The Retirement Academy – Part 16: Not enough pints

Welcome back! Season 6 is upon us here in Holland. The Retirement Academy managed to finish 6th, a sizeable improvement on previous seasons but narrowly short of European football. I think. I might be surprised but Holland isn’t as forthcoming with European places as other nations – especially when Heerenveen win the bloody Pints Cup.

My suspicions are such because we’re in the Pints Cup group stage. Never a good sign. It’s not the kindest draw either.

Still, onto business and firstly we better replenish the older generation. Henk Fraser is the first man through the door.

Ed De Goey arrives as the backup to Betterton.

Limbering up is Gazza junior. I don’t play a formation with central midfielders right now so he’ll be going out on loan.

Here’s Benito. I think this was Nadal. Miguel, not Rafa.

More elderly as Gary Mac rolls into town. Lovely Gary. Don’t tell Uri Geller.

Finally, we have Luc Nillis. Will he be any good at his age? Who knows. The bar is quite low.

I’ve got one squad space left which I’ll probably keep free for the time being.

I changed my mind. A young goalkeeper to help prepare for the inevitable loss of Betterton is probably just what we need.

Here’s the squad as we prepare for the first Pints Cup encounter

We get off to a pretty awful start in front of a large crowd. Pints bring all the boys to De Bungalow. Sadly we give them nothing to shout about.

The random league fixture that gets shoehorned in at this stage of the season is a very rare success story. Groningen are absolutely smashed by our front two who are starting to make a decent partnership.

Back to pints and being 2-0 down after 7 minutes is very bad. I feel like we’ve had a rough draw here.

Luckily we do face one jobber team and Sir Michael Quinn helps himself to 4. Pizzi’s regen also gets a hat trick. We’re back in the hunt.

We desperately need to get a result in Veendam and despite equalising twice, the second equaliser merely spurs our opponents on and we are on the brink of a group stage exit.

We do at least manage to beat Roda to keep us interested. The defence is struggling, to say the least.

Mick Quinn scoring after 6, 7 and 8 minutes is absolutely absurd. If you think he has 1 for pace, the logistics of Baronie kicking off twice and presenting him the ball within 60 seconds is an amusing image. 7-0 will have to do but we need Veendam to win away at Roda.

Roda win 1-0 and we’re out. No more pints.

I’m sure we’ll bounce back in the le…oh we’ve conceded four to 37 year old Marc Degryse. The irony. The concern.

Thankfully we have enough to see off Volendam. A clean sheet is very welcome.

Now then, this is a good result. Feyenoord are fading as a force and Luc Nillis’ recall to the left side is looking like a good move.

Typically he misses the next game through injury but Waddle steps in and scores twice in front of exactly 11,000 people. This makes me happy.

Nillis returns from the bench to nab us a point away at surprise leaders Willem II. It’s a welcome point in the circumstances.

We’ve got momentum as we head to Fortuna and go 1-0 up. Bancu equalises and we end up behind for a minute until Janssen equalises. The brilliantly named Doomernik scores from the kick off and we lose. This team, ffs.

If we’d won that, we’d be top. But we didn’t so we’re 4th. There’s a bit of a logjam at the top and the fight for European football is looking like another struggle. Obviously the cup isn’t a route to that anymore.

The inconsistency of this team is maddening. Going out in the group stage of the Pints Cup is a rarity but I maintain we had a bogus draw considering the amount of seemingly blind teams who are available to play. Join me next week to see how this plays out, it’ll make or beak our season.

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