Good day, it’s the back to work blues for many of us today so here’s Zak to try and cheer us up…
Welcome back, Warno-brothers! Last time out our newly-promoted Kidderminster side won the old Division Three. Now, it’s the 1999-2000 season and we take on the old Division Two [aka League One]!
“I remember the day when they sold Brian Deane and Jan Aage Fjortoft. It was like when President Kennedy got shot,” Neil Warnock on Sheffield United’s transfer policy.
We are underway and have a season under our belts. Reminder of the challenge – to emulate the managerial success and journeyman career of Neil Warnock. Here’s a spreadsheet I put together to track progress… [@kingoftherooks loves a good spreadsheet….]
Let’s see if we can get close to Warnock’s total career games of 1603… (it means an average of just over 55 games per season for 29 playable seasons…)
After last season’s wheeling and dealing, we’ve nearly £5 million in the bank. Problem is, we’re not able to attract talent from the top leagues…
It means pre-season sees us fill up our squad with a load of regens and some experienced players. Brain McClair retired, so we find his regen Jason Wilkins. Paul McGrath junior is now Scott McAteer. Mick Duxbury is James Warren and pick of the bunch Stafan Gisalson is Arnor Gudjohnsen reborn. We add Brian Deane, Lee Hughes, Paul Rideout, David Hughes and Nick Barmby for some experience.
Gurkan Gerber is a swiss regen recommended by our Euro scout, and Craig Dudley a 19 y/o Notts County goal machine recommended by League Scout 2 [he scored 29 goals in 90 games…]
Our hero of last season, Jason Lee, was sold for £1.5 million – at 1000% return on the £150k investment.
Where is Brian Deane, I hear you cry? [Did you notice him missing?] We flipped him for a £575k profit without him playing a game. Deane actually went on to play for Leicester in real life from 2001-2003. Take that Version 2!
*I’ll be honest, I only signed his so I could add that quote in at the start…. it’s all about the theatre over here 😁.
Reminder of our preferred formation; Youngster Darren Haworth will get a run in goal as stats are immense and Chris Day didn’t perform at the end of last season.
Our two new strikers Dudley and Arnor junior were Stoked to break their Kidderminster ducks.
This was followed by a comfortable League Cup win at Darlington thanks to Mr. consistent Ryan Williams.
Two goals in either half against Fulham showed us how much work is ahead in Division 2. The Fulham side contained young starlets Erik Nevland, Kieron Dyer and Neil Mustoe. Efe Sodje had had enough by 74 minutes as Fulham coasted back to London with three points.
We draw with Darlington 0-0 in the return leg at Aggborough to secure safe passage to round 2 of the League Cup. After which it’s a trip to Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers. An early Tommy Coyne goal didn’t dampen sprits as we rallied in the second half. Dudley and Arnor Junior back on the scoresheet.
Our see-saw season continues with defeat at Southend.
Goals, goals, goals at Wrexham. After a dull first half, eight second half goals thrill the Racecourse Ground. 1-0 down up 3-1 up… back to 3-3 and a last gasp winner. Wonderful champ-manning.
We score four more at Gillingham, but this time find ourselves on the losing side. I can’t recall ever conceding nine.. may be time to reconsider young goalkeeper Haworth.
Four more goals this time for the win sets us up at Mansfield.
Our goal scoring form continued at Oxford with five more. That’s a remarkable 18 goals in the last 4 games. Ex-England player Nick Barmby has at this point scored in six games running. Bargain!
Our goalscoring run is ended by top-of-the-table Watford at Vicarage road.
Two shots on target; two goals. I hate this game sometimes.
After the disappointment of Watford, we face Premier League Barnsley – fresh from the box – and in the League Cup. Remarkably Neil Ruddock sees red, giving us a penalty and chance of seeing out the tie. It’s some rest bite.
The final game of this episode sees us bring up 10 league games with a win at Chesterfield. Arnor junior getting two more goals.
Despite the win, the board have a message for us…
Annoying. We’re only 1 point outside the playoffs. Our goalscoring exploits have been matched only by our defensive inadequacies. To put it into perspective, we conceded the same amount of goals against Gillingham as Swansea have in 10 games.
Join us next time, as we change up our formation once more and try to adapt to life in Division 2. Thanks, Colin. Until next time.