Well hello there. Part 40, that means you’ve been reading this for 40 weeks. Yes, there was a break in the middle but still, that takes us close a year of this concept. The Retirement Home are currently enjoying (or at least participating in) only their second ever season in the top flight. Naturally, we’re in the bottom 3 but this time we’re only 2 points adrift of safety. We can do it!
Oh we’re also still in the FA Cup. An away game to a First Division club gives us the opportunity to go further than we have ever gone in the nation’s oldest and therefore best tournament. Fernando Couto, who is 40, scores the winner.
We draw one of the few teams below us in the quarters. Consider my interest piqued.
We get a practice run against them in the league. We could probably do with winning what looks like a tremendously winnable game but instead we limp to a 0-0 draw.
Not to worry, seemingly we like to pull off surprise wins away from home. We turn up at Ewood Park with less expectation but we have a great time. The best time.
It’s the old six pointer at Goodison as 18th host 19th. C-Lo gives us the lead but we can’t hold on. A point away from home is usually welcome but that’s two chances to put relegation rivals to the sword and we’ve missed our opportunity.
Nevermind, we’re a cup team now. Marc Overmars remembers he’s got Arsenal in his blood and knocks out his former North London rivals. Into the semis!
We get the semi-final draw I wanted. Huddersfield are around us in the table whereas Sunderland, Leeds and Sheff Wed are all in the top 5. We get to play at Anfield, which isn’t much of a treat.
Another point on the road. It all counts towards something.
We fire some warning shots to Huddersfield. Beating them in the league actually drags them into the relegation scrap. Bild a bear gets us off and running and OGS seals the points.
We actually lead Sheff Wed, making a mockery of my previous comments, but Billy Gunn equalises and it’s downhill from there.
If we can win at Bristol Rovers, I’ll start to believe we’re a cert to stay up. They’re right down in the scrap and when Leonard gets sent off, it’s ours for the taking. Bild is basically my hero and I’ve got a class pun lined up about BILDing a statue but Midgley equalises in the last minute. Why I oughta…
Neutral venue klaxon! Whoever thought we’d get here. Pick please me Mr Kearns gives Huddersfield the lead but Solskjaer equalises. We go through all the rigmarole of extra time which remains deadlocked. All of this means we’ll be sequestered at Old Trafford in 3 days time for the replay – free room, free food, free swimming pool, free HBO. Ooh. Free Willy.
THREE WILLY MORE LIKE. We’re going to Wembley. Tell me nurse, me nurse.
It turns out we’ll face Sunderland in the final, which by my reckoning means if they finish in the top 2 we’re already in Europe. Hubba hubba. We face their title rivals Middlesbrough next and…lose 1-0.
These bank holiday weekends really take it out of us and a trip to another title hopeful in Leeds is not one for optimism. However, we take an early lead, an Australian misses a penalty and we get the three points. Crikey.
These are the best of times, the blurst of times. Bild plunders a hat-trick including being the only man in the Bungalow capable of taking a penalty. 40 points! Bild that statue.
As you can see, we’ve dragged some others into it.
Sunderland managed to lose at home to Tottenham and have barely won since I needed them to. Meanwhile we get rinsed by 10 man Arsenal.
A point at home to Liverpool should be celebrated but results are conspiring against us.
A point from either of the two remaining games will be enough. Surely…
Home to West Ham. The day the Bungalow saw history. The best 0-0 draw ever.
Away to Derby and I change the entire team. We’ve got a cup final to prepare for. Bizarrely, the second string go 2-0 up inside 25 wonderful minutes before normality is restored and we draw 2-2. Who cares?
Lovely stuff. 16th is our highest ever position. I would describe us as semi-competent.
Speaking of semi-competent, Sunderland finished 4th. That means we have to win to get into Europe, I think. I’m pretty sure the game treats the Cup Winners Cup ahead of the UEFA Cup so runners-up get nothing. We’ve had two pastings off these and ironically we need to summon the energy of Sunderland in 1973 when they beat Leeds. As a Newcastle fan, I just want to win. Hopefully the old lads have it in their locker. We absolute belt out Abide with Me. Help of the helpless is practically our slogan.
Lopez! What is this unfolding before my eyes? We’re getting battered but Keith B-Real is keeping everything out. This is our day. More and more is thrown at us but with time ticking down, Ole runs through and dinks the keeper. Hand me that trophy.
Oh it’s a shocker for sure.
Ladies and gentlemen, your FA Cup winners:
We had a goal scorer, which helped.
40 year old Fernando being the star man is the type of story we all love.
No awards for anybody…but who expected a player from a little known Swiss club to take the European Footballer of the year gong?
Not too many retirements either. Zarpy will be a miss, Crespo helped us to get here whilst Loko picked up £10k a week for little to no reason.
What a season. We’ll be playing European football next season whilst somehow trying to keep this lot afloat in the Premier League. It’s going to be a whole new experience but I do hope you’ll join us for it, starting next Sunday. Toodles for now!