Off Kilter – Season 11 Euro Special: The Long Good-Bye | @PeterJonesPhoto

For so long now Peter’s words of wisdom have lit up our Thursday morning. Today though marks the end of an era – the last update from this save, as Peter takes Scotland to Euro 2008. Enjoy!

The chairman sat rigid, stone faced and solemn as he read and reread my resignation letter. He carefully read each word as if there was something invisible between the printed ink that he wasn’t seeing. Slowly raising his head and gently placing the letter on the desk infront of him, he nodded graciously as if he could add no more words to the cold air around us.

I turned and walked across the floor and out, closing the door gently behind. I listened to my steps echoing down the marble corridor. After a while, the echoes got faint, then silent. I kept walking anyway. For what? Did I want to stop suddenly and turn and go back and for him to talk me out of the way I felt? Well, I didn’t. That was the last I saw of him. I never saw any of them again – except for the final scores. No way has yet been invented to say good-bye to them.

Elaine and the kids were back home in the summer sunshine which always cut an icy blade through the living room windows even during those long dog days. Defending the European Championship we won in 2004 would be my last act.

The Chairman wasted no time in appointing the man we defeated in the Champions League Semi-Final last season.

And he didn’t waste long in breaking the spell…

Andy tries thrusting his rusted blade though my belly but the usual lads rush to my defence.

Nicely done.

I was clearly not paying attention as I missed the last match. Suffice to say we won. Just a few pointless friendlies to fill the year out.

It’s at this time I should break the bad news that Martin O’Neill is struggling down in 8th place, playing a woeful 4-4-2 and not exploiting the talent at his disposal. We score 4 here but it’s a painful watch,

The draw is a distraction, but form is tumbling…

An ok result but the lethargy around the boys out there was troubling.

And here’s the reason. Just the 34 goals scored?? Just the one man used to do that. And look at the gap Rangers won by. It’s no wonder this has affected the national side.

Just look at that! “The law that I have preached and the discipline that I have established will be your master after my disappearance.” Never has such unwise spoke. Thanks, Suttapitaka.

The Belgium we recognise in 2021 is an alien world away from the Collyer brothers programming fingertips. Martin has lost two thirds of his value and has only score 8 goals all season. Dair isn’t getting along any better.

Spain are our hosts and that was AWFUL.

A much easier match and thankfully the front duo roll back the years.

The groups whipping boys enable us reminisce of a time when we were all happy and untainted by the futility of it all.

We’ve managed to rescue ourselves from humiliation. France next.

I’m fuming so much I can’t bring to mind any “The Wire” gags. Close to the final whistle, David, in-between the French sticks, palms an easy shot into the back of his own net. We cling on (denied, Mr Worf) and it’s a tense penalty shootout…which France immediately bottle and we fluke our way to the semis. Thanks, Tim. Can we exact our revenge over Italy?

Thankfully this time, we keep 11 men on the park and its our judgement that sends us to a penalty shootout for the 2nd game in a row…which we win again! Thanks, Tim. (You’ve done that one already. Ed.)

How the bloody hell did we manage that? With just the 1st kick of the game, Martin rolls back the years and I shut up shop the final 89 minutes.

And that is that.

THE LONG GOOD-BYE

It’s been a long 10 years at the helm as indicated by our league progress. We flew through the bottom three leagues but stumbled once we reached the top. As evidenced in the last 23 years since the games release, the Scottish League has descended into a two-horse race that barely registers outside the confines of the Sportscene studio. It took 4 years to finally break that duopoly and when we did, we tried our best to throw it away.

Peter Dwyer was our hero in the first two seasons until Alex Martin took over that crown before finally succeeding to Martin Dair.

Anyone remember Greig? He usually played the right matches but not necessarily in the right order.

One man who stuck with us through think and this was this man. Originally playing in the back two or three but eventually making the midfield forward role his own with the ability of his forehead.

Not a bad signing in season 2. He had to overcome two major injuries but his presence was a necessity whenever available.

Another virtual ever presence since his arrival was our left wing man. Signed on a free so I’m not sure whose regen he is.

Applying the modern day use of the loan system, his brief spell at Arbroath proved his metal.

A man we saw coming of age was young Jamie. Starting on the right then moving to the advance midfield role…

…and you can tell which season that move occurred. Clearly another regen that needed to mature elsewhere.

Our second-best signing goes to Martin Dair. Catching my eye after promotion from the U21s during our Euro 2004 success, he was our biggest transfer fee.

All 27 international goals came under my watch. It was only the last season that he emerged from Alex Martins shadow to be crown top goalscorer.

And finally, the man, the myth, the legend himself. Amassing 38 international goals in 5 seasons. He finally cheered up by lifting the Champions League.

After a quick loan spell and a big-club release departure, we finally secured him in Season 5 and we never looked back. 174 goals in 5 seasons. 87 assists which meant he had a hand in 261 or our goals!

And he’s programmed in the game as a wee crankie at Partick Thistle. Go sign him. Clearly one of the games bipolar discrepancies. If you play the -1 potentials full time, then they will blossom into the wonderkid they’re expected to be. Same as an old Ajax save with Froylan Ledezma. Go signed them both now!

So, that’s all from me. Lets not forget where this all started.

Off Kilter – Episode 3. Go watch it now!

Raymond Chandler was wrong when he wrote “Redheads don’t jump. They hang on – and wither.” As for me, now I finally have time to do what I’ve always wanted, write the great Scottish novel. Mine is about a futuristic amusement park where dinosaurs are brought back to life through advanced cloning techniques. I call it “Billy and the Cloneasuaurus.”

Och aye for ever!

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