Tales from Wales – Part 4 – Performance and Carl Dales

Matt is back with his Welsh lads to get your week kick started. It’s time for season 2 but are there any Welsh nationals to sign?

For me, it’s a wet Saturday afternoon. The fire is on, the kids are playing with Lego. For you it’s Monday morning, back at work, but for all of us, it’s 1998 in Cardiff and the start of Season 2.

Last time out, we clinched promotion as champions of Division 3 with an all Welsh line up and under the guise of Bobby Gould, I kept the Welsh FA satisfied by steering the national team through some tricky friendlies. We’re now in that magical July period where we can make our plans for Season 2.

One chap I’ve been chasing, and a minus man, is David Parry who turns down East Fife of all places to join our project.

Big Club Release Clause Klaxon – I turn it down of course…

But it’s fruitless – we’ll miss his goals, but again, playing for a Premiership side should help him develop – if they play him…

A replacement is needed and John Harston’s cousin (not really) is probably worth a gamble.

There’s not much else in the way of transfer news before the season starts and it’s a point salvaged against Brentford. Deniol Graham was a great foil for Carl Dale last season and he’s off the mark here.

Its time for the first cup game of the season and fellow Welshie Dean Saunders breaks our resolve.

Just as we are picking ourselves up for our next league game Wiggy is out for almost a year. If I find out who knackered him on the training pitch, there’ll be hell toupee.

It all happens around half time at Grimsby before Dale makes it safe with a naughty 3rd.

Dale is on it again to take us to penalties in the League Cup and Deano fluffs his lines and Brian Connelly hands us the win.

Sean McCarthy is Welsh – maybe the game has an algorithm that means you’re more likely to score against a team from your home nation. Maybe. Dale will be out for a bit just as he was getting into his goal scoring stride.

Hartson steps in for Dale and marks his full start with a goal and Davey makes it all gravy late on.

I saw big John was available, but it was more of a hopeful punt really….

Cousin Kristian (not really) keeps us rolling against Crewe and Davey is chipping in with some goals too.

Young Scott Morgan gets his first of the season to cancel out Kenickie’s opener and get the T/Blue Birds a share of the points.

Captain Kev gets his first of the season and new signing Parry pops up with the winner after Nigella had looked to take a point back to the kitchen.

Hartson Fire was a great song from Rocky 4.

We deserved nothing from this game, and that’s exactly what we got. Moving on.

Welsh Player on the move Klaxon – we’ll keep a keen eye on that man.

Hartson is making himself a valuable stand in for the injured Dale. The youngster certainly has an eye for goal.

Meanwhile, a veteran striker is taking the plunge into management. Hope it goes better than that time at Chester.

Last seasons hero, Carl Dale is back and amongst the goals. Deniol Graham sits this one out.

And the next one too. Hartson just keeps on scoring.

Into the 3rd round with ease although we leave it late to wrap it up.

That algorithm at work again, Rowbotham is Welsh if you didn’t guess.

We’re not conceding many these days and Dale seems to have shrugged off his injury woes

Our first Euro 2000 qualifier comes round and Giggs is missing through injury, but Pembridge doesn’t us down as he sets up Mark Hughes too give us a slender win and the valuable 3 pts. Still not sure about Robbie Savage at right back, but Rob Page has a blinder as captain. Not sure why i didn’t choose Gary Speed though…

There’s no Fist of Fun for us at Burnley while the national team are in action. Most of the action coming in a frantic last ten minutes at Turf moor.

Finally, we get the better of rivals Swansea in the car front window shield

Graham and Judy trade 2nd minute goals but its us who laugh last for the three points.

And just like that, we’re a 3rd of the way through the season and would be top were it not for that woeful outing to Gillingham. Still, mustn’t complain, we’ve made the step up without too many bumps and all looks rosy as we head into the winter

Our form has been described as ‘lovely stuff’. Not our words, the words of Shakin’ Stevens.

I’m still looking to add quality to the squad, but not many Welsh players want to join my Division 2 side and those that do aren’t better than what I already have. I may have to pounce on the regens of Southall, Hughes and Rush when the time comes and cultivate them into world beaters. Until then, we’ll stick with what we’ve got and see you next week as we head towards 1999…

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