Altrincham F.C. - Mission: Champions League

zacram

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Nov 11, 2014
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Unlucky in the CL Semi-Final man - Looked a cracking game for the neutral!

Still an incredibly successful first season in the CL!

Hopefully you can secure that last CL spot, but if not the Europa League trophy would appear quite winnable for you next season.
 
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Oct 4, 2017
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Unlucky in the CL Semi-Final man - Looked a cracking game for the neutral!

Still an incredibly successful first season in the CL!

Hopefully you can secure that last CL spot, but if not the Europa League trophy would appear quite winnable for you next season.
Just gutting how Firmino scored against us when he was with us last season!

Wow those extra time stats o_O
I know! 14 shots on target and 2 goals is appalling but we should have done them in normal time!
 
Oct 4, 2017
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A draw against Liverpool and win against Brighton ensured that we finished the season in 4th position.

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Even though Chelsea still had to play in the Champions League final, I was pretty sure that it meant we had qualified for the Champions League no matter what.

Still, I waited until the final to be played just to be sure.

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They may have knocked us out in the semi-final, but next year Chelsea will be playing in the Europa League and apparently that was enough to get Allegri the sack!

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So it was an eventful year for our squad, we were unable to defend the FA Cup but reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and finished 4th in the Premier League

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All of that was done despite us having only the 15th highest spend on wages in the Premier League.

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Our highest-paid player and £75m record signing Michael Adjetey proved to be a success, finishing the third top scorer in the Premier League and ending the season with 27 goals in total.

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Despite missing 3 months with injury, Thiago Ryan scored 24 goals in 27 matches.

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The board has given us over £100m to spend, but it’s not worth spending big money on players when we are developing our own world-class talents.

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Mexican duo Hector Pozos and JJ Vazquez, who are both 20 years old, have developed brilliantly this season and are drawing interest from some very big clubs.

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Whereas Cyril Ferreira was signed to be our 4th choice centre back, but already looks like he’s ready to partner Pozos in defence next season.

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It’s going to be imperative that we keep our best players in the summer. If we do, then we could seriously be challenging for the Premier League or Champions League next season… or both!
 
Oct 4, 2017
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Right then., the 2032/33 season is upon us. We have spent £121m and recouped £111m in transfer fees.

Transfers Out

2 players that were in the first-team squad last season have departed (Madsen and Higor) whilst we managed to get £60m for 3 players who were bought for cheap and loaned out for a few years (Zerjal, Ben-Hemo and Diaby).

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Jesper Madsen has departed for £20m after a successful 5 years at the club. He was classed as homegrown but I’d prefer to give game time to younger players.

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Left-back Higor leaves for £29m as we have a replacement for him. We made an £8m profit on him in just one season but he still has the potential to turn into a quality player.

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Transfers In

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We’ve spent a lot of money on just a handful of players.

First up, young German striker Noah Lowens joins for £66m

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The lack of attacking depth we had last season was an issue so I did not mind spending big money on him. However, with only 12 finishing I see his main role being an inside forward.

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Marcos Alberto has signed for £19.5m as a direct replacement for Higor at left-back. We’ve bought a new left-back for the last 3 seasons but I finally think he will be the missing piece in the puzzle.

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Bohumil Pudil joins Altrincham for £8m. We didn’t need another centre back, but he was starting for the Czech Republic aged 17 and looks like the real deal.

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William Idrissu was signed for £22m and loaned straight back to Charlton. It will be interesting to see how he develops there in the Championship but I see him being a future England international.

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Talking of which, England recently won EURO 2032 with our very own Felix Baker scoring in the semi-final and then twice in the final!

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With those transfers, we’re predicted to finish 6th as the media now sees us as a stronger team than Arsenal.

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After finishing 2nd and 4th in the Premier League in the last two seasons, I’m hoping for a serious title challenge this campaign.
 
Oct 4, 2017
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We’re 4 games into the season and the Premier League table is a beautiful sight. Not only are we top but Chelsea - the team that beat us in the Champions League semi-final last season - are bottom!

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We did admittedly have an easy fixture list and should have done better than drawing against Brighton, but I can’t really complain about the start to the season.

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Thiago Ryan and Michael Adjetey have made things look easy so far.

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In just 4 matches, Ryan has 8 goals and Adjetey has 5 assists.

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The only downside to August was the Champions League draw.

Despite getting to the semi-finals last season, we were still seeded 4th for the Champions League group stage draw. As a result, we have been given the group of death.

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We face the holders Barcelona, Inter Milan and Bayer Leverkusen. We played Leverkusen in the group stage and quarter final last season whilst Inter finished 2nd in Serie A so it’s going to be a big achievement if we make it to the knockout rounds, which is what the board expect.

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We also now have the 10th highest salary in the league.

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But that means nothing as the income from the Premier League and Champions League is just ridiculous. We have £235m in the bank. I remember when a player wanting £600 a week was expensive!

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So, just like last season, we have got off to a good start in the league. We just need to maintain that form as we start to play 2 games a week in September.
 
Oct 4, 2017
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So our second season in the Champions League started exactly the same as the first, with a game against Bayer Leverkusen. A win was expected.

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And a win was achieved. Our next games were away against holders and group favourites Barcelona and then at home to Inter Milan

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Those 3 results were pretty much expected. However, the group table was not expected.

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Despite winning the competition in the past 2 seasons, Barcelona are bottom of the group! It’s wide open and any 1 of the 4 teams could go through to the knockout rounds still!

Meanwhile, our good start in the Premier League was largely because we had not been tested yet. That first test came at home to Manchester City.

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And we passed.

After that, we just kept on winning… and winning… and winning.

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And so the Premier League table is looking very nice.

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We’re 6 points clear and have yet to lose a game!

Thiago Ryan is completely ridiculous and has 15 league goals already… 9 more than anybody else in the division!

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The only downside to September and October was that we were knocked out of the League Cup by a full-strength Everton side after our back up players forgot how to take penalties.

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The next few months are going to be huge, especially as this was the stage where we faltered last year. The quest for a first Premier League title is well and truly on!
 
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Our next two Champions League matches were away against Inter Milan and Bayer Leverkusen. We drew both 1-1.

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It meant that with one game left, any one of the 4 teams in the group could go through!

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We had the enviable task of playing holders Barcelona in our final group game. A draw would be enough to see us progress but a loss would leave us relying on other results.

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A draw between Inter and Bayer Leverkusen was the only way we were going to make it to the knockout rounds.

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We’re getting all the luck this season! We go through to the knockout stages by virtue of the fact we beat Inter on head-to-head record.

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In the Premier League our good form was going to come to an end at some point and we were humbled by Liverpool at Anfield.

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It seems that we are unable to defend free-kicks again. I’m not sure if it’s a match engine issue or a not-very-good-players issue. Considering we have world-class defenders, I feel like it’s the first one.

Still, that loss aside, league form has still been solid and in our most recent game, we beat Man United 1-0 at Old Trafford.

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That win put us 9 points clear after 17 matches. 9 points!

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Youngster Richard Griffiths recorded his first goal for the club in a win over Sheffield United.

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I managed to get him from Swansea by scouting their youth team on regen day. At the time I thought I was a transfer genius, but it seems to be a bit of an exploit so I have stopped doing it in the last few seasons.

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Another one of the players who was poached as a youngster is Mike Smith, who I’ve integrated into the first-team squad this season but has yet to make an impact.

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However, a player that has been produced by Altrincham and is developing really nicely is Julian Cupid. Despite already having 2 quality right-backs, I’m going to try and give him as much game time as possible just because he’s from the Altrincham academy.

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All that was left was to find out our opponents in the Champions League First Knockout Round in a few months.

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It does not get any bigger than Real Madrid!
 
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A 2-0 win against 2nd placed Arsenal on Boxing Day was enough to make me think that the Premier League title was done and dusted with 5 months to go.

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We then played Man City at the start of January and the game showed that the Premier League title race was not done yet.

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January was meant to be a quiet transfer window, but then Barcelona put in a bid for William Murillo.

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A £110m release clause?!?!

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So it turns out William Murillo has a release clause in his contract. I vaguely remember it being in there and thinking ‘well I’ll set it at £110m because who will pay that?’

It turns out that Barcelona will pay that.

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And so William Murillo has left.

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He spent 4 and a half years at the club and it’s tough to see him go. Not bad to get £110m for someone we bought for £1.6m though!

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What did I do to replace him? Nothing.

It is time for Noah Lowens to shine. He cost £66m in the summer and in all honesty has been abysmal with just 2 goals and 4 assists but now is the time for him to start performing.

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Winger Kimborough Bennett is in his 4th season at the club and is playing out of his skin with 10 Premier League goals already, so was another reason I decided not to replace Murillo (for now).

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The fact is that we managed to get £110m for our 4th or 5th best player and we did at least spend some of that money.

Idlemar is the 3rd Brazilian left-back we have purchased in the last 3 years and cost us £20.5m. We've loaned him back to Corinthians and he will be part of the Altrincham squad next season.

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So January was dominated by that big transfer but it was still a good month for us on the pitch. We actually played Arsenal again in the league and lost but recorded comfortable wins against Newcastle, Leeds and Bournemouth.

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Despite losing 2 games in January, we are top by 13 points.

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Our away form has been poor, with all 4 draws and 3 losses coming in away matches - yet we still have the strongest away record in the Premier League so far this season! I think that goes to show just how dominant we’ve been.

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It looks likely that we’re going to win the Premier League for the first time, but we have a Champions League last 16 tie against Real Madrid to concentrate on first.

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It will be the first time we play the 15 time winners of the competition!
 
Oct 4, 2017
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This is now getting addictive! Can't wait to see how the Madrid match goes and if you can sustain the title challenge - that's an impressive lead after 26 games.
Good luck
Didn't expect to be doing so well in the league and didn't expect to get through that Champions League group either! I don't want to tempt fate but it's going to take a massive capitulation for us to not win the Premier League this season.
 
Oct 4, 2017
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Going into the first leg, Real Madrid were 2nd in La Liga and on a good run of form.

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One of their best players is Miguel Rubiano, who we sold for £55m when we got relegated back down to the Championship 4 and a half years ago.

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When we sold him I knew that one day we would face him in the Champions League and that time has now come.

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The Altrincham starting lineup contained 3 players who were with Rubiano in the Championship. It could not have been a more even first leg.

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0-0 wasn’t really the result we were looking for, but at least we were still in the tie going into the second leg at the Bernabeu.

We played 4 matches in between the 2 legs, with a loss on penalties to Man City in the FA Cup being one of them.


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1 day before the second leg against Real Madrid, star midfielder JJ Vazquez picked up a knock. But he was too important to leave out.

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The second leg was goalless after 60 minutes but just one Altrincham goal would change the complexion of the tie. Step up Thiago Ryan.

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All we had to do was keep a clean sheet and we would progress.

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Instead, we conceded 2 goals in 3 minutes. It meant we needed to score but just one goal would see us go through on away goals.

We threw the kitchen sink at Real and it looked like it wasn’t going to be. Until the ball trickled to the feet of substitute Kimborough Bennett after 86 minutes.

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That was it. We were going through on away goals!

There was even time for a Thiago Ryan free-kick.

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And so one of the most famous nights in Altrincham’s history was completed.

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What a result! We’re into the Champions League quarter-finals after seeing off one of the strongest teams in the competition!

With all 4 English teams still in the competition, it was no surprise to see that we were paired with an English team in the quarter final.

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Manchester United will be our opponents. Just 8 miles separate the two teams so it’s a mouthwatering tie. We’ll firmly establish ourselves as the new noisy neighbours if we beat them!

As well as that, with 9 Premier League games remaining, we are still 13 points ahead of second-placed Arsenal.

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There’s a long way to go but this is looking like it could be a truly memorable season!
 
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