Welcome! The CM9798 Academy are doing me proud in the Premier League, getting off to an impressive start before slightly levelling off towards the end of last week’s episode. The adjustment to the top flight has not stopped us scoring goals but we are leakier than ever, and leaky is never a positive adjective. The table looks healthy though as we pick up in October 2001.
After just about dealing with Oldham over two legs a home tie with First Division Coventry should not be a problem. Billing gives us an early lead then sees two efforts disallowed before Gowshall heads past his own keeper from a corner. Extra time can’t separate us before a penalty shoot out sees us bow out of the League Cup. Paul McVeigh might have scored past me in every single season of this save, a depressing statistic I can’t be bothered to research.
Speaking of scoring past us every season, Hull have risen through the ranks with us but it’s not as impressive because they have spent money and you shouldn’t dwell on their success for very long. Oh and they thrash the tits off us, which doesn’t help my feeling towards Hull.
Not to worry, a home game with Derby sees their left back sent off before half time and gives us an hour to win the game. We huff and puff before Ugo Howard gives us a lead. Hurrah! Stephane Guicarc’h equalises immediately from a free kick. Boo.
Leeds are our next visitors after an international break where Paul Perry scores twice on his Wales debut. It’s against the UAE but I don’t think that matters. We’re 2-0 down inside 5 minutes but level after 13. Rock me Amadeus. Sean Devine though…he just keeps scoring and my idiots can’t handle it. It finishes 5-4 and we miss two chances in injury time to level it up. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Advent arrives and behind the first door is Aston Villa away. They’re flying and we are in a bit of a rut. I’m 340 words in and we haven’t won yet which is a rut by our standards. Obviously we lose here.
The last thing we need is somebody to leave but when the phone rings it’s Ike. £2.6m for Hussin, who played for England Under 21s a few times, and he’ll be off.
Hold the phone Ike, he’s REJECTED. Nobody ever stays here voluntarily but Hussin says no to Jim Smith and that’s just wonderful news.
Walshy however can’t wait to get out. Ayr start the bidding.
He opts for Chesterfield. Great options.
I need reinforcements to try and stem the flow of conceding many goals an hour and the best I can find is Stewart McConnell. There’s £25m in the bank but of course I can’t touch it and Ike will probably build a stand for the training ground to encourage further bids.
He makes his debut at home to Man City and it’s in the balance until Nicky Weaver is dismissed and Buckley makes no mistake. Give me those sweet points.
Buzzing our collective faces off we head to Highbury and lose our new centre half after 4 minutes. Patrik Berger scores twice in a minute but one our famous half time cuddles which worked so well for us in the early days sees us come out firing and we’re soon 3-2 up. A famous victory is in sight but then Bergkamp scores twice in 6 minutes and it’s yet another loss.
Boxing day then and Dr Death is not even in the squad for Sheff Utd’s visit. Willi Serena starts in goal because Heritage has saved precisely nothing for about 3 months. Turns out Serena has no hands and we’re soon 2-0 down and it’s 4-1 at half time. I know I said staying up was the target but we’re falling fast.
Bolton are our visitors and they’re not great. Billing and Howard put us twice in the lead and then we injure Darren Anderton. Not a difficult task but Academy graduate Jeff Brazier climbs off the bench to replace him and heads in the resulting free kick. Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up.
The squad is carrying a few knocks ahead of an FA Cup tie away at 2nd Division Portsmouth.
It’s a chastening day.
Another injury too. I think this is my lowest ebb. Not ever, I just mean in this game, before you send for help.
Gus Poyet will ruin my days forever. Wolves though. Wolves are rock bottom. We’re in desperate need of the points and an early red card for their keeper gives Buckley the chance to send us on our way. The sub keeper saves it along with everything else until Billing scores. A nervy 33 minutes result in us hanging on against ten man, bottom of the league Wolves. Points are points my friends.
Jason Crowe departs for Shrewsbury, he’s about 3rd choice now so I’m not going to stand in his way. Plus we have a fixture against 18th placed Sunderland to prepare for. My word we need a win.
It’s 0-0 at half time and we get in the cuddle position. McBride and Buckley score twice in a minute before Buckley seals it late on. Phew.
We’re actually closer to 10th than 18th. On the plus side, we are the top scorers in the division. We are also the worst defence by a mile. It’s Forest at home next too, which could really help matters (or make them much worse).
We may as well look at the top for the sake of it. Let’s talk about Derby. The most boring team in the history of the Premier League. No wonder Hussin stayed where he is.
It’s been every bit as difficult as I thought it would be to be honest, thank goodness we had a great start because the winter months have been a disaster. The league is weird, to be only 8 points off 5th is normally a positive thing but it’s quite an evenly spread division, everyone has a chance. Except Wolves.
I’m excited to see what happens at the end of the season and 17th is definitely the aim. Here’s 6 time World Snooker finalist Jimmy White singing a song called Minted in honour of Ike Mashley whilst you look through the Graduates that have helped our bank account to a healthy £25.2m
Here’s a team of how some of our graduates are getting on this season:
Goalkeeper – Anthony Betterton (34 appearances – West Ham – Premier League)
Defender – Gary Simpson (18 appearances, 1 goal – Bolton – Premier League)
Defender – James Stones (26 appearances, 2 goals – Blackburn – Premier League)
Right wing back – Ian McCormack (1 appearance – Celtic – SPL)
Left wing back – Ryan Morrison (5 appearances, 1 goal – Leicester (on loan from Man Utd, First Division)
Defensive Midfield – Lee Norfolk (22 apearances, 1 goal – St Johsntone – SPL)
Central Midfield – Jeff Brazier (13 appearances, 1 goal – Bolton – Premier League)
Attacking Midfield – Michael Twiss (19 appearances, 8 goals – Chelsea – Premier League)
Attacking Midfield – Chris Woodcock (18 appearances, 1 goal – Tottenham – Premier League)
Striker – Chris Pearson (27 appearances, 9 goals – Clyde – Scottish Division 3)
Striker – Steve Williams (6 appearances, 0 goals – Sheff Utd – Premier League)
Subs: Danny Gee (Southend, 26 apps, Div1), Jon Finnan (Sunderland, 4 apps, EPL), Chris Johnson (Port Vale, 9 apps, Div1), Gerard Lyttle (Bristol City, 33 apps, Div2), Daniel Cox (Nottingham Forest, 11 apps, EPL)
See you next week!