Welcome along to another new idea. I’m enjoying the Mulhouse save but it hasn’t quite hit the heights of The Academy save, so it has been re-homed to Thursday. The Academy went as far as it could, so after some good chat with my friend Andrew (King of the Rooks), he showed me the light.
Introducing: The CM9798 Retirement Home
What’s the big idea then? Well, in my search for a new and interesting challenge, I’ve decided to impose a limit of signing players only aged 35 or over. There’s no limit on transfer fees or any pressure to sell unlike the Academy save, this is purely a collection of old geezers coming together for one last shot at glory.
This of course poses it’s own problems. For starters, pace is not a strong point for the old lads. Will this render the direct formation useless? Another issue is that there is going to be pretty much no re-sale value for anybody. We’re going to have to be careful with the finances. I’ve given them £200k to spend to give them a fighting chance but they start with no real players. I’ve also set the reputation at 9, which is the highest in Division 3 (where we’ll ply our trade) – if I’m only allowed to sign players 35 and over I think it’s only right I can get the majority of them. That brings another problem though as expectations will be higher.
As you can see, it’s hardly a squad to make you optimistic. Let me talk you through it.
Steve Sutton takes the gloves, he spent much of his career at Nottingham Forest. He was released by Notts County in 1997. He is backed up by Pat Bonner, Irish legend but fundamentally poor.
Viv Anderson has been brought out of retirement to captain the side. He’s 40 but actually has reasonable stats. He’s partnered by 37 year old Glyn Snodin. Mick Gooding plays right wing back whilst future Wigan manager Chris Hutchings is on the left. He’s 40 but has 20 for set pieces. Don O’Riordan sits in front of the defence for now, he might not for very long – he’s 41.
Glen Cockerill is positively brilliant for this lot. He’ll play central midfield behind 37 year old Brian Marwood. Kevin Drinkell looks decent in the AMRC position.
Up front it’s 36 year old Kerry Dixon and 35 year old Mick Quinn. What’s not to like? Honourable mentions to Mark Chamberlain, who is not only Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Dad but also got 8 England caps in his day. His day may come again (though probably not for England.)
Sadly Jorginho won’t be joining us. Curse you, the government.
Here’s how we line up for our opening match.
To the surprise of many, Mick Quinn can run. Lincoln can’t deal with our experience and despite the injury to Cuba Micking Junior, you’ve got to be happy with that for an opening day success.
Port Vale are a first division side but they’re so angry. They hate the elderly. They finish with 9 and we only manage one goal. That may haunt us in the 2nd leg.
I’ve decided to spend £190k on this chap. Again, compared to Mike Duxbury and O’Riordan he’s brilliant and thankfully he buys into the project. Welcome aboard.
A little bit of digging around the minor teams and we can entice Dave Beasant the pheasant here. He’s only at a Minor Team because when somebody tried to add him to Nottingham Forest on the patched database they put N.Forrest. Fun fact for you there. Their loss is my gain. Nicky Law and Imre Varadi also arrive and I think our squad is set for the time being.
Our home ground is called The Bungalow by the way. It will alter be rented to Dick & Dom but for now, it’s ours and the home faithful witness a home win.
The Port Value rematch starts as well as you might expect. Two goals in two minutes sees our lead wiped out and a less experienced side would crumble. Instead, Kerry Dixon eats all the half time oranges and scores FIVE unanswered goals. I, er, didn’t expect that.
We head to The Gay Meadow full of relative optimism which is only added to by Drinkell’s early strike. We lead three times in all and look to have won 3-2 thanks to Dixon but an 89th minute equaliser spoils the party. I suspect we’ll concede a lot of late goals.
It’s an early goal against Chester but once again the half time oranges work out well and it’s a 3-1 win. Marwood has no right to be any good at all but here he is, being a threat. Kerry Dixon looks set to break all sorts of records.
The McCain Stadium entices Mick Quinn to score twice, him and Kerry “not a girl” Dixon are quite the partnership. That man Marwood scores again and it’s a thrashing. A great day by the seaside.
It looks like we’re heading back to earth though as Hartlepool go 3-2 up on the stroke of half time and we’re down to 10. They didn’t bank on Viv Anderson powering in a header from a corner though and nicking us a point. I like these old boys.
A topsy turvy game at Peterborough ends all square, another result I think I’m quite happy with.
More good news as Nigel Spackman is sacked by Sheffield United. He’s available fore free and arrives to bolster the squad.
Dixon had us off and running again but we fade badly and Viv smashes an own goal in the 90th minute to deal us our first defeat. It’s taken longer than I expected.
I’m worried when we go behind early to Cardiff. Really worried. But once again I should know better, old heads prevail and despite friends of the footballers Andy Ansah getting one back, we win 3-2. Unbelievable tekkers.
Southampton are a Premier League side so their visit to the Bungalow is not one I relish. We do lead for a bit but Ostenstad equalises, Brian Marwood gets injured for a month and then we’re behind. We do fight back to to take the lead and it ends up 3-3. The second leg at the Dell may not be as forgiving.
In the meantime though we head to Essex and are about to lose despite Mark Chamberlain’s first goal for the club. That man Dixon throws himself at a cross late on though to send the travelling faithful home happy.-ish.
Mark Hateley player-manages Hull and the lads are in his face straight away, telling him to resign and come and play for us. He politely declines but Chamerlain’s double sees him fall to a home defeat and secure us our most impressive victory to date. Oh my.
We’re in a healthy 4th position but I can’t help but worry the lads will only get worse as the season goes on. I don’t think we’ll be giving the old Windscreen Shield much attention.
When I said our most impressive victory to date…we then went and knocked Southampton out in their own back yard. Mick Quinn the hero, earning us an away trip to Villa Park in round 3.
What can we take from this? I expected more of a struggle but as I said, I think that may follow yet. We’re also £230k in debt, and the board aren’t pleased about that. I have no saleable assets really, although Mick Quinn is worth £500k. I’m not sure where the money is going to come from, if it starts effecting my job security then I’ll have to try and sell anybody I guess. All part of the fun. But it’s a positive start, there’s life in these old dogs yet. Join me next week to see if they can continue this unlikely start.