CM9798 Retirement Home – Part 12: Escape to Victory

Hello and welcome to the end of season 4 here at the Retirement Home. Things have rarely been bleaker for me as a manager. We’ve scored 15 goals in 30 games as our veterans have ran out of legs. It’s fair to say we’re finding a second season at First Division level extremely tough and we need to make up 9, realistically 10, points in 16 games to stay up.

table January S4

Still, at least we’re in the FA Cup eh? We come from 2-0 down to earn a replay with Walsall, if one can really “earn” a trip to Walsall.

walsall home cup replay

Ah good, Glynn Snodin snaps a leg in a typically low contact training session. Ouch.

snodin leg break

Back to the league and if we are going to work miracles, it needs to happen soon. A 2-0 defeat at WBA does nothing to suggest it is imminent.

WBA away S4

We’re apparently desperate to stay in the FA Cup, coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 down but then silly old Alan Knill gets sent off. Roger Boli and Michael Ricketts score late goals to spare us extra time.

walsall cup replay

Derby are the runaway leaders and naturally we barely lay a glove on them. Great.

derby home S4

Finally things are looking up as Cascarino gives us the lead at Plymouth. Backs against the wall doesn’t begin to cover it and we eventually wilt. An away point will have to do.

Plymouth away S4

A home game with Barnsley might have been an opportunity to build on that but my squad…what are you doing? We have no holdings midfielders and everybody knows our defence needs protecting.

team crisis

We lose 1-0. I think the biggest surprise is that Barnsley have put up with Georgi Hristov for this long.

barnsley home S4a

Wrexham have Jimmy Hasselbaink which hardly seems fair. He scores and we continue to see our hopes fade until Ned equalises. A point will do.

wrexham away S4

Walsall again, I am rather sick of them and I imagine Roger Boli has about 20 goals this season just from playing us. He scores on the stroke of half time and we look set for yet another defeat until Voro forces home from a corner. Woo and yay.

walsall home S4

That takes us into the game at Swindon. 21st placed Swindon who hold an 11 point lead over us. We have to win, there’s no compromise here. Thankfully we actually do and the dream is just about alive.

Swindon away S4

8 (effectively 9) points to go.

9 games to go

Bolton are only marginally better off and once they go a goal up I assume we’re done. But we’re not. Ratboy equalises, Ned puts us in front and Casc seals it late on. Momentum!

bolton away s4

I’ve been playing this system which has brought us some points and I’ll probably stick with it for the time being.

tactic vs swindon

The lads are buzzing but we stick teletext on back in the dressing room and…oh man. Swindon.

reading 0 - 5 swindon

Stupid Reading. John Dreyer slips over in the bath and breaks his pelvis.

Dreyer injured

Ian McPhee has been sacked by Clyde so…he’s available. We need numbers so he is the least inspiring deadline day signing ever.


A point from Stockport probably isn’t enough.

stockport home S4

A loss at QPR definitely isn’t enough – that crowd is a bit low. You’d think they’d want to see Arce.

QPR away S4

A home game with Forest is another chance to close the gap but we trail twice. We are fighting to be fair to us and Pani steals a point. A long way to go.

Forest home S4

I’m rolling out this at the moment:

charlton away formation

It earns us an impressive win at Charlton, Cascarino’s early header doing the damage.

charlton away S4

Big Tony is at it again just 5 days later, Ray Wilkins’ Birmingham are relegated and we’re slowly clawing back that gap.

brum home S4

Thanks for coming Ian, enjoy Kilmarnock.

McPhee job

Brentford away and I just want to nick a point. If we can keep ourselves in with a chance anything can happen. Drinkell is in to bolster the midfield, as much as a 43 year old can bolster anything.

brntford tactics

It very nearly works but I’ll take the point.

brentford away S4

Goal difference is all that is keeping us in the drop zone. We finish at 4th placed Bradford so a home game with 17th placed Portsmouth looks like our last chance.

2 games to go

We’re actually good. We have more chances than they do and we take the lead. This could be our time…then we concede a late leveller and all eyes shift to the County Ground where we need a favour.

pompey home S4

We don’t get it.

swindon forest

For some reason, Swindon play their last game against Chelsea and lose, so we can survive if we win at Bradford on the final day. The tallest of orders.

1 game to go table

We are being battered. Bradford play direct and keep coming at us. Knill goes off with an injury. We’re hanging in and Ratboy also departs holding a hamstring. It’s somehow still 0-0 and we’ve got 10 minutes to find a goal and the subs are on. Big Dave Watson is up front with Kelly and Casc, get it in the mixer. A couple of corners are cleared…it’s over.

bradford away S4



That’s not enough money.

prize money S4

Confirmation of our demise.

Div 1 table final

On the one hand, bloody hell we gave that a good go. I’ve had to dig deep into my tactical bag to try and pull this off and I think that Portsmouth draw has scuppered us.

That and a chronic lack of goals.

Goals S4assists S4

…and good players.

averages1 S4averages 2 S4

No awards for us but all eyes turn to the retirements.

awards S4

Bakero finally gives into his dodgy back. He hasn’t played for 2 years.

Bakero retires

I won’t miss Albert Craig.

craig retires

Or Steve Clarke.

steve clarke retires

Glynn Snodin has been released, he has a broken leg and aged 41, I assumed he would retire. He hasn’t so I can always bring him back if we’re short.

Life in Division 2 beckons but do I want to go through this all again? We have no goals in the team and the debt stands at £1.7m. Have we got enough in the tank to get out of Division 2?

I’m going to sign off now and have a think about whether to continue in the new year. I most probably will, help is on the way…

Dunga signs

Thanks for all your interactions with the Retirement Home these past few months, it’s been fantastic and hopefully I can convince myself to load it up again and have a go at restoring some pride. Toodles for now.

terminator thumbs up

7 thoughts on “CM9798 Retirement Home – Part 12: Escape to Victory

  1. Great effort. Would be interested to see you give it another go in the New Year but can understand why you wouldn’t want to. Like I said, valiant effort.

  2. This series has been brilliant (I read it all today!). Keep the save alive. We need to see these guys in Champions League action 😀

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