So it’s been a while since the last update. The last time we spoke, Doncaster and Anderlecht were celebrating historic trophies, while Genoa were delighted to be in Serie A for another season.
No international tournament this summer, so everyone will be getting a good rest. In the meantime, I’m pleased with this
A couple of years ago we would have stood no chance of signing a 21-yr old German international. The power of ‘Reputation’ at work
Anderlecht have got a decent reputation, but no money to spend on transfers or wages. So here’s our summer transfer activity
Not bad for a combined total of zero. Conca is the regen of Roberto Baggio so I’m expecting big things from him. Like becoming a buddhist hunter
Anyway, unusual religious interpretations aside, it has been a quiet transfer window.
As the start of the season draws near, I actually manage to beat Bruges for once, in the Belgian SuperCup.
Hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come
We’ve got both Doncaster and Anderlecht in the Champions League this season. Doncaster are seeded, but Anderlecht finished second in Belgium so have to go through the qualifiers.
Vienna are demolished. Recoba scored 6 of them.
We get two tricky groups pulled out of the glass bowl at UEFA HQ.
It’s only the winners who are guaranteed to go through to the quarter-finals remember.
Doncaster have got off to a flying start to their title defence
Sirakov is a Bulgarian forward, plucked from the Belgian league in the close season. He’s tearing up the Premier League. Here are his stats halfway through the season
Look at our early form
United are lurking in third though. Ferige or no Fergie, they’ll still be our closest challengers
We travelled to Old Trafford in the league a couple of weeks later. 2-0 down at half-time, and it was looking bleak. But…
Karl Watkin, our young Welsh forward, pulled it back. With a little help from ickle Michael of course.
Our seemingly unbeatable form was noticed by Marcello Lippi
That’s half a team. You may as well get me to manage England. Especially when this happens
And yep, they turn to the only viable option. How can I turn down the chance to manage my country. The FA are happy for me to stay on at Doncaster too.
Here’s my first England team
It’s basically the Man Utd back 5 and midfield 2, with the addition of Liverpool captain Rio Ferdinand. The three attacking midfielders are from Doncaster (Notman), United and Liverpool, along with Anfield talisman Robbie Fowler up front.
So 7 United players, 3 Liverpool and one Doncaster (the one Doncaster started his career at United too!). It doesn’t say much for the strength in depth of British football.
With no Euro 2004 to look forward to, the England job can go on the back-burner for the next 6 months
A few managerial changes to tell you about
King Kev comes back home, well to Wales anyway. Roy Evans was sacked from Manchester City and ends up in Sardinia taking over from Keegan, who in turn is taking over from Evans’ replacement at City. Confused? Me too
There were a few big money transfers during the season
As if United don’t have enough strikers.
Their rivals Liverpool lose one of their stars. Milan have got the most expensive strike-force in the world. Ballotta and Anelka at a combined £27,000,000
Toro spent £10,000,000 on one January afternoon
So, unrest at the Marassi stadium as we sell our two big-name players. But I don’t think we’ll miss them too much. We’ve got a young Italian centre-back who has stepped in to Dobrevsky’s shoes
Despite his massive transfer tag, I don’t think we’ll miss Parise much. In 3 seasons he never got a man-of-the-match award.
We’ve also got a few young players who have settled in well this year
The plan is to finish mid-table this season and splash the cash in the summer.
Having said that, 21 games in we’re still near the bottom. But one or two wins catapult us up the league
Over in the Champions League, we picked up a famous victory.
And did it again in Milan
That man Alvaro Recoba again (he used to play for Inter too)
We ended up sailing through the group stage
Doncaster were having more difficulties
A shock defeat at home to Rosenborg meant that we needed to win our final game and hope Porto could beat United. Our final game was against the Norwegians again
In normal circumstances, a 2-2 draw would be a good result when you are 1-0 down and one player short after 9 minutes. But it means we were out of Europe
Over in Brussels we waited for the Quarter-Final draw with baited breath
Gulp. To be fair, there were no easy games. 2 Italian giants, 2 Spanish giants, Man Utd, PSG and the two Belgian teams. Each of the games could go either way, but Barca have to start as favourites.
Anderlecht also had time to fit in a European Super Cup against Inter
We got Ronaldo-d
Despite being knocked out in Europe, Doncaster were flying in the league
Unbeaten 23 games in and well set for a second successive league title. As well as Liverpool and United, Steve Coppell’s Crystal Palace are near the top again. They have finished 8th and 4th in the last two seasons
A lot of their success is down to this lad
Him and Bakayoko are a frightening prospect as an Ivory Coast strike force. It’s fair to say he hasn’t really got going at international level yet though
Before I leave you, here’s a quick look at the top of the table situations in Italy and Belgium
It’s a two-horse race in the Jupiler League (as usual) and a one-horse race in Italy
And Anderlecht did the double over Milan in Europe! Nightmare for Fabio Capello