End of Season Report - Citta di Brindisi - 2014/15 (Season 3)
Lega Pro Prima Divisione Girone B - 7th
On the one hand, we blew this season spectacularly. As late as the end of March, we were sitting pretty in 2nd place, having the season of our lives. We'd only lost twice all year, we'd just beaten league leaders Crotone 2-0 at home, and opened up just the slightest possibility that we could overtake them and, unthinkably, get automatic promotion. Then we lost six of our last seven games, and slid out of the playoffs and the promotion picture altogether. But honestly, just being in that position in the first place was so incredibly impressive and utterly unexpected that I can have no real complaints that the dream eventually died. With our wage budget slashed and a threadbare squad in our first season at this level, my personal goal was just survival, though the board was expecting a little more than that. Nevertheless, nobody expected us to be within touching distance of the very top of the table at the business end of the season, and for that reason we can be satisfied with an extremely good season, no matter how it eventually finished up.
Coppa Italia di Lega Pro - 2nd Round (def. by Crotone)
As usual, this competition wasn't at the top of my list of priorities. We cruised through the 1st Round against Serie C2 side Gubbio, but we met our match in Serie C1/B leaders and eventual champions Crotone, who easily disposed of us 4-1.
TIM Cup - 2nd Qualifying Round (def. by Sassuolo)
While this is obviously a much more important competition than the Coppa Italia de Lega Pro, I still wasn't too concerned about our results - a good cup run would be nice for our finances, but performing well in the league was still the focus. We beat fellow C1/B side Andria BAT in the 1st Qualifying Round in a tight encounter, scraping a 1-0 win, before bowing out to mid-table Serie B side Sassuolo, who took care of us in a deceptively one-sided 2-1 win.
Squad and Transfers
Club Overview | First Team Squad | Transfers
I think the transfer screen really tells the tale of the financial plight of the club and the measures I took to try to bring it under control. I released 20 players and only brought one player in. I'm left with just 19 players in my first team squad - and five of those should really be in the U-20 squad and have little long term future at the club. Despite our great season, I'm planning on taking a gamble and releasing several of my more established players in the hope I can get some comparable young players who will have lower wage demands.
Mirko Guadalupi (AM C) - 36 (1) apps (16 gls) - 7.15 average rating: At this point, it goes without saying that Mirko would be on my list of top players. Top scorer with 16 goals for the second season running (and now our all time leading goalscorer), once again he was far and away our best player and without him we would have been nowhere near the top half. When I say I'll be releasing some of my higher earning more established players - obviously Guadalupi won't be among them. He even took a pay cut at the start of the season to help the club's financial situation.
Antonio Serpico (D C) - 36 apps (5 gls) - 7.02 average rating: Another returning character from last season, Serpico again anchored our defence admirably, and cemented his record as a goalscoring defender by grabbing another 5 goals. Once again, he'll be the key cog in my defence next season.
Mattia Damiani (AM LC) - 31 (7) apps (12 gls) - 6.86 average rating: By far the best player to come through our youth system, Damiani made his debut two years ago at the age of 16. Now 18, the youngster has established himself in the first team as the attacking midfield partner of Guadalupi, a player he's attempted to emulate by scoring an impressive 12 goals himself. He's still far from the finished article, but his pace is dangerous at this level and he's undoubtedly our most valuable asset because of his long term potential.
Objectives and History
Last Season's Objectives
- Survive - Success: And then some! 7th place was a finish I definitely would not have predicted at the start of the season, and hopefully is enough to establish us comfortably in the division so survival isn't even too much of a consideration next year
- Add some depth to the squad - Fail: Our financial situation actually forced me to remove depth from the squad as anyone who wasn't a first team regular was let go in an attempt to stay afloat.
- Right the financial ship - Fail: We managed to staunch the bleeding ever so slightly, "only" losing £500k this season rather than the £700k we lost the season before, but the club is in dire straits, almost £1m in the red. I've trimmed everything I can from the squad and intend to lower the wage budget even more if possible during the summer. We tripled our gate receipts (we have the 3rd highest average attendance in the division on pure numbers, and the highest on percentage of capacity) and doubled our match day income, but we're being crippled by loan repayments and interest, tax, and nebulous "other" expenses and I don't know where the solution will come from.
Next Season's Objectives
- Another mid-table finish - I think it's entirely possible we could make the playoffs next season, having come so close this time around, but a lot depends on how my gamble of rebuilding part of the squad with younger, cheaper players comes off. It could be great, with their hunger driving an already successful squad to the next level - or I could be disturbing the balance of the side by releasing key components and bringing the whole thing crashing down. We'll see.
- Try to bring the wage bill down more - The financial situation is getting critical, and even though I've stayed within my wage budget, I think at this point I have to take matters into my own hands and try to cut back even further. Being able to do that and maintain a functioning squad will be an interesting challenge though.
- Defeat Barletta - Our most hated rivals in the division, we were unable to beat Barletta this season, and lost 4-2 to them in our terrible end of season slump. They ended up finishing in the 2nd place that we had so recently been occupying, and their defeat in the playoff final means we get a chance to take another shot at them this season.
Seasonal Best XI | Overall Best XI
Season Division Pos Domestic Cup European Competitions Notes
2012/13 Serie C2/B 6th Lega Pro - Group Stage N/A Lost in Playoffs
2013/14 Serie C2/B 2nd Lega Pro - 2nd Round N/A Promoted
2014/15 Serie C1/B 7th TIM Cup - 2nd Qual. Rnd, Lega Pro - 2nd Rnd N/A N/A