Well hello there. As we continue through the season of the original, unpatched, out of the box original release of this game it is becoming more and more apparent: As a 9 year old, I was absolutely terrible at this game. Barnsley sit 6th, there’s 14 games to go and what started as a scrap to avoid relegation has now turned into “bloody hell, Europe?”
We’re also still in the League Cup and ready for a two legged semi final. Tottenham though are a different animal, with Chris Armstrong in particular running wild. Hristov briefly gives us hope but it’s a loss. Can we overturn that at Oakwell?
Meanwhile we welcome Liverpool to Yorkshire and Michael Owen scores after 4 minutes. Bjorn equalises, in a real angel vs devil type scenario. We’ll take a point.
Time to try and overturn that deficit but all we get is Bjorn again (not the tribute act) but one is not enough. There’ll be no Wembley final.
Then we lose at Stamford Bridge despite a decent showing. It would be a shame if the season unravelled from here.
But unravel, it might. Big Kev Pressman gets sent off, Bjorny slots the pen and we should be taking three points from this Yorkshire derby. We didn’t bargain for Ritchie Humphreys or, less surprisingly, Peter Atherton though and we lose. How awful.
Finally we turn our form around with a 2-1 win against Spurs. Marty Bullock and Kevin Street with the goals and maybe the passports won’t need to be locked away just yet.
Coventry are in all sorts of bother. Full of debt and struggling at the foot of the table. We injure their best player and then take the win. It’s a way of life.
No such luck against Villa, who are too robust for our new plan. It is a bore draw.
As the transfer deadline approaches, teams panic and decide now is the time to bid for players I’ve had listed for months. First it’s Ashley Ward.
Then Andy Liddell is off to Hull.
Goodbye to you.
The final piece of this particular merry-go-round is to go and steal Dion Dublin from a cash strapped Coventry. In the patched version he usually heads off to Man Utd or Chelsea for £6m but I guess he was well on his way to getting the golden boot by the time that was done. Here, he’s mine for £1.5m
In real life Dublin had an incredible 97/98 season and finished joint top goalscorer in the Premier League and got England caps. As a result he got a nice patch upgrade. I’ve got this version:
Whereas in the patch he is better with more potential and a bigger reputation. So that’s why he always gets his move!
We lead at Newcastle very briefly before it all goes spectacularly wrong. De Zeeuw gets sent off and from the resulting free kick, Marty puts through his own goal. There’s a joke about a Bullock scoring at both ends but I’m too upset.
Hristov scores for the first time in ages as we beat Derby.
Oooh Deano, good man. An important win after a relatively poor spell.
Somehow we’re 5th with 5 games to go, though teams below us have games in hand.
It’s a brilliant draw at Old Trafford. We defended like champions which I guess they will be soon.
Dion grabs his first goal on his return from injury, kickstarting what ends up being a stirring comeback from 2-0 down. We’re bottling this.
Casper the friendly idiot gets sent off but despite a man disadvantage, Hristov leads us to a handy win.
That ends the winnable games with two to go but strange things can happen. Bjorn goes off after just a minute at Goodison, Graham Stuart gives the hosts the lead and things are bleak. Somehow though with a stirring late comeback, Marty equalises and big Dion heads a winner. Oh my.
We’re 4th. It looks good but we finish at Highbury and 3 teams can overtake us.
A point! That’ll do it. Europe here we come thanks to yet more Hristov heroics.
5th is a more than reasonable finish. Spurs being the top scorers in the league even without Klinsmann is ridiculous.
Derby relegated on goal difference is a twist.
Such a strange season. Nobody was really that good.
Hristov averaging 7.09 yet netting 28 goals. That can’t be right.
Nobody wants to sign. Martin Lauchlan does, he’s 17 though. We’ve just got to pick our players and try and build a decent squad.
We are going to need to recruit and recruit well if we’re going to compete in Europe.
Another space opens up as McClare finally leaves for £325k.
I’m going to take a punt on Sean Devine on a free, 41 goals in Division 3 but sometimes he can make the step up.
Prunea will provide good backup to Dave Watson.
Mark Jackson is an England Under 21 defender who is out of contract. He’s ours for £800k.
The bad news is that Krizan is out of work permit so will inevitably be released.
Here’s some awards to finish with. All hail Bonny Ginzburg.
Just the one retirement as John Hendrie decides the threat of Sean Devine is too much for his old legs to compete with.
And so ends a very enjoyable first season. Let’s find our passports and await what season 2 has in store for us! This save will resume in January, there aren’t enough weeks to get a whole season out so we’ve got 2 Christmas specials then we’ll take Barnsley into Europe in 2022.
Was he always this good?
There’s been some discussion about Bakayoko being a myth. The reason is he was outstanding on the out of the box version:
But was slightly dumbed down for the patch…
Just for the purists here’s the top rated players by ability on the original:
And now the patch:
I’m aware we’re going down a rabbit hole here but I don’t know who Axel Sundermann is but he was deemed the 29th best player in the world in July 1997.
By February 1998 he was somewhat reduced by 44 in ability and randomised potential.
Another highly rated German is the world’s 33rd best player Jorg Schmadtke
Chop, say goodbye to 48 ability and 34 potential. Decision: Average.
That’s quite enough for now. Get ready for next week…
Check out today’s advent calendar here