The Retirement Academy – Part 5: The Tinkerman

Hello! Welcome back to Holland, where the young-old combinations are doing very averagely in the Eredivisie. It’s our first season at this level, so let’s just stay up and see how we go. Those young lads have got to improve eventually.

Andy Bellamy might help. I don’t know who he is but our European scout highly recommends him. Andrew Duncan is attracting some interest so at least we’ll have some cover.

A home game with Utrecht doesn’t feel like a game we should lose but we do. Their goalkeeper Harold Wapenaar has a funny name which provides the slightest of relief.

Big fan of visiting the FUJIfilm Stadion. Not too many sponsored stadiums around in these days. Sadly, it’s not a photogenic day for us and we get smashed to bits.

Gronigen at home. Arjen Robben isn’t there yet and this is a real opportunity to end this poor run. We’re behind to their only 2 shots on target but a stirring comeback makes it 2-2 and everything is looking up. Then we mess up a backpass in injury time and it’s another defeat.

We’re conceding a lot. David Bellamy or whatever he’s called hasn’t helped. Blagrove is given another go between the sticks but it turns out he is hopeless.

Maybe it’s time for the MW again? The Micker has strained his neck (don’t ask) so we’ll just give it a go.

Give me strength. Or a mullet. Waddler’s last minute equaliser relieves some of the pressure.

We stick with it at home to RKC. They’re one of the few sides worse than us and we manage to win and win well. Good.

The pints trophy has given us a tough draw away to AZ. They’re second and making a much better go of top level football than we are. We do a decent job for 70 minutes but once the doors are broken door we have no response.

The tough games just keep coming. De Kuip has seen some things, including voluntarily signing David Connolly

Why can’t more of you be like the Micker? His moustache, glistening in the winter Dutch sunshine, twitches at both ends as he stands gleefully with the bottle of champagne awarded to him for a sterling afternoon’s work. A hat-trick during the day, 15 pints tonight. Then the champagne.

I’ve just noticed it’s December which means I’m due a month off soon. I live for those days, 30 days away from this set of ill disciplined idiots. Meanwhile, our trip to Vitesse Arnhem looks set to end in disaster until the evergreen Chris Waddle equalises in injury time.

Just 4 days later and we’re off to wherever Willem II is. It’s our worst performance possibly ever. My word this was awful. We are lucky to get 0.

Last game before a month off is PSV. That could be easier. We hold our own for an hour but it soon goes awry and we lose. Again. We have a lot of sorting out to do.

We have a month to make this right. We might need longer. Instead I release some players who are running out of contract and recruit.

I just hope some are good. This is tricky, the go to formation was struggling and the understudy started well but went downhill quickly. In the words of Embrace, come back to what you know.

Some thought process here then. Bakero and Paraguayan hero are banned but anyway. Crossley has 20 for heading which makes him incredible in this formation – nobody really knows why. I used to play this as my safe formation before I was introduced to the world of direct tactics. Anyway, Betterton plays incredible, gets man of the match and Crossley heads in from a corner.

We weren’t great and they’re bottom of the league but we really needed those points.

One final game then and it’s at home to Herenveen. Melgarejo is back and scores a quickfire equaliser after Crossley heads against the bar.

Well that was traumatic. We have 13 games next Sunday to save our skin. Of course 16th and 17th ends up in that dreadful two groups of hell playoff and nobody wants that again.

This is getting really interesting. The young players are hopefully developing but we’re absolutely terrible in the meantime. It’s a waiting game and we’re a million miles away from getting where we need to be, but that’s good. I’ve got nowhere to be. See you next week!

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