End of Season Report - Novese - 2025/26 (Season 14) - Serie B
Serie B - 4thSuccess! Made the playoffs and by a stroke of luck won them!
What a season. It started awfully. As I built us up here, we lost our first three league games! My team meeting was a disaster but despite that we won the next three games.
There were blips along the way - just as we looked to be going on a great run we'd lose one - and usually at home, which was strange. Regardless we never lost 2 consecutive games in the league (aside from the opening three) and because of that kept pace with the top 6.
As January passed and I strengthened an injury riddled squad, we began to make progress and for a brief moment I thought we might go up automatically.
We didn't - a couple of draws and a loss in our last four games saw to that - but we made the playoffs. And if you read my previous post you'll know the outcome was promotion!
Results 1 | Results 2
See previous post. Success!
Our first good year in the TIM Cup saw us make the first round proper. This led to a bit of prize money (£500k) and renewed reason to chase success in this tournament. We came unstuck in Turin - though not at Torino, who we beat 2-0. But at Juventus where we were dismantled 4-1. No shame in that though.
Federico Morabito (GK) - The Argentine began the season injured so forced me to sign the man below him, but after a while reclaimed the number one shirt and had a good campaign.
Marios Oikonomidis (GK) - The Cypriot joined us right before the season kicked off and did well when asked. He wants first team football now though, so he may leave in the summer sadly. Looks a good prospect.
Bernard Dupont (D/WBR) - played a huge number of games for us in another fantastic season for the right back. He's co-owned by Pescara but seeing as they just got relegated from Serie A, I don't expect any trouble in keeping him.
Stanislav Kamburov (DRC) - If I do lose Dupont, Kamburov is maturing at just the right time. He's able back up as well as being a fantastic prospect.
Robert Stroh (D/WBL) - Another of the co-owned brigade but this time to mid-table Empoli. He's the vice captain of the club and usually a reliable performer but I have a feeling he may come up short in the top flight. Wouldn't be adverse to seeing him leave in the summer.
Zhivko Popchev (DL) - The Bulgarian left-back has been handy back-up for Stroh and although he could step in and do a job in his place, again, I'm not sure if he's Serie A quality.
Andrea Mazzina (SW/DLC) - was signed in January on account of Topuzov's long-term injury and did very well for us. Formed a good partnership with Fernandez but I'll be looking to improve on him.
Ivan Fernandez (DC) - almost ever-present, the Spaniard was superb for us. Weighed in with a very welcome 7 goals in his 50 appearances but was susceptible to the costly mistake. He made a squad high 3 errors that led directly to goals.
Matteo Pozzi (DLC) - the young prospect is a bit of a moaner. Wants a new contract, wants first team football, etc etc. Won't get them and is likely going to be flogged in the summer.
Daniel Topuzov (DC) - started the season very well but tore his calf in November and missed most of the rest of the season. He's attributes have suffered consequently but he's young enough to recover.
Jimmy Nielsen (DC/DM/MC) - was able back up and occasionally slotted into midfield. A growing year for him as we assess if he can cut it at the top level.
Pedro Martins (DC/DM/MC) - signed on loan in January once Vidovic got injured and did well in the anchorman position until I changed tactics.
Zdravko Vidovic (DM/MC) - started brilliantly but broke his foot and missed a large portion of the season. When he returned, his defensive focus was less important to my more attacking theories so he found himself benched a lot.
Finn Skytte (M/AML) - still rated highly by potential by my coaches but I don't see it. Has barely improved since joining us and could only force his way into the team to make 11 appearances this season.
Mariano Mohamed (M/AML) - the Argentine left winger was great on occasion but couldn't get enough of a run of games going to be devastating. Still, he notched eight assists, which is fine by me.
Harald Hofer (MC) - the Bosnian was in his third full season for us and after initially thinking he wouldn't feature much, his determination and influence became key to the core strength of our midfield.
George Lupo (MC) - the Romanian playmaker didn't get a huge amount of assists but he keeps things ticking along nicely in the middle alongside Hofer.
Matias Coto (M/AMC) - couldn't fit him in as a MC but found his role behind one striker in my more advanced 4-2-3-1 later in the season. Became a bit of a revelation and I look forward to seeing if he can do it in the top flight. Time is on his side.
Giorgio Ferretti (M/AMC) - bit part player and the one big money (wages) signing I've made with Novese and regretted.
Gustavo Mesquita (AML/ST) - club captain had a mixed season. He's never going to be a big goalscorer and indeed, his ten this season, was highest haul. I'm undecided whether to keep him for next year.
Dennis Fischer (AMRL/ST) - same goes for Fischer. Every man and his dog have told me how great he is and he has been in patches for us but I need someone more dependably in the top flight. Think I may let his contract run down too.
Carlo Ripa (AMRC/ST) - the main man from last year picked up where he left off and had a stunning season from the right wing. 17 goals and 12 assists was worth it's weight in gold and although he left Roma to join us, he's helped drag us (and him) to Serie A. He picked up the fans player of the year.
Karel Pacholik (AMRL/ST) - THE revelation. I went with my instinct pre-season and forked out almost £300k for him but boy didit work out. He can play up front or from the left or right - he played wide left mainly - and he was similar to Ripa. Scored 17 goals to mark a wonderful debut season for us. At 19 and with determination 20 he could be something special.
David Nicolini (AMC/ST) - the Novese kid continues to come on leaps and bounds. He isn't quite the goalscorer I hoped for but he gets more shots off per 90 minutes than anyone else did this season, which is certainly promising. Exposure to Serie A should help him to grow even more!
Success. Nicolini, Dupont, Kamburov, Pacholik, Ripa, Coto, Vidovic are all young and great prospects.
- Continue youth development
Success. The sale of Denis Larsen, the three co-ownership deals, the cup-run and the promotion prize money see that we end the year with the finances looking as rosy as they ever have.
Wonderful season culminated in promotion! It's taken 14 seasons and over 600 games but I've finally taken Novese into the big time. The burning question - can we stay up!?
- Avoid relegation
- Keep hold of the prized assets (the youngsters named above)
- Spend within our means
Joining us in Serie A this season are: Udinese and Brescia. Departing Serie A are: Pescara, Cagliari, Torino
Seasonal Best Eleven
Overall Best Eleven