Bittersweet Symphony

Season 4 has reached it’s finale and as usual, the events vary from sublime to ridiculous. Is Brian Little going to retain the Premier League for Aston Villa? Can anybody stop Barcelona & Real Madrid dominating European football? Let’s find out.

Transfer Window

Before we get into the winners and losers, a couple of panic buys

Romario to Man City

If that doesn’t keep them up, nothing will. Meanwhile, in Heskeywatch

heskey to luton

League Cup

This is Liverpool’s tournament really, not even Brian Little can stop them. That’s one defeat in 4 years in this tournament, and that was in the final. Riccy Scimeca lifts the cup.

LC final 01

LC history

Ridiculous.

FA Cup

The Semi finals kept the apparent big hitters Villa and Man Utd apart, but they will meet in the final

FA Cup SF 01

It’s heartbreak again for Villa though as they can’t beat Man Utd. Never get on the wrong side of Sir Alex.

FA Cup Final 01

Premier League

It’s a double for Man Utd, as Villa fall short with a couple of draws late in the season. Man Utd only lose two games in the whole season though, which was always going to be difficult to keep pace with. Gordon Milne recovers Chelsea to 11th, somehow.

Prem top 01 final

Meanwhile at the bottom, it turns out Romario can’t save Man City, as the 35 year old nets zero times in 8 games. Wimbledon survive at their expense, I’m pleased for my old boys but don’t think they’ll be around much longer.

prem bottom 01

UEFA Cup

I don’t normally comment on the UEFA Cup after my inevitable early exit but I’ll make an exception here as Man Utd complete a treble, beating Vicenza

uefa cup final 01 result

Incidentally, Wenger led Bordeaux to the Cup Winners Cup, which is a decent achievement.

Champions League

The semi finals looked a bit lop sided, but it gets us the final we want

CL Semi final 01

Real won La Liga before Barca beat Real on penalties in the Copa de Rey final – but it’s not to be for the Catalans in the Champions League final…you’ll never beat Steve Haslam!

CL final 01

Ligue 1

You may remember from the previous update, I’ve got Auxerre in the mix in Ligue 1 despite having nothing to spend. To cut a long story short, we’ve been awesome and managed to beat PSG and Marseille to get ourselves into this position:

One game to go Ligue 1

There’s only 34 games in Ligue 1 so it comes down to the last day of the season. We brush Monaco aside, but sadly Ludovic Guily scores an 80th minute winner for PSG at Nantes

last day result

So close! Why is this bittersweet you may ask? Well, 2nd is enough for Champions League football, and that is far more than I could have hoped to achieve without a major signing.

Ligue 1 final 01

PSG, like Man Utd, only lose twice all season, and one of those was to me. I could babble on all day about what a good season it’s been, take a look at this home record

Auxerre home record

Zanotti is the main standout with 19 goals from midfield, though Guivarc’h gets 21 goals and 16 assists in the lone striker role, which is a good return

Auxerre 01 avg ratings

Enough about France though as the curtain comes down on another season. Southampton have suffered relegation to divison 3 (that’s 3 relegations in 4 seasons) and they sack another manager. Who do you appoint?

ruddock to soton

That won’t help. Let’s see some awards

awards 01

Marashliev’s at it again! Clearly the Messi of his day. Steve Simonsen sweeping up the PFA Awards is a bit of an odd one. Incidentally Roy Hodgson took Lille to Ligue 2 title and they are back in the “big time” – Auxerre received £335k for finishing 2nd in Ligue 1…

Arsenal waste no time in bidding for the 2 time Footballer of the Year

world player of the year

But he turns them down! Better off at Banik Ostrava anyway. And so, as the transfer windows starts to go daft again, look who Joe Kinnear’s bought…

heskey to spurs

Join us next time as we kick off the 01/02 season, where I’ll hopefully take my first footsteps in the Champions League

Wenger gets Bord

We’ve survived the Y2K bug and rattled along into 2001. To set the scene of who is on top of the world as we cross over into 2001, here’s the manager of the month awards so far this season:

managers of the month 2000

Brian Little’s Aston Villa are again coming on strong, and they’re only going to get better with this signing:

fowler villa

That’s Fowler, Owen & Yorke on their books now. Brian Little is a genius.

One man who is definitely not a genius is Gordon Milne, who follows up his 8-3 defeat yesterday with a 5-0 home defeat to Forest in the Cup

Milne magic

Speaking of the FA Cup, here’s how the important stages are shaping up:

FA Cup QF Results 01

FA Cup SF Draw 01

Arsenal however will be doing this without Arsene Wenger, who has been tempted by Bordeaux, who are the Cup Winners Cup holders which has probably enhanced their reputation in the game somewhat.

bordeaux appoint wenger

It’s worth pointing out Arsenal are 15th in the Premier League at this moment, so they go for my replacement at Wimbledon John Toshack, just because.

toshack to arsenal

Wimbledon go for Mick Harford, so that’s nice. Here’s how the Premier League looks with a couple of months to go:

Prem March 01

Prem bottom March 01

Blackburn’s run of form is remarkable, they were really struggling earlier in the season. Coventry’s Giovanni (of Barcelona and Olympiacos fame) is the league’s top scorer. At the bottom, it looks bleak for Bolton but somehow Gordon Milne has got Chelsea to 17th. I fear for Wimbledon under Harford but I hope they survive, I’d feel partially responsible if they don’t.

As ever, the first cup final of the season is the league cup and it’s Liverpool again in the final, this time against Villa

league cup semis 01

For those keeping score, Villa are in a final, a semi final and 2nd in the league. They lost to Real Madrid on away goals in the Champions League. On that note, two of the Champions League Semi Finals I expected. The other two however…

CL sf 01

Nope, I can’t explain that either.

Meanwhile in France it’s still going better than I could have expected. I’ve had no cup runs and we were well beaten by Fiorentina in the last 16 of the UEFA cup, but we’re still in with a shout in the league

Ligue 1 top march 01

Once PSG & Marseille win their games in hand it will be back hdown to third but with both teams still to visit Auxerre, we’ve got a chance. Amazingly we have 11 wins out of 12 at home, with one draw, so that bodes well. Even finishing 2nd would represent a huge achievement given the resources I’ve had compared to the “big two”

As ever, in the next update we’ll run down who wins what, and find out if anybody can beat Marshaliev to World Footballer of the year

London Calling

As we leave Euro 2000 behind, the 2000/01 season looks like a time of change. There’s a huge amount of free transfers on offer, with this the pick of the bunch:

batigol

Elsehwere the big two in La Liga continue to strengthen, although Oscar has gone from Barca to Real to Valencia…back to Barca. He will never learnOscar

To keep up the status quo, Karanka continues the squad swap

karanka

Meanwhile Real Madrid do me a favour by taking Barthez out of Ligue 1

barthez madrid

They also take their own striker back from Villa, he’s done his damage over in England with 58 goals in 72 games.

dani real madrid

So that’s all well and good. I’ve decided to stay at Auxerre and see what happens, we’ve got UEFA Cup football again and although I want to head back to the Premier League, I need the right job to come up. This isn’t it:

big ron

This, however, could have some mileage. Poor Roy.

hodgson sacked

However, I forget that it wouldn’t nearly be controversial enough to appoint me, instead they pillage Tottenham’s manager

Milne to Chelsea

I don’t want the Tottenham job but they decide I’m the man for the job. It’s a route back to England but they’ve got no money and a fairly average squad.

spurs job

I give them the old thanks but no thanks and continue living it up in France. Obviously any manager they choose is a downgrade from me (stop laughing) but this was unexpected

kinnear spurs

Well, I suppose he used to play for them. so Joe goes from Divison 2 Bristol City to Premier League Tottenham. How and why, I’m not too sure. Anyway, speaking of Spurs, look who is QPR manager

qpr teddy

Lovely Teddy. On the plus side, the managerial change is working out well at Chelsea

cov 8 - 3 chelsea

Normally when you see a scoreline like that, you assume a keeper has been sent off or there has been some sort of shenanigans. Nope…

cov 8 - 3 chelsea ratings

Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson sits back and laughs and is unveiled as the manager of Lille. Just take a second to let Noel Whelan’s hat trick sink in, and for how many saves Ed De Goey must have made to let in 8 goals and still get a rating of 9.

All of this madness leaves the Premier League looking like this in November 2000

prem top nov 00

prem bottom nov 00

That bottom 6…falls from grace all round. Over in France, things have been going pretty well and I’m in the upper echelons of the league after 11 games.

ligue 1 top 00

I had no money to spend and had to sell Agboh to PSG to balance the books, my list of transfers in is pretty depressing

Auxerre in

The problem is, all the teams I’ve played so far are bottom half teams, and in the next few I have PSG, Marseille, Monaco and Bordeaux among others. So the table might have a more realistic look about it in the next update!

Until then, thanks for reading and remember to keep an eye on twitter for various other happenings @cm9798