A Fifty Year Holiday Pt. 13

Happy New Year!!!

Oh. A slightly less happy New Year, as my first three messages of the year are a bid for a player I’m not interested in selling, a media report about another player I’m not interested in selling and a deal falling through for a player I am interested in selling.

Our New Years’ Day match this year is against Sheffield Wednesday at The Rock. We beat them in the reverse fixture 1–0 back in August, and they have two players on almost 10K/week. That’s basically our entire wage bill.

Nijhuis is yanked after a 5 in our last match. He came in as a 1b to Callebaut’s 1a, but is now sitting at the end of the bench inside one of these:

Beck isn’t healthy enough to start, so Persson gets his first start up front.

We get a bit of help from a red/pen combo and Persson nets in his first start for us as we cruise to an eventual 2–0 victory, allowing zero shots on Callebaut’s net.

Lots of Ludvigsen interest after he’s re-listed. Bristol City and Millwall are Premier League sides and after negotiating Millwall up to 1M, Bristol agree to my 1.5M request. Just waiting on them to agree to terms.

While we wait for Bristol City and Ludvigsen, we may as well head off to Highbury for our FA Cup 3rd Round match. We’ve (not surprisingly) never faced them before. According to my scout, they are very good. They boast about 40 five-star potential players and their top earner makes three times our entire squad’s wages. Let’s hope they underestimate us like LFC did in the League Cup earlier this season.

The side they put out looks beatable. A solitary debut player, but lots of fringe/reserve lads and only a few regular first-teamers.

We’re getting quite the reputation as giant-killers now. 30k fans show up as we lay the smack down on the Gunners. And just like the Liverpool match, this was no fluke either.

It’s a decent pay day too, netting around 500k from gate/TV/prizes, but with our bank balance into the seven zeroes, it’s slightly less important these days.

Next up in the FA Cup: Swansea at home in the 4th Round on the 25th of January.

This news makes up for the disappointment of not selling him for 725k on New Years’ Day…

We’re off to Margate in the league next and we’re 0–3–4 in our seven match history. They’re currently smack dab in the middle of the battle for mediocrity. 10th to 17th are separated by three points, and Margate sit 12th.

It wasn’t going tremendously well by the half time whistle and that’s when I noticed I had Vos in the middle instead of the right (he’s an FR). The second half was all us, especially the five minute period from the 57th to the 62nd.

The Cornelissen deal goes through without a hitch, which shocks me. Surely he’s one of the best players to ever set foot in whatever league the Connecticut Wolves play in…

We’ve got some issues for our next match as both our red card suspensions kick in (1 and 4 matches for Schommer and O’Rourke), Schulte and Winkler are injured and Griffiths is at 65% as he continues to recover from his injury. Seeger is pushed up into a DMC position and Lindskog pushes forward to partner Beck up front.

We’re at Deepdale for this one, which happens to be the site of Purfleet’s largest ever victory. Five years ago, Trevor managed to knock off Preston 6–0 and they also happen to be one of the very few teams we’ve got a better head-to-head with.

I’m made to rue not updating my kick-takers as a Lindskog penalty is saved just before the break. The squad turnover has left us with three kickers on my list. It’s fixed now and Lindskog is only sixth. We played well otherwise, but we’re made to settle for a draw.

We begin a five-match home stand as we welcome Southend to battle in the Vans Trophy. We pull Kerr back up from the reserves to throw on the bench due to injuries and suspensions.

Fixing the penalty shooters after the last match was timely. We were severely outplayed for the first time this season, but we made it to the the end of the two hours all square. We manage to keep our nerve and we move on to the next round of the Vans to face Lancaster.

We’re still not back to anything close to our best XI, as four days isn’t quite long enough for our exhausted players to recuperate. Hans is captain for the day with neither Vos nor Rasmussen starting. But it’s an easier match than Southend as we welcome mid-table York to The Rock for our next league match. We beat them 3–0 in York back in September.

This was a much tougher match than last time. We have two first-time Purfleet scorers to thank for our three points. I’d really like to get back to full strength ASAP, but Griffiths is now gone for ten days.

It’s nice to have Beck, McCann, Vos and Seedorf and Winkler back as we welcome Barnet to town. Callebaut had an off game last time out, so I hesitatingly put Nijhuis in net. I think he senses my complete lack of confidence in him. Barnet haven’t lost to us in our last twelve matches, so we’re looking to end that trend.

How their keeper ends on an 8 after saving 16 on target shots, I have no idea. We actually have to come from behind to even salvage anything from this match.

We actually have our highest attendance of the season for this one, as if fans are starting to realise that we may actually be quite good.

Magic Number (Title): 36
Magic Number (Promotion): 30

After some less than stellar performances from our defenders, I splash out on a new DC. He’s younger and as good as our current lot and arrives from Tranmere for 65k.

How the heck can we afford to splash that kind of cash, you ask? Well, Schommer has thrown his toys out of the pram that I’m not letting him go to a bigger club. He’s listed for 2.5M(!!!) and immediately Liverpool and Burnley are in for him. I accept Burnley’s bid and ask for a nice, round 3M from Liverpool.

Newcastle come in at 1.2M, but I tell them to get lost. Who needs them when Liverpool want to buy a 2nd Purfleet player from us? Over the past 350-ish days, they’ve bought Everitt (in for free, sold for 1M) and now Schommer (in for 300k, out for 3M). Pleasure doing business with you!

Swansea invade The Rock for an FA Cup 3rd Round tilt. They’re only a league above us, but are battling for promotion. Vos is a little tired, but if we need him, he’s ready on the bench.

As even as even can be and we’ve earned a replay…which isn’t exactly what our fixture list needs, but we are out to win an much as we possibly can. The replay is in a couple of weeks at The Vetch (combination of vomit and retch?) Field.

Liverpool tie up Schommer a day too soon for my liking, but it had to be done. We’ve got QPR at home in the League Cup SF tonight. It’s a sad day and Schommer was certainly one of our best signings. Also our new record sale…

Lots of cup-tied lads and McCann is exhausted. Still, gotta some weapons that can do some damage! Underestimate us please QPR?

They’ve got a handful up reserves in the match, but they look bloody good anyway. COLSMWYCDTKTRG!

Advantage minnows! We jump out to a two goal lead but spend the rest of the match on the back foot as we try to hang one. We have one foot in the bloody League Cup Final and so do Canvey Island!

Looking for a clean sweep as we enter February and I pick up yet another award for my tireless efforts as we continue up upward trajectory.

It’s a top of the table clash as we travel to Vale Park to face Port Vale. We’ve both suffered a solitary loss this season, though they’ve drawn eight more matches than we have leaving them sixteen points back.

A 53rd minute equalising own goal has me tearing my hair out, but we set things right late on to increase our lead in Div 3.

It’s not a great time for Vos to show up late to training and then throw a fit about his official warning. Or O’Rourke injuring himself for two weeks. When it rains, it pours…

Vans Trophy Southern Section Quarter Final time. Lancaster come to town to try to be the first team to knock us out of anything…

If Lancaster appealed this score, we’d be hard pressed to find any witnesses for the defence. 293 people buy tickets for a snowy Tuesday night but I doubt many made it through to the end. The match atmosphere itself sounds like one of those pandemic matches from 30-odd years ago when you could hear everything the players were saying.

We draw a certain Div 2 side that me we could possibly meet in a League Cup Final around the same time we’ll play them in the Vans Trophy South SF. That would certainly be the first time that’s happened…

As I check my short list to see if there’s a replacement for Schommer out there somewhere (there aren’t any that are interested at this stage), I see one of my long-shot summer targets is suddenly interested. He’s a bit old, and wants our max salary (2.2k/week) but he looks worth it. We don’t actually PLAY with an MC really, but we’ll make exceptions for players of his quality. An Arsenal lifer until now, he was regular enough and has quite the list of achievements on his curriculum vitae.

The very next morning we add another solid midfielder for well under market value. 100k and a very reasonable 600/week to add Edwin to the fold. Another big selling point on both these lads is that they’ll be available for the Cups…which resume tonight.

FA Cup 4th Round Replay at Vetch against The Swans. The first attempt was incredibly evenly matched, so maybe Steadman can make the difference this time around.

We play much better this time around and with a three-goal cushion, we get some rest in for some key players.

One week from today, we’ll have W.B.A. at The Rock in the 5th Round of the FA Cup, the furthest we’ve ever gone into this competition. They’re exactly one league above us, as they’re topping Div 2 right now.

Before we get there, we’ve got a league match at home against Macclesfield. These clowns were the ones that handed us our sole Div 3 loss. I remind the lads about that match. We severely outplayed them and lost to their only shot on target. We’re out for revenge today.

Two minutes in, I think we’re on the right track, but then nothing happens for 88 minutes. Not the revenge I was hoping for, but three points will do. We level the season series with them.

With fifteen matches to go, Port Vale have dropped off their pace and now there are real battles for automatic promotion, the play-off spots and to stay up.

Magic Number (Title): 24
Magic Number (Promotion): 22

Jumping back to our FA Cup duties, West Brom are here for the 5th Round. I’d really like to avoid a replay if possible fellas. Settle this (in our favour) today. We’ve beaten bigger clubs than this previously…

Effing eff. It’s not like either club did much of anything, but it looks like we’ll be headed to The Hawthorns for a replay.

From Cup to Cup we go, and it’s off to QPR to try and get our second foot in to the League Cup Final. We won the first leg 2–1 and if I’m reading the rules right, the away goals rule is only used AFTER extra time. So if we’re losing 1–0, we’ll go to extra time rather than being out after 90 mins. I think. I’m not sure though. So let’s not have that happen. I’m sad to see Beck isn’t fit enough to start for us. QPR are missing some folk too. Let’s go!

What a bunch of absolute legends. Purfleet’s Div 3 side is going through to the League Cup Final! We await the winner of the Canvey Island — Carlisle SF which takes place in a week (with Canvey Island ahead 2–1 after their home leg). Absolute scenes!

These league matches are REALLY cramping our Cup-playing style.

We’re hosting 23rd place Telford today and they’re going to face an extremely rotated side. I only have one FA cup-tied player, so Walters can play in this one.

Telford take the lead against the run of play, but our relentlessness pays off over the course of the match. We plunge them back into last place (on goal difference) and the lone relegation slot.

FA Cup 5th Round replay time. WBA are looking more and more likely to get promoted from Division Two, sitting four points clear with two matches in hand. Fortunately for us today, they’re missing some key players and we aren’t.

We pick West Brom apart, piece by piece. We stroll into the Hawthorns and book our place in the FA Cup QF with a fantastic performance. Timo Beck has been an absolute star for us, averaging an 8.03 with 17g and 7a in 25(4) matches.

After crushing a D2 promotion place Midlands side in the 5th Round, we’re off to play a D1 promotion (playoff) place Midlands side in the QF. Birmingham currently sit 4th, but don’t look likely to get up to 2nd or drop down to 7th.

The monthly awards are announced and it’s another Purfleet sweep. We’ve never had a young player of the month, but we’re doing well with these two awards.

March will bring a Vans SF, an FA Cup QF and the League Cup Final. I would have called you a raging lunatic if you’d told me it would be the first of March and we’d still be alive in all three Cup competitions. But don’t worry if you did, because you’re not.