Good hello to you all! What a week it has been, for reasons I’ll not get into but the sanctuary of the weekend couldn’t get here fast enough. For Benfica, their squad full of Brits have made a mixed bag start to the season. It’s always been a mystery of this game where sometimes your unstoppable team just drop off. Did calling them all up for England prove to be a bad idea? I won’t have it. It was only a good idea. Let’s bring on the nonsense of this week.
Our patchy form begins at the unfairly named Estrela Amadora. We all just have a massive thirst on throughout and can’t wait to get down the boozer. Tom Youngs rescues a pint…I mean point, point for goodness sake which probably isn’t enough.
Back to the cut and thrust of the Champions League where our neighbours avenge our 1-0 win in the earlier group game. We should still get through…
Oddly that takes us to an International break and our make or break trip to Moldova. We have to win and hope Wales beat the Republic of Ireland for us.
Our bit was never really in too much doubt, despite Gallen seeing his first half penalty saved.
Wales stepped up to the plate for us. That’s a bonus.
We’ve made the playoffs, where we’ll face…
Bosnia! I feel that could be worse.
Obviously this is of my own doing but the Benfica schedule is rough enough as it is but throw in England games on the 1st and 15th December and these lads are going to be struggling. Darren Anderton’s hamstring is already in the freezer.
Another lacklustre performance in front of 90,000 people is eventually lit up by Tom Youngs, who has bailed me out a few times recently.
Here he is again, very nearly getting us a big win away at Porto only to be denied by future Boro dweller Doriva. Gallen’s injury is a blow to club and country.
Just a few weeks but given our schedule it means he’ll miss a lot of games, including leg one against Bosnia.
Business to take care of in the Champions League but we’re without Owen, Youngs (both cup tied) and now Gallen. Andy Cole belatedly steps up.
That means we’re still second but a win over Bratislava would give us 15 points and that will see us through.
This is what the squad looks like two days before we head to Tokyo.
And this is why. Things aren’t going particularly well but Tony Thorpe is an incredible man. Youngs also carries his usefulness over to the International stage to put one of our stupid feet in the World Cup finals.
We take an early trip to Tokyo for the World Club Cup final. The travel from Sarajevo to Tokyo is probably not great especially with games Saturday & Monday. Somehow, a much changed team wins the trophy with property expert Dion Dublin securing the win late on.
As well you might be. I do wonder how the board feel about me taking 90% of the playing staff to my part time job 4 or 5 times a year.
We’ve got a bit of momentum, which is probably just as well considering we’re back in action two days later. Tokyo to Lisbon, Monday to Wednesday, three more points.
Five days later and just to congest the schedule further it’s a Monday night clash with Belenenses in the cup. It’s a slow start but Thorpe, so often the man, puts us back in front and secures our place in the quarters, where we’ll travel to Charva town.
A mere 48 hours later and a trip to Slovakia sees Thorpe do the majority of the heavy lifting to secure our passage to the last 8.
Shame not to top the group but with just one blemish on our record we deserve to qualify.
This mighty mighty Ajax team will take some beating over two legs.
Back to Wembley now to round off the week and a forgettable encounter is lit up by Tricky Trev. We’ve made it!
Is this some sort of sick joke?
Big clash with Sporting at the top of the table which is extremely tight but Sporting strike late to leave us adrift in the title race.
Luckily the mad schedule should ease for a bit and Gallen returns to full fitness by slotting a penalty here in a routine win.
My oh my Kevin Gallen is out of bed and full of beans! A hat-trick away at Alverca and I am one relieved man at his apparent resurrection.
He sets us on our way at home to Maritimo too. We’ve just got to keep winning.
Let’s throw another competition into the mix as we welcome Inter in the first leg of the European Super Cup. Gallen is on fire but Inter won’t let it lie and come from behind three times. They have no answer to Gallen’s third and out fourth goal but we’ll do it all again in San Siro in a few weeks.
Did somebody order a routine win?
Final news of the week is that Jody Morris has signed for Sheffield Wednesday, thus effectively ending his England career.
I got this guy on exchange just to maintain status quo. Straight on the plane to Tokyo.
With half of the season played, we’re 6 points off the top. It’s just about a two horse race. I can’t believe there’s still half the season to go, it’s been an absolute feast so far.
Well we’ve metaphorically been around the world and back this week. Do come back next week where we’ll try and claw back that 6 point deficit on a team that has conceded just four goals. That’s mad. There’s also the World Cup and everything else we’re competing in. Have a great week – good toodles to you.