Basque Boys – Part 32: Basque-ing in the glory | @NTR9798

Hola! and welcome back for season six. It’s been a summer of celebration in Bilbao, after the Basque Boys won their first ever La Liga title! But now the hard work begins once again. Will the added pressure of being champions affect performances?…

We start with good news… None of the squad retired! I was worried that Rafa Alkorta might have called it a day as a league champion, but he’s carrying on!

It’s always a nervous wait to see how much of your transfer budget the board waste on new seats, but thankfully it’s just £190k this season.

Larrainzar, Laslandes and Rios all sign new deals, but Tabuenka, Galdames and Carlos Perez all still need convincing…

First in my summer shopping basquet is the regen of former Basque Boy, Mikel Loinaz, who scored over fifty goals in three seasons, so hopefully Babs has plenty of goals in him too.

Pre-season tour time, and it’s southern France this year, starting with Bordeaux handing the second string’s asses to them on a plate…

The same side starts the next match, which is full of goals, and although the result is irrelevant, I wouldn’t have wanted to lose…

We’re almost at full-strength at Montpellier, but it’s still only a narrow win…

The first departure is Lizarazu, who was on a whopping £53k a week! He’s 32 now, and only made one appearance last season, so it’s nice to get him off the books. Cheers, Liz.

The competitive games begin with the Spanish charity shield. It’s a bizarre match, in which Real substitute one grey keeper for another, and the sub gets sent off. Kiko goes in goal, and we take full advantage after a rare penalty miss from Guerrero, who’s human after all…

A week later it’s the second leg, and for a minute I’m wondering what the hell is going on, but Etxebe and Perez spare our blushes, and we win our second Super Copa Española.

Carlos Perez (Bakero’s regen) finally signs a new deal, he was one I was keen to tie down, so it’s a relief. A couple of loans follow, as Real Madrid B borrow Lotina and Babs.

So this is the squad that starts the season. I’m hoping there’ll be a couple more ins and outs, but we’ll see what happens between now and the end of September.

Our title defence begins with a draw at the Riazor. It’s not a bad point, and were it not for our keeper getting man of the match, we might have left empty-handed…

We’re 4-1 up and cruising against the donkeys at half time, and then inexplicably collapse in the second half. Luckily we do know how to score though, but the defence is worrying me.

It’s nice not having to play a champions league qualifier for once, and we get a reasonable group this year, so hopefully we can get to at least the quarter-finals.

It’s a remarkable start against Valladolid, with three goals in two minutes, and that’s it for the rest of the game, with a new club record crowd of 60,480 watching on.

It’s a hard-fought draw away at Atletico, which isn’t a bad result in the grand scheme. They lead twice, but Igor is eager for goals, and our keeper keeps us in it once again.

Nothing new here…

We’ve plenty of chances against Betis, but Van der Sar is on fire. At least the Betis manager is giving him a chance, unlike a certain Welsh manager we know. Anyway, it’s a narrow win.

So, to Europe, and a trip to Ibrox for our first group game. We lead through Ezquerro, but just can’t add a second, and their grey keeper is saving everything. I could see their equaliser coming, and it’s two points dropped.

Back in the league, it’s all happening at Hercules. There’s goals, injuries, red cards and penalties, but we come out on top thanks to a Herculean effort from our dynamic duo up top – Jesús, what a game!

Transfer deadline day arrives, and Galdames has been refusing to sign a new deal, so he’s off, and I get a decent fee for a 32 year-old.

After a few ups and downs recently, it’s good to get a nice, solid win and clean sheet at home to fourth-placed Valencia, with De Pedro haunting another one of his old clubs.

And there I was thinking it was a terrible start to the season…

Back to Europe, and there’s no f*cking about against Villa. Laslandes only deals in braces and hat tricks, and his treble sees us top the group after Spartak somehow beat Rangers.

A nice easy start to the Copa del Rey…

We finish this week away at Las Palmas. It’s a frustrating start, but Etxebe seamlessly fills in for the injured Laslandes with a hat trick and man of the match award. As backup strikers go, he ain’t half bad.

So our title defence is off to a decent start, and after eight games, we’re unbeaten and a point behind the usual suspects. Our goals conceded could be better, but that was largely down to conceding seven against the donkeys and Hercules.

It’s no coincidence however, that since Mendieta has been back in the team, we’ve only conceded one goal in three games, so maybe you can’t get away with playing a normal DMC in that right-sided slot…

That’s it for another week, but do join us again next week for our first meeting with Barca, both Copa Del Rey legs with Real Madrid, the remainder of our champions league group games, and plenty of league action. Adios!

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