A Fifty Year Holiday Pt. 20

It’s June 2054 and in the three years since I discovered I was Purfleet boss and started actually doing the job, we’ve had a meteoric rise through three divisions. Champions at all three stages with numerous points/goals/streaks records, a pair of League Cup trophies, an FA Cup and a Charity Shield, we will soon be embarking on a new adventure in the second tier of English football: Division One.

As the transfer window opens, we immediately swap out four players from the squad. We bid a fond(ish) farewell to four players.

Williams played fourteen matches back in our Conference days while Mulder looks like he should be decent but certainly wasn’t over his eight Purfleet appearances. Clark is off to Bolton (and the Prem) for £925k and they value him at £2.7M. He was great, but wanted out and was the oldest of our DMC crew. O’Rourke too, played perfectly well with eighteen goals in forty matches, just isn’t as good as other strikers on staff. We’ll see him next season in the First Division. Villa give us £1M for him, but value him at £1.7M…which bodes well for the quartet of more talented strikers we have.

Did I say quartet? Let’s make it a quintet with our transfer day arrivals.

I’m not over the moon with any of these signings, but they’ll certainly do a job for us. McDonald is in for free from Colchester and does more than replace the outgoing O’Rourke. Graham is upgraded from a loanee to to a permanent fixture for £775k. Bull is in for £250k from Man City and is a huge improvement on Mulder though may still not feature too often. And last but not least, Castano is a better and younger DMC than Clark for half the money (£500k).

Upgrades for three players, while dropping an unused GK and adding a starting XI calibre AM while netting £350k? Not a bad day’s work.

Sorbo joins the exodus a few days later as he moves up to Division One Luton Town for £190k. Did I say Division One? Whoops! He’s staying put in Division Two as they’re heading down in spectacular fashion.

Derby decide to test my resolve with a £2.8M Dickson bid. I pull a Levy and set his price at £10M. Meet it and you can have him. We’re moving up a level and are getting actual training facilities. Surely we’ll soon be able to attract more than the sporadic diamond in the rough.

Both Spurs and Man U are now looking to poach Hutchings for £2.5M. I up the asking to to £10M mark, although I negotiate with Man U to include a classy looking CM in their bid. Manchester come back at £5.25M, so I reluctantly agree the fee.

Each bid that comes seems to upset my players. We’re still a Second Division team (technically) and as most of these bids come from the Premiership, their heads are turned rather quickly.

West Ham now join in on Hutchings at £5.25, so I ask for an extra million from them since we’ve got an agreed deal already.

Emmen pull off a fantastic (for them) double swoop of Ploeger (£45k) and Dijkstra (£85k) to bolster their midfield. Ploeger was a Bosman last year while Dijkstra is a rare instance of me losing out on the transfer market. He cost us £100k eighteen months ago. Still, happy to see them go somewhere they'll be utilised.

The Hutchings saga continues as West Ham are happy paying the £6.25M I asked for…and Spurs bid the same amount. I ask for £7.25M from them as the price keeps climbing.

Premier League side Blackburn want Driessen — a reserve keeper of ours — for £250k, so I’m happy to part with him. Our short-list has oodles of keepers on it, so if we need to add one at short notice, we should be able to.

Spurs don’t match my asking price, so Hutchings is officially a Hammer. I’m sad to see him go, but I buy a shiny new toy to cheer myself up.

In for a club record £4M from Carlisle, he’s the best striker we have. With his influence and work rate attributes, he may be club captain too. Carlisle are coming down to the First Division while we’re getting promoted to it, so he’ll have ample opportunity to take out any frustrations on his old club.

Also, with a growing log-jam up front, I look to off-load a certain trouble-maker to balance out the numbers… Beck is listed for £2.5M and has interest from Newcastle, Sunderland and West Brom.

The annual “State of the Club” address from the Board yields some interesting news.

1. Our facilities upgrade has taken us from “awful” to “needs major investment”. Is that even an improvement? It cost £175k to do, so maybe it is. With the money we have I was hoping for something better.

2. Dropping that amount of cash doesn’t bother me so much, but shelling out £4.4M to pay out dividends kinda sucks. It really incentivizes spending as much as we can rather than being responsible with our finances.

3. We also get the good news that Peter Marsh is our Player of the Year. He managed to accrue 29 goals and 19 assists across 49 matches last year with an average rating of 7.86. Well deserved and a shock to no one.

A pair of Beck bids arrive, with both West Brom and Newcastle offering the list price of £2.5M. I agree to Newcastle’s bid and ask for £3M from the slightly better off West Brom.

We add another pair of Bosmans on bargain deals to star for our reserves, Badet from Montpellier and Hayter from Sheffield Wednesday. Hayter replacing the outgoing Hiner (who’s 35 years old and departed on a free) in our ‘B’ Squad XI.

Our World Cup scout is actually bringing in some quality suggestions this time around. A few Welsh players that seem fine but aren’t quite the level I’m looking for. Some Americans that have a massive MLS premium on their values. Most of the non-EU players wouldn’t be able to get their work permits — including about half of Nigeria and Mexico’s squads.

Then this guy is recommended. I’m told that he shouldn’t have a permit problem and he’s absolutely piqued my interest. A bid is dispatched immediately.

TV rights for the upcoming season just about cover the dividends we paid out last week and we’re back up to £38M in the bank.

We have a pair of non-EU transfers agreed, including Jovanovic from Foggia. Arenas is an older striker that — based on his contract requests— may well get cancelled before it’s completed.

West Brom agree to my Beck asking price and we immediately cancel Newcastle’s bid. I’m not too worried that he’ll be in the First Division with us, as we’d have to play him the following year in the Prem if he went to Newcastle.

Yeah, I said it. We’re going up again this season, even if the Board only want a “respectable” league position. It doesn’t get more respectable than champions, Board.

I’m also thrilled to see that our League Cup success DOES put us back in the Europa League this coming season.

Beck is gone. No one on the team seems too sad about it, which is nice. In fact, Callebaut is happier with him gone. Still, he sure popped up with some key strikes over the course of his Purfleet tenure. 58 goals and 20 assists in his 96 appearances and a decent ROI having bought him for £525k.

As I sleepwalk through the days waiting for work permit results, I’m surprised to see a face I don’t recognise walk through the door. Turns out we agreed to a Bosman deal for this fella a while ago and it totally slipped my mind. He’s an unwanted Millwall (Premier League) striker who spent last season on loan at St. Mirren in the Scottish Prem. He did reasonably well and has even earned himself a pair of Scottish caps. It’s just that he’s tied for about sixth in line for minutes here and truth be told, I’d give those minutes to a youngster before him. His career at Purfleet will look like that heat map of Steven Gerrard when he got that red card vs. Manchester United: In and straight out again. He’s got five suitors after I list him for £1M.

Another WC chap my scout has recommended. Quite a decent player for the £1.1M release clause he had in his contract. I await a few permits now (a scout and coach too) with bated breath.

It turns out that signing Young wasn’t the only thing I forgot about. He had a release clause of £1M, so when he was listed at that price, Newcastle was more than happy to trigger it.

As we enter July, I’m still hunting for additions to the squad. It’s getting more and more difficult to find defensive upgrades these days and bringing in promising youths to develop doesn’t make much sense without the facilities to develop them.

Ukraine’s Petrenko is added to the list of work permits we’ve applied for. We’ve got a 3 non-EU per match limit, but who knows who’s going to be approved…

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, brings us to a very untimely end of our Purfleet adventure. I cannot get to the 8th of July no matter what I try. Holidaying through it didn’t work. Resigning and re-adding myself didn’t work. I’ll keep the save just in case I figure something out, but I believe that either a) we’ve been corrupted or b) the Boro/Hertha/Feyenoord bosses somehow figured out a way to stop us from joining the footballing elite. :(

I’ll be back with another save sometime, but for now I’m just going to go and cry for a while. That might be the most fun I’ve ever had with a save before. Absolutely dominant over the three seasons and with nowhere to go but up.