Season 2 – Penang, Malaysian Super League
Media Prediction – 13th from 14
Title Odds – 1000/1
First order of business – ship out the dead wood and build a squad that wouldn’t embarass itself in the Asian Confederation Cup.
Oh, and avoid relegation.
Chinese DMC (2k)
Chinese RW (3.5k)
Young Malaysian DC (free – poached from a trial at Terengganu just to piss them off)
Malaysian DC/DM/MC (3k)
Malaysian International ST (Board-negotiated 40K)
Young Kenyan ML (free – signed after League, before Malaysian Cup)
13 players released on free transfers
Malaysian Super League
We went into the season without too many striking options, due to injuries, and it showed. After 5 league games and 3 goals scored, I found a Malaysian International striker. Very expensive, but the board were willing to do the (expensive) negotiations for me.
Still, going into FA Cup month, we were 4th. We had the stingiest defence in the league, and a GD of +1. My strikers needed to get in gear. Fast.
My new striker found his stride, and my prodigy returned and promptly began to terrorise defences. At the half-way point, we were 8th. 6 points ahead of the drop and 9 points off the top.
Mid table would do me, so consistency was key. However, our cup runs meant that I was having to rely more and more on 2nd Division squad players. Those players came up trumps.
A largely second-string side hammered Pahang 5-1, with my fourth choice striker bagging 4 in 30 minutes. Still, we were never in danger of going down and finished comfortably in 6th.
P26 W11 D6 L9 F34 A31 GD+4 Pts 39 – 6th (13 points from the top, 15 from the relegation zone)
1) Sabah – 3:0 Agg
2) Pahang – 2:0 Agg
QF) Johor – 5:2 Agg
SF) Terengganu (A-fucking-gain) – 3-5 Agg, courtesy of a 5-1 away defeat. Bastards.
Before we started, I secured a player I’d been chasing all season – a Kenyan left winger to replace my aging left midfielder. Should be good for running up and down the wing, if nowt else.
We finished third in the group (sneaking through again), although a 2-0 win against double-winning local rivals Kedah raised a few smiles in the camp.
QF) Negeri Sembilan – 1-1 Agg (Penang win 5-3 on penalties)
SF) Kelantan – 2-3 Agg
Asian Confederation Cup
How exciting! We found ourselves in Group H with Bangkok Glass (THA), South China (HKG) and Victory (MDV).
Despite being backed to lose all our games, we started off with a 1-0 home win against Bangkok Glass before travelling to The Maldives for a 2-0 victory over Victory.
A 1-0 defeat in Hong Kong left the group wide open, three teams on 6 points, and three games to play. My prodigy rescued a point away to Bangkok Glass with his first touch of the season, and he scored the only goal to beat Victory.
To progress, we needed a point against South China. My prodigy’s 7th goal in 9 games put us 1-0 up, and a bullet header from my centre-half put qualification beyond doubt.
Looks like Asian pundits are even worse than the balding/whining/manic-depressive twunts we have in Blighty.
Penang (1st) P6 W4 D1 L1 F7 A2 GD+5 Pts13
2nd Round: Ototspa Saribui FC (Thailand) – We had home advantage in a straight knockout match. A second in two continental games from my centre-half put us in the driving seat, and my 3rd choice left winger added a two yard tap-in with just 30 minutes gone.
Ototspa pulled one back with 25 minutes to go and I started to defend. Somehow, we held on for a place in the quarter finals.
Quarter Final: Al-Jazeera (UAE) – Oh. The holders. Named for everyone’s favourite unbiased source for news on what the Great Satan is doing to destroy all that is good and pure in the world, Al-Jazeera would be the toughest team I’ve ever faced. They didn’t need any propaganda to spin the first match though, demolishing us 3-1 in the Emirates.
A 1-0 win back in Malaysia was a fine moral victory, but our continental cup dream was over.
Tipped for relegation, comfortably mid-table and a few decent cup runs. That was enough to win me Malaysian Manager of the Year. Magic. That’ll look great on my toilet wall. A great season, and one that could be a brilliant platform.
Top Scorer: Record Signing ST (13) – with prodigy ST and 3rd choice ST both on 12