Summer Specials Five – The Orient Express: Bjorn Again in the Premier League

Hello and welcome back to the next episode of CM9798 Summer Specials. You can catch-up with last week right here. What fresh hell is he putting on us this week you ask? Well, many of you will have taken on Leyton Orient in Division Three for the much-loved Bjorn Heidenstrom. They’ve got a canny side and it’s easy to get promoted…but how would they fair in the Premier League…and the Champions League…well, let’s find out.

Meet the lads:

Our first task will be to hang on to our best players like Griffiths and Zeddemore.

Get lost Carl, you’re going to be a Welsh International soon don’t worry (looks like he wants a move to Watford of all places…). At least Mark Warren’s release clause is unlikely to be activated while he’s out for three months…

In come some reinforcements in the shape of players who donned the Orient kit in real life, some purchased in the summer of ’98;

But the Champions League draw is unkind.

We’ll start our campaign at Charity Shield winners Chelsea (probably the first time I’ve seen that happen in a game of CM9798!). It goes…well…

Party at the front, distinct lack of business at the back. I may have to move Bjorn into defence! We make our first steps in the Champions League and its f****** amazing for a while, then David Connolly comes on and it goes up the wall.

Hopefully we can sneak it in Feyenoord. As we wait we take the lead then take the Leeds apart…

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! Scenes in De Kuip as the travelling Orient Express goes wild for a 90th minute winner from Winston.

One of the few times I’ve stood up in front of the laptop and jumped with joy…who doesn’t love a last minute winner?

Our hopes are immediately shattered as we are drawn in a group with Man Utd. FFS. In preparation for the opening group games we stuff Palace 4-0, lose 6-2 to Coventry and Barnsley get their first point of the season as we draw 2-2, throwing away a 2-0 lead to ten men. Griffiths is out for a month so Harris will have to step in as cheeky little Maskell can’t play.

We sit in illustrious company on a European night in Partizan.

And what a fantastic start to life we make. Party in Partizan.

We follow up by turning over a decaying Peter Beardsley and Bolton, before succumbing to a late collapse at Anfield as Fowler scores a 90th minute winner to make it 3-2 Liverpool. Harris, currently on fire with 3 in 3 gets the CM9798 treatment of course:

We finish our league troubles pipping the Dons 1-0 at home, a great result. What happens next is comical. A virus proceeds to rip its way through the squad, leaving us without some key players and with second choice defenders…the result:

Stand in centre back Clark did not help our cause….at all. The virus continues to ravage our squad and we go to Arsenal depleted and down to the bare bones escaping with a superb 2-2 draw. Almost a third in and the team are progressing:

The board aren’t happy with the position, they think we should be higher up…

Just as I utter the words, we lose 4-2 at Filbert Street when we should have won. And then a battering from Man Utd in the Champions League.

That defensive machine something else. We edge the play stats marginally. We play better in the league against them, but again their defence (or our defence?!?) is the difference.

(This was with 10 men for 30 minutes too). We proceed to be crucified in the League Cup by Wrexham 6-1. Europe is not all fanfare anymore…

The strikers are off the boil. Blackburn beat us 4-2 despite us having 22 shots. We stop the rot by going through Spurs like an express. A missed penalty at Derby is costly was we are Wan-choped. And despite a full-strength side, Porto say Jardel-e-ei-hoo again…

Down under we lose the East London derby by a single goal scored by the son of David Hasslehoff’s car…

It is followed and proceeded by other defeats. We haven’t gained a point since 19th November and are heading to the trap door as fast as an explosive night after some spicy food. The Champions League was too big an ask.

The winless run goes on and on as we continue to play like it’s a water park.

The losses just keep on wracking up and we’re almost certainly about to fall into the danger zone if we don’t get a win soon. The early season promise has completely disappeared.

We break the run with a point at Palace but it’s really 2 thrown away.

It’s not enough to keep us above water as Coventry win. The next game is the nail in the proverbial coffin. We just cannot hang on.

A win…a bloody win!!! I thought we were about to blow it. Were back up to 17th!!!

We’re between a rock and a hard place as Liverpool give us the people’s elbow, but we manage to cobble together two more wins against Wimbledon and this famous afternoon at Brisbane Road…

Heidenstrom and Griffiths pick up injuries that will keep them out for most of April. A real sickener. But we march on and pick up our 4th win in 5 games against Sheff Wed.

We lose 3-0 to Man Utd but go on to take a point from 6th placed Villa coming back from 2-0 down and Heidenstrom’s heroics help us survive a 0-0 with 2nd placed Blackburn despite having ten men for 80 minutes.

Results elsewhere don’t favour us as Coventry beat Liverpool and Bolton surge up the table. We’ve got Derby, Everton and Newcastle left to play…we realistically have to beat Derby and Everton to stay up. With Warren suspended for two games and Heidenstrom out for the season, its all of a sudden looking bleak.

It might not be enough…but Everton do us a solid by beating Derby and…

Derby’s game in hand is Man Utd and their last game is Chelsea…we might just need a point at relegated Everton to stay up…

Oh. My. God. What a result. Winston destroys the ghosts of midseason to close of with a brace. Derby go down and the Orient Express plunders on!

Joint 5th top scorers in the league but almost 20 goals more conceded than the next worst defence

You can see where it almost fell to s***.

The stats:

It really wouldn’t have happened without Winston.

Or Inglethorpe.

Here’s (tactically) how we did it:

No awards for us I’m afraid. But wow…what a successful experiment. I hope you’ve enjoyed our 5th experiment of the summer. Why not try one of your own and plant your favourite Division Three side in the Premier League and see how you get on? See you next week for part six (I know, where will this madness end?).

You can follow Andrew on twitter: @KingOfTheRooks

1 thought on “Summer Specials Five – The Orient Express: Bjorn Again in the Premier League

  1. Pingback: Summer Specials Six – There and Back Again: A Tale with Georgi Hristov | CM 97/98

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