Happy Monday. Rob is here with the beginning of a second season for Sao Paulo where the chairman appears to be some sort of sugar Daddy…
Life in the second division begins with the welcome boost of a cash injection to write off the £11 million debt, I’m not sure where the money comes from and I don’t really care, ask no questions, hear no lies and all that.
Cash has always burnt a hole in my pocket, having said that 49 goal hero Kosta-D is the wrong side of 30 and Molnar hasn’t had enough games to prove he can take his place. I consider this signing quite a coup for a team in the third tier and also a bit of a bargain.
This on the other hand I consider this to be pure nonsense.
I add free transfer signings Abel Xavier and Cristiano Doni to the mix before our first game of the season on 8th August against AZ. I give Kosta the nod up top with Denilson but after 55 minutes he hasn’t scored so Fowler is introduced, He doesn’t score either but new central midfield man Doni gets a brace in an exciting opening day, oh yeah and da Costa gets sent off because that’s just what we do.
The start of the season is non stop action and we play Grasshopper in the League Cup 1st round. Denilson gets a hat trick while Fowler comes off the bench to get his first goal for the club.
Sao Paulo to Italy and an away match against Verona (love the yellow on blue kit), Fowler gets the start and scores a brace, two 4-0 wins in three days.
On the way back to Brazil we stop in Switzerland for the second leg of the league cup, I rotate the squad and despite the 1-2 loss we are through 5-2 on aggregate. I can’t help thinking an Ivo Basay in his prime would be a good player, the 32 year old version still finding the next with regularity at the end of last season and the beginning of this one.
Back to full strength on Saturday as local (same country) rivals Vasco come to the Morumbi. Sir Bobby and I share a red wine and talk squad nicknames, after all we are friends from the Division 3 days. I wish him luck but we are too strong for them today.
Our midweek game is at Selhurst Park against Palace, they are managerless at the moment and we take full advantage. Molnar gets a start after a reshuffle due to da Costa’s suspension and scores two.
The games just keep coming and Fowler and Molnar just keep scoring, Utrecht no match for us today.
It must have been a bumpy flight to Portugal as we are all out of sorts against Estrela Amadora. Nothing goes right for us and everything they do works. Kosta gets a consolation goal but I’m just going to write this off and move on.
A couple of relaxing nights in Zurich after the cross continent train does wonders for Robbie, his four goals in 68 minutes are more than enough to ease past the Grasshoppers.
Back in Brazil and da Costa is back in attacking midfield which allows Denilson to move back up top with Robbie, they are a great partnership and despite a good effort from St. Pauli we score another four goals.
Off to Turkey for the Saturday game against Genclerbirligi (I’ve never heard of them, but checked and they are Turkish). They have appointed Neville Southall as player manager, he is on the bench though and Peter Ndlovu is up front. Ndlovu scores one but Fowler gets two and we win 5-1.
From Turkey we head back home for a real test, Division 1 Bologna in the League Cup 2nd round. They have real players like Robert Baggio, Kennet Andersson, Richard Rufus and Graeme Le Saux. It’s a lot closer than recent games but the lad Fowler is a bit good, I can’t believe I’ve never signed him before.
The air miles racked up so far have been immense and it’s only half way through September. Sweden and Norrkoping are our opponents. The immature child inside me laughs away at their keeper Dick Last, I hope he is better between the sheets than he is between the sticks.
As defending champions of the prestigious Auto Windscreen Shield Trophy I am playing my second eleven, it’s one competition too many. Despite this Kosta takes the opportunity to play to bag a couple more goals and remind me why we won it last year. Results go our way so the one win takes us through the group stage.
The first team are back in Italy against Cesena, they have a high reputation in the database despite being in Serie C so they somehow snuck into the bottom group of teams fighting it out in Divisions 2 and 3. Denilson with a hat trick this time and another four goals.
We stay in the same country for more than a couple of days, it’s the second leg of the league cup. Bologna put up more of a fight but an on form Richard Wright means we escape with a draw and a place in round three.
A short trip across France and a ferry right later we are in England for an away match at Derby. Igor Stimac is one of my favourite defenders in the game and I will be getting his regen later. Jim Smith makes an error by leaving Mart Poom on the bench in favour of Alan Miller. I always find Poom near unbeatable but Miller not so much. Doni has been immense in centre midfield so his injury is concerning but Emmers will provide excellent cover stepping up from his DMC role, in which he too has been outstanding.
Brescia are brushed aside at the Morumbi in a close game despite Mark Crossley getting the MOM for them. It’s the first league game in which we get over 50,000 fans which will help the bank balance.
A short trip from South to North America to play fellow division three promotees LA Galaxy and their slightly edited squad. It’s close at half time but we accelerate away in the second half, would you believe it we score another four goals in a game (I’ve just counted and this is the 10th time we have scored exactly four goals in a game).
I’m always on the lookout for a bargain, and while he’s not the Norwegian that I wanted he is the only one available right now, for free no less. What is AI Ferguson doing? I’m going to put him out on loan and see if I can get him firing.
The final game of this update is against Corinthians, who were promoted through the playoffs. Fowler has really helped us step up a level, it’s madness that he wanted to join in the first place. It has helped having a high reputation, but because I can sign some proper players it has been good fun too. Fowler bags a hat trick to take his total to 25 in 18 games!
Despite the 14 wins in 15 games it is close at the top with Herfolge (another club I haven’t heard of) only five points behind in second place.
Next week we will have the middle third of the season broken up by some FA and League Cup action. After the disappointment of last year’s cup runs I’m aiming to win one from the second division and make a statement to the top clubs that we are coming for them!