AFC United – Part 22: And to cap it Hall | @Matt_C_Wills

Happy Monday! It may be a bank holiday but there’s no rest for Matt as he’s back with a new season of AFC United. As ever, recruitment is the first order of the day…

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to you – I’m currently writing this up on Friday as news filters through that CR7 is rejoining United – by the time you read this, it may all be wrapped up, but it’s a variation of a United were interested in right now.

We head into Season 8 (!) as Champs of Europe but Chumps domestically. I played a bit fast and loose with my own rules last time out and stuck Peter Schmeichel’s regen in goal and it salvaged our season. A few people have retired, so here’s what we have at our disposal

Plenty of familiar faces to provide competition for Peter Jnr. We’ll be looking for a step up from Phil Neville but otherwise it’s a fairly regular starting 11.

Dwight Yorke was one of last seasons retiree’s and saved me over £2m in aborted wages. His regen is a potentially cheaper, and younger, option.

Laurent Blanc tells a similar story. Not available to purchase but potentially a loan option? We’ll see.

Liverpool shade the traditional seasonal curtain raiser. Goalscorer Sanderman is Bergkamp in disguise, so no underestimating Liverpool this season. Last season’s Villa hero Rul, is benched in favour of Graham Kavanagh up front while Kluivert is overlooked for Gifton Noel-Williams….

Robbo pays the price for last seasons relegation with Forest.

They’ve been struggling for a while, so you shouldn’t be shocked Bryan…

It’s a close call in our own season opener away to Sunderland, who insist on playing Patrick Vieira upfront, and it almost works, but Brown and Nevland combine to chalk up 3pts at the first time of asking.

At home to Everton, it seems all too straightforward compared to last year.

Yep, spoke too soon. Watford were a thorn in our side last season and it seems nothing will be different this time around. Brown’s late strike is scant consolation. It could be Dyer Straits for us this season again.

Watford are now managed by our ex-Captain, the Guv’nor

It’s a fine recovery at home to Sheffield Wednesday though – no doubt missing the manager that scraped them to 17th in the table last season….

Imagine missing the first 10 minutes of this match….

As holders, the Champions League our only route back into Europe this season. We’ll be up against title winners Villa and second placed Everton. What are the chances of 3 English teams in the same group? Brugge may as well move here until Christmas.

We warm up for our first group game by thrashing one of our rivals. Brown and Nevland seem to have blown out last seasons cobwebs already. Villa will claim they won the second half…

Belt and braces away to Derby, no late slip ups like last year

Roy is off. We’re quite comfortable in the goalie department. He was great for us after the early season trials with Chris Turner and Ian Wilkinson didn’t work out, but he deserves to be playing more

Players go, life moves on the fixture calendar doesn’t relent

We seem to have the measure of Villa this season, but it’s closer than our league meeting. I’m giving Owen some game time in the cups as Brown and Nevland seem to be inspired by all the Cole and Yorke YouTube videos I’ve been showing them. (Was YouTube around in 2004?)

Bjorn’s old boys have made it to the Prem, but we show just a little bit too much for them

Huddersfiled on the other hand come and give us a schooling, orchestrated by an Ex-Newcastle alumni

Then Everton dent our cup retention ambitions with a late, late sucker punch. We didn’t like it up us!

Yorke Jnr finally arrives. He’ll be an option in the AMR position with Gillespie I hope.

We always seem to have great games against Leeds – and usually come out on top. Goddard-Crawley loves playing against us – I just love the double barreled surname.

I decide to go in for another regen to bolster our midfield options and this time it’s for David Platt’s clone – Tenuous to say the least, but it’s well within our self-inflicted rules.

Meanwhile, a momentous moment at AFC United towers as captain breaks the comparisons with Steve Bruce and gains a much deserved England Cap

Back on the domestic front and it’s Honours even against West Ham. Cooke following up his England plaudits with an early goal but we can’t find the killer touch.

We recover from the Everton hammer blow to sweep aside Brugge. Nevland back on pens for some reason. He managed to put the second one away when we were 4-1 up – maybe it’s a pressure thing?

That puts us top at the half way mark, so it’s all in our own hands. Brugge may well make a compliant to Uefa about the draw – good luck with that!

I said Liverpool would be a test, didn’t I?

League Cup action time and I get the chance to give a run out to some of the back up players. Barthez gets all fatherly with on loan Badiane, but Barrie Jean is not my son….

England International Danny Hall sets us on our way against Boro and Brown wraps it all up 4 minutes later. These are the types of league results I like!

Just time for one more European group game and we edge out Villa to solidify our posiiton in the group

Well, this is definitely a better start than last season, but we still have a 5 point gap to make up on Fergie and United. Their defence is ridiculous again

That’s me for another week – things look a bit brighter than last season and Brown is back scoring goals. I started this piece writing about Ronaldo’s imminent return to the real United and I’m finishing it off with Greenwood settling things against Wolves – it’s good to be a United fan at the moment – see you next week!

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