Goooooood morning! Welcome back to France, where 2000 is rapidly heading towards 2001 and the Ligue 1 season is just about out of the traps. We’ve somehow seen off Monaco to keep ourselves in the league cup whilst enjoying a European adventure to some of Europe’s most glamorous locations across Wales, Ukraine and Moldova. The league is settling down and here’s where we rejoin:
The good news is that Boutoille has signed. The tribunal set the fee at £3.7m so it’s basically cleared us out but I’m sure he’ll score the goals to fill the boots of the departed Vareille.
That doesn’t start at Montpellier, where a 0-0 draw is very uneventful.
The UEFA Cup has drawn us with Valencia, by far our toughest assignment. The squad is dropping to bits and Booty Oil can’t play here but Brian Deane steps in to put 3-0 up after 9 minutes. You heard right. It finishes 4-2 and it doesn’t flatter us. Interesting.
A home game with Perpignan used to be a time for celebration. We win 2-0 but it’s not without it’s problems. We’re indebted to a Prunea penalty save at 1-0 and young Trez finishes the job late on.
BOOTY OIL! There’s signs of a reasonable partnership developing as both he and Natigol net to put us 3-0 up at Troyes. It’s squeaky bum time when it’s 3-2 with a minute to go but a wins a win.
Crusty old Deane helps us see off Valencia to ease us into round 4. Where next on our European tour?
I’m coming home baby!
Some divine intervention is needed so here’s Father Phil on loan to help ease the loss of old man Pennyfather, who got injured in the last game.
Billy Mac feels it in his fingers but wants to move on. Denied.
The cup sees us follow a familiar pattern. An early lead, two goals to the good and cruising. A nervy finish, yes, but what’s two minutes of pain for 88 minutes of pleasure?
We just can’t score against Saint-Etienne after going behind early on. We keep plugging away and eventually Natigol equalises but try as we might, there is no winner. Two points dropped.
That takes us into the away game with our arch rivals Strasbourg. Man, I hate Strasbourg. Booty oil gives us the lead but it all goes pear shaped in the second half. Grumble.
My visit home is pretty quiet. A 1-0 loss isn’t the worst result but I would have liked an away goal. Brian Deane couldn’t make an impact.
Another home draw makes it 4 games without a win. It’s yet another late goal as Natigol saves our blushes.
We need more goals and I’ve identified this man as somebody who could probably get them.
For £180k, it’d be silly not to. I don’t know who he used to be incidentally. Batistuta is still playing, so not him.
The front two seem to click for the first time in a while as Red Star are cast aside. Remember when big Jack was the Red Star manager? Simpler times.
We need to overturn that 1-0 defeat to Newcastle but there’s no way through an uncharacteristically organised Newcastle. Siggi is injured too. A bad day.
Oh look it’s a home draw. Far too many of them this season though our resolve to keep coming back is commendable.
That takes us into the winter break. A month of not playing which basically involves players taking it in turns to ring me and ask me to move to a bigger club. Nathan Blake, Natigol, Milazzo, Billy Mac…eventually I just turn my phone off. Man Utd recall Mulryne on Christmas Eve, to be fair it’s his busy time of year.
We return to action with a match against Le Mans played over 24 hours (never stop that joke) which puts us in the semi finals of the Pointless Cup.
A win away at Metz shows the break has done us the world of good. Booty oil is on the pace of the team now.
Le Havre have caused us problems before and they look well placed to do so again until Radet is sent off and the strikers go mad. Trotta, or Del Boy as I’ll probably call him, is off the mark and I’m happy again.
Oh for crying out loud.
Natigol nets another hat-trick. He’s a sensational Thai man. It’s good but we’ve got work to do..
Out of Europe but still in both cups, although it is Nantes away in the French Cup second round which could have been kinder. Top two will mean a Champions League spot, PSG are bound to catch Strasbourg which means I need to make up 8 points on them. I will hunt them down.
I’m running out of central midfielders though. Young Trez is out for a month.
I wish this man liked playing for us. Look at this for a career. Worth his weight in goals and assists. Bootyoil has 11 in 13 so he’s coming on nicely, but to score more than you’ve played is always the dream.
It all adds up to a mouthwatering finale next week as we look to improve on last season despite nobody really wanting to be here. See you there my friends