Velkomin back. Having had a wonderful few months off, I didn’t realise we were coming back until I read Zak’s Warnock post last Monday. Readily armed with my post Christmas Dad Tapas (leftover crackers and 3 tubs of Heroes condensed into 1 once the Mrs and kids had eaten all the good ones) and I’m ready to delve back into 866 AD.
The brief is to do what the Vikings never managed to do and that is to conquer the whole of England in the 13 year time span of the great heathen army. By November 866 I must field a full Scandinavian match day squad to coincide with the capture of York and only sign Scandi players full stop.
We managed to win Div 2 at the first time of asking and have strengthened post season by adding Kim Heiselberg (Danish Wonderkid), another Danish Wonderkid (even though he’s 29) in Per Pedersen following his release on a free by Blacheborne. Andreas Lund, Stian Hagelund and everyones favourite regen…..before he’s retired, Arnor Gudjohnsen.
We’re struggling to find any regens in the pre-season, although there are a few decent youngsters interested but unfortunately we’re not big enough to activate their release clauses. I book in 5 friendlies to hopefully boost our coffers and to give us some confidence before our assault on Division 1.
It doesn’t start this way as Brondby smash us 3-0 with mostly greyed out players. We fare slightly better against AGF beating them 4-3 with new signing Lund hitting a hat-trick on his debut outing.
I decide to go for Per Frandsen from Botheltun for £375k to bolster our attack in what I hope will be the last of our summer signings. Although after shipping 6 goals in 2 games, maybe defensive reinforcements are required?
We beat Brann 3-2 and follow that up with the same result against AIK. I bring former Spurs keeper Erik Thorstvedt out of retirement to see if I can have a keeper who can actually save something (I added him back into the game as it was his regen I was interested in with him having a potential ability of 160).
He goes straight into the starting line-up for our final friendly vs Herning. True to form he concedes with the first shot on target but finishes the game with an 8 rating after saving 4 of 6 shots on goal. Lund grabs another hat-trick giving him 6 goals in the 2 games he’s featured in. He might be getting more game-time than I previously imagined as I only signed him to make up numbers.
Here’s confirmation of our pre-season exploits. Won 4 out of 5, scoring 14 but conceding 12 which is concerning. I’m hoping my choice of opponents are much tougher than what we’ll face in div 1.
Speaking of which, this is how we’ll start the season as full a Scandinavian 14 well before we’re due….
We start our season down on the South coast away at Portesmuda. I name what I believe is our strongest side with the exception of Gunnar Halle at right wingback as he’s suspended. There’s no time to be sentimental with the Wonderkid from last season Gislason not even making the bench. Going with ‘Ragnarssons’ Ivar the Boneless and Sigurd Snake in the Eye up top and new signings Frandsen and Gudjohnsen in behind. We have a couple of early chances before Ivar gives us the lead. An own goal by my favourite ‘Fat Boy’ sweet has us up comfortably although I get indigestion in the 2 mins before half time at Portsmouth peg us back. Ivar restores our lead before Frandsen gets our 4th.
We’re top of the league…. I’m tempted to take a screenshot as this might be the only time we’ll be there. Barnsley, Southampton and Crystal Palace were relegated from the Prem and along with Forest, Birmingham, Sheff Utd, Sunderland, Man City & Wolves….this is going to be one tough division to get out of!
Away in the League cup and we face Wic. I’ve made 8 changes form the last game as I’m solely concentrating on the league. Our second string will have the cups to contend with which will hopefully keep our little squad fresh. Wonderboy opens the scoring just after the hour mark following a drab first half. Lund marks his competitive debut with a goal 5 mins later and it stays 2-0. Keeper Hollund saving 3 and keeping a clean sheet. Hull barely threaten us and it’s one foot in the door to round 2.
It’s a good job we’re a seafaring people as we’re back on the south coast for our visit to relegated Hamwic in the league. Thorstvedt concedes a penalty and dives the wrong way giving Southampton the lead. Sigurd strikes straight from the kickoff and again 4 mins later to put our noses in front. Ivar makes it 3, Sigurd completes his hat-trick and Ivar gets his second and our 5th in the 79th min. I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting that!
Finally we have our first home game of the season with the return visit of Wic in the cup. Another 8 changes to the side hoping to do a professional job and see is into the next round. We have a goal disallowed in the 5th minute, Mann then gives Hull the lead but once again we equalize straight from the kickoff. Mann comes of age grabbing his second before Lund scores a late penalty to make it 2-2 on the night.
We make our way over the Pennines to 2nd placed Burgh. They are all over us straight from the off and put us under constant pressure for 20 mins, then the worse happens. Ian Hughes the big lump knacks Thorstvedt and with no keeper on the bench, we’re playing 70 mins keeperless. The only problem is that I don’t know Nikolai’s tactic so it’s just bring on a defender and hope for the best from me.
Bury score in the 23rd minute through Randall but that seems to stoke Odin’s fire in our bellies and we score 4 in 20 mins to take a 4-1 lead into half time. A goal-a-piece in the second half with Randall the Vandal getting his second and we finish up 5-2 winners. Our outfield keeper Heiselberg gets MOM and a goal for his efforts.
Our first league home game see us host Norvic. We reach half time 2-1 to the good although we were totally wasteful in a dominant display. Ivar and Sigurd the main culprits, 7 shots between them with only 1 each on target. Sigurd gets on the scoresheet in the second half and we run out 3-1 victors. Keeper Hollund gets MOM and a 9 rating even though he only saved 1 of the 2 shots they had on target??? He did make 7 ‘Key’ tackles though so maybe he’s playing Pep’s sweeper keeper and he’s ahead of his time?
Swinedun away next up for the boys. Lund and Gudjohnsen are both out for a few weeks from getting too physical in training. Thankfully it doesn’t rock the boat too much and Ivar puts us 2-0 in front at half time. He completes his first hat-trick of the season then Swindon score in the same minute (presumably we’re still celebrating). Wonderboy comes on and scores with his first touch to give us a healthy 4-1 victory.
Back at Bootham Crescent and Trani-melr are the visitors. We name an unchanged side from our previous game and Half Dan opens his account for the season giving us the lead in the 14th minute. Ivar then scores to give us a 2-goal cushion and that’s how it stays.
Another forced change now as Leif Anderson breaks his shoulder in training putting our threadbare squad to the test at this early stage of the season. We march down to the Midlands to take on Wulfruneheantun in the league. Sigurd latches onto a Frandsen corner to give us the lead in the 6th min. Frandsen then gets himself on the scoresheet 3 mins later before Sigurd gets his second and our 3rd another 3 mins after that. Big John Barnes rolls back the years to give Wolves a glimmer but it’s in vain as we see the game out.
Frandsen and Heiselberg are called up to the Denmark squad leaving us even thinner on the ground for the visit of Stokeport. We are all over them from the start hitting the post 3 times before Ivar finally finds the back of the net. 15 shots in the first half with only 6 on target. Hopefully we’ll be more clinical in the second half. It’s not to be as another 5 shots only yield 2 more on target. Thankfully a clean sheet means we take all 3 points.
Heiselberg was an unused sub and Frandsen never even made the matchday squad. What a waste of time!
Back to the midlands as we visit Bromwic. Frandsen is straight back into the side and swings in a corner for Ivar to bury into the back of the net. Thorn isn’t in our side nor West Broms’ as he gets his marching orders for a second yellow before half time. Brandal caps his good form coming into the team as cover for Gudjohnsen by netting his first of the season and we take home another 3 points on the road.
Second round of the league cup sees Sutton come to the Crescent. We make as many changes as possible (5 no.) giving our tired midfield & strikers a rest. Wonderboy scores 2 in the first half and that’s how it finished. Littlejohn did score for Plymouth in the second half but is was chalked off for offside.
We host former Premier League team Berneslai in the league. Lund, Gudjohnsen & Thorstvedt are all back from injury but as two of them are 35 and 37 respectively, they will need to be slowly coaxed back into action. Brandal seems spurred on by their return and scores 2 in 2 mins to prove his worth in the side. Arnor is going to find it tough to get back in at this rate. Spoke too soon…..he comes off injured in the 55th minute to be replaced by Wonderboy. Andy gets a Liddell carried away with himself scoring a late consolation for Barnsley in the 88th min.
With that result we are comfortably top with a nice 6 point cushion thanks to our 100% record after 10 games. Other promoted teams Bristol Rovers and Oldham are right up there too in 2nd & 4th place respectively.
I’m off to munch a few Rennie’s & head to bed.
See you next week.