Welcome back, Warnock fans! Last time out we won promotion to the First Division with Nottingham Forest and had a date at Wembley in the Windscreen Shield . Here’s a spreadsheet update…
We’re also on target for our 1603 game target. We need to play an average 55 games per season, and our Forest cup exploits meant is was a 61 game season! Long way to go though!!
After promotion our journeyman adventure continues and we’re on the market for a new job. As per challenge rules it’s back to Division Three.
This opportunity is one for the CM 01/02 purists! Cheltenham Town in the 01/02 season. Unfortunately the squad it totally empty, so no Jamie Victory or Mike Duff to fall back on. We’ll have to do this one alone!
Pre season I work hard to bring in some youngsters and some experienced players. Phil Leitch is Bruce Grobbelaar; Owen Wilding is the aptly-named Neil Ruddock regen; Russel Webster is John Barnes reincarnated; Lee Bates is Ian Taylor; and Charlie Clegg is Scotsman Stuart McCall. Experience comes from Dean Windass, Jody Craddock, Jim Magilton and Chris Morgan. The loanees Lee and Wright are from Kidderminster – so get added to the spreadsheet as second signings.
I decide to keep it simple with this young side playing the narrow 4-1-1-2-2.
Our Division Three campaign gets underway against Southend. It takes four minutes to get our Cheltenham reign started through Jody Craddock but we can’t hold on for the duration and settle for a draw.
We get a short rest and it’s straight into the League Cup. Tranmere score late cancelling out youngster Neil Foster’s opener.
We play 80 minutes against ten Darlo players, but fall behind. Foster scores again, and I think the lads have secured a late equalizer. It’s not to be… Igoe dear.
It takes us until game four to secure our first win. New signing Trevor Benjamin scores a vital second goal to put the game safe, and we navigate through to the league cup second round.
Less than a thousand fans watch us break our league duck and keep our first clean sheet. Young forward Foster scores again in a tight 1-0 win at Wigan.
Something seems to have clicked, as Shrewsbury are next in line for the chop. Keith Sheedy and man-of-the-moment Foster score to give us a halftime lead. Young [not Glenn] Hoddle scores his first Cheltenham goal after Master Bates pulls his groin. [Sorry- not sorry].
Dean Windass breaks his Cheltenham cherry as we defeat Exeter City. Hoddle and Sheedy keep their scoring form going as we run out 3-1 winners.
A late own goal from Jody Craddock brings an end to the winning streak. We’re in a good place as our league form continues.
Maybe I spoke too soon.
Ah mate. Tranmere get revenge on the League Cup win as our blip continues.
An early red card for John Barnes Junior sees us off and we fall to a third defeat in a row. Got to sort this out!
League cup action next, at home to Hull. We win 2-1, but the last goal from Carey may give them hope going into the second leg. Foster and Sheedy seem to be pulling us along, too. The injured Kinsella btw is attacking midfielder Mark, a recent signing from Charlton.
We manage to take the our winning form into our league cup tie at Doncaster. Sheedy on the scoresheet once again with Kidderminster loanee, Lee. 5000 less fans at Whaddon Road for this one!
We start our Windscreen Shield campaign against Bournemouth at Dean Court. A late goal from young striker Foster enough to give us a point.
We win our third home game in a row, with Foster and substitute Lee setting us up in the second half.
We safely navigate the League Cup second round after Foster scores his third in three games. Sheedy puts the game to bed before a late Hull consolation. Round three awaits!
We round up this opening episode with a 0-0 draw at Swindon, to bring up twelve league games.
It’s been an up-and-down first episode, as our lads embed into the squad and settle into life in Cheltenham. We find ourselves down in 14th place, though with two games in hand on many sides.
Join us next week, as we continue our challenge. Until next time!