Regens, European dreams and Serie A collapse

I did sign the Alan Shearer regen at the start of this season. He has hardly set the world alight though – but then he is competing for one spot alongside ickle Michael Owen and Zizi Mattar

justin slade

He’s already worth a cool million though. Now I’m Doncaster AND England manager there’s extra motivation to bring through the best English players for the national team. Like this lad who has been on the fringes of our squad for years

barron

Another regen. With stats like that, he should be capable of doing things like this

Anyway it’s been another decent Doncaster season so far. Here’s our line-up for the season curtain-raiser at Wembley

cshiled

Not much transfer activity around Europe this year. The biggest deal was struck by United

trans The Hodg has got the sack though. hodg# letiss

And Le Tiss taking over at Southampton, gotta love it.

Over at Doncaster we picked up a couple of stars on the cheap

donctrasn

Landreau and Kiko are 97/98 legends. They won’t necessarily walk straight into our team, but they will give us a bit of European experience, which is what we have  been lacking

We got a 4-2 beating at Arsenal in the first game of the season but went on a great run after that

prem13

Arsenal are back in contention after finally getting rid of underachieving Arsene Wenger and replacing him with Brian Little, obviously.

Steve Coppell has turned Palace into a real force, but a bad start to the season sees him getting the sack (pretty harsh). He’s replaced by the Salernitana manager.

paalceroyle

Royle-y was never cut out for Italian management. Lucky for him that he has landed a big job back in the UK.

In Serie A, we got off to a flyer. Mostly thanks to Anthony

soares

We won our first three games (no surprise if you look at Soares’ stats), but we faced a real test away to Inter in game 4.

ineterway

We would never have come back from 2-1 down last year. Obviously having the Italian captain sent off didn’t help Inter (or Treze-goal getting injured).

We smashed our transfer record when Inter star Freddie Kanoute became available. Inter, you will remember, signed the entire Milan attack in the summer and Freddie has been frozen out as a result

kanoute

A great run of form culminated in this result against high-flying Lazio, which put us top

gen lazio a17

Just as I thought we had cracked it, things began to go wrong. 9 games later…

marchaform a26

We should be able to hang on to a top 5 slot at least. We had beaten our best ever season points total after 16 games so whatever happens it has been a year of progress…

We got to a cup semi-final too. Atalanta were too much for us though

copaasemi

And Anderlecht? It’s been our best year in Belgium too. At one point my teams were top in Belgium, Italy and England.

We overhauled Bruges in the winter after going to the Jan Breydel Stadion and getting the three points
jupe12brugesaway

Fully deserved too. Players like Jason Revelles (the new Desailly), Nevland and Marques are far too good for the Jupiler League

jupe25

13 wins in a row, scored 35 conceded 4. To be fair Bruges are still in striking distance, they’ve won 10 in 12 since we beat them. The rest are a long way behind.

Aalst have established themselves as a top 5 team and they’ve been causing upsets in Europe this year.

uefasemidraw

Juve are going to hammer them surely. Joe Royle is through to a European semi in his first year in charge,

In the Champions League, Anderlecht drew Barca in the groups and gave them a beating

barcaaway

We should have beat them in the knock-out rounds last year, so this is a measure of revenge

Both Anderlecht and Donny Rovers had tough groups, but two wins on matchday 4 put us in strong positions

clgame4

eyroea groupe

Only the group winners automatically qualify of course. This meant that Doncaster needed a win at Porto on the last matchday, while Anderlecht needed a point at Old Trafford. Both big asks

clgame6

Whoop! What was our reward?

doncqfsanderqfs

Both winnable games. Sure enough we won at home, but the away goals could come back to haunt us.

brondbyhome nanteshome

Anderlecht had bought Mbo Mpenza off Bruges last year. He was a superstar as a youngster but lost his place in the Bruges team and was available on the cheap. He never forced his way into our line-up either though, so we had sold him on to Nantes in the summer. You know what happened next

nantesaway

Eek! So while Anderlecht crash out, Doncaster get a 0-0 in Brondby and make it through to the semi-finals for the first time

euroqfs

intersfs

Ronaldo & co await in a couple of weeks, no excuses though for Doncaster. Back to back English titles and we’re looking in great shape at the moment

So another English title, a first Belgian title and a top-half finish in Serie A for the first time all look possible. Is Champions League glory beyond us though? Stay tuned to find out!

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