Bouncebackability: "The ability to bounce back or recover from bad circumstances"

This story is done, but the career continues - what is next?

  • Retire - my work in football is done

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sell Parker, Thiry & Lazenby for mega-bucks & rebuild

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Resign and look to move abroad - I've earned it

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Keep the team and build a legacy

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

June - July 2036
5 players are called up for the European Championship: Thiry for Belgium, Parker for England, Pizzuti for Italy, Wilson for Northern Ireland and Jose for Portugal.

Despite the intention to have a quiet transfer window, we bring in 6 players who were signed on pre-contracts to add to our very successful youth set-up. Only 2 look to have the potential to get near the first team though, which is annoying.


We’ll be losing Manneh and Harwood Bellis at the end of the month - both can be replaced by promoting players from the U23s. Keeper Martin could go as well if we get a good offer.

We’ve got a budget of £40m...if possible, a proper elite striker would be nice but as there is little interest in any of our players, for once, adding to that seems unlikely.

After 6 seasons, Taylor Harwood Bellis leaves for a retirement in Greece. He deserves that as he’s been a very loyal servant to the club and solid in his performances.

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He will be replaced - initialy at least - by German centre-back Bernd Grauer.


Ousmane Manneh hasn’t been at the club as long, but came in with a big reputation and has been useful mentoring and as an option in the middle of the park. Another very handy player to have.


Hamidou Owolabi will remain the first choice defensive midfielder, but Russian Maxim Kotov is promoted from the under 18s to develop and to get first team experience.


The next player to leave is Ian Stewart, but this one came out of the blue as Galatasaray approached us. He’s gone for far less than we bought him for - and slightly less than he's worth - but it does free up some space for Thiry to be able to play more and in the attacking midfielder role which he is far more suited for.


The young player of the season predictions put 3 Oldham players in contention, with Parker as the player who won it last season.

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August 2036


Brighton (a) - It’s not a great start to the line-up as none of Wilson, Owolabi, Thiry or Rousseau are available. So, Kotov has to start and Duro has to play an unfamiliar position but even so, we should have enough. Curtis gets two assists, Jansen finishes off two fine through balls and Duro spanks one in from 30 yards for a very early goal of the season contender. A very good opening day performance.

I’ve got £60m sitting in the transfer budget, burning a hole in my pocket, and no-one out there who offers value for money - even the asking price for transfer listed players is extortionate.

Crystal Palace (h) - Just the one change as 20 year old Grauer makes his debut, but that was probably a lot closer than it should have been. Another Jansen goal - he’s started the season on fire - but Parker, Duro and Jose all missed good chances to make it more comfortable.

Leeds (a) - Again, minimal changes but Calatayud comes back in, along with Pedro Martin at left-back and Wilson as the attacking midfielder. 18 year old Kotov continues in the centre of midfield. Jansen gets his goal, Parker opens his account for the season and Wilson scores on his first appearance as well. A very good performance.

Calatayud’s injury is a blow though - 3 months out with a torn calf muscle.

The groups for the Champions League draw are made, and we’re in the 3rd seed group…

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We faced Milan in the group stages last (and lost twice). Neither San Sebastien - who seem to have found a lot of money from somewhere - and Galatasaray are walkovers.

Tottenham Hotspur (h) - Another set of injuries so changes are needed. Well that was an anticlimax as we progressively threw everything at them but failed to make the breakthrough.

Player Profile - Jens Jansen: We have an awful lot to be grateful to Jansen as he has singlehandedly won us games at time and has been one of my longest serving players. He’s currently Oldham’s record goalscorer with 150 league goals (166 in all) and at just 26 has a great chance to really smash this. He is only considered ‘favoured personnel’ by the cub & the fans though - I do wonder what more he has to do?




September 2036


My 18 year old central midfielder Kotov wins the young player of the month award for his appearances in August - his first 3 for the club, which bodes very well for the future.

And then, we break transfer deadline day as we sign elite striker Lucas Lazenby for a fee of £117m from OL. That was £45m up front, 3x£24m 12 month instalments & add-ons which could take it to £153m in all. His goalscoring record for England is 10 in 14 games and at club level 47 in 83 for OL and Rangers before them.

The 21 year old England International should be a match-winner but it could mean a quiet few transfer windows in the future and the move breaks records for Oldhams record transfer and the highest fee paid for an English player.


And, as an added massive bonus, Guillermo Alvarez goes the other way.

And deadline day gets even busier as a host of teams come in for centre-back Bernd Grauer, who I only picked up last season, on a free. He’s only valued at £2.2m but the German centre-back has been attracting bids of £15m...all of which I’d refused until Monaco offer £20m + a few add-ons. I’m not sure what they see in him, but that is accepted as we have a talented youngster in the U23s who can step up and we can immediately offset some of that Lazenby figure.

Graur & another 2 others (and loans) means 9 deals are done on deadline day but over the whole window, it’s been incredibly busy. We get rid of a lot of dead wood. 14 players in all go out on loan but that deal of Lazenby sticks out like a sore thumb

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19 year old centre-back Amadou Ba is brought into the first team to replace Grauer. He won’t be first choice anytime soon but hopefully exposure to the first team will aid his development.


Liverpool (h) - Jansen’s fine recent goalscoring form means Lazenby will have to wait for his debut. Wilson returns to the starting lineup and Boldwijn replaces Gudbartsson at right back. That really was a game of very few chances, so it’s a good job we took the only really good that came our way. The keeper & back 4 rightly get the plaudits.

Galatasaray (a) Champions League Gp A 1st game - Martin comes in between the sticks, Lazenby does play and Geraldao comes in for Martin. With Calatayud, Gudbartsson, Joshua and Thiry injured and Ba unregistered, we are stuck for rotational options. The Gala squad contains 3 ex-Oldham players but in front of the watching Barca scouts, Parker reminds the world just how good a player he is.

Blackburn (a) - Well that was frustrating. They scored a freak fluke goal early on and, although we managed to claw one back, we failed to build on it to get all the points.

Burnley (a) Carabao Cup 3rd Round - And we may as well stay in this part of the country. Ba makes his debut and a few others start as we rotate slightly and have 6 players aged 21 or under in the starting 11. If the Blackburn game was frustrating, this just royally hacked me off. Utterly dominated, fell to 2 stupid goals. Ba was great on his debut and Boldewijn produced another outstanding cross for a Jansen goal.

Player profile - Mitchell Boldewijn: The £20m signing from Arsenal has produced two pinpoint crosses in the last two games for Jansen and he looks like he’s settling into the team. With Gudbartsson currently injured, he’s getting gametime and looking all the better for it. His fee was substantial for a relatively inexperienced player but I’m confident he’ll do a great job in time.


Manchester City (a) - Oh. After two fairly unconvincing performances, not a game I’m relishing. As it happens, we shouldn’t really have let Man City have a sniff here as we let them have two pretty poor goals. Only a fine Lopez header in injury time gives us some of what we deserved.



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October 2036



4 out of 5 home games which is good.

September is another month where all we provide the young player of the month award - Krylov the recipient this time round.

AC Milan (h) Champions League Gp A 2nd game - Milan beat us twice in the group stage last season so we’re looking for revenge and this is a great chance to take charge of the group but with 7 first team injuries, this could be a challenge. That was a bleak game which neither team deserved to get anything out of.

Fulham (h) - Absolutely fuming after that one and another game we couldn’t put to bed despite being far and away the better team. At least Lazenby got off the mark - I was beginning to wonder what I’d spent £117m on. On the plus side, Ba’s apprenticeship at centre-back continues and he had a good game.

Thiry is being closely watched by Liverpool, although to his credit, he has no interest in a move. The same cannot be said for Parker who has, again, been closely watched by Barcelona...and he is highly interested in a move.

Wolves (a) - Despite his goal in the last game, Lazenby hasn’t impressed so Jansen comes in and some of our longer term injuries start to return as Joshua and Parker also come back in. And that’s exactly why Barca are taking a close interest in the inside forward. We were pretty toothless without Parker’s contribution. Kotov’s 25 yard free-kick was the cherry on the top of the cake, but I didn’t know the 18 year old that in his locker!

Ahead of the European game, Jansen is injured so it looks as though Lazenby will get an extended run at the sharp end of the pitch.

Real San Sebastien (h) Champions League Gp A 3rd game - That was a better result than I thought it was going to be, but it didn’t need a bit of a half-time talking to. There were 4 different goalscorers but it was Thiry, with a goal and assist, who took the plaudits.

Thiry was being watched by Liverpool, again, and there’s an £86m bid in the offing apparently.

Leicester (h) - Leicester are struggling in 19th, so this should be straightforward but a number of players are still missing, most notably Parker who is struggling to maintain fitness. We very nearly only had ourselves to blame there, but Lazenby dug us out of a late hole after we missed numerous chances to make that far more comfortable.



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November 2036



Watford (h) - Parker returns, Rousseau and Duro come in to rotate but otherwise, it’s the same 11. Thiry wins, then misses a penalty, then wins and scores a penalty. Defensively we were outstanding, preventing Watford from mustering any shot on target, but offensively - again - we could, and should, have won that more comprehensively.

Real San Sebastien (a) Champions League Gp A 4th game - We’re in a great position in the table, morale is up and we performed well in the home leg of this game, so I’m expecting a good performance. And we put in a good performance, but got beaten by an absolute wondergoal from Jimenez. Our better players didn’t really turn up there.

Player Profile: Pedro Martin. Since signing for £20.5m, which was a bargain even for a 27 year old, Martin has settled into the left-back role and has looked very much at home. He’s good for mentoring, influential and part of the core social group in the background so very useful to have around. He also doesn’t complain about his playing time. However, any sizeable bid from interested parties PSG & Milan would have to be considered due to his age and the want to bring youngsters through.


WBA (a) - Parker, Kotov and Gudbartsson all fail late match-fitness tests so large scale changes are made. West Brom sit back...and sit back...and sit back. We get the early goal and looked comfortable from there.

A nice way to sign off ahead of the International break.

And now it’s Rousseau who has found his way onto the Milan wishlist.

Arsenal (h) - They sit two places below us at the time of kick-off, so this is almost a 6 point top of the table clash. I’m hoping Augusto has an off day and home advantage pays off. We score with our first shot on goal and then batter them after that, such that it takes Arsenal 70 minutes just to get any shot on goal. Thiry was outstanding, but Lazenby - clearly a very good player - hit everything at their keeper. Extra finishing training required.

Galatasaray (h) Champions League Gp A 5th game - Whilst not taking anything for granted, this really is a game we should be winning. We just need a point to progress so it’s an aggressive start to try and put this to bed early. Lots of changes are made to keep match fitness and freshness up. And whilst we did score early, we failed to capitalise to make the end of that game more comfortable than it was.

For the second season in a row, we make the knock-out stages.

Burnley (a) - Having made more aggressive starts in the last few games, I take a bit of a gamble and look to take the game to Burnley from the off, which we do but it’s another game where the dominant performance isn’t really reflected in the goals scored column.

Liverpool midfielder Leverington makes a plea to Thiry in the media that he should come and join Liverpool - I wonder how much we could fleece them for? I don’t really want my best players to get their heads turned, but reputationally, they are a step up. We have finished above them in the last 2 seasons though…



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December 2036



Somehow, we end up with Premier League opposition for the 3rd round of the FA Cup as we welcome Wolves to Boundary Park

Everton (h) - It needs a number of changes given the short time elapsed since the last game. Trying to up the mentality with 20 minutes left almost backfires as our previously sold back line parted like the red sea twice in the space of 6 minutes to give them a possible way back but we held on. A bit Jekyll & Hyde-ish, but all my fault. On the plus side, Lazenby seems to be hitting his stride after his big money move.

Manchester United (a) - After 7 straight wins and, remarkably, still unbeaten in the league, we can’t come into this in any better form. Big names Parker and Thiry both return. Away to Man Utd - and the team in second - we should be happy with a draw there, but given we were the better team throughout, managing just the one point is disappointing.

AC Milan (a) - Martin makes a rare appearance in goal, Jansen returns after his injury after quite a time out and Calatayud is also back after a long-term injury - this is only his second start. That was a rather horrible game and Krylov only came on at half-time. Shocking.

These games are really taking their toll on the fitness levels - several players were knackered even before the end of that Milan game.

The youth intake preview doesn’t inspire much confidence in the set of players coming through...there may be a couple in there though.

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Chelsea (h) - Lazenby & Curtis are both missing with short-term minor knocks, so there’s quite a lot of players on the pitch who need to redeem themselves from that AC Milan shocker. I hope that was a good game for the neutrals, because I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. Thiry gave us a deserved win in the end though.

That was a good game for the scouts watching Parker & Thiry...less good for me though.

Interesting last 16 draw for the Champions League as we’ve avoided the really big teams. Not sure we’ll be making the semi-finals again though.

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Bournemouth (a) - Who doesn’t love boxing day by the sea? Jansen just cannot stay fit as he picks up yet another minor injury - but it is enough to keep him out. Lazenby has an outstanding game, is a constant threat and provides two assists...but fails to score. Owolabi’s injury isn’t a good one and rules him out for 4 weeks which is a blow.

Rousseau, Parker & Thiry were all being scouted...again.

West Ham (h) - Lots of first teamers missing - Owolabi, Jansen, Martin, Kotov, so the subs bench includes U23 players Schulz and Deconinck. That has to be one of the most one-sided results I’ve ever won. Taking a more attacking mentality for the home games is certainly paying off.



January 2037



4 players have been brought in - Vandro & Henrique on frees, La Vigna and Riviere for compensation fees, although these two are not as good as first suggested.

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On the outgoing front, I’m really not looking forward to this as some massive clubs are circling around my best players. I have to reject a £49m for Calatayud from Guangzhou. Having moved talented youngster Ba into the first team already, centre-back is not a position I am gifted with strength and depth.

Brighton (h) - The squad is still struggling. Krylov makes a start for Parker, Kotov returns, but it really is Ba & Lopex who will feel the effects of their extended first team runs. Well that was ridiculous, eventful, but ridiculous and to somehow come out on the losing side of a 7 goal game, with two in injury time...twice. A bit annoyed with that.

Still...we did go 22 games unbeaten and that is our first loss of the season.

Wolves (h) FA Cup 3rd Round - We pulled our socks up after going behind and Lazenby has his best game in an Oldham shirt as, for once, everything he hits goes in. a convincing win that sees us through to the next round and Wilson’s late penalty gives the game the sheen it deserved.

And then - it’s the news I didn’t want. Barcelona make a bid of £96m, all cash up front, for Barrington Parker. Unsurprisingly he’s not happy when I reject the bid but I tell him I can’t afford to lose his influence in the dressing room…and he backs down...for the time being.

It’s a trip to league 1 Blackpool in the 4th round of the FA Cup.

Barcelona come back with £105m. Re...ject...ed...and then £116m.

Leeds (h) - They’re plumb bottom of the form table coming into this and we’re 2nd so...this can only go one way, right? 19 year old central midfielder Maxim Kotov is given the man of the match award as we record a comfortable win. That goal takes Lazenby to 9 for the season - 6 in the league - and he’s hunting down Parker and Thiry to become the top scorer.

Barca - £127m - another one rejected and telling Parker he is a key part of the team seems to have paid off as he’s not mentioned anything after these bids. And another at £140m.

Crystal Palace (a) - The newly found attacking approach is taking its toll, again, on injuries as too many players miss out but this is why you build up a pretty good squad, so… Jansen has found his gametime limited due to Lazenby’s arrival, but he proves he can still do it. He’s the club record scorer for a reason.

Barca are desperate as they raise their latest bid to £185m.

Spurs (a) - We’ve been in such good form, we shouldn’t really be worried about anyone but we don’t have a great record against Spurs at home and without several key players, this could be difficult. We got battered there and there was no way we should have left with any points. So, so lucky and it was all down to Pizzuti in goal.

Player Profile - Giuseppe Pizzuti. Since signing for an absolute bargain of £4m, the Italian keeper has forced his way into into being the first choice keeper and has been a key reason why we have been so good in the league with 11 clean sheets - already as many as he got last season and, in keeper terms, at 28 he still got a good few years ahead of him.


Blackburn (h) - Blackburn’s new manager - Jordan Henderson - fires the shots before the game, but they sit bottom of the league so he hasn’t got that much to shout about. Wilson rolls back the years to produce a masterclass with a goal and 2 assists and Jansen deservedly gets his reward for a hard working performance. BIG win - lack of clean sheet was disappointing though.

Blackpool (a) FA Cup 4th Round - As good an opportunity as any to rest key players, so Krylov, Jansen and a couple of others keep their spots with Martin starting in goal. Krylov and Curtis give us a well earned win and progression to the next round in a game in which the League 1 side barely threatened.

Liverpool (a) - Big players Lazenby, Jose & Pizzuti return so it’s a strong 11 and we’re starting aggressively, although it doesn’t take long for that to become plan B as Jose’s sending off pretty much kills any chance we have to get anything out of this game and we’re convincingly beaten



February 2037




That was a quiet January window with no first team players coming in and all 4 incoming transfers were youngsters poached during youth intake day. Only Riviere and Macek look good enough to make it.

Outgoing, Sharp, Hallett and Thomas were all in the U18s with no chance of getting into the first team. Vandro was signed on a free at the beginning of the month but Blackburn came in with a pretty good bid so he was allowed to leave - possibly the shortest I’ve ever had a player but it was a quick £25.5m profit and the £101m figure includes the fees from the summer.

Without a doubt, the best piece of transfer business was keeping hold of Parker - subject to large bids from Barca and Thiry who, weirdly, didn’t attract any attention but was wanted by a number of ‘elite’ clubs.

Manchester City (h) - Not really the follow up to the Liverpool game I’d have chosen but we gave it as good a go as we could and were unlucky not to come away with something as their extra quality just showed. Jansen missed a gilt-edged chance at the end which would have been a much fairer reflection on the game.

Pizzuti is sidelined for 3 weeks with fractured ribs. He’ll miss a few league games and, at least, the first leg of the Champions League knockout against Leipzig,

Fulham (a) - Ba has played far more than I anticipated when I brought him into the first team but with suspensions and injuries, he’s in again...albeit, Fulham should be an easier test than the previous two games but, typically, they scored with their only 2 shots on target in their first and last attacks of the game.

RB Leipzig (h) Champions League last 16 1st Leg - Apparently, Leipzig are similar in stature to us, so hopefully this will be even enough but we’re starting on the front foot. Lazenby just about deservedly gives us the edge in a hard-fought win but I’m not convinced that makes the second leg any easier.

Leicester City (a) - Thiry finally returns after a bit of injury toing and froing and Krylov has to start in place of a less than fully fit Parker, but the team at the bottom of the league should be low on confidence which we can take advantage of. The goals came from my trio of young stars as Lazenby & Parker (22) and Thiry (21) put the blues to the sword.

If I can keep those three together for the foreseeable future, we have a very, very good shot at future success.

Player profile - Geraldao. The left-back has quietly just been getting on with his job. He’s a very reliable option, well suited to the supporting full-back role I want him to play and, most importantly, very rarely unhappy. He’s also club home-grown which is vital for the European registration requirements.


It’s just a continuous game of leapfrog at the top of the table, but with both teams below us having games in hand, I don’t think we’ll still be top after their games. We have Manchester United left to play - at home - at the end of April and if this continues, that could be a key, key game.



March 2037



Crystal Palace (h) FA Cup 5th Round - Quite a few changes are made, but still with Parker and Rousseau in the team and Jose at the back I’m confident we have the ability on the pitch. And we did have the quality on the pitch, but it doesn’t show. The lottery of penalties eventually digs us out of a hole, but if Jansen could take them, we might have won that in normal time.

He’s missed too many and is taken off penalty duty. I did want him taking penalties to add to his target of becoming the clubs record goalscorer, but now he’s got there - winning games is more important. Thiry has scored 10 of the 11 he’s taken and is first choice.

And as a result of that win, we travel to London - either Spurs or Chelsea in the quarter final.

Watford (a) - 11 out of 12 now for Thiry and, although the scoreline doesn’t really say it, that was a comfortable win and definitely one that deserved a bigger winning margin.

Wolves (h) - Some players are rested ahead of the Champions League 2nd leg against Leipzig, most notably record signing Lazenby up top. As it happens, the players on the pitch weren’t doing enough and it took a double substitution to kick start things, with one of those substitutes - who I was hoping not to use - finishing clinically.

A narrow, edgy win, but it keeps us in the mix at the top of the table.

Player Profile - Maxim Kotov. The 19 year old central midfielder was initially bought in to bide his time and gain some experience from the odd sub appearance here and there, but his development has come on leaps and bounds and I’m confident putting him in for the biggest game. The wonderkid’s compensation fee of £2.4m from Monaco already looks like an absolute bargain.


RB Leipzig (a) Champions league last 16 2nd leg - As strong a team as we can put out along with a formation & role changes to try and solidify the midfield a bit. And it pays off as we manage to stifle Leipzig to not very much, but that was a war of attrition. Neither team did enough to win that.

£9m for progressing though and that’s not to be sniffed at.

The youth intake produces a couple of players of interest, but nothing special this time around. We have poached a lot of youngsters from elsewhere though so we do have a steady stream of prospects coming into the club for the next 3-4 years at least. I am going to have to change Morris’s position to get him into the current tactics though.

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Spurs (a) FA Cup Qtr Final - This is a tricky draw and could be a tough game, especially away, so a cautious first half is employed. A narrow lead at half-time, an inspiring halftime team talk and Lazenby comes out and just blitzes Spurs away. He gets his second hat-trick in the FA Cup and it takes his season total to 17...6 more than Parker and Thiry.

Is this perhaps a sign that the record signing is starting to settle in properly?

Very unhelpfully, the FA Cup semi-final pitches us against Manchester City...which we means we face them 3 times in 4 games next season as we also have to play them in the Champions League quarter finals.



April 2037



What a month this looks like.

Liverpool do us a bit of a favour before kick-off as they beat Man Utd to potentially narrow the gap at the top.

Arsenal (a) - It’s a cautious start as I’m wary of Arsenal’s attacking threat, which is considerable. Our strongest starting 11 is put out. Given the sending off, it was an uphill struggle after that, but even so, having got back to a drawing position to lose it in the 6th minute of injury time (when only 4 minutes was added on) was gutting.

The line ups for the quarter finals are:

Us vs Manchester City

Bayern vs Benfica

Inter Milan vs AC Milan

Hertha vs Sevilla

The holders (and winners of the last 3 competitions) Barcelona are out. The winners before that - PSG - are out, so the last winners left in the draw are Inter Milan who won it 6 seasons ago. Manchester City are obviously a significant hurdle though and even then, the winner of AC Milan / Inter Milan await.

Manchester City (a) Champions League Qtr Final 1st leg - Cautious approach here, I don’t want to be out of the tie before we even get to the second leg and we need a lot of big performances. Duro’s red card really put us under pressure, but Lazenby is starting to justify his huge price tag and he could have had more than just the one he did get.

Burnley (h) - Back to the bread and butter and 11 changes are made. It’s all out attack from the start to put this to bed early and then get on to the second leg of the Champions League. Perhaps resting 11 wasn’t the best idea as that was one of our poorest performances of the season.

Manchester City (h) Champions League Qtr Final 2nd leg - Back to proper full strength and a very narrow away goal lead from the first leg so it’s a positive start in front of our own fans and we were so, so comfortable for 80 minutes restricting City to absolutely nothing. They then had their only 2 shots on target and we pay the price for not putting away the chances we had. No way should we have lost that.

Manchester City ( n ) FA Cup Semi-Final - Great. Oh, ***k Man City - they just seem to have our number at the moment. A silly defensive mistake lets them back into the game and then penalties...well, penalties. We didn’t have too many great takers on the pitch, but Rousseau missed the first and they were flawless after that.

Player Profile - Bernard Rousseau. Having signed for quite a lot of money 3 seasons ago, Rousseau has been pretty consistently in the starting 11. He’s been playing the carrilero role which isn’t exactly ideal for him, but he is versatile and we could look to move him into a more defensive role in the future as he is only 21 still.


Just the league to concentrate on now, but we need to improve...and quickly.

Everton (a) - Parker suspended, Rousseau, Duro & Martin all lacking in match fitness...this is not the starting 11 I would have chosen, especially on the run of form we’re on. Form is temporary, but class - and Lazenby has tonnes of it - is permanent. He single-handedly puts the toffees to the sword, taking his league total up to 13 which isn’t that many at this point in the season, but he is the top scorer.

Lazenby’s 13 goals only place him joint 9th overall. Duro & Wilson have 6 assists each but this doesn’t register in the top 20. However, we do lead on penalties (Thiry - 5 out of 6), tackles per 90 minutes (Curtis), dribbles per 90 minutes (Parker) and passes attempted per 90 minutes (Owolabi).

That win guarantees European Cup II participation next season, but I’d quite like Champions League again.

This is getting crucial. We’re 6 points behind Utd, who lead the league, but we do have a game in hand and one remaining fixture against a team in the top 6, Chelsea. A win here would put us in a fantastic position.

Manchester United (h) - It’s a gamble and an attacking start here, hoping to catch United cold from the off and we do, dominating the first half. Parker scores a fine goal to give us the lead. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got and, again, we throw away a lead. Both Lazenby & Jansen had very good chances to bring that round for us.

West Brom (h) - And that absolute ****show pretty much caps off a horrendous month in which we’ve gone out of the Champions League, FA Cup and thrown away any remote chance we had in the league. We have a poor record against West Brom and this was no exception. 23 shots, 4 on target and they just blocked or threw themselves in front of everything.


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May 2037


Chelsea (a) - Champions League qualification for next year is on the line here, so we’re here to give this a go. All of the main players return apart from longterm absentee Gudbartsson, who is injured, so Boldewijn’s spell at right-back continues. We definitely had the better of the chances but their keeper was in good form. Hardly a classic.

Player Profile - Delcio Jose. The centre-back had another solid, if slightly under the radar performance against Chelsea and that rather describes his Oldham career for the last couple of seasons. The £60m man has come in and just quietly, reliably got on with it and I’m sure is a reason we’re at the right end of the table. Admittedly, I’m not expecting him to play high risk defence-splitting through balls but his pass completion rate of 96% leads the team.


West Ham (a) - Lazenby pays the price for his missed chances and a few other changes are made, including the return of Ba & Pedro Martin at left-back. We got done on the counter as we pushed for a winner and then Oldham old-boy, Frankie Emery came back to haunt us as he pings in a free-kick from 25 yards. That was not the result I was expecting. If Jansen could keep onside though, we’d have got at least a point as he had 2 goals VAR’d out for offside.

Despite the loss, Champions League qualification is assured for next year and along with it a transfer budget of £68m. I have no idea where that’s come from especially considering our transfer debt of £42m.

Bournemouth (h) - I’m going to let Jansen keep his place and Wilson comes in alongside him. We only have league positions to play for, but I’m hoping for a much improved performance. This game was more than over by half-time and it was disappointing to only add one after the break. Jansen was clinical but all the attacking players had a field day. Wilson just keeps proving his quality. What a way to sign off the season.



The end of season review is a bit of a mixed bag. We should be delighted to have finished in 3rd place, but the last couple of month's results leave a slightly bitter taste as we fell away in pretty spectacular style. Still, a 3rd placed finish - and above Liverpool and Chelsea - is not to be sniffed at. All things considered, that was a pretty impressive season.


player awards.jpg

In addition to his young player award, Carmelo Thiry is also voted as the English players young player of the year award meaning that Oldham players have won this for the last 2 seasons with Parker picking up the award last year.

Quite rightly, I’m named manager of the year as well…

For the first time, the board indicate that they think a Premier League win is in the offing and it’s in the 5 year vision...the pressure is now on.

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May 2037 - End of season player reports
Goalkeeper - Giuseppe Pizzuti.

First choice keeper and has been brilliant for most of the season. I keep coming back to his bargain fee of £4m, but it really is ridiculous. He is, unfortunately, thinking that he should be looking to move to a bigger club, but I have no intention of letting that happen.
1. Pizzuti.jpg

Goalkeeper - Daniel Martin.

Mostly the cup back up although he has had some injury problems meaning he hasn’t been around as much as possible. Martin is a very long term player and is now into his 7th season at the club. He is wanted by a number of players and with reasonable back-ups in the U23s he could be allowed, for the right fee, to leave.
2. Martin.jpg

Left-back - Geraldao

Geraldao and Martin can rotate the left-back position fairly freely without much detriment to the team, although Martin is probably the better option. He’s a club-trained player and is valuable in that respect for European registration requirements.
3. Geraldao.jpg

Left-back - Pedro Martin

The 30 year old left-back’s value is not going to go up anymore probably, but he is an excellent option at the back. His presence and ability at the back has led to some very good performances.
4. Martin.jpg

Centre-back - Cesar Lopez

Another longterm player - the American centre-back has proved his value over the last 8 seasons and seems to be equally happy being back-up, or standing in as the first team. He;s still only 26 so can be around for quite a while yet.
5. Lopez.jpg

Centre-back - Delcio Jose

One of the first names on the teamsheet if fit and not suspended, the money laid out for the Portugese star was significant but he is worth it. Another player who is also looking for a bigger club to match his ambitions. He’s not as much of a threat from set-pieces as her perhaps should be though.
6. Jose.jpg

Centre-back - Alex Calatayud

Another longterm player who has more than played his part in, firstly, keeping us in the league and then propelling us into European competitions. He hasn’t played as many games this season as he has previously, but that’s more to do with Jose coming in than anything negative on his part.
7. Calatayud.jpg

Centre-back - Amadou Ba

Promoted from the U23’s to replace Mulenda last January and the biggest compliment that can be paid is that we haven’t missed him. The 19 year old has played mostly in the more winnable games we have had, but the experience will be good for him in the longterm. He will develop and will be one to watch.
8. Ba.jpg

Right-back - Trausti Gudbartsson

The Icelandic International - now valued at £56m - is probably our best £150,000 paid. Another player who has been around the first team for a number of seasons and, despite a lot of interest, we have resisted several approaches for him over the past few seasons.
9. Gudbartsson.jpg

Right-back - Mitchell Boldewijn

SIgned from Arsenal and this was his debut season. Had a lot more gametime than anticipated due to Gudbartssson’s injuries, but has looked at home. We are pretty well set for right-backs for the time being and, I think, this is possibly a future England International. He might already have been if he was somewhere other than Oldham.
10. Boldewijn.jpg

Central Midfielder - Hamidou Owolabi

The defensive central midfielder is another who has been at the club for sometime. He’s rotated with Kotov in the centre, and most defensive, of the three midfielders and has looked pretty comfortable doing it. He is regularly wanted by Chinese clubs during transfer windows and this could be the one where he leaves as we look to shuffle the pack slightly.
11. Owolabi.jpg

Central Midfielder - Maxim Kotov

The other defensive minded central midfielder has made plenty of appearances from the bench and the wonderkid is the natural progressor into this position.
12. Kotov.jpg

Central midfielder - Joshua

Has mostly been playing the carrilero role on the left of the three and has been solid, if not spectacular. His output of goals and assists could do with being improved, but he’s not at risk of being sold just yet.
13. Joshua.jpg

Central midfielder - Bernard Rousseau

Rousseau has played a good number of games, but is more suited to the defensive side of the game which is why Owolabi leaving wouldn’t be the worst thing as Rousseau could fill this void. Another 21 year old who will be clubgrown at the end of the season and shows the youth set-up/progression is working well. First team player.
14. Rousseau.jpg

Central midfielder
- Rayco Duro

When signed, I broke the policy a bit, but it was more than worth it to bring in some extra quality in the attacking mezzala role. His disciplinary record is a bit dubious at times, but he does add some skill and ability in that position where is able to attack the box from deep. Should perhaps score more.
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Central midfielder - Paul Curtis

Another longterm servant of 158 league games. He’s played a lot this season, always puts a shift in and, more often than not, is capable of creating chances for team-mates. He’s been consistently very good, but is wanted by a number of clubs and at the age of 29 and valued at £44m with 2 years on his contract - that might be too good to turn down.
16. Curtis.jpg

Attacking midfielder - Carmelo Thiry

Young player of the year and, along with Parker & Lazenby, one of my genuinely brilliant world-class players. Has attracted a lot of transfer interest but I have no need or desire to let him go. Perfectionist mentality and goals/assist output means he is a very valuable team-member.
17. Thiry.jpg

Attacking midfielder - Aaron Wilson

Has not played as often this season because, weill, Thiry but he has always performed when he has come in. Leads the team in numbers of assists - mostly because of his set-piece delivery and pops up with goals of his own as well. Love this guy.
18. Wilson.jpg

Attacking midfielder - Barrington Parker

The inside forward has progressed from his £55m signing and developed into a world class player and an absolute star for Oldham. His goal output of 12 in the league is his best so far and he’s set for many more if I can stop the vultures from circling. Like Thiry - there are a LOT of big names interested.
19. Parker.jpg

Attacking midfielder - Maxim Krylov

He had a blistering start last season which he hasn’t yet managed to match, but he has been playing second fiddle to Parker. Has performed well in his cameos though and his goal/assist return is not terrible.
20. Krylov.jpg

Striker - Lucas Lazenby

Record Oldham signing, record fee for an English player and top wage earner. He had a slow-ish start to his first season here, but has kicked on and produced a number of match-winninng performances to win us points by himself. Key player.
21. Lazenby.jpg

Striker - Jens Jansen

Jansen has had to make way to accommodate Lazenby given that we only play with one striker, but he’s done so apparently happily. A team leader in the changing room, the captain, record goalscorer for the club, massive influence in the mentoring groups. Is caught offside a lot though...
22. Jansen.jpg

June - July 2037


I have a lot of players out on loan and a good number won’t progress to being good enough for the first team so it could be a busy transfer window trying to cash in on some of these players, especially as their values have rocketed.

Alex Greening is now valued at £13.5m, having won the Scottish young player of the year award. He’s not good enough for Oldham though. Similarly Reoch lifted the Scottish title with Rangers although the left-back has a good deal of potential.

Selenkov, Garba & Rittenauer are not good enough and players such as Schulz, my keepers Ismael & Marsella, and strikers Allien, Derry (wonderkid) & Dale (wonderkid) both play in positions where we are incredibly strong unfortunately. This is a challenge.

No plans until the transfer window opens though apart from the 4 players coming in for compensation fees:



Batista may be the best 16 year old we’ve ever had at the club - albeit, poached from Chelsea.

And the stadium move is complete to the 34,000 seater, rather creatively named, Oldham stadium.

The expected interest in first team players has not yet come to fruition, except for Real Madrid chasing goalkeeper Pizzuti. Their latest bid of £89m is rejected and then one of £107m.

Later in the month though, Milan do, however, make an approach for Thiry but the £83m offer is turned down. Telling him that he is an influential player in the dressing room and that influence is needed seems to placate him somewhat. Milan come back with an improved £95m.

August 2037
Having failed with a bid for Thiry, it’s centre-back Jose who is subject to their next bid although the £82m bid is turned down.


All things considered, they went well - apart from Monaco who rather spoiled Aaron Wilson’s testimonial, which was unfortunate.

Southampton (h) - First home game in the new stadium, but the lineup is very familiar against the newly promoted opponents. It doesn’t take long to get the wheels turning and it’s a convincing win with Parker and Lazenby opening their accounts early in the season. Outstanding start and I think that’s what they call ‘putting down a marker.’

A bid from Arsenal of £73m for Rousseau is rejected.

Brighton (a) - Unsurprisingly, we’re unchanged from the Southampton game as that trio of Thiry, Parker and Lazenby are the threats. That was most definitely not the polished performance that follows on and the fans will not have enjoyed it. Thiry’s late, late (90+4mins) penalty miss was a blow, especially considering he'd scored one earlier in the game, and would have given us the deserved win.

Player Profile - Paul Curtis. The attacking mezzala is a bit of a favourite since signing 7 seasons ago. His 211 games at the club means he is one of my more experienced players and his mental stats, in particular, make him one of our more productive players. He was an expensive signing at the time, but given his output and time at the club, that £45m looks like a pretty good deal now. Is not a player I have been regularly having to bat away transfer bids though, which is slightly surprising.


And then we do actually make a transfer that will have an impact on the first team as left-back Geraldao leaves for a fee of £28m after 6 seasons and 115 games. This sale was more about freeing up some first team slots for a youngster than us needing the money...which we most certainly don't at the moment.


He will be replaced in the first team by Scottish full-back Greig Reoch as the back-up to Pedro Martin. He won the Scottish Premiership on loan with Rangers last season, so has the chance to step up here. I think he may be the first genuine Oldham academy product to make it into the first team.


West Ham (a) - Another game with lots of goals, but it would be nice if we could learn to defend at some point. Thiry scores one very Thiry-like goal - spanking in an effort from 35 yards - and one very un-Thiry-like goal - a header from a corner. After those two, however, and Jose tapping in after some 6 yard pinball, we rather let things go and did well to hold on. 3 points in the end though.

The Carabao Cup does us bit of a favour as it draws us away to affiliate club; Lincoln. That could have been far harder.

3rd seed for the Champions League…

CL draw.jpg

Willem II have won the last 3 Eredivisie seasons so they are no pushovers, although the Dutch league is surely weaker. We beat RB Leipzig in the last 16 of last season’s competition but over 2 legs it was a very narrow couple of results. That’s tough. Fenerbahce make their first appearance in the group stages having gone out in the qualifiers in their last 2 appearances.

We’ve made the Semi-finals and quarter finals in the last two seasons, so I’m hoping for something ambitious this year round.

Bournemouth (h) - Jansen replaces Lazenby after his goal-less West Ham game and Reoch makes his debut. Overall, it’s another dominant performance and with the attacking players at our disposal, taking the attacking mentality is really paying off in these home games. The only downside is Jansen is noticeably losing his pace and struggles to get free of defenders when set through on goal which diminishes the way we play somewhat.

Another Parker goal, another Thiry goal.

The transfer window shuts with just one player signed and he’s one for the future. 17 year old England U19 player Keene comes in.

On the outgoings, 9 players leave on full transfers. All are a mixture of players who were never going to be good enough or just had better players in front of them in the first team. Having such a strong youth system does have its drawbacks. Another 13 players go out on loan as well.



Chelsea and Liverpool with the 100% records so far, but early in the season, we are pushing hard helped by the brilliance of Parker, Thiry & Lazenby.

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September 2037



The month doesn’t start well, with left-back Pedro Martin pulling abdominal muscles meaning that Greig Reoch, freshly promoted from the U23s will be dropped in at the deep end. Sink or swim time laddie.

Burnley (a) - Still early in the season, so there aren’t any fitness worries apart from Parker who played two games across the international break. He’ll start, but if we’re comfortable can be rested. Dominated in possession, shots on target and xG and should never have conceded two goals there. In the end our greater quality - well, Lazenby’s ability to finish - shone through.

Fenerbahce (a) Champions League Gp A - In theory, the weakest team of the group so we should be able to get off to a decent start. Strong team with only a couple of fitness related changes and the keeper rotated. Gudbartsson is the very unlikely opening goalscorer and that’s the way it stays, despite good opportunities to increase the scoreline.

Spurs (h) - Thiry is injured, and will be for a while, although Wilson is a pretty good replacement. Lazenby and Parker return though as Owolabi & Joshua make their first starts. That was unexpectedly emphatic with Parker leading the way.

The Barca scouts chose a good game to come and watch Parker…

Player profile - Hamidou Owolabi. That was the defensive midfielder’s 175th league game for the club and he has been as reliable as anyone I’ve signed. He may not get the plaudits week in, week out but he is an almost constant and can be relied on to put in a shift. The phasing in of Kotov to replace him and being in another youth product behind him looks to be the perfect progression.


Lincoln City (a) Carabao Cup 3rd round - All first team players, but the lesser spotted Martin, in goal, and Jansen up top make an appearance. Krylov also starts to give Parker a bit of a rest. I guess a win is a win and progression to the next round is assured, but we were terrible and barely deserved that.

And the reward for that win is an away trip to Huddersfield.

Aston Villa (a) - Business as usual as we return to the league against a team who have struggled so far. Duro has previous for red cards, but I think this one in the 2nd minute must be a record. Despite that, we take a 2 goal lead, but that is as good as it gets. Disappointing.

RB Leipzig (h) Champions League Gp A - Having won the first leg, this is a great opportunity to take control of the group against our most likely competitors. Parker’s in, Lazenby’s in and Wilson is still deputising for Thiry as the Belgian is injured. Didn’t do enough to win that or lose it, so that draw is probably the fairest result.


Not a bad start to the month, but that Villa result was somewhat painful. It’s the usual looking suspects at the top of the table and we have Liverpool & Manchester United in consecutive games next month.


October 2037



Nice easy couple of games to start the month, then?

Liverpool (a) - A little bit of a backs to the wall approach here. Parker is injured and he’s a big loss but otherwise, we should be able to put in a decent performance. Which we sort of do, but the game only really kicks into life in the final 10 minutes of an otherwise rather dour 90 minutes.

That felt like a long international break with 27 players off on their travels during which Northern Irishman Aaron Wilson scores again, to take his country total to 39 goals in 93 games and becomes the 2nd highest scorer in their history. Both Parker (twice) and Lazenby added to their England totals as well.

Owolabi retired from International football over the break after 70 Niger appearances. My top 10 International players in terms of senior appearances are:

Aaron Wilson - Northern Ireland (93 games, 39 goals)

Cesar Lopez - USA (79, 6)

Hamidou Owolabi - Niger (70, 1)

Trausti Gudbjartsson - Iceland (51, 1)

Barrington Parker - England (40, 21)

Maxim Krylov - Ukraine (30, 1)

Carmelo Thiry - Belgium (29, 17)

Lucas Lazenby - England (29, 18)

Delcio Jose - Portugal (29, 1)

Maxim Kotov - Russia (12, 0)

Parker, Lazenby and Thiry will all surely win loads more caps - Parker, in particular, could easily to get to 100 International games and Lazenby could get to 100 International goals if his form continues in the same vein.

Manchester United (h) - Neither Wilson or Lazenby are 100%, but given Lazenby’s importance to the team as the top scorer, he has to start. Wilson is more easily replaced so Thiry comes in. Pizzuti returns in goal as well. That was an unexpectedly emphatic win with Joshua getting the goal of the game with an effort off the bar from 30 yards.

Thiry’s fine performance did not go un-noticed either with another scouting mission by Real Madrid.

Willem II (h) Champions League Gp A - Game 3 and we’ve won 1, drawn 1 so this is a pretty good chance to take control of the group. Some squad rotation is needed as we compete on a number of fronts, but Parker’s back to fitness and Reoch is still needed at left-back as Martin remains injured. Thiry’s first act - on as a sub - was to put the penalty away and that 3rd goal gives a nice sheen to scoreline.

Rousseau, scouted by Spurs and Parker, by Barcelona are having a keen interest being shown in them...again. That’s a lot of key players being closely watched.

Player profile - Greig Reoch. The intention was to ease the Scottish fullback into the first team to give him some experience and see how he gets on, but with Pedro Martin injured, he’s rather been dropped in at the deep end. Despite this, he’s performed admirably against 2 of the toughest opponents we have and in Europe, which is a great sign. He already has a Scottish league title to his name.


Fulham (h) - Boldewijn injured, Duro suspended and Wilson less than match fit but Fulham have struggled and the home advantage should be enough. The trinity of Lazenby, Parker & Thiry should be enough. And it was, with Parker being absolutely ruthless - he is a joy when he’s in that sort of form.

Huddersfield Town (a) Carabao Cup 4th Round - Ba makes a rare start as does Jansen, who is not in great goalscoring form. Joshua has to deputise at right-back in the absence of an injured Gudbjartsson and Boldewijn. Played well, dominated but another underwhelming cup performance - probably due to the large scale rotation. A penalty win was fortunate but we did deserve it based on the performance.

I will learn to take this competition seriously at some point and my preference for rotating during this competition might explain why we've only won it once.


Having only just moved into a brand new stadium, the agreement to add another 10,000 seats came as a bit of a surprise, but we are in a financially very healthy position with a balance of £130m. 44,000 would give us the 9th biggest stadium in the league overtaking Leicester, Villa and Everton which would be a boost.

And the work on the training facilities has been completed - state of the art youth facilities, state of the art training facilities, exceptional academy coaching and exceptional youth recruitment. Happy with that.

The Carabao Cup quarter finals are drawn and we’re at home to Arsenal.

And that’s an interesting stat:

youth development.jpg

Of the 17, 14 are still owned by us with only Emery, Geraldao and Sangalli at pastures new.

Crystal Palace (a) - We did all the hard work in the opening 11 minutes and that was really as good as it got. We conceded a ridiculous goal at the end, but otherwise, that was pretty much as routine as a win gets these days.

Lazenby’s two goals takes him to 10 in 10, but he’s still behind Toldo at Spurs who has managed to bag 14 in his 11 games.



November 2037



Willem II (a) Champions League Gp A - Reoch’s run of games catches up with him so Krylov has to play an unfamiliar left-back position and Jansen leads the line. Ba also rotates in for Calatayud. No idea how we didn’t win that one...shooting practice for the week lads. Not good enough, should have won that but what has happened to Jansen - his ability has just dropped off a cliff.

Watford (a) - Well that didn’t go well. We just did not get our act together and a silly mistake on the halfway line gives them their only chance...which they take, and we miss several good opportunities to make amends.

Despite making an appearance in every one of Northern Ireland’s last 43 games and being more than good enough to still continue, Aaron Wilson announces his retirement on 95 International caps and 39 goals.

Leicester (h) - Parker is injured, but other than that this is a strong team. Unfortunately, Lazenby has an off-day which means that without he & Parker, the team has an off-day. Krylov puts in a performance, gets his goal but it’s Thiry who rescues us right at the death. That will add another million to his price tag.

Fenerbahce (h) Champions League Gp A - Fenerbahce have suffered 4 straight losses so far. A win sees us through and it is a comfortable win with, mainly, Thiry doing the bulk of the damage.

West Brom (h) - And coming very quickly after the European game are West Brom. Lazenby pays the price for some of his recent profligacy and Ba comes in for the less than match fit Jose. Jansen has probably had more goals ruled out through offside than any other player I’ve managed - it must be a ridiculous total, but he does get his reward after two disallowed. Ba, however, doesn’t do himself any favours.

Player Profile: Alex Calatayud. Longserving centre-back Alex Calatayud still has a few years left in him, although the annual tug of war with his suitors - usually Chinese clubs - will begin in a month or so, I’m sure. This time round, however, I may be happy for him to go and with a substantial transfer budget can replace him with a younger model.


Obviously, the FA Cup couldn’t possibly be a very kind draw so it’s a Premier League team in the shape of Fulham. A lot of Premier League teams face each other early on, but the stand-out game of the third round is Man Utd vs Arsenal. Holders Man City are at home to Birmingham.

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Euro table.jpg


December 2037



The month starts well as the board increase the transfer budget to £24m - with some flexibility, the transfer budget rises to £112m. There are some players coming in January, but the plan is for most of this to remain unused.

Arsenal (a) - Keeper Martin has been in better form than Pizzuti recently and deservedly gets the nod ahead of the Italian. The sending off pretty much put paid to any chance we had of getting a result, but even so - an own goal and a free header from a corner were not the goals we should have conceded.

Left-back Greig Reoch is the latest youngster in the Oldham stable to be designated as a wonderkid, although I’m not sure he’s that good. Alongside the Maxim’s (Krylov & Kotov) that makes 3 in the first team, 5 in the U23’s and another in the U18’s - 3 of whom are academy products.

Birmingham (h) - The brummies are bottom of the league and have just the 2 wins to their name so far. Jansen gets the chance to add to his record total as Ba comes in for the less than match fit Jose. They sat very deep with 9 men behind the ball most of the time so it’s not really a surprise it took 86 minutes to break through.

RB Leipzig (a) Champions League Gp A - I’m quite grateful that we’ve already qualified as we’ve saved the toughest game for last. We concede without even touching the ball and I’m already fearing the worst given our less than stellar recent form. But we fought back and the game property flowed between the sides. Neither side deserved to lose that.

Pizzuti chooses the wrong time to eat something that doesn’t agree with him as he’s ruled out for a few days with food poisoning.

yth preview.jpg

Well that’s disappointing, as full-backs and strikers are not exactly areas I’m struggling with. We’ll see what the actual intake brings though.

Manchester City (a) - That was a pretty valiant effort, but sometimes I think it’s okay to say you were beaten by the better team...although we didn’t make it as hard as we could have done I don’t think. 2 Parker assists, 2 Lazenby goals.

Champions League last 16 round.

CL draw.jpg

Okay...that’s not as bad as it might have been, but still. Valencia are new opponents though.

Arsenal (h) Carabao Cup Quarter Final - This needs some changes as the games this month are catching up with the players and Lazenby is probably the most notable absentee. It doesn’t make too much difference in the first half as we absolutely batter them. Ironically, they come out with a different formation in the second and instantly gift us a goal, and then grab one of their own at the death. Penalties...sudden death...and Jansen the winner.

Jansen hasn’t always been the most reliable from 12 yards so I was nervous when he stepped up.

Burnley pull off a shock in one of the other games and beat Man City leaving the draw wide open and the semi-final pitches us against Crystal Palace. Burnley face West Ham on the other side.

Defensive midfielder Kotov is the new name on the wanted list and it’s Borussia Dortmund with a rumoured £85m bid.

Everton (h) - We’ve got a rather good record against Everton so I’m optimistic about our chanes in this one, especially at home and with our bigger names back in the starting lineup. Lazenby will, quite rightly, get the plaudits as he reaps the rewards of a fluid, attacking, clinical performance.

That takes Lazenby to 15 goals in 15 league games for the season and 28 in 43 overall.

Chelsea (a) - Just two days later and it’s a far harder proposition. It’s not really a surprise the keeper got the man of the match award as Chelsea pretty mch laid siege to our goal for 90 minutes. We were woeful and how they didn’t get more than that one, I don’t know. Krylov, in particular, put in the sort of performance that means the interest from Panathanaikos, Sevilla and San Sebastien may be seriously considered. He’s very inconsistent.

Player Profile - Maxim Krylov. £27m was a lot of money for a player who is, essentially, just the back-up to Barrington Parker. This season he has been better and has a good goal return but when he’s not on form, he’s really not on form and with good players coming through in his position, a decent bid would be considered.



Those 3 losses this month really knocked us out of it a bit.


January 2038



Two players are brought in again at the beginning of the transfer window and they’re both 18 year old hot prospects, which does rather cause me some problems keeping these players happy. On the plus side, we have an impressive squad of youngsters coming through.



Fulham (a) FA Cup 3rd Round - Martin begins his comeback trail after his injury, Ba continues at centre-back and Jansen leads the line for the cup. Our defending was much better than our attacking there as we should have scored more than just those two goals. Ba and Calatayud as the deputy centre-backs did a fine job repelling everything Fulham had to offer.

And our reward for that victory is a home game to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Crystal Palace (h) Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st leg - I’d quite like a decent win to put us in the best position for the second leg but I can’t say that went to plan at all, despite the 35 shots on goal, 18 on target and...well...just the one goal to show for it.

Not impressive and, once again, Jansen is really struggling to justify his place in the first team with just 2 goals in 23 appearances so far.

Southampton (a) - All of the big players return and with Southampton performing badly, Parker, Thiry and Lazenby (and the others) should have enough here to win. As it happens, they sit 10 men behind the ball and it takes two pieces of magic from Kotov - with a pinpoint through ball to Duro - and then Parker with a fine curled finish from the edge of the box.

West Ham (h) - West Ham sack their manager - Marko Anautovic - before this game, but I’m not sure whether that will be a good thing or not. We concede a first half goal, give the boys a kicking at half-time and send them out again. Thankfully, Duro gets another and Lazenby completes the win with a clinical effort as the game was wearing on.

Brighton (h) - Parker is need of a rest so Krylov comes in alongside Lazenby and Thiry. We played some very nice football, dominated possession, shots and chances and looked neat and tidy but it took a long time, and a Parker substitution, to make the difference against a stubborn team.

One of my loaned out wonderkids - Jack Derry - complains he’s not getting the gametime at Villa and asks to be recalled, which he is. He was prolific at U23 level so I’m optimistic and with Jansen misfiring, he could be a valuable squad rotation option and hopefully we can develop him into a first team player in time.


Bournemouth (a) - We’ve been winning, but hardly emphatically so I’m coming into this one with a slight sense of apprehension. We are at full strength though, so we should be optimistic.

Sheffield Wednesday (a) FA Cup 4th Round - All change, Derry gets a debut, Ba’s apprenticeship at centre-back continues and keeper Martin gets his chance between the sticks. Keeping clean sheets seems to be a foreign concept at the moment but WIlson’s late penalty does put a deserved sheen on the final scoreline. Derry gets his goal as well.

Player Profile - Carmelo Thiry. Thiry didn’t play in that game, but he’s been our best performing player so far this season and has contributed massively with 14 goals and 7 assists in the 26 games he’s played. One of my elite players who is constantly wanted - currently being watched by Milan & Real Madrid, although neither have made any offers so far this month and I’m not keen on letting him go!


5th Round of the FA Cup and we travel to East Anglia to face Championship Norwich. And one of Liverpool or Man City will be knocked out.

Crystal Palace (a) Carabao Cup Semi Final 2nd leg - A draw in the first leg probably just gives Palace the advantage, but it wasn’t a good result for either team. We are in far better form coming into this one. Derry retains his place up front, Joshua, Thiry & Ba all miss out due to suspension or injury. More of the same lads, but the tactic is tweaked to add a bit of width. Derry’s come back from his loan spell in inspired form and Krylov’s last 2 games have resulted in 2 goals and 2 assists. Everything there just clicked for once.

It’s West Ham in the final.

Burnley (h) - This month’s games have really taken their toll and whilst key players Lazenby, Jose & Kotov are not 100%, they will play. Burnley sit deep and we really struggle to break them down until Parker and Lazenby combine to give us the lead with Duro, who’s having his best goal-scoring season, putting the icing on the cake.


This month’s 5 league wins has certainly helped us move up the table and given the lads some much needed confidence back.


February 2038



A very quiet transfer window - no players out, barely any offers for anyone and just the two youngsters; Saltik & Chery, in. Nothing like keeping a stable squad in place.

Although, the day after the British window closes, Milan come in for central midfielder Joshua. Having negotiated them up to £40m with another £25m in add-ons, accepting the bid is a bit of a no-brainer. He leaves after 199 games in total.


He will be replaced in the first team squad by Colombian midfielder Freddy Navarro from the U23’s who was signed in 2035 from Colombian side Atletico Nacional for £1.5m. He might not be good enough to hold down a spot permanently, but he should consider this his audition.


Aston Villa (h) - Bottom of the league, not won in 17, worst defence in the league...and we should have kept a clean sheet, but that’s a minor moan. We were far and away the better team and even centre-back Jose gets in on the act. Comfortable enough to even allow Derry & Navarro to get some gametime.

I don’t know what is going on in training but Wilson, Martin, Kotov, Thiry and Parker all injure themselves...some for longer periods than others, but at least Wilson is out for the next few games.

Tottenham Hotspur (a) - And it’s Parker, Wilson, Ba and Kotov who miss out injured. Recent form has been very good and we’re a couple of league positions ahead of them in the table. I thought we’d done enough to win that one so that is rather disappointing not to come away with a win as that was our game in hand.

Manchester United (a) - Well, that was not a performance I was expecting but we blew United out of the park. We definitely make a better fist of it when the better teams come out and attack us and it paid off there, although Thiry’s penalty and Lopez’s header from a corner are perhaps not where the goals would come from in a fluid attacking performance.

The only downside to that is the injury to Duro which rules him out for 3-4 weeks.

This is a very harsh fixture list and run of games.

Valencia (a) Champions League last 16 - This is a tough game, so even with the Carabao Cup final on the horizon, the strongest team possible is put out and it pays off. We completely outplay Valencia for the whole game as we regularly get in behind them. The 2 goals conceded in extra time are an absolute travesty.


We won this in 2032, then lost in 2035 so a third time appearance, but we are most definitely stronger than on both of those occasions. Parker, usually at inside-forward, is the only absentee as he is quite a long way short of fitness, and that is a blow. Thiry and Lazenby, however, are very capable of making up for his absence and Krylov is hardly a poor replacement. Having been the cup keeper, Martin would be playing in goal if he was 100% fit - his absence is a shame.

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We simply outclass West Ham as we blitz them from the opening 20 minutes and, frankly, it’s game over from there.

Player Profile: Lucas Lazenby. The club’s record signing has not disappointed since coming in for frankly, a huge fee. He didn’t get the MoM in the final but his constant running in behind the defence and clinical finishing means that he is always a threat and always in the running for a goal. His 19 league goals (24 in total) only make him the joint 4th top scorer in the Premier League, but he’ll get plenty of more. Already at 32 league goals in 52 games overall.


The league has compressed significantly at the top with the top 4 teams separated by not very many points, although our next game is against Liverpool.



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