The Retirement Academy – Part 22: Welcome Back

Well good day to you all! Welcome back to the Retirement Academy. I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, I’m back with a refreshed mind but unfortunately still this same set of idiots. Cup winning idiots, might I remind you, but idiots nevertheless. The aim of tracking Ajax down continues right now. Here’s the squad:

We only have one squad space to fill and I’ve opted for this Fernando Hierro regen. He can do two jobs for one pay cheque, so that’s appealing.

Oooh a bid! Melga is one of the originals so I am sad to see him go. Rules are rules though.

With a space to be filled I’ve opted for this chap, who looks like he could be useful.

Three of the young fringe players are loaned out to get game time. Robinson is perhaps a little unlucky but he needs to be playing. Koldo Arce is probably on the verge of leaving and Koen we have high hopes for in the future.

Whilst I was just an administrator in chief for the CM Cup, I am at least intrigued by this formation. It was so dominant. Could I make use of that?

Will it work with 5 old lads? I suspect not. But seeing as we’re in the Pints Cup, it’s a time for experimenting.

The early signs are positive to say the least. Five different scorers including three of the old lads.

The cold weather hurts Michael Laudrup’s hip.

The Dutch Charity Shield is our first look at Ajax and they’ve added Viveros to the ranks just to mess with me further. They win 5-1, the gap has never been wider. The Micker does score though, which is amusing.

Back to Pints and despite conceding to Kaak old Henky and Bjarne Gumble mean we score a decent away win.

DWV are the only non-league side we face and they are dismissed 4-1. Three from three.

Eurgh that won’t be easy.

Twente are probably the strongest opposition in the group and it’s a fairly dull affair that is heading for a 0-0 until Theo Pounder rushes through one on one and wins the game.

Another five star performance secures our place in the knockouts. It brings a variety of goalscorer if nothing else.

We finish in style. 7 of the best. Is that a saying? Even with a rotated squad, we have a prosperous day.

It’s not very often we finish with 100%. A pleasing start to our title defence.

Oh. We might not be retaining the Pints Cup.

A bad defeat at NAC starts the season. It’s the second big test of the formation but it’s not a good sign.

At home to Red Star is another chance to see what it can do…oh we’ve lost 1-0. Maybe it’s not for us.

Back to this from last season then until something else comes along.

YAY! Utrecht are battered and happy days are here again.

Then we lose at MVV. The Micker enjoys it but nobody else does.

Koldo Arce is off, as predicted. Toodles.

We concede to Sparta but at least the scorers are simply names my toddler can say. Good grief.

We do at least turn around the Red Star defeat. We turn up the heat to Micker Degryse and we pull of a surprising win. That’s a relief.

It’s enough to earn me manager of the month. Which is laughable really.

Aarau you say. That sounds winnable.

Heerenveen away sees Gazza junior depart after just two minutes. We go on to lose 1-0. It’s a struggle.

Even at this early stage, things aren’t great. We’re 17th and I’m not sure whether I’m tinkering too much or whether I need to just leave it the same.

The International break gives me a little bit of time to think about it. 4-2-3-1? I’m not sure we have the players for it, considering I don’t have a right back. Maybe adapt the current formation with a third centre half and only two DMs? Michael Laudrup is back so that should help.

I’ve settled on this for the visit of Heracles. I’ll amend the set piece taker!

It’s not pretty but it’s effective. Pounder arrives from the bench to win the game. It’s not the future but it’ll do.

More of the same away to Veendam and surprisingly, we grind out a 1-0 win. We never do that away from home. Bjarne Gumble with the goal.

Things look a little healthier as we’re up to 13th. There are 27 league games to go, so not really the time to panic.

I think that’ll do for this week. It’s good to be back…yet also a horrible reminder that this challenge has a long way to go. See you again soon.

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