Oh what can it mean? That’s right, sorry Dave, this is a Sunderland save. As the records will show, Peter Reid had a largely fantastic season at Sunderland in 1997/98 ending the league’s top scorers with the season failing at the place dreams go to die, Wembley, in what is largely considered the most entertaining playoff final in history. It was the youngest back four in the club’s history that day, perhaps a reason for the failure.
Okay so I’m waffling. What is the challenge you ask? Play as Sunderland with one golden rule. Only allowed to sign players Sunderland signed from 1997 onwards. As far as potential signings go it ranges from Boudewijn Zenden of PSV to the lesser signed in cm9798, Mike Pollitt. A significant number of players are just not in the database. To get the best coverage we’ll load French and German leagues.
The shortlist is looking okay, and there are plenty others not making the 16-player shortlist. The chances of getting Helmer, one of the best rated players in the game, are laughable. As allegations go, his time at Sunderland was rumoured to be over due to laying the smack down on Bobby Saxton, it was never proved to be true (despite going round school for weeks), assaulting an old man would be one hell of a way to go.
From a formation perspective, we’ll go direct and hopefully the Quinn/Phillips play pays off in the CM9798 world. The minimum requirement here is to match reality and reach the playoff final.
Safe to say Gray will not be on penalty duties. We open the season away to QPR and it is brutal. I’m starting to see that perhaps Peter Reid was a miracle worker.
Colchester prove easy pickings in the League Cup, we stroll to a 6-3 aggregate victory with players rested in the 2nd leg. We’re set a challenging start, and it’s ‘maine-ly’ one-way traffic at Man City.
Maybe we will sign Jeff Whitely after all? Another day on the road, another promotion rival. Silenzi is golden. Tony Coton comes in and proves why his 1 for pace is keeping him out. That and his own goal costing us a point.
In reality, Sunderland lost 3 of their first 4 and 5 of their first 10 as they found their feet. After that, they only lost another 3 games all season. Here’s to hoping we follow the story.
Transfer Update: we sign Nick Colgan from Chelsea as neither Sorenson nor Zoetebier have loaded in the database. Saha rejects our loan advances, and Zenden rejects our advances. Byfield is available but we’ll pass for now.
Following a win against Sheffield Utd we take Port Vale apart on the road. Almost the opposite of the real-life score line early in the season. Quinn is carrying us on his lanky frame with Division One ‘keepers finding his 12 for finishing unbearable, must be those disco moves. The mood continues against Wolves.
We are climbing.
It’s harrowing for Norwich at Carrow Road as we put on a show. Smell my cheese you Partridge w******.
Phillips finally breaks his duck against Birmingham in a 1-0 win. We make our first major signing. Replacement for Phillips who in CM9798 world…is crap!
However, there is something very Sunderland about his debut, carried off on a stretcher after 1 minute and he’ll be out for three months with damaged knee ligaments. C. £5m well spent…Mullin who replaced the injured Williams will also be out for a few weeks. In the words of Ian Brodie…marvellous.
We secure a comfortable away victory in the League Cup derby with Hartlepool, Jeff will be apoplectic. That should see us match real life events in reaching the 3rd round.
We close this update out with a Wear-Tees derby under the non-polluted air of Wearmouth. And what a derby it is:
4 golden first half minutes take us from losing to pulling level as Lionel Perez pulls his usual stunt of trying to save all the shots with his feet rather than his hands. Disco wraps up the points and his hattrick as ‘boro see red and go down to 10 men. It’s been a rapid recovery from relegation spots to 2nd, and we haven’t lost 5 games so we’re on course for an improvement. Bob and the board will be happy.
It’s all to play for, thankfully Charlton are nowhere near the playoff spots and I can rest easy for now. Phillips has been terrible, although he was an under the radar signing for Peter Reid, but Bridges, Dichio and Quinn have been phenomenal as we’ve rotated between 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 3-3-1-1-2 as injuries and internationals have dictated. And that marras, is all we’ve got time for today, see you again next week!
You can follow Andrew on twitter: @KingOfTheRooks