AF Diary #7
I thought Anderlecht had peaked beating Napoli. But it happened again!
Anderlecht qualify for the knock out stages of the Champion’s League, for the first time mind you, by winning four consecutive matches. Including the double over Napoli. It’s the stuff of dreams folks. The stuff of dreams. Sadly the Champion’s League dream was ended by Schalke in a spirit crushing knock out game. Lost 2-0 in Germany and was winning 3-0 at home with positive and two strikers. Did I take my foot off the accelerator here? No, I did not. Pushed for a fourth to kill it off and Schalke scored on the break. Out on away goals.
Jimmy Football’s move from Canada to the USA was always going to be a shade controversial but the North American Nation’s League semi-final proved it was the right decision. Sorry to all Canucks. USA went on to beat Mexico and thus claim the North American Nation’s League. One more trophy knocked off the spreadsheet!
Brian Hates-Liverpool has certainly got a handle on Juventus as well. Rewarded with a new 3-year contract he’s set about transforming the nearly man (nearly Old Lady?) of Italian football back into the powerhouse she once was. Nearest rivals Inter have shit it.
This is the quarter final of the Italian Cup but it reflects the switch from Serie A being a two-horse race to Serie A being a Juventus led procession. Simone Calzolari is the best striker I’ve ever had on FM. He’s broken Juventus’ goalscoring record. In January!
A little further down the line and I felt Juventus being in the Europa League would be a blessing in disguise. I came close to winning it with Anderlecht (losing semi-finalists vs. Torino) and I was never quite sure what tactic to employ to bag it. So taking over a team that was great and was already in it seemed like a surefire way to do well. Until I drew Barcelona in the quarter-finals. Now, I figured Barca would be about on a par with Juventus. I nipped in to take a look at the team and discovered that, goalkeeper aside, they would all walk into the Juve team. Easy as pie. Shit. So I sent the lads out to the Camp Nou to park the bus and escaped with a 0-0. I went with five across the back in Turin. We’ll play a little bit Italian I thought. Well, we only went and smashed them 4-0.
This is the stuff of dreams.
As fully expected I lost track of time this week and disappeared into FM-verse. Juventus had a great debut season. They went from 5th the previous season to 2nd and only missed out on Serie A by a point. Also bagging two cups; Coppa Italia and the Europa League. I’m actually thrilled to get Europa League done because it’s a tricky trophy to get. Juve knocked out two teams considerably better than them on route to the final (Barca and Man Utd) and I learned a thing or two about Italian style defending. Anderlecht wrapped up their third straight double under Jimmy Football and it felt like the final season there. What more could be accomplished? I guess maybe I could have sneaked into the semi-finals of the Champion’s League there if I was lucky. When a Turkish team came in for Jimmy and the board refused to let him leave I felt that was game over. So he quit and fell directly onto his feet as manager of Dortmund. As with Juventus it’s a team on hard times. They finished 6th in the Bundesliga in the 2031-32 season and will need some work. There is money to spend though! £113M transfer budget!
I know I’ve spent a lot of time in FM this week but I’ve basically played an entire season, with two teams, and ticked off a major European trophy from the check-list and Coppa Italia. The hope is to win Serie A in the forthcoming season. Also contesting Copa America with Argentina. I have a lot going on. Plus the Olympics are this summer and I’m still mad about the Argentina campaign of 2024 where Brian Hates-Liverpool got absolutely shafted by Brazil and lost on penalties in a game where they only had one shot. New club in Dortmund, titles to chase and International competitions to win. I may need more time off work!
CHRIS BROOKES PRODUCE
Schadenfreude Japan! So, Chrissy B got to do a show for DDT Universe. Shin Kiba, no fans. Brookes vs. Miyu Yamashita main event. I’m there.
Chris is looking, uh, different. Did he get a haircut? Commentary on this show comes from Mr HAKU (@misterhakusan) and Shota (@shota0810). I appreciate the Western influences here as they cut promos backstage in English. It’s actually helpful for young, ambitious Japanese wrestlers to learn this way. I also appreciate that Chris speaks mostly Japanese. He’s fitting in so well!
Chris Brookes vs. Miyu Yamashita. Brookes is “chin hunting”. Miyu, “the pink striker”, is a talented and versatile worker. She’s known for her kicks but her all round game is solid. They do some very cool things, especially with Miyu working against a height difference. The cross legged lead into the gutbuster out of the corner is nicely done. They go wrong on one spot, where Miyu collapses having to deal with Brookes’ length.
I love Miyu getting all fired up and throwing kicks only for Chris to kill her with chops. There are too many hesitations for this to get up to a top level, in terms of enjoyment or ratings, but when it does click it’s beautiful. The vicious German suplex and the counter out of the Praying Mantis Bomb are both terrific. The high knee strike to block the Skull Kick is also tremendous and the Praying Mantis Bomb finishes. ***1/2. This dipped in and out of great. I’m sure next time they’ll do even better. Some wicked spots in here.
Super Hardcore Hardcore Match: Drew Parker vs. Shunma Katsumata.
Shunma is dressed like modern Joker. Wrestlers are such nerds.
There’s a lot of walk and brawl here but there’s no crowd to get in the way so it’s quite brisk. They use the company van and some scaffold before increasing the sickness by stapling Drew’s lip to the mat. They throw a bunch of crap into the ring and Matsui’s counts get slower because he has to clear a spot for his hand. Where’s your gloves Matsui?
From there Drew Parker aims for Yakitori sponsorship and discovers the hardness of a Japanese table. Shunma’s love of chairs frequently backfires. Drew uses said chairs to bash Shunma’s skull in before finishing with the Swanton. This was brilliant. Absolute carnage without relying on the standard thumbtacks/light tubes stuff. Both guys look fucked up and Drew’s back is badly bruised. ****
That’s basically the end of the show but they have a talk show afterwards!
Apparently, Brookes actually produced this show and Takagi was happy with it so there is likely to be another. A chance for DDT to do something for the International audience and taking advantage of Chris’ history in producing shows in the UK.
It’s interesting to hear about Daisuke Sekimoto’s sexual preferences.
Wow, is that all I’ve done this week? Lots of Football Manager and one wrestling show? I guess it is. I have drunk some beer. Here’s some beer reviews…
Diceman (Wychwood). It’s a stout. I bought it in Morrison’s. It’s ok. I generally like Wychwood products but there’s not much effort here to make a memorable stout. It’s basically Guinness in a bottle. It’s fine. ***
Faith (Northern Monk). I don’t usually like NEIPA’s. They look like a glass of fruit juice and quite often smell like that too. This was very hazy but a decent example of the style. I rated it ***1/2. Northern Monk are very good at beer so that’s probably why.
Halne Mocne (Van Pur). One of these Polish supermarket beers. I generally like them but this one was naff. It was strong (over 7%) but tasted watery. No mate. Hard pass. *1/2
Vicaris Generaal (Brouwerij Dilewyns). Belgian beer is weird to me. I feel like it universally has an underlying flavour to it that I neither love nor hate. Vicaris is a Dubbel. Which means it’s better than a Singel. Dubbels tend to be quite complex and I liked this. Beer of the week? ***1/2
Barbar (Brasserie Lefebvre). A French honey beer. Did I enjoy this readers? If you know me personally you’ll probably be aware that I don’t like honey in the slightest. I’ve had two beers with honey before and I loathed them both. I accidentally bought this, mistaking it for something else. It’s actually ok. It smells terrible and the foretaste is honey but the after taste is actually ok. I went **1/2, which is partially me being startled that I didn’t hate a honey beer.
Elsie Mo (Castle Rock). I bought this because the bottle looked cool. It’s one of those WW2 style military beers with a lady pilot. The beer itself was bland. Nothing happening. **
Forest Banger (Pohjala). I’ve had a few Pohjala stouts and they have some interesting flavours. They like to try different things. In the case of Forest Banger it happens to be Rowanberries. I had no fucking clue what a rowanberry is but hey, it was actually super tasty. So we have a new beer of the week. ****
Juice Forsyth (Brew York). NEIPA strikes again. This one named for a popular TV show host who’s not well known in Austria. Hello Robert Dreissker! Look, I don’t much care for NEIPA’s. This was fine. I think I marginally preferred Faith but having two in a week was definitely a mistake. ***
Finally, a film review…
THE PLATFORM (2019).
I’d seen the hype for this and I’d been avoiding it during lockdown because I thought it would be depressing and I had no interest in being further depressed. My wife decided she wanted to watch it so that happened. It’s a thinly veiled allegory for society as a whole. It’s a prison, dubbed “The Hole”, where the meal platform descends from Level 0 and the higher up you are the more food you get. If you’re down on Level 171 you’re basically fucked.
The film has a decent stab at explaining how society works in general and how it’s hard to make sacrifices at the top when you made so many sacrifices to get there. Even if the sacrifice is clearly not that big when you look at it from the outside. There’s a secondary, heavily religious, concept at play. The idea that in hell you suffer regardless of your place in society while you’re alive. I found the religious approach and the idea that everyone in The Hole is essentially in Hell to be a better storyline and that’s how I viewed it. It’s a decent movie and it’s only 90 minutes so it flew by. I wasn’t expecting there to be so much cannibalism though. ***
The Platform is on Netflix.
Right, that is it for this week. Next week will I actually find time for something outside of football? Here’s hoping! I’m thinking about it now readers. I can only apologise but it’s quite addictive.