The Retirement Academy – Part 24: Penalty Points

Good day! It’s time to wrap up another season of the Retirement Academy where our mix of young and old are up to 9th after a ropey start. We’re also still in the Cup Winners Cup but we’re not exactly serial winners, so I won’t be expecting European football from that route. Can we just string together a few results to disturb the top 5?

The early signs are of course, no. We never beat Roda and Castillo in particular needs to leave immediately. They have 10 men for 77 minutes but still have too much for us, despite the best efforts of Uncle Bulgaria and The Micker.

We couldn’t beat 4th so it’s perhaps no surprise we also can’t beat 3rd. The Micker tried.

Away at Heracles and three times we take the lead only to be pegged back. Diogo’s late header denies us a much needed win.

We fall behind after 2 minutes in our next game and I’m starting to wonder why I bother. Luckily the young lads rally around their decrepit manager and three goals in 8 minutes clears the clouds.

Oh good it’s Ajax. 4 injuries, 3 goals, 10 minutes of stoppage time (I’ve never seen the game get to 100 without it being extra time!) but ultimately no points.

Time for the Cup Winners Cup and Real Sociedad are all over us, which isn’t much fun. They take the lead but to be fair we hang in and Roger rabbit conjures up an equaliser. It’ll do.

The Micker scores but we draw with Willem II. Maybe it should be Willem 1-1.

We are usually decent against PSV but Gerald Sibon scores early on. Paulo Bento of all people equalises before Betterton palms away a penalty. Pounder puts us in front, Sibon breaks hearts with 3 minutes to go only for Chapuisat to pop up with the winner. YES!

We need a win or at least a high scoring draw (RIP the away goals rule) in Spain and Janssen gives us the lead. It’s backs to the wall but Hugo Leal breaks our hearts. Onopko takes it so badly he gets sent off. We do manage to get to penalties but Querella de ville and Chapuisat miss to get us off to a terrible start. Betterton denies Leal but Sammy Kuffour has the chance to knock us out. SAVED! Albesa scores and Villanueva…BALLOONS IT!

It’s Auxerre in the semis. What do we know about them?

Spoonz reunion! I miss him.

Due to a quirk in the fixture list our next game is actually Auxerre and five of my old lads are unavailable. For goodness sake.

It’s not going particularly well and we’re 2-0 down but Laudrup reduces the arrears and that away goal could be useful.

This is a decent result as well. AZ away is never easy but we go from 1-0 down to 2-1 up…but it finishes a draw. This Micker goal takes him to 24 and equals his seasons best for us.

We lose at home to Feyenoord. They’re going to win the league, incredibly.

Shocker, we’ve lost away to VItesse. When do we ever not?

The return fixture with Auxerre should define our season and it’s tense. It’s 0-0 for 80 minutes before Querella pops up with the winner and away goals, lovely away goals sees us advance.

Bit much? Wins a win.

Hilariously Cologne smashed Juventus in the first leg so we’ll face them in Austria.

Three league games to go. We’re absolutely awful against ADO but somehow we turn it around and Uncle Bulgaria gets the winner.

The Micker! He breaks his personal best with goal 25 away at Fortuna.

We warm up for the final with a thrashing. It’s rare we win heavily and I don’t think we’ve really scored 6 in a league game…possibly ever? We did injure three of their players, including Pothoven the keeper but only one of the goals comes against their striker who ends up in goal.

We finish 6th! I’m happy with that after out start. I don’t think it’ll be enough for a UEFA Cup place although Heerenveen are in the cup final so maybe.

We could of course make that all irrelevant by winning the Cup Winners Cup. We’ve done our usual and kicked the shit out of each other in training, so much so that captain Watt and vice captain Bellamy are both out. Chivers (Pallister) and Thorn (Adams) come in. Laudrup is also injured so we go with this side, lead by the Micker:

Here w are in Austria and IT’S A PENALTY! Hierro’s regen steps up – puts it wide. Cheers. Janssen scores to give us the lead and then we get a second penalty. A good manager would have changed the taker but I have unwavering faith in Hierro’s regen. He misses again. Possibly an error. We win 1-0, Larrazabal owes a debt of gratitude to Janssen and I assume that means we get to defend the trophy next season.

Lovely Micker. Please don’t retire.

As usual the defenders and keeper lead the way. Nobody really shines in this side.

It’s clear where our problem lies. The majority of our goals come from a 43 year old fat man.

Rombouts is hopefully the next one to come through but he’s done nothing out on loan.

We’ve had a smattering of manager of the month awards, presumably for our European exploits.

Awards time and I’m manager of the year. Splendid.

The retirements and Ed De Goey is no great loss. Great tache though.

Bango hardly played last season, so no surprise to see him turn it in.

Gullit ended up playing quite a lot towards the end but his regen is 100% one to get hold of.

Mark Bowen was a noble steed. His versatility was more than useful. Come again soon.

Was there demand for this many more seats?

That’s all for this episode. We’ve got a new season to prepare for and now people have retired there’s squad spaces to fill.

One last thing, I did joke that after I win the Dutch league (looking less likely by the week) I’d go to Spain to upset the Clasico teams. That may not be necessary

Big problems there.

See you next week for the new season!

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