Greetings! Welcome to season 3 of the Retirement Home. We’re two for two on the promotion front, having started in Division 3 with no players. With a squad made up from players aged 35 and above, we stormed Division 3 then stole a promotion from Division 2 thanks to a very late playoff push and a memorable Wembley win. As usual, a host of retirements has left us with a job on our hands to be promoted again. I’ll go on record right now and say survival is my only aim.
Let’s see who we’ve managed to tempt for one last shot at glory:
An International goalkeeper will help, right? Jacques Songo’o has been released by Deportivo and he’ll provide competition for Dave Beasant the pheasant.
How about the current Scotland manager? Steve Clarke has left Chelsea and now he’ll play right back for us.
Former Spanish International Voro seems reasonably mobile for a 35 year old. He’s basically a star player.
Bakero’s injury keeps getting longer. His back strain is now at 4 months so ALbert Craig doesn’t look like he’s up to much but he’s an extra body.
Another one departs as Corica’s work permit expires. He was a very angry Aussie but it’s the boot for him.
Our opening day lineup is uninspiring. The front two were good last season but can they step up to Division 1? Pani is poor, I didn’t rate him in Division 2 but who knows. The wingbacks are back as full backs for now.
Oldham are our visitors and I don’t know what all the fuss is about.
If that was a walk in the park, we have a disgraceful night in Carlisle. We finish with 9 men but there’s some questionable refereeing here. We’ll get a second leg to turn it round but I’m not confident.
Back to the league then and another home game. Mick Quinn has made the step up and that pleases me. Reading do briefly rally but we win 4-2. A great start.
That Carlisle return match does end in a win for us but it’s not by a significant enough margin to avoid an exit. I still blame the ref.
Palace have just been relegated and we can barely get near them. They deservedly beat us and issue a reality check in the process.
Barnsley away and we’re getting battered but at half time I remind the lads they’ve got a million career appearances between them. We’re soon 2-1 up and heading for a great away win but Ashley Ward ruins it all. Ah well.
Three days later though and we do get our away win. A near perfect away performance is lit up by Pani netting a second half winner. To think, I didn’t rate him. He’s not been good by any means but these three points will help.
I’ve found help. A 37 year old wing back. Welcome aboard.
A third consecutive away game ends with a defeat at WBA. We barely got going.
Three days later we’re away again and we’re given the old Scott Gemmill masterclass. How embarrassing. Rush’s injury will see him miss two weeks.
Chelsea?! Turns out they got relegated last season too. They’ve retained most of their squad and absolutely wipe the floor with us. That’s also 5 consecutive away games. Sack the fixture computer.
A 6th! How silly. Swindon beat us 1-0. Get me home.
Get me away. A home game with Bolton starts magnificently well but then disintegrates into farce. We were 3rd early on, now we’re 19th.
A win over Norwich helps. Quinn makes a welcome return to form and injuring their best player definitely helped.
A third home game in a row? An appalling loss. We are a disgrace really, sometimes.
A draw with Sheffield United is about as exciting as it gets. We should have won really but a lack of cutting edge kills us.
We lead at Birmingham thanks to Chamberlain but a late equaliser means we settle for a point. I think I’m ready for a rest, we need a change of fortune.
Here’s the table. No surprise to see Palace and Chelsea steaming ahead and even less of a surprise to see us not in the top half…
There we are, in the upper part of the bottom section. The goals against column is a little sickening and obviously something we need to address.
A quick look at the average ratings goes some way to explaining our problems. We have a lot of players performing…awfully.
At least the centre halves and goalkeeper are doing ok. Generally though, my aim is survival and so far, we aren’t in the bottom 3. Anything beyond that is a bonus. Join me next week to see if we can find a way to move up the table rather than down it. Toodles!