Merry Monday to you! Rob is here with the start of season 5 for Sao Paulo in the World League. Will they feel the pressure of being defending champions?
Welcome to Season five, this will be the last season of our Sao Paulo adventure, we are the reigning English International Champions. The mission in this final season is clear, defend the league title and FA Cup and win the Champions League, a small ask. The squad is pretty stable and since I don’t need to invest for the future I only make three purchases, Bodo Illgner is in as backup keeper and hopefully these two will add a little extra spark.
Brian Little did an excellent job with Fiorentina last season and because we won the League and FA Cup they are our opponents in the Charity Shield thanks to their second place finish. Despite buying Thierry Henry for his Va Va Voom I don’t really have a place for him in the first eleven and Fowler and Denilson pick up right where they left off last year.
A week later and the season proper begins as we head to Old Trafford. Robbie has a point to prove to old Andy “two goals in a season” Cole about who should be playing for the National side and thanks to him and captain Vik we start the season with a well earned win.
Back at the Morumbi to host Athletico Bilbao, Fowler doubles down and Pirri gets the other one for a comfortable win.
Off to Germany to face Roy Keane and Duncan Ferguson at the Olympiastadion in Munich. It is a close game and the score line flatters us, we really had to grind out this result. Richie Wright was immense in goal keeping Bayern at bay for over 60 minutes once Fowler scored the penalty.
The midweek game is a big one, Steve Bruce has masterminded Velez Sarsfield’s accent to the top tier of English football winning all three divisions. This game is even tighter than the previous match against Bayern, there are only five shots on target. It’s a game that would definitely be last on Match of the Day.
September rolls around and Dortmund come to the Morumbi. This game has everything that the previous two lacked. We go 0-2 down after a quick fire double from Brazilain winger Glaucio and Dortmund are cruising but then keeper Tony Williams brings Fowler down in the box. Tony is dismissed and Fowler dispatches the penalty just before halftime. Dortmund’s young captain Neil Morley then gets his marching orders in the 51st minute and Robbie makes it 2-2 five minutes later. It looks like ending 2-2 until T.H scores his first goal for the club, an 84th minute winner, the Sao Paulo fans have another hero!
After the excitement at the Morumbi out match at Elland Road is a dull affair, thankfully Fowler’s 7th minute strike is all we need for another three points.
Guingamp were a surprise package last season but they are struggling this year. We just can’t get on top of them though and it’s another game where I feel like we are struggling to find a rhythm, fortunately Robbie is on fire and thanks to him and Doni we scrape another win.
Our Champions League campaign begins at home to Dinamo Minsk. I’ve decided that I can’t buy T.H and then not play him all season out of loyalty to the lads who have been here longer. Young da Costa has to make way, Denilson is dropped back behind the strikers and T.H is up top with Fowler. Dinamo are not the best and hopefully the goals will bring us some confidence.
The weekend game is away to Coventry in what can sometimes be quite a tricky match. We have new found confidence however and thanks to our full backs and Fowler it’s quite straight forward.
We finally have a week off before David Batty brings his Newcastle side to Sao Paulo. Batty scores against us again, however unlike last season we don’t buckle and T.H, Fowler and Doni score the goals to give us the win.
It’s a Champions league game next against Swiss side Servette, this game is crazy, we have three goals disallowed and look to be hanging onto a 3-2 win until Fowler gets two goals in the last two minutes, a hat trick for him and a 5-2 win for us.
Three days later at the Luigi Ferraris T.H gets hat trick and pretty much cements his place up front with Fowler for the rest of the season, we have been all guns since the re-shuffle to bring him into the side.
Oh no, terrible news.
After guiding them to the Premier League from Division three in four seasons the pressure has got to him and he’s jacked it in. I feel quite sad about this for reasons I don’t really understand. Velez replace him with Jack Charlton who had managed to take AEK Athens to Division One. A few weeks later Steve drops back into management in Division three with Admira/Wacker Moedling.
After the International break (in which Andy Cole with 0 league goals plays against Hungary instead of Fowler with 12 league goals, Lippi is nuts) newly promoted Bologna are our opponents. Bobby Baggio and Kennet Andersson are getting on a bit and Fowler, fresh from not playing for England, scores the only goal.
The third team in our Champions League group is Compostela, they come into the match with the sole aim of getting a 0-0 draw that they don’t even have a shot on target or change their approach after Denilson’s goal, another 1-0.
Saturday at Sociedad and another win. Doni is just class, silently going about his business, running the midfield and scoring goals, he is so good that Icelandic Superman can only get a place on the subs bench at the moment.
Spain sack Javier Clemente and offer me the job, but it’s not in my plans, I’m retiring from football at the end of the season to sip Mojito’s on a Brazilan beach.
Earlier in the season we played a crazy game against Dortmund but this one is even crazier. It’s the League Cup 3rd round against Fiorentina and if I’m honest I don’t want to win for fear of fixture backlog, however the second eleven and specifically Nevland and Christer want some more games. When Ortega scored in the 86th minute he made it 3-3 and I was cursing the replay for half a second until Nevland went right down the other end to get the winner, madness!
Our final league game of the update is against a strong Monaco side. It is a tight game but after half time the new tag team of Fowl-Hen get the all important goals.
13 games down 25 to go. Richie and the defense have been solid and Fowl-Hen-Den are proving lethal in front of goal.
Next week is the middle third and the penultimate episode, we have put ourselves in a good position to achieve the goals we set out at the beginning of the season but in this game you just never know when the AI will bite you in the Ass.