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[FM20] No houses, hotels, or jails. Just a football club. Youth only with Monopoli


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Introduction

My last attempt at a youth only save fell apart pretty quickly. I gave the Uruguayan third tier a go, but the amateur contracts meant youth players were being stolen away just months after joining, preventing me from getting anywhere with it.

So time to give it another go elsewhere. In the General Discussion thread Muttley84 made a map with the currently active European saves, and pointed out there were none from Italy or Spain at the moment. I didn't fancy Spain right now, so Italy it is. No real reason for picking Monopoli, other than the name.

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The Manager

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The man taking charge is Xavier Skywalker, who thanks to Google's random number generator, was born in Kosnic, to parents from Bosnia and Wallis & Futuna.

He's starting with the automatic experience and badges for the Italian third tier. b56a15043a6f44f0e58c27dd1544caf1.png

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The Club

There's plenty of room left in the trophy cabinet, but all of their success is fairly recent, with four competitions won between 2005 and 2012.

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There's over a million pound in the bank, which I can only assume is fairly decent for this level. a7d06fac4e6f228f629672eed1276d12.png

And there's a lot of improvement needed before we start to produce and develop good young players.

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Pre-season

We've arranged for the pitch to be made as narrow as possible. ed97eccf42800d0f8343c55528b047b5.png

This is so we can focus on a narrow set-up, playing through the middle. On the left the Inside Forward will come inside to back up the Pressing Forward, while on the right the Winger will operate more traditionally. This may vary depending on the game, sometimes the right-sided player will be further forward, sometimes both will be in the midfield line, sometimes both will be further forward.

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We're predicted to come 10th in the league, the board want us to make the play-offs. This sounds like a big ask until you check the league rules, and see that the Liga Pro Girone C has ten play-off places. 

1st place goes up automatically, 2nd goes into the play-off quarter-finals, 3rd into the third round, 4th into the second round, and 5th-11th into the first round. They're then joined at each stage by clubs from the other leagues at this level.

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The 2020 youth intake

Judging by the preview we could have a decent first intake. It apparently has the potential to be a golden generation, there's plenty of green on display, and players from a few different positions have been singled out for attention.

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Or maybe not. I'm pretty sure this doesn't look like a golden generation. No players at 5.0 star potential, only two at 4.0 star potential, and just two more at 3.0 star potential. That being said, the AssMan has a JPA stat of just 6, so this could be all rubbish anyway. 

We have a fairly strong first team but not much in depth, so players who could appear in the starting Xi sooner rather than later would be good. There are a handful of players who could make the bench and see some game time, so that's a start at least. There's a bit of African representation here, with an Ivorian, and a lad with Ghanaian as a second nationality.

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Late in the season we did have a junior coaching improvement approved, I believe this was after the intake.

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2019/20 Lega Pro Girone C

So, this went pretty well. We won our first two games and although we then took a tonking from the side that would eventually finish top, we got back on it with a big win next time out.

Three consecutive 1-0 wins over September and October set the tone for the season, as we developed a knack for grinding out narrow wins. Six clean sheets followed over November and December as we solidified our place near the top, games weren't full of goals or free-flowing football but we were certainly making ourselves difficult to beat.

The good form carried over into the new year, and although there was a slight stumble in February, we ended the season strong with seven wins from the final ten.

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We needed to finish in the play-off places, and we did so easily. I believe we were in this area all season. We were never really in the race for top spot, Catanzaro were always going to take that honour, but we bounced around from 3rd-6th throughout the year.

This was mainly spurred on by the quality of the defence, conceding just 0.66 goals per game en route to having the meanest defence in the division.

There was disappointment on the final day of the season, when we were away at Catania with 3rd place on the line. They took the win and we slipped down to 4th, thus entering the play-offs at the second round instead of the third round.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2019/20 Lega Pro play-offs

We had bad news before the play-offs began with both our first choice goalkeeper and striker being injured. In neither position did we have a good reserve player in waiting, so we were significantly weakened going into these ties.

We beat Padova (8th in Girone B) easily enough, before we just about scraped past Alessandria (5th in Girone A) via penalties.

I expected trouble against Juventus U23 (4th in Girone A), but a pair of 1-0 wins did the job.

Eventually we couldn't go any further though, the lack of squad depth and the two injuries caught up with us. A draw at home was okay, but not enough as Ternana then turned us over at their place. They finished above us (2nd in Girone C) so it was probably a deserved result for them, although they couldn't complete the job, losing to Bari (6th in Girone C) in the final.

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The board are happy enough with this.

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The cash situation isn't great, the money just leaked away throughout the season. A fairly substantial negative balance had built up, before this was offset by a £550k investment and a new sponsorship deal. In line with this the club's value has plummeted despite the results on pitch.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2019/20 Player Performance

As mentioned previously there was not much strength in depth beyond the starting XI. We had eleven players who were our regular first choice team and played a lot of football, five others who also saw a lot of gametime, then two others who were thrown into the play-offs due to injuries. Instant result also played a hand in only a small group of players getting significant minutes, as despite being allowed up to five substitutions, often only one was used due to lack of good options on the bench. There were about half a dozen players in on loan, but I cancelled all of these before the season started.

In goal Vittorio Antonino was first choice and managed 22 clean sheets in 36 games, setting a new club record. Elia Zingaro came in for the play-offs and as a 17 year old with the model citizen personality, is in a good position to possibly claim the number one shirt himself as some point in the future.

In defence Simone Pecorini, Ciro De Franco, Mario Mercadante, and Aris Rota were the first choice back four, with Filippo Oliana providing some cover. There's very little back up for these five players, and with Rota being difficult about a new contract we may be down to just four senior defenders next year. That being said, we do have a centre-back on loan at Sicula Leonzio who will be returning.

In central midfield Marco Piccinni took the defensive role, with Alessio Tuttisanti and Francesco Giorno operating as the deep-lying and advanced playmakers. Tuttisanti only contributed to two goals so perhaps his role didn't entirely work, but Giorno picked up half a dozen goals and an equal amount of assists en route to winning the fan's player of the season award. Matteo Arena also saw a lot of appearances as backup, never looking like he deserved to be a regular.

Out on the left Daniele Donnarumma impressed with 10 goals and 7 assists while his understudy Angelo Ansani didn't hit the same heights. Vittorio Triarico started the season out on the right and was playing well before a hip injury prematurely ended his campaign in January. Giuseppe Fela stepped up and made a big contribution to the second half of the season, in particular single-handedly pulling us through the play-off quarter-finals.

Up front was pretty much a one man show. Jefferson was our top scorer without being very prolific, but he did also rack up a few assists. When he was injured for the play-offs Giacomo D'Addabbo came in, but didn't make much of an impression. In the ressies we also have the very similarly named Giacomo D'Abbabbo, and I've just realised it was him who scored in the play-off second round, so perhaps it should have been him starting at this time, instead of being on the bench.

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2020/21 Expectations

We're eighth favourites with the bookies to finish top, while the media predict we'll finish 8th. The board want us to come in mid-table, so that appears to be the general consensus.

I'm aiming higher than that. Having finished 4th last year I'd like to at least match that, and give the play-offs another bash.

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2021 Youth Intake

Another encouraging preview here. Lots of green, an excellent group, and three different positions mentioned. 

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I'm underwhelmed with this. Given our poor facilities I'm not expecting great things, but the preview did make it sound like it would be better than this. Just the one 4.0 star PA player, the right winger mentioned above. Annoyingly, the second best player is also a right winger. 

There was one promising centre-back mentioned and we have two here, so that's a good thing as you always need a couple of them, but the supposed great prospect in goal doesn't look like they deserve that title.

We've got two more second nationalities, French and German, and one more fully foreign player, an Albanian.

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I asked for improvements for both junior coaching and youth recruitment throughout the year. Junior coaching was denied, but after a bit of begging youth recruitment was approved, on the condition that youth players received a lot of gametime throughout the coming season.

This target was easily met, and the youth recruitment was improved at the end of the year.

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2020/21 Lega Pro Girone C

A solid first month turned into a great start to the season, as other than a humping from Catania we went on a great run through September and October, winning 8 out of 10 games and picking up 7 clean sheets in this time.

November was more mixed, and with the goals drying up in December I was glad of the winter break to re-group.

The return to football in the new year was excellent. We went 11 games unbeaten, 8 wins and 3 draws during this period, and we were the in-form team in the division.

Until we weren't. The middle of March came along and we just hit a brick wall, we couldn't buy a win. Nothing had changed in our set-up or personnel, but our form entirely disappeared. In the final 7 games we earned just 4 points. All 3 goals scored in this time came from the same player, no one else could hit a cow's arse with a banjo.

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Reggina set the pace at the top and we were never anywhere near them, but for most of the year we were riding high in 3rd place. Then our terrible run of results began and we fell to 5th.

We ended one position lower than last year, with 2 fewer points earned. Our attack was much better, with 11 more goals scored. Last year we had the best defence in the division, this was a strength again this year although we conceded 2 more, and we were equal second best this time.

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2020/21 Lega Pro play-offs

Due to finishing 5th we entered the play-offs in the first round. We were drawn against Avellino 1912 (10th in Girone C) and made it through by the thinnest of margins, managing a goalless draw but going through by virtue of being the higher seed due to the higher league finish.

We then repeated that trick against Picerno (6th in Girone C) in the second round. I'd never seen this rule in a long time playing Football Manager, and now it had worked in my favour twice in a row. 

The good luck couldn't continue. Although we beat Chievo Verona (3rd in Girone A) at home in the first leg, in the second leg at their place they got the additional goal needed to make it out of the third round at our expense. They went on all the way through the play-offs to secure promotion to Serie B.

The goalscoring problems continued. As you can see there were 3 more blanks, it's now 11 games since anyone other than Jefferson scored.

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Although we finished higher than predicted, I think this has to be considered a disappointment. Giving how strong we were looking in the early part of 2021, the way the season fizzled out into a worse finish and play-off performance than last year is a real kick in the nads.

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The board are a lot happier than I am with this though, and I was given a new contract for two more years.

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The estimated value of the club has bounced back up, though it's nowhere near where it was at the start. I have no idea how this amount is reached. The cash situation continues to be rocky, as we've lost over £1.5 million in the last year, despite not spending anything on players, only having one improvement, and wages being way under budget.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2020/21 Player Performance

Vittorio Antonino started the season between the sticks, and managed 10 clean sheets in 22 games. Despite no longer being listed as a model citizen Elia Zingaro continued to develop, and as he overtook Antonino he replaced him in goal, managing 14 clean sheets in 25 games.

We had the same four key players in defence, Simone Pecorini, Ciro De Franco, Mario Mercadante, and Aris Rota, but with Michele Ferrara being available again after last year's loan he also played a lot.

It was the same story in midfield, as last year's regulars Marco Piccinni, Alessio Tuttisanti, and Francesco Giorno kept their starting positions, and the returning Enrico Zampa provided cover. Next year I expect him to move into the starting XI. Giorno won the fan's player of the year award, richly deserved for his 15 assists.

On the wings Daniele Donnarumma was first choice on the left, while Giuseppe Fella and Vittorio Triarico split games on the right. I wasn't massively impressed with their contributions, none of them achieved particularly good numbers.

Part of this could be down to how much the goalscoring was dominated by our sole striker. Jefferson had a great year, with 26 goals doubling his tally from last year. He also picked up a couple of personal accolades for this.

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One concern is that Jefferson is 33 years old. If he can keep this up another year or two I'd be chuffed, but we need to be trying to find a replacement for him in club. Neither Giacomo D'Abbabbo or Giacomo D'Addabbo look up to it, which means there will be pressure on Antonio Vannini (20b) to step up sooner rather than later. Jefferson isn't the only player the wrong side of 30, Ciro De Franco, Vittorio Triarico, and Marco Piccinni are there too, but at least there is stronger competition in those positions.

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Posted (edited)

2021/22 Pre-Season

Pretty much identical to last year. The board want play-offs, the media think we'll come 10th, and we're ninth favourites with the bookies to finish top.

With a 4th and 5th place finish already in the books, I'm expecting the same again.

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We lost the top rated player from our second intake, as Serie A side Pescara stole away Michele Sala (21a), taking advantage of the fact that he was still on a youth contract. Won't make that mistake again. He went straight into their under 18 squad, but didn't play much. We got £95k up front, plus 15% on the profit from his next sale. At the moment there is no option to buy out the clause.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2022 Youth Intake

One good sign here with it being labelled a golden generation, but two of the top players both being goalkeepers isn't ideal. There's also quite a lot of space dedicated to telling us which positions aren't going to be very good.

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Disappointing. Just two players at 3.5 PA isn't very inspiring, the majority of the squad being 2.5 PA or less suggests very few of them will ever make it to the first team, and the personalities are generally rubbish. After this I gave the HoYD the boot and brought in a new guy to see if he does any better next year.

Just the one additional nationality in this intake, a Belgian second nationality.

Of the 48 players to come through intakes so far, 42 of them have been Italian, 3 have been Italian with a second nationality (French, German, and Ghanaian, and 3 have been from other nationalities (Albanian, Belgian, and Ivorian).

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I set up a monthly reminder to ask for improvements to the facilities, but was constantly rejected due to finances. Finally in May this was approved for youth recruitment.

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2021/22 Cups

Cups suck ass.

We weren't even entered into the TIM Cup this season.

We actually managed a good run in the Coppa Italia Lega Pro, but eventually went out in the semis on away goals.

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2021/22 Lega Pro Girone C

We picked up a good win on the opening day, before going on a quietly boring run of form, with four draw ins the next six games, and not many goals being scored at either end of the pitch.

This was ended by a loss to Fidelis Andria, who were battling away at the wrong end of the table, and I told the team exactly what I thought of them after that poor performance. A couple of draws followed as it looked like we were going to struggle to compete near the top, before four consecutive wins pushed us back up into contention again.

Unfortunately this was followed by three draws, as the two steps forward were followed by one step back.

I made changes to the formation as this time, going with two up front and changing from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. Antonio Vannini (20a) came into the team and made an immediate impact scoring five games in a row. Around this time we were going on a 17 game unbeaten run, but we continued to pick up too many draws.

The unbeaten run came to an end in February when we lost by the odd goal in five to Sicula Leonzio, and not long after this was another loss, this time against Bari with our worst defensive performance of the season. But we rebounded strong with five wins from the final eight matches.

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We finished the season in 5th place, and we never really looked like finishing anywhere else. We held this place in the table since week 20, with 4th place upwards having a good gap over us and 6th place down not being anywhere near, so we showed good mental strength to keep going and not let up.

We lost the fewest games in the division, but the sheer amount of draws we picked up limited how high we could go. To point out the obvious, we need to turn more of them into wins. 

Our goal record was nearly identical to last year, as we scored two fewer but conceded one less.

This meant we entered the play-offs at the first round.

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Posted (edited)

2021/22 Lega Pro play-offs

For a third year in a row we entered the play-offs. Third time lucky?

We made easy work of the first two rounds against Virtus Francavilla (10th in Girone C) and Bari (6th in Girone C), and things were looking good after the first leg against Padova (4th in Girone B). 

You wouldn't guess it from the scoreline, but the second leg was a very even game. But they scored their chances, and we did not. Play-off failure for the third time.

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A very similar season to last year, though this one felt better due to the fewer losses in the league and the long unbeaten run. Still slightly off what we managed in the first year though. I'm not really sure what to do to improve things, the play-off system does give you plenty of leeway with your league finish to still give you a chance of going up, but when you get to the play-offs you need an element of luck, and it hasn't gone my way so far.

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Still keeping the bosses happy.

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Still losing money, but hopefully the improvements to the youth recruitment will start paying dividends soon. Either players that can benefit the first team, or players that we can sell on and re-invest those profits into more improvements.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2021/22 Player Performance

Elia Zingaro has made the number one shirt his own, and managed 19 clean sheets in 42 games.

In midfield we had three really strong performers. Francesco Giorno won the fan's player of the year vote for a third time in a row, achieving 9 man of the match awards along the way to a 7.33 average rating, and also putting on 12 assists. Daniele Donnarumma was our top assister for a second time, with a record 16 assists. And Giuseppe Fella also picked up a handful of MOTM awards and assists, while also challenging our top scorers with 12 goals of his own.

Manuel Molteni (20b) graduated to the first team squad, making 32 appearances over the year.

The goalscoring of Jefferson massively slowed down from last year as age caught up with him, but he was still our top marksman with 13 goals. The change in tactic to allow a second striker benefitted Antonio Vannini (20a), as he also graduated to the first team squad and managed an impressive 12 goals in his debut season.

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Can't wait until many years down the road, when you are spending the UEFA Champion's League MONOPLY money!

I did an interesting save with them in either FM19 or FM20....played a Defensive Fluid Counter-Attacking 3-5-2.

 

Best of Luck!

 

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2022/23 Pre-Season

Same expectations as ever - make it into the play-offs. Media prediction is 7th, and we're 8th favourites with the bookies to go up. I think we should be aiming to beat last season's 5th place. And making it to the play-offs is one thing, finding success when we're there is another entirely.

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A few players who had been regulars in the first-team squad left this summer, as age caught up with a few of them. Marco Piccinni was pretty much an ever-present in the first two seasons, but he was retiring. Ciro De Franco wasn't retiring, but would only re-sign with us as a member of staff and not as a player. Vittorio Triarico had been a good rotation option, but I had a younger right winger I wanted to play more.

I wanted to keep Vittorio Antonino as cover in goal, but he wouldn't accept being the backup keeper.

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Michele Sala (21a) came through in the second intake but was signed away pretty quickly, he hadn't yet played for Pescara and was available on loan, to provide cover on both wings and up front.

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2023 Youth Intake

Another golden generation, for however little that's worth. What we really need is another striker, but it doesn't look like we'll be getting one here.

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Disappointing again, I can't see any way that this can be considered a 'golden generation'. Just one 4.0 star PA player, then five more at 3.0 PA. And a selection of rubbish personalities to go with it.

Hopefully Manuel Andreucci (23e) can develop into a halfway decent striker, but with a finishing attribute of just 5 I won't hold my breathe on that.

One new nationality this year, as we have a Romanian come through.

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We also had four younger academy players poached, three to other Lega Pro sides and one to a Serie A side. None of them have come through the ranks elsewhere yet. So hopefully that's a sign next year's intake will start to see an improvement, if we're starting to develop players other clubs see potential in. And hopefully in a few years we'll get some much needed cash coming in from the 5% clause on future transfer fees.

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2022/23 Cups

Cups suck ass.

We weren't entered into the TIM Cup again this season.

We went on a really good run in the Coppa Italia Lega Pro and handed out a couple of spankings in the early rounds, but when it came to the important matches at the end of the competition, we put in a pair of really tame performances in the final to go home trophyless.

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2022/23 Lega Pro Girone C

A good start to the season put us in the mix early on, and although September was low on goals and excitement, it showed we were a side that could grind out wins in games of close margins.

October saw the goals start to flow, and although there was one heavy loss the five wins that surrounded it solidified our role as serious contenders. We had the opportunity in November to really stamp our mark on the competition, but a few quiet days in front of goal saw three goalless draws slow our momentum.

But either side of the winter break we showed our quality, going on a six game winning run to build up a good gap at the top of the table. In February we were brought back to earth with a bump, two successive losses eroding a large chunk of our lead, and although we only lost one more game over the final 12 matches, we'd lost our rhythm and couldn't get back into a winning habit. There were way too many draws sprinkled in, and the title chase came down to the final day. Was a draw enough?

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No. A draw on the final day was not enough. We completely bottled it. Reggina took top spot on the final day (the first time all season they'd been that high), being ranked above us on goal difference. Absolutely gutted.

We'd been top of the league nearly all season, at one stage we had an eight point lead, only to throw it away in the final few weeks. I don't know if we'll ever get a better chance than this.

Play-offs again then. 2nd place means we enter at the quarter-final stage.

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2022/23 Lega Pro play-offs

We made easy work of Carrarese (4th in Girone A) in the quarter-finals, but when we came up against Bari (4th in Girone C) in the semi-finals a disappointing home loss knocked us out.

Play-off failure for a fourth time.

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Ugh. This close to success, not just once but twice, and we passed it up both times. We should have won the cup, we should have won the league, we won neither. We should have made a better fight of the play-offs. This has been our highest league finish and best cup performance, so on paper this a good season, but at the moment it just feels like a big old failure.

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I did upset the board at one point when I clicked the wrong box in a press conference and accidentally said I was interested in another job, but got back into their good books with the high league position.

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New contract, and I took a big voluntary paycut (down from £2.8k per week) to try and help with the poor financial situation.

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The finances are worse than ever, we've lost a lot of money this year and the wage budget has been drastically cut. Not ideal when one of the expectations is to work within the wage budget, which I was doing comfortably, until this happened and I'm now about £4k over. No cash for improvements this year.

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2022/23 Player Performance

Antonelle Di Corcia (20h) became the third academy graduate to become a regular in the first team, with 36 appearances as the second choice on the right wing.

The key performers were again the three attack-minded midfielders. Francesco Giorno won the fan's player of the year vote for the fourth time and got into double figures for assists, Giuseppe Fella got into double figures for goals and very nearly did for assists too, while Daniele Donnarumma was the top assister for a third time.

In his final season before retirement Jefferson scored 10 times. while Antonio Vannini (20a) did well in his first season as main striker, netting 17 times. There were a couple of long droughts during the season though, he needs to get a bit more clinical with his finishing (when he came through this attribute was 6, and it's only gone up as far as 7 since then). Giacomo D'Addabbo is a bit rubbish and I wish I had a better option than him, but he still managed to reach double figures.

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Daniele Donnarumma has overtaken Francesco Giorno to become our overall top assister, 1 ahead of him.

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Massimiliano Mertens (22h) hasn't had any gametime with us yet, but has become the first academy graduate to see any international football, though Belgium failed to qualify for the U19 Euros.

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1 hour ago, DaneBramage said:

2022/23 Lega Pro play-offs

We made easy work of Carrarese (4th in Girone A) in the quarter-finals, but when we came up against Bari (4th in Girone C) in the semi-finals a disappointing home loss knocked us out.

Play-off failure for a fourth time.

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Ugh. This close to success, not just once but twice, and we passed it up both times. We should have won the cup, we should have won the league, we won neither. We should have made a better fight of the play-offs. This has been our highest league finish and best cup performance, so on paper this a good season, but at the moment it just feels like a big old failure.

b7add9e7ae20df849bbf2fc188d50358.png

I did upset the board at one point when I clicked the wrong box in a press conference and accidentally said I was interested in another job, but got back into their good books with the high league position.

ff4453b71ea93d36afda13da6366231e.png

New contract, and I took a big voluntary paycut (down from £2.8k per week) to try and help with the poor financial situation.

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The finances are worse than ever, we've lost a lot of money this year and the wage budget has been drastically cut. Not ideal when one of the expectations is to work within the wage budget, which I was doing comfortably, until this happened and I'm now about £4k over. No cash for improvements this year.

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I currently have Palermo in Seria B 

 

went up as champions year one from Seria C

 

year two lost semi final playoff 

 

year 3 we sit 8th in February

 

I love the Italian leagues  !

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7 hours ago, Polski97 said:

I love the Italian leagues  !

I certainly wouldn't go that far, but there are some things I like.

Only one automatic promotion place in Serie C sucks, but down to 9th/10th getting a play-off spot at least gives you a second chance. 

I also like being able to pick 11 substitutes and being able to bring 5 of them on, helps give squad players and youngsters more gametime.

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2023/24 Pre-Season

Last season we'd been promised by the board that we'd get improved junior coaching if we committed to playing young players. We did this and when it didn't pop at the end of the year I thought it wasn't happening, just one of those things. But luckily it did a few days later.

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There was an attempted board takeover back in January that broke down, but this time one went through in July. One of the existing directors led the consortium to replace the chairman.

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They didn't invest any money into the club, but took out a £3.4 million bank loan to put our bank balance back in the black. 

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Same expectations as ever. The new board just want us to make the play-offs again. Our 2nd place finish last year hasn't changed anything then, so that keeps the pressure off. Media prediction is 7th, and we're 8th favourites with the bookies. I'd like to compete at the very top again, but I don't know if that's realistic or not, last year felt like the result of everything coming together at once and to come so close and miss out hurt, it will be difficult to replicate that again, let alone better it.

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Our all-time top scorer Jefferson retired this summer, after 62 goals in 160 games for us. I'm worried how we'll cope without him. Alessio Tuttisanti was a regular in the first couple of seasons, but dropped out of the reckoning once the youth intakes started coming through, and we changed tactic to include only two central midfielders rather than three.

I didn't learn from my previous mistake, the best player from my last intake again got stolen away while on a youth contract, this time to a Serie BKT side. In addition to the £50k for Alessandro Simeoni (23a) we'll be due 15% of any profit from his next sale.

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2024 Youth Intake

Looks pretty good, a golden generation and three players in attacking positions have been mentioned. Striker is a position where we desperately need someone to come through, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed here.

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First of all, these personalities are absolutely awful. The AssMan and HoYD both have pretty good determination stats (17 and 13), so I don't know where there are so many here that are so bad instead.

Secondly, where have the striker and wide midfielder from the preview gone? The first winger in the list is ranked fourth and only has 3.0 star PA, while the first striker in the list is all the way down in ninth, with just 2.5 star PA. That's a big disappointment.

Thirdly, the top three players coming through, and possibly the only ones with any real chance of making it, are all midfielders. I wonder if that's a trait of the HoYD I hired, or just coincidence. We don't actually use an AMC, so he'll get re-trained as an advanced playmaker MC.

Just the one new nationality again this year, as we have one Romanian joining our ranks.

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One of the poached young players from last season came through with Modena's youth intake. On first glance he doesn't look much and we don't seem to have missed out on a huge amount, I'd be surprised if the 5% clause ever came to anything worthwhile.

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2023/24 Cups

Cups suck ass.

Though at least we were entered into the TIM Cup this year. We did a good job of getting through the early rounds, but when we came up against Serie A opposition in Bologna we were obviously on our way out.

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Posted (edited)

2023/24 Lega Pro Girone C

A couple of losses in the first three games wasn't the ideal start to the season, but that was quickly forgotten about when we went on an incredible run of 10 straight wins. Things were looking pretty good, we were starting to get excited, then WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!

Almost overnight, we turned into the worst team that ever set foot on a football pitch. From November to January we were utterly awful, going seven games without a win, including five games in a row where we didn't score a single goal. If you include the cup games from during that time as well, this gets even worse (nine games without a win, including seven games in a row where we didn't score a single goal).

The tables turned at the end of January, a trip to bottom placed Siracusa coming at the right time, and we managed to get back on track. Our form wasn't quite as imperious as it was early in the year, but it was still pretty good, and over the final 17 games we won 11 and only lost once.

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After the cracking early season form we hit the top spot early and held it for a while, but when November came and our form completely disappeared we plummeted down the table, falling as low as 8th. 

The improved form in the second half of the year pushed us back up the table and we ended 4th, just four points off the champions. Into the play-offs again.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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Posted (edited)

2023/24 Lega Pro play-offs

We went straight into the second round, where we made easy work of Gubbio (7th in Girone B). The scoreline doesn't reflect how dominant this was.

We then came up against Catanzaro, who we finished just above in the regular season (5th in Girone C). A narrow away win then a late goal in the second leg was enough to take the game to penalties, where we just about squeaked through.

But we couldn't repeat the trick in the quarter-final. Again it went to penalties, this time we couldn't convert our spotkicks and were knocked out by Juve Stabia (2nd in Girone C). Play-off failure for a fifth year in a row.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2023/24 Round-Up

A season that started looking so bright turned into another big disappointment. The horrendous winter form destroyed our year, as we fell from top spot in the league and were eliminated from both cups within just a few weeks. We're having no luck with the play-offs, we need to win the league to secure promotion, and we've now messed up two big chances to do so.

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The board are still happy of course, we're easily meeting their fairly low expectations.

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At the end of the season we had improvements approved for both junior coaching and youth recruitment. 

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At the start of the season the new board took out a big loan which took our balance back to a positive amount, that money has disappeared throughout the year and we're back to a large negative balance again. Bizarrely the estimated value of the club has massively gone up.

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2023/24 Player Performance

Donato Fracasso (21e) became the fourth academy graduate to become an established player in the senior squad, with 23 appearances as the third choice centre-back.

The three midfielders who've earned plaudits in previous years continued to do so here. Francesco Giorno was named the fan's player of the year for a fifth consecutive time, Daniele Donnarumma was the top assister for a fourth time with a record 19 assists, and Giuseppe Fella was so close to being the top scorer with 16 goals. 

Up front, Antonio Vannini (20a) was a massive disappointment. Last year's top scorer really struggled for goals and only hit the back of the net eight times. At one point he went on a 22 game run without scoring. From being one of my favourites at the start of the year he now finds himself firmly on the bench.

In last season's player performance review I said Giacomo D'Addabbo was a bit rubbish. By no means was he prolific this year, but he somehow managed to end up as our top scorer with 17 goals. So I'm going to double down on this and say he's still rubbish, and hope that improves him again next year. I've said it a few times and I'll say it again; we desperately need a new striker.

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The all-time appearances and assists records have both increased further.

Of players still at the club, Giuseppa Fella (56 goals) is closest to reaching Jefferson's record (62 goals), and I'd expect him to overhaul this next year.

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Nicu Ivascu (23g) became the second academy graduate to earn international honours, again before he'd played first-team football for us. The left winger played six games for Moldova U21, though they didn't win any of these ties.

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2024/25 Pre-Season

I may as well keep using the same screenshot each year, this never changes. I'll be annoyed if we're not fighting near the top again. Though it does look like we're not included in the TIM Cup again.

A few of our key players are all in their 30s now so only have two or three seasons left in them, after that we'll be relying mainly on academy graduates. So I guess I need to start introducing them more than just one or two a year.

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No one of note left this summer. A bunch of young players who were already at the club when I joined but never developed into players that would make the senior squad were released.

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Three years ago Michele Sala (21a) was stolen away shortly after graduating from the academy. He never played for Pescara although he did play for us during this time in a couple of loan spells. Pescara have sold him on to SPAL this summer, another Serie A club, in the process making a £60k loss, so we miss out on getting anything from the 15% of any profit clause.

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2025 Youth intake

At least three players singled out for praise here, looking good. We don't especially need another goalie but striker is a position we're desperate for so this is much needed news. We're pretty well stocked for right-backs, so hopefully the full-back here is a left sided player.

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In the summer I revamped my coaching staff, replacing the AssMan and all three coaches. Obviously I don't know if that's affected this or not, but on first look I can see that personalities are much improved from last year, so that's a step in the right direction.

It also looks like the standard as a whole is slightly better, with nearly all of the intake meeting 3.0 star PA or higher. Above this there's one 4.0 PA player, then five at 3.5 PA, so hopefully a few players that can make the first team squad.

I hoped that the full-back coming through was left sided, it turns out that they are and there's not just one, but two of them, so that should provide depth in that position. A wing-back coming through in fourth is a shame as I don't think I've ever used a formation with wing-backs in 15 years of playing various FM games, so he'll be re-trained as a right-back.

The striker we're in desperate need of is ranked sixth here, but with a finishing attribute of just 5 and heading of 4 it doesn't look like Gianluigi Vannucci (25f) will be the difference maker I was hoping for.

New nationalities come from the top-rated player, Jakov Gudelj (25a) representing Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia. 

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We had three more young players poached away from the academy. Bari hit us with a double raid, while our academy must be impressing people across Europe as Stade Rennais took the first player with gold star potential away to France.

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A previously poached player came through in Frosinone's youth intake. He might be a decent Lega Pro player in the future but I don't expect the 5% clause to ever amount to much.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2024/25 Cups

We weren't entered into the TIM Cup again. No idea what the criteria is for whether we're included or not.

The Coppa Italia Lega Pro Cup is great, and I won't hear a bad word said about it.

We scored a whole bunch of goals en route to the final, easily getting past everyone in our way. In the final we weathered the storm in a tight away game to leave things equal going  back to our patch, where two goals from academy graduates sewed the game up in the first half. My first trophy!

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2024/25 Lega Pro Girone C

Two losses is never a good way to start the season, and immediately I changed tactics to go 4-5-1. This shored things up at the back as we achieved seven clean sheets in a row. The games weren't good for the neutrals with just four goals to be seen during September, but that changed in October with the back of the net being hit on a regular basis.

But then the winter malaise kicked in for a second year in a row, and during a dreadful November and December we only won once.

As 2025 began we went back to 4-4-2, and we won nine of the next 13 games, only losing once. A dodgy April followed though, and we limped towards the finishing line.

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Poor. We were never on pace with the leaders, or even in the chasing pack really. The two losses to open the season put us on the backfoot from the get go, and although an improved September and October helped us put the pressure on, the dreadful winter saw us slump down as low as ninth. 

With the turn of the year we saw signs that we could push towards a strong finish, but the blip in the final month saw us drop too many points and ended any chance of a high finish. Instead, we ended with our lowest final league position so far.

Nonetheless, we still managed to make the play-offs. Normally 6th place would go into the first round, but due to winning the Coppa Italia Lega Pro we go in at the third round instead.

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2024/25 Play-offs

Embarrassing. Over the two legs we managed three times as many shots as Ravenna (7th in Girone B) but only converted one of these chances. It went to a shootout, and again they were superior with their shot accuracy.

A sixth successive play-off failure.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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2024/25 Round-up

Disappointing. In each of the last two seasons we looked like we were favourites at times to be automatically promoted, this time we threw away any chance of this early on and never looked like the level we had been on. Our worst ever league finish was then followed up by equalling our worst ever play-off performance.

On the plus side, we did secure our first trophy, with a dominant run through the Coppa Italia Lega Pro. We received next to no money for it, the board didn't use it to judge my performance, and there's not much prestige attached to it, but it is something nice and shiny to show off in the trophy cabinet.

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The board are only satisfied, which I think is quite unfair. I'm struggling to work within the wage budget, but only because they slashed this by 40% halfway through the season. 

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There were no improvements to our facilities this year. I asked each month, but they were constantly rejected. Instead, our training facilities were downgraded.

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Why are average training facilities better than adequate training facilities, but adequate is better than average for junior coaching and youth recruitment?

Finances are a mess. The estimated value has yo-yoed back down to a minimal value, while the bank balance continues to go in the wrong direction.

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2024/25 Player performance

Not much to be happy about here. Worse numbers all round.

The battle to be top scorer was embarrassingly bad. In the end Giacomo D'Addabbo (for a second consecutive year) took it with his goal in the play-offs, but a tally of just 11 is not something to be proud of. Daniele Donnarumma was the only other player to reach double figures. 

Francesco Giorno was voted fan's player of the year for a sixth time in a row, and was also our top assister. 

Antonio Vannini (20a) had another really poor year. I reckon I must have warned or fined him for constant ineffective performances at least half a dozen times. I think it's time he's replaced by Antonello Di Corcia (20h) up front. 

Onofrio Pili (22j) and Martino Perrone (22a) both broke through this year, the former will probably only be a rotation option but the latter is the long-term successor to Giuseppe Fella on the right-wing.

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Francesco Giorno jumped to the top of the all-time appearances list, one game ahead of Mario Mercadante

Giuseppe Fella has become our all-time top scorer, and he sits at least 18 goals over anyone else still at the club.

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Nicu Ivascu (23g) continued to rack up the appearances for Moldova U21, but they earned just 1 point (from 10 games) in their Euro U21 qualifying group.

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14 hours ago, DaneBramage said:

2024/25 Play-offs

Embarrassing. Over the two legs we managed three times as many shots as Ravenna (7th in Girone B) but only converted one of these chances. It went to a shootout, and again they were superior with their shot accuracy.

A sixth successive play-off failure.

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i enjoy this a lot ;D

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On 11/01/2021 at 13:00, Polski97 said:

i enjoy this a lot ;D

I should start a sweepstakes on how many times I can lose in the play-offs before I either get promoted or fired. I'd be happy if I could get it done before 10 years in charge have passed.

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2025/26 Pre-Season

10th favourites to go up with the bookies, predicted 10th by the media, board want play-offs. Same as ever. We're back in the TIM Cup this year, but the main issue with these targets is working within the wage budget, which I'm struggling with after it was so drastically cut last year.

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Federico Daniele was let go at the end of his contract, he'd always been on the outskirts of the senior squad, mainly a bench player, so it was time to move him on and remove him from the wage bill. Rosario Polidoro (20d) was a young player who'd made a couple of appearances but wasn't going to break through, was surprised to get even a little bit of cash for him.

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The big story though was Elia Zingaro leaving. He'd been my number one goalkeeper for the last four years but didn't want to sign a new contract. On deadline day Serie A side Perugia came in with a £35k offer, I managed to negotiate this up to £165k plus 50% of his next sale, and off he went.

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During my time at the club he'd had the seventh most appearances, and is by far the biggest sale so far.

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