Hello! Welcome to the winter of season 11. The CM Academy are showing real promise now that the regen of Perez Munoz Alfonso is running the show. We’re not in a relegation fight and really, that’s all I ask. We are in fact in the European places but a long way off the top two. Those luxurious Champions League spaces might have to wait.
It’s odd to find teams queuing up for my 5th choice centre back. Maybe I’ve misjudged him? The brilliantly named Junior Tinkler departs for £800k
Not to Wolves though. To Chelsea.
Rules are rules unfortunately. Ike still needs to make a profit. Listing players for loan makes them available generally which is a shame and will be my downfall.
Meanwhile young Canas gets his first Spain cap. No risk of a mix up in the Ivory Coast defence. Just put a name on it.
Back to the action now though and bottom club Sheff Wed are thrashed. A wonderful feeling.
Athletic Bilbao will be a tougher game. Thankfully my Spaniard (well the attacking one) is in fine fettle and seals a 2-0 win. Something to hang on to when we head over there.
Tinkler doesn’t line up for Chelsea but we come from behind twice to seal a point. We’re on the cusp of something, but I do worry about our goalkeeper.
Teams really want my youth. Lavin is the next on the departure board.
Oddly, he says no. He can continue his loan at St Johnstone in peace.
A proud moment. Anderton, Eadie and McManaman all get selected for Under 21 duty. I dream of the day an Academy player represents England.
Man City are too good for us. It’s pre their rich days but they’re just too strong.
The return leg is going quite well until Colomba fouls someone from a corner and gets a red card. Seems a bit harsh to me. The pen goes in but nothing else does and we’re through.
Ah for goodness sake.
England qualify for Euro 2008. Steve McClaren didn’t. Walter Smith gets sacked anyway.
Oh look, it’s Claudio Lopez. He has 2 goals for the season heading into this. I hate him.
We have to play Sunderland in the league, a long time before our European clash. A Boxing Day ding dong sees us go from 1-0 to 3-1 up in 6 wonderful minutes. Okon makes it a sweaty finish but we hold on.
That sets us up nicely for the visit of Hull, who have dropped off the pace but are a rival for a European place. Hull get a classic beating.
As do Wrexham. It’s the FA Cup so I’m able to rotate the whole team. A hat-trick each for both strikers and two for their lad. I actually wanted him to get a third, it would have been a wonderful bit of symmetry.
Things are going well at Villa Park but then Heritage gets sent off. He’s not great but his replacements are all terrible. Willi Serena (no jokes, I’ve warned you about this) comes on and makes no saves. We lose.
We edge past Wolves in a terrible game. The deadlock never looked likely to be broken until Dellas over hit a back pass. He was right to do it.
No Heritage for the cup replay and Serena concedes early on. Lukic nicks a replay. That seemed like a good idea…
What a sickener of a draw. We have a proud cup tradition, at least recently, so we’ll give it a go. But I won’t enjoy it.
A tight win at Leeds maintains our form. 50,000 in Elland Road is some neat expansion work.
Somewhat less of a crowd are present to see a dismantling of Fulham. Alfonso Ribiero nets a hat-trick and all is well in the world. We’re coming for you, Man Utd.
Before that it’s the always fun meeting with Sheff Utd. I hate Steffen Iversen. I feel like this is our derby, not least because I took Doncaster’s coordinates when I created the Academy so I guess technically we’re in quite close proximity to Sheffield. Anyway, Powell goes on a dribble and gives us the lead but the pantomime villain Iversen equalises. It looks like more dropped points but the returning McBride scores a winner and it’s a party in the city where the heat is on (or Miami equivalent)
I’m prepared for the cup tie. I’ve got it all figured out. On 9 minutes, their keeper hauls down the Fons and it should be a red card. It’s actually not even a booking but I could see from here it was a red card. Obviously, the keeper saves the pen. We go 1-0 down and then Lawrie gets sent off a last man handball. Typical Old Trafford referees. It’s soon 2-0 and although we reduce the arrears we miss some chances for a replay. BOOOOOOOO!
Keen to pick ourselves up, we actually play them in the league a week later. We lead 2-0 after 15 minutes but it ends a draw. That is a shame.
Tottenham though are utterly terrible. We’re 4-0 up and loving life and I’m able to rest a few ahead of the UEFA Cup match in four days. Spurs get two back later on but that is not my problem.
Huge news to end the update on though. I’ve been tracking Schmeichel’s re-gen forever and he’s been out of contract. He still had a value though so I couldn’t get him. They’ve released him. He’s just inside the age range. He better bloody sign. This could be the final piece of the jigsaw.
We end the update in 5th. We’d have to go on a run to finish in the top two but I’d settle for a UEFA Cup run and a top 6 finish. With Schmeichel junior (not Kasper) in goal we’ll be practically indestructible.
Do join me next week for the end of Season 11, I am excited to see you there.
Graduate of the Week
Remember Paul Perry? Probably not. The Jeremy Goss regen signed during our Premier League newcomers phase and was effective in attacking midfield.
He played 94 times for us before departing for Newcastle. Like so many of our lads who leave, they barely play for a number of seasons. Perry made three whole appearances for the Magpies before leaving for Huddersfield. He didn’t play at all for them and Newcastle bought him back £0.1m less than they sold him for. He fared slightly better this time, playing 49 times before being sold to Coventry. He’s not been able to hold down a starting place but they are new to the Premier League, so who knows what tomorrow will bring?