2040/41 Open Thread
They’re only friendlies, but I took the opportunity to schedule matches against 12th-ranked Denmark and 5th ranked Belgium.
We dominated both matches — our 2nd XI beat the Danes 2-1, while the 1st XI gained some measure of revenge over the Belgians, winning 1-nil, and avenging our heavy World Cup quarterfinal loss from 2 years ago.
It wasn’t just the win over Belgium that made me happy, though. It was the match-winning goal.
After scouting for months on end, we finally have two signings to announce, as we look to reinforce the squad for the coming campaign: (1) Romanian U21 international Viorel Maxim; and (2) Montenegrin U21 international Muamer Kadusic.
Absent something significant happening, this should be the end of our summer transfer business.
Well, this is depressing.
England 2040 – European Championship Review.
Relatively straightforward Euros this year. I’m honestly not that interested in the “who won” headline.
The knockout rounds weren’t even that interesting.
The most interesting thing to me? Naci Unuvar is still a full international in 2040, and still a force to be reckoned with – named MotM in 2 matches, an 8.55 rating over the course of 4 matches, with 3 goals.
I’ll take this draw — Benfica, tycoon-fueled Zulte and Kobenhavn.
The flight to Rabat was the perfect time to try to catch up on some much-needed sleep.
I awakened by turbulence, however, to overhear Jesse and Zlatan talking about their weekend scouting a youth tournament in Paris.
“So, then what happened, Zlatan?! You can’t leave the story like that.”
“What do you think?! The Zlatan woke up, took the belt off of the Zlatan’s neck and got the hell out of there.”
“Talk about a wild weekend.”
“Yes, but what was the Zlatan supposed to do?”
“You got her kid signed at least, right?!”
“The Zlatan cannot believe that you must even ask that question. The Zlatan will not dishonor Himself with responding.”
Thankfully, they were so engrossed in Zlatan’s conquest that they did not notice I had woken up. And there was no sleeping with that image of Zlatan in my mind.
Suffice to say it was a long flight.
While the flight to Morocco may have been disturbing for Nicolaj, the Ivorians secured a draw before smashing Zimbabwe in Harare, meaning that the Ivorians finished 2040 undefeated — 10 matches, 9 wins. 42 goals for, 3 against. We’re ready for the 2041 Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, Stade de Reims’ start to the 2040/41 campaign was brutal, with early away trips to Monaco, Lyon and Nantes.
We’re on a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions, however, meaning that we sit 5th in Ligue 1 and atop our Europa League Group with 2 matches to play.
Thus far, we’re balancing the challenges of competing domestically and in Europe, even with an absurdly young squad. I’ll take it.
Good to see that the initial investment in our facilities is paying off.
The business end of the season is here.
While we lost to Lyon in the Cup, we’re undefeated in Ligue 1 since September 1st. It’s a two-team battle for first, with Monaco and Lyon trading blows. We’ll happily sit in 3rd, consolidating our position while they battle it out and the rest of the league battles for our scraps.
We’ve drawn Leipzig in the Europa League, with the first match in Germany.
Time to battle up, lads.
Dark clouds hang heavy in the night sky, in Leipzig. The weather is unseasonably warm. Mist rises from the pitch, setting an ominous tone made all the more menacing by the funeral dirge sung by the home support. It doesn’t sound like German to me.
The tone is well-and-truly set, however, with a pre-kickoff tifo depicting nine shadowed figures, surrounding a dark figure in the middle with a woman in white, watching on. If anything, the funeral dirge took on an additional urgency as it was unveiled, with flashes of red in the night sky. Like lightning, but without thunder.
It was refreshing to get out of the city after that. All the more so with a win. We took care of business back in France, dispatching Nuno Espirito Santo’s men with some measure of comfort, on the balance.
We’re off to the quarterfinals to face Baptiste Santamaria’s Everton.
I’ll take this draw. DR Congo, Zambia and Rwanda.
Greece 2042 kick off in 14 months…we’ll be taking what I think is our World Cup squad to the Cup of Nations, and will do a full-blown squad review once the 2040/41 campaign wraps.
A decent enough first leg in France, but we were poor in the second leg. Flat in the final tihrd. We deserved to go out.
After the match, I encountered Zlatan in the bowels of Goodison Park, arguing with some shady looking characters. The second they saw me, though, they promptly left but an air of menace remained in the air as I walked up to Zlatan.
“Who were those guys, man?”
“Chechen investors, Boss. The Zlatan was going to a Chechen version of Dora the Explorer with them…but…. It went horribly, horribly wrong. Do not be the worry, though. The Zlatan will take care of it.”
Truth be told, we have bigger things to worry about. Reaching the quarterfinals is a massive achievement for a side this young. We should be pleased, as this campaign will serve as a harbinger of how far we’ve come, and how far we will go if and when we grow into our potential.
And, if we turn our attention to next year, with 6 matches to play, we’re relatively secure in Ligue 1 — sitting 3rd, 7 points off Monaco, 8 clear of Rennes. The final Champions League spot is ours… If we can hold our nerve.
Fun fact as we hit the last 2 weeks of the campaign. Our average age is just 19, six years younger than the Ligue 1 average.
To be continued…
If you’ve stumbled upon this post and are finding yourself a bit confused… Don’t worry. The basic concept behind the Nearly Men save is explained here. Just need to catch up? Each installment in Nicolaj Bur’s story can be accessed through the Nearly Men Archive.
And if you just can’t get enough…join us for The Ballad of Toothless Bob, a series that explores the world of Nicolaj Bur, away from the pitch. What is Project Arcturus? What lies beyond the twisted redstone door, deep in the bowels of the Santiago Bernabéu?