Wednesday 16th July 1997 – a date we’ve all seen hundreds of times. It really should be renamed CM day as this is when it all kicks off.
Inspired by the recent documentary about the Crazy Gang, Wimbledon are my team of choice. I’ll be playing a 3-5-2 so let’s see what I’m working with.
What a set of luminaries in there! With £7.5m in the bank though, I could snap up some decent options. Let’s look at the transfer market:
Doing the old “based anywhere” with no restrictions, Perez Alfonso is the world’s highest valued player. Ironically in real life this kid got his move to Barcelona and was average at best. Incidentally Alan Shearer always starts with a lengthy injury, as per real life, which was a massive problem for a Newcastle fan like me, but that’s realism for you. I’ll go for the old “interested foreign based approach” which is what I assume real clubs would do. Optimistically, I’ll bid for the well known CM legends Teddy Lucic and Ibrahima Bakayoko, even though neither are keen. I’ll also try and tempt Matt Le Tissier, but he’s out for 2 months with a broken arm.
Predictably, Tiss turns me down with 2 days but, hold on, what’s this?
Kevin Keegan returns to management, just 7 months after walking out of Newcastle. From previous experience, he will end up at about 15 different clubs during the course of this game though usually he ends up with some big jobs, so watch this space.
Anyway, we hit August and Kieron Dyer rejects everybody to sign for Spurs from Ipswich. Dyer was a considered a D/M RL in 1997, but I suppose he did make his England debut at right back. Meanwhile even Steve Bould is rejecting me, I need to find some wingbacks. Man Utd win the charity shield as both teams decide to field strangely under strength teamsYou have to laugh at Poyet getting MoTM for a splendid 65 minutes. Meanwhile, Liverpool splash £6m on Dion Dublin, which I think we’d all have like to seen in real life. Having said that, Dublin finished 97/98 as the joint top scorer so we’ll see who’s laughing. Chelsea get over their Charity Shield blank by spending £4m on Duncan Ferguson. It must be the year of the target man.
Before I know it, the season is here, and I have no reinforcements. It’s soon apparent that nobody in the squad has a set piece stat higher than 12, and we are Wimbledon for crying out loud. A Nigel Martyn-inspired Leeds beat us 1-0, Gayle having a pen saved by the England sub keeper.
Fortunately there’s no tranafer window as such so I can fix Wimbledon as I go along. Rome wasn’t built in a day you know. Disaster strikes as Sullivan gets injured for a week, and Paul Heald is useless in a 3-1 home defeat by Derby. Ekoku nets but when your keeper gets a 5, you are ruined. Phil Mulryne signs following the game though, at £650k I have no doubt he’ll be worth more in a few years. Importantly, he can take a set piece so that might help. The international break is upon us, and Bobby Gould somehow survives, but more importantly it gives me time to try and sort out this mess.