Starting from Scratch – Part 10

Twitterless Matthew is back with season 2 of his Altrincham save. Having started with nothing they’re doing pretty well for themselves. Catch up with part 9 here.

Hi and welcome back to part 2 of Altrincham’s second season in the league. I put a bid in for a promising striker last week, and he’s happy enough to sign terms. He’s managed to injure himself since I bid for him but never mind, he’ll be available soon enough

1

My new recruit up front, Bobby Raven, looks pretty rough around the edges but he’s only 16 so there’s still plenty of time for him to come good. I list him for loan, maybe debutants Colwyn Bay will take him on.

We’re at home to fellow promoted team Torquay for the first game of this update, and N’Diaye is knackered again so I bench him,Zerrouki taking his place in the middle of the park. The playmaker role seems to be more demanding than other positions, as Zerrouki was frequently more tired than the other midfielders when he played there too. It’s a pretty disjointed performance and we’re lucky to go into half time all square. We are let off on 24 mins as they have a goal chalked off, but they have the ball in the net again a few minutes later and this one counts. We equalise almost immediately as half time looms. I bring N’Diaye on for the second half as Zerrouki is having a poor game. We just about edge the second half but can’t find a winner and it finishes with honours even.

2

Taggart gets a call up for the Norn Iron team which reminds me to recruit another defender. This lad is a steal at 60k so I move in to sign him up

3

We’re away at Grimsby for the next match, and they’re in a poor run of form. We take full advantage and start brightly, N’Diaye and Tokely putting us 2 up within 20 minutes. N’Diaye gets a second 5 minutes before half time, and a fairly uneventful second half means it finishes at 3-0, though 4 or 5 wouldn’t have flattered us too much.

4

Butler’s deal is finalised, and he only asks for a one year contract which suits us fine

5

Our next game leaves us with a bit of a problem up front, as Tokely is annoyingly unavailable due to his involvement in Scotland’s U21 match. New signing Harris is still out for a couple of weeks, so I’m forced to field the unfancied McGarrigle up front. He had a brief run in the side last season, but 2 goals in 13 didn’t really justify his place in the team and he’s been frozen out since, he is in fact transfer listed but without any interest so far.

Fair play to the lad though, he takes his chance and gets our second after Allardyce had put us in front a few minutes earlier. It’s another comfortable victory, the only blemish being an injury to Zerrouki which doesn’t look serious but will probably keep him out of the next match

6

It’s confirmed after the match that he’ll be out for a week with a bruised head so we travel to Chesterfield without him in the squad. Gerry Taggart is the latest player to be unavailable due to international commitments, so Bound gets a recall and Tokely returns up front. It’s a hugely frustrating game as we take a 2 goal lead but miss a whole host of chances to add to it. We’re punished as Chesterfield take advantage of Hammond’s patchy form and score 2 in the second half to add to their goal at the end of the first to nick it 3-2. I’m amused to see a 35 year old Winterburn has swapped Highbury for…Chesterfield’s pokey little stadium, whatever it’s called

7

It looks like Taggart was needed by his country at least, as the Iron get one over England in Euro qualifying

8

Next up, Hammond faces his old club as Reading are the visitors for our latest home fixture. There’s pretty much a full squad to select from so there are recalls for Taggart and Zerrouki as we look to immediately bounce back from that undeserved loss in the last match.

9

It’s hardly a vintage performance but we just about get the job done. We go in front thanks to Ferguson but finish with 9 men as Taggart brings down Lovell as the last man soon after half time and Hughes picks up his second booking in the last 5 minutes. We manage to hold on though and get back to winning ways, the suspensions are going to be a pain in the arse though.

Hammond has been shaky in the last few games and I’m starting to worry that he’s past his peak. He’s only 31 but keepers seem to age prematurely in this game and I think it’s time to give him some competition. Rivals Torquay are surprisingly willing to let their keeper go despite him averaging over 8 per game so I put in a bid

10

My fears for Hammond deepen in the next game, as he lets in Millwall’s first 2 attempts on goal to give us a mountain to climb. We give it everything to get back into the match and a goal on the 30 minute mark is ruled out to my extreme annoyance. We keep plugging away though and get rewarded with another goal before half time as Allardyce’s long-range effort is spilled and a brief game of penalty area pinball ensues before Tokely slams it in. It’s looking like another defeat is on the cards but a last-minute corner gives us one final chance. Browning nods it in to rescue a point – so we predictably witness quite a few of our shiny new(ish) seats ripped out and hurled at our supporters by the animals that follow Millwall. Some things never change.

11

The Windscreen Shield group stages kick off next, and we’re at home to Hartlepool for our first match. They evidently want to exit the competition just as badly as we do, and Their defender Lee handles in the box after 2 minutes, granting us a penalty which Allardyce converts. It’s then a familiar story as the keeper and our crap finishing combine to see chance after chance go begging. They even have a second man sent off, before scoring with their only attempt all game to draw level. If another example was required of the need to replace Hammond at the moment, it’s this match here.

12

13

Roberts puts pen to paper 2 days later to ease our goalkeeping fears, and Hammond is relegated to training only until he can demonstrate that he’s able to stop at least 1 attempt per game. It’s still rather mystifying that Torquay were happy to sell him to their rivals for such a reasonable price.

14

We’ll finish up with a look at the table, where our strong start has put us in third place

15

As promised we’ll also look in on new boys Colwyn Bay, to see how they’re finding life in Division 3 after promotion last season. Well, they’re just about doing enough but they’re not comfortable by any means. They currently sit two places and two points clear of the bottom

16

A quick look at their squad offers a clue as to their inconsistent results

17

What on earth? How many loan players do you need for Christ’s sake? At least they took my advice and invested in some permanent signings, but that’s the craziest amount of loanees I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t be comfortable betting on them to survive right now but we’ll have to wait and see.

The B’s of Manchester – Part 6

The B Team experiment from SupernovaDragon has seen the youth lads reach the upper echelons of Division 2. Can they make the final push to secure promotion? Catch up with part 5 here.

Welcome back to part 6 of the Man United B Team with the youngsters and now the slow feed through of players from our parent club. Let’s just get into this shall we, as we have a league run in to get into.

Our parent club have won the first trophy of the season:

1

I’ll give you this, our discipline needs sorting:

2

The FA Cup Semi-Final draw sees our parent club playing Tottenham:

3

Back to our league run in, up next is away to Gillingham and I make sure they know we HAVE to win this one. Nothing else will do.

At half-time we are 1-0. We are a shadow of how we have been playing before. I may have to convert to our old formation. Gillingham have even threw on two players and took nobody off.

At full-time we deserved to get beat. We offered nothing up top and to make matters worse, we lost McGibbon due to being sent off.

4

It’s good to know things are going well for our parent club:

5

Our next match is home to Northampton. It is very imperative we win this match.

Within the first 10 minutes we are losing again. I don’t know what has happened to us recently but the morale seems to be through the floor, we haven’t been the same for a while now.

2nd half and we are still struggling for the first 10 minutes, I then bring Nevland on, convert back to the 3-5-2 attacking formation I had before and suddenly we become better, Nevland seems to make the difference, his shot is parried and Mulryne jumps onto the loose ball to equalise and 10 minutes later, Tomlinson and Nevland combine to put us in front. The rest of the game then peters out, thankfully.

6

I was very unimpressed by Notman’s return.

Burnley won the Windowless Shield:

7

Our next match is away to Blackpool and we make a lot of changes as we convert back to the 5-3-2 attack formation.

At half-time we are 2-0 down, we got dominated from the very first minute and they scored in the 2nd. I am struggling to get our morale back up.

I feel like the team need a pick-me-up, we have been woeful again today:

8

I am already preparing for us to drop into the play-offs. We need to get our morale back up and I don’t know how to do it.

Our parent club is on for 4 trophies:

9

As the run-in begins, we are at home to Walsall. The way we have been playing, I am expecting us to get beat and to drop down to 3rd and I feel like I don’t know how to fix it. I go with a 4-4-2 formation and at half-time we are 1-0 down which is what I expected. I try to cheer the team up before sending them back out.

In the end, we lose 1-0 and I am struggling to see a way to fix this slump.

10

In midweek, Burnley win their game in hand and Bristol Rovers draw theirs to send us from 2nd to 4th and there must be a way to fix this.

Our next match is away to York, I’ve gone back to the 3-5-2 attack formation as, for the first time in a long time, I have a full team to choose from.

That’s the best first half we have had in a while, within a minute a Twiss put Tomlinson through to put us ahead. Later in the half, a Tomlinson shot was parried only for Appleton to net a 2nd and then a low cross from Twiss led to Tomlinson’s shot being parried, Nevland hitting the post and Casper burred the lose ball. We did still concede a goal before half-time. That’s how it finished, the only blot on the book for us was Macken coming off the bench, only to get injured a few minutes later.

11

It was a nice feeling to win a game comfortably again.

We have at least secured a play-off place. At least our parent club have succeeded:

12

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s no surprise.

Our penultimate league game of the season is at home to MIlwall and as Clegg has, once again, got injured, in comes O’Kane as Notman is now on the bench.

10 minutes in and the worst thing that could have happened has happened. We are 3-0 down and I will admit to being all out of ideas.

At half-time I lambasted the team, told them they weren’t good enough and brought Thornley on for O’Kane who has failed to impress me all season. We then scored twice in 3 minutes at the start of the second half but still loose in the end. Play-offs it is then.

13

Our discipline is shocking.

Our last league game of the season is away to 23rd placed Wycombe 2 days later.

I’ve had to make a few changes to the starting line-up due to tiredness.

At half-time this very dull dour match is 0-0 which is what I was expecting to be honest.

At full-time we won 2-0 thanks to two goals from sub Andy Cole. It was a nothing match this really. We just have to prepare ourselves for the play-offs now.

14

Table ended like this:

1516

Our season seemed to go downhill once Johnny boy Curtis left but you can’t blame poor form on one sale.

17

As you can see, he has carried his form into Leeds. How I wish I kept him.

Our play-offs game is:

18

I fancy our chances, we WILL win the play-offs.

Meanwhile in other news, Sporting Lisbon won the UEFA Cup.

Back to the play-offs and I name the strongest team I can, making a few changes and the team out knowing a place at Wembley is at stake.

The first half we weren’t playing as a team for the first 20 minutes, then we got our act together and got a few shots away but it was still 0-0.

We didn’t perform anywhere near to what we were capable of and lose 1-0. None of the team played well.

19

On to the next leg where I am determined for us to overturn this result and get us to Wembley.

Join us next time for the end of the play-offs and see if we can turn it all around and go up and see if this team can start playing like a team again.

CM9798 Academy – Part 34: City Slickers

Welcome back! The end of season 11 is nigh. Our regens are proving quite useful and have us in the European places in the league, whilst we’re still in the UEFA Cup. Things are looking promising as we head into the final few months of the season.

PL Top March S11

We also had the boost of signing the Peter Schmeichel regen to hopefully finally solve our goalkeeping issues. He can’t play in the UEFA Cup though, which is where we start. Sunderland away.

Continue reading

Building Brazil – Part 13: Brazil meets Blue Peter

Rob Tait is back in Brazil but…here’s one he made earlier. A far more Brazilian all Brazil team. I’ll let Rob explain…

So, season four ended relatively positively and I got over excited and played though seasons five and six in the hope of finding some inspiration to keep this going. It didn’t happen and I’m kind of over Uniao for now. However I wanted to provide a better ending to this blog than an abrupt stop. That’s when I thought about the inspiration for the blog, a Sporting Lisbon team that I created full of actual Brazilian superstars and their illegitimate children. So I’m going to play through my final season with a “here’s one I created earlier” Brazilian team.

Here they are then, some familiar names and a few young regens. Luis Carlos Jacare is Jorginho, Glaucio Vinicius is Aldair, Ze Maria is Branco, M Franco is Julio Caesar, Renaldo is Bebeto and Roddy Jetson is Romario. This team took two or three years to create and I had to win the Champions League to attract people like Ronaldo.

1

I’m starting the season like this I’m sure we will change it up as some of the youngsters develop and injuries appear.

2

First up is the Supertaca against Porto. Denilson started the season with a MOM performance and I’m hoping for good things from him as he hasn’t really been firing on all cylinders since I signed him a year and a bit ago.

3

League game one and the season is off to a good start.

4

Our reward for the winning start is an alright Champions League group but Madrid will no doubt give us a little challenge.

5

Having identified a need for some more defensive experience I rescue Marcio from the Midlands.

6

Felgueiras are no real match for us, Ronaldo’s scoring five of the six goals.

7

Juninho is out for a month so I go shopping again and sign left winger Djalminha, he’s got good stats and been playing well for Valencia over the years.

8

At home to Alverca and Djalmin makes an immediate impact, Denilson switches to the right inside winger role and he is loving it there too.

9

The Portuguese league starts so late that it’s already mid September and we face a real test against Real in our first Champions League group game. It’s fair to say it doesn’t go well, but the score does seem a tad unfair and we lose Leonardo and Gralak to injury. Here are the player ratings just to show that we basically the Brazilian national side playing in Europe.

10

We put the bad result behind us and travel to Madeira to face Maritimo, Juninho back from injury and on the score sheet.

11

I’d forgotten we had the second leg of the Supertaca to play. In an odd decision Dida (who seems to be conceding a lot) gets MOM but we win on the away goals rule. Ronaldo is scoring for fun, he is a little too good for this level.

12

It’s Estrela up next and it’s Ronaldo again, bagging a hat trick in the final four minutes.

13

It’s international call up time and we have a few in the squad.

14

Away to LASK in the Champions League and we get the three points to try and keep pace with Real, we might need to sneak through as one of the two best second placers so the more goals the better.

15

Another game and another win, more goals for Ronny.

16

He’s on the score sheet again against Leca but the injury to Flavio is a concern, I don’t have a great replacement for him.

17

I decide to put mini Aldair and captain Vinicius into the DMC role for a tie against Sparta and it’s still all going well.

18

Ex Chelsea legend Hiario is on fine form for Porto and Dida keeps conceding. It was a funny five minutes where we went from certain victory to bad draw.

20

A week later and we play the other powerhouse of Portuguese football and local rivals Benfica. A better performance from Dida gives us a deserved victory.

21

We take all this momentum to the Bernabeu but CM great Miki Landreau plays out of his skin. I look at the stats and I can’t believe we have lost both games against them.

22

We come back strong against Chaves who don’t hit the target in 90 minutes.

23

More goals follow against LASK, which we will need if we are to qualify to the quarters.

24

The first day of advent and we travel to Boavista for the final game of the update. We win again, Ronny scores again and life is good.

25

Unsurprisingly we are top of the league with ten wins and a draw out of the eleven played. Quite surprisingly Vit. G are only three points behind and seem to be flying.

26

It’s a strong start to the first update. I do miss the struggles I had in Madeira a little bit but watching the Real Ronaldo do his thing is rather enjoying. Come back for part two to see if we can continue our European adventure

You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator

Run Forest, Run – Part 5: All The Leaves Are Brown

Matt is back to the future again as he starts his second season at Nottingham Forest in 2006. Can they go one better than last season? Catch up with part 4 here.

Hi, welcome back to Futures Past with my Nottingham Forest experiment, simming 8 seasons into the future and trying to make Forest great again. Last season we came close but finished second to a star-studded Watford team. We faded badly in the home run and so I need to add some quality to the squad. This won’t be easy as we’re not that fashionable, yet, and I’m not really sure whose who.

Goalkeeper was also a problem position last season, so this guy might help there…

1

This Klinsmann clone would be a good addition too.

2

But he doesn’t want to sign for us, and in truth it’s a fairly frustrating summer transfer season.

This guy might want to take up snooker though. Don’t you just love the names the AI generates sometimes?

3

Our second place finish last season earns us a place in the Champions League qualifying round. I’m feeling hopeful.

4

The Charity Shield kicks off the domestic season, and Watford are looking for dominance again

5

For our campaign, here’s how we’ll be lining up. I’ve decided to give Coughlin another chance and I have high hope for Dutchman Twan Inge

6

We start at home to Dinamo Minsk in our qualifier and our deadly front two give us a good advantage for the second leg.

7

Ageing midfield maestro Guerrero gets us off to a flyer in the league campaign and Rubi-Gol adds the icing to the cake. (Probably a Black Forest Gateau)

8

For 13 minutes I was a fairly happy man at Goodison Park

9

Its back to basics against Ipswich and I have the regen of Luis Enrique on loan from Las Palmas at right wingback.

10

For the away leg of our Champions League qualifier in Minsk, I rest our front two, and he back up s both score. Thompson is the regen of Liverpool manager Alan Shearer by the way.

11

That result puts us into the hat for the group draw….

12

We’re in with reigning Champions AC Milan. I’ll be aiming for second in the group and hope luck is on my side!

Despite the pummelling at Goodison Park, I nab the first manager of the Month award. Lovely.

13

Then, just one day later, Las Palmas want Little Luis Enrique back, balls.

14

But at least some of my homegrown talent is winning acclaim. Well done Lloyd.

15

Chad International Nelo gives us the perfect start at home to Man City, but if you concede a goal to Robbie Blake you probably don’t deserve all 3 points

16

And when you have your centre half sent off against Spurs, you’re not even going to get 1 pt. Zizi Debbah tries his best to get us back in it but it’s too little too late

17

We recover against Sheffield United, but our form is decidedly patchy. Not the sort of thing you want as you head into your first European campaign since Ian Woan played in midfield.

I think my side could have done with an Ian Woan on this particular Wednesday.

18

The match stats tell the real story. They had 3 shots on target and scored with all of them. And one of our goals too. I don’t even have Coughlin in goal anymore, Lizarralde is back in the sticks. It seems to make no difference.

19

Back in league action and our European hangover isn’t shaken off until the 90th minute when Debbah steals a point. With these players and this formation we really should be scoring more goals and getting results, but we’re not and I’m not sure at the moment what the answer is.

The answer definitely isn’t playing champions Watford away.

20

We’re behind from the 1st minute and never really in it. Rubi-gol scores in his rumoured favourite position but when your Pluck’s out it seems like nothing is going right for you.
Still, we have nothing to Fear when we visit Tyneside and Juanmi (Luis Enrique) is back on loan from Las Palmas and scores to set up a 3-1 win and 3 points on the board.

21

Back into the Champions League and a chance to get our European campaign up and running after a disastrous first result against FC Croatia. Rosenborg don’t agree though and we rely on a late Thompson equaliser to rescue a point.

It leaves the table like this…and we visit AC Milan next….

22

If we lose that fixture, we may as well burn our passports and give up this season on Europe which will really put my challenge in jeopardy.

In the domestic league, we are wallowing in 8th. Ok, we are only 2 pts off 2nd place and the league is tightly packed, but we can’t seem to put a run together to take advantage.

23

Maybe this is the problem, a wantaway striker.

24

Maybe I sold sell last seasons top scorer. He’s worth over £8m and is 28 but the trouble is, who would I replace him with? I have £40m in the bank, but have real trouble attracting the players I want. It seems nobody wants to come to mid-table inconsistent Forest, and who can blame them. I guess I could give Thompson or Twinge a chance upfront with Rubi-Gol and say bye bye to Zizi Debbah.

As you can tell by my tone, the hangover from last seasons title-miss seems to have infected me and my team and I’m hoping we can salvage something from our European campaign in the next part and I hope I haven’t put you off from joining me again next week.

Before we go, our customary round up of the teams you guys turned down…

Liverpool – They missed out on promotion back to the Premiership last season, but after 12 games they are sitting 4th in Division 1, Alan Shearer aiming for managerial recognition now that he has hung up his boots.

Lazio – Last seasons promotion from Serie B has been a bit of a step up for them and they are hovering just above the drop zone and are out of the Copa Italia already, losing 1-0 to Parma.

Espanyol – 5th in the league and top of their Champions League group with two wins from two, but they’ve sold William Gallas to Juventus who are below Lazio in Serie A!

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills

Starting from Scratch – Part 9

Matthew Cooper is back for a second season with Altrincham. After strolling to Third Division success, can they build on that with a summer of wheeling and dealing? Catch up with part 8 here.

Hi and welcome back. We start this update fresh from our title-winning triumph in Division 3, so we’re looking to prepare for life in Division 2 and hopefully keep the momentum going. It seems we’re going to need yet another left wingback however, as Lou Kidd appears to be on the move

1

He chooses Leicester and we lose him for £325k. I immediately move for a replacement and spot this potential bargain for the princely sum of £8k

2

Somewhat inevitably I win the MotM for May, to make it 5 out of the last 6.

3

We get Lee Hughes in, but he insists on a big club release clause so we’ll probably end up moving for yet another wingback before long

4

I was going to say that I didn’t really foresee any further moves in the Summer, however Williamson’s value has shot up without me noticing and he’s attracted a bit of interest. I’ll probably have to get a replacement for him in that case.

5

Well, that was quick

6

As he’s probably going to go anyway, I decide to take advantage of contract situations to sweeten the deal

7

The official end to the season rolls along, and I think it was in the first update that I said that I doubted I would see my name in there. This turns out to be an incorrect prediction as I win Division 3 manager of the year, hurray! Ian Wright is the Football Writer’s player of the year and the top scorer in the premiership at the ripe age of 35. If he retires I’m all over his regen.

9

I start the new season by offloading squad player Paul Hart to Swindon for £210k. One of the three clubs in for Williamson suddenly pull out of the running

10

Why would you bid for a player you can’t afford? Anyway he agrees terms with Bolton and we get our free player so all in all it’s a pretty good deal

11

I check Arsenal’s squad page and Wrighty has decided to give it another year, unfortunately for us. I do however notice Le Sulk, who wants away for more minutes on the pitch:

12

We can easily afford the fee from the Williamson sale so I make a bid. I have a few other targets in case he says non but I’ll see how this pans out first.

13

Ah, balls. That’s probably scuppered any chance that the deal will go ahead then. Rather amazingly though he agrees to talk to us, however he’s asking for 6 grand a week and big club, relegation and non-promotion clauses. I offer him the bare minimum as I’m not too excited for the deal any more. He predictably chooses the Owls and I move for my second target, the Nevster

14

In the meantime I offload another no-hoper as Dean West moves to Bournemouth for £160k. Erik says no, or whatever the Norwegian equivalent is, so I’m back to square one. I re-think my strategy – Tokely and Allardyce are a much better front two than most we’re going to come up against this year, so I decide to give youth another chance and make a move for a schoolboy, the mysteriously named Bobby Raven

15

There’s more squad trimming as Innes and McCarthy move on for £250k and £170k respectively. That’s going to be it as far as recruitment goes, as I’d rather kick on with what we have and move to solve any problems we run into as they occur. Well ok, two more personnel changes. A-lister Cooper moves on to the bright lights of…Southend. I also sign up a kid as cover for Hughes on the left.

16

We start the campaign away at Watford. It’s a pretty low-key affair, on another day we might have sneaked a goal but it peters out to a pretty fair 0-0 draw. N’Diaye serves his one match ban so will be available for the next game.

17

This next development isn’t really a surprise at all. He was pretty poor in the few games I tried him for so he got hardly any game time. I let him go on a free as no-one is ever going to buy him and I can’t stand the ugly red name spoiling my squad screen

18

The League Cup draw isn’t kind and we’re at St Andrews to face first division Birmingham. I swap N’Diaye for Zerrouki but keep the rest of the team the same. It’s a very even game and we’re unlucky to finish up on the losing side. Then again, it’s the League Cup so the sooner we’re out of it the better. We just need to not better their result in the return leg and it’s out of our hair for another season

19

A home game against Burnley is next, and a week-long injury for Bound draws my attention to the fact that I only have 4 central defenders for 3 places – I’ll have to at least sign a promising youngster after the match. Taggart starts for Bound and Zerrouki makes the bench as I need to play him fairly regularly to prevent him going the way of Luis and losing his work permit. It’s a very assured performance as Tokely and Allardyce open their accounts for the season and help us to an easy 2-0 victory

20

I check in on this year’s non-league promoted club Colwyn Bay and as usual their squad is rather loanee heavy. I bet picking the team sheet for the cup game was a bit of a puzzler with all those ineligible players

21

They better get a move on with permanent signings or they’re going to be in all kinds of trouble when the loanees are recalled at random and they’re left with greyed-out autogens for players.

I rest N’Diaye for the second leg tie against Birmingham, as he’s a bit tired and besides, I don’t actually want to win the game. Bound makes the bench after recovering from his dead leg. The lads do me proud and we go down 1-0 to exit the competition as quickly as we can. Taggart gets the MotM and is proving to be a decent acquisition for a freebie

22

23

Well get used to it, you knobs. Also how can you be very disappointed? they’re pushing for promotion to the sodding Premiership! I know we’ve made a name as giant killers but you can’t EXPECT it to happen every time, that’s just unfair. I hate the board sometimes.

We’re away to Portsmouth next, and it’s just one of those games. We really should win it handily but the strikers have a shockingly poor day and spurn a raft of chances. They get 2 scrappy goals against the run of play for a travesty of a win, though credit to them for taking their chances. Perhaps spending some of the £6 million in the bank on a striker wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world

24

After the game I take a look and settle on Orient’s Jason Harris. He has never been given a fair chance at his current club but his stats suggest he could become something special. If we can turn his form around I could see him being a 1 in 2 kind of goalscorer. He’s available for merely £150k so I make the bid.

25

We’re back at home next and I’m hoping for a swift reaction against Wycombe. Bound has been hit and miss so far this season so I give Taggart another shot at staking a regular place. I also put Zerrouki into the midfield as Gatusso is going through an indifferent patch of form. The lads respond brilliantly and put them thoroughly to the sword.

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They give us a helping hand early on with a sending off for deliberate handball but we’re already on top and ahead via Tokely by that point anyway. They level things up from a corner and then get a penalty awarded. They are determined to piss the game away though and McCarthy puts the spot kick wide, then a mere two minutes later we’re back in front through new wingback Hughes. Allardyce puts us further in front and then Tokely hits a 30 yard screamer to cap off an excellent day. We really needed that after such a deflating loss last game so I’m very pleased with the team after that.

That’s a good place to leave it for now. Come back next time to see how we get on in our new Division after a fairly decent start. We’ll also be keeping an eye on Colwyn Bay as well. Bye for now!

The B’s of Manchester – Part 5

Happy Monday. SupernovaDragon is back with the B team and this week he has to contend with an injury crisis. Can he tempt some players to drop down from the illustrious A squad? Catch up with part 4 here.

Welcome back to this Man Utd B Team, where we’re taking a team of Man Utd youngsters and anybody the first team, our parent club, deems surplus to requirements and seeing just how far we can go.

Our first match of this update sees us at home to 22nd placed Chesterfield. This is how we line-up:

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As you can see, there is no place for our new signing David May as I keep faith with the youngsters.

At half-time we are 3-0 up thanks to Mulryne pouncing on a loose ball after Nevland’s shot hit the post. Notman got the second after Mulryne’s corner and Nevland’s header was parried by the keeper and Cooke played Nevland through to score the 1-on-1. All in all, a good first half.

At full-time we win 6-1 after, of all players, McGibbon scored a 1-on-1 after being through from a long ball from Appleton. Chesterfield pulled 1 back but Nevland lobbed the keeper to get his hat-trick.

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Looks like Alan Sugar has had enough and sacked the manager:

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Right on cue for our next match:

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I’ve not really got much in the way of a replacement. Davis will be starting.

Our next match is away to London to play Fulham. At half-time we are 2-0 down thanks to 2 goals within a minute, both of which come from passes in the middle of the park. We are missing Appleton in there I think.

At full-time we managed to get 1 back in the last 5 minutes but we just wasn’t with it today and I can only imagine it’s missing Appleton:

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Yes, David May did get his debut but he didn’t really have time to do much, good or bad.

Our parent club have had the “shock defeat” graphic:

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Strange bit of prediction here from CM:

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I know he wasn’t a starter currently but this is a big blow to me:

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Our next game is home to Plymouth. I am so hoping we can we get back to winning ways as now Bristol Rovers are above us.

At half-time we are 1-0 up thanks to a goal after 10 minutes thanks to Nevland. It’s been a very dull first half with not a lot of happening.

Second half and the first thing that happened was Cooke getting injured, more on that pretty soon. Nevland got a 2nd thanks to a through ball from Mulyrne and within a minute, Plymouth got 1 back but we hung on to put us back into 2nd in the table.

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Cooke’s injury is going to cause me problems I think.

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Looks like the parent club made up for that shock defeat:

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Off to Wigan we go, of course with Cooke being injured I have had to bring Tomlinson in for him. It was a little eventful this first half I’m sure you’ll agree:

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Notman got put through by Nevland to put us ahead only for Rogers to equalise. We then dominated the rest of the half until Appleton put Notman through with a long range pass to put us back in front and then Nevland had 2 1-on-1’s and both were saved, only to have a 3rd 1-on-1 after being put through by Mulryne and finally scored. 2 minutes later and O’Connell went in 2 footed on Casper and the referee had no hesitation in handing out the red card.

By full-time we only score 1 more goal thanks to Mulryne after being through by Nevland. Then we picked up an injury to McGibbon.

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I hope the injury isn’t too bad.

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It is bad enough. As if 1 injury isn’t bad enough:

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At least it’s just 1 week and he isn’t a starter.

Leeds have turned to Brian Little to be their new manager. The plus news for me:

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Do I bring him back into the team straight away though?

I’m very suspicious of this injury, I have no proof of this but I think Cookie had something to do with this:

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Davis and Tomlinson then both return before the next match and the board are still very happy with my work and I am still making a loss. What have I got to do to get a manager of the month.

Our next match is at home to Burnley. Now, I don’t know if you remember but all the way back in September Burnley absolutely hammered us 5-0. So I WILL be going out for revenge. I decide the name the same line-up.

At half-time and the revenge is not happening, we have been woeful and we are losing 2-0. It appears that Burnley are my bogey team then.

Yep, they are my bogey team and this was our chance to go back top. We just didn’t create much.

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I blast the team in the dressing room afterwards. We had our chance. I am not very happy.

Leave my team alone:

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It’s only now that I realised I have not offered anyone a new contract and I have offered nearly everyone a contract.

He has just literally signed a new and straight away:

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Nope, definitely not.

He has still not played but still:

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Our next match is the trip to Wales to play Wrexham. Hopefully we will get back to winning ways.

At half-time we are 2-1 up, a Nevland penalty and Cooke pouncing on a loose ball after Notman’s shot was parried by the keeper putting us ahead at half-time.

At full-time we won 4-2 thanks to Nevland getting his hat-trick.

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Meanwhile the FA Cup Sem-Final draw has been made:

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We get to our next match knowing that Walsall lost again. We know, if we win we go top. We have our chance to gain the initiative. We are at home against 3rd placed Bristol Rovers, who are just 2 points behind us and know a win can put them into 2nd. This match is important.

The match doesn’t start to well, with one of our few fit centre-backs Duncan getting stretchered off after 1 minute forcing me to bring Davis on and Appleton moving to centre-back. From then on it has been all Bristol Rovers. We have barely created anything as you can see from the stats below:

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At full-time it was petering out to a dull 0-0 draw until the final minute when Cureton raced clear of our defence and slotted the ball home to send us down the 3rd and possibly into the play-offs.

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Again this calls for another dressing room blasting by me. Problem is, we are running short of defenders. Luckily I know McGibbon is coming back and god knows we need him back in our defence.

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Oh Alex, why are you such a dirty player?

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Just to say, I went to our parent club and was surprised to see Man United randomly have signed someone I was not expecting as it never popped up:

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I wasn’t expecting to see him there, especially as Andy Cole is being sold and even Paul Scholes isn’t given a new contract.

It looks like we could possibly see an all English Champions League final:

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Our next match was away to Brentford. After the defeat in the last match it is imperative we get back to winning ways in this match. I make a couple of changes and send the team out with my voice ringing in their ears about the importance of the win.

Well, maybe I deafened them a little, as within a minute we are 1-0 down. 5 minutes and Cooke has drew us back level. We then proceed to have a good half hour of domination before they next come back at us. Casper gets injured and stretchered off meaning Appleton moving into defence again. Yet another defender is out. Then Trees picks up a knock but stays on the pitch, then Nevland finally makes our pressure pay by putting us in front after Cooke’s header put him through. I remind the team of the importance of the win and send them back on their way.

Just the one more goal in the second half as Mulyrne scored an absolute screamer of a free-kick which left their goalkeeper just standing there and applauding the goal himself.

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This win and Bristol Rovers draw meant we went back to 2nd. The downside of the win:

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This is an annoyance. We are losing defenders left, right and centre. I mean we literally are.

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Hopefully, we will make it back before our next match.

Teams are still trying to nick our kids, I’m still saying no. Meanwhile, look who has dropped down to the B Team:

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To be honest, I don’t know where he will fit into this team and an attacker is the last position we needed cover for but as they were selling them we had to see if we could sign him and we have brought in Andy Andy Cole. We still need a midfielder and a full back really.

Our parent club, not a good time for an injury. Let alone for this long:

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It was on an international duty so I don’t think Alex will be happy.
Meanwhile the transfer merry-go-round has caused a little bit of interest for me. Burnley sold Cooke, their main scorer, to Dundee. Now Burnley have signed Cureton from promotion rivals Bristol Rovers:

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Which can only be good news for me and hopefully keep us 2nd.

The biggest transfers on transfer deadline day was:

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As you can see, Newcastle spent big, bringing in Rui Costa and Benarrivo (who rejected Man United) and Liverpool brought in Bierhoff. Burnley sold Glen Little which could well be good news for us also.

Our last game of the month and the update is at home to Preston who are struggling in 22nd place. At half-time it is 1-1 after Mulryne put us ahead after placing the ball under the keeper for an easy finish, only for us to be drew back level 10 minutes later. I tell the team that I am disappointed with their performance so far and we go out and concede another goal to go 2-1 down by the hour mark. In the last 6 minutes, Andy Cole comes off the bench to draw us back level and it ends 2-2.

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I am very very disappointed with how we played and I can’t help but feel that the fact we had someone out of position at right back. I just cannot help but feel we should have won this match and that we needed to.

At the end of this update:

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We lie in 2nd 5 points behind Walsall in 1st. Bristol Rovers are still right behind us by 1 point and Burnley are still sniffing around. We need to get a good run together as the end of the season is nigh.

As for our parent club?

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I don’t think anyone will be surprised by the lead they have at the top of the table.

Until next time, cheerio and here’s to a good end of the season.