Started From The Bottom, Now We’re Back

[Note: Perhaps realizing the exorbitant cost of commemorative DVD’s these days, our beloved Chairman has asked me to put together an official history of Steeple Sinderby Wanderers’ Season 67 campaign, in addition to my usual duties as Club Secretary.  I’ve therefore begun keeping this blog, since blog posts are an acceptable substitute for history these days, and save considerable wear and tear on the part of yours truly- Trayvon Hollen]

For the fans of Steeple Sinderby Wanderers, Season 66 was truly the best of times and the worst of times.

Fresh off their first-ever Division V title, SSW saw their inaugural Division IV campaign get off to a dream start as a Ruggero Panero golazo lifted them to a 1-0 win over GB Bucharest Team in their opener.

The dreams of the SSW faithful were quickly dashed, however, as the Wanders proceeded to drop their next nine league matches.  Manager David Jorgensen was able to keep morale high, however, and his efforts to teach a raft of young local prospects about the dark art of playmaking began to bear fruit in week 11, as they were able to hang on for a 2-2 draw against a 10-man Cucamonga.   From there, SSW turned into a juggernaut, stunning the mighty Chicago XI with a 1-0 win, easily dispatching the rebuilding Austin’s Reapers 7-0 and once again putting GB Bucharest to the sword in a 2-1 win.

This late-season surge was enough to propel the Wanderers into a 6th place finish and a qualifier against Raging Fork TsuFish.  SSW had momentum and a sold-out Slingsby Lane on its side but neither team could consistently control midfield or crack the other’s defense and the score was knotted 1-1 after regulation.  Then, the unlikeliest of scorers, Luis Aldair Misariscabame scored his first-ever goal in an SSW shirt in the 109th minute to break the deadlock, and the Wanderers faithful could taste another season in Div. IV.  A taste is all they would get, however, as TsuFish Forward Travis Cloutier capped off his professional debut by bulling his way through the center of the SSW defense and scoring the equalizer in the 119th minute.  SSW tried to rally in the ensuing shoot-out, but the blow to morale was too much and TsuFish prevailed.

The ensuing offseason did not provide much comfort to the fans either as several Wanderer mainstays departed.  Veteran defenders Radislav Matejcek and Fausto Di Luzio returned home, while techincally-gifted defender Alex Badgley was sold after the analytics department determined that his passing ability would not generate as many counter-attacks as they had previously believed.  Most devastatingly, however, the idol of the terraces, the last remaining Original Wanderer, Joe Gentile was sold, as it became apparent that the increased prevalence of man-marking tactics threatened to make technical forwards such as himself obsolete.  Distraught fans begged the management not to sell the club’s all-time leader in appearances and goals scored, but the decision was firm and hard feelings were salved by the club-record transfer fee received and promises to reinvest the proceeds.

Now, as Season 67 dawns, SSW faces the daunting challenge of climbing the league pyramid once more.  Will they be able to return to Div. IV at the first time of asking?  Only time will tell.

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