Basque Boys – Part 26: MOM’s the word

Hola! and welcome to Bilbao, home of the Guggenheim museum, and the Basque Boys, who can hopefully entertain you with some artistic football this week. How will we fair this week as we pass the halfway point of the league season and reach the nitty-gritty stages of the cups?…

First up, the Copa Del Rey quarter final second leg with Atletico Madrid. Rios’ absence leaves a gaping hole in front of our defence, which Atleti exploit twice. Thankfully Rui doesn’t Costa us a place in the semis and we score three ourselves to go through 4-3 on aggregate.

Deportivo and Real Madrid make it through, but Barca are knocked out by the donkeys, who we’ll face in the semis. I’ll take that!

Galdames is having a mare at Zaragoza and starting to piss me off, so he’s subbed. Arenaza gets us back in it, and then Karanka heads in from a late corner to complete the turnaround. Gal-damn it, that was close!

I make a few sales to try and appease the board.. Huegun becomes a donkey, joining two of his old stablemates, Garitano and Alkiza.

Palacios (Pizo Gomez’s regen) departs for Eibar, he’ll probably end up being world class.

I’m sad to see Loinaz go, as he was one of my first purchases, but he scored goals, so I’ll be after his regen…

Espanyol are as stubborn as ever, but a sole Laslandes strike is enough to earn a narrow win despite a few late scares…

Now for that European Super Cup final second leg against Man Utd. We’re 2-1 up, but are again without Karanka, De Pedro, Idiakez, Arenaza, and Guerrero, and our bench contains two keepers and three defenders.

The early signs aren’t good, and Histilloles is injured. But after a shuffle, things pick up, and all is forgiven with Galdames as he fires in a free kick. The second half is end-to-end, but we see it out to lift our first trophy of the season – Get in!

It may only be the European charity shield, but I’m counting it. It’s just a shame the “pleased” board, and record-low crowd aren’t as overjoyed as me…

The manager of the month awards are usually the Louis and Jupp show, so this pleases me…

We’ve a super keeper performance on our hands against Osasuna until Perez finally puts us ahead, but we’re more clinical in the second half, and keep a third straight clean sheet.

This is a very welcome site just before we face Real Madrid, and I’ve told the medical team to put him on nil by mouth just to be safe…

Off to the Bernabeu we go then. Raul heads Real ahead from a corner, but we’re quickly level. Laslandes nets the winner, and secures our first double over those bastards in my time in charge – F*ck you, Jupp!

We’re two up in no time against Sevilla, but Mateus is no mate-to-us, and gets them back in it. Guerrero seals the win, and ensures that there’s no repeat of that frustrating draw last time we met.

Next, the rhythm takes us over Balaidos for a comfortable win over Celta. Sanchez wished he had another chance…

Two in as many months? You must be kidding!

Garitano, Alkiza, and Huegun all start for the donkeys. Thirteen may be unlucky for some, but not Perez, and Guerrero has wastes little time in returning to scoring ways.

Back to Europe, even though playing Betis feels like a league game. A defensive error gifts them the lead, but I can always rely on my dynamic duo up top to get us out of trouble…

Valencia hold us again, and we lose more ground on Barca. However, we’d won twelve games in a row before this, so I can’t complain, but Jorge Cadete should really be at Bradford right now…

Two words… Revenge Mission! The best part was when Deportivo had a goal disallowed, and chants of “sit down shut up, sit down shut up” in Spanish, rang around the San Mames.

Kennet Andersson is up to his old tricks again in the second leg with Betis, but Arenaza equalises, and Kennet’s wife Pamela puts us ahead with an own goal. A goal a piece in the second half is enough to send us through.

The prize is £250k and a trip to Elland Road, and the other semi is Auxerre vs Borussia Munch-me-lunch-back.

After 78 goals in 132 games, Laslandes is finally called up by France, and deemed worthy of rubbing shoulders with Jimmy Algerino. He wastes little time in showing Les Bleus what they’ve been missing, and scores three goals in two games…

He and Arenaza have formed quite the partnership, and they run riot against Cordoba to take their combined total to 43 goals. We’re treated to a solo from Manolo in between…

Last up this week, it’s the first leg with Leeds. We start brightly and Hasselbaink’s penalty miss helps, but Leeds deservedly equalise. Two second half goals give us a healthy advantage though, and BMG beat Auxerre 1-0.

So with nine league games remaining, we’re second and only eight points away from our highest ever points total during my tenure, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re twelve points behind Barca, who just keep winning.

So once again it’s last call, and time to bag up your souvenirs, and prepare for departure. Join us next week for the final part of this season. Can we close the gap on Barca, and lift the Copa Del Rey and Cup Winners Cup? Tune in to find out. Adios!

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