Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – April ’02

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool.

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. This Coutinho is a loyal one.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Although the window is over, players can still be approached for end of season moves.

April. FA Cup Semi Final. Liverpool STILL top of the league. Some European competitions also happening, or something. They don’t matter till next season. On with the show.

Before the monthly awards, in March I missed the small matter of just the 2nd sacking of this Premier League season. David Moyes finally departs Sunderland, who are rock bottom and doomed anyway. Shrug.

2nd Sacking

There was also the small matter of the League Cup final. Liverpool exited at the 3rd round stage to Derby, who lost 4-0 in the next round to Everton. Huh.

In this final, the far superior Spurs win convincingly, despite a scare at the end when Iheanacho pulled a goal back in the last minute. I expect Spurs to drive Liverpool to the wire in the Premier League; this will only aid that momentum.

League cup final

March Monthly Awards:-

Well fucking hell. Finally some recognition. Former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke on the other hand has had an impressive month. 4 goals scored in Crystal Palace’s 2 wins and a draw. 4 more than he ever managed in a Liverpool shirt in a single month.

March MotmMarch potm

Another month, yet another injury. Given it’s the captain, it does make it more significant. Hendo has been fantastic all season.

Hendo injury

PFA Awards:-

The prolific Harry Kane takes the Players Player of the Year award, with Zlatan and Benteke in behind. The goals from all 3 have certainly been the reason for their respective teams’ league positions.


The PFA team of the season is pleasing from a Liverpool perspective. Although Roberto Firmino has been Liverpool’s main striker all season, this team has him in midfield. Ryan Shawcross improved an already solid Liverpool defence, but it was also his Stoke performances that caught my eye in the first place. Loris Karius has also played a massive part of the best defensive unit in the league.

Overall the side is dominated by sides at the top, with 9 of the players coming from Liverpool, Spurs and Man Utd respectively.

PFA team of the season

FA Cup Semi Final (iPro Stadium, Derby):-

FA cup semi

It may have been only 2-1, but Liverpool were by far the better team. Palace quickly canceled out the opener by Sturridge, while Firmino was rested. Firmino was introduced following an injury to Sturridge at half time, but it was Klavan’s header that settled the tie. Given the absences of captain Henderson and Lovren, Klavan and Sadio Mane covered perfectly.

Liverpool go onto the FA Cup Final!

Fixture #32 – Watford (Away):-

Match 32

This is a hiccup Liverpool simply cannot afford to have right now. Dropping 2 points to a side almost certain of relegation is potentially disastrous at this stage of the season.

april 10

Elsewhere in gameweek 32, Spurs pick up a big win in the North London derby. They’re chipping away at Liverpool’s lead at the top. And the games just keep on coming.

Fixture #33 Leicester (Home):-

Match 33

Fuck. It’s all tumbling down. Leicester keeper Zieler has the game of his life, keeping out Liverpool’s TWELVE shots on target. Leicester manage 2 and score from 1 of them. Even down to 10 men Leicester’s resolve could not be broken. As a result Liverpool’s title dreams could be just that.

And the other gameweek scores:-

April 13

Holy shit. Spurs win at Bournemouth. That’s 5 points gained in 2 successive matches. By my reckoning that puts Spurs level on points with Liverpool WITH A GAME IN HAND. Liverpool have 5 games left. I can’t cope.

Oh christ here comes another match.

Fixture #34 – Crystal Palace (Away):-

Match 34

Ok, this is better. Karius earning his stripes in this one, keeping out everything Palace had to offer. It’s at this stage, now more than ever, that players need to stand up and be counted. Even then i don’t think my heart can take it.

April 17

Spurs don’t play for another 3 days, so the pressure is back on them for now. Hull Lose yet again, dragging them closer to the bottom 3. West Ham maintain 4th position with another home win. Arsenal cement mid table in a catastrophic season with defeat to Mourinho’s Man United to remain in the Champions League spots.

Fixture #35 – Southampton (Home):-

Match 35

Liverpool took a couple of bad results following the injury to Jordan Henderson. James Milner, having only featured sporadically all season, has stepped up the plate in Hendo’s spot. A 10/10 performance is exactly what is required.

april 20

A Kane-less Spurs come up short at the Hawthorns to give Liverpool a lifeline in the title race. United win again. Hull lose again. Manager-less Sunderland appear determined to drag Burnley down with them. The season is unraveling week by week now. Squeaky bum time.

Fixture #36 – Burnley (Away):-

Match 36

Another tight result against a team at the bottom. Only Liverpool could do this to its fans. Sadio Mane, brought on at half time for the isolated Wijnaldum, makes the difference with the match winner. He hasn’t featured all season, but this could be the goal that secures the title. Just keep winning. Just keep winning.

April 27

Unfortunately that’s what Spurs keep doing. Winning. They’re pushing Liverpool to the wire. Elsewhere, Man Utd have improved dramatically since dropping out of Europe. That’s 11 goals in 5 games for them. Liverpool have scored 6 in that time. But they’re still in pole position. Watford and Sunderland truly look doomed after defeats yet again.

In the Championship, Newcastle and QPR are back in the Premier League next season after achieving promotion.

QPR promoted

Newcastle promotion

Final table after April:-

April table top

Should Spurs win their game in hand, only Liverpool’s superior defence keeps them top of the table. The top 4 sides are now confirmed, it’s a battle for 3rd place between Man Utd and West Ham. West Ham having their best ever season in the Premier League era with 21 wins and only 6 defeats. Southampton are a side that have slipped under the radar a little. They are having an excellent season, currently in 5th place, heading above the declining Everton.

April table bottom

Down below, Hull are now in the drop zone themselves. They have lost more games than Burnley and Sunderland. Plus, Burnley’s 38 goals almost doubles what both Hull AND Sunderland have combined. So any 3 of these 4 will go down.

It’s tight at the top. With only 2/3 games left of the season, every point gained/lost will have repercussions. Next month: The conclusion of the Premier League season!

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For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.

Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – March ’02

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. This Coutinho is a loyal one.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. And the window closes this month.

March heralds the end of the transfer window. It could also spell the end of cup and title runs should form dip dramatically. Lucky i’m not playing as Arsenal.

February Monthly Awards:-

Well i can’t believe this. Once again Spurs get all the monthly awards. Apparently being top of the league since day 1 of the season doesn’t count.

Little complaints on the player awards. Harry Kane and Debbie Alli of the White Harts have certainly been superb.

Feb motmfeb potm

Fixture #29 – Everton (Home):-

Match 29

It’s one hell of a Merseyside derby. Firmino breaks a toe shortly after his 16th minute opening goal. Emre Can is red-carded for a high, two-footed hack on Funes Mori. Everton equalise through the resulting set piece. Maarten Stekelenburg has a howler of an afternoon, gifting both Firmino’s opener and Clyne’s winner on 38 minutes.

We come out on top. We go on. The FA Cup quarter final is next.

Firmino injury

FA Cup Quarter Final (Away):-


With Firmino out for a few days, i’m a little weary of Sadio Mane’s work permit renewal. So it’s the perfect time for him to show his worth, given he hasn’t been a regular all season.

The resulting performances of many are, as ever, very pleasing. The Hawthorns is no easy venue to go to, with many a top side becoming unstuck. But it’s the introduction of Daniel Sturridge that makes the difference. His winner with 10 minutes left halts West Brom’s revival of the tie just a few a minutes earlier.

On to the semi-final!

FA cup semi drawGreat. Liverpool’s bogey team. Should be interesting. It couldn’t be more neutral a venue either, at Derby. How it should be done. Not this Wembley semi-final rubbish.

Fixture #30 Tottenham (Away):-

The biggest game of the season so far. A defeat here could mean surrendering top place for the first time this season. Possibly for the rest of the season, given Spurs’ form.

Here’s how Liverpool lineup:-

Here we go

Except for Emre Can’s suspension and Firmino returning from his broken toe, Liverpool are at 100%. Milner fills in at left back as he has done effectively on occasion. Sturridge deputises for Firmino. This is a big ask, given the handful of appearances this season, but his goal return has been vital regardless.

Match 30

The battle of wits is won by the side at the top. David Silva’s stunning half volley just before half time clinches a crucial title race victory. Eight. Games. Left.

Elsewhere that week, Man Utd’s European campaign is over. Despite taking a 1-0 lead to Lyon, De Gea’s sending off opened the floodgates. Lacazette bagged a hat trick as Lyon hit United for 5.

Utd europeInjury update now, and this is annoying. Especially when key players get injured in international friendlies. Irritating.Lovren injury march

Well that’s the transfer window closed for the rest of the season. No further bids means no further transfers. No more distractions except for potential injuries.


Fixture #31 – Manchester United (Home):-

Match 31It could have been worse. It also could have been better. Hardly a spectacle, which is usually the case, but 2 points lost really. Spurs’ next match isn’t until next month, but fingers crossed for a decent result.

Final table after March:-

March Table top

Seven games left. Liverpool completed the double over their nearest rivals. 5 points clear but Spurs have a game in hand.  Liverpool are still in control of their own destiny, although that’s been the case in the past….. The pressure is real.

2 wins and a draw for Man Utd keep them in touch with the top 2. West Ham also continue their push for a European place, losing only 6 matches all season. Oh how Bilic would love that form right now!

March table bottom

Chelsea’s decline continues, after 3 straight defeats in March. Hull remain just 3 points above Burnley, with Watford and Sunderland looking more desperate week by week.

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For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – February ’02

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. We’re gonna win the league, and all that tripe.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.

February. Arsenal’s favourite month of the season, blud. They’re already out of the title picture, so Wenger is overachieving already.

Onto the monthly awards for January. New Liverpool signing David Silva has been a masterstroke so far, and duly awarded player of the month. Some other fella won manager of the month again. Never heard of him.

January potmJanuary motm

The board and fans are happy anyway, which is all that matters.

Board Feb

Fixture #25 – Hull City (Away):-

Match 25

Look at those player ratings. Almost as good as Kim Jong Un when he played every position for North Korea in their latest World Cup win. Hull meanwhile are close to the relegation places and showing it.

TRANSFER KLAXON! Last month i strengthened the midfield with David Silva’s creative greatness. With Sakho jumping off the title bound train for the claret and blue of London, the defence needs a boost. I look to underrated Stoke City stalwart Ryan Shawcross. Attempts to sign Lars Bender fell through, so Shawcross may have been a secondary choice, but his positioning stats are better than both Matip and Lovren. He is also the same price as what Sakho left for – £10m – so its a no-brainer.


Fixture #26 West Brom (Home):-

Match 26

The boom train continues. Firmino with another hat trick. Ryan Shawcross with a near perfect defensive debut. Coutinho back among the goals again since his return from injury.

More good news in the squad department. Matip, Origi and Klavan all sign contract extensions. You never know when they might need calling upon.

Matip renewalOrigi renewalKlavan renewal

Super Sunday turns out to be just that. With both Everton and Man Utd losing only boosts Liverpool and Spurs’ title hopes. 12 games left. Everything is heating up.

Title hopes

Mignolet has been on the bench pretty much all of the season. At least he is still willing to be part of the project for now.

Mignolet renewal

With the transfer window closure imminent, here is a look at Liverpool’s top XI (hopefully) for the remainder of the season.

Line up

I was initially skeptical regarding Roberto Firmino. After a Harry Kane-style start (no goals in August) he now has 17 goals for the season. Plus 2 hat tricks in recent matches means he is hitting form at exactly the right time.

Fixture #27 West Ham (Home):-

Match 27

Well well. This could have gone either way. Very few chances throughout between 2 sides who matches each other all over the pitch. It took an impressive 15th goal for Jonathan Calleri who is having a storming season for the Hammers.

It’s a poor result in a title run, but it’s time to soak it up and move on to the next one.

More squad-bolstering news with contract renewals for Lovren and Sturridge. The latter has hardly kicked a ball all season but obviously enjoys the atmosphere at the top of the table. Lovren has been superb, contributing to the best defence in the Premier League season.

Lovren renewalSturridge renewal

That West Ham win is rubbed further in the face with the praise in the press for Liverpool turncoat Lucas Leiva. But fair play to him; Lucas is now their captain and West Ham are within a shot of Champions League qualification.

Lucas loser revenge

FA Cup 5th Round – Middlesborough (Home):-

FA cup 5


Another strong performance but tight scoreline. Certainly deserved though. The quarter final beckons.

FA Cup qtr draw

And it isn’t an easy task. Then again, no round of the FA Cup is easy.

And then it happens.

Silva injury

When you’re high, the only way is down.


Fixture #28 – Stoke City (Away):-

Match 28

James Milner steps in for David Silva and puts in a shift that gets the job done. Coutinho grabs the winning goals, Karius’ valiant goalkeeping keeps Stoke at arms length. These are the results that win titles.

Final table after January:-

Febuary table top

That defeat to West Ham now means Spurs have the least defeats in this Premier League season. But Liverpool have won more games, scored more, conceded less, and most importantly, have more points than anyone else.

With Everton and Man Utd continuing to falter, West Ham rise up to 3rd in a pack that is 10 points off the title pace. With only 10 games left, some teams are really going to have to change dramatically to alter this table. Eddie Howe’s Chelsea have stuttered back into Conte form. 29 goals in 28 games with that squad means problems.

Febuary table bottom

In the bottom half, reigning champions Leicester are safe. Steadying out in 12th place after an awful start to the season. Only 1 change in the bottom 4 places, with Watford now bottom. Watford have conceded more than the total goals scored of Burnley, Sunderland and themselves. Hull are still only 7 points clear of the relegation mess, and have scored less than Burnley and Watford. They’re not safe just yet.




Tune in next time. FA Cup Quarter Final drama! Head to head with Spurs at White Hart Lane! Injuries (no doubt)! See you then!


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For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – January ’02

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted.

It’s January. That means FA cup third round. Fixture congestion. The Christmas break argument. The retraction of the Christmas break argument. Premier League managers praising the magic of the FA Cup. Same managers then fielding a 2nd string side against Championship opposition. Same bullshit every fucking year.

And with that, lets get right back in there.

Fixture #22 – Man City (Away):-

Match 22


The new year hasn’t started in the best way. Although only a marginal defeat, Liverpool simply never got out of the blocks, despite taking the lead. David Silva simply ran the show in a 10/10 performance. City’s upturn in form continues.

Another repercussion was the early injury to Philippe Coutinho. 2 weeks doesn’t seem long, but the fixtures are coming in thick and fast.

coutinho injury

TRANSFER BOOST! Given the sale of Adam Lallana to City, and the earlier departure of Lucas Leiva, the time has come to strengthen. In late December Man City were underachieving, barely in the top 10. So i thought it prudent to search for centre midfielders with the ‘interested’ filter activated.

Astonishingly, none other than David Silva, who tormented Liverpool just days earlier, was top of the list. 11 million from Lallana plus a measly 4 million more, and bingo. One world class midfielder added to the squad. Back of the net.

David Silva

Naturally such a coup was met with praise from both fans and fellow players. Cashback.

SilvaSilva praise

FA Cup Third Round – Bristol Rovers (Away):-

FA Cup 3


Not content with putting all my eggs in one the basket (that being the league of course), a full line-up is fielded against League One bottom side Bristol Rovers. I’m not taking any risks of a early exit, going against my own advice from when the draw was made. It proves to be a tough match. The superb Sadio Mane settled the tie, and Bristol’s goalkeeper Will Puddy proudly provided damage limitation.

FA cup 4 draw




There are no easy games in the FA Cup. From the bottom of League One, to rivals from my own division. The season is getting more interesting by the day.

In the treatment room, Mamadou Sakho is a new arrival. Sakho injury

So that’s the left back position depleted for a month. The injuries are becoming as frequent as the fixtures.

More Burnley transfer news in their bid to stay in the Premier League. Ex-England left back Ashley Cole, arguably the best in the Premier League era, is picked up on a free from Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy.


a cole

Fixture #23 Bournemouth (Home):-

Match 23


The side is starting to take it’s full shape. David Silva explodes in Lallana’s previous role with a 10/10 performance of perfect passing and positioning. Silva also compliments Sven Bender’s permanent move into the Claude Makelele (or as i prefer, Paul Ince) role perfectly.

The disadvantage of accepting all bids for your players means running the risk of squad depletion as well as instability. However, no one said i couldn’t buy smartly and end up improving on those lost positions. Kiss my face.

Results 23


In other results, Man Utd continue to falter, particularly at home. And with that shocking 0-2 defeat to Middlesborough, and Spurs’ thrilling win over Crystal Palace, new contenders look likely. Chelsea also continue their climb up the table under Eddie Howe’s tutelage. Burnley meanwhile earn a vital win over Swansea for 3 precious survival points.

Gameweek 23’s Monday night football throws up a real treat. A David Silva-deprived City go 2-0 up with around 20 mins left and substitute Adam Lallana. Arsenal then proceed to storm back, with 3 goals of their own in 18 mins to snatch victory.

Ars Citeh



Back to the FA Cup, and a tricky visit to the BET365 (Britannia) Stadium is confirmed. Thankfully not a Tuesday night.

FA cup 4 draw final

Fixture #24 – Swansea City (Away):-

Match 24




David Silva is playing like a house on fire. Not literally, Jamie. Another 10/10 man of the match outing. Firmino also continues to prove his seasons worth in the No.9 position, bagging a hat trick. Swansea simply had nothing to offer. Performance of the season so far by some distance.



And so…..

Sakho bid

Well. It’s good money for sure, Sakho has been superb in the left back role. West Ham are having an impressive season of their own. But Liverpool are top of the league. I can only hope for some loyalty.

Sakho transfer

Ah well. Fuck it.


FA Cup fourth round opponents Stoke City have brought back Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to the Premier League. I’ve little doubt he’ll lineup against his former club.


FA Cup 4th Round – Stoke City (Away):-

FA Cup 4


An efficient and comfortable win, effectively over by half time. Silva and Firmino clinical yet again. Sakho’s left back position was filled in encouragingly by Emre Can, although not his natural position.

Although a busy January draws to a close, there is of course still time for another injury. Centre back Joel Matip, enjoying an impressive first season at Liverpool, is out for a month. Not the best timing given i no longer have Sakho to move back across.

Matip injury

Final table after January:-

The moment of truth……


January Table top

Well. What a difference a month makes. Man Utd have fallen to 4th, 12 points behind leaders *ahem* Liverpool *ahem*. Everton occupy 3rd and lay 9 points behind. Spurs, as expected, have solidified their place as closest contenders.

Given the on/off changes in defence during the season, for Liverpool to concede just 13 goals in 24 matches is astonishing. 15 clean sheets. That’s just over 0.5 goals conceded per match over the season.


January Table bottom

At the wrong end, Arsenal are way off the pack, despite the excellent win over in-form Man City. They’ve managed to pick up Liverpool’s habit of conceding more goals (28) than games played (24). #Wengerout could be a real possibility.

Further down, Burnley climb another place to 18th, but lie 7 points away from Hull in 17th. Sunderland are rock bottom with just a single win all season. With Watford in between them, and 156 goals conceded collectively, it’s been a hard season for all 3 clubs.

So it’s tally-ho what what and on to the next month. TTFN!

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For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – December ’01

Can the form continue? Please?

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. All Van Dijk-style approaches welcome. My hands are tied.

Welcome back. Assuming after last month’s table mishap you’re all itching to know Liverpool are getting on. Right? No? Well tough. On with the show.

In transfer news, Burnley grab themselves a bargain. No matter your views on Joe Hart, less than a million pounds is great business.

The other transfer is much closer to home, with Lucas finalising his move to the Hammers. At least i secured the full £6m valuation. It will no doubt come in handy later.

Joe HartLucas transfer

Fixture #16 – Leicester (Away):-

Match 16

A close encounter is settled in a fortunate manner for the away side. A Coutinho flick on, unintended directly at goal, completely deceives Zieler in the Leicester goal. Nonetheless, this is an excellent away win, destroying Leicester’s 4 game winning streak.

Fixture #17 – Burnley (Home):-

Match 17

New signing (and captain) Joe Hart can’t prevent Burnley’s record of the league’s worst defence. Burnley are simply out matched and blown away all over the park.

Elsewhere, the FA Cup is rearing it’s head, with Premier League sides of course joining at the 3rd round stage.

Fa cup 3 draw

Not a bad draw. Bristol Rovers are 20th in League One, so this should prove a good opportunity to play a fringe team.

It’s been a while without any major injuries, but Milner will be out of action for a month. Thankfully he is mostly a stand in. Christmas is always crunch time.

Milner injury

Remember in October Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista cited unrest in the camp? Yeah that went well.

Paulista gone

Bye bye Mr shit stirrer.

Fixture #18 – Chelsea (Away):-

Match 18

Eddie Howe’s Chelsea are a resilient bunch. Victory looked to be in site yet again for Liverpool, with Wijnaldum’s 85th minute strike. That is until Gary Cahill leveled the tie with Chelsea’s only shot on target – with the last kick of the match. Clyne also had to depart with an injury. 2 points lost – will it be pivotal?

As we approach the halfway point of the season, and with 2 point dropped in gameweek 18, i thought it prudent to update you on other would-be chasers. Everton win strongly thanks to the ever-present Romelu Lukaku, but thankfully 2nd place Man Utd slip up at home.

Results 18

Sure enough, 1 injury becomes 2. Clyne is an important player, of which Milner could cover was he not injured himself.

Clyne injury

Still in gameweek 18, Arsenal come unstuck again. This time however to bottom side Burnley, who come from behind to take 3 precious points. For Arsenal it leaves them trailing way behind at the top. Wenger out?

Burnley Arsenal

And then, the worst possible bombshell arrives.

Lallana bid

It’s a good fee for a player who has been so vital all season long. In 17 games Lallana contributed 3 goals and 5 assists, also performing consistently well. First Lucas, now Lallana. My midfield is getting thinner each month.

Player of the year awards:-

player of the yearForeign player

As usual, nothing from the Premier League. Pfft.

Following a report on prolific young Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg (6 goals in just 2 starts), he looks a good prospect for the future. Available at £5m, i decide to put the Lucas money to invest.

Scout 1

Fixture #19 – Arsenal (Home):-

Match 19

Firmino on fire when it matters yet again. He scores the winner in a thrilling 2-1 victory, shortly after Arsenal equalise. Bender and Lovren are performing consistently at the back and Can equally impressive as Lucas’ replacement. Things are not looking good for Arsene Wenger.

And so the Arsenal match proves to be Lallana’s last for Liverpool. Manchester City are not having a great season under Pep so far, languishing in 15th, but the lure of Champions League football cannot be underestimated.

Lallana sold

It appears the departure of Lallana has had some repercussions. I think it is time to invest some of the acquired kitty into the first team. Merry fucking Christmas.


Fixture #20 – Middlesborough (Away):-

Match 20

Middlesborough’s defence was simply superb. And with the goal coming from their only shot on target, pretty perfect in the final third too. Liverpool could not muster anything from great attacking play and 8 shots on target. Victor Valdes well up to the task. It’s defeat number 2, and we’re just past the halfway mark.

Elsewhere in this gameweek, Adam Lallana’s first game for City is a win that takes them up to 14th, and Man Utd falter again, this time at Stoke. Tottenham are slowly emerging as another form side, with Harry Kane looking impressive. Champions Leicester continue their season recovery, heading up to 8th.

results 20

Fixture #21 – Sunderland (Home):-

Match 21

Bottom club Sunderland simply roll over to Liverpool’s dominance, with only Jordan Pickford’s goalkeeping keeping the score respectable. Sunderland look doomed on the evidence of this.

Final table after December:-

December table top

The 2 month suspense was worth it, wasn’t it? Top of the tree, 9 points clear, and actually conceded less goals than games played! Lallana’s arrival at Citeh contributed to an upturn in form, ending the year 4 places higher in 11th. Chelsea are also improving under Eddie Howe, climbing to 8th, with champions Leicester a place above. Impressive considering they started November in 15th place.

December table bottom

At the bottom, a 7 point gap has formed between the relegation zone and the rest of the pack. Watford, Burnley and Sunderland have only 5 wins between them. At least none of them will be the next Derby County.

On-wards and upwards. Until next time!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here: Pre-Season August September October November

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from  

For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – November ’01

Can the form continue? Please?

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. Forever the dream, right?

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Yes Southampton, it even applies to you.

So we begin another month like any other. Who is deserving in the eyes of the Premier League for the football frolics of the past month?

October motm

Is this a sharing thing now? Liverpool BEAT Spurs. Liverpool were unbeaten all month. Liverpool only conceded 1 goal in the 3 league matches played. Yet Pochettino gets manager of the month for the third time? Ok, Spurs did win their other 3 matches, scoring 7 and conceding 3. But they LOST. TO ME. Absolute horseshit.

October Potm

Little argument here. 8 goals in 3 matches is fantastic. Especially 4 against Chelsea.

Speaking of Chelsea, given the recent departure of Antonio Conte i decided to chance my arm on player unrest. Given Lucas can’t stomach a title fight and wants to leave, i decide to bid on a potential replacement, Nemanja Matic. An initial valuation of £7,750,000 was met with the below response. I decide to fall in line given i have a hole in midfield that needs plugging. Reluctantly.


Then this happened.

Chelsea Howe

Good luck to Eddie. He might need it, given the team of superstars (and egos) he’ll have to manage.

Fixture #12 – Man Utd (Away):-

Match 12

As Jurgen Klopp once said last season: BOOM.

Boom indeed. I’ll just leave it at that.


Given Firmino’s achievements so far this season, i decide it would be prudent to try and tie him down for at least a while longer on a bigger contract. It’s a risky move, as i cannot quite meet his wage demands. 75k a week is plenty though. Fingers crossed.


Fixture #13 – Crystal Palace (Home):-

Match 13

We go on. Firmino is on fire. The defence is playing confidently and in an assured manner, despite the 2 minor blips here. Putting Sakho in at left back is so far a managerial masterstroke.

Another fixture of note here. An end-to-end contest reminiscent of the 90’s rivalry ends with Angel Prima Donna (Di Maria) ending the contest with the only goal. Against the side he couldn’t wait to leave in 2015.

Wenger in

In managerial news, following Eddie Howe’s departure to Chelsea, Bournemouth decide to appoint Schteve McClaren and his ‘Hair Island’ (as seen on the many podcasts of McClaren was sacked on both his last appointments at Derby and Newcastle, will it be, as you say, third time lucky?


It appears £75k a week was enough. Firmino is retained on a £25m contract. Coutinho also extends his contract for a hefty £20m over 5 years. They are Liverpool’s most valuable assets, both on the pitch and in the books. Nothing can go wrong at the moment.

Firmino deal

Fixture #14 – Southampton (Away):-

Match 14

It had to happen eventually. The first defeat of the season is here, 14 games in. Redmond’s penalty following Karius’ red card settled an otherwise closely contested tie. Spurs maintain their chase with a 1-0 win over West Brom.

Fixture #15 – Watford (Home):-

Please note: Screenshot delayed, hence date of 9/12 below.

Match 15

Back to dominant, winning ways. Although only 1-0, Liverpool mustered 10 shots on target to Watford’s 0, with Costel Fanta Lemon having the match of his life.

In transfer news, West Ham will try to pry youngster Joe Gomez away as cover for Aaron Cresswell. I expect Joe to leave with better first team prospects on the horizon.

Gomez bid

And, inevitably, Gomez does indeed join West Ham. Looks like he won’t be the only one. I guess those seasons of mediocrity really did take their toll on Lucas. It is a shame, having been a good servant to Liverpool. Much like his recent move in real life to Lazio. Good luck to him.

Lucas bid


The season is over for one of the Premier League’s biggest stars. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will be on the recovery trail until next season.

Ozil injury

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the table screenshots for November did not save. As a change of format, let’s cover Manager/Player of the month.

Last month it was noted that reigning champions Leicester City were finally recovering from a dreadful relegation-placed start to the season. A November record of 4 straight wins is impressive, but even more so when 3 of those come against Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea. And with only 2 conceded in those games, it’s a richly deserved award.

I should be wary. Leicester are Liverpool’s 1st December opponents.

November Motm

And some recognition for Liverpool also. Roberto Firmino managed the player of the month for scoring just 2 goals. He has put in stellar performances, but personally Emre Can has been better, having slotted into Lucas’s previous role superbly. Can also contributed 2 match winners in that time.

November Potm


And so ends another month. A defeat finally registered, but hopefully it is just a minor mark on an otherwise great start to the season for Liverpool.

Until next time!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here: Pre-Season August September October

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from  

For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – October ’01

Can the form continue? Please?

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Stay away from me with, Jim White.

Welcome back. The season has started well, almost a quarter of the way through. Long may it continue. October is a packed month.

Monthly awards time! Oh.

Maureen motm sept

I can only think this decision went down to goal difference. Or more likely, the Premier League trying to keep Maureen quiet. Both Liverpool and United won all their 5 league matches in September; Pools goal difference was 12-1, United’s 16-4. United had an impressive 6-1 win away, Pool 4-1. It’s okay. I’m not bitter. I’m not going into measuring penis territory to try and downplay Jose winning the award over me. Not at all. He’s such a twat though, isn’t he?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the other hand has certainly been impressive. 6 goals and 2 man of the match performances in September is excellent. However, again it isn’t a sure thing for me. Lukaku fired in 8 goals and also clocked 2 man of the match awards. This season is very competitive already.

Sept motm

I mean look, 10 goals in 7 games. For a player who is unhappy. Woof.


Lukaku support

Elsewhere, fringe player Daniel Sturridge appears content enough, signing on for another 5 years.


From good news to bad news. The captain is out for a while. Hmmm.

Hendo Matip Can

Fixture #9 – Spurs (Home):-

And so I’m left with this fucking mess. Key players Lallana and Henderson, my sit-in midfield, are out. Lovren wants more money. Back up players Emre Can, Matip and Joe Gomez are also out. I can still put together a decent XI, but good enough to triumph over the only other unbeaten Premier League side?

Match 9 prep

Match 9 lineup

Milner fits in well here for a rare appearance, however attacker Sadio Mane will have to pull a shift in deep midfield. Trent Alexander-Arnold is there for cover, but to throw him into such a fixture could be football suicide.

Match 9


Although it ended only 1-0, the result was never in doubt. Lloris kept the score respectable, but Firmino earns the points with a low drive. Liverpool are now the only unbeaten side left! The success is certainly resonating with ‘several respected pundits’. I’d like to think of those as being The Guardian Football Weekly crew. Just to feel a little smug.


Oh bloody hell. Injury crisis?

Pile up


Unrest at Arsenal? Paulista appears intent on creating it. Ironically it’s usually him letting everyone else down. So i call bullshit.

Fixture #10 – Everton (Away):-

Match 10

Not much to tell here. Liverpool pressed hard but Everton were resilient. It could have been better, but it could of course have been much worse. A rare outing as captain for Lucas Leiva who has commanded the sweeper role well all season.

Lucas loser

………Fuck. Well i am truly flabbergasted. Plus i have no choice but to accept the decision. It’s as good as a transfer bid. It’s just as disappointing. Lucas is promptly relegated to the reserves and £3M added to his value.

Fixture #11 – Stoke (Home):-

Match 11

Emre Can is now my main man in the deep role, and has started solidly. Sadio Mane, still filling in alongside Lallana, puts in a great shift of creativity and movement. Even more so was the case from Coutinho, both man of the match and the match-winner. Joel Matip puts in a substitute appearance of note after Lovren goes off injured. Again.

Lovren injury

And it’s another month out. Looks like Matip is going to be busy.

Conte sacked

The first managerial casualty of the season is Antonio Conte. With a W4-L6-D1 record and poor results against both Spurs and Man United, Roman did his trademark thing.


Conte sacked

Good news elsewhere, Lallana’s services are retained. For now. I worry Lucas’ need for change could spark similar reactions from others. Liverpool are not in Europe after all.

Lallana contract

League Cup Round 3 – Derby (Home):-

League Cup 3

A strange result, this one. An excellent cup tie, with chances for both sides throughout. Game of Thrones resident Ragnar Klavan’s helpful red card exit in the first half stifled Liverpool into the 2nd half. Derby’s Vydra hits 2 quick goals, Mane pulls 1 back but Scott Carson plays out of his skin to help Derby hold on for a league cup upset.

Final table after October:-

October Table top

Despite the league cup exit, and Lucas’ change of plans, October is another great month. Liverpool are unbeaten with nearly a third of the season gone. Scoring almost 2 goals a game. Only conceded 2 all season. Yet United are still close. Competition is starting to take shape.

October table bottom

At the other end, lowly Burnley are still without a win. They’ve conceded more than anyone has managed to score. Leicester on the other hand enjoyed an month unbeaten, including 2 wins, and climb to 15th. I smell potential manager of the month.

Find out next time!

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here: Pre-Season August September

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from  

For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – September ’01

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Maybe Moreno will finally f**king leave. It should be 2001. A time of a Labour government. A time before we became ‘bullies of the western world’. A time you could still smoke in pubs. And of course, a time […]

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Not a Taribo West or Cherno Samba in sight.

The first point of interest of any month of the season is here. I am of course referring to the monthly awards for both ‘best’ player and manager. There is little debate for the first month of the season here. Liverpool are top of the table, so for at least 1 month of the season I deserve to bask in my own probably-premature and meaningless glory.


And so the potential manager of the month curse hovers over my head as the season heads into it’s second month. Hopefully as West Brom are up next it won’t end in inevitable MotM misery.

The uneventful international break has come and gone. But elsewhere in the league Arsene Wenger has decided to splash some cash. Blud.

Di Maria

It’s always nice to see big players arrive in the Premier League. The same cannot be said for those who have tried before, failed miserably, then skedaddled to a competitively piss-poor league to play for a team that is almost certain to win the league every year. So yeah, good luck Mr Di Maria.

Fixture #4 – West Brom (Away):-

Match 4

A man of the match performance from West Brom’s Jonas Olsson isn’t enough to stop Liverpool snatching a win on the road. A perfect nod-down from Henderson allowed Firmino to rifle in the only goal of a game with few chances. These are the results that provide the most important points, come the end of the season. Plus the MotM curse was avoided.

The players are performing well. The mood is upbeat. Long may it continue.


Another big transfer fee spent on big spenders Chelsea. This time managing to prise away key player Ayoze Perez from Newcastle. Hopefully it won’t make too much of a dent in Rafa Benitez’s promotion prospects.

Fixture #5 – Hull (Home):-

Match 5

A comfortable home win. I could get used to this. Hull simply had no answer for Liverpool’s all-round solid performance. Coutinho and Firmino are definitely Liverpool’s standout players so far, with a man of the match performance from the former. It’s a near perfect start to the season any side could ask for.

And now to address the issue of squad depth. Those transfer bids could come in anytime after all….


Given Sakho’s impressive run at left back, the availability (and durability) of Dortmund’s Sven Bender is a no-brainer at this price. Predominantly he will line up alongside Lovren/Matip, but can also cover the oh-so-valuable and over-powered defensive midfield position. A nice piece of business.


Oh dear. While this of course doesn’t sound good for Andy Carroll, it won’t do West Ham any harm, seeing as the amount of game time is no different to any other season.

Fixture #6 – Bournemonth (Away):-

Match 6

Look at those ratings. A thing of beauty. And with Lovren making a return after his injury, along with Bender also performing well, it doesn’t get much better. Bournemouth were steamrollered. Liverpool leave the Vitality Stadium with just that. Vitality.

It doesn’t make for such an interesting blog though does it? The drama is yet to arrive this season. Far be it from me to let my readers down, so here is one of many dramatic moments in recent Liverpool history.

Not the moment you thought it would be, was it?

The future of Liverpool’s midfield is Gerrard’s successor, Jordan Henderson. Hopefully this new contract will hold off any potential suitors for a good while.


League Cup Round 2 – Charlton (Home):-

League Cup 2

This was as close as the score suggested. Choosing to give first starts of the season for many, it was still a strong line up against a Charlton side who are on similar form and sit top of League One. A wonderfully open game that is great for the neutral, nervous for a fan of either team.

After cruising for the first 35 minutes, Karius spills a shot into the path into Lookman who makes no mistake. At 1-2, Charlton took over the match into the 2nd half, crafting an equaliser after repeatedly testing Karius. Thankfully the leveler allowed Liverpool to re-evaluate themselves, calm the storm, and finish the match strongly.

Next up in the League Cup will be Derby County, which I expect to be another tough test.

Fixture #7 – Swansea (Home):-

Match 7

Roberto Firmino is on fire. Another man of the match performance, and 10 out of 10, no less. A great team performance of which Swansea simply could not deal with, yet defended well to keep the score respectable. The only blemish being Adam Lallana going off injured due to strained knee ligaments. 2 weeks is the predicted layoff time.

Elsewhere, Jose Maureen’s Manure United make a big statement with a 6-1 win away at Watford. Only their solitary defeat keeps them from being level at the top of the table, and Everton also have a game in hand, which could take them 2nd.

Utd Matchday 7

Fixture #8 – West Ham (Away):-

Match 8

Speaking of making statements, Liverpool just made one of their own. Man of the moment (and match) yet again is Firmino, bagging his 4th and 5th goals of the season. Equally impressive was Lucas, consistently shutting down West Ham’s midfield. I really could get used to this.

Final table after September:-

Sept Table top

The 4-1 win at West Ham is all the more pleasing given the excellent start Slaven Bilic’s side have had, despite that heavy defeat. It’s put Liverpool’s goal return right up there, but what is even more impressive is only shipping 2 goals so far.

Sept table bottom

At the bottom, it’s getting worse for Burnley. More than a goal a game scored, but conceding 3 a game can only mean relegation if it continues. Title holders Leicester are also yet to pick up a win and sit in 19th position. They couldn’t, could they?

Just under a quarter of the season gone and an impressive tally so far. Can it continue? Please?

Catch-up on what you’ve missed here: Pre-Season August

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from  

For this blog the October 2016 data update was used.




Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – August ’01

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool. THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Maybe Moreno will finally f**king leave. It should be 2001. A time of a Labour government. A time before we became ‘bullies of the western world’. A time you could still smoke in pubs. And of course, a time […]

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Maybe Moreno will finally f**king leave (he did).

Aaaand we’re back. The season starts now. I’m a man down thanks to the disturbingly delightful sum of £8 million for Alberto Moreno. But i have a cunning plan for the interim: Jurgen Klopp’s ‘best friend’ Mamadou Sakho. He favours his left side and has strong positional sense, so he’s the perfect stand in. The first match is a nice home fixture against newly promoted Middlesborough. Should be relatively risk free to try it out. But what’s this?

Can contract

Not even kicked a ball yet, and already asking for more money. Presumably to absorb the cost of his exuberant post season holiday. Ah well, plenty of money in the pot, so negotiations have begun. Definitely no place in the starting XI this time out though. Little upstart. As for the rest, it’s pretty straight forward. Origi misses out in favour of new signing Sadio Mane. He partners Coutinho just behind Daniel please-don’t-get-injured Sturridge. I also favour Karius over Mignolet despite their handling being an above-average 17, the German edges it with better reflexes.

First formation

It’s a narrow yet attacking formation, which often works best in Champ Manager 01/02. The standard 4-3-3 will be the alternative which heralds similar results. Jordan Henderson is the default captain. I’ll stick with that. Here we go, the first game of the season is here, and it’s LIVE.

Fixture #1 – Middlesborough (Home):-

Match 1

An impressive first game of the season then. First goals of the season for Coutinho and, surprisingly, 2 defenders. Sakho buries a lovely low drive after a 1-2 with Sturridge before being reverted back to CB. This was following an unknown injury to the other goalscorer, Dejan Lovren. A man of the match performance from captain Jordan Henderson, including a assist, vindicates the CPU choice thus far. Pretty much perfect. But then….

Lovren injury

So the unknown injury turned out to be a ankle sprain. This will mean a makeshift left back is required already. I have my hopes pinned on the revised 15 million bid made for Martinez. In other results, the first blue heavyweight match of the season between Chelsea and Man City went the way of the London side after 2 quick headed goals in the first half.

In transfer news, Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic swaps London blue for Merseyside blue in a £750,000 move to Everton. Only a day later he plays in an Everton side that convincingly beat Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, who bizarrely have already played 2 games when 7 teams are yet to even play. Don’t give Jose Maureen reason to whine about fixture congestion already, Premier League!

Emre Can gets his wish and signs on for 5 more years, and in the league cup Liverpool are drawn against Russell Slade’s Charlton Athletic at home. A good chance for some rotation in the squad. Next up is another Premier League heavyweight battle as Liverpool take on Arsene Wenger’s bottlers-i mean battlers at the Emirates….

Fixture #2 – Arsenal (Away):-


Not much to complain about here, despite taking the lead. A tight first half followed by very little happening in the second other than 2 dipping efforts from Coutinho and Ramsey respectively. A respectable point away from home.

The first European classic of the season took place at the Stade Louis. Europa League champs Sevilla (hmph) took on Champions League winners Real Madrid in an-all Spanish affair. Sevilla missed ALL their penalties in the shootout after Madrid had pegged back from 4-2 down late in normal time. Deflated.

Fixture #3 – Manchester City (Home):-

The fixtures are coming thick and fast now. After a solid point gained at 1 potential title contender (before February at least), now it’s Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Anfield. With Lovren out Sakho will cover once again, with Milner being drafted to left back. A look at the squad shows West Ham are eyeing up Nathaniel Clyne. I could potentially need to replace 2 full back positions shortly….

Match 2

Would you look at that. This result is a thing of beauty. From the kick off Liverpool don’t give Citeh an inch, limiting them to 1 solitary shot on target. An already impressive performance improves even more so with the arrival of Wijnaldum for the ineffective Mane on the hour. He takes the man of the match award even with only 30 minutes on the pitch. Nice.

Aug table top

That result leaves Pool at the top of the table after August’s matches. With only 1 goal conceded, no defeats and averaging 2+ goals a match, it’s a promising start.

Aug table bottom

At the bottom, Burnley are the early relegation-form side, conceding TEN goals in their 3 games. Ouch. I bet Joey Barton didn’t bet on that. Arsenal are also unbeaten after 2 games, which is unprecedented at this stage of the season!

Although September is fast approaching, August isn’t done with me just yet…..


Inigo Martinez, Liverpool’s transfer target, has made an unexpected move of staying on in Spain. Back to the drawing board then. Until next month!

You can read the first part of this journey here

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Return to Championship Manager 01/02 (16/17 Data) – Pre-Season

THE OBJECTIVE: Bring title glory back to Liverpool.

THE CAVEAT: Any transfer bids must be accepted. Maybe Moreno will finally f**king leave.

It should be 2001. A time of a Labour government. A time before we became ‘bullies of the western world’. A time you could still smoke in pubs. And of course, a time Liverpool are yet to win the Premier League in 11 years of trying. But thanks to the lovely people over at the CM 01/02 website, the 16/17 data is available to download to update a now-freeware classic.

So now it’s 2016. A time of a Conservative Prime Minister people did not vote for. A time that 51.89% of the country became racist c**ts and set in motion the process the leave the European Union. A time that for almost 10 years you can no longer smoke in pubs. Manchester United haven’t been Premier League champions for 3 years. And of course, a time where Liverpool are still yet to win the Premier League after 26 years of trying. Some things don’t change.

The 2001/2 season for Liverpool was one of their best Premier League seasons. A 2nd place finish with 80 points was as high as then-manager Gerard Houllier could manage in his tenure. In 2016/17 Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool managed to qualify for the Champions League with 4th place with only 4 points less than 2001/2. How times have changed. At least I won’t have to deal with Sir Alex Ferguson anymore. Although Jose Mourinho is twice the shit the Manchester United legend ever was. As if finishing 6th in the Premier League is ‘success’. But i digress.

So onto the task at hand. Liverpool don’t have the prolific striker they once had in Michael Owen 15 years ago (jeez i feel old now) but with Sturridge/Firmino there is goal-scoring talent on offer. Alberto Moreno isn’t the open-goal missing, nutmeg-invitee defensive waste of space he is in the real world, but he can be improved with what is a modest transfer budget (relative to the original time setting).


So the board expect a title challenge. Well, i was hopeful as such for my beloved Liverpool for the same. However, if you can’t go to Barbados, Bridlington is better than nothing, right? Overall the squad is good and has depth in most positions. Too much in the central midfield department: Henderson the captain and workhorse, and decent defensive midfielders in Lucas, Can and the versatile Milner. Bar Milner the squad has plenty of pace with most players in the 12-20 bracket which will suit my attacking style well. Much like it does Klopp.

Transfer Kitty

Before looking at any potential transfers, it’s important to address the current squad. Mostly its fine, with defence being the weakest third. The trio of centre-backs Lovren, Sahko and Matip only have a max of 16 for positioning, the most vital statistic. A bid is swiftly place for 25 years old Spaniard Inigo Martinez of Real Sociedad who boasts a marking attribute of 20 along with 17 for positioning.


The first transfer of note occurs within my first week. Man Utd midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin opted away from the Premier League to join Russia’s Zenit.  Meanwhile, the first bombshell of the season comes before a ball has been kicked:-

Firmino injury

So 1 of my potential front 3 is already out of the first game of the Premier League season. There’s still time to add to that, Mr Sturridge. A departure i have no qualms about may potentially happen. Yes, a club is showing interest in Alberto Moreno! Athletico Madrid no less. Please make a bid. Please. In other topical Liverpool news, ex-terrible signing Javier Manquillo has been sold be Athletico to Sunderland.

Squad numbers submitted, with the omission of the No. 9 a damning indictment on the state of the current Liverpool striking situation. But what’s this?


Well f**king hell. The non-rejection of bids rule has started in my favour! There is hope for the dressing room yet. Meanwhile, the Community Shield rolls around. Man Utd’s ever-cynical Ander Herrera turns in a man of the match display in a 3-1 against the unlikeliest of reigning Premier League champions Gary Lineker-in-pants on live TV FC Leicester City. I’m sure that pleased his ever-toxic manager.

“He’s gone, oh i, i’d better learn how to face it, he’s gone, oh i, i’d pay the devil to replace him” 

Moreno is F**KING gone. Off to Athletico Madrid. Hurrah! Ok, so he isn’t the same guy as in real life, who i’m sure is also a nice bloke. But seriously, his defending in the 2016 Europa League final cost at least 1 goal, and what the hell was this? Because i have no words.

The pre-season is now over. The first Premier League fixtures are up, and i’m keen to see what my currently-depleted squad is made of. Well if Wenger can do it and keep his job….

Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from