World Cup ’98

England failed to qualify for France 98, meaning we were deprived of a World Cup song, Sun pull-out posters and a Panini sticker frenzy. There was still plenty of good football on show, not much of it from China though to be fair

china

China aside, all the big guns made it through the groups, which meant that there were some big games in the second round, not least hosts France playing Holland

2nd round

My players’ involvement in the tournament came to an unwanted end when Anderlecht’s goal a game striker James Obiorah broke his leg at Nigeria’s training camp. He’s likely to be out till the New Year which is a major setback, as we just don’t have the finances to buy a replacement anywhere near the same level

France Holland lived up to its billing as the tie of the round. The home team looked to be cruising to victory till the introduction of Clarence Seedorf as a second half sub. Gotta feel sorry for Laurent Blanc, captain of the host team missing the decisive penalty

france holland

Holland knocked out Brazil in the quarters thanks to a Dennis Bergkamp double and Germany knocked out Italy to leave us with these semi-finals

semis

France in the second round, Brazil in the quarters and Spain are the next to suffer at the hands of the Dutch. They’ve had the hardest draw so far but seem to be getting better with each game. 5 in 2 for Bergkamp, and Germany in the final

spainholl

But Holland dont show up against the Germans, only mustering one attempt over the 90 minutes. Their unusual tactic of subbing a defender after 30 minutes finally backfires

wcfinal

There might be a World Cup going on, but the transfer market is still kicking off. Some big money moves for low-profile players

russel nikiforov

Our star-striker at Doncaster leaves as a result of a big-club release clause, and Rio’s on the move from relegated West Ham

andy rio

It’s End of season awards time. I get an award in Italy and James Obiorah can look at the Belgian Player of the Year trophy while he is lying on his back recovering from a broken leg. Oliver Bierhoff didn’t do much for his club but won the World Cup for Germany, so not such an unusual choice I s’pose. Scholes-y was the top scorer across the three countries. Rio won Young Player of the Year despite relegation

italian english belgian

 

Oh and then this happened

anderlecht

 

I didn’t enter some kind of cheat code, honest. I guess my second place finish and disappointing cup defeat was seen as evidence that I needed more funds, not as evidence of my incompetence. Certainly makes the loss of James Obiorah next year easier to bear. Just who I’ll be able to attract to the Jupiler League is another matter though

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