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  1. I assume you've already covered Deportivo Wanka in Peru. (I remember being on these boards about 20 years ago when people first realized that was a club and not a giant **** take).
  2. Indeed. ===================== Round 4 Manchester City have gotten off to a slow start, and while I’m not sure goalkeeping is the problem, they have tried to upgrade at the position by bringing in Wimbledon keeper Neil Sullivan for 475k. With Terry Venables set to name his first England squad of the year after this weekend’s round of fixtures, it’s the last chance for players to make their impression. One man who might have played his way into the national setup is Les Ferdinand. Sir Les becomes only the second man in Premier League history to score four goals in a game in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Norwich. The six-goal margin of victory sets a new Premier League record. Steve Stone and Stuart Pearce both also scored for the Blues in the win. There were also big wins for Coventry and Nottingham Forest, each of whom collected 4-0 wins, and Sheffield Wednesday who won 3-0. Coventry beat woeful Manchester City with goals from Phil Babb, Stewart Robson, Gavin O’Toole and Peter Ndlovu. Forest beat their local rivals Derby thanks to a goal from Austrian midfielder Thomas Bauer, one from Roy Keane and a brace from Stan Collymore. Wednesday beat Crystal Palace 3-0 with Chris Bart-Williams picking up his first two goals of the year. Heading in to the weekend’s games, Sunderland and Wimbledon both had 100% records, but both teams were beaten this time out. Sunderland suffered a surprising 1-0 loss to Ipswich at Portman Road, with Claus Thomsen scoring the winner, and Everton got a goal from Stig Inge Bjornbye in their 1-0 win over Dave Bassett’s Wimbledon. Those results meant that Sheffield Wednesday jumped to the top of the table with 10 points from four games. They are alongside Liverpool who heaped more misery on Manchester United in a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. At the bottom of the table, Millwall got off the mark, picking up their first three points of the year in a 3-1 win over manager-less Sheffield United. The Lions got goals from Malcolm Allen and Dean Holdsworth, and benefited from a Tom Cowan own goal in the victory. The Blades are expected to name their new manager during the international break next week. Round 4 Table: Sheff Wed, Liverpool 10; Nottm Forest, Sunderland, Wimbledon, Tottenham, Southampton 9 Crystal Palace 2 / Man City 1; Man Utd, Norwich 0 *** After the weekend’s games, all eyes are on Terry Venables who names his first international squad of the campaign. With only nine months until Euro 96 the friendlies will become a little more important with every passing fixture. In goal, it looks like the move to France has paid off for David Seaman. He hasn’t got a look-in over the past few years, but he now seems to be England’s new number one. Tony Coton, who held the role before, was not included in the squad. In defense, it is largely the same men as before; however, Gavin Johnson, who was an ever-present at right back the past couple of seasons, has been dropped in favour of Juventus’s Rob Jones. In midfield, there’s a surprising recall for Rangers midfielder Trevor Steven, who hasn’t featured for the national side since Euro 92. Chelsea’s Steve Stone is called up for the first time. Up front, Les Ferdinand’s four-goal performance at the weekend was enough to get him included in the squad. England Squad Goalkeepers: David Seaman, Monaco (9 caps); Tim Flowers, Southampton (no caps); Ian Walker, Tottenham (no caps) Defenders: Rob Jones, Juventus (2 caps); Warren Barton, Wimbledon (no caps); Terry Phelan, Sampdoria (10 caps); Stuart Pearce, Chelsea (55 caps, 3 goals); Tony Adams, Aston Villa (28 caps); Gary Pallister, Lazio (16 caps, 1 goal); Des Walker, Sampdoria (58 caps); Mark Wright, Man Utd (42 caps, 1 goal) Midfielders: John Barnes, Liverpool (70 caps, 11 goals); Paul Ince, Man Utd (1 cap); Steve Stone, Chelsea (no caps); Paul Gascoigne, Rangers (31 caps, 5 goals); David Platt, Sampdoria (45 caps, 17 goals); Trevor Steven, Rangers (36 caps, 4 goals) Attackers: Teddy Sheringham, Everton (1 cap); Alan Shearer, AC Milan (14 caps, 5 goals); Peter Beardsley, Everton (54 caps, 12 goals); Les Ferdinand, Chelsea (5 caps, 2 goals) *** Also in the international break, Sheffield United announce the appointment of their new manager, and it a young, up-and-coming Ulsterman named Martin O’Neill, who joins from Division Three Wycombe. O’Neill had a distinguished playing career, winning two European Cups with Nottingham Forest. As August comes to an end, Sunderland manager Terry Butcher is appointed Manager of the Month, while Nottingham Forest midfielder Roy Keane is named Player of the Month. Keane scored four goals in August. Top Scorers: 4 – Roy Keane, Nottingham Forest; Les Ferdinand, Chelsea 3 – Stan Collymore, Nottingham Forest; Stewart Castledine, Wimbledon 2 – Mark Kennedy, Millwall; Marcus Gayle, Everton; Matt Le Tissier, Southampton; Teddy Sheringham, Everton; Peter Beardsley, Everton; Steve Stone, Chelsea Down in Division One, Oldham are the early pace-setters with 11 points from their first five games. QPR, Oxford, Burnley and Birmingham all have 10, while Southend have 9. At the bottom, four teams will go down this year (you might recall that only two went down last year as part of the pyramid realignment). Watford, Barnet, Middlesbrough and Barnsley occupy those spots right now. Barnsley have yet to pick up a point and could be facing back-to-back relegations if they don’t improve quickly.
  3. August 1995 After what felt like a long summer, we’re finally up and running with the 1995/96 season of the Premiership. We start the season with the defending champions, Tottenham, who host London rival Chelsea at Whtie Hart Lane. Spurs are clearly the better side, picking up 10 shots on target to Chelsea’s 2, but it’s a goal from defender Ian Pearce that gives the Blues a 1-0 win in the season’s curtain raiser. Liverpool finished second last year and they had the chance to get off to a winning start against newly-promoted Sheffield United. A goal from young defender Dominic Matteo proves to be the difference for Graeme Souness’s side in a 1-0 win for the Reds. It’s a struggle for the two other newly-promoted sides, as well: Crystal Palace lose 2-0 at home to Southampton, and Ipswich draw 1-1 at Manchester City. Wimbledon have no manager but that doesn’t prevent them from beginning their season with a win as they eke out a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest. Our pick for the title was Manchester United who faced Neville Southall’s Derby side in Southall’s managerial debut. He must be left thinking there’s not much to this managerial lark after his Rams side beat United 1-0 through a Wayne Sutton goal. The truth is that the Rams were battered throughout this contest and scored on their only chance. Southall was named man of the match for his performance between the posts. *** Mid-week we see Aston Villa beat Derby 2-1 and Tottenham pick up their first points of the year in a 1-0 victory over Millwall. Away from the pitch, Everton make a splash in the transfer market, bringing in Italian winger Roberto Donadoni from AC Milan for 600k. Donadoni’s a smart, creative right winger--in other words the perfect mentor for Everton’s other new signing, David Beckham. Also on the continent we see Swiss striker Stephane Chapuisat move from Borussia Dortmund to Juventus for 9.75m. Juve already have Padovano, Ravanelli, Vialli and a youngster named Del Piero in their lineup, so they’re an intimidating proposition these days. Round 2 Donadoni isn’t fit enough to feature in the Everton squad taking on Sheffield Wednesday so Beckham starts on the right-hand side for the Toffees. He makes the most of his opportunity, registering his first goal as a professional in the first half. Teddy Sheringham also scores for Everton, while Dutch winger Regi Blinker and England international Nick Barmby scores from the penalty spot for Wednesday in a 2-2 draw. Dave Bassett is in the stands at Southampton to see his new side Wimbledon take on the Saints. Bassett will officially take charge at Selhurst Park on Monday but he’ll have to be happy with what he saw – his new club is on max points through their first two games after they pick up a 2-1 win at the Dell. Matt Le Tissier scores for the hosts but goals from Stewart Castledine and Jon Goodman give Wimbledon the win. Also on six points is Sunderland, who beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford. It’s a worrying start for United – they’ve dominated both of their games so far but have lost 1-0 in both contests. Young Michael Gray scores the winner for Terry Butcher’s side. It’s not looking good on the Blue side of Manchester, either, after Manchester City are hammered by Nottingham Forest 4-0. Roy Keane scores a hat trick for George Graham’s men, while Stan Collymore chips in the fourth. Also on zero points are Millwall and Norwich – the Canaries lose 2-0 to now managerless Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Round 2 Table: Sunderland, Wimbledon 6; Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Ipswich 4 Coventry, Crystal Palace, Man City 1 / Millwall, Man Utd, Norwich 0 *** Round 3 Alex Ferguson must be worried. In typical fashion, our pre-season pick to win the league can’t win a game to save their lives. After starting the year with two 1-0 losses, Manchester United traveled to White Hart Lane to take on defending champions Tottenham. While United will feel hard done by with the results from the first two games, they could have no such complaints this time – Spurs are by far the better side. They get goals from Neil Ruddock, Mark Atkins and Mexican midfielder Missael Espinosa in a 3-1 win. Chilean defender Javier Margas scores United’s goal in the loss. Millwall and Norwich each remain on zero points, as well. Millwall are beaten 1-0 by Liverpool at Anfield, while Norwich go down by the same score line against Sheffield Wednesday. A red card to Stuart Barlow early in the second half turned the tides and Nick Barmby scored the winner for Trevor Francis’s side. Last year Sunderland announced their arrival in the Premier League by getting off to a flying start. We might be witnessing the same thing this year as they destroy Aston Villa 4-0 at Roker Park. Four different players under the age of 25 score for the Mackems in the win: Jeff Kenna, Ugo Ehiogu, Craig Russell and Martin Smith. That must be a particularly pleasing result for Terry Butcher. At Selhurst Park, Dave Bassett gets off to a winning start as Wimbledon boss. Stewart Castledine scores twice in a 2-0 win over Coventry. Bassett’s old side, Sheffield United, seemed to do fine without him, picking up a point at home in a 0-0 draw against Chelsea. Round 3 Table: Sunderland, Wimbledon 9; Sheff Wed, Liverpool 7 Coventry, Man City 1; Millwall, Man Utd, Norwich 0
  4. Season Preview: Part Four - The Contenders 5th - Aston Villa Manager: Ron Atkinson - an experienced old pro who is entering his fifth year at Villa Park Last season: 5th - Villa are consistently in the second tier of clubs and it was more of the same Transfers in: Neil Woods, Grimsby 250k; Paul Cook, Wimbledon 1.1m; Gennady Litovchenko, Ukraine 250k Transfers out: Garry Parker, Nantes 1.3m; Dalian Atkinson, Sampdoria 2.1m Projected XI: Mark Bosnich / Steve Staunton, Earl Barrett, Tony Adams, Neil Cox / Tony Daley, Graham Fenton, Scot Gemmill, Gennady Litovchenko / Dwight Yorke, Dean Saunders Key Man: Tony Adams - England's best defender keeps Villa locked down at the back Prediction: 5th. Another year in which they'll finish in the second tier of clubs. After losing a couple of their star players in the summer, there will be extra pressure on Dwight Yorke to step up as a second striker. 4th - Leeds Manager: Howard Wilkinson - another managerial legend, Wilkinson has won the title twice at Elland Road Last season: 11th - Faded away in the second half of the year after being in the hunt in the first half Transfers in: Andy Sinton, QPR 750k; Phil King, Sheff Wed 1.9m; Alexis Mendoza, Colombia 300k Transfers out: Projected XI: Nigel Martyn / Alexis Mendoza, Darren Peacock, Paul McGrath, Rob Bowman / Andy Sinton, David Batty, Robert Lee, David Rocastle / Noel Whelan, Frank Strandli Key Man: Nigel Martyn - will fancy his chances of being England's number one at Euro 96 Prediction: 4th. They don't impress us too much on paper but Wilkinson's sides always find a way to be near the top. 3rd - Nottingham Forest Manager: George Graham - a miserly Scot who preaches a defence-first mindset. 1-0 to the Forest could be a commonly-heard refrain at the City Ground. Last season: 15th - a terrible year for the team we picked to win the title. Brian Clough resigned after running out of energy and Graham took over to ensure Forest's safety. Transfers in: Dimitri Kharine, Nottingham Forest 200k Transfers out: Gary Charles, Borussia Monchengladbach 700k; Nigel Spackman, Huddersfield 10k Projected XI: Dimitri Kharine/ Paul Mortimer, Carl Tiler, Steve Chettle, Des Lyttle / Gordon Cowans, Stephen Howe, Roy Keane, Thorvaldur Orlygsson / Nigel Clough, Stan Collymore Key Man: Stan Collymore - had a disappointing year last season but we still think he's one of the best forwards in the country. Prediction: 3rd. Last year was a disaster but a full season under George Graham, combined with the goal scoring of Collymore and Clough, should see them back in contention. 2nd - Liverpool Manager: Graeme Souness - guided the Reds to their best finish since he took over at Anfield in 1991. Last season: 2nd - probably should have won the Premier League, but managed to grab the FA Cup. Transfers in: Transfers out: Rob Jones, Juventus 1.75m Projected XI: Tony Warner / David Burrows, Martin Keown, Dominic Matteo, Steve Harkness / John Barnes, Jamie Redknapp, Michael Thomas, Stuart Whittaker / Don Hutchison, Robbie Fowler Key Man: Jamie Redknapp - the midfield anchor is primed for a breakout year. Prediction: 2nd. With the much-anticipated breakthrough of young strikers Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen, the Reds are going to be in the mix again. 1st - Manchester United Manager: Alex Ferguson - won the lot with Aberdeen but nearly ten years in to the role at Old Trafford, he hasn't been able to replicate that success. Last season: 9th - another frustrating year for United fans Transfers in: Javier Margas, Colo Colo 975k; Manolo, Atletico Madrid, 800k Transfers out: Gary Walsh, Derby 150k; David Beckham, Everton 375k Projected XI: Peter Schmeichel / Denis Irwin, Mark Wright, Gary Neville, Paul Parker / Ryan Giggs, Paul Ince, Nicky Butt, Lee Sharpe / Mark Hughes, Manolo Key Man: Ryan Giggs - he's tempted us over the past couple of years but he is ready to establish himself as one of the best players in the league Prediction: 1st. It seems like every year we pick them and every year we're wrong, but with an unrivalled young core and a savvy manager, surely this will be the year in which United win that elusive Premier League crown. Up next - the season begins.
  5. Season Preview: Part Three - The Outsiders In this section of our season preview, we take a look at teams 10-6, each of whom should have more than enough to be safe and will have their eyes set up the table. 10th - Wimbledon Manager: None, although Dave Bassett is expected to be announced imminently. Joe Kinnear left to take on the role of Republic of Ireland manager. Last season: 12th - another year of bruising long ball football easily kept the Dons in the top flight. Transfers in: Transfers out: Paul Cook, Aston Villa 1.1m; John Fashanu, Notts County 70k Projected XI: Kevin Pressman / Gary Elkins, Warren Barton, John Scales Chris Perry / Robbie Earle, Stewart Castledine, Oyvind Leonhardsen, Peter Fear / Mark Stein, Jon Goodman Key Man: John Scales - one of England's best defenders, he is the anchor that keeps the Dons in the top tier. Prediction: 10th. Need to confirm their new manager quickly, but they have one of the most solid back-lines in the division. If they can score goals, have a decent shot at a top-eight finish. 9th - Chelsea Manager: Dave Webb - finding his feet as a manager after a rocky first couple of seasons. Entering his fourth year at Stamford Bridge. Last season: 3rd - turned a lot of heads by being at the front of the pack for a good chunk of the year. Fell apart at the end. Transfers in: Transfers out: Dimitri Kharine, Nottingham Forest 200k; Andy Townsend, Everton 100k; David Seaman, Monaco 5.5m Projected XI: Steve Reeves / Stuart Pearce, David Lee, Ian Pearce, Andy Llewellyn / Dominic Iorfa, Dennis Wise, Steve Stone / Roy Wegerle, Kurt Nogan, Les Ferdinand Key Man: Les Ferdinand - struggled in his first full year at Stamford Bridge but still capable of being one of the best players in the league Prediction: 9th. After a couple of years of underachieving, the Blues took a big step forward last season. How they strengthen their side with the funds from the sale of David Seaman will go a long way to determining whether they can contend. 8th - Sheffield Wednesday Manager: Trevor Francis - starting his fifth season at Hillsborough, has adjusted to managerial life well. Last season: 4th - might be slightly deceiving as the Owls never seemed like real title threats. Carried by Chris Bart-Williams. Transfers in: Transfers out: Phil King, Leeds 1.9m Projected XI: Chris Woods / John Harkes, Carlton Palmer, Paul Warhurst, Roland Nilsson / Chris Bart-Williams, Nick Barmby, Chris Waddle, Regi Blinker / Martin Foyle, Marc Degryse Key Man: Nick Barmby - we know what Chris Bart-Williams is capable of but for Wednesday to succeed this year he'll need support from their record signing. Prediction: 8th. Starting a period of transition in which their ageing starters will need to be replaced. They're thin up front now, but still have enough to eke out a top-half finish 7th - Tottenham Manager: Doug Livermore - last season's Manager of the Year oversaw a complete turnaround at White Hart Lane Last season: 1st - an incredible second half of the year saw them peak at the right time and lift the title. Transfers in: Transfers out: Vinny Samways, Inter Milan 1.7m; Perry Suckling, Sheff Utd 250k Projected XI: Ian Walker / Andy Hinchcliffe, Stuart Nethercott, Neil Ruddock, Dean Austin / Ian Woan, Mark Atkins, Stephen Clemence, Nayim / Gordon Durie, Oleg Salenko Key Man: Oleg Salenko - started to find his feet in the Premier League in the second half of the season and ready to join the league's elite. Prediction: 7th. The champions benefited from everyone around them collapsing at the tail-end of last season. Might be stretched too thin by a European campaign. 6th - Everton Manager: Howard Kendall - a Goodison Park legend in the sixth season of his second stint with Everton Last season: 16th - a hugely disappointing season. Transfers in: Steve Morrow, Arsenal 900k; Andy Townsend, Chelsea 100k; David Beckham, Man Utd 375k Transfers out: Projected XI: Mike Hooper / John Beresford, David Unsworth, Stig Inge Bjornbye, Ian Snodin / Marcus Gayle, John Ebbrell, Andy Townsend, David Beckham / Teddy Sheringham, Peter Beardsley Key Man: Teddy Sheringham - his goals will keep Everton in the title hunt. Prediction: 6th. Led up front by the best striker in the country, if they can add a piece or two they'd be title favourites. Up next: The Contenders...
  6. Pre-season Preview – Part Two: The Mid-Table Scrappers One of the hallmarks of the Premier League has been how interchangeable mid-table teams have been, with just a few points separating 5th from 15th. That always makes predicting final positions a challenge but let's give it a shot! 15th - Manchester City Manager: Peter Reid - seen as one of England's most promising managers, will be facing a real test this season. Last season: 14th - a disappointing year at Maine Road. Their inability to win away from home is a real concern going forward. Transfers in: Kevin Gallacher, Blackburn 1m; Gary Penrice, Barnsley 100k; Simon Sturridge, Barnsley 550k Transfers out: Terry Phelan, Sampdoria 900k Projected XI: Tony Coton / Richard Edghill, Michael Vonk, Keith Curle, Ian Brightwell / Paul Stephenson, Vaughan Ryan, Steve Lomas, David White / Gary Penrice, Kevin Gallacher Key Man: Kevin Gallacher - never quite reached the levels we expected at Blackburn. Has been given a second chance in the top flight - can he take it? Prediction: 15th. Their downward spiral continues. Have lost too many players over the past couple of years to remain competitive. 14th - Crystal Palace Manager: Steve Coppell - the 40-year-old former England international has just passed the ten year mark at Selhurst Park. Last season: 4th in Division One, playoff winners. After losing the playoff final the previous year, Palace went one step better to secure their spot in the Premier League. Transfers in: Transfers out: Chris Armstrong, Inter Milan 1m Projected XI: Neil Sullivan / John Dreyer, Richard Shaw, Gareth Southgate, Paul Williams / Tony Scully, Andy Roberts, Darren Anderton, David Hopkin / Dougie Freedman, John Salako Key Man: Darren Anderton - the gamble of moving to the second tier for first-team football paid off. A good year will get him into the Euro 96 squad. Prediction: 14th. Our pick to be the strongest of the three promoted teams, although they'll be hard-pressed to match what last year's new boys did. The loss of Chris Armstrong will hurt but this is a strong core, and they should be fine. 13th - Sunderland Manager: Terry Butcher - the former England captain has brought an exciting, expansive style to Roker Park Last season: 10th - as a newly-promoted side, they ended up scoring and conceding the most goals of any team in the division. A neutral's dream. Transfers in: Transfers out: Projected XI: Erik Thorstvedt / Jeff Kenna, Gary Mabbutt, Ugo Ehiogu, Michael Gray / Martin Smith, Paul Bracewell, Brian Atkinson, Scott Green / Sam Aiston, David Kelly Key Man: Ugo Ehiogu - developing into a very good young player, he will hold Sunderland's backline together. Prediction: 13th. Last year's story of the season. Terry Butcher is building something good here, with a solid young core. They could push for a spot in the top half again. 12th - Coventry Manager: Bobby Gould - continuing to impress at Highfield Road, and has solidified the Sky Blues as a consistent mid-table team. Last season: 7th - cruised to safety on the back of Peter Ndlovu's breakout year. Transfers in: Transfers out: Projected XI: Jon Gould / Rufus Brevett, Richard Jobson, Phil Babb, Brian Borrows / Sam Shilton, Stewart Robson, Istvan Kozma, Gavin O'Toole / Peter Ndlovu, John Williams Key Man: Peter Ndlovu - the team's offensive talisman will need some help from a pretty weak supporting cast. Prediction: 12th. Coventry will continue to benefit from a very weak bottom group of clubs. For an established Premier League side, they need to add more weapons, otherwise Ndlovu will have to fire them to safety on his own. 11th - Southampton Manager: Ian Branfoot - consistently keeps Saints in the top flight with little fanfare. Last season: 13th - another year of mid-table security. Transfers in: Transfers out: Projected XI: Tim Flowers / Francis Benali, Richard Hall, Ken Monkou, Gary Kelly / Neil Heaney, Terry Hurlock, Matt Le Tissier, Simon Ireland / Iain Dowie, Chris Sutton Key Man: Matt Le Tissier - a creative whiz carries the team on his back every year. Prediction: 11th. A decent core led by Le Tissier and Sutton should be enough to secure another mid-table finish. Up next: The top half!
  7. Ha ha - love a good Jens Mustermann reference! My personal highlight was signing Alex Del Piero as a Player/Assistant Manager with the mighty Windsor & Eton in CM00/01. Bringing in the ageing pros with staff roles was a great way to work your way up the pyramid back in the good ol' days! ======================================================================================= 1995-96 Season Preview If 1992 represented a Whole New Ball Game, then 1995 is a whole new world. Who do we think is destined for success? Let's take a look in our season preview. As is the norm, the preview will be split into four parts. We'll start with the clubs we expect to see battling against relegation. 20th - Ipswich Manager: John Lyall - more than 20 years of experience, and has been at the helm at Portman Road since 1990. Last season: 2nd in Division One. Led the league most of the way to ensure an immediate return to the Premier League. Transfers in: Transfers out: Niall Quinn, Bordeaux 1m Projected XI: Craig Forrest / Tony Vaughan, Kit Symons, Tony Mowbray, Andy Thorn / Stuart Slater, Claus Thomsen, Jason Dozzell, Mike Stockwell / Alex Mathie, Chris Kiwomya Key Man: Kit Symons - we expect Ipswich to be short on goals this year so the strength of their defense will be key to their survival hopes Prediction: 20th. Looked destined to come back to the top flight stronger after an excellent year in Division One last year, but the loss of Niall Quinn is the difference between survival and relegation. 19th - Millwall Manager: Mick McCarthy - the abrasive young manager has continued to make a name for himself and we expect he'll land a bigger job soon. Last season: 9th - an incredible first year in the Premier League. Transfers in: Transfers out: Steve McMahon, Huddersfield 20k; David Speedie, Tranmere 20k Projected XI: Jason Kearton / Ray Atteveld, Damien Webber, Colin Cooper, Ben Thatcher / Jason Van Blerk, Etienne Verver, Mark Kennedy, Andy Melville / Malcolm Allen, Dean Holdsworth Key Man: Dean Holdsworth - the Lions will need goals to stay up and Holdsworth is a Premier League quality forward. Prediction: 19th. Did well to survive in their first year, but we still insist this team is overmatched in the top-flight and is likely to suffer from second season syndrome 18th - Norwich Manager: Mike Walker - another young manager who might be destined for a bigger job. Entering his fourth year in charge at Carrow Road. Last season: 6th - throw in the League Cup title and it could not have gone any better. Transfers in: Transfers out: Gary Rowett, Port Vale 250k Projected XI: Andy Marshall / Jason Minett, John Polston, Ian Culverhouse, Nick Summerbee / Darren Eadie, David Phillips, Kevin Russell, Ruel Fox / Ade Akinbiyi, John McGinlay Key Man: Nick Summerbee - made a big impression at Carrow Road since moving from Southampton. Could be on the verge of a breakout year. Prediction: 18th. This might surprise some, but with a Cup win and a top half finish, last year was a dream season for the Canaries. Complacency might set in after last year's accomplishments. 17th - Derby Player Manager: Neville Southall - Liverpool's former number one was lured to the Baseball Ground by the opportunity of becoming player-manager. Untested as a manager. Last season: 17th - a great escape in the last quarter of the season after spending nearly the entire year in the bottom three. Transfers in: Neville Southall, Liverpool, P/Mgr; Gary Walsh, Man Utd 150k Transfers out: Projected XI: Neville Southall / Chris Boden, Craig Short, Chris Coleman, Jason Kavanagh / Kevin Cooper, Wayne Sutton, Lee Carsley, Paul Trollope, Mark Pembridge / Tommy Johnson Key Man: Chris Coleman - the Welsh defender is likely to be targeted by bigger clubs Prediction: 17th. We're unconvinced by Southall's appointment. They had a miraculous escape from the drop last year and will spend most of the season looking over their shoulder, but we're tipping them to just survive. 16th - Sheffield United Manager: Dave Bassett - The Blades kept faith in their man in Division One and he repaid their faith with promotion. Has been at Bramall Lane since 1988. Last season: 1st in Division One. Miles ahead of the pack last year, secured an immediate return to the top flight. Transfers in: Perry Suckling, Tottenham 250k Transfers out: Projected XI: Alan Kelly / Roger Nilsen, Doug Hodgson, Sol Campbell, Carl Bradshaw / Andy Scott, Mark Patterson, Jamie Hoyland, Simon Ratcliffe, Paul Rogers / Dion Dublin Key Man: Sol Campbell - has the potential to be one of England's best defenders. Holding on to him will be a challenge. Prediction: 16th. Just as the season is starting, they are rumoured to be on the verge of losing their manager. The turmoil can't be helpful and if they get off to a slow start, they could be playing catch-up all year. Up Next: Our predictions for mid-table...
  8. July 1995 (CM1 engine) The month of July sees an exodus of England internationals heading abroad, with Italian clubs being the major destination, but French and German clubs also in the news. Aston Villa lose two of their leading players: England internationals Garry Parker and Dalian Atkinson move to Nantes and Sampdoria, respectively. Also, as expected, Alan Shearer leaves relegated Blackburn to join AC Milan, while Tottenham midfielder Vinny Samways and Crystal Palace attacker Chris Armstrong both move to Inter Milan. Two England international defenders are also on the move to Italy, making it a total of six in the summer. Terry Phelan leaves Manchester City to join David Platt, Des Walker and Dalian Atkinson in the English contingent at Sampdoria, and Liverpool right back Rob Jones moves to Juventus. Elsewhere, after being unhappy in second-tier football, Niall Quinn turns his back at another chance in the Premiership and leaves newly-promoted Ipswich to join Bordeaux in France, and Gary Charles leaves Nottingham Forest to join German side Borussia Monchengladbach. On the staffing front, Derby manager Arthur Cox announces his retirement from football. Cox had been at the helm at The Baseball Ground since 1984 when Derby were in the Third Division. He then led the club to the old First Division before they were relegated back to the second tier in 1991. After winning promotion back to the Premier League in the 1992/93 season, he managed to steer the Rams to survival twice and was recognized as Manager of the Month twice last season. Also departing is Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton. With the Republic now looking hard-pressed to qualify for Euro 96, Charlton made the decision to retire and hand over the reins to a younger man. In Charlton's farewell message he thanked the core group of players who had worked with him between 1988 and 1994 but recognized that an overhaul of the squad was needed to qualify for tournaments in the future. "In my heart of hearts, I knew I'd wrung as much as I could out of the squad I'd got – that some of my older players had given me all they had to give," Charlton said. His final two games in charge were a 0-0 draw at Liechtenstein and a 3-1 loss at home against Austria. The bookies have flagged Millwall manager Mick McCarthy and Wimbledon boss Joe Kinnear as the two leading candidates for the job, so it seems likely we'll see a couple of new managers in the Premier League this year. August 1995 (CM2) With only a couple of weeks until the season starts, clubs are scrambling to fill their managerial jobs. Down in the Football League, Bryan Robson leaves his playing role at Blackburn to hang up his boots and take over at Brentford. Also, David Pleat decides that he doesn't want to be the one responsible for spending Leyton Orient's "windfall" (I use that term lightly); he joins Division Three club Huddersfield. The second week of August sees two young managers land their first jobs: Steve Bruce leaves Aston Villa to become the player manager of West Brom after Ossie Ardiles left during the summer. Meanwhile, Derby announce their man to replace Arthur Cox: Liverpool keeper Neville Southall will take the reins as player manager. Just as one Premier League managerial job is filled, another one opens up. The Republic of Ireland appoints Wimbledon boss Joe Kinnear to lead the remainder of their Euro 96 qualification campaign. "I've been named Premier League Manager of the Year four times. I was the logical choice," Kinnear said at his unveiling, leaving media representatives awfully confused. Sheffield United boss Dave Bassett is the leading candidate to take over the reins at Selhurst Park, keeping the managerial merry-go-round alive. One team that does not need a new manager is Manchester United. With Alex Ferguson firmly in charge, he can focus on making changes to his team ahead of the kick-off of the season in a couple of weeks' time. To clear a spot on his roster, Fergie sells a young midfielder named David Beckham to Everton for £375k. Beckham also attracted bids from Hibs and Motherwell in Scotland, as well as Premier League side Coventry. "We think the young lad has a great deal of promise, but we couldn't offer him the first-team football he desired," Ferguson told reporters. "We hoped he would be receptive to a loan move, but Everton tapped him up and his head was turned – he really forced this move through and we don't want to spend our time molly coddling young players who don't want to be here." Coming in to United are Chilean Javier Margas, who apparently disappeared without a trace from Colo-Colo before showing up in England, and Spaniard Manolo, who has spent the last seven years with Atletico Madrid and was capped by his national team 28 times. David Seaman lost his job as Chelsea's number one keeper last year, being passed on the depth chart by Kevin Hitchcock, so Dave Webb must have been over the moon when the Blues receive a £5.5 million bid from French club Monaco. We'll watch with interest how Chelsea invest the proceeds. Liverpool's off-season transfer dealings sees them part with young winger Steve McManaman, who moves to Division One QPR for 1.1 million. McManaman is a talented young player who has never seemed to fulfill his potential at Anfield; interestingly, he turned down a move to Premier League Millwall to join QPR. Coming in for the Reds is former Chelsea man John Spencer, who joins from Rangers for 1.4 million. On the continent we see Johan Cruyff's Barcelona Dream Team adding Marseille's French international Eric Cantona to their lineup of stars for a fee of £7.5 million. We also see the first departure in the inevitable dismantling of Ajax's team full of young stars when defender Michael Reiziger leaves to join Italian side Torino. Patrick Kluivert, Edwin van der Sar and the de Boer brothers are also expected to move.
  9. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Tomb-Cleopatra-Brook-Burlington-ebook/dp/B07B7QHKPZ Featuring such reviews as, "The writer lost the plot and got bored," and "Couldn't get into this one at all. Convoluted plot. Characters unlikely and unlikeable. Finally gave up when I realised I didn't care what happened to them!" (people are horrible)
  10. I posted this in the Book Thread in OTF but in case some of you guys don't get there. I just got a proposed cover for my second novel; curious for opinions. What do you guys think of the image? Would it catch your eye? Anything you'd suggest changing?
  11. Naturally 😊 This data port was pretty easy, but I loaded and ran a couple of practice sims to see how it all worked in practice. We're all set. ======================================== Breaking Down the 4th Wall Alas, CM1, we barely knew you. After three seasons, which we were able to get through much faster than I expected, we're moving on to the original version of Championship Manager 2 for the 1995/1996 season. After Euro 96, I'll update to CM2 96/97. I have Dosbox versions of both games and they simulate really fast (i.e., we can finish a year in about 30 minutes of simulation). To try and keep my head above water, I will take control of the bottom team in the English pyramid again. In this case it's Macclesfield; I have always been quite bad at CM2 so don't be surprised if you see them relegated... One of the difficult parts about porting over the game between version is finding the logical cut-off point between games. For CM1 that has actually proved to be a pretty easy decision based on the large amount of annual updating that happens at the end of the year. CM1 includes Premier League players' moves abroad as part of its end of season updates so I have included the moves that were part of that refresh. This also includes managerial retirements (as you'll see). After that, it's Day One in the new world. To get us all aligned on what the CM2 experience looks like, I've included a couple of Q&As. What are the big changes we should expect to see over the next year? I'll flag a few for your consideration. 1) I haven't changed any club reputations, so anything baked in to the game's original engine is kept as is. This will have impacts on a few clubs. It might work against Millwall in the Premier League, but I think the impact will be most felt with teams farther down the pyramid. Arsenal and Newcastle in Division One should benefit from their higher reputations, as should West Ham and Bolton in Division Two (both of which were Premier League teams in 95/96) 2) International flavor~! CM1 features a very limited international database and you could count the number of transfers from foreign clubs to England on one hand. Suddenly, the floodgates are open. CM2 features a pretty robust database and there are scores of enormous names that are suddenly up for grabs. Maradona, Matthaus, Ronaldo, Romario, Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Kluivert (heck, all of that mid-90s Ajax team), Bergkamp, Maldini, Weah, etc, etc. Sadly, we just miss out on Van Basten and Baresi. 3) More managerial changes. As you've probably gathered, managerial moves rarely happen in the CM1 engine. You'll immediately see more activity as soon as we change versions. You'll also see that certain young hotshot player managers land very big jobs right out of the hopper – I'm specifically thinking of Bryan Robson and Chris Waddle, so keep an eye on those two. 4) A couple of annoying little pieces of info are hard-coded across the CM2 engines and I can't change them. I'm thinking specifically of Cup Winners' Cup entrants, as well as UEFA coefficients. This has a bit of downstream impact. "So Jeff, who is likely to move to the Premier League? Will we really see Maradona?" (i.e., Can you provide a bit more detail on the international transfers?) Maradona? Probably not, because, I mean, really – could he do it on a wet, rainy night in Stoke? I'm unconvinced. More seriously, I have never seen Maradona move anywhere, England or otherwise. My test saves have shown that English teams primarily make signings from Eastern Europe, Greece and Scandinavia. While you might see one or two younger players of note move over, I'm not expecting any big splash-type signings until at least 1997/98. But we'll see! Can you remind me what data is being ported from CM1 and what isn't? Moving over: Rosters, managers, current division, CL and UEFA Cup Qualification data, Leyton Orient's finances (because they were shown quite explicitly in an intercept message at the end of season three). Not moving over: Competition History (because I can't edit it behind the scenes); club reputations (because there's no saved game editor for CM1 that would allow me to collect that data -I'd be guessing); finances for 91 of the 92 league clubs How did you handle young players who weren't in the CM1 database but were established first-team players by the time CM2 came around? Good question – you might have heard Manchester United had a pretty good crop of young players come through in the mid-90s and they all fall under this scenario. Liverpool have a couple in Fowler and Owen who weren't bad, either. My logic was simple: consider them home-grown players – so the Class of 92, Fowler and Owen are with their starting clubs. But John Hartson, for example, who started at Luton then moved to Arsenal, was moved back to Luton. I know this isn't about the Premier League, but can you give us updates on what's happening in (insert country here)? Not yet. CM2 97/98 was the first iteration of the game to include multiple leagues running in parallel. We'll get there, just not yet. We can make a deeper dive into what's happening in European competitions and international football, though. With the English pyramid expanding from 80 to 92 teams, how did you decide who would be added to the Football League? In this case, I used the real-life pyramid as the guide. I picked the 12 highest-ranked teams who weren't in our pyramid and added them all in. That included a bunch of the league teams who were slighted in the original game (Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Bury, etc), as well as a couple of teams who were promoted in the years between the cut-off points (Wycombe, Carlisle). I've also added in Macclesfield, winners of the conference in real life, to replace Mansfield, who finished last in our pyramid in 1994-95, because when I ran the sim on to Day One, the newly promoted team was one of the 12 teams I was adding anyway (I can't remember which one). Any other questions? Let me know; otherwise, we'll get cracking with the Summer of 1995. Up next: The Summer of 1995
  12. The only reason I don't think Cardiff will finish last is that I think Warnock will be axed pretty quickly and they'll bring in Big Sam to try and steer them to 17th. After they were so poor under Solkskjaer in their first attempt in the PL I think they'll have a much shorter leash with their manager. If/when Allardyce comes in, I can see them being the obligatory "tough out" that no one wants to play. Having said all that, I still think they'll go down, along with Huddersfield and Southampton. Not sure what the odds are on Burnley to go down but that might be something I put a small bet on, as well. (Don't think it will happen but there might be some value there)
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