The Unexpected Champions – Part 7 | @Verbist_Philip

Hallo allemaal!

I hope you all enjoyed the finale of Nick’s CLM9798 blog yesterday. What a suspense, what a finish! I am the lucky one that came out on top.

I will do my best to keep you entertained and get your weekend started in a good way. Last week we finished Season 2 with Lierse. It was a less dominant season, but nonetheless we took our 2nd title in a row.

And what’s most important, we made the squad again a bit stronger to face competition in the Champions League. Of course I was silly enough to fall again for the “we need a bigger stadium” board. A familiar view, isn’t it?

The first player I look for is the best regen of them all: the younger version of Arnor Gudjohnsen. His old man is still around, so we’ll have to wait at least another year.

We need to generate a bit of cash and Huistra is the first one to go. I’d keep him if money wasn’t an issue, but on the other hand there are plenty of other options.

Everybody loves Raimond, especially in Antwerp. So he makes me believe. We don’t want to hurt his feelings and we allow him the transfer. I prefer the 325K!

That does leave us with just 1 keeper and we need to look for a replacement. Despite the extra cash, we need to stay on the free transfer market. One of my youth idols is still around! I am not planning on starting him, but he should be a more than fine back-up.

At the start of the season, I am happily surprised about the ticket sales. Perhaps the board was right in increasing the number of seats? Nah, I am still too pissed off to admit that, but I will enjoy hunting for quality bargains!

A young Welshman is the first one to join the team. 5K for one of the best regens the game has to offer (Mark Hughes in case you were wondering), that is an absolute no-brainer. He won’t start at first, but I will give him opportunities throughout the season.

The next one to come in is a 31-year old Italian going by the name of Pino Sala. Pino who? Pino Sala. Why on earth are you attracting an unknown ageing Italian player for? Have a closer look though. You know who he is? That’s the regen of Alessandro Del Piero ladies and gentleman. Passing out on him would be foolish, despite of his age.

We could use a bit more depth of the DC position. Welcome to the regen of Michel Boerebach. Not the most well-known Dutch player in the game, but useful from the bench.

We need some depth on the DMC position as well, especially with the ageing Garde and Bijl in the squad. Not big on cash we are forced to search for potentially good regens. We end up with the regen of Austrian Peter Stoger. We’ll see how he performs when we need him.

In the beginning of the update I spoke about getting ready for the Champions League. In our case, that means getting into it first. We draw Ararat, that should be doable!

Time to get the season started. That’s how we will start the season. A new season, a new attacking combo: Mpenza & Sala (Del Piero).

I love playing the Super Cup. I know you play for a trophy, but all-in-all it is a perfect warming-up for the season to come. And when you win it, it’s even nicer.

Before we start the regular season, we travel to Armenia. When you look at the below stats and I tell you our goalkeeper De Coninck (Bodart) won the MoM award, you have an idea how well we played. We’ll have to do a lot better in the return game!

We open the regular season at Standard. The winners here are the spectators after an entertaining 3-3 draw.

Our first home game = our first loss this season. That’s an equation I don’t like that all. We get booed by our fans after a woeful performance. I’d do the same after just one shot between the posts.

Against Antwerp we’re not great, but we manage to get the win after nearly ruining a 0-3 lead. How did we get to such a lead in the first place? We’ll have to step up our game, we won’t always be that lucky.

We play well against Ararat (should we expect anything different?), but we need to wait until the 50th minute before Sala (Del Piero) opens the score. It’s a relief for the lads and we add 2 more: 3-0 and we advance again to the CL Group Stage.

Another outgoing transfer: Laurent moves back to his home country.

If we don’t manage to step up our game, this CL Group Stage is going to be a lot of fun.

After a big win against Westerlo I believe our form is growing. But is last placed Westerlo a representative opponent?

We’re almost at the September international break. We have quite a bit of internationals, but I didn’t expect Leekens would select 5 of our players for the Belgium squad. Is he smarter compared to the Beveren blog?

Kortrijk is a more difficult opponent, so yes our form is increasing.

Our minus man Neca earns his first cap. He is our most expensive player in the squad and I wonder how long it’ll take before he demands a transfer.

Did I use the word “smart” in the same sentence with Leekens? What was I thinking? Starting De Coninck (Bodart) for the first time is a good move, but making him immediately captain is perhaps a bit too early. The score? A 0-0 draw.

Sala (Del Piero) gets better week after week and the partnership with Mpenza is improving. Keep going lads!

We open the CL Group Stage at Ajax. It takes them just 3 minutes to open the score, but we survive the first half rather easily. In the second half hell breaks loose and they score 4 times in not even 15 minutes. We’re so lucky they step on the break after that and somehow we manage to score twice.

That was a big loss and Club Brugge pushes us deeper down. They’re having their best season so far and are leading the league. Ouch!

But that does that mean we’re a bad team? No. Aalst is still counting stars after a 3-0 beating.

Back to the Champions League. With opponents like Ajax and Barcelona, I consider the home game against Rangers the “easiest” one of the group. But can you even say that when they start Gazza, Brian Laudrup and Hendry, just to name a few? I gladly take a point!

Where would we be without Lokonda? He gives us an early 0-2 lead against Lokeren and we easily hold on to the win and the 3 points.

Germinal comes to town and they’re leading 0-1 at the half. We put the engine on in the 2nd half and it’s a rather easy win in the end.

Our last one for today is the CL Group match against Barcelona. The ’92 squad? Thank God no or Stoichkov and Salinas would have kicked our ass. The lads are relieved and they feel magic is in the air. It’s an even match, but in the second half we put the pressure on. With a powerful header Neca gives us what we deserve: 3 points, 750K and a spectacular win! The board is happy as well with a record attendance of nearly 25,000 people. Note to self: spend all the money before the end of the season.

That’s it for today. Let’s have a look at the standings before we close. Club Brugge lost twice in a row and we are now leading the league! With the Top Three close by, I am guessing it’s going to be an exciting season.

For now enjoy the weekend lads! Tot dan!

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