2009 round-up

So Anderlecht beat Genoa in a titanic Champions League battle..but who took the honours domestically? Read on to find out..

ITALY

Genoa had been leading the way for much of the season in Italy, but you can never write a team like Inter off and they won a top-of-the table clash in April  to put themselves back in contention0-1inter

However, they couldn’t follow up that victory, and the draw against Toro proved to be a fatal blowa31fixturesa3leafue

Serie A champions for the first time!

genoachampsa34

ahistory.jpga34bottom

Juve heading into Serie B after a few mediocre yearsjuvehistory

Here’s the players wot won it

genoavaluesconca2singagliavitiellogenoavr

The only reason I haven’t stuck a screenshot of Crisotf Eberl up there is because his brilliance has become routine now. We’ve got a young squad, that also forms the core of the Italian national team and there’s no reason why we can’t go and dominate Italy for the next decade

Oh and a quick shout to Freddie Kanoute. I sold him in the summer to make space for young players like Conca and Soares. I did OK without him, but he has done alright for himself too

kanoute

ENGLAND

April 18th was the day the title race turned in the Premier League. Birmingham put a spanner in their neighbours’ title challenge, while we thumped Tranmere

18april

We weren’t the only team to be Tranmere this season..premobototm

11 days later, we travelled to Villa Park and wrapped things upvillachels

We are cursed to be wearing that graphite and tangerine away kit for all eternity. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually owned one as a teenager..

premchamps1st

chelseacostskavhungslade

Julian Slade (Alan Shearer) came of age this season and Pal Skavhaug was a colussus in defence. Christophe Monterubio (Robert Pires) only joined us in the summer and at just 21 he’s sure to have a big future

chelsavr

BELGIUM

Move on, nothing to see here. Anderlecht crushed all-comers again. The usual suspects Bruges, Standard and Aalst trailed in behind

jupe34

Rene Joilton lived up to his reputation as the most expensive player in the world. Jason Revelles is a machine, near the top of the ratings every season

andersquafrevelles

A shout out to Pier Canale, probably our best Belgian player. Doesn’t score many goals or get many man of the match awards, but he’s consistently in and around the first teamcanalejoilton

Utility man Nacho Castro (Luis Enrique) doesn’t always get to start for us, but he’s a star for Spain

nacho 6

INTERNATIONAL

Despite a terrible Euro 2008. John Toshack is hanging on to the Azzuri job. He has been on the verge of getting the boot all year. I’m waiting for that job to become available

toshack

England are cruising it in World Cup Qualifyingwcqf

END OF SEASON AWARDS

Inter have won nothing and he’s now 32 years old, so SURELY Morten Carlsen won’t get the European Player of the Year award for the sixth time right?engawards

Nope, it’s Daniel Larrieu of Bordeaux, of course. He did make a big contribution to their UEFA Cup run I suppose

larrieu.jpg

And he’s so good they released him on a free

larrieu2.jpg

And to think the likes of Erik Nevland and Jason Revelles will likely retire without winning it…I’m fuming

My Anderlecht team didn’t get much love in Belgium either

belgawards

And Genoa made it 0 from 3. Pellegrini is a decent player though to be fairitaawrds

pellegrini.jpg

What else? Well some end of season managerial news. Guidolin does the only honourable thing

guiodolin

Bombshell in England..after just six (disappointing) months in the job, Joe packs it inrolyeretire

And (I love this) look who the replacement is..stepping in as player-managerscholes

He’s not the first ‘Class of 92’ player to move into management. Remember Gary Neville took a job at Reggiana?

neville

You might call this a failure, but it’s longer than he lasted at Valencia

Chh-C-Champions League

Afternoon all. I never got around to talking about season 12 in Europe in the last post..it’s been emotional..

Genoa and Chelsea had to navigate the qualifying round as they both finished second domestically in 2008.

cl1

Geno got the trickier draw, but both emerged unscathed

chelchisdortmundclqf1

Anderlecht eased through the group stage

barcaander

a

And found time to add a couple more trophies to the cabinet.supercup

This one looks close…

guzzo

But it really wasn’t…lanus

The group of death was Group D. My clubs Genoa and Chelsea paired with the might of Inter and only one club guaranteed to go through

In the end it came to a Genoa Chelsea play-off. The first team these two clubs had played each other…

genchelsea

Simon Kjer, a Danish attacking midfielder who is valued at £5million plus finally justifies his reputation (Brian Laudrup regen)clqfdraw

A more favourable quarter-final draw for Genoa. In keeping with how the domestic leagues are going, there were some unusual names in the last 8.

Here’s the Aberdeen squad. A few decent Scottish and Irish players thereaberdeen

Led by Pittodrie veteran, Sergeio Rebrovrebrov

Sergei got our centre-back sent off, but it made little differencegenaberd

We picked a reserve team for the second leg because we needed to focus our energy on keeping first place in the league. After 10 minutes I was beginning to panic

aber genoaecqf

The semi final draw kept us apart, leaving open the possibility of an all-human final. Anderlecht would have to get past Inter first…we’ve done it before

ecsfs

Tomasso Conca (Roberto Baggio regen) did the trick at the Vicente Calderon

amawayconca

The Anderlecht all stars team put on a show at San Siro. These were the half-time stats

interht

And we kept it tight in the second half to record a priceless 1-0 wininterft

The second leg was a real nail-biter. Nevland and Trez-e-goal traded blows and Inter were one away goal away from going through2ndleg

Genoa cruised through, but we lost our captain to injury which would rule him out for a key monthgen 2nd leg

Young Filippo Spinesi got the goalsspinses

And so it was writtengen anders

What about the other trophies?

Let’s get this one out of the way. Well done to Peter Reid and Derby

lcfunal

The FA Cup semis were close run things. Title challenging Villa saw their dreams of a double ended by Bryan Robson’s Newcastlenewcvillafasemiutd leeds semi

Newcastle made it two Cup Finals soon after

cwcsmis

Birmingham, who have carved out a niche as European experts, also reached a final. It could’ve been a local derby, but mid-table Udinese snuck through against Villa who crash out in another semi-finaluefasemis

Newcastle’s man for the big occasion, South-African Mark Madigage, brought home the FA Cup, but couldn’t do the same in Europe

newcfacwcmarsellie

And Birmingham made it two defeats out of two for Englandcwcfinal

Udinese, true cup experts…coppaitalia

And so, to the big one. Italy and Belgium came to a halt for the evening to tune in for a Wembley showdown. Here are the line-ups.

Genoa still missing injured captain Alfredo Tisci, but with an attacking three of Mattar, Conca and Eberl who have proved unstoppable all season.

Midfield stalwart Daniele Daino is surprisingly left out due to fitness issues, but Italian international Sinigaglia will be looking to pull the strings

genoaxi

The Anderlecht team picks itself. The only player missing is the injured Rio Ferdinand. Big signing Heidmar Gunnarson is cup-tied for European competition. Players like Nevland, Joilton, Revelles and Sala have seen it all before. The Belgians start as favourites and, if successul, this would be their 3rd Champions League triumph in 4 years.andersxi

Cool-headed centre-back Jason Revelles slots home from the penalty spot early on to give Anderlecht the league. Erik Nevland chips in with his customary goal. Despite an immediate reply from Christof Eberl, Genoa are always chasing the game and Anderlecht cling on in front of a near full-housegen2ander3

No complaints about the result, the Genovese had their chances but so did Anderlecht and Tovalieri was man of the matchgenadnratingsecllegaueandersclrecord

Europe hasn’t seen this kind of dominance since the Real side of the 1950’s.

Of course, the league is our bread and butter and it’s been a busy domestic season from Spain to England. I’ll leave that story for next time though

 

 

 

 

Season 12 the story so far

We’re into March 2009 now, and it seems like a long time ago that the English squad returned as champions from Euro 2008 in Spain. At this point in the game, most of the original players have retired and as result the traditional big teams are starting to slip away from the top spots in the table

Here’s the Premier League 12 games in…prem12.jpg

Similar to real life 2016, there’s some unusual clubs in the race for top 6. United, Liverpool etc nowhere to be seen (Arsenal and Newcastle are going to fade away during the season too). Is this a coincidence, or evidence that we are, in fact, living inside a football management simulation that started around 2004? Probably coincidence, but I wouldn’t be the first eminent philosopher to claim that we are all living in simulation

A-a-a-a-nyway, I’m here as a football manager, not an expert on metaphysical matters, and as a football manager I was pretty happy to hear this

ffp

Luckily FFP hasn’t reached CM97/98 so my owners are free to pump in as much money as they want. Who will I buy with my new-found riches? Who else..

gunnargunnarson

Lovely.

Here’s a rundown of the most valuable players in world football in 2008

expensive

Most of them have played for me at some point. Ickle Michael Owen is the most expensive player in the world after his summer heroics (let’s hope he cashes in on his fame so he won’t need to end up working as a pundit after his retirement). I sold Jorg Seitz to Milan – no regrets though, super Erik Nevland is a better striker. I spent the best part of 23 million on Zizi and Heidmar this summer. Viveros used to play for me, but I think he’s massively overrated (look at his stats). 2 Englishmen and a Scotsman (Alex Martin) in the top 8.

While we’re on transfers, I bid a sad farewell to a bit of a ledge. He’s not getting any younger and we need to recoup some of the money we spent this summer on Zizi and co

freddie

I’ll happy take the first-choice Italian right-back off my old club’s hands thoughpiacentini

This bombshell kicked off the season and started an epic-merry go round.

nev

Based on his managerial record Big Nev can’t really complain. nev2

While we’re talking Southall and Owen, here’s a video of him having a go at Michael Owen, after Michael tries to humaliate a 13 year old..

There’s only one man for the Old Trafford hot seat. Brian always seems to have a great CM9798 careerlittlekinnear

Arsenal have poached Joe! Where will my old team turn?royleroyley

He’s done a solid job wherever he has gone (apart from getting Salernitana relegated), but this is a step up. Bryan Robson completes the game of musical chairs

robbo

While we’re talking managers, as a fan of 90’s Italian football I like this move

ancleotimonidico

Emiliano back where he belongs and Carlo gets another decent job tooatalanta

Not sure what to say about this one, makes sense for Roy geographically at least..just a couple of stops on the train to Liverpoolruncirn

Gary Neville goes abroad for his first taste of management, that’s sure to end well then

reggiana

bbottom

How about some actual football? OK. Guess what, Anderlecht are top in Belgium. We did a nice bit of business on a striker we didn’t really need

ballota.jpg

Bruges kept pace at first

jipe11

But performances like this, meant we soon built a decent lead.anderdsgent

My goalie got injured for the last 15 minutes of this game and I had used all my subs. Gent hadn’t had a shot on target so I just played without one for the rest of the match to even things up…

10menotteseno

jupe25.jpg

The Premier League turned into a 3-horse race between us, Villa and Sunderland thanks to results like this

villadoncchelsutd

Yep that’s Gifton Noel-Williams banging them in for Villa. Deniol Ratcliffe (Gary Speed regen) and Jimmy Nava, both 22, are having big seasons in central midfield.

We were starting to belive, thanks to results like thisvillasunderland

and especially this comeback..3-1 down with 11 minutes left!

3-4leedsavrleeds

prem2

prem30

It could be a first league title since 1955 for the boys in blue

And could Genoa make it a hattrick of titles for me? We certainly provide enough players to the national team

itlaia

Marcuz and Sala are Anderlecht players and Nava is Chelsea, but that’s still 10 Genoa representatives!

It was neck and neck in Serie A early on

srestults11a11

Then we hit some serious form

ge juveintgenogenoaform

With 8 games left it could be our year

a26.jpg

But we’ve been in this position before and Inter are more than capable of taking maximum points from the last 8 games…it’s going to go down to the wire.

The eagle-eyed reader will have spotted a Genoa -v- Chelsea Champions League clash in the fixture list. The Champions League campaign is a whole story in itself so I’ve leave that for next time

For now, I’ll leave you with the worrying news that Roy Evans faces a battle for survival in Division 3. His Runcorn side are languishing below Alan Shearers QPR. Thankfully for all concerned, Alvin Martin’s Southend look doomed to relegation at this stage

div3 bottom.jpg

 

Will it be pain in Spain, again?

Welcome back!

Remember we were about to kick off our Euro 2008 campaign against the hosts? The Spanish FA took the unusual decision of locating Spain’s first match in the heart of Catalonia..

sapin

Michael Owen continuing his pre-tournament form. He had done this in our final warm up matchjapan

Whatever our weaknesses elsewhere,  Owen and Notman are established world-class performers. They showed why in our second-group game

belgium

With that, we were already through to the Quarter-Finals. Two very good teams comfortably brushed aside…the nation started to dream..

We put out a second-string team for our final group match. David Beckham even got a run-out

slocakia

Slade (Alan Shearer regen) is a young striker making a name at Chelsea and he showed that the post-Owen future is in safe hands. And yes, CM9798 lovers, that is Tom Youngs still going strong (ish)

Here are the final group standings

aabcd

It’s a cliche, but there really no easy games amongst the qualifiers (well maybe Scotland)

qfs

We’ll take that to be honest. Italy and France are my favourites and Denmark have got a golden generation at the moment.

Holland do have some stars, as you’d expect, but they’ve also got an aging Boudewijn Zenden, Ruud Van Nistelroj in midfield, and a very average defenceholxi

Here’s our team. Peter Bradley has had a great season at West Brom and forms a combative midfield pairing with ex-Doncaster stalwart Paul Barrett (now back at Arsenal). We’ve got another Arsenal player, Adrian Middleton, partnering Anderlecht legend Rio Ferdinand at the back.

Paul Scholes is still going strong at 33 and unsung full-backs Pell and Upson give you 7 out of 10 every game. Richard Wright has spent a decade at Man United and marshalls a solid defenceengqf

Michael Owen and Newcastle youngster Eddie Pell make the difference, whilst Rio is immense as usualholland

In other news, Spain crash out on home soil

sapfra

France are just too good.

Morten Carlsen was missing for Denmark, and they are on the plane homedenita

A comfortable win for Germany, never really in doubtscoger

And so there were 4…

sfdraw

Yep! A rematch of the 2006 World Cup Semi where France played us off the park at Wembley. Hopefully we are older and wiser now..fraxi

Quality all over the park. My Anderlecht centre-back Revelles (Desailly regen) is the defensive leader, but that front three are unplayable on their day. They’ve got 139 international goals between them! (Anelka 65, Trez 40 and Kanoute 34).

But, somehow, this was the score at half-time

frahtstatshtfrafrahtratings

Wright was having a busy night and the French are putting themselves about.. 5 yellow cards in 45 minutes. There’s only one man for this situation

becks

Just don’t get yourself sent off David.

He did get booked, but we hold on for a shock victory against the pre-tournament favourites. Thanks Wrighty!fraengfinalscorefrafinalstats

We’ve beaten Spain, Holland and France, doing it the hard way, but will it be the Germans or Italians in the final?

gerita

<Gulp> Maybe I was wrong about France being the best team on the continent

finaldraw

Here are the teams

italyteam

Italy draw the core of their team from the dominant Inter side (Constantino, D’Aversa, Torbidoni, Pellegrini, Gennari and Tacchinardi). Their full-backs know all about the English team, having just won the league with Doncaster. The only weakness is their manager. The one, the only, John Toshack?!

engitateam

Paul Barrett’s suspension means a start for my Chelsea captain Richard Flounders. We’ll be looking to our defence to keep it tight and hoping Owen can keep up his goal a game record in the tournament

A quiet first-half bursts into life after 43 minutes. Paul Scholes plays Michael Owen through on goal, and there is only one outcome

itaht

The score remains the same until late in the second half. Until, Andrew Middleton sends Pellegrini sprawling in the penalty area. A nation holds its breath, but the referee inexplicably waves play on! 5 minutes later and it’s all overengitafinal

The England squad goes down in history!winners!

A fitting swansong for Paul Scholes, level with Gary Lineker in the list of all-time goal scorers

scholes

Michael Owen is arguably the finest striker in world football right nowowen

And Rio is peerless at the backrio

And a shout-out to David too. His best days are behind him but he finishes his England career with a medal (I’m not going to pick him again)becks2

In the post-Euro euphoria UEFA make an odd decisionnorway2012

awards.jpgF****g Morten Carlsen. He was injured for half the season and didn’t win the Euros or the Champions League, but he’s the player of the year again!

No arguments from me about the Belgian awards

belgium.jpg

Before we go, a quick transfer update. I’ve been saying for a while that my Genoa side lack the real star quality we need to make the next step. Well, no excuses now..

mattarcaldrearo

And the big pre-season news? Angered by my decision to drop him from my England Euro 2008 squad, Nicky decided to give it all up and open a pub in Marbellanicky butt.jpg

And Becks went out on a highretired.jpg