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

March 2038



Norwich (a) FA Cup 5th Round - The scoreline suggests a far closer game than it actually was. Derry’s apprenticeship at centre-forward continues and Navarro gets his first - a fine close range header - on his first start. (Most of) the deputies did a fine job getting us through there.

FA Cup final quarter final and it’s Manchester United, with our only ray of light being that we are, at least, drawn at home.

Liverpool (h) - Back to full strength with the Lazenby, Parker, Thiry trio at the top end, hopefully in a position to do the business. A number of other players return to give us the strongest possible 11. That was a very good win and we restricted Liverpool to just the 4 shots on target and one of those was the penalty Pizzuti saved.

Parker’s 4 week injury rules him out of the Champions League 2nd leg and the FA Cup quarter final and he will be missed.

Fulham (a) - Our game in hand is against the team struggling in 18th and a win would take us level at the top of the table, with Man City. Parker’s injury means Krylov comes in and this is probably a good game to give both Thiry & Martin a rest. Absolutely fuming with that - we didn’t even look like scoring until we went long ball for the last 15 minutes. Just could not break them down.

That was a huge missed opportunity to make some headway on the top of the table.

Crystal Palace (h) - This needs a massive improvement from the Fulham game and they’re told as much. Krylov, Parker and Duro are the notable absentees. Central defender Ba had an absolute shocker and was at fault for both their goals, so it’s fitting he got the winner but we were fortunate and made hard work of the win.

Valencia (h) Champions league last 16 2nd leg - A very narrow lead from the first leg puts us in a reasonable position, but Valencia are dangerous opposition and our best players have returned. That was so far from being a decent performance it’s unreal, but Lazenby totally digs us out of a hole and shows why we paid a lot of money for him.

Barrington Parker signs a massive new contract on £300k a week, but it keeps him here for another 5 years which will stop the vultures from circling for the time being. If we can just pull the same for Thiry, that would be a real coup.

The youth intake doesn’t produce anyone of note so it’s down to poaching some youngsters if we can.

Champions League quarter final:

qtr final.jpg

For the third season in a row we’re through to the Champions League quarter final...we’ve not made the semi’s yet.

Manchester United (h) FA Cup quarter final - Not the game I want to be resting players, but that extra time against Valencia took quite a lot out of key players as Jose, Rousseau and Thiry all need a rest. Krylov, Navarro and Lopez are the replacements. Krylov produces a mazy run and clinical finish before Lazenby - once again - just takes over and takes his tally to 30 in all for the season.

But the damaged foot rules him out for 2 weeks and that is probably the one injury we will struggle the most with. Either Derry, or Jansen - at opposite ends of the experience spectrum - will be needed to deputise.

Player profile: Cesar Lopez. The American centre-back has somehow never played more than 25 league games in the season for me, but is another of my longserving unsung heroes. He’s won the Championship, 2 Carabao Cups and the European Cup II with me and has more than played his part. 211 games in all and working his way to 100 International caps.


In the other quarter final, Brighton pull off a shock and beat Manchester City and the semi-final draw is

West Brom v Oldham
Stoke v Brighton.

This really is there for the taking but West Brom are one of my bogey teams.

Leicester (a) - U18 player Petrella has to come in as both Parker and Krylov are out with a lack of fitness. They’re joined by Thiry, Lazenby and Pedro Martin meaning we have a starting 11 that is some way from the one I would have chosen. Unfortunately, Petrella properly blows his chance in a game where Leicester had no shots - none - of any type, and we didn’t make the most of it.


Still pretty tight between the top 4 but that Leicester game feels like a big missed opportunity. We’ve still to play Man City & Chelsea (both at home) and they are 2 of our final 3 games - it could be an epic run in.


April 2038



This month has a sense of deja vu as we start the month competing for the Champions League, FA Cup and an outside chance of the league - just like we did last year, before imploding and only winning 2 of the final 11 games in all competitions. I’m hoping for something better this time round.

All of the top 3 win ahead of the month’s opener.

Watford (h) - Our 3 leading scorers are absent and given Watford’s struggles this season, we’re starting with 2 strikers as Wilson supports Jansen at the business end of the pitch. It pays off as Jansen gets his first goal in forever and Wilson, mostly reliable from the spot, makes the scoreline more realistic. Watford did not come to play...8 men behind the ball and we really struggled to break them down.

Inter Milan (h) Champions League Quarter Final - Lazenby isn’t fit enough to return but both Parker, in the starting 11, and Thiry, on the bench, are. We could put down a real marker here if we play well. And we do play well, but don’t necessarily get the full rewards for doing so as we only record a narrow win. Parker puts on another absolute top drawer performance.

Inter Milan (a) Champions League Quarter Final - The return of the 3 musketeers - Lazenby, Parker and Thiry - gives us the absolute best shot of proceeding here. Duro and Rousseau are dropped deeper to offer some additional protection though. And the three defensive midfielders smother Inter into submission. Another defensive minded player is bought on with 10 minutes left to see it out...which we do. Not pretty, but very effective.

The reward for that victory is a semi-final against Manchester United.

semi final.jpg

West Brom FA Cup Semi-Final (n) - The first of consecutive games against the Baggies and on paper, it shouldn’t cause us too many difficulties but we have a habit of struggling against them. Martin in goal is the only change. Lazenby calms all the pre-match nerves with his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season and in doing so, breaks the club record for goals scored in a season.

It’s Brighton in the final.

West Brom (a) - More of the same lads, although Parker and Thiry miss out with minor knocks. Krylov & Wilson are the more than capable deputies and Navarro replaces Rousseau. Frustratingly, Lazenby struggles which means the whole team struggles and despite carving out a few decent chances, Krylov’s goal as we pile on the pressure is as good as it gets.

Birmingham (a) - With more than half an eye on the Champions League Semi-Finals, a lot of players are rested. Under-par Jansen needs to put in a performance here. But the second string of players was not good enough by some distance as, despite having more of every key stat, we didn’t really do anything. Not a good performance.

Player Profile - Giuseppe Pizzuti. The Italian goalkeeper has now made 121 appearances overall for us and has rather usurped the previously first choice Daniel Martin. Despite this, goalkeeper is one of the positions I’m intending to look at in the summer and potentially spend big to improve, although that would probably be slightly harsh in this case. Football is a ruthless unsentimental game though.


Manchester United (h) Champions League Semi-Final 1st leg - Home advantage is key and we need to make the most of this with our strongest possible 11 put out. Unfortunately, left-back Pedro Martin chooses the wrong game to have a shocker as he is guilty for the opening 2 United goals...and it all started so well. Disappointing collapse.


We’re almost assured of Champions League football again next season, but we’ve rather fallen away at the top which just goes to show how tough it is to consistently stay in the race. The top 3 are all in contention for the title though and the run-in could be exciting.


May 2038



That’s the busiest looking May I think I’ve ever had with 6 games.

Manchester City (h) - With the Champions League semi-finals, we’re seeing a fair bit of Manchester at the moment. An early-ish lead, pegged back and then under siege until half-time. A bit of a shout at halftime and we come out with a far better second half which we hold on to, although it takes some work as the game wears on.

Manchester United (a) Champions League Semi-Final 2nd leg - A heavy home defeat doesn’t bode well for the second leg, but we go again. A very dull first half so something had to change in the second and drastic substitutions were made, and as soon as they are we concede which kills off any chance we did have. The bookings and injuries made that even more painful.

Parker currently leads the league with 19 assists, which is already the second highest in the last 18 seasons. Lazenby leads Oldham for league goals with 21, but this is only good enough for third and it’s a Burnley player who is the most prolific with 32.

Everton (a) - Lots of players struggling with fitness so this is quite a changed 11. No Thiry or Wilson, no Lazenby, no Gudbjartsson, no Parker and 20 year old Derry gets the nod ahead of Jansen. We were so, so, so comfortable until Martin - once again - made a ridiculous cross-field pass which was intercepted and led directly to their only real chance...and goal.

Arsenal (h) - Given Duro’s early red card - yet another - that was not a bad performance and we even had chances to win it at the death but both Jansen and Parker missed good opportunities. 88 minutes with 10 men though, so a draw isn’t a bad result under those circumstances.

Player Profile - Rayco Duro. They could be Duro’s last 2 minutes on the pitch at the club. 7 red cards over the 4 seasons, despite not being particularly aggressive but his competitive streak clearly is too much. If he could cut that out, I’d be happy to keep him around but he has been a pretty good servant. 100 league games in all. Now transfer listed and wanted by a couple of clubs and also 1 year on his contract so this summer could be as good a time as any to cash in.


Chelsea (h) - The final league game of the season, although with nothing to play for, some players are rested for the FA Cup final and it shows somewhat. Hardly a polished performance of any kind there and not really one that will stick long in the memory. On the plus side, Jansen does get his goal.

22 year old Carmelo Thiry retains his title as the English Players young player of the year with 13 goals and 6 assists over his 27 games. He’s in demand (Man City, Milan, Real Madrid and Barcelona) and that will not help my chances of keeping him. He’s already refusing to sign a new contract as a result of this interest, so may be a very, very reluctant sale.


Oldham’s first ever FA Cup final and against opposition that finished 13th in the league. I’m quietly confident of winning this one, and I think we have the better players, but this is a who knows.

FA cup lineup.jpg



Their goal (and a disallowed one) make that look a lot closer than it was as we should have put that to bed far earlier and made sure of the result. Paul Curtis was man of the match with his goal and a beautiful assist for Lazenby’s goal.

We can add that to the Carabao Cup earlier this season and the trophy cabinet is looking healthy:


For the fourth successive season we’ve finished in the top 4 (4th, 3rd, 3rd, 4th) and the points total stays more-or-less the same. It may need some big changes to try and spark the impetus to turn these 3rd and 4th place finishes into something higher.


The other thing we could do would be to be a little bit better in the closing month of the season with just the one win from the final 6 league games.


Hertha Berlin beat Manchester United in the Champions League final which has to go down as a bit of a shock. I’d have fancied our chances if we had got past United in the semi’s so that feels like a missed opportunity.


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May 2038 - season & player review
No real surprises here and the starting 11 has been pretty consistent, but that’s a very creative clinical 3 supported by quite a solid foundation. Lazenby picgaoked up 35 goals in all, Parker 15 and Thiry ended the season on 20. I’m desperate to keep hold of those 3, but that could be a challenge.


player awards.jpg


Pizzuti has been the main league goalkeeper and has performed admirably but going deep into the Champions League and winning both cups has meant an awful lot of games, so Martin has also been required.


Neither of my right-backs have quite as many assists as I would have liked, especially as they have quite a lot of free pitch in front of them with the formation we play. Defensively though, they have been good - Gudbjartsson in particular.


Given he is the junior left-back, it is a bit of a surprise to see the 21 year old Reoch as the better performer, but both have been pretty solid. We’ve got a couple of decent prospects in the U23s, so Martin could be sacrificed to allow some progression.


Jose is the undisputed first choice centre-back and the £65m rated man has also made an impact at the other end with 8 goals. Lopez & Calatayud have assisted very well and Senegalese centre-back Amadou Ba is gaining good experience, despite his request to leave the club.


Rousseau and youngster Navarro have rotated the lefthand side Carrilero role. Owolabi and Kotov have played the central defensive midfielder position and the attacking mezzala’s have been Duro & Curtis. Rousseau and Curtis have been the creative forces in central midfielder, but Curtis’s lack of natural fitness means he struggles to play a full game in the middle. Duro’s lack of discipline means his place in the squad is at risk. Youngsters Kotov & Navaro have had gametime to develop, although Kotov - at just 20 - is already one of the best players in the middle

Attacking midfielders:

Parker is one of the stand-out players in the team and his stats show why. Thiry is another genuine world class player, but given his refusal to sign a new contract, could be a very reluctant sale. Wilson and Krylov have rather played as deputies to these two so far, but pretty able deputies - Krylov in particular, who would probably be a starter in most other teams.


Lazenby’s arrival has pushed longstanding first choice striker Jansen down the picking order and, seemingly, his performances have struggled as a result. 20 year old Derry is still very much learning his trade, so unless a bid too good to refuse comes in, Jansen may well be worth keeping around. A significant upgrade is unlikely as I want to keep Lazenby as first choice and any top player won’t want to be second string.


Of the players out on loan, quite a few have been transfer listed and we will be actively looking to move them on. Schulz has clearly found his level at League 1, although a number of others haven’t impressed.

One player who has, however, is Dom Boyd at Everton who has been in good form and can clearly manage it in the premier league. He is the reason Duro is allowed to leave as we aim for a pretty seamless transition.

Players such as Luiz (23), Deconinck (22) and Ranieri (22) are in that position of being too old for development and not good enough for the first team but the loans have hopefully, increased their value.


June-July 2038
I’m going to do something I’ve never done before for this transfer window and leave all incoming transfers to my director of football Mirko Michel

I’ve asked him to look for a keeper and an attacking central midfielder in the expectation that this could be a very busy outgoing transfer window as I look to shake up the squad to see if we can make that jump to 1st/2nd in the league. He has a very healthy £112m budget.

In amongst all the transfer shenanigans, this is a world cup year and the groups have been drawn.

WC groups.jpg

England are the holders having beaten Spain in the fina of the last competition and Oldham have just the 8 players called up:

Curtis (who is so far uncapped), Lazenby & Parker are all with England.

Pizzuti with Italy.

Lopez with the USA.

Jose with Portugal.

Ba with Senegal.

Thiry with Belgium

Whilst all that's going on, and having told him to get a keeper, Michel does not disappoint, although I do think he’s perhaps paid over the odds here.


The Colombian keeper comes in from Porto for a significant fee of £86m, but he could be a signing that takes us to the next level.

Our good Champions League showing pushes us up the ranks to 15th in the European club rankings.

Amadou Ba was unhappy and had asked to leave - a number of bids were accepted for the centre-back and he chose Bournemouth where I think he will do well. I'm a bit...a lot...annoyed with that, as if he'd have settled down he would have realised that he will be in and around the first team for the next couple of seasons, at which point Calatayud will be 34/35 and he will be then first choice. Short sighted Amadou, short sighted.


Decent profit though. He will be seamlessly replaced by 18 year old Onur Saltik through the development squad who is the next wonderkid off the conveyor belt.


The next player brought in by my DoF is Samir Halilovic from Stuttgart. Definitely one for the future, but perhaps not a player I would have chosen. He’ll be put in the U18s and perhaps retrained to play the defensive central midfielder role.


And he’s been even busier, signing another youngster in the shape of Veloza and pulling off a bit of a coup, picking up world class midfielder and England International Alex Pitt on a free. Not sure where he’s going to fit in, but I’m sure we can make room in the squad.



World class, global superstar...and not a penny paid in transfer fees. Good job Mirko, good job.

Inter make a bid of £35m, rising to £50m, for Rayco Duro. it’s a loss, but he’s refusing to sign a new contract, which is up next year and Pitt coming in, is an ideal replacement. His disciplinary record has been a struggle at times as well but he has provided a sheen of quality when on form.


And he’s swiftly followed by another Spaniard - left-back Pedro Martin - in a further bid to refresh the first team although the £20m is slightly less than he’s worth.


He’ll be replaced by Henrique who comes in from the U23s. He was signed 3 seasons ago on a free transfer from Sao Paulo and will be challenging with Reoch for that left-back berth.

And the world cup ends with Italy the victors on penalties, although it wasn’t a great final.

WC tree.jpg

England disappoint as the holders go out in the quarter finals. Paul Curtis (2 substitute appearances), Lucas Lazenby (5 apps, 1 goal) and Barrington Parker (4 apps, 3 goals) all feature for England along with new signing Alex Pitt (4 apps, 1 goal).

Pizzuti doesn’t feature at all for Italy as he stays on the bench for the whole tournament.

Cesar Lopez features in 3 of the USA’s 4 games, but not their final appearance as Brazil knock them out in the 3rd Round.

Delcio Jose’s Portugal get all the way to the Semi-finals and he features in 3 of those games, grabbing a goal against the Ivory Coast.

Belgium make it to the quarter finals. Thiry plays in all 5 games and picks up 3 goals along the way.


Hardly the set of results to give us a boost going into the season.

August 2038


Charity Shield up early in the month and this is a first appearance in the competition for us. Man Utd, league winners, though.

Manchester United (n) Community Shield - Alex Pitt makes his debut against his former club, but Parker misses out as he’s still not 100% after the world cup. Thiry and Lazenby are the difference makers in this team. Pitt does indeed make an impression as he drives in from 30 yards to open the scoring and Thiry scores an excellent mazy run, but we get pegged back twice. We do not have good penalty takers and it shows although Wilson & Curtis are usually reliable.

Apparently we’ll be playing our home games at Manchester City’s 55,000 capacity stadium whilst upgrades are taking to place at Oldham Stadium to increase that capacity to 50,000. Might bring in a bit of money I suppose.

West Ham (h) - Cano makes his debut in goal, Lazenby and Thiry play, although Pitt starts on the bench, replaced by Curtis. We’ve also got a couple of decent kids on the bench who might make their debuts as well. It takes my two world-class players to make the difference before Jansen, on as a sub, issues a timely reminder that his Oldham career isn’t quite done with two classy dinked finishes.

Jansen’s goals there means he’s already scored half as many goals as he got last season.

Everton (a) - Parker makes his first start of the season, but there’s little rotation elsewhere other than Pitt in for Curtis. Jose & Lopez continue at centre-back. VAR seemed to have it in for us there as they ruled out an effort from Lazenby and then Lopez. Despite absolutely mullering them, we only manage the one goal and it’s a fine headed effort from Cesar Lopez making up for his disallowed one. Cano remains unbeaten.

Tottenham Hotspurs (h) - Spurs only have one point from the games so far, so this is a real chance to make home advantage count. Henrique makes his debut at left-back but I’m looking at Parker, Thiry & Lazenby to be the difference makers. That was complete domination as Spurs failed to muster a shot on target. The slightly more defensive approach taken at the start of this season is really paying off.

And off the back of that game, and to attempt to reduce the interest, I make Thiry the highest earning player at the club with a new 5 year £350k a week contract. This guy is a future world player of the year, surely.

Champions League and seeded second:

CL table.jpg

Interesting...Borussia Dortumund we’ve won 1, drawn 1. We have 4 straight wins against Galatasaray and we’ve only ever played Slavia Prague in a friendly 8 seasons ago. We should be able to make it through this.

Blackburn Rovers (a) - They are bottom of the league without a win, so this should be comfortable, but you never know. A strong team is put out although it doesn’t really show as we struggle to finish them off and it’s only Thiry’s penalty prowess that gives us the three points. We should never have conceded two though.

Player Profile - Oscar Cano. It’s very early days - 3 games in fact - but the new keeper has started to prove his worth between the sticks. It already looks like he is going to be a vital part of the team going forward with 3 clean sheets in the three games he has played. Pizzuti played in the game against Blackburn.



Southampton are the surprise package and make the early running. Chelsea are probably the less surprising option at the top of the table. Still, 4 straight wins is a very fine start to the season.


September 2038



The transfer window closes and we’ve offloaded a massive amount of players, making some decent money in the process. Most of those players were from the U23s and, if they weren’t in the first team by now, are never going to be, but Duro and Martin have left from the first team. There are also a significant number of players out on loan.

We’ve also added Alex Pitt on a free, but both Ajax (who isn’t as good as the scouting report suggested) and Ebert came in as youngsters signed by the DoF. Anthony Spence was signed from Morecambe to give the affiliate club some money as we try and boost their stature as we send players on loan to them.


3 very winnable league games which would put us in a great position this early in the season. Dortmund away though…

The International break takes its toll on the squad as Wilson, Parker, Pitt, Krylov and Kotov all return injured.

Bournemouth (h) - We were absolutely terrible there and somehow managed to escape with the 3 points via a Boyd penalty - his first for the club. Not a good performance, but a win none-the-less which is huge and maintains our 100% winning start.

Borussia Dortmund (a) Champions League Gp H - The first group game and probably the toughest of the lot. Rousseau has to continue in the defensive role - although he’s hardly an amateur there - and Navarro starts next to him. The fact that Cano, in goal, was man of the match should tell you everything you need to know there. He single-handedly kept us in it and was unlucky to concede at the end, even under pretty relentless pressure.

Watford (a) - This needs some rotation and some thought with a number of players seemingly unable to play games in quick succession. Pitt and Curtis play in unfamiliar positions and Boyd makes his first start of the season. Absent top scorer Thiry could be a miss though. That was far from a polished performance and it took aggressive changes to take the win.

Boyd’s injury is a nasty one - a broken leg that keeps him out for 4-5 months. That’s a blow as he was starting to stake a regular first team place.

Portsmouth (a) Carabao Cup 3rd Round - As the holders, I don’t want to choose a significantly weaker first team, but some players do need a rest. Derry & Dale both play and Turkish wonderkid Saltik makes his first start in central defence. Thiry came on and put the game out of Portsmouth’s reach, but it was hard earned until that point. Derry was unlucky not to get more than 1 there.

Player Profile: Jack Derry. Derry was unlucky as he hit the woodwork and had a goal VAR’d out, but after a number of seasons out on loan he’s getting his chance in the first team. With Jansen unable to stay fit, he’s getting plenty of opportunities as well. At the very least, his value is going to increase significantly as he does, even if he doesn’t make it here. The fee from Southampton already looks like a decent piece of business in any case.


In the fourth round of the Carabao Cup we draw West Ham away. There are some peachy draws elsewhere and one of Manchester United or Manchester City will be going out.

Birmingham (h) - 7 players unavailable through injury and Birmingham have performed well in their second season at the top level. Saltik gets another chance to impress but otherwise, the starting 11 is full of familiar faces. Birmingham shoot themselves in the foot very early on and then again, with Thiry not making any mistakes from 12 yards. Dale gets his first for the club as well with a fine header from just inside the box.

Thiry got 13 league goals last season, he’s already now scored 6 in 6 league games.

Galatasaray (h) Champions League Gp H - Some squad rotation is utilised and today it’s Jansen’s chance to start in place of Lazenby. Dale replaces Thiry, but Parker starts. Galatasaray do not get a look in and the goal they do get, we hand to them. Jansen more than plays his part and looks to have returned to his best form.

Another outstanding win and that’s a ridiculously prolific start to this season as we record 10 straight wins.


We are matching Chelsea’s pace at the top of the table, but how long we can keep this going, I don’t know.


October 2038


Well, if anything is going to test our unbeaten run, it’s this month - Manchester City and Liverpool.


Southampton (a) - A number of players are still returning to full fitness, so this could be a challenge with a less than first choice starting 11. Southampton’s Yu-Min pinged in a very, very good freekick in the first half but that was as dangerous as they looked. We recovered, Curtis scored a clinical finish and Lazenby scored on the counter.

That win makes it a club record of 11 consecutive wins and, even better, Chelsea suffer a shock defeat to West Brom.

The International break does a number on quite a few of the squad as Parker, Lazenby, Rousseau, Krylov and Gudbjartsson all return with an injury of one description or another. Barrington Parker has, this season, been less than prolific and I’m sure it’s mostly due to his very long niggly injury list:

Parker injuries.jpg

Barca have been heavily linked with a £99m bid for him and this is the kind of thing that makes me think that might not be the worst deal in the world if we can look to push it up significantly.

West Brom (h) - Lazenby missing, Jansen unfit so youngster Derry gets another chance to impress in a strong team. Pitt just gets the nod over Curtis and Gudbjartsson replaces Boldewijn at right-back. Derry plays poacher as he taps in from a yard after some corner pinball and Parker scores direct from a free-kick giving us the most routine of routine wins.

Slavia Prague (h) Champions League Gp H - Strikers Lazenby and Jansen are both unavailable, so Derry starts again and Wilson makes his first start of the season in place of Thiry. And we absolutely smother them, with Derry & Rousseau competing in their own personal goal of the season competition as they score some crackers between them. A very comfortable win in the end that puts us in prime position to progress.

Player Profile: Bernard Rousseau. Still only 22, but has made over 160 appearances at the club and will make many, many more. The transfer interest has cooled somewhat recently but as he is so versatile, I’m very reluctant to let him go anywhere. In the longterm he could be successor to Owolabi in the defensive central midfielder position.


If there’s any game that’s going to put a stop to this run, it’s this one, although they are well off the pace so far this season and sit in 8th. .

Manchester City (a) - We are at full strength and clearly on an excellent run, so I am expecting a win, despite the obvious quality of the opposition. We restricted City to just the two shots on target and had plenty of our own. On another day, Lazenby would have got a hat-trick as his movement was’s a shame his pace and finishing weren’t.

Rousseau and Thiry are in need of an extended break apparently, which isn’t great news.

West Ham (a) Carabao Cup 4th Round - Although, if we’re going to give them a rest, it may as well be in the second cup competition. And they are rested as Navarro replaces Rousseau, Wilson coming in for Thiry. We also swap Pitt, Lazenby, Cano, Henrique and both centre-backs. Time will tell if that’s too much disruption to the team. I have no idea what Navarro was doing taking those penalties but the 20 year old Colombian rather dug us out of a hole in a game we were dreadful.

22 homegrown players and we lead the league for it - what a stat that is.

yth dev.jpg

Liverpool (h) - It’s not often you go into a game against Liverpool as favourites, but home advantage, their league position (9th) and winless run of a few games means that we probably are today. That really was the Lazenby show and he could (probbaly should) have had a hat-trick as he hits the post when one-on-one late on.

That takes Lazenby to 6 league goals this season. Only Thiry - with 7 - has got more for us.


Still unbeaten and just the dropped points from that draw which is very pleasing. Very good goal difference and only the 6 goals conceded which makes for very good reading.


November 2038



Slavia Prague
(a) Champions League Gp H - A convincing 7-0 win against Slavia last time out and a 100% winning record in the groups so far means we should be confident here. We take the opportunity to rest Lazenby, Rousseau and Jose. 21 year old Derry more than steps into Lazenby’s boots he comes up with a fine hat-trick in a comfortable win that guarantees progression.

CL table.jpg

Burnley (h) - Parker fails a late fitness test and Derry’s fine European performance means that Lazenby starts with a rest, depending on how the game goes. Saltik was winning near post headers from corners for the whole of the first half so he eventually had to force one in and he gets his first for the club. Overall though, we made quite hard work of that.

Player Profile: Onur Saltik. The Turkish U21 International, is surely not far away from a full call up. He was signed with the intention of sitting in the under 23’s for a season or two but with Amadou Ba leaving in the summer, he’s been drafted into the first team earlier than planned. Despite this, he has settled in quite nicely and, as long as he doesn’t get ideas above his station, could be around for a while.


After the International break, it’s back to the business of the league and away to Arsenal is one of the tougher games we could have come back to.

Arsenal (a) - Lopez’s rash challenge gifted them the chance to take the win, which they duly did. We never got back into the game after that, despite making changes to try and win it. Frustrating.

Borussia Dortmund (h) Champions League Gp H - Jansen makes a return after a long injury lay off and the free hit nature of the game means that some of the bigger names are rested. Dale comes into the AMC position and Henrique plays at left-back. Cano kept us in that with some big saves to preserve the 3 points.

Leicester (a) - Leicester are well down the league in the relegation zone so I’m not expecting an open expansive approach from them. The only notable absentee is Parker who struggles to retain his fitness across a run of games. We made really hard work of that, but the win is the most important thing. A fine through ball from Pitt was clinically put away.


Arsenal inflicted our first loss of the season, but despite this, we’re riding high at the top although Chelsea have kept pace. Whether we can keep this up or not is the question.


December 2038



The early news for the month is the board giving me an extra £22m - with some adjustment that gives a budget of almost £100m.

Wolves (h) - Our form has been so good at home, I can’t see anything other than a straight win here. No complacency though. In the end, Lazenby does what he’s best at and Wilson - who’s been to see me as he wants a new challenge - fires in a fine second. We push on in the second half but can’t add to the tally.

Brighton (a) - The seagulls have been flying and are in 4th place exceeding expectations. Pitt & Parker miss out, but Curtis and Krylov are pretty decent replacements so there shouldn’t be a huge drop in quality. Key player Thiry is back and the Oldham juggernaut continues. Another win, another clean sheet, another 3 points.

The only downside is Chelsea continue to do the same.

I take a bit of a gamble and allow Rousseau and Thiry to go on holiday for a week as they are both knackered. They will miss the next two games, but they are a dead rubber in the Champions League and a home game to Sheffield United which I’d expect us to win. Hopefully they come back refreshed and given our history of running out of steam in April/May at the end of the season, if this can help to prevent that, it will have been worth it.

Galatasaray (a) - Qualification already guaranteed so a second string team is put out, although they don’t cover themselves in glory. Only Navarro’s outstanding 25 yard volley gives us any cause to smile. Unfortunately, Jansen’s poor performance only goes to show how far he’s fallen.

It’s a good job we’re already through.

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Ahead of this, there’s another top of the table clash as 2nd placed Chelsea host 3rd placed Manchester United which Chelsea win comfortably.

Sheffield United
(h) - And we need to keep the pressure on, so the big players return. Lopez & Jose keep their posts at centre-back and Cano is back in goal. It’s a big win as Lazenby runs riot with a hat-trick. 31 year old Aaron Wilson turns back the years in Thiry’s absence to get 2 assists and tucks away the penalty. Excellent result.

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That looks a little bit promising. A top prospect in central midfield and a couple of decent attacking midfielders might mean they fit the formation. A self-sustaining youth system is the goal but we’ll probably only get there through poaching others.

Manchester United (h) Carabao Cup Qtr final - With two games against United in quick succession, the league game is the priority so some tweaking to the starting 11 is made. Thiry and Rousseau have returned from holiday, but they’re still being kept in cotton wool so on the bench. Jansen proves he’s not quite ready to be put out to pasture just yet with 2 excellent strikes. I very much enjoyed that win.

The Champions League last 16 is drawn and we’re off to the Netherlands. One of City or Barcelona going out should make the next round more viable. It looks as though the other Premier League representatives may make it though.

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Player profile - Alex Pitt. The central midfielder - a bargain for a free - has come in and settled quite nicely. He’s had to rotate with Curtis and may have also had to share a role with Boyd had he not ended up with a nasty injury, but he can more than play his part. His high passing, technique and means he’s a real threat with the ball at his feet.


The Carabao Cup semi-final and we’re at home to Liverpool. The other semi-finalists are Chelsea & Wolves.


New contract?? Yes please

Possibly two of the biggest games of my season in very quick succession in 3 days but we have had a break of 12 days, so the squad should be raring to go.

West Ham because a bit of a shock by beating Chelsea in the early afternoon game.

Manchester United (a) - An away boxing day game poses a different problem, but Cano, Jose, Rousseau, Curtis, Parker Thiry and Lazenby are all potential match-winners in the starting 11. Even so, it’s a cautious start. We had to navigate a serious barrage towards the end of the second half but held on to record a well deserved draw.

Chelsea (h) - 1st vs 2nd and with home advantage, we need every edge we can get. Parker’s inability to play games in a short space of time catches up, so Krylov is needed. All 3 of my defensive midfielders are missing as Kotov & Rousseau (suspended) and Owolabi (injured) miss out. Curtis plays the defensive central midfielder role. Lads, time to earn your wages. The defence were outstanding and Joseeven managed to grab himself a goal, but Pitt gets the plaudits with 2 assists. Wilson’s very late goal adds a sheen.

In the whole scheme of things, that could be a massive win.


That Chelsea win just opens up a bit of a gap at the top of the league and gives some leeway for the second half of the season, although we have struggled in recent seasons in April & May particularly. That defensive record - in particular the lack of goals conceded and the number of clean sheets is the main reason why we are where we are. Cano's signing by the DoF looks like a master-stroke.


January 2039



Average of a game every 4 days. We have a few players - Parker in particular - who will struggle with this.

3 poached youngsters all come into the club, all in time to get club-grown status in time and to be developed through our world class youth development system.

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Llullaku in particular, looks like a star in the making and if he gets anywhere near the levels his Belgian compatriot Thiry is, he will be a player.

Burnley (a) FA Cup 3rd Round - Almost all change ahead of a busy month but it doesn’t appear to make a huge amount of difference. A thoroughly professional performance with minimal fuss. Krylov was the difference maker with a goal and assist but Pitt and Jansen played their parts. Onwards and upwards.

And our reward for that victory is a home tie against either Championship Cardiff, or League 2 Salford.

Liverpool (h) Carabao Cup Semi-Finals 1st leg - I’m using home advantage to give us an edge as most of our stronger players return. Rousseau - subject to transfer interest - Kotov and Thiry return to the starting 11. Considering we had Liverpool on the back foot for 80 minutes, we really didn’t take advantage of it. Jansen’s contract is up in the summer and I think he’s making a play to be kept around. Parker gets just his second of the season.

West Ham (a) - Morale and confidence are really high, so this should just be a case of sticking the lads out there and telling them to do what they do best. 3 Pitt assists, a Parker assist and a convincing win. The lack of clean sheet was somewhat disappointing, but all things considered - can’t complain about that result, especially since our nearest competitors Chelsea lost.

Player Profile - Alex Calatayud. At 30, he still can’t be considered a veteran, but after 220 league games (291 in all) he has been a sold reliable option and a highly influential part of the team. His gametime has been limited a bit recently with the arrival of Jose and Lopez’s good form, but we have enough games in a season for him to be sticking around. 32 goals in all as well which is not a bad tally for a centre-back.


Those 3 Pitt assists take him to 9 in the league and he tops the charts. Lazenby’s 14 league goals are only good enough for 3rd in the league with Thiry on 10.

Lazenby does lead the league in shots/90 minutes and keeper Cano with the fewest conceded...just 7. The next best is Man Utd’s keeper on 13.

Spurs (a) - Krylov in for Parker, Jose in for Lopez...and that’s it. More of the same please, but Spurs were not there for the taking and proved to be stubborn. A halftime dressing down meant that we were far better in the second half and battered them, but Reoch’s mistake in the box gave them the opportunity for the win, which they took. On the balance of things, I’m not totally sure we deserved the win.

Lazenby’s injury - a twisted ankle - rules him out for a month and that is a blow although Jansen has covered well this season when he’s been called on. Not a good time to be losing the top scorer.

I’ve been rejected bids for Parker, with £149m last turned down I;ve told him he’s a highly influential player, a key part of the squad and he seems happy with that. If it comes to it, I might let him go in the summer but we really need him for the run in.

Everton (h) - A little bit of rotation is utilised and Jansen leads the line. He’s already the club’s leading goalscorer so has a good chance here to extend this even further. Cano returns in goal as well after a couple of games out. Absolutely dominated in every key stat and only had the headed goal to show for it. Slightly frustrating result that.

Blackburn (h) - Blackburn are struggling, sitting in 19th with only 15 points. Henrique comes back in at left-back, Curtis replaces a less than 100% Pitt and Thiry is back in. and it was Thiry who took that game by the scruff of the neck and single-handedly beat Blackburn with a fine hat-trick.

Cardiff City (h) FA Cup 4th Round - 5 players aged 21 or under in the starting 11, but we should have enough to win this. Derry, in particular, gets a chance to stake a claim for a starting spot up front with Lazenby injured and Jansen not doing a great deal when he gets the chance. He does get his goal, and we get a bit of luck with the missed penalty, but all in all - a very solid performance.

Player Profile: Ron Dale. The versatile youngster can play anywhere across the forward three positions, but is most suited to the attacking midfielder role. He’s probably the long-term successor to Aaron Wilson in that role but will have to bide his time if we wants to play regularly. As homegrown, clubgrown he is valuable for the registration rules as well.


FA Cup 5th round, and it’s away to Birmingham.

Liverpool (a) Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg - 2 up from the first leg, but at Anfield, this is hardly a given. Some conservative changes are made, including dropping Kotov & Navarro into the defensive midfielder positions. We were put under serious pressure there and having conceded, I did think we were in trouble but a couple of changes in the second half saw us out and the Calatayud goal just made sure. We did the hard work in the first leg.

Chelsea in the final.

Birmingham (a) - Parker is injured and misses out, but we have enough strength in depth to cover for absences. Rousseau, Pitt and Thiry are potential match winners in any case and it is Rousseau who gets us off to the perfect start. We stop Birmingham from mustering any attempt of any sort on target and our defensive displays this season have been immense.

I've said it before, but I''ll say it again - the decision to let DoF Mirko Michel handle the transfers in the summer is paying off handsomely as he brought in Cano and the keeper has kept 12 clean sheets and conceded 9 goals in his 19 appearances. League winning form. As a team we’ve only conceded 12 in the 24 games.


Almost a perfect month, but even that Spurs result doesn’t dent the outcome too much. On a roll, in great form and this team are making this look very, very easy.


February 2039
A very quiet January transfer window which was disappointing. I was really hoping to bring in strong reinforcements to try and deal with the fact that our form capitulates in April and May, but there was nothing out there for value in the positions I was looking at...even with a close to £100m budget. So the window closes with just the three incoming youngsters.



Watford (h) - Lazenby is still injured so Jansen gets a chance to actually score. Otherwise, it’s very much business as usual against a team who have over-performed so far this season. 2-0 up in 12 minutes and I thought we were going to go and absolutely spank them but they rallied and had other ideas. Pitt picked up his 16th assist of the season and Jansen did get his goal, albeit from the spot.

Bournemouth (a) - This is a game in hand and a win would put us in a strong positions. Jansen continues but Pitt misses out with an injury and Parker comes back in to give us a very strong starting 11. We have the bonus of youngster Boyd on the bench, back after his broken leg. A 94th minute equaliser after 2 minutes of added on time and their only shot on target? Come on…

Player Profile: Barrington Parker. Parker picked up his 50th league goal in that game although has many more in other competitions and is widely coveted - mostly by Barcelona - despite his lack of performances so far this season due to injuries. It’s those injuries that make me think any rumoured £195m bid would be worth cashing in on.


Southampton (h) - There’s a Champions League game on the horizon, so this is needs some thought and Southampton do have the league’s leading scorer in their ranks. We won, but Southampton made that very hard for us and we had to change the tactics to stifle their attacking threat. Their 8th placed position is probably slightly misleading.

Feyenoord (a) Champions League last 16 1st leg - Definitely not the toughest of draws we could have got, but there’s still a jobt o do here. A very good game for Lazenby to make a timely return. That was not a good performance as we were sloppy in possession, didn’t put away the better chances we had and, weirdly given our good defensive record, didn’t defend very well at all. That puts the pressure on for the second leg.

Both Lazenby and Parker were watched by Hertha Berlin and Barcelona respectively. Rumours of big bids - £102m for Lazenby and £100m for Parker are making the rounds.


We have a terrible record against Chelsea with just 5 wins in 20 games, so we come into this very much the underdog - although we did win the last game 4-0 - but the pre-game teamtalk easing expectations went down well. Given we’re also the top two teams in the league, this really is an appetite-whetting fixture. We’ve knocked out Liverpool & Man Utd en route as well, so we’re hardly doing this the easy way.

The front 3 have 38 goals and 19 assists between them and we’re relying heavily on them today.

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Just as I was psyching up for extra time and potentially penalties, my Ukrainian winger - on for Parker - shows a real moment of class and composure as he takes down a 40 yard cross-field pass, controls it with one touch and with the next fires past Chelsea’s keeper from the edge of the box. What a goal. What a win. What a performance and Chelsea, apart from even taking into account their goal with the first attack, were outplayed. Consecutive Carabao Cup wins.

The trophy cabinet is getting bigger:


The game comes at a cost though as Lazenby misses 2 weeks with ligament damage.


We still have Liverpool (a), Man City (h), Man Utd (h) to play in the remaining games which could influence the run in and, remarkably, we travel to Chelsea as the final game of the season. If it’s not sewn up by then, that could be a game and a half.


March 2039



2 games against teams in the top 4 and a Champions League deficit to overcome...and the small matter of an FA Cup 4th Round tie.

Birmingham (a) FA Cup 4th Round - Quite a lot of changes, some enforced, are made for this and it showed as we failed to be at our best for quite long spells of that game, even though we dominated it. Birmingham scored on the counter as we aggressively pushed for a winner in injury time which, in hindsight, was probably a poor managerial decision. Jansen is doing nothing to convince me is worthy of a new contract as he’s caught offside on numerous occasions and puts in another poor performance.

Liverpool (a) - We’ve been a bit inconsistent in the last few games so I’m reigning this in a bit to simplify things. Jansen has to start, but his role is changed to a DLF so that he hopefully doesn’t find himself at the mercy of the linesman too often. Defensively we did what we needed to, but offensively that was a bit of a ropey performance as we missed some really good chances to make that more comfortable.

West Brom (a) - Thiry has not performed well in the last couple of games, so Dale comes in and replaces him. Parker is less than 100% so Krylov comes in and Jansen still leads the line...although after his goal against Liverpool, regular gametime might be beneficial for him. Such a poor performance as we had double West Brom’s shots, 3 times the number on target and 70% possession but could not break down the blue & white wall. That seemed like everything we hit was blocked in the 18 yard box by their defenders. Frustrated.

Manchester City (h) - This is a tough game, but Man City won’t sit back and defend in the same way that West Brom did and that may play into our hands. We were clinical there and obviously used up some of the finishing prowess that we missed in the West Brom game. I was not expecting that emphatic a result in the midst of some less than stellar performances.

A couple of tactical tweaks were made before that game. Rousseau’s role was changed from carrilero to deep lying playmaker and to compliment this, overlap instructions were given. With Rousseau more stationary, that gave Parker more room to run into...and boy did he. Also, 2 assists came from the full-backs, so those changes appear to have really paid off.

Feyenoord (h) - A slightly surprising first leg defeat gives us a bit of work to do, but the morale cannot be higher after the City win. The same tactical changes are kept and we do have the 2 away goals. 45 minutes of first half pressure eventually paid off as Jansen gives us the lead going into the break. The sending off really killed the game off as a contest and we took full advantage. A far more comfortable win than it looked like it was going to be at one point.

The Champions League quarter final draw is made and all the English teams have been kept apart.

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We will face Man City or Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals...if we get past the Portuguese.

Arsenal (h) - None of Rousseau, Parker or Pitt are fit enough to start and Lazenby has only recovered for 45 minutes worth of action. A terrible first half required massive changes at half time which...made absolutely no difference whatsoever. That was a bit of a shock result, especially at home as we had gone 35 home games unbeaten before that.

I get the feeling that 9 times out of 10, we would have got the three points there.

Player Profile: Carmelo Thiry. The world-class Belgian attacking midfielder is having his best goalscoring season so far, although he can be inconsistent and go missing as that Arsenal game showed. We really need him on form in the run-in and he’s the sort of player that an arm round the shoulder would go down well. I’ll be trying to keep him happy.


A bit of a break for International games, although the 32 Oldham players called up probably won’t think so.

No-one from this years youth intake stands out, which means we’re busy poaching others on youth intake day which seems much more fruitful.

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April 2039



Leicester City (h) - Leicester have struggled this season and are in 19th, although they’re not that far from safety. In hindsight, I should have rested players with the Champions League fixture in mind, but we produced a pretty comfortable win in the end with Parker as the stand-out performer.

More rumours around the future of Parker, Lazenby and Thiry following that game.

Porto (a) Champions League quarter finals 1st leg - Cano - the main single reason for our outstanding progress this season - returns to his old club and it’s as strong a 11 as can be put out. Only Curtis could be considered a regular first team player who is missing out. Despite matching Porto almost blow for blow we somehow end up on the wrong side of a 2-1 result especially as we moved to shut the game down after our goal. Doing it the hard way again.

Another game against a team languishing at the wrong end of the table, although weirdly, Burnley have just beaten Real Madrid in the European Cup quarter finals.

Burnley (a) - With half an eye on the Champions League 2nd leg, Lazenby, Parker, Jose and Cano are all rested which results in a horribly low quality game of football we were, frankly, lucky to escape from with a point. Grim, but a couple of the youngsters - Boyd & Dale - got some valuable experience.

Porto (h) Champions League quarter finals 2nd leg - An away goal, but two conceded from the first leg. We need our best players to turn up for this one and they mostly return, even though Thiry & Rousseau are in need of a rest. Porto were all over us in the first half, but Parker’s early goal was the only decisive moment. The second was a different story as we scored two quick goals and took over from there.

Parker turns up for the big games.

The Champions League Semi-Finals pitches us against Borussia Dortmund ...who we beat twice in the group stages. Interesting…

The holders Hertha Berlin face Manchester United in the other semi-final.

On the one hand, we could do without the extra Champions League fixtures which add to an already congested end of the season - especially as our record in April & May is terrible - but on the other, Champions League semi-finalists has a nice ring to it.

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Chelsea have fallen away a bit, so it looks as though the upcoming Manchester United game is the big one...although the advantage of being at home is massive. It’s in our hands, but if others want to help us out, I’m not going to complain...

Wolves (a) - This could be a bit of a banana skin of a fixture when I don’t really need one and the players are nervous before the game. Jansen makes his 325th league appearance…but was terrible. The players were nervous at half-time and with 10 minutes to go, so was I. Somehow, despite being far from our fluid best, we managed to drag out a win.

Brighton (h) - It’s our home form that has really led to us being where we are, so we need to take advantage of the home games we have left. Saltik and Dale come in to allow Jose & Parker a bit of a break as all these games are taking their toll. Another terrible game, but thank god we practice set pieces as Calatayud earns us the point.

We are stumbling...and our only saving grace is that our nearest competitors in the league are failing to win as well.

Borussia Dortmund (a) Champions League Semi-Final - Another draw where we’re away for the first leg. And what a difference having the first choice 11 makes as we batter Dortmund in the first half, less so in the second, but can’t convert any of the very good chances into something more than the one goal we did get.

Player profile: Freddy Navarro. Deep lying playmaker Navarro has developed into a first team option this season and, whilst not at the level of Rousseau or Kotov, he is mostly capable of doing a job. The £1.5m was a bargain although his unambitious personality is a downside meaning he would be near the front of the list if any interest showed itself.


The title is up for grabs and it’s ours if we win today.

Manchester United (h) - We’ve had an extra days rest as United played their European game a day later than us, but I doubt that will make a difference. Frustratingly, Lazenby is an enforced absentee - injured in training - and that blunts our attack somewhat, although Parker and Thiry are potential matchwinners . United defended really deep and it took a half to get used to it. Once we’d upped the temp and passing length, we dominated the second half but it takes until the 82nd minute to break through it’s the unlikeliest of unlikely goalscorers as defensive midfielder Hamidou Owolabi drills one in from the corner of the 18 yard box. What a time he picks to score his first of the season.

We dragged ourselves through a couple of those results - the Wolves game in particular - but the consistency of the lads has shone through. We did enough in the first half of the season and the run of 9 straight wins from the start meant that we had these results to spare.


How good does that look?


May 2039


Borussia Dortmund (h) Champions League Semi-Final 2nd leg - The away goal gives us the slimmest of advantages, but Dortmund are no pushovers despite the very good record we do have against them and after winning the league, we should be confident. Lazenby makes such a difference when he’s in the team as he stretches play, his movement is great, composure is good and he almost always hits the target. He scores the goal, but it’s the defence that wins that game for us. Jose and Calatayud repelled everything Dortmund had.

It’s the old enemy & familiar foe - Manchester United - in the final.

Sheffield United (a) - Lots of players get a well deserved rest but, despite the title already having been won, there’s no room for complacency. There are also players here playing for their future - Saltik, I’m looking at you. Jansen would have won that for us if he could have stayed on side and that’s been a consistent problem with him for the last couple of seasons, despite his actual scoring record. Not good enough - we really should have won that.

Chelsea (a) - At one point in the season, this looked like it would be the game that decided the league but they fell away. An Alex Pitt goal and assist gives us a comfortable 2 goal lead...which we throw away. Quite significant changes are made when we go 3-2 down, including bringing Jansen on and he turns out to be the saviour (ish) as he rescues a point.

I was hoping we’d get closer this season, but to actually win the league is a bit of a surprise, even for my optimistic self. Cano, purchased in the summer by my DoF, had a lot to do with it as he kept 17 clean sheets and conceded just 15. Delcio and his partner - either Lopez or Calatayud - played a massive part in that defensive structure as well.

After 19 seasons, we can finally say that not only have Oldham returned to their Premier League origins, we can also say that...



Well this is a surprise. Having got this far, I can’t work out whether playing against Manchester United, who are probably one of the teams we know best, is a good thing or not. As strong a team as I can manage is put out and I’m reliant on Lazenby, Thiry and Parker to make the difference. I also aim to mark out United’s key players - Tairi and Ramon in particular and force their inside forwards outside, which is a ploy I’ve had success with against United before.

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Lazenby gives us a well deserved lead, before Ramon evades his markers and equalises well against the run of play. Somehow, they force us into extra time having scored with their only shot on target in 90 minutes. Extra time is a bit of a non-event as both teams defend far better than they attack, so we’re left with the lottery of penalties. Which we win...with all 3 subs doing the business and Krylov getting the decisive goal as he did in the Carabao Cup final.

I don’t quite know how we have managed to do that - the run to the final wasn’t the toughest but we clawed back from 1st leg defeats to Feyenoord & Porto and matched Dortmund. We were helped as we play United pretty regularly - against a European team who we didn’t know as well, that could have gone differently.

Not only Premier League champions, but champions of Europe as well. Unbelievable, Geoff.
Player season summary:

Oscar Cano is one of the key reasons for the success this season. With just 15 goals conceded and 17 clean sheets in the league we have always been able to be confident of not conceding too many. His high 1-on-1 ability has also meant that we have been able to play a positive higher line. Pizzuti played just 8 league games but has been solid in the cups - worth £53m and a couple of decent youngsters in the U23s, he could be sold.

Gudbjartsson and Boldewijn are pretty equal in terms of quality. Neither of these two are going to make lungbusting runs down the right hand side, but they are solid and positionally sound which is more important where they are playing behind the attacking mezzala.

22 year old Greig Reoch has slipped seamlessly from his loan spell at Rangers to becoming an integral piece of the jigsaw here. As an academy product, to get him to a position where he can be part of the first team and look at home is key. 20 year old Henrique came in as a free and has surprised me with his performances as he’s deputised well. We’re set for this position for quite a while.

Jose + one of Lopez or Calatayud has been the main starting centre-back pairing and this consistency is another reason the defensive record has been so good. 19 year old Saltik has the potential to be better than all of them, but will have to bide his time and make the most of the experience. He’s not been great but has been used sparingly. They’ve also played their part at the other end with a remarkable 19 goals between them.

The left hand of the three was moved from Carrilero to a DLP halfway through the season as it suited Rousseau & Navarro slightly more. It didn’t really get the desired change in numbers though. It’s mostly been Curtis & Pitt who have played the attacking mezzala role and have been the creative forces in the middle - Pitt in particular, whose 14 assists put him 2nd in the league. Boyd, the long-term successor to Curtis, also played here but was hampered by an injury early in the season. Kotov and Owolabi have played the more defensive role of the three with Kotov already at 22 International caps, worth £74m and a world class player.

Parker (£91m) and Thiry (£89m) are the stand-out stars here but both are heavily linked with transfers elsewhere. Krylov would probably be a starter in any other Premier League team and Wilson - with 343 Oldham league appearances - is the old head. Dale has played some games but not really shone and needs to improve to start showing some promise.


This really is the other end of the reason we have done so well as Lazenby has picked up where he left off last season, although his 16 league goals is less than last time out. The £153m spent on him looks a good deal now we’ve won the league though. Jansen picked up another 8 goals to extend his numbers as Oldham’s record goalscorer but is not signing a new contract - unhappy the reduced playing time - and looks set to leave this summer. Derry has made mostly substitute appearances, but is in the same boat as Dale and Boyd having been promoted from the U23’s this season.


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