Hello! Welcome back to the Retirement Home, where I’m attempting to manage a team of over 35’s up the football league. Things have started well, as we romped to the Third Division title securing over 100 points in the process. But with five calling it quits last week we need to replenish the golden oldies with new blood. Well, old blood…some blood. You get the idea. We need to find players capable of playing in Division 2 as well, as let’s face it, the current crop aren’t going to improve much. We have £2m to help us out.
We currently only have one goalkeeper after the retirements of Bonner and Sutton so Peter Sirch seems like the best of the bunch.
A former Spanish international? He’s as weak as a kitten but he’s technically brilliant. He’ll do nicely.
He’s about to turn 36 but he’s so versatile. He’ll set us back £250k but Maurice Malpas can fill so many positions it’ll save us a few quid.
This is an angry Australian. He can head, he can tackle. I’m not fussy. He might get a few red cards but beggars can’t be choosers.
Yuri Pani looks incredible from his stats but I’m not convinced. He’s only £50k though so let’s see what happens.
The start of the season sees Walsall visit the Bungalow. Bakero shows his quality very early on but a young Michael Ricketts looks set to steal the win for the Saddlers. Chamberlain nabs a late leveller though to save us some face.
Northampton are a fellow Division 2 side so a convincing win away to them bodes well. It’s the League Cup though, so largely pointless.
We’re well beaten by Leyton Orient despite my mate Heidenstrom trying to do us a favour. They came up with us, so this is a bit of a concerning result.
The Northampton return leg is going swimmingly but we throw away the on the night lead. Still, a comfortable advance to face Man City in Round 2.
Uh oh. A home defeat to Preston with very little quality. We haven’t really embraced the step up so far.
Grimsby away? Narrow defeat. We need something more.
Gary Peters is something more. We’re clearly short of goals so hopefully Gary Peters can supply them.
He doesn’t on his debut but Mick Quinn does and that’s good enough for three points.
The GP does pull one back late on at Wigan but considering we won here in the cup last season, it’s another alarm bell of a result.
To make matters worse, Sirch gets a 6 month injury and that puts us back down to just Dave Beasant. Nobody wants that. Uncle Bulgaria Bobby Mikhailov joins.
Centre back Snodin scores twice but little Tinkler from York looks like making it another disappointing home game. Mick Quinn saves us again though to earn three points.
We’re awful for twenty minutes away to Stoke and at half time I finally decide to change the system. A diamond in midfield and a flat back four and for once, one of my idiot schemes pays off. Bakero pulls one back and Quinn equalises. Recovery?
We start with a diamond against Plymouth and when we take the lead, I’m starting to think I’ve cracked it. Instead, a chap called Maurice Hodge scores twice late on and we leave with nothing. Diamonds aren’t forever.
I really can’t be bothered with Man City in the League Cup so a 1-0 defeat would be acceptable. Kinkladze makes it 2-0 in the last minute to ruin a perfectly cromulent evening.
Motherwell want Nigel Spackman. The game asks if I want to refuse the approach and I click no…which means he stays!? That’s a bug. Sorry Nigel, you’re here forever.
Back to the tried and tested and an already rough time for Bury takes a turn for the worse. Mark Chamberlain nets a hat-trick as we win 5-0. Brutal.
We follow that up with a reasonable point at Southend. Trying to build momentum is tough when you’re managing something without wheels.
Another £250k? Ian Rush has scored goals all his life if you ignore his recent seasons at Leeds and now Newcastle. But once again, beggars can’t be choosers. Welcome aboard.
Chris Hutchings, the 41 year old left back, is out for 2 months. We shouldn’t really do training. John Dreyer sets me back £100k but he looks ok I guess.
A disappointing home loss to Wycombe has us marooned in the bottom half. Mark Hughes refuses the move to the Bungalow.
Man City are a division higher so overturning a 2-0 deficit seems unlikely. It’s soon 4-0 on aggregate and despite having 10 men, we do get it back to 2-2 on the night at least. Spackman wears his managerial suit to play in out of protest for the clerical error that resulted in him missing out on the Motherwell job. His red card seems petty.
We’re abysmal in Wrexham. Only losing 2-0 is a success, in some ways.
We’re 2-0 up against Chris Waddle’s Burnley, however we’re 3-2 down with 12 minutes to play. I’d love it if Waddle got sacked, he’d fit in brilliantly. Drinkell steals a late point.
Northampton away for the second time this season already and unsurprisingly they are propping up the division. We are only two points better off but this convincing victory eases the pressure.
15th is a lot closer to the relegation zone than the playoffs. There are 30 odd games to go but 4 wins in 15 does not scream promotion push to me.
Ian Rush has yet to score for Old Lads Inc and it’s generally pretty bastard miserable. But with Quinn still keen and Chamberlain showing signs of genuine quality, you just never know. Join me next week to see if we can rekindle some former glories or whether we are going to be stuck in Division 2 for the foreseeable future. Toodles!