Good morning and welcome back to the Retirement Home. The old lads are somehow pulling it all together at last, having been down in the doldrums we now sit 5th in Division 2, looking for a return to Division 1 at the second attempt. Financially we remain a mess but thankfully over 35s don’t command much in the way of a transfer fee. Here’s where we pick up:
The Windscreen Shield has been ridiculed by many but for us it’s a source of much needed income. We’ve got a tough tie with Preston to negotiate and the Micker’s double is cancelled out in four abhorrent minutes. Never one to shirk responsibility, Letchkov scores a golden goal winner to take us through to the Area final.
3 days later our aching limbs manage a 1-0 win over Bury. 2000 less people turn up to see it but I’m going to blame Bury for that,
Normal service is resumed at Port Vale, where we’re without the suspended Quinn, Ceausila hasn’t been breaking my heart as much this season but breaks something else here as we lose without fuss.
Drinkell is promoted to striker and despite his best efforts, Crewe have too much for us. They’re bottom of the table, so that’s a concern.
Danny De Vito has scored past us on several occasions and I’m not going to stop making the joke now. He actually scores twice here as Barnet give us a good going over.
Thankfully Birmingham don’t trouble us and we take a useful win to get us back on track.
The area final is over two legs, which suits us especially as we manage a draw away in Chuckle country. Ratboy gives us every chance of making the actual final.
We then win at Oldham, a classic away performance that you would expect more often from experienced heads. Quinn scores, as usual, but Ratboy is dismissed for gnawing the soap. Still, it sets us up nicely for the Rotherham return leg.
It’s a disaster of a start as Rotherham cancel out our away goal but our brows are soon a lot less furrowed when their defender hauls down Letchy and sees red. Quinn sticks away then pen, Alan Knill heads in from a free kick and Uncle Bulgaria makes it 3-1 all inside 26 minutes. Yay. I don’t even care if we win, Wembley will be a big pay day for us.
Chamberlain sees off Burnley. Good.
Playoff rivals Brighton let us take the lead only to snatch it all away in 2 harmful minutes. Sigh.
York are struggling so I’m appalled to lose 4-1 to them. Quinn has been a machine all season but some days the defence just don’t bother.
Quinn is at it again with a double against Fulham and Waddle smashes in a free kick to keep us in the top 6.
Wembley. I said earlier I didn’t care if we won but now it’s here a trophy for the old boys would be good even if it does mean they will drink for a week. Knill heads us in front and I’m starting to dream. Wembley is half full and I’m not 100% sure who actually supports this lot but Lord Farquhar equalises and sends it to extra time. Naturally we are knackered and lose 2-1. £425k in the bag though, on the plus side.
We brush off that disappointment by beating Stoke. I expected that to be harder than it was.
We’re 6th with 5 games to play, two more than those around us. Division 2 used Keegan rules in these days, where goals for meant far more than goal difference. That also suits us.
A game in hand at Macclesfield sees us lose Drinkell but a point will definitely do.
Leyton Orient are a strange team. They’ve been in the Premier League but are now struggling at the bottom of Division 2 and still have Gianfranco Zola up front. We struggle to a point.
This is falling apart. Watford and Krncevic are running wild. We’re still standing but only just.
I think we really have to win at Hartlepool. It’s so congested a point probably won’t be enough. At 2-0 up, it looks like it’ll be our day. At 2-2 it doesn’t but Quinn puts us back in front only for Pools to score from the kick off. With the clock running down, we need a hero. We have one. He’s a big burly bugger called Mick Quinn and on the 3rd of May 2003, he drank Hartlepool dry.
There are 8 teams in the mix going into the final day. Pleasingly, we play Blackpool so I know a win will be enough for us. Unfortunately, they are quite good.
Even with 10 men, it’s like having 11 when the Micker is in this form. You say Amato, I say Mick Quinn’s going to knack you. Playoffs, here we come!
A grand effort all in all, finishing as the top scorers.
£210k richer too. Every little helps.
Brighton is a tough ask and I’m not happy at playing the home leg first. It shouldn’t be this way. Simon Mayo gives them the lead but if there’s a man who knows how to handle mayo it’s Mick Quinn. We’ll take a draw, I guess.
It means we need to win on the south coast or at the very least get a high scoring draw. Bad news too – Quinn is banned. Too many yellow cards. Our task gets even tougher when we go 1-0 down but Chamberlain steps in for the Micker, Letchkov proves he is the man for the big occasions and David Burrows sees red. Gav blesses us all and makes it 3. Wembley time again.
Now, this time the result really matters. The money is of course a bonus but the win is what we’re here for. It’s tense and neither team over commits. Extra time is the last thing our old legs need but after 102 minutes, Isaac Hayes puts through his own net. He’s a complicated man and no one understands him but Mick Quinn. WE’RE GOING UP!
All of that and we’re still £2.8m in debt.
The awards make interesting reading. Quinn outscored everybody. Former Retirement Home star Gary Mabbutt is manager of the year for Spurs. Nothing for me.
As usual, a set of retirements. I’m not too upset about any of them, Ceausila probably would have lost his work permit anyway.
The big news is in though…
THANK YOU! Quite who is investing in this is anybody’s guess but it’s given us a whole new lease of life. We can now go into Division 1 with money in the bank and the wind in our sails. Let’s go and recruit…
See you next week where we’ll get life underway as a Division 1 club again.