Happy Monday! Here’s Zak with episode 2 of a Neil Warnock based blog. It just works, you know?
“The money players are on these days is immoral. But you can’t knock it.” Neil Warnock.
Welcome back, Colin fans!
Last time out Niall Warnock was appointed boss of newly-promoted Kidderminster Harriers. Remember, the aim of this blog is to mirror the career of Neil Warnock, and first up that means promotion from Division 3. Can younger Warnock brother Niall get there at the first time of asking? Let’s go!
I spend pre season mustering a squad blending experience with youth. All players as the aim is short-term success rather than longevity all players are made available and WILL be sold if price is right. Idea to reinvest money by recycling players. Let’s see how it goes!
Tony Warner, Jeff Kenna and Mark Robins the pick of the senior players. Danny Hall and Andrew Duncan I hope will form a backbone in the style of Matt Wills’ FC United team.
Ashdjian, Westley, Chapman and Cooper join on schoolboy terms after impressing ‘League Scout 2’. I don’t trust 1 and 3!
My initial approach for 9798 favorite Duncan was farcical [some might say, immoral!]. The youngster – still without a club one season in, and no senior appearances – wanted insane money. I swiftly decline his request for these wages! [He agrees to sign for £300 a week later…. I don’t get it either!]
Our first league game is a visit to Deepdale, and Preston North End. I decide to keep it simple with the narrow 4-2-2-2 formation.
The game ends in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Mark Robins off the mark after hald an hour and loanee (Father) Phil Mulryne scoring late to ensure we start the campaign with a point.
We follow up from Preston with a comfortable win over Hartlepool. James Proctor – a £5k signing from ‘minor team’ – comes off the bench for a debut goal. Also into the squad comes a young right sided forward called Robbie Savage, Belorussian Sergiy Gerasimets and the loan of forward Bjarni Gudjonsson from Newcastle.
We get thumped 3-0 at home to Oxford in the League cup after I chuck a load of the schoolboys into the side. I forget we are not Man Utd, and the lads are on the receiving end.
Back in the league Brian McClair continues to roll back the years with a hat-trick at Dean Court.
Barry Fry’s Peterborough are also put to the sword at Aggborough. This after coming back from 2-0 down. The 24th and 25th minute of the game saw the most of the action. At 2-0 down, Choccy raced through from the kick off with the Posh players still celebrating. I know, I didn’t think McClair had any pace in him either!
Goalscorer Mark Grugel is a midfielder I picked up from Everton for £5k. His value rockets to £400k and there are a host of ‘wnt’ signs attached to his name. If only their scouts matched up to the acumen of League Scout 2.
August ends with an entertaining game at Gay Meadow – the lads still unbeaten in the league so far. Choccy McClair is on fire!
An opening 26 minutes blow Lincoln away and we coast home, despite some late pressure from the hosts. Tony Warner is ruled out for 3 months – which is a pain.
Mark Gruger who scored again at Lincoln has bids starting to rain in. I resist £375k and £400k holding out for half a million. We do wave goodbye to defender Mick Ashdjian who moves to Chester for £400k. The transfer merry-go-round commences!
We follow the Lincoln victory with 1-0 wins at Mansfiled and Barnet. Andrew Duncan and Danny Hall are the respective MoM winners, so that says a lot about the quality of those games!
We bring up our tenth league game with a comfortable win at Northampton. The injured Tony Warner is being deputized by the younger schoolboys, and all seems to be going okay! Mark Robins missed a penalty, and change of a hat-trick.
This is how we look at 10 games. Still undefeated and 10 points clear of the playoff places already.
Youngster Grugel is sold to Luton for the requested £500k so we sign another couple of young midfielders to fill the void. An Irish attacking midfielder called Tony Cascarino (not the Tony Cascarino, but a regen imposter who stole his name) and English versatile midfielder Paul Coll.
We start gameweek 11 by losing to fellow promoton hopefuls Rochdale 2-0. It could suck the wind from our sails but we respond by thumping Brighton 5-1. Paul Coll straight in the team, straight on the scoresheet and immediately available for a transfer!
This air of cock-suredness is evaporated as we then draw 2-2 with Torquay United and we feel our first taste of defeat against Scunthorpe.
After the Sculthorpe game Mark Robins breaks his pelvis in training, and is out for 3 months. I go back to the transfer market, submitting offers for the recently sacked Chris Waddle, and some more schoolboys courtesy of Scout 2. I also offer to loan Franny Jeffers from Everton – to support Choccy. Nothing like an over reaction!
Jeffers scores in his first professional game as we get back on track against Bristol City.
Swiftly followed by another four goal demolition by Darlington. What’s going on?
We then lost 2-1 to Scarborough – ironically the team the Neil Warnock got promoted to the football league in 1987. We recover to beat Colchester 2-0. Father Phil and Sergiy scoring from midfield.
We see out October, and our 20th league game with a tight win at Swansea. Centre back Andy Pearce getting a goal from a set-piece.
Our form has dipped, and we find ourselves chasing Rochdale. We are eleven points clear of playoff chasers, but, with our main goalkeeper injured, and points being dropped, do we need to change something?
We also qualify for the Windscreen Shield first round proper after beating Leyton Orient and drawing with Brighton.
Join us next time as we shake up the formation, give the FA Cup a go, continue in the Windscreen Shield, and play out the remainder of the 1998/99 season. Until next time, Colin fans.