onto the scene to score a……..cheeky rebound probably. He will be missed.

29

Because Inzaghi is injured I strengthen my squad with…

30

A defender, Pistone was highly rated when Newcastle signed him and the infamous ‘Euro Scout’ recommended I bring him back to Italy. He will add versatility as a Defender L/R, he can take over from Cafu as he gets older and he was once touted as the next Maldini. Since Maldini refused to sign for me in the summer I buy what I hope (in this game) will become the next best thing.

Next up is Capello’s Milan, I bring my Manager of the Month trophy to gloat and wonder who will be playing sweeper today but he surprises me with a classic attacking 4-4-2 this could mean trouble. No it is fine we take a 2:0 lead a minute after half time.

31

What happened? A very disappointing result we only manage a draw, Landreau scores an own goal and Dario Smoje equalises. Smoje is a Croatian who in my opinion turns into a top notch player on this game. I’m might try and sign him in the close season as his contract is expiring. I can’t help but feel Karma has come back to bite me in the ass, I’ve been a bit mean to Capello in this blog for no good reason really.

Anyway onwards and upwards we host Sampdoria in the next game so I hope to return to winning ways however Fabio Rustico (sounds like a biscuit) has other ideas and after Santos gets sent off in the 17th minute I am happy with the 0:0 draw.

32

Just before the transfer window closed I tried to pull off three big money moves just because they were all available and I have £30 million burning a hole in my pocket.

33

It didn’t work, not even one of them wanted to join, miserable (insert expletives)

As we move into February and towards the end of this chapter I notice something funny. Serie C side Chievo Verona, the team that knock me out in the third round of the Coppa Italia have made it to the semi finals, not only that but they managed to do what I couldn’t fours days earlier and they beat Sampdoria 2:1 away in the first leg.

34

And they did it with 10 men. Go on Chievo

Up next for us is an away trip to Florence which doesn’t work out well for us. We are clearly the better team but despite 10 of our 16 shots being on target we only score one and they, quite unjustly I might say score two.

35

As the stats show it was a little bit of daylight robbery and we leave frustrated and upset. Our unbeaten league run is over, you can’t win them all.

Last year Valentine’s day didn’t work out too well for us and today we travel to Naples for a potentially tough match where I have had to make a few changes due to injuries and suspensions. Petruzzi is back at centre back and Pistone gets a first start.

36

I don’t know why I was worried, Pistone scores on his debut but the Petruzzi injury, it’s because he is so weak, means I now only have 2 fit centre backs. Maybe this why we started season one with 10 players who could play there. To top it all off Totti is suspended for two matches for reaching 21 disciplinary points.

More importantly though the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi finals at the end of the week see Chievo win 1:0 against Sampdoria to book there place in the final with Juve. This is quite the side story. They don’t even have a manager because they are in Serie C so the game just says manager unknown, whoever he is he is amazing.

37

We beat Verona 1:0 at the Stadio Olimpico but another suspension looms Pirri Pirri’s fiery nature lands him in hot water as he hits 22 disciplinary points and a two game ban. We seem to be a lot more ill disciplined this year and I can only assume the Dirty Dane MB has been doing some after hours training with the team.

Our final game in February and the end of this part of the blog see us travel to Sant’Elia the home of Cagliari.

38

Good to see Kanoute get a goal his stats are amazing so I hope he can live up to them, he hasn’t really had much of a run in the team yet but he is young and his time will come.

I leave you with a third of the season left to play. We are sitting pretty in the league although Juve made up some ground after our loss to Fiorentina. We would have to capitulate heavily (is that tautology) to lose it now. I imagine it is something Harry Redknapp would say or has said so I’m going to stick with it. We are straight back into Champions League games when I return with the first leg of our Quarter Final tie against Man Utd. Here is the league table to finish.

39

The CM9798 World Cup is a week closer! Rob will be managing Republic of Ireland but you can follow his Twitter in the meantime @Taitanator

The Gialloblu Chronicles – Part 7

Ross is doing rather well with Parma but is that a bump in the road I see? Catch up with Part 6 if you missed it.

Hello my fellow Parmesans. Cheesy intro I know but I feel like we are family now. We left off last time 3 clear of the chasing pack, well Inter and Juve. And we can’t rest on our laurels.

We win our next two games and the other two can only win one and lose one each to give us a tiny bit of breathing space.

1

We can’t let this chance to win the league slip and up next is a very winnable game at the Ennio vs Vicenza.

2

Like a flan in a cupboard we go flat, barely landing a glove on a very stubborn defence.

I want to inject some much-needed energy to the squad. The chairman is a big ballet fan so invites a local ballet school to help the players with mobilty.

3

This is what happens when you try to show off. What also didn’t help is Kieron Dyer trying to heal the leg with crystals. I blame late night TV.

Without our Brazilian wizard I call upon my dependable Swede to help us out.

Away to Milan is out first test without Den.

4

A real ding dong of a game. Sibby shows he will survive without his mate on the left.

Another away game, this time Bari. Don’t let the score line fool you. It was a lot closer than it looks.

5

But only one lose since the winter break gives us a good platform for the run in towards a title.

6

For some reason (Note from Dave: When the German league is loaded the German teams play their last group game in February) the above draw takes place well after the previous stage, but I’ll take it. We should be just about too strong for the blue side of Glasgow.

Yet another away game, not seen my family in ages, and for 89 mins Jesper is showing us why we shouldn’t worry about Denilsons broken leg.

7

Not sure what I’m more worried about, the last-minute goal or Sibierski’s injury. It shouldn’t be too bad, and I have cover just not up to that standard.

Finally we are at home, and we want to stay on this unbeaten run.

8

We send the 35 Sampdoria fans home empty handed. Nice to see Helveg score. Chiesa and Crespo are having great goal scoring seasons. Though if one of them got injured there isn’t much to come in. But we are getting a lot of away games out of the way. Speaking of away games…

9

Melli is the main man, on top of that the goals are being shared about. I can almost smell the trophy. This sets us up nicely for our trip to Scotland.

We touch down in Glasgow, oddly Dyer has been very professional all week during the build-up. Even wearing a club suit and tie, we don’t have one but its nice to see him put the effort in.

10

Seems as though it helped. He scores the equaliser after Rangers take the lead with a player I’ve tried to sign many times. Melli scores again and we can go into the home leg confident. Might suggest all the players wear suits and the made-up tie.

Can we do the double? I’m not sure. We are carrying a few injuries and I need to keep Kieron focussed on football.

I end this part early for reasons you will find out next time. You will want to read it.

Ciao for now.

You can follow Ross on Twitter @Riddley82

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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!

Totti’s Team: Part 4

On we go into season 2 of Rob Tait’s Roma save. With Champions League football on the horizon, how can Rob improve Roma’s squad to make a challenge for Serie A and even European glory? What’s Italian for ‘Wheeler Dealer’? Catch up with Part 3 here

The team are back in Rome after a relaxing summer break. I didn’t take a holiday as I was drawing up a Benitez style shopping list of talent to help improve our squad going into season two. Fortunately for me I have the backing of the board after our 2nd place finish last season and secondly they can’t really stop me buying who I want anyway! I chased Maldini all summer as he was out of contract however it seems he is the only loyal player in the game which is funny because in all my other saves he usually sods of to Juve after the first season. Anyway aside from him I am really happy and excited about the players I have signed.

1

That’s 10 players for less than 20 million, you literally can’t do business like that anymore says Jamie Redknapp when asked. You know Jamie I think for once you might be right. If you are wondering who Marino Admiraal and Arnar Danielsson are, think Ruud Gullit reborn and everyone’s favorite Icelandic regen. I’ve never signed Montella before but I have seen him do good things in other saves, plus I enjoyed the opportunity to mirror reality and we need a proper striker. The experience of Abelardo will hopefully help tighten the defense. I had to let a lot of the original squad go to make way.

2

I’m only sad to see Aldair go but at 32 he is past his best and he didn’t fancy a year long deal. I felt like the four years he was asking for was a tad excessive so he’s off to pastures new. Will he regret not sticking around for one more season?

Unfortunately moments after he signs this happens:

3

Then this

4

After a couple of preseason friendlies the Champions league qualifying comes through.

5

Not too bad a draw, the squad is all assembled, Admiraal and Inzaghi are cup tied and will have to wait for the quarter finals, if we get there, otherwise we are all good to go. The team is chosen and we are still running the same tactic. Petruzzi is captain, I’m not convinced by him, probably because his strength is only 9, but I think Totti is a little young at the moment.

6

7

I’ll take that, shame about Tommasi, he was really good last season and I have big plans for him but we have some strength in depth now so we will be ok.

The Supercoppa Italiana is our next fixture, a quick check tells me that Juve won the league and Coppa Italia last season so we are drafted in as second place finishers.

8

What a result, the game was very even and we dig deep when down to ten men to hold on for the victory. We leave Turin with my first trophy as Roma manager and Marcello Lippi wishing that winning the league and cup double meant he could have played a 1s vs 2s game.

Just before we play the second leg of our CL tie a little bit of news regarding our ex centre back.

9

Not sure that is where I would have chosen. I’ll check if Galatasaray are in the CL, maybe we will have a little reunion. No we won’t, they are in the Cup Winners Cup.

We win the second leg of the champions league qualifier and are into the Champions League proper. Totti and Montella seem to be gelling nicely and then Telli, that’s what the lads are calling him, goes and gets himself injured for a few weeks! Good job I bought Inzaghi as well.

10

Not too bad a group apart from Barca, I think they are the hardest team to beat early on in the game and Vitor Baia always seems impossible to score past. With a bit of luck we could make it to the quarters.

We have four internationals in the squad, I’m hoping to increase this by the end of the season. Totti finally getting a call up after being blanked for the World Cup, I mean why would you take the second top scorer in Serie A to the World Cup.

11

Coppa Italia time again and I am hoping to improve on my one and done from last season. We face Empoli who really go for the victory. Inzaghi scores in his first start as a little extra bonus.

12

Juve strengthen their defense with everyones favourite Nigerian centre back, I’m really not sure they need him but who am I to question.

13

Dodged a bullet there.

14

We play Milan in our first league game and Capello is at it again, last time Kluivert was sweeping and now it is Weah, the guy’s a nutter.

15

We take the victory and a brace for Inzaghi against his ‘alternate reality’ future club. He joined Milan in 2001 in real life, maybe he will again.

16

Telli is back and in for our first CL game against Dinamo Tblisi. He gets a goal and Bisgaard with a brace, we’ve won every game so far and I’m flying high.

17

Sampdoria bring us back down to earth with a bump as our former Brazilian Forward L/R Paulo Sergio (bloody ridiculous positions, where are you actually meant to play them?) equalises in the 55th minute and we draw 1:1.

Capello signs another striker to play as a sweeper.

18

Petruzzi is starting to wind me up, he’s an international, our captain and highly rated by the scouts if you do a quick search of your own team but he is playing gash and I blame him and him alone for our draw with Sampdoria and the fact we played so poorly in our 1:0 victory over Napoli, he just isn’t the inspiring leader we need. He is out, Abelardo is in to partner Santos and Totti is the new captain. At 22 I’m worried he is a bit young, but there was no need. Abelardo with a great 8 on debut.

19

20

Two MOM performances and five goals, I nod smugly to myself. Obviously Bisgaard gets sent off for two bookables. All he cares about is beating his 35 disciplinary points from last season.

If you followed the first season you might remember that I signed TSL (I’m not sure people call him that) but I wasn’t sure that he was needed. Well it turns out he wasn’t and the lack of first team action means he asks to leave. Sorry Tommy, I’ll sign you in another game I promise.

21

We will try not to let TSL’s news unsettle us and we are flying in the league, having won the previous two league matches scoring 7 and conceding 3 we travel to Catalunya with high hopes.

22

Barca bring us back down to earth, we are not quite there yet. We did well for 69 minutes but Barca are class so I’m not too upset. We are second in the group with 6 points at the halfway stage. The Coppa Italia draw comes out and we are at home to Atalanta in the quarters, all we have to do is get past Serie C side Chievo Verona, that surely won’t be a problem.

23

I forgot this guy was even in the squad, he is the lost Brazilian. I’ve seen him get called up for Brazil before but he hasn’t impressed me so far. I think I like him less than Petruzzi.

24

Next up we face our bogey side from last season. We pipped Parma to 2nd on the last game of the season even though they managed the double over us last season. This year however.

25

They can’t live with us and Totti is flying, being captain is bringing out the best in him. In this sort of form I feel so confident that I rest a few players for the cup tie allowing a few second stringers to have a game.

26

Well that was a little unexpected and I’m in a state of shock at this one, there isn’t really any logical explanation “that’s football” I guess. I made it one round further than last year so if we keeping improving like this it’s only three more years before we make the final. The two substitutions I made in the 74th minute clearly did not have the desired effect.

27

Err, what do I need to do to get an award round here? Probably not lose to Chievo I hear you say. I guess Capello’s new sweeper is really working out for him. We host Empoli for the last game of this chapter, it’s only our 8th league game but it seems like loads has happened.

28

Another win, another Totti goal, although he probably should have had two. My keeper Landreau gets MOM, I haven’t needed to mention him much but he is really proving his worth. Funnily enough he is another player I had never bought before but I’ve seen how good he can be when playing against him and I’m pleased to say he hadn’t disappointed.

29

After 8 games it’s 7 wins and a draw. I’ve won the last 6 on the bounce. I’m scoring goals and conceding less. Sorry Petruzzi but the proof is in the pudding. The Coppa Italia is my bogey competition so I have two trophies left to play for. Join me for part 2 to see if we can make the CL quarters and if we can keep this strong league form going.

Robuplic of Ireland? Rob will be taking Ireland to the CM9798 World Cup, but you can follow him on Twitter @taitanator in the meantime.

 

The Stockport Diaries: Season 2 – Part 8

Matt Porter is here to brush off those post-bank holiday blues. Stockport have found life in the Premier League a doddle so far but is February 1999 the time it all comes unstuck? You can catch up with part 7 here

Well that’s January out of the way, a couple of minor news stories knocking about, the Euro came into use as the single currency, Bill Clinton faces an impeachment trial, but they both fall into the background of how the might Edgeley boys are taking the Premier League by storm – 4th place and a very well deserved 4th place at that.

First off we have Everton in the cup though, and it’ll be a strong team, why not? Not like we’re going down, although I do want to try and get a European place through the league, but I’m not a Gary Megson type to rest placers for the cup when we have a realistic chance, so I’m unchanged from the win last up against… Everton.

1

First half- boring. This is why the FA cup is dying people, put some effort in!

Second half – boring. Come on people! Although we do survive a scare when Everton score in the 87th minute, however it is blatantly offside (I’m sure it was blatant anyway).

2

Oh for fuck’s sake I hate this game sometimes. We actually start playing and batter them in extra time, contriving to miss yet another penalty. I do get a bit of heart attack when ‘Lucas fouls O’Toole’, which is slightly odd given that it is in the first half and they are the two team’s respective goalkeepers.

It of course goes to penalties, and we of course go out on penalties. So annoying.

3

Sheffield Wednesday away next and of course half my squad are knackered from 120 minutes of football 2 and a half days previously. Youngs, Jarni, Duberry, Sheridan and James are all exhausted so I’m going to have to bring in a few unusual faces, including my ‘big signing’ from Hereford, John Brough, at the centre of defence.

4

Well we are rubbish. So rubbish in fact that I don’t even bother writing anything at half time. I kind of expected that with a tired team, and at least Brough played well, he could be a real bargain. We have 2 weeks off to regroup now, 2 games doesn’t count as a slump does it?!

5

We’re still 4th, so get rid of that frown and get stuck into a pint of Robinsons…

6

We have a bit of a warm weather break in our 2 weeks off, well, Scarborough, but you have to work to a budget. Everyone comes back refreshed except Neil Edwards who comes back injured so Carlo Nash is going to have to take a day off going on the pull to sit on the bench against top of the table Newcastle. Sadly Darren Peacock is only on the bench for the hosts, otherwise we could have a proper battle of the long flowing locks between him and Dugarry.

7

We’re rubbish again, but away to Newcastle is tricky, and at half time its 2-0, although not a lot has happened really.

2nd half is much as you were, no chance really. I try to hide my disappointment but the lads are low and I am struggling to motivate them with anything other than clichés about league positions. I could do with an easy match next, but instead we are away at Leeds, this is definitely a slump!

8

And yet we are STILL 4th!

9

If you are wondering why I haven’t made any signings…. It isn’t for want of trying but no one wants to come to Stockport… why?! All the players for United and City live around here anyway!

Last match up, and I am going to stick with the same side…. There is no shame in losing the 2 league games we lost, and we were unlucky against Everton. It doesn’t however change the fact we haven’t scored in a month, so it would be nice to change that…. Big Pav is in goal for Leeds after his brief stint with us, so we all know how this one will end. Leeds have a front 3 of Danny Dichio, Andy Cole and Thomas Brolin, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

10

First half and it is a similar story, we are the 2nd best team and lose our skipper early, but we are not without hope…

11

2nd half and we are far better, I take Dugarry off at half time and reinforce the midfield and we finally score in the 80th minute, then we hit the bar. Then we hit the bar again. Then we hit the bar again and Big Pav saves the rebound. Then Dichio scores a 90th minute winner. I hate this game sometimes.

12

Well that was a tough month, but we’re still 5th, we’ve got rid of 3 tough away games (no home league games all month, sort it out Premier League), so let’s hope that slump passes…and we did play far better in that last game. Onwards and upwards!

13

That was a rough month for Matt but he’ll be back next week to try and turn it round. You can follow Matt on Twitter @PorterMatt