The Retirement Academy – Part 35: Japan on a Monday

Good morning! The always difficult but sometimes exciting middle section of the season is here and there’s more at stake than normal. Not only are we involved in somewhat of a three horse race at the top of the table but we’ll also be heading off to Japan to try and be crowned the best club in the world. That’s what it means and I won’t hear otherwise. Let’s get at it.

Urgh Roda. A whole set of Koch’s. These days though we’re reasonably competent at turning these situations around and Hoogy woogy makes us boogie and then Larrazabal smashes in a free kick to give us the win.

Den Haag are having a good season so the trip there is not as comfortable as it once would have been. We go behind, as usual, but Hoogy equalises. Larrazabal is involved again, this time receiving a red card for a last man foul. A point will have to do, to paraphrase Boris Becker.

Feyenoord had a nice time at the top for about 18 months but they’ve dropped off since Cruyff left. Bruggink gives them the lead but their stupidly annoying goalkeeper scores an OG before Degryse lightening gives us three points. Belter.

We need a point to secure our Champions League last 8 spot and a thoroughly disappointing evening in De Bungalow ends 0-0. To be fair, that’s all we needed but they’re not very good. Still, it’s been a strange group.

Undefeated. Defeated by nothing.

Right Sparta. You bunch of shits. We face each other again, in what feels like it happens at least three times a season and yet again we go behind. I hate you Sparta. Hoogy equalises and perhaps surprisingly Popescu curls in a free kick to give us the lead. Have it Sparta. Obviously they equalise again but they didn’t bargain for the Micker racing through to win it. All of that to get into the third round.

At least we face TOP Oss, who are bottom of the second division.

That was the first game of a busy 5 days as no sooner has our ball been pulled out of the bag we’re getting off a plane in Japan. I’ve decided to rotate the entire team because we have Ajax away in 2 days and let’s face it, this lot can barely manage one game a week let alone 3. Sonny Anderson rolls back the years and rounds the keeper to give us the lead and a red card for a last man handball leaves us with a man advantage for 70 minutes. We are untroubled. We are THE BEST IN THE WORLD.

Like a lot of celebrations we head to Amsterdam only we get absolutely smashed to bits by our more illustrious opponents. That’s a blow.

Three days later our fourth game of the week sees us trail Heerenveen. For goodness sake you become the best in the world and all of a sudden the domestic title is slipping away. Somehow we find it in ourselves to score twice in the last 10 minutes and steal three points.

Our last Champions League game is away at Dortmund and we’re able to rotate the squad again. Micker was suspended at the weekend so he’s able to play here and although we’re behind for a minute, that man Micker means we finish unbeaten.

Bayern are out! Now we await the draw.

Oh anybody but them. ANYBODY BUT THEM.

That’s future Dave’s problem. Right now we continue to smash down barriers that have prevented success previously. A win at Vitesse is superb. The front 2 doing the damage.

Defeat at PSV is a blow to our title hopes. We can’t afford many dropped points with Ajax around, we saw what they can do.

Fortuna are swatted aside. Don’t mess with us, it’s Christmas.

Our usual month off is just two weeks this time. Ah yes, the Super Cup and we’re off to Denmark first to face OB. Danish legend Laudrup gets our away goal but we still lose on the night. Some work needed to turn that around.

We have a full squad so the transfer deadline comes and goes without issue. No problem with that. Twente are just about beaten but Albesa will be out for three months.

TOP Oss are absolutely hopeless. And yet twice they peg us back and we have to go to extra time. We end up winning 5-2, a totally useless 30 minutes in the grand scheme of things but into the quarters we go.

That’s not a bad draw. Happy days.

It would be a good way to end the episode if we could win the European Super Cup. All we have to do is overturn a 2-1 deficit and we do, by scoring 6 times – one for every one thousand people who bothered their arses to turn out for another rich chapter is this club’s sickening history. Still, the Micker scored twice and we’ve done the double before it’s even February.

Darren Wilkie is leaving. I know, right? Right.

The league table makes worrying reading. 5 points off Ajax and can we count out AZ? Ajax’s next two games are Feyenoord and PSV away, so I suspect we’ll know how realistic our chances are in about 4 game days time.

We’ll have a triple header with Ajax next week. The gist of this challenge, 34 episodes ago, blatantly says we have to overhaul Ajax. It’s now or never lads. See you next week.

Leave a Reply