End of Season Report - Novese - 2021/22 (Season 10) - Serie C1A
Serie C1A - 1stSuccess! FINALLY we've done it! We're out of C1A and I'm pleased to say we won the title too, adding another trophy to the cabinet
This was my tenth year in charge, over 400 games stewarded and our 8th in this godforesaken division. The closest we'd come was back to back runner-up finishes and a couple of playoff final defeats. It's any wonder we still managed to cram fans through the gates. Speaking of the gates, the board opted to add an extra 2,500 seats to the Pastorino Stadium in anticipation of the new campaign.
As predicted, wholesale changes were required. I let go of my entire midfield in the summer, confident that I could snap up a similar quality for lower wages. I was right. By the time the season began, I'd assembled a squad that I felt was stronger than at any other time at Novese. Sometimes, change is good.
We began the campaign strongly, going unbeaten in our first 5 before suffering two defeats in three games to remind us of the difficulties the division posed. However following that loss to Treviso we embarked on a stunning 14 game unbeaten league run which included 11 consecutive league clean sheets. I'd always vaunted our defence and it finally appeared to be coming together in this crucial season.
With that run behind us, it seemed certain automatic promotion would be ours but Pro Vercelli had just about kept pace, sitting 7 points behind us with about 9 games to go. A defeat at Pro Vercelli threatened to derail our promotion bid and although we won our next three league games, we came unstuck losing three consecutive league fixtures (two in the last minute) to Venezia, Perugia and Pro Patria. The league tightened up but a stern team meeting and a win in all our final three games meant the league was ours. To ENORMOUS relief. Progress showed we deserved it.
We also won the Serie C1 Super Cup defeating Foggia over two legs.
Results 1 | Results 2
TIM Cup - still pointless. Serie C Cup - even though it's pointless we progressed all the way to the final. Somehow though, we managed to lose to Gubbio from the division below us! Oh well. We've won it twice before and that will hopefully be the last we ever see of the competition!
Riccardo Tantardini (DC/MC) - completed his tenth season with us by leading the line superbly. Amazing to think he's been with me since it all began. I hadn't realised. At 29 though, and with the step up to Serie B to come, I'm unsure if he can cut it. Willing to give him the chance though, he's the record appearance holder for Novese with 344 games.
Luca Funari (SW/DLC) - has been with us for 6 years now but really came into his own this year, displacing Cemil Ayaz at the heart of defence.
Robert Stroh (D/WBL) - continued where he left off last year. Our German left back was solid and dependable all year; a vital cog in a steadfast defence.
Lorenzo Bianchi (DM/MC) - signed on loan from Parma and swiftly became a fan favourite. He was our best CM all year, scored a few goals and provided plenty of assists through his expert set-pieces.
Simone Pellegrini (AMLC) - the former loanee was snapped up on a free after being released by Atalanta. He played in the hole to great effect. 10 goals and 14 assists. Marvellous.
Dennis Fischer (AMRL/ST) - new young German prospect. He partnered Saponaro and provided a good haul of 18 goals in 34 games. His pace offered a good balance to the forward line. Was surprisingly named Fans Player of the Year.
Pietro Saponaro (AMC/ST) - as ever, led the line superbly. 20 goals in all competitions made him the go-to man for goals.
Success. Just about. With prize money and new sponsorship deals we'll be in the black going into Serie B.Success. It took 7 players to leave and 10 to come in but it worked out just fine.
- Continue financial prudence
Obviously the target is to ensure we never wind up in C1A again! But aside from that we have a much healthier wage budget - £10k p/w to play with - and a decent transfer budget. The lift in reputation seems to have given us a larger base of players to chose from and there are a couple of 5 star players recommended by scouts that now know who Novese are. If I juggle the budgets and potential signings well, we could end up with a very strong squad. Only two players left the club in the summer as their contract's expired. Both weren't good enough for Serie B. Let the new adventure commence!
- Avoid relegation
- Continue financial prudence
- Take advantage of new scouting areas
Overall Best Eleven