AFC United – Part 34 : The Winner Takes It Hall | @Matt_C_Wills

Happy Monday! Here’s Matt twisting all of our melons with the end of another AFC United season and the race for records is on…

449. That’s how many goals David Brown has scored for AFC United.

It’s our final season with the guys Fergie deemed surplus to requirements (well, mostly. I have Rio Ferdinand but he’s been shut out by Danny Hall). Anyway, we left things last week having hauled ourselves to the top of the table and with interest still in the FA Cup and Champions League.

Danny Hall has hit the magical 800 club games number and we’re trying to force Brown to 450 goals. Surely he can get the one more he needs?

Before I can worry about that, the ghost of Lee Sharpe heads to the treatment table once more

We face English opposition in the quarter finals of the Champions league in the shape of Middlesbrough and it’s fair to say we give a poor account of ourselves. No away goals means there’s work to do in the return leg. Daly Bullock sounds like a farming magazine, doesn’t it?

Let’s not worry about that now though, as we have a quarter final tie with Wycombe to contend with and 8,316 spectators witness David Brown hit goal number 450 and give us a second bite of the quarter final cherry.

450 goals, what a tremendous feet for the future podiatrist. He’s faithfully toed the front line and managed to nail that 450th goal.

450 goals in 749 games is a goal every 150 minutes. It’s certainly impressive for a guy with completely randomly generated stats.

Fergie’s cast off was certainly my hidden treasure. He’s still got some gas left in the tank, even if he hasn’t had a man of the match award for nearly 3 seasons.

After the jubilation of hitting that particular target, we hit nothing like a target away to Man City and it feels like business as usual in the league.

Well, almost business as usual. There’s a regen revolution happening, as Jnrs Beckham, Tomlison (twice) and Scholes trade 4 goals for Teddy Sheringham 1 against the real Beckham’s Sheff United. Is the future bright for AFC United once the originals have all retired? It does seem that way

Whether I’ll be around to see it is another matter, but it’s European nights like this that draw you back in as wingers Ukrainian and Welsh combine to send us through after extra-time to the semi-finals

We avoid aging Ronaldo’s Inter for now, but face off against Verona in the semi’s for the second season in a row

Of course, once the international break is over, we’ll be playing 2 games in 2 days, so that’ll be fun!

While we’re waiting for that, Liverpool prevail in the League Cup Final

Whilst Liverpool celebrate the cup with three handles, we’re concentrating on old big ears, but we’re given a schooling by Verona. David Brown’s 451st goal might the most valuable yet.

If you asked me for the secret of AFC’s success, I’d have to rank getting Schmeichel’s regen up there. Having a top keeper can’t be understated in this game

After that battling loss to Verona, there are changes afoot three days later to keep the squad fit and fresh for the run-in. The Sampson brothers settle things, accompanied by forgotten man Rio Ferdinand.

Everton next, delighted to avoid The Hudd.

Which turns out to be our very next game and one of the drabbest affairs imagineable

So we switch from Anfield to Old Trafford for the midweek replay and it takes extra time and Nevland Jnr from the bench to settle things in our favour. Chelsea await in the final

Before all that though, league business to attend to, starting with Forest who we still can’t beat, even with a two man advantage

Nor can we get the better of Aston Villa

All of which is leaving a very wide open title race. Great for the neutrals, not so great if we want to finish things in style with this save. At least drawing with Forest and Villa kept them at bay behind us.

We’ll worry about catching The Hudd shortly as we have a tricky semi-final second leg to navigate and we’re all at sea after 2 minutes when Verona match Brown’s away goal and stretch their lead to 3-1. Not for long however and Kullio starts the march to gangsta’s paradise before Parrish makes things even on the night and it’s left to local hero Brown to turn the tide in our favour. What follows after half time is 45 minutes of defensive agony every time the screen flashed blue and yellow, but Verona are out of steam and we’re in the final!

Our opponents, will naturally be Inter

We’re up against familiar foes and for probably the last time, we get the better of Nicky Butt’s Utd. Parrishy and Kullio not only knocking United off their perch, but taking said perch, dousing it in lighter fluid and watching it burn.

Anyway….Derby are made of stronger stuff and it’s a worrying reverse so late in the season

More nervousness follows against Watford. We’ve won multiple trophies now, so these guys should know what it takes

There’s 4 games left to play and its looking like The Hudd or us

A draw against Liverpool is no flipping good

Nor is a reverse to Boro

Still, Hudd can’t seem to take advantage, but it has left the door ajar for Chelsea and Forest

Our regen wingers leave it until the second half to show their pedigree when West Ham come to town.

So, as it seems to be these past few seasons, the title will go down to the wire, with low points and generally low scoring teams. Goal difference is on our side, so any sort of win in our final game at home to Arsenal should be enough

In between this and that, the all Italian Uefa Cup Final is played out. looks like a classic at the Stadium of Light

So, as it is written in the stars, David Brown scores the goal that basically seals another Premier League Title

Radio’s are checked to see if Huddersfield have won 20-0 or something, but no, they lost and the title is ours again. It’s a party at Broadhurst, but also feels like the end of an era with David Brown, Danny Hall, Alex Notman and Richie Wellens saluting the home crowd

While we gear up for the 2nd leg of our treble chances, Milan demolish Leeds in the Cup Winners Cup final

So, to Wembley once more to take on Chelsea and who should score the winning goal?

Four original players are there to lift the trophy and get us ready for one more European Final

Ronaldo is still going for Inter, he’s on 349 goals in game so chances are he’ll get it against us

However, it’s forgotten striker Michael Owen who takes the headlines with a first half double. Of course, the only time I was worried was the last 6 minutes or so…

Ronaldo didn’t even get a look in, whilst I played on the sentimentality card and brought Neville, Duncan and Cooke on for the final 8 minutes. The fact Inter scored two minutes later is purely coincidental….

16 seasons in and 8 original players play in the European Cup final, amazing scenes.

End of season stats time and only 3 players didn’t get any minutes for me

No big scorers again this season, but Brown can be pleased with reaching double figures once more.

So, what now? The squad is aging and the old guys aren’t looking favorably on contract renewals

David Brown has racked up 762 games

Alex Notman has just over 700

Terry Cooke clocks in at 560, with the past 3 seasons playing second fiddle to the regens of Kanchelskis and Beckham.

The mighty Danny Hall played another 50+ games despite injuries

Richie Wellens came back and did a decent, if unspectacular job at left wingback

Andrew Duncan eventually made way for Blanc’s regen, but still a faithful servant

Elsewhere, another old boy graduates to the manager role

David Brown’s form had got him back into Glenn Hoddle’s England set up but injury means he’s not going to add to his caps or goals tally

Meanwhile, Rio and John head out the door in search of regualr playing time, or just sand to dance upon

As it’s an odd numbered year, the end of season updates happen in June, not that we take many awards. JFK trying to resurrect Spurs there

Time for retirements and its news I had dreaded…

Meanwhile, another ex player takes steps towards management

Even David Platt’s regen is at it

So, what I hear you ask is our trophy haul?

Well, it stands at:

6 Champions Leagues (we won 3 in a row once!)

2 Cup Winners Cups

1 UEFA Cup

4 European Super Cup Wins (twice runners up)

4 World Club Cups (once runners up)

8 Premier League Titles (twice runners up)

1 First Division Championships

1 Second Division Championship

1 Third Division Championship

3 FA Cups (twice runners up)

4 League Cups (three times runners up)

5 Charity Shields (three times runners up)

That’s an amazing 40 trophies in 16 seasons. Not bad for a bunch of older timers and young cast offs.

Is this the end though? Not quite – there’s one more part of this story to tell next week and it involves an interestingly named regen and international action. Join me next Monday for the final part of Alex Ferguson’s Cast Offs United – cheers!

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