CM9798 Retirement Home – Part 49: Hold your breath and count to 10

Well good day to you! It may be winter outside but in my heart it’s spring. Technically it’s not yet winter, makes you think doesn’t it? Anyway, it is definitely the winter of these players’ career but nothing can take away the fact they are Premier League champions. Their title defence is about to come to an end but we won’t cry because it’s over. We’ll definitely smile because it happened. We’re also still in the Champions League of course, so let’s hope we aren’t sucked into a relegation battle.

Another defender to add to the ranks, as Michael Walsh (no idea) has been sacked by Norwich. He’s dreadful but…you know the catchphrase by now.

We’re well placed to win at Villa after Heidy Junior gives us the lead. However, the struggling airline puts through his own net and we’ll settle for a point. The news on Zola is not good…

That suspension is irrelevant, at least. Ten months for our best player, ouch.

I move quickly to add to our creative options by bringing in Freddy Dos Santos, who is the opposite of injury prone. Healthy?

Patrik Berger is back for an unprecedented third stint. Options are everything to me.

Keith B-Real gets a minor injury and misses a home game with Leeds. Richard Wright is a waste of skin, conceding twice in the opening three minutes. Ronaldo desperately tries to save us some face but it’s a task beyond even R9 and we lose 5-3.

Even with Keith back for the trip to Huddersfield, we’re tanked. George Ndah loves playing against us.

Another defeat, this time to high flying Sunderland. Was Zola holding this team together?

Well if he was, nobody told Wolves. Veron is banned but his countryman Almeyda steps up with a double. The rot is stopped.

Champions League! So many months since we came through one of the weakest groups ever seen, we host AaB in the quarters. It’s a two legged affair but the class of Ronaldo is the difference between the two sides as he bags a hat-trick. What a guy.

Then he misses a penalty at home to Sheff Wed. Football, eh?

An uninspiring defeat to Arsenal is not a surprise. It’s all eyes on Europe really.

That 3-0 lead is hanging by a thread after 22 minutes. The Danes have had their bacon. We manage to steady the ship and Veron gets the away goal that kills the tie. We’re in the semis!

Sparta Pragur would have been good. Juventus…less so.

Roger sticks it up Man City. We won’t go down, that’s for certain.

We’re scrapping hard in Turin. Gehrke breaks our resolve and just as I’m thinking 1-0 wouldn’t be the end of the world, their centre half slices an effort into his own net and one of our finest results is secured.

How do you follow that? Well, a 0-0 draw with relegation certainties Bradford, obviously.

Middlesbrough on Easter Monday sees us rotate the entire squad because it’s two days before Juve. We lose and I don’t care.

Juventus then and it is undeniable that Ronaldo is a big game player. This is the biggest game of our history so he nets a 53 minute hat-trick. Glaucio also scores and 4-0 is ridiculous. They don’t give up and get three back as our NZT wears off but we survive. We’re going to the final!

What is life? Ronaldo misses another penalty after John Virgo plays a trickshot in the box. Veron’s goal the difference as Derby lose.

Our win at Walsall sees both Brazilians on the scoresheet as we ease towards the finish line.

Ron’s got the bit between his teeth..hmmm there’s a thought. Anyway, he scores twice but so does Cox and we share the points with Leicester in our final home game of the season. The lap of honour at full time takes forever but the fans are basically saying their goodbyes to us. A feeling they might have to get used to.

Ronaldo! He can do it on a Wednesday night in Hull, what a hero.

We do lead at Anfield for three minutes before falling to a Dittmer hat-trick. Which is weird because he’s a defensive midfielder. It’s not important though, everyone is well rested and that’s the main thing.

We finish 14th. One of the worst champions of all time, but I don’t care.

Newcastle win the league, so it’s not all bad news.

So then, off we go to the San Paolo in Naples with a team of over 35s and the mighty Real Madrid. I’ll be honest, there was a time where I wondered if we’d ever even play Premier League football again. I remember those dark times in Division 1, desperately trying to find a solution to being bloody awful. Veron gives us the lead after 12 minutes. Unexpected but we’ll take it. We make it to half time but Real Madrid get a rocket from their manager and Pavarini equalises. That’s bad. From kick off, Gronkjaer is late into a tackle and the ref gives a red. That’s harsh. Probably. We defend like beavers and even when Djetou departs, we stay strong all the way through extra time. Penalties. Again.

We can’t score penalties in normal time but when it comes to shootouts, we’re like Goldberg. Moore saves three penalties and even though Veron misses, Heidy junior, Ronaldo and Roger all score and WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE.

Shock defeat?! It’s a miracle is what it is.

I love you, Keith Moore.

Just the 26 for Ronaldo. He carried us.

Keith B-Real is the PFA player of the year. Deservedly so.

The retirements…some more important than others.

Always the centre backs isn’t it? Thanks for the memories Aitor.

4th choice goalkeeper Rohmann is less of a miss.

Neset had some moments but very few.

Third choice Shay, thanks for coming.

I forgot you were here, Bengt.

Not Jordi! He was a useful addition who plays left wing back for most of the good times.

That’s it though. 49 episodes have brought us to this moment. The Retirement Home have gone all the way to the top. There have been ups and many, many downs, but we’ve done it. We had to adjust the rules part way through to get here but I regret nothing. Thanks for your support throughout all of this, it’s been the most popular series we’ve done by a long way. I’ll be back next week with episode 50 to round all of this off and reveal the new save for 2021.

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