Fin de siecle.
Results, Championship, 31/3/12
Blackpool 2 – 0 Coventry City (Taylor-Fletcher, Phillips)
I had to check after this match to see whether Gary Taylor-Fletcher is my top scorer (turns out he isn't, but he's certainly my most important scorer). Anyway, a good, calm, comfortable win, the kind we need plenty of to cement ourselves in the Premier League.
Results, Championship, 7/4/12
Barnsley 4 – 1 Blackpool (Doyle (2), Ingelsten; Miyaichi)
Ow. Ouch. Apart from anything else, I'm very angry at what this does to my goal difference – but not half as angry as I am at my defence. I'm not sure what's happened to Neal Eardley in the past few games, but the opposition certainly don't seem to notice him, so maybe he's a hallucination visible only to me and I've not been playing anyone at right-back. Hm. That would explain a lot.
In other news, I've signed (on a free!) Donovan Léon from AJ Auxerre, a 19-year-old goalkeeper who's clearly up there with Gilks and Amos already but has the potential to be twice the player either of them is. I need a goalkeeper for the future (two, in fact; I'm thinking of making Gilks third-choice) and I was very pleased when my scouts found this little marvel.
Results, Championship, 9/4/12
Blackpool 2 – 0 Nottingham Forest (Taylor-Fletcher, Soukouna)
Well, whatever I said to my defence clearly worked, and my strikers did what was expected of them.
Which is good, because nothing should detract from this day. Today, we were crowned nPower Championship Champions: we took this league by the scruff of it's neck and were first from the first. Apart from Barnsley six months ago or Bristol City when taking advantage of our poor January has anyone even come close to challenging us. My team has played out of their skins this season and, while we've been vulnerable at the back on occasion, our attacking, flowing football forward has been glorious. Soukouna and Sanogo will both be even better next season, scoring more and making better decisions; my signings have proven to be inspired, even if I do say so myself; I'll firm up my defence; find new homes for some of the older players and bring in fresh blood. I will be in the Champion's league in four seasons. Well, either that or managing Bayern Munich. Haven't yet decided.
As expected, the fans are delighted, the board are masking their surprise extremely well, and we're on course to break the league record of 106 points. I am already a very successful manager, and things will get better. I'll make certain of it.
Results, Championship, 14/4/12
Leeds United 1 – 2 Blackpool (Pugh; Larsen (o.g.), Cathcart)
I don't like relying on own goals for wins, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. A vanilla win, a vanilla performance (and not the nice vanilla you get in pannacotta. Dull vanilla).
Results, Championship, 17/4/12
Blackpool 4 – 1 Watford (Mariappa (o.g.), Doyley (o.g.), Soukouna, Grandin; Iwelumo)
Well, I take it back about the own goals: I'm perfectly happy when my opponents score two comic ones in the first 15 minutes. It was, of course, pleasant to have two of my best players score goals of wonderful quality. After Molina hit the post (quota: ticked), Soukouna did as well, except his went in off the crossbar, bounced, and finally went in. It was traumatic. Then Grandin tucked away the kind of finish I dream about after around five passes from my area to theirs, and everything was good.
Results, Championship, 21/4/12
Peterborough United 0 – 2 Blackpool (Sanogo (2))
Two scrappy goals, one from a scrum after a corner, the other after the goalkeeper saved a long shot. I have to say, Sanogo's bulk is extremely useful for muscling defenders off the ball. He's another Drogba (or, potentially, another Lukaku).
Results, Championship, 29/4/12
Blackpool 4 – 0 Portsmouth (Molina, Soukouna, Taylor-Fletcher (2))
An excellent end. We rode it out, comfortably the better team, and three of my most important players were the ones who got the goals. I'm an extremely happy man.
In end-of-season news, I only came second in the Manager of the Year (Bristol City's Keith Miller won, fair enough; I should have put together a better FA Cup run), but Matt Phillips won young player of the year. I'm extremely happy for him. The team as a whole broke Reading's record of 106 Championship points - we got 111. Excellent.
Andre Villas-Boas was fired as manager of Chelsea as they only came fifth in the Premier League (Manchester United won, then Liverpool, Spurs and Man City (on 76,76 and 74 points respectively, a very close-run table). Arsenal only finished sixth, so maybe I could poach Francois Coquelan. I'm being linked to the Chelsea job, of course, but... meh. I prefer to stay where I am. I said the same, more vehemently, about the Gladbach job I was linked to: I told everyone, Munich or nothing. That's the deal.
I've also put in my application for manager of GB Under-23s during the Olympics. Should be fun to get a gold medal.
West Ham won promotion to the PL through the play-offs, which I considered grossly unfair. Reading came third, one point behind Bristol and 16 ahead of West Ham, but it's the team in sixth, the loser of the four, who goes through. If I were in Reading's position I'd be livid.
Hmph. Didn't get the GB manager job. Oh well. Never mind. I did, however, buy James Hurst for £3.2million. He'll make an excellent back-up full-back. More transfers will come.