It’s the end of another season for Rob Tait and his Portugese adventure. His all Brazilian side is on the cusp of European qualification but can they get it done? Catch up with part 8 here.
We finished the last update with 12 league games remaining and a potential UEFA cup place in our sights. My first order of business is to sell Marquinhos, I feel a little bad, he helped me out of league two and was pretty good last year but Nene is better and third choice Robson looks handy to I take the £250,000. The clubs financial position is awful and this small fee will take the pressure off for a week or so.
It does seem that any time we sell a player the team respond with a poor performance and ultimately a defeat, since we face Lisbon next that was probably going to happen anyway so when we come back from 0-2 down I can barely believe it, just as I start to think we could snatch a winner the game game senses my optimism and allows Assis to finish us of with 15 minutes left. I think the very unlikely 2nd place is off the cards now.
As is the case we bounce back in emphatic style the following week away to Salgueiros and although we conceded two goals the result was never in doubt. Despite the win tragedy strikes in the final five minutes and Laelson is rhino charged by and angry Salgueiros defender while running down the clock. This is heart in mouth time, especially after the recent sales of Savio and Marquinhos.
WTF, that is not good, is this what happens when they get a career ender? I’ve never seen this before and I’m scared.
The player screen doesn’t help, as you can see he has scored 21 in 27 games, this is bad, really bad.
I check again a week later and am relieved but also nervous. I once had a game where Jon Dahl Tomasson got an injury and his period out just kept rising instead of going down and I’m worried this is going to happen to little Jose. Even if it doesn’t 9 months without him will feel like a lifetime.
The next game is a blur, AC and Jefferson take their frustrations out on Farense in a game that we somehow manage to win. I could really do without suspensions at this crucial stage in the season. I can’t do another season where nobody wants to join me, I need Europen football!
We are on song again the week before all the suspensions kick in and dismantle a poor Leiria side. Maybe we will be alright without Laelson (I’ve never written a sentence with less confidence).
This sort of behaviour is really starting to piss me off, I’ve made these boys, nobody else gave them a chance and now just as we lie of the precipice of making the dream a reality and playing in Europe. No Nene, No, NO NOOOO!!!!
The suspensions begin and we have travelled to Espinho the home of our ex Brazilian international Savio. In the most even of games we of course lose and who else but flippin Savio pops up with the crucial goals.
Things go from bad to worse with the next two pieces of news.
Well that’s the my keeper gone. Even if he wanted to play for us, which he doesn’t £775,000 is £775,000 more than I can afford. I better start researching New Zenga’s heritage, looks like he will be with us a while longer. A small piece of good news though, Laelson is slowly recovering. I’ve never been more relieved.
The suspensions continue to take their toll and even though we can still score AC is being missed in defense as we concede five in the next two games. Even more annoying is the fact we were ahead both times but couldn’t hang it’s four points dropped.
To make matters even worse the Peu injury is for a month. He is our captain and has been one of the best players this season. I really don’t need this now. I’m scared to check the league table but I know I have to.
Five games left and 3rd is still doable, just look at the against column though, 51, 51! The final five games start well though as we beat 6th place Vit. G 1-0 a result that just isn’t in our arsenal.
We stay 5th after this one, four games left and Benfica and Vit. S are only one point ahead. Loanee Henrique is an angry young man, I can only assume it is the responsibility of having to fill Rai’s shoes. Oh and of course we get another suspension, just to help out.
Oh goodie our next game is away to Benfica, a real six pointer. AC, back from suspension goes down injured in the 7th minute (seriously the game hates me at the moment) and when they go 0-1 ahead I’m dejected, head in hands. But then a ray of hope Robson gets an equaliser, then three minutes later Nene puts us ahead. I spend the next 16 virtual minutes with my fingers over my eyes. I take it back, this is a just and fair game, I will never doubt it’s wisdom again.
Three games to go and we are third again two points clear of fourth but with AC out for two weeks Peu, the leader that he is climbs off his death bed to help with that final push. Shit, we are hosting Porto next. No unexpected victories this week.
Down to fifth again a point off third and two games to go. I’ve never felt so nervous about a final two games and all we are going for is third but I’m not sure how many teams get European spots so I really want third to guarantee my place. AC is back for the next game and we are getting close to full strength for the final two. Away to Felgueiras first, we smashed them in league two but since our promotions they are a bit of a bogey side. Fortunately Nene gets a couple before they score to make the last 16 minutes another nervous affair.
Back up to third again, one point in between fourth and fifth. The final game is a local derby with Maritimo. We get off to the best of starts with Jefferson scoring after a minute however despite dominating it is still only 1-0 at the end of the half.
That’s it, we made it. I feel like we have stumbled through the last 12 games but this is an amazing result. We are in Europe next year and surely now we can attract some young regens, plus, maybe we can get rid of some of these big club release clauses and everyone might stop asking to leave.
It’s a whopping £330k which actually I didn’t want as I was hoping to get into the red and receive another healthy investment in the off season.
The end of year awards roll by and there is limited recognition for this amazing feat of mine. Jardel topped the scoring charts with 28 and I can’t help feel that Laelson would have been close to that without the injury. Never mind, he is on the mend and Europe beckons, better hope this glitch I’ve been banking on actually works. A small positive is Mini Zenga gets the young player award, Zenga had a Brazilian great grandmother didn’t he.
Join me for season four to find out how we strengthen in the off season and prepare for UEFA cup football.
You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator