21. A-Z of Football – Darlington (02/03) – First Legg Bye, Swiet as a Knutsen

Liam has started to get Darlington moving up the Division 3 table but success always comes at a price and the vultures are circling…

It is now 2003 and we enter it with a smile on our faces. Our form is fantastic, our players are reliable and our position is top. A lot of that is down to LeggLee and their partnership. I didn’t think Nathan Lee would hit the ground as well as he has, so that is always great! Gus Poyet was also added to the team, so it is good news all round. Straight into the action however as Bristol Rovers visit us

Another hat trick for Nathan Lee. What a player! I hope wherever i end up next I will be able to take him with me. Legg with 3 assists himself that we can’t forget about. Popescu will be out for a couple of weeks with a strained neck.Up next is our Area Quarter Final away at Rotherham of Division 2.

Not even Division 2 teams can stop us, granted they are in 18th but it is still a result to be proud of. Scunthorpe will be next in the Semi Final and they are 3rd in Division 2, so that will be a sterner test. Both Baird and Gattuso are suspended for our next game against Grimsby, so in comes Woodthorpe and Maher.

Quiet game for LeggLee but the goals come elsewhere. Both centre backs and Poyet picking up the win in our rare red kit. Steve Bruce is off to Sheffield

Matty Agiadis will miss the next match with suspension so Maher moves up to CAM, and Hockaday takes the CM slot. York visit the Feethams still boasting Henrik Larsson up front.


Larsson does score but LeggLee are back at it with 3 between them. It is almost definitely my last season as Darlington now. Legg however is now suspended for the next game, so Mullen takes his place. Gattuso and Baird are back however. Away to Boston

Easy again. Nobody can stand to us, and we are now 14 points clear at the top of the league. Inter get the result in the Milan derby for the European Super Cup.

Semi Final time, away at Scunthorpe who have now reached 2nd place in Division 2. This is going to be a test

Tough tough game, but we pull through this one. Into the Area final! Not bad for a Division 3 team. It will be Crewe in the final, who are 3rd themselves. Everyone is back from injury or suspension now (Except Gattuso) and we have an almost full team ready. Swansea are our next visitors and I can’t see anything but a W coming

Ok, what was that? What happened? It was a pretty even match, and we couldn’t pick up the victory. It is fine, we are still 11 points clear. Unfortunately, something happens that I didn’t want to see

Big club release clause screws us over. Aston Villa also in for £7mil so it looks like Legg will be on the move. Wolves match the £7mil so it is at least money in the bank. He chooses Villa

So there goes my assist master. Will have to have a look about to see who I can replace him with. We go to Bournemouth without Legg for the first time

Doesn’t affect Mr Lee however, as he continues his goal-scoring form. To make things worse, Legg’s replacement Mullen is now out for 5 months himself. Big shocks in Serie A

That is what happens when you have 2 goalkeepers, both being injured and no room to buy! They have a very nice team though. Buffon, Cannavaro, Veron, Inzaghi, Zambrotta. Oh well! Off to Poland to pick up Legg’s replacement for £230k.

Straight into the club and is now worth £2.7mil. Great purchase! He will partner Lee away at Tranmere

Swietek fits straight in as he picks up a goal and a 10 rating on his debut. I have uncovered another gem. Straight after the game, I check his value…£3.6mil. Wow. He starts again

Another goal, but Betterton gets MOM which states it was maybe a tougher game that we had thought. Where everyone is playing well, everybody wants that move to a bigger club. Get in your lanes boys, it will come when I go. Notts County visit us next

Again, little bit tougher, but the team are adjusting to life without Legg. No time to waste as we go to the Windscreen Shield Area Final first leg against Crewe.

Another great win at Gresty Road, against a formidable Crewe team. Bad news though, is Boselli will be out for 6 weeks. We are alright for cover at CB so shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Turf Moor up next as we go and visit Burnley.

Another great result, and another top performance from the new strike force. Another goalkeeper MOM against us but we don’t care, we score goals. 14 points clear of 2nd place West Brom and I feel like I will miss this team when I leave. Good news is, a lot have big club release clauses, so if I do go somewhere bigger, they can come with me. Up comes the Area Final second leg.

A tough match even against 10 men, and Swietek send us through to the final. This could end with 2 trophies this season! It will be Kettering in the final. I have just stuck 3 bids in for 3 very well known midfielders, so we will see how those go. Be happy with 1, let alone 3! Wrexham visit the Feethams next

Blackstone is a bit of an unsung hero within this team. Always popping up with goals, and good results. Very good choice as captain and it is another win for us. I do secure 2 of the big names, and 2 former Liverpool superstars. Bit of a strange Champions League this year

And here are the 2 new players!

Redknapp will pick up the start, whilst Hamann starts on the bench.

Nice result against a strong Northampton team. A big bid goes in for a former superstar…Please do not let me down lad!


Amazing, I never thought he would come here. Only a little bit left of the season but I am buzzing to have him here for a small part of the season. Also joining us is this legend

My sub goalkeeper didn’t get his work permit renewed so that forced my hand. However, Molina will be starting over Betterton. They both walk into the team for our next game at Bradford. Swietek is actually injured so Knutsen gets his first game

Knutsen does what Knutsen does best, and that is score goals. A fantastic end to this update with these unexpected signings, and I can not wait for my new team next season. Only issue being, there are not many E teams about. I may have to wait a while. Until next time, Adios!


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