All good things come to an end and after 35 quality episodes, this is our last visit to AFC United. Matthew…
We’ve reached the end of our long and winding road following the fortunes of Alex Ferguson’s Cast Offs. We signed off Season 16 in style with the proper treble of League, FA Cup and European glory.
We said goodbye to fan favourite David Brown as the close season updates rolled, he’d passed the 450 goal mark, helping land more trophies for the cabinet and told me he was off to pursue a career in podiatry. I’m not ashamed to admit, I shed a tear.
However, Danny Hall, Alex Notman, Terry Cooke and Richie Wellens were still hanging around and I wondered whether ‘one more season’ might be worth it, and it was, but in a completely different way to before.
Firstly, we had some retirement shaped holes to fill. I quickly found the regens of Andrew Duncan…
….and Rio Ferdinand.
But there was still one man missing, the regen of David Brown. I tracked him down but was amused by the new moniker – had the AI spawned the lovechild of our eponymous host, Dave Black, and his cult favorite the Micker?
Indeed it had, I present to you, the New Micker!
I must admit, the scouts raved about him but I was somewhat taken aback by his appearance in the first pre-season training session….
With the new Micker in, there was no need for the old Andy Cole, so he went off to Sheffield for a tidy sum
We set about preparation for the new season with triumph in the Charity Shield over last seasons runners up, The Hudd, and The Micker helped himself to a debut goal and the winner after living legend Danny Hall had drawn us level. It was good times.
Despite all this, I wasn’t certain of another long old season and then Glenn Hoddle paid the price of failure to bring England up to scratch internationally and suddenly the England Managers seat was vacant. Glenn had won the Euro’s in 2004 and was runner up 4 years later but the World Cup still eluded England, and the FA doubted he could now end 48 years of hurt…
I threw my hat into the ring and got it.
Well it was me or Gerry Francis, but he seems happy in Milan.
And with that, I gathered my squad and broke the news.
‘But, but you’ll stay won’t you gaffer?’ Spluttered Danny Hall.
I stayed quiet and shook my head. I resigned my position and cleared my desk.
AFC wasted no time in appointing Tommy McLean as manager, who had been having a decent career and had two Scottish Premier league titles under his belt
For me, it was a trip into the unknown. 16 seasons following ex-Man Utd players means you miss out on who is who
Of course I knew my AFC charges and Seth Johnson and Danny Cadamarteri, but who are these other jokers?
It was time to find out.
It didn’t take me long to feel at home
Glenn had left England’s chances of World Cup qualification in good health, I just had to see us over the line
Whilst this offer was tempting, I wanted to devote my heart and soul to Lady England
For my first game in charge, I decided I needed some familiar faces around me.
Match winner was Celtic’s Clive MacDonald, who I think was Heskey in a former life. Hall as captain was a no-brainer really.
We’re looking good for Germany ’14
A point would be enough in our final game against Azerbaijan, but an own goal and Scholes Jnr gave us all three points and a seat on the plane
That’ll do for me!
My first friendly however had the FA doubting their choices
Things were better against future group foes Japan though with old man Notman stepping back up to the plate
Meanwhile, Tommy McLean had picked up where I left off with AFC United
Notters carried on his international exploits and even roped Danny Hall in
Scotland gave us something to think about though
We narrowed a win against World Cup hosts Germany and The Micker got his first taste of international football. Could Black light up England where Brown couldn’t?
Our final friendly against Norway gave me an idea of what The Micker could do and I was convinced he had to come to Germany
The squad was confirmed, with many an AFC United player, who had picked up another League and European Cup double
Notman is creaking, but Creaser is the regen of Gazza, so may be useful back up.
So, off to Germany we head, full of hope and optimism for our first group game against Ghana….oh..
The Micker thought he had it levelled for us, but we were Tankoed..
Never was a clearer message sent
We had to improve against Japan, and improve we did
The Micker getting his third goal in 3 games. Instant legend.
The regen of Beckham getting suspended at a World Cup….?
After only 2 games, the holders are out
4 in 4 for the Micker and we’re through!
That second spot though didn’t help our draw in the second round
Ah, who cares, we’re on it!
Looks like we’re going to have to do things the hard way anyway!
When I said the hard way, I really meant it. I had forgotten about the Golden Goal rule. Extra time was nerve wracking!
So here we are, emulating Sir Bobby, against a team who always flatter to deliver
So it came to pass, Beckham Jnrs return from suspension and a goal from the fake Heskey sends into the World Cup final!
There’s no great drama story to tell here, we were immense. Warren G regulating on the 21st minute, ‘Emile’ taking us two to the good 5 minutes later until Newman and Michael Owen slot either side of a late Yugoslavian consolation to mean my beautiful Danny Hall lifts the World Cup for England!
Look at this, 17 years deep into the game and Danny Hall, Alex Notman and Michael Owen bring home the World Cup amongst a host of regens.
David Brown was put at the front of this career save, and more on him in a moment, but Danny Hall has been the constant, over 800 games as my captain and I only signed him after pre-season in 1997. His debut in fact was against another CM9798 legend, way back when.
I may love Danny hall, but Tommy McLean felt differently and although he doubled his international caps, he barely played for AFC again, before being let go and then retiring
Nor, it seemed was The Micker trusted at club level. He scored on his debut for me in the Charity Shield but didn’t play again all season. Some people have no respect for the regen of David Brown.
Now, on the matter of David Brown and his stats. There’s a lot of joking been made about his stats and accusations of doping, but the honest truth are they randomly AI generated.
To prove the point I loaded up the database a couple of times to see how he gets on and it’s different every time.
Our Season One David
Alternate Save 1
Alternate Save 2
Alternate Save 3
Alternate Save 4
It seems a potential of -1 and shooting of 17 can take you further sometimes more than others. In this save, we just lucked out. I Count my blessing on that one, I really do.
So, there we go. We are done, we rounded out the save and career of Danny Hall in style, but it is now definitely time to put this save to bed. That’s not it for me though, there’s always a good save somewhere and I’ll be back sometime in 2022 with ‘Club For A Fiver’.
Long Live the Class of ’97
Have a great xmas all and thanks for reading!