Season 5 – Penang, Malaysian Super League
Media Prediction – 7th from 14
Title Odds – 3/1
My cup glory was rewarded with an improved contract, securing my future until 2016. Which is always nice.
What wasn’t nice was my players. My wantaways were disrupting squad harmony, but unfortunately the moves they were dreaming of didn’t appear. My Chinese DMC and Kenyan were moved on with a minimum of fuss, but my Argie didn’t attract much interest.
In a show of bravado the Argie was spotted in a leading George Town nightclub. So I signed a replacement. And lo and behold, the Argie decides to stay and fight for his place.
In other news, legendary ex-England, Leicester, Liverpool and Villa centre forward/lump of shite replaced permatanned ex-Hull manager at Elland Road. Leeds finish the season in second. Mental.
Young Malaysian International DMC (free)
Experienced Malaysian DL (free)
Malaysian ST (Golden Boot runner-up) (£10k)
Brazilian DC/DMC (free)
Brazilian AMC/AMR (free)
Chinese DMC – to Selangor (£9k)
Kenyan ML – to Rangers (HKG) (£10k)
Second Tier ST (free)
Ex-prodigy ST (free)
Second Tier DL (free)
Second Tier DC (free)
Malaysian AMC/ST – to Selangor (£6k)
Malaysian Super League
The bookies saw 2015 as a very open season. Personally, I’d be happy with a top 5 finish, but our outside shot at the title gave me a slight glimmer of hope.
We started with a win against N. Sembilan, courtesy of a debut goal from our new striker, before a goal from my Argie grabbed a point in a 2-2 thriller at home to Kedah. If these two wanted to have a dick measuring contest, I wouldn’t complain.
Unfortunately, my Argie wasn’t up for it and put himself back on the list. Morale plummeted, and we entered a truly pathetic winless run. Seven games in, and we hadn’t won since opening day. I signed a brace of Brazilians to see if I could revitalise the squad.
As my samba boys settled in, my Argie and new striker settled into a partnership up front. A South American revolution was taking place in George Town, and by the half-way point, it had propelled us into 4th.
And then came Kedah. With 4 minutes to go, we were winning and in second place. By full time, we’d lost.
After Kedah, we suffered 6 straight losses and a draw, but with 8 games to go we finally kicked into gear with a 5-0 win over Pahang. A few more of those, and we’d be OK. After some sweet talking, I calmed our 10-goal Argie agitator and signed him up for another season.
I was rewarded with a decent response from my squad as our unbeated run continued until the end of the season, leaving us in 8th.
But there were rumblings of discontent as we headed into the Malaysia Cup…
Penang P26 W8 D10 L8 F40 A29 GD+11 Pts34 – 8th
1) PBDKT 5-3 Agg
2) Johor 3-3 Agg, Johor win 5-3 on penalties
So much for defending that…
Group A this time, along with our best friends Kedah. Bastards.
Going into the first Kedah game, it was first against second. Both teams had 100% record, although Kedah had shipped a sloppy four goals in five games, as opposed to our two. A loss for either side could shake morale to the core. Away tie, 0-0.
Off the pitch, things were reaching boiling point. Player after player told me they couldn’t work with my Argentinian, so despite the effort I went to getting him to sign, I had to place him on the transfer list.
Despite this, we qualified for the quarter finals with ease, with Kedah’s visit a dead rubber which we predictably lost 2-1.
QF) Johor 5:3 Agg
SF) Kedah 1:3 Agg – or, one all on aggregate until a dodgy sending off, an offside goal and them crippling my centre-half so I’d play the last 20 minutes with 9 men.
Asian Confederations Cup:
Group F (Penang, Hai Phong [Vietnam], South China [Hong Kong], Sriwijaya FC [Indonesia])
A 3-0 hammering away in Hong Kong didn’t bode well for our chances, and neither did a 1-0 loss in Indonesia. A 2-0 win against Hai Phong did give us something to cheer though, and a brace from our new Malaysian striker saw off Sriwijaya in front of a record crowd at Bandayara. Two games to go, and we had a fighting chance. A loss in Vietnam left the group wide open. One game to play, and anyone could go through. We faced South China at home. A 1-0 win wasn’t enough to put us through though, as we finished 3rd.
Top scorer: New Malaysian ST (21)
So, I started the season as FA Cup holders, with hopes of winning the league. And I’m ending it with a disintegrating squad and not a tin pot to piss in.
Still, there’s always next season.