Welcome back! The end of season 12 is nigh, with 16 league games to go we sit 13th – which sounds bad, but when you consider it is one win from the playoffs, the picture all of a sudden seems clearer. Can we force our way into the end of season lottery that is the playoffs? I think we should find out.
First business of the day is the FA Cup and our inevitable exit at the hands of Arsenal. Losing only 2-0 is in many ways one of our better cup results.
An hour against 10 men is usually great news but our old lads struggle to count these days. It finishes 0-0, a number everybody knows.
A goal! Siggy sprinkles some stardust over Craven Cottage and we actually win away from home. With a clean sheet.
You will recall the 10 men discussion we had two games ago. We’re 1-0 down to Walsall when Poric, who sounds like an Aldi cereal, is sent off for a bad foul on Siggy. Fernando Couto equalises and despite having an entire half to win it, we obviously don’t. On the plus side, the Bungalow is almost full for this one.
Birmingham are bottom of the league and have won twice all season. Make that thrice.
We take out all our anger on Kidderminster, this is despite going down to 10 ourselves when Santos gets sent off.
Things really are looking up. A win at Brighton shows off our newly established defensive nous.
Oh no, not Ian Walker. We’re in debt so getting his £10k a week off the wage bill is a relief, even if it leaves us with two goalkeepers.
Up yours QPR.
And you, Swindon.
We’re 5th. Things are good. Then this:
On the one hand, I’m a big fan of them offering me two 35+ players in exchange. They are valuable to me. Also that £5m will clear the debt. It’s a deal.
Oh I didn’t need this. My goalkeeper has a big club release and Chelsea take him a day before the deadline. Rats.
The two old lads refuse as well. Hatton departs, the money is banked and now I have to hope all the bids I put in get accepted or else we’re down to the bare bones.
Patrik Berger’s work permit expires too. What the heck man. Eckhardt, what incredible stats, which probably means he’s inept. Beggars can’t be choosers.
The squad is a ruddy state now.
We escape with a point at home to Norwich when our performance reflects the week we’ve had. Disjointed.
Wolves are on their way back to the Premier League – my new goalkeeper probably isn’t. We need to dust ourselves down and go again, we’re down to 9th!
Zarp is back in goal for the visit of Plymouth and our front two see us to three points. Phew.
They’re at it again at Brisbane Road. Three goals in four minutes is unusual for any time but for us it’s a miracle.
Moreno brings the party against Millwall. We’re circling the playoffs, we need to have a final push.
A point away at playoff rivals Barnsley is a better result for us than it is them.
A win in the penultimate game of the season against playoff-bound Ipswich puts us back into 5th. This is a huge win, secured in the last 8 minutes despite being 1-0 down with 10 men. Zarp will be banned in a few weeks, but will it matter?
Top scorers! Somebody call the Hardy Boyz because in a twist of fate, our last game of the season is against Southampton.
A win or even a draw would guarantee us a playoff spot and we’re moving serenely towards the dullest of 0-0s until we give away a late penalty and it’s time to huddle around Ceefax to see if Bradford can win at Leyton Orient.
They can only draw! We get two goes at Ipswich as we attempt to return to the big time.
Barjuan Sergi loves scoring against Ipswich, apparently. At 2-0 we’re cruising but 2-1 means we have to be careful in 4 days.
The Bungalow is hushed when Siggy gets a very early red card. Incidentally, Zarp’s ban starts the day after this game so it’ll be down to young crisp packet hands in the final as a backs to the wall performance sees us through to the showpiece.
It’s Southampton again then, and a rehash of the league game a few weeks ago sees a very bland game settled by a penalty. Not in 90 minutes though and not even in 120. No, it goes to a penalty shootout where I mash enter on 119 minutes to try and bring some forwards on to take penalties. Not only do I fail at that, but apparently pressing enter confirms your penalty takers. That’s an oversight.
So one of the biggest games in this clubs 12 season history is settled by the players wearing 2, 3, 4 and 5 taking penalties. See you in the Premier League.
Here’s how the squad looks after a frankly ridiculous season.
Wait, what? We won’t be playing Man Utd or Chelsea next season. Incredible.
Let’s see some awards – nice to see Siggy as the top marksman.
Last time we made the Premier League, most of the squad retired or ran away scared depending on who you speak to. It’s not as bad this time.
Kristinsson barely played – will not be missed.
Dugarry – I think we can upgrade him and his £10k a week was unneeded.
Torneberg has been brilliant playing out of position but he can go. We need better players in the Premier League.
Who else is going? Steve Watson has been released and retires. Gabriel Batistuta’s work permit expired so he was released and also hung up his boots. Berger has been released and re-signed as I think he has something still to offer.
Now though I have to go and dig through the transfer market to find not only the best 35 year old’s on offer but also a new number one goalkeeper. Zarpy can’t do it forever and the young lad…who knows? Is he really any good?
The good thing is, you get money thrown at you for getting promoted so we have £9m in the bank to fritter away on mostly old men. I can’t wait. See you next week…we’re big in the back time!