Unreal O’Neill

The 06/07 season has come to a fascinating end, and although Liverpool aren’t really involved in the title race, there’s still a cup final to be won. Here we go then…

League Cup

Balls.

LC Final 07A devestating 118th minute defeat courtesy of Ben Thornley. So it’s come to this. Still, a decent run and nothing really lost. Brian Little will be hoping to make it a double with the Premier League race still well and truly on.

FA Cup

FA SF 07The semi finals see Chelsea and Bolton make their moves to Wembley, which pretty much goes to form although all 4 sides have enjoyed varying degrees of success over the 10 seasons. Who’s your money on?

FA Cup Final 07Colin Todd, what a guy. An easy win in the end and Bolton will play in the Cup Winners Cup. There’s more success for English sides in Europe, too.

Man Utd UEFA Cup FinalCWC FinalLeicester’s win is particularly impressive, it has to be said. Man Utd lost in the Champions League qualifiers to Lyon to drop into the UEFA Cup but they’ve made the most of it. The Champions League is less surprising however.

Champions League

CL SF resultsBarcelona vs Milan should be a decent final! Good run from Malmo though. It’s Barcelona’s year though

CL Final 07With La Liga in the bag too, Real Madrid grow tired of competing and send their B Team out in the Copa del Rey instead, with similar results

CDR SFBarca go on to win the final to cap another wonderful season for Van Gaal.

Premier League

Important things out the way first, Keane joins me in the old “beating your old club” routine

leeds 1 - 2 liverpoolYou might remember in the last update, the league was squashed up and it was a bit of a free for all. Well it’s certainly continued that way, to the point where the league table with one game to go looks like this:

prem top 1 game to goO’Neill has got Sunderland firing on all cylinders, with Christian Vieri leading the line. Some would say Man Utd discarded him too early, but whatever. The bottom is looking tricky too

prem bottom 1 game to goEverton have gone, Sheff Utd look like they’re on the verge and that just leaves Keegan’s Blackburn or Anderton’s Arsenal. Galactic Keegan would be gutted. Here are the fixtures

prem last day fixsAll Sunderland need to do is beat lowly Burnley at home. If they fail, Chelsea will surely beat bottom of the table Everton. Villa are the outsiders, but can relegate Sheff Utd.  Arsenal could do with a result at Bolton whilst Blackburn have the easier game against Birmingham.

prem last day resultsSunderland come from 2-1 behind to claim their first title. Chelsea & Villa’s wins are in vain with Chelsea taking the second Champions League spot. I’m in 5th, which for a first season back in the league is more than decent – though it’s Sunderland’s too, so maybe not that good. Man Utd finish a lowly 7th but their UEFA Cup win means they will be back in that competition next season .Arsenal survive with a 0-0 at Bolton. Blackburn would have survived with a win but a terrible home defeat means Keegan’s side are relegated. Awards time!

Awards 07Bit odd that Grant Ball, Birmingham’s ex-Real Madrid keeper gets PFA player of the year but keeper’s get a lot of awards for high average ratings. Few could argue with Aussie Paul Harries winning the writers awards, though I’ll have to research Bruno Portela. John Toshack decides to bow out on the high of a cup winners cup, and who can blame him?

Toshack retires

So another season gone, see you again for the 07/08 season – yes?

Open Season

The 06/07 season is actually turning into one of my favourites yet. The game has reached a point where many of the established stars are beginning to retire or decline and their replacements are either not up to scratch or developing. Let me talk you through it In the last update, I was drawn away to Leeds in the League Cup, my first visit back to Elland Road. In theory I should receive a wonderful welcome, afterall I did bring the good times back. Before that though Leeds visit Anfield, which is a good day for me. liv leedsI’ve been through a lot with Michael Landreau including the Auxerre experiment, the league win with Leeds and then a World Cup win, the little ungrateful bugger tries to deny me but Bochenski eventually beats him. Then I’m off to Leeds just 4 days later leeds liverpool pensGreat result for me, Leeds will be livid. Anyway, this means we’re in the business end of the League Cup and I brush First Divsion Derby aside in the Quarters, before a 2 legged semi final with Boro LC semis 07We just about sneak through into the final where we’ll play Brian Little’s Villa. It’s a pointless trophy, but seems to carry a lot of favour despite no European place. Strange. Anyway, it’s another day out at Wembley. After initially letting my promoted squad run wild, things were a bit dull so I’ve spiced it up a bit with an England international and an old pal wicks liverpoolbakayoko liverpoolThat sets us up nicely. In other news, Shearer appointed Magpies manager! shearer notts countyThe wrong Magpies, Alan! County are near the foot of division 1 having just sacked Steve Bruce, so they obviously love a Geordie. Shearer is probably still useful as a player at that level, despite being 36. There’s some decent transfers taking place too collier to villa gallas to lyon burrgink man utd hellebuyck barcaCollier you might recall is the re-generated Peter Beardsley, so he has some good stats behind him. I took him to Leeds but he was backup to Victor Marco. Bruggink scored 6 in a game for Holland once, whilst Gallas & Hellebuyck both won the World Cup with me. How lovely. Meanwhile, let’s see how Chelsea are getting on with Tony Adams chelsea lose 6Oh dear. In truth, they’re doing ok and are in an FA Cup Semi Final, as they beat Burnley in a replay FA Cup Semis 07Colin Todd’s Bolton are still hanging in there. The Champions League has 3 familiar names…and Malmo CL semi finalsSweden’s improvement was apparent in the World Cup so it’s good to see some consistency. I mentioned this was my favourite season so far – here’s why: Prem top march 07Ten points between 1st and 12th with 8/9 games to go, is ridiculous. It’s such a level playing field. West Ham, managed by Tony Gale, have come from nowhere to be second. Sunderland, who played a blinder appointing O’Neill after his Arsenal failure and were promoted alongside me, have been flying recently including that 6-0 win. With only 2 Champions League spots up for grabs, it could be anybody’s. Man Utd down in 9th is interesting, but their game in hand could take them back to 5th. The bottom of the table is not far behind prem bottom 0714 points from 1st to 15th is just hideous. Everton’s yo-yo existence looks set to continue but Anderton is scrapping hard to keep Arsenal up, believe it or not they were bottom for a long time, but maybe he’s finally getting it right. The next update promises to be the most interesting yet – I’m really looking forward to playing out these final 2 months so I’ll see you back here for the outcome

Job Swap

Welcome to the 2006/07 season. In the last update, I cemented my place at the top of the hall of fame by winning the World Cup with France. With that mission accomplished, I’ve immediately resigned the role to focus on my club career. What I didn’t consider is the domino effect that would have on the Premier League…

adams to france

Tony “winner of everything” Adams is off to try his hand at the International game. This might seem odd to you but those with a keen eye for detail will recall Adams built his managerial career at Lens, so hurrah for continuity I guess. Chelsea move to take a manager from a rival

dalglish to chelsea

Dalglish has enjoyed a couple of trophies with Newcastle including most recently the UEFA Cup, so maybe a shrewd appointment. Meanwhile, I’m very tempted by the Newcastle job as they are my club, but maybe later. For now, they go for Gordon Milne.

milne to newcastle

So now that’s Arsenal in the hunt for a new manager. Well, who else would they appoint?

anderton to arsenal

Player manager no less, good grief. Some big money moves as always

ballotta to RM trez to lyon smith to RM leeds marteinsson sanger to RM

It will be very interesting to see how Man Utd cope having sold two of their stars, though they do still have Fowler. Look who came crawling back…

evans to hull

They’re in the first division but he’s lucky to work in England again given how his Liverpool experience finished. Speaking of Liverpool, I’ve got things ticking over but little more. The reputation is average so now great signings – though Juan Veron has arrived on a free. This should keep me in good favour:

merseyside derby

Meanwhile, the League Cup has kicked off and it’s a sad state of affairs at Stamford Bridge

chelsea orient

I’m still in it though, but there’s a grudge match ahead!

LC 4th round draw

There’ll be hell on! McManaman against his old club and me against mine, Sky will be all over it. Here’s how the top of the Premier League looks:

prem top nov 06

Brian Little is determined to get Villa back on the winners trail, though Chelsea are not far behind plus the emergence of Leicester. I’m happy with 9th for now, as a newly promoted team it’s good to consolidate. As usual, Arsenal are flirting with trouble

prem bottom nov 06

Still very early days though, they’ll no doubt spring up to 17th under Anderton’s guidance. Forest, who are the latest club Michael Owen bench warms for, are struggling for goals at the bottom. Looks like value for money at Burnley too! Forest and Burnley are managed by Pearce and Waddle respectively, so great penalty taking all round.

That’s it for now though, join us next time to see how my return to Elland Road goes and if anybody can get themselves a decent lead in the title race.