Good morning and happy hump day to you. Here’s Zak with some free transfer excitement
Hello bargain hunters! Welcome back to the Belle Vue and our Division Three Doncaster side struggling to find form and rhythm due to the weekly departures and arrivals.
Here’s the squad – led by Ghana’s powerhouse striker Tony Yeboah.
We are out of all the cups, so can focus solely on getting up the league table. Let’s go!
14th February 1998, Leyton Orient
Our first league game of this session sees us take on Bjorn Heidenstrom’s Leyton Orient. The O’s have been struggling this season themselves, and are in the bottom half of the D3 table.
A Tony Yeboah hattrick with unlikely goals from Gary Ablett and Mark Stein cap a miserable afternoon for Barry Hearne.
21st February 1998, Rotherham
Next up, basement club Rotherham. We lose rookie Rik Lopez to Rochdale – banking another £160k and clearing another full back out of the squad. I name an unchanged side to the O’s visit, thinking we could do with some momentum. Would you believe it?
28th February 1998, Hartlepool
Hartlepool are 22nd, so another team struggling. Yeboah scores two early goals to make me think we are clear. Things get tight on 72 minutes before Yeboah finishes off a hattrick. Phew!
We wave goodbye to February and £1 million profit for the month. March comes, and the finances confirm we have smashed our £10million target by netting £13,8m in player sales. Can we reach £15m?
7th March 1998, Barnet
I sign two more forwards in preparation for the run-in. Yeboah needs some help! In comes Peter Beagrie and Tony Cottee.
Both start the game, and Cottee wastes no time getting acquainted with the Belle Vue faithful.
Post-match Scunthorpe try their luck.. they can do one.. (He’s worth £1.1m at this point)!
14th March 1998, Swansea.
We start the day by making a small transfer profit. James Proctor (not a regular player) moves to Bristol City for £60k. We add Clayton Blackmore to the squad to add defensive cover.
It’s 10th vs 11th and this is how wee line-up.
Andy Ansah shows off his unbelievable tekkers to rifle home a Swansea opener. Cottee scores his third in two games before fickle defending sours our day. Swansea leapfrog us.
21st March 1998, Notts County
Efe Sodje – recalled for the injured Ablett – puts in a man-of-the-match shift in the heart of defense as Yeboah and Beagrie put County to the sword.
Now it’s 38 played and we are still 5 points off 7th place.
27th March 1998, Transfer Deadline Day
Deadline day. Urgh. I have to brace myself for an influx bids as we come under siege. Tribunals means Colin Carr-Lawton (Port Vale, £190k) and Derek Coughlan (Birmingham, £200k) leave. I also let Mick Duxbury go for £100k to Reading – a good deal for a 38 y/o! I replace him with Paul Allen, formerly of Spurs. I resist big money offers for Jody Craddock and Tony Yeboah and am thankful they don’t have ‘big club’ clauses.
I add ex-Ireland midfielder Kevin Sheedy, ex-Argyle centre half Tony James and injured midfielder Ian Selley. Selly is ‘a couple of weeks’ from recovering from a broken leg. I hope he can feature towards the end of the season, and add sell-on value.
This is us for the rest of the season!
28th March 1998, Rochdale
This is how the team looks now the transfer window has closed. A 4-month injury to Gerasimets means Waddle gets a run in the AMC role, and will play a key role in the run-in.
The team does a professional job against ‘Dale as Beagrie, Cottee and Yeboah all get goals in a 3-1 win.
The afternoon is marred by news Beagrie will be out for 10 months with a broken leg. He’s performed well in his 5 appearances, so could be a loss. At age 32, is a comeback likely?
Man Utd lift the first silverware of the season by defeating Torquay 4-1 in the League Cup final. What business Torquay have of being at Wembley no one knows!
Here’s a reminder of the Man Utd squad. They have added Alan Shearer (injured for the first half of the season) for a potent forward line to add to the defence.
4th April 1998, Chester
A Tony Yeboah brace is not enough for a result against Chester. It’s a late kick-in-the-teeth for the lads. We go again.
11th April 1998, Shrewsbury
Another MoM performance from Efe Sodje sets us up for a bug win at Shewsbury. Yeboah has found his form again since Tony Cottee came in.
13th April 1998, Exeter
Just a 20 day break for the lads and Jamie Forrester does them a favour in the 15th minute. With that, Stan Lazaridis and Chris Waddle make us comfortable at halftime. Cottee finishes a good performance.
We have managed to close the gap on seventh, and now three points and one win behind.
Join us next time for the season finale – and see if we can turn a side destined for relegation to the playoffs.
PS, I hope you’ve had fun downloading the Free4All DB – keep those screenshots coming! (Reminder you can download it HERE;
Here’s a few squads for those asking on twitter;
Premier League top five – Man Utd, Leeds, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Arsenal.
At the bottom, Leicester and West Ham are struggling.
In Division One, Middleborough, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest lead the way.
Finally, (randomly) the Auto Windscreen Shield winners, Northampton Town.
Until next time, bargain hunters.