CM9798 Retirement Home – Part 43: When one door closes…

Good morning! Welcome to another end of season write-up for the Retirement Home. As the curtain comes down on season 14, we have an unusually high amount of unsettled issues for the old lads to resolve. Firstly, we shouldn’t get relegated or even be in the scrap. So that’s nice. Secondly, we’re still in with a chance of defending the FA Cup. Finally, we are ludicrously still in Europe, the Cup Winners Cup quarter final will see us takes on Nantes and this week, I promise there’ll be no Take That gags.

PL Top Feb S14

We start with that FA Cup defence as we welcome Newcastle to the Bungalow. What I can only hope is the son of Scott Sellars does us a solid with the earliest of red cards and although Solskjaer gives us the lead, we can’t hold on. Lambourde bows to the pressure and handballs in the box to earn himself a red card and Newcastle a penalty, which David Bowey converts. We’ll replay in the Toon in 10 days.

toon FA 5th round

It means we can stay for a while in the North East as we have to travel to Sunderland but once again we save our best for this game and end up 3-0 ahead by half time. They miss a pen but do eventually pull one back too little too late. Good.

mackems away s14

A thoroughly useful trip to up north is rubber stamped by a 1-0 win at St James’ to put us in the quarters where we’ll face Sheff Wed. Tacchinardi managed to get two yellow cards in the space of about 7 minutes after coming on.

nufc away replay

We end this North East-a-thon with the home league game against the same opponents, it ends a draw. I’m fine with that.

nufc home S14

Hopefully it sets us up nicely for the Nantes double header, though it looks like we’ve finally met our match in this competition as they steam into a 2 goal lead. Solskjaer briefly threatens to make it interesting but Karoglan scores again and we’ll have a mountain to climb in two weeks.

nantes home L1

The FA Cup quarter final is next and it’s a hard-fought draw. I fear that is our chance gone.

sheff wed home S14

The lesser spotted Kevin Gallen is the hero against Ason Villa, climbing off the bench to salvage a point after a 3 minute double-salvo threatens to hand us a rare defeat.

villa home S14

Walsall get the treatment. 3-0 up inside 32 minutes I can withdraw some of the key men ahead of the showdown in France.

walsall away S14

I tell the lads that it’s all down to this. Lose this and you’ll have to pay for your next holiday, do you really want that? The motivational speech works a treat and we end up winning 3-0. Nantes even have a late goal ruled out to save us all extra time before Taccy gets his now customary cards.

nantes away L2

Arsenal in the semis. A few of the lads are upset as I promised them another holiday and London apparently doesn’t count. Ungrateful.

CWC SF

Deadline day is here and despite nobody wanting to sign my players, I can’t resist adding yet another non-EU veteran to the ranks. Welcome Claudio Reyna.

Reyna signs

Oh look we drew 0-0 with Sheff Wed again.

sheff wed home S14 league

A quick check of the schedule and..ffs. Thanks, the FA. I’m pretty sure even our current FA would do more to help us than this.

stupid fixtures

So the old lads have to be rotated and funnily enough we can’t handle one of the country’s best teams. Our grip on the FA Cup has finally been loosened.

sheff wed replay

The next night the lads host Arsenal and unfortunately slip to a late defeat. That’s going to hurt but we’ll have the second leg to redeem ourselves.

arsenal home CWC

A knackered squads loses to Leeds.

Leeds away S14

An angry squad thrashes current champions Middlesbrough. They’re even below us.

boro home S14

Man City top the table and yet…

city away S14

We’re in fine form going into that second leg and there’s a definite twinge in the under-carriage when Zola gives us the lead on the night. We need another and that doesn’t change when Jimmy Rice (a great name) equalises. Zola gets a second yellow, idiot, and Helmer picks us off on the break. No Cup glory for us this year.

arsenal away CWC

Obviously we beat them in the league. Fernando Couto is 41.

arsenal home S14

Well look at us in 7th. If we can sneak into the top 6 we could play in the UEFA Cup. I’d like that and I mention to the lads there are more free holidays on offer.

4 games to go S14

Already relegated Leicester are not a problem.

leicester away S14

Soon to be relegated-if-they-don’t-sort-themselves-out Wolves are also edged past.

wolves home S14

6th! With a game in hand. Win that and with our goal difference, we can keep our passports in an accessible but safe place.

2 games to go S14

Blackburn are also already relegated and it’s not hard to see why.

blackburn away S14

We’ll go to Anfield on the final day. They need a point for the league, we need a point for the UEFA Cup. Guess what?

1 game to go S14

We got it!

liverpool away S14

They got it. What a time to be alive!

final PL table S14

Solskjaer did most of the heavy lifting, hurrah for him.

goals scored S14

Oh no, not Danny Coyne.

Coyne off

The awards show a few surprising things. Firstly, Brian Flynn is Arsenal manager. He just retained the Cup Winners Cup. Steve McManaman is player-manager at Everton. Lastly, 38 year old Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has won the golden boot.

awards S14

Lopez retires, sick of my J-Lo gags. I tried to offer him a bumper new contract but he said his love doesn’t cost a thing. thing. thing. I’m not sure why he repeated the last word but anyway, he’s retired.

lopez retires

I actually forgot Flo was on the books. Goodbye.

flo retires

Moises too, thanks for making up the numbers for 5 a side.

Moises retires

Overmars calls it a day. He was good for a bit.

overmars retires

Jens has been a loyal servant having joined for the first Premier League campaign. He leaves with my best wishes.

svensson retires

Do we need that many new seats? We could end up back in the lower leagues at any point, I can’t really overstate how much of a bloody miracle the last few years have been.

more seats

But I believe in miracles, to paraphrase Hot Chocolate. We’ll be going on another European cruise next season, this time to wherever the UEFA Cup takes us. To put things in perspective, Barcelona just failed to get promoted from the Segunda. See you next week for season 15, I’ve got recruiting to do.

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