Before we get to the play-off special, here’s a round-up of the other trophies won and lost as the season drew to a close. No drama in the Premier League as United triumph again. Decent seasons for Blackburn and Chelsea. Wimbledon secure another top-6 finish as well, although they were dumped out in the UEFA Cup 3rd round by Atletico.
Yep no prizes for that, but guess who scored?
Repaying the first slice on his transfer fee and ramming my words about him never playing (or scoring) back down my throat. Fair play, Emile. (Bet it won’t happen again though)
This was the state of play in Italy with one game left.
Inter and Juve running away with it, and Inter needing a win on the final day to secure the title, thus denying Juve a potential league and Champions League double. Here are the last round of fixtures.
Both of them had tricky, but winnable away games. Inter went 2-0 up early on in Genova through Ronaldo and Marco Simone and it looked to be all over. Samp had other plans though and scored 2 late goals to peg the nerazzurri back. That result meant a win for Juve at Vicenza would give them back-to-back scudetti.
They hammered on the door for 90 minutes, but Zidane, Pires and co couldn’t find a way past an inspired Luca Mondini. Lippi might regret leaving Patrick Kluivert on the bench till the 64th minute.
After sacking me 5 games in, Torino finished bottom and will be back in Serie B, with my Monza team, next season.
Juve got some measure of comfort from a regulation Coppa Italia triumph
They then proceeded to blow Barca away in the Champions League final. The game was all over by half-time.
After hammering PSG in the semi-final, Juve have put a marker down to the rest of Europe. Only Inter were able to get anywhere near them this season. It will be interesting to see if these two teams dominate the major trophies next year as well.
In the Cup-Winners Cup, Eirik Bakke gave Helsingborg a victory to remember
Whilst Guidolin did indeed achieve a relegation/UEFA Cup double. A sign of Parma’s inconsistency and the strength of Serie A
The Belgian league? Well Anderlecht finished one position and 6 points worse than they did under my management last season (hahaha). Bruges, inspired by Michael Laudrup, upset the pre-season odds and won a league and cup double. Standard were my favourites for the league but they finished 4 points adrift.
Antwerp continuing their fine tradition in the Belgian Cup. Last year they lost 7-1 to Lierse in the final, this year 6-1 to Bruges. At this rate they might win a tournament sometime in the middle of the next century.
Back to the Division 2 play-offs. We fought bravely away to Swansea but let in a late goal. Still, at 0-1 there is all to play for in the second leg back at Vicarage Road
At half-time things looked to be falling into place. Baldry red-carded for a terrible tackle early on and midfield general Micah Hyde putting us 1-0 up on the day
It was all set up for a second half winner, but the goal wouldn’t come. With two minutes left on the clock, Fabio Nene smashed in a second, but it was disallowed for the offside. As the whistle blew for full-time, it didn’t seem like it was going to be our day.
It was left to two of my signings to send us through. Frolyn Ledezma, a 20 year-old Costa Rican and Nicky Medlin, a £800,000 buy from Exeter, netted in extra-time to send us to the final. Ledezma was man of the match with 1 goal and 2 assists.
Young Frolyn was going to have to do it again for us in the final because Fabio Nene pulled up with a hamstring in training the day before the final.
He had been our talisman since taking over striker’s duties from Noel-Williams and he’s going to be missed.
Our opposition in the final was Burnley, player-manager, Chris Waddle. He has been showing a lot more ability in the managers seat than he ever has done as a pundit. They finished 3rd in the league and would go into the final as favourites
We just didn’t turn up on the day. 2-0 down after 20 minutes, Ledezma did pull a goal back to give us a glimmer of hope. That hope was extinguished 5 minutes later as Peter Handyside was sent off for a professional foul. Chris Hay, a striker valued at £4.4 million and chased by Spurs & Chelsea, hammered the nails into our coffin.
My third trip to Wembley and my third defeat. Not a great record, but at least I am getting there regularly.
Monza could really do with a trip or two to Wembley. We are haemorraging money each week. Serie B bonus payments aren’t much help either!
I can’t see many of these players being with the club next season. Sadotti and Campolonghi are both worth a few million, so I’ve transferred listed them in the hope of rebuilding the club with the money. Sadotti has been our captain this season, but neither have been tearing up any trees so I wouldn’t miss them too much if they do leave
Doncaster should be able to attract some good players as a Division 1 team, we’ve still got the £2,000,000 from the sale of Munson to play with too.
But wait! Newly promoted Cagliari obviously saw something they liked at Cosenza. Better luck second time around maybe?