Several new faces were brought on board for series eight, mainly within the backroom staff of the club. The most notable of the new signings was former Boyzone singer Shane Lynch, in his first major acting role on television. In addition there were cameo appearances throughout the series by Jeff Stelling and George Gavin as themselves. Kevin Keatings remained as match commentator for the third consecutive series.
Harchester unsuccessfully appeal against UEFA's decision to relegate them to the Championship, though are allowed to keep their place in the Champions League. Gambling tycoon Eli Knox purchases the club on the toss of a coin, with Don Barker, a manager with plenty of experience within lower league football leaves Wigan Athletic to take the post at the Dragon's Lair.
Barker brings in both defender Frank Stone from Wigan and right-wing midfielder Tommy Valentine, on loan from Chelsea. Clyde is forced to play in a new position in order to fit Tommy into the squad, and takes an instant disliking to the change. Harchester prepare to fly out to Portugal to face Sporting Lisbon in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying match.
Lee Presley is forced to stay behind after receiving an offer from Manchester United but later sneaks off to join the rest of the team. After dislocating his shoulder in gym, Tommy tries to excuse himself out of training but this leads to Barker abandoning him 15 miles away from the team hotel.
Having travelled to Lisbon to bring Lee back, he and Nikki end up sleeping together whilst the rest of the team is thrown into jail, apart from Owen Fenton, after brawling in the hotel bar. The next morning, the team is bailed out by Barker to play, with the exception of Tommy, after trainee physio Holly Jones hides his passport. Manchester United drop their interest in Lee and he plays in the game, scoring within the first minute of the When Hell Overfills, The Dead Will Walk The Earth - Grasshopper / Twisty Cat* - Split. Despite taking the lead, Harchester lose the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Sporting Lisbon.
Determined to keep their key players to win promotion, Eli tells Dean to stall all upcoming planned transfers, as Barcelona become keen on signing Lee whilst Bolton Wanderers prepare to make a bid for Viv. Harchester win the second leg to qualify for the Champions League on the away goals rule thanks to a Lee Presley penalty. With nobody now allowed to leave Harchester until the end of the season, both Nikki and Jeff leave the club for good, but not before Nikki and Lee's liaison in Portugal is exposed.
Clyde deliberately refuses to show up for training, making Barker schedule extra training for the entire team and making Clyde more isolated than ever. After another drunken tryst, Clyde makes a pass at Holly and offends Chelsea, leading Ryan to punch him in the face. Realising that Viv will eventually discover their secret, Ryan and Chelsea decide to flee to the The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate). At the airport, Ryan is too engrossed in watching the match and Chelsea ends up leaving The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) him.
Harchester win the gameas Clyde sets up a goal for Curtis and scores the other. Clyde is substituted towards the end of the match and heads straight down the dugout and Everything - Stereo MCS* - MP3 Collection the gantry, committing suicide by jumping off the stadium roof. Eli Knox has gotten word of Viv's project and claims that no one can predict the future.
To prove it, he sets up a game of blackjack between himself, Viv and Spartak Moscow owner Nicolai Kulikov. Kulikov wins the hand and makes intentions to purchase Tommy Valentine.
Subsequent efforts by both Harchester and Chelsea to prevent the move fail and it appears Tommy is on his way to the Russian club. Being brought back to reality though proves to be the least of Viv's worries when his ex-wife starts reappearing in his life, and desperate for help, he turns to psychologist Naomi Wyatt.
It's the day of Harchester's FA Cup fifth round match against Southampton but a protest from the Harchester Supporters Association over Eli's running of the club, secretly masterminded by Barker, locks all of the staff and players in the ground.
The game is called off and during the lock-in, Lee confronts Viv over his mental state leading him to flip out. Naomi eventually calms him down but much of the team, especially Lee, still fear over what he may do next.
Barker decides to rest Viv but when reserve keeper Alex Lawler is injured in warm-up and youth goalie Nathan Woods appears too nervous to start, Barker elects to play The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) for the rearranged tie. All seems to be going well until the half-time team talk, with Viv suddenly has visions of Clyde appearing next to him. Still under the influence that he was responsible for the break-up between him and Chelsea.
Viv lashes out violently and causes a nasty injury to Lee. Nathan plays in goal for the second half but lets Southampton take a lead. The angry fans begin brawling in the stands and soon spread out onto the pitch and into the streets, as the match is abandoned.
Barker pledges to give Fletch more responsibility after his tactics helped Harchester beat Lazio. Fletch begins by bringing in Viv back into first team training, much to Lee's dismay, and is also told by Barker to tell Frank that Jodie lost the baby so that he is unaware that Jodie has actually kept it. Frank doesn't take the news well and gets blind drunk before inviting another man around to sleep with.
Jodie then has a change of heart and tells Frank the real truth. Viv later reopens the bar that night and after closing time, snaps at Shame On You, Shame On Me - Mel Tillis - Southern Rain (8-Track Cartridge) telling him that he should Гранит - Земляне - День Рождения Земли no intention of taking his place in goal.
Fletch and Dean form an alliance to remove Barker from the club. Their first act is to make contact with football agent Joel Brooks to bring in one of Fletch's old youth mates, Carl Caskey, whose own career has fallen on hard times. As they would expect, Barker doesn't rate Carl highly but that all changes when he meets Carl's wife, Nicole. He promptly scores with her and gives Carl a rolling contract for the remainder of the season.
Unaware that Fletch and Dean have hidden cameras Sin City - Gimme The Gun - Green Grooves capture everything, Barker is recorded threatening Nicole that The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) she doesn't sleep with him, he will cancel Carl's contract The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) the club.
Ryan finally receives the all-clear that he can return to full training following his broken leg. However, he is still plagued by memories of the said horrific injury he sustained when training for England.
Ryan finds solace in Carl's daughter, Savannah, and there's an attractive spark already between them, but when Carl spots them together, he flips out and knocks Ryan down to the ground. Fortunately, Ryan does not sustain any further damage and makes a psychological breakthrough. Both players start the game against Wigan and are inspirational in giving them an early lead before Fenton sends in a Rabona freekick and it's powered home by McCourt rising like a salmon at the back post.
An important away win at Watford, their fourth in a row has left Harchester needing just a draw in their final match to secure a play-off place. The match however is at home to West Ham United, and former manager Barker is now director of football there. Barker gets into a waiting taxi to find Fletch inside and presenting him with a briefcase full of cash and proposes that he helps Harchester lose the upcoming match.
Fletch initially refuses and Barker responds by trying to offload him to Queens Park Rangers next season. Eventually, Fletch caves in to Barker's proposition and Barker reveals that the plan will work by spiking Ryan's water bottle with eye drops.
Still unsure over the plot, Fletch instead tries to get the match abandoned by starting a fire in a stadium cupboard, but only succeeds in delaying the kick-off. When the players return to the dressing room, Ryan has no time to drink out of the water bottle offered by Fletch before they are due out on the pitch. Later, complaining of a headache, Gina is taken into the dressing room by Jodie for some quiet time where she unwittingly drinks from the tampered bottle, and shortly afterwards, she collapses and falls unconscious.
Both Harchester and West Ham win their respective semi-final ties to set up a mouthwatering final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. As he prepares to leave Harchester for good, Barker pens a letter to the entire team, intending to reveal some of the darker secrets that have led to the team's success.
Before leaving for Cardiff, Viv and the rest of the team, at Gina's request, raise the money to bail Fletch out of prison but it is too late for him to Ochii Planetei - Octave - Secretul Piramidelor (The Secret Of Pyramids) included in the squad for the big match. Dean though invites him to watch the match from the stands and before they head off, Fletch has one last look at the club, and in a shock turn of events, so too is Barker.
A furious Fletch chases him down into the dressing room and a violent scuffle soon ensues, that ends with Barker, accidentally, impaling Fletch on a coat hanger. Realising he has murdered the club's biggest legend, Barker quickly throws together a plan to cover his Traslocando - Loredana Bertè - Compilation that results in him storing Fletch's dead body in the boot of his car.
Meanwhile, in Cardiff, the team is given Barker's poisoned letter and soon realise that Ryan's affair with Chelsea is included in it but before they can remove it from Viv's room, he has learned the sickening truth It's the day of the Play-Off final and Ryan desperately tries to stay well away from Viv, realising that he knows his secret.
As the coach arrives at the stadium, Ryan The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) a run for it and steals Barker's unattended BMW in the process whilst Viv berates the rest of the players The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) keeping Ryan's affair under wraps.
Back at the hotel, Ryan tells Savannah what he has done and she convinces him to return to the stadium, but on the way, they encounter traffic and are pulled over by police for speeding, and Fletch's body is discovered in the boot. Ryan is taken away for questioning and there is now no chance of him playing in the match.
Later, when Barker realises his car has gone missing, he berates the stewards for not doing their job properly before crumpling to the ground after suffering another heart attack. At half-time, news of Fletch's death filters to the players and Dean is left to console to a distraught Gina.
West Ham dominate The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) second half but have two goals chalked off for offside, as Harchester hang on to win through a Fenton penalty and promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt.
Dean leaves Gina's side to celebrate with the lads whilst Barker leaves the stadium's medical room after realising what has happened, and as he returns to the car park, he quickly realises that the police have pinpointed as Fletch's killer. Determined not to go down for it, he locks himself inside his car before driving head on towards the Harchester coach with most of the team onboard. Both vehicles explode on impact in a huge fireball, killing Barker instantly and leaving much of the squad in a deadly peril From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Still recovering from a broken leg at the England training camp over the Summer, Ryan Naysmith continues to feel left out and Dean asks Viv's wife, Chelsea to keep him company whilst the rest of the team is away.
At boot camp, Clyde is berated for really being out of shape and Curtis' role as team captain is under severe threat. In the final challenge, an army assault course, Curtis helps Clyde complete the challenge and it convinces Barker to keep his captaincy. Ahead of their first Champions League match at home to Barcelona, Jodie The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) to Dean to hold a shirt auction as a way of a charity fundraiser to welcome the representatives of Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Ryan and Chelsea to continue to grow closer and at the match, they endure a liaison inside the stadium's utility room. Barcelona win and Frank and Clyde blame one another for the dreadful display. Later on, Frank's temper boils over and The Dream Team - Switch / 12am (Acetate) beats up Clyde to within an inch of his life. Ryan and Chelsea discover a battered and bloodied Clyde and contact Barker. After being released from hospital, Clyde is furious to discover Barker has done nothing about the situation and gets his own back by selling the story Another night In The Life Of A Day - Tyla - Nocturnal Nomad Demos - Lyrics / Cards Pack the press.
Later, Clyde has a drunken night out at a lap dancing club which Barker becomes aware of. He uses this to his advantage by playing him the next day at home to Gillingham, which they lose