The Unexpected Champions – Part 4 | @Verbist_Philip

Hallo allemaal!

Happy Saturday! Now that the children are back at school, I thought I would have a little bit more time. That illusion lasted just 2 days… Anyways let’s kick off Season 2 with our unexpected 96-97 champions Lierse!

Last week we realised our short-term goal and retained the title. Now it’s time to start working on our long-term goal and that’s winning the Champions League by the end of Season 5. The lads are a good team in the Belgian league, but we are still a lightweight against the big teams.

We have to strengthen the squad, but the board made it very difficult for us by taking all our cash away at the end of last season. The venom of a great season was in the tail!

I am thinking Season 2 and 3 will be transitional seasons, trying to get a squad together that can compete for glory as of Season 4. For now however we are confined to the free transfer market, and I don’t like too much what I am seeing. There is however one lad who I hope will add value. Don’t drink too many vodkas though Andrei!

Is there room to get regens in? I believe so, there is some time to mature the great ones. I loaded the French and the German league for a reason. In my Beveren save we got the Preud’homme regen and he did a great job. I could pick him up again now, but how boring would that be? Instead we are going for Standard icon Gilbert Bodart.

Damn. I am afraid he will drink some vodkas to get over his injury. Stay away from the cheap ones, they only give you a headache!

We need cash so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a good opponent in the last Champions League qualifier. Hmm, Croatia Zagreb should not be underestimated, but it’s a much better draw compared to last year when we faced Parma.

We open the season in the Super Cup against Anderlecht. That’s how we start the season.

It’s clear Anderlecht still has some work to do. We on the other hand seem ready for the new season!

That’s our second piece of silverware we are adding to our collection. The board, well, they are not delighted. They are not even very happy. They are just pleased. Should I expect any different from a board that spends 1.8M on 5,000 extra seats?

The lads play a fantastic match in the first leg of the CL Qualifier. We can almost smell the 1 million £ entry money!

We start the regular season at home against Sint-Truiden. With a 100% conversion rate, let’s be happy they only had one shot between the posts.

Speaking of a 100% conversion rate, it shouldn’t always be the opponent who does that, right?

Genk proves to be a difficult opponent. But after a red card and a converted penalty, it’s game over for them.

The 1 million £ game! Everybody loves Raimond, except in Croatia. Who cares, he takes his first MoM award and we advance to the CL Group Stage!

We better start polishing up on our Italian: è un sorteggio difficile. Zurich should be a feasible opponent though.

The Belgian Cup draw compensates a bit. Grazie!

What a difference a season can make. Pedersen is a ghost compared to what he did last season. He misses a penalty in the first half, but luckily makes up for his mistake and leads the way in our win over Charleroi.

We’re already at the end of August and our financial situation looks decent again. Let’s wait a bit though before we spend any money and look for bargains around the winter break.

At Waregem we lose our perfect record. But 13/15 is a great start nonetheless!

With the suspension of Ivanov, we will find out what our new DC Jurgen Dirkx is like. In the meantime our new Russian Kanchelskis is fit again and I am curious to see how he will perform. Two new faces in our starting XI, apparently that was a bit too much to ask. Actually they didn’t play bad, I am blaming Raimond. Everybody loves Raimond, except for me at the moment! Perhaps we should start the Bodart regen sooner than I imagined?

Starting a regen goalie at Stadio Delle Alpi would be foolish. Raimond keeps his place between the posts and I am sticking to my regular XI, but to no avail. On the positive side, we did score twice against Angelo Peruzzi!

Perhaps this is a stupid thing to do, but I have had enough of Raimond. Enter Eddy De Coninck, regen of Gilbert Bodart. Also our Russian friend Kanchelskis gets another chance. They play well, but can’t prevent we lose again.

I usually don’t change after a bad result and I keep confidence in the same XI. Unfortunately luck is not on our side and we suffer another defeat.

That’s 0/9 in the league. Morale is sinking and that’s everything but perfect when AC Milan comes to visit. Of all people it is Kluivert that puts them ahead, and we simply do not have the team yet to overcome an early deficit against a team like that.

In total that’s now 5 losses in a row. In the league we have dropped from 1st to 9th place. Next up is Westerlo and I decide to give it one final try. It’s everything but an easy game, but in the final 10 minutes of the game our striker combo De Gier/Pedersen secures the win.

Our last one for today is against Standard. Pedersen gives us a dream start and doubles the score just before the half. Despite the pressure in the second half, we manage to hold on to the lead and get a big win against Standard!

Let’s have a look at standings after 10 matches. We’re just 3 points behind league leaders Antwerp, so despite our dip there’s nothing to worry about yet.

That’s it for now! Has Raimond lost his place for good? Will we get a win in our CL Group?

Stay tuned and for now enjoy the weekend!

Tot dan!

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