The end of season 9 already. Where does the time go? Even if our league form is…patchy at best, we are still in the FA Cup and the Cup Winners Cup. In a season where we lost little Dunc (Ferguson) and Gilberto Landonio (Mancini) we’ve somehow cobbled together results. There are some options in the squad – not many, but some. We have £88m in the bank which will never be spent. In many ways, we are blazing a trail for the modern game. In many other ways, we are 16th and wasting our lives.
Here’s a reminder of where we pick up.
Kettering might be top of Division 3 but they don’t scare me. We’ve been there and done that, just without the whole being top thing. It was 8 seasons ago but I think we came up via the playoffs. Anyway, Rory Denis Irwin Gallen gives us the lead and a scrappy hour ensues. Thankfully they get tired and our training of watching the episode of the Simpsons where Homer becomes a boxer really pays off. Down go Kettering and we do a triumphant turkey trot over the supine Poppies. (If you get that reference, kudos to you. Kudos to you.)
At home to Villa or Fulham in the quarters. Spoiler but it’s Villa.
Our annual beating from Arsenal with Claudio Lopez scoring. Nothing to see here.
A reasonable result against Man Utd. Hilariously, they are in a lot of debt so most of their squad are on the transfer list. The end is nigh.
Off we go to Romania for the first leg against Steaua “look at all our vowels” Bucharest. We’ve got a message for you: Fck ff. We manage to lead twice and end up with a draw. It’s not bad away from home and we’ll hope to finish the job next…whenever it is.
Two days later and it’s Quarter final time in another competition. Captain Colomba gives us the lead but Alex Notman equalises. They’re actually down to 9 men at this point as a red card and an injury with all subs used really helps us. Ignore the fact they equalise with 9 men. We’re just playing up for the cameras and Lukic wins it with the last kick of a stupid game. Phew.
Everton are a Champions League side so I’m quite pleased to draw Bolton. I think.
Crystal Palace up next and the dynamic duo both score. A man called McBride gets sent off and it’s not wor Charlie so I’m fine with that. This might be the first time we’ve ever played Palace and Hawkes hasn’t scored.
We continue to creep towards safety with a point against Wolves. These injuries are mounting up, Lukic and Lawrie will both miss a few weeks.
That includes Steaua again and we’re behind after two minutes. Maybe I will have to buy a vowel because Oh my goodness, we score 7. SEVEN. That really is magnificent. It’s already 3-1 to us when their first choice keeper gets sent off and their sub keeper has crisp packets for hands and T-rex arms. A 9-3 aggregate win…
7 in one game though.
Cheers Len. We’re off to Vitesse Arnhem in the semis. Hopefully before Chelsea send all their kids there.
Derby at home and somehow Ikpeba stayed with them during their relegation. He’s still there now they are back in the big time and he slots home a pen. How miserable.
Barnsley though are rubbish. They are practically already relegated and the returning Lukic is at the double. Yippee.
It’s a tougher time in Arnhem. McCallum gets the away goal to make it 1-1 but they just keep coming at us and a 3-1 deficit is going to be a problem.
Three days later and we’ve got another semi. Lukic scores twice and despite a torrent of Bolton pressure we hold on. We’re going to Wembley! We’ll face Everton.
What really bugs me is that they couldn’t find ONE MORE PERSON to make it a round 40,000. Maybe there are bigger things to worry about. A loss at Fulham proves as much. Conceding to Jason Euell is always a shame.
We need a 2-0 win or better to go through. Thankfully, Morello has really stepped up recently. I don’t know who he is, I’ll have to find out. Either way he opens the scoring and after Lukic puts us ahead on away goals, the Italian wraps it up at the end. FINAL!
Roma will be another step up. The final is in Germany so maybe it’s for the best we don’t play Hamburg.
Back to league action and we’re able to ease past Chelsea. Heddle is out for a month though which puts his participation in both finals in doubt.
A point at Spurs basically guarantees us safety. Nevland, a hero to us all, equalises. Spurs remain in relegation trouble.
Newcastle obviously thrash us. I have a poor record against my own team. I don’t know why.
Man City are top of the table so it’s somewhat of a surprise when we lead 2-1. We’re in control but then Lino scores and we have to take a point. Lino will be replaced by Laminate over time so the joke is on him really.
Hull away is one of those games where neither team plays with a goalkeeper. We are 2-0 and 3-1 down but eventually manage to draw 4-4. You don’t get many games like that.
West Ham get blitzed. We’ve really come on well this season, even if playing games every 2 days is not ideal cup final preparation.
We round off the season with out fourth game in 8 days. A 1-0 win and a lie down.
That’s 12th. A new club record. 9 points behind Man Utd and second top scorers in the division. Ignore the goals against column.
Spurs are relegated. I ring up Chris Woodcock just to laugh at him. That’ll teach you to spend 6 days with us.
4 days later and it’s off to Germany for the Cup Winners Cup final. Retaining this trophy would be wonderful. It would mean we get to do it all again next season. It’s actually one of our easiest games of the season. Lukic scores a pen very early on and we’re 2-0 up inside 7 minutes. A third is added right after half time and we’re loving life. A comeback is never threatened and the trophy remains ours.
How do you top that? There’s no pressure on us at all in the FA Cup final. Even if we hadn’t won the Cup Winners Cup, Everton are in the Champions League places so we’d be in Europe anyway. With our new found freedom, we lead 1-0 and then 2-1 but have to settle for extra time. Steve McManaman junior has the game of his life after replacing the stricken Morello and he adds his second in extra time which turns out to be the winner. The young man has written himself into history forever.
Yesssss! What a season. The World Cup is even in England, but it starts badly and goes downhill from there
They do make it out of the groups but exit to Japan at Highbury
Fukuda indeed. Denmark are the eventual winners, beating Brazil in the final.
I’m about to set off on another regen hunt but it’s going to have to be a good one. We’re going to be without two more stars
No, YOU’RE crying. Good job the manager of the year is going nowhere.
Join me next week to see who the new arrivals are. Who knows, we might win the Charity Shield.
Graduate of the week
Anthony Betterton was our number one for a whole season before Barnsley fluttered their eyelashes at him. Paul Heritage has worn the jersey ever since with mixed results. Anyway, Betterton had been in Under 21 squads but as you can see has no caps.
He did well for Barnsley but like so many before him moving to West Ham turned out to be a poor decision. An inexplicable move to Southport for a small amount of time was soon ended when Aberdeen rescued him. He’s now trying to rebuild his career in the SPL. Good luck with that.