The Retirement Academy – Part 4: Top Flight

Greetings and welcome back to the Retirement Academy. Last week we came to the end of season 1 but after going through a ludicrous playoff system, we weren’t announced as promoted. July 15th came, we pressed continue and the good news came! So that cliffhanger didn’t last long.

You’ll have noticed last week I got the pacing of the blog all wrong. That’s hungover to this week where we’ll see the awards now and just wonder how lethal Mario Jardel is at Ajax. I guess we’ll find out for ourselves soon enough, although apparently not as lethal as Huub Loeften. Those delicious Pints Cup goals no doubt helping his cause.

The Amstel Cup always makes me thirsty for pints. We’ll have another 6 pints, er I mean games, though I swear we played two of them last year. Whatever, I can’t wait.

The squad is pretty full, despite Twiss leaving and Glenn Cockerill being released. We already recruited Nigel Worthington and Jose Bakero

The restrictions from Ike mean we can only sign free transfers under the age of 21. This man looks useful.

I think I’ll leave my last spot free. A centre back is high on my priority list and after a few weeks of searching I settle on Juan Villena.

We start the pints cup against OSV, a non-league side and we have a clean bill of health. Andrew Duncan is banned though and selecting 5 & 5 is actually quite tricky. It’s a debut for Clemente and Bakero.

OSV are not very good. Chris Waddle, bizarrely, is having a late bloom.

Ah yes the stupid schedule means we play our first league game today. It’s unfair playing against a team you always start two goals behind against but we have the Micker. He’s up and running in the top tier of Dutch football as is Clemente. Waddle is only out for a week. Yes, their top goalscorer got sent off after just 8 minutes.

Anyway, back to the pints. Second division Helmond put up a decent fight.

Clemente is too good for the team of the future. We must have played them last season as I made that joke before.

We’re onto the return matches already. Clemente helps himself to two more but also gets a red card.

A win away at Helmond secures our top spot in this darn group.

The Micker sees off HSC, Duncan’s red card is a needless blot on our otherwise excellent copybook. He’s been attracting interest from West Ham so hopefully this puts them off.

Our second league game takes us to PSV. What’s Dutch for baptism of fire?

After being 3-0 down on 34 minutes, to win the second half is a small amount of comfort.

We should be at Volendam, but we don’t. I’m not sure what I expect us to achieve this season. Survival? That’ll do.

Off we go to Heerenveen, the home of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and they have far too much for us. Spork scores and gets sent off – all I can think of is Samuel L Jackson saying “Sporks?!” in Snakes on a Plane. That was a terrible film.

It did have Kenan from Kenan and Kel I suppose and he’s done well for himself. We host Ajax for the first time and if we hope to rival them one day, we’ll have to improve dramatically

Yes, that is Bryan Roy. We can’t find a way past Brian “the Beast” Jensen on our trip to AZ Alkmaar and the struggle is real. I did hope that The Beast from the Chase was named after Brian Jensen but it turns out his last name is Labbett or “La Bete” which is French for the beast. That is a tangent.

Neville Southall is off to manage Sheff Utd.

A home game with Sparta feels like it should be winnable, but we’re 1-0 down after 6 minutes. It’s an absolute wreck of a game. The Micker has other ideas. After Betterton saves a penalty at 1-2, the Micker takes over with an incredible 7 minute triple salvo. He stands bare chested in the centre circle screaming THIS IS SPARTA. It’s not, Micky. We’re at home. But I appreciate where you’re coming from.

We finished today’s festivities away at Twente. They have a very young Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. I didn’t know that.

I’m starting to worry the Micker has actually taken NZT from the film Limitless. He opens the scoring in the opening minute but it is cancelled out. Clemente looks to have won it but…sigh.

We’re having a tough time but I didn’t expect much else. I haven’t dropped anchor and got to the three centre backs yet which I had to do with both the Academy and the Retirement Home in their darkest hours. We sit 11th, which sounds ok but when you think 16th and 17th are involved in the relegation playoffs it’s not comfortable.

The Micker has 13 in 12. Sure, cup games against poor opposition helps but he’s still got it. He’s still my hero. See you next week for more of the unknown.

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