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FM22 - Giornale di Sicilia (Palermo FC)


Jogo Bonito
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Welcome to my first chronicled adventure of FM22

For personal reasons, I wanted to start in Sicily (more of that later) and I had the pick of three clubs on the island from Serie C Girone C 

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I checked out Messina, nice kits and colours - but not the team for me

Locality dictated that my choice should be Catania, in the south of the island

They represent the nearest playable FM22 club to my new home, and not only do they have a football in the logo - they also have an elephant

The elephant would connect me with 'my other homeland' Africa, so everything was aligning nicely  

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Instead, I've pitched up at one of their island rivals - and will be the new manager of Palermo FC

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1 minute ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

Looking forward to this, my friend! There are a lot of good sides at this level. It won’t be an easy ride, I’m sure.

Thank you so much. I must admit, they're one of the bigger sides in the division - but Bari, Catania, Foggia and Avellino should all be strong opponents and limited promotion spots will make it tough.

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So why Palermo Football Club (Palermo FC), who and what are they, and what makes them a better choice than Catania?

I'm not going to lie, I have always loved the club colours

Palermo play in pink shirts, being the sole Italian professional club to do so. This is accompanied by black as the secondary colour

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The Rosanero nickname is literally translated as 'the pink and blacks'

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The other club nickname is Le Aquile (The Eagles), and the new badge used since 2019 (shown below) reflects that attachment in a more modern way

Sporting a white eagle's head and three pink/black feathers within a black stylized letter 'P'

The eagle represents the city of Palermo, as it is also part of the city's official coat of arms

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In the world we now live in, everybody wants to have a hashtag and #siamoaquile 'we are eagles' is widely used by the club and it's followers

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My other reasoning for picking Palermo is much less colourful

I've visited the city, they have a good fan base and stadium, room to grow again, and a reasonably good squad for the level

When I say good stadium just take a look at this - not bad for the third tier in Italy, right?

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Oh, hold on a moment. This is Italy, Serie C - and that image is only depicting the new home they had been planning for many years

Of course it has never (yet) reached fruition, and possibly never will

So the current stadium is in amongst the tower blocks and skyscrapers - but with a tiny bit of green and scenery around the edges to soften the blow a little

The 'Stadio Renzo Barbera' was originally opened in 1932 - and whilst it's a good size, it is quite badly outdated

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And why are Palermo a better choice than Catania? Well, as basic as this stadium is, it is better than the one serving their big Sicilian rivals

 

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 In 2020, as part of the celebrations for the club's 120th anniversary, Palermo announced a hall of fame selection

Eleven players and a manager were selected from a list of over 100 proposals

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The best manager in the club's history was selected to be Francesco Guidolin, who led Palermo to win promotion to Serie A in 2004 after a 31-year absence

He followed that up with a 6th place finish in the top flight (best result in the club's history) and consequently their first ever European qualification the year after

Amongst the players chosen were Andrea Barzagli, Fabio Grosso, Paulo Dybala and a certain Luca Toni (who bagged 50 goals in 80 Palermo games from 2003-2005)

Missing out from the hall of fame were the likes of Edinson Cavani, Andrea Belotti and Alberto Gilardino

And there was me thinking that Abel Hernandez was the best Palermo striker ever...

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And now it's time to meet the rookie manager tasked with dragging Palermo out of Serie C, and hopefully back to Serie A

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Welcome back, Luca Toni

As Luca is taking on his first managerial role, his coaching badges have been dropped down a touch to reflect his inexperience

He's also been pitched in one or two levels below his true playing career reputation - he shouldn't be walking in to this role and finding it too easy

And this is what he finds at Renzo Barbera - La Favorita

Having finished 7th last season, the media prediction this time around is 4th (Bari are favourites)

This would only deliver a play-off spot and the tension and drama of trying to stumble through to promotion the hard way

By the way, anyone familiar with Palermo might notice Giacomo Filippi is the Assistant Manager

Full disclosure, I demoted him from Manager and booted out his actual right-hand man as I thought Luca could do with some better help in this mission

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So that's the introductory posts completed, and all that is left will be the squad assessment and then it's time to crack on

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I love stories like this, let's hope you can make Palermo great as it used to be, or even better. I also love using ex players as managers but why don't you select the picture that would be like the ones in the facepack you're using :D. https://fmdataba.com/8/p/275070/luca-toni/ This one for example. Just a suggestion :

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8 hours ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Awesome opening post Jogo. I am looking forward to seeing how you do with Palermo.

Thanks mate, I'll be dipping in and out of this for the duration of FM22 but looking forward to it. It's a far cry from my one previous effort in Italy, Serie A with Parma last year.

3 hours ago, TheVerySpecialOne said:

I love stories like this, let's hope you can make Palermo great as it used to be, or even better. I also love using ex players as managers but why don't you select the picture that would be like the ones in the facepack you're using :D. https://fmdataba.com/8/p/275070/luca-toni/ This one for example. Just a suggestion :

Thanks very much. I'm trying to get a more modern face pack image of Luca Toni sorted as I want him to look 44 and not as he was at the end of his playing career. When the image is cut, I will switch it to that format so your idea matches my own really :thup:

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5 hours ago, Dong21 said:

Really good opening posts Jogo and loving the graphics :applause:

I will, of course, be following with interest.

Thanks, it is perhaps a bit image heavy at the start but hopefully as the story unfolds it will become more balanced :D

1 hour ago, john1 said:

Will be following :D 

Thanks and appreciated :)

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Not sure how I missed the opening to this but found it eventually! You have a talent for opening posts in style and this one is among your best, I think.

I'm also glad you opted for Palermo, because I'm planning a Catania save at some point :).

Good luck :thup:

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So after the introduction, it's time to take a look at the squad assembled by Palermo FC for season 2021/22

The club had a transfer budget of around £250,000 which was surprisingly generous for Serie C-C

The below images represent what was available ahead of the official season opener, although there were a couple of changes to personnel on deadline day

Actually, speaking of deadline day, Serie C-C didn't get invited to participate and the event slipped by with minimal fuss - more on that later

Transfer Approach & Preferences

I like to have a younger squad than average, and the first mission is always to remove players over 30 as soon as possible

I prefer not to have too many loans, but in the lower tiers you do sometimes inherit players 'above your level' so most of the loan men were retained

Transfer rules for Serie C (and B) dictate that you cannot sign non-EU players that are based outside of Italy, so the core group will be Italian

Transfers (outgoing)

Alberto Pelagotti Bubacarr Marong Masimiliano Doda Francesco De Rose Nicola Valente Roberto Floriano

Alberto Pelagotti (32) goalkeeper, Bubacarr Marong (21) central defender, Masimiliano Doda (20) right back

Francesco De Rose (34) defensive midfielder, Nicola Valente (29) winger,  Roberto Floriano (34) winger

All six of these players were moved out on free transfers to create room in the squad for other options

Transfers (incoming)

Luca Gemello (GK) the 21 year old Italian joins on loan from Torino, he will be first choice in goal and it is hoped he may sign permanently next June for free

Joseph Minala (DM/MC) the 24 year old from Cameroon never lived up to his earlier hype, and joins on a free transfer after being released by Lazio in the summer

Sebastian Cristoforo (DM/MC) the 27 year old Uruguayan has Italian second nationality and joins as a key player on a free transfer after his release by Girona (Spain)

Brambilla (AMC) the 26 year old Brazilian has Italian second nationality and joins for a small fee from Anagennisi Karditsas, a second tier club in Greece

Vito Leonetti (AML) the 27 year old Italian winger has had a good scoring record in Italian lower leagues and joins for a small fee from fellow Serie C-C club Turris 

Philip Ankrah Yeboah (ST) the 18 year old Ghanaian striker was plucked from Verona for a fee of £44,000 and is an exciting future prospect

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Squad analysis

I'm reasonably happy with the overall balance of the squad that kicked off the season

I'm not too keen on having three on-loan strikers as it isn't great for 'succession planning' but they're all decent for this level

Defensively, many of these players are out of contract in the summer - but as most are only Serie C level that's actually quite fortunate

The central midfield area is now very strong with six starting quality options there (Minala may be deployed elsewhere if I am brave)

The winger numbers were kept to a minimum with just two in the squad - the initial plan is to run a narrow midfield system like a 4132 

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40 minutes ago, Conardo said:

Will follow this. I will start also a save in italy/sicily but in 5th Tier with claasen's file :)

Thanks - and you're brave starting that far down. Good luck to you too :)

6 minutes ago, warlock said:

Not sure how I missed the opening to this but found it eventually! You have a talent for opening posts in style and this one is among your best, I think.

I'm also glad you opted for Palermo, because I'm planning a Catania save at some point :).

Good luck :thup:

Oooh, that's very kind, thank you. I will be delighted to 'compete' against you with Catania.

I've seen a few people are taking them on, and if I am honest, that's really where I should have been starting (location, elephants). But Palermo is a choice I definitely don't regret!

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Pre-Season

Despite having what I thought was a decent squad, pre-season was less than inspiring

But then I wanted this to be a challenge (hence lowering the coaching badges & player rep) as Luca Toni is certainly a managerial rookie 

The only plus point was finishing on a high against CUS Palermo, a local affiliate operating way below our own level

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Deadline day did see a couple of moves, despite the fact that Serie C-C was not invited to participate in the event

The first move was to cut short the stay of on-loan forward Edoardo Soleri, who was sent back to Padova

In his place, 21 year old Italian striker Flavio Junior Bianchi arrived on loan from Genoa, with no wage contribution or loan fee asked for by his parent club

The other thing that became apparent was that I needed a better first choice left-back as Giron was merely 'adequate' and Crivello was weaker (and about to be released IRL)

This hole was filled with less than one hour of the transfer window remaining, as Filippo Costa arrived from Napoli for an initial fee of £55,000

The 26 year old Italian is a massive upgrade, and I was fortunate to get him on a wage of £2.7k p/w as he earned £10.5k p/w at Napoli (they are paying £5k p/w to him still) 

I'll now try to offload Crivello for free as he is an extra number not needed, but I'm not sure if he can join a lower level side outside of the transfer window

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Just now, MattyLewis11 said:

Joseph Minala, isn't he the guy that looks 16 but clearly older than his in game age! Looking forward to following Luca Toni's journey within the save, anything Calcio related and I am emotionally involved lol..follow button has been pressed. 

Almost right on Minala. When he was younger it was claimed he was about 20 years older, but later it was found to be a legitimate age. It's still something rife on the African continent unfortunately, even if he was innocent of the claims. The shadow has remained ever since and he has never established himself anywhere. IRL he has just signed for a low level Italian club (about a week or so ago) but it was after the data lock so luckily for me he was still available.

Thanks for your interest, much appreciated :thup:

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I've seen a lot about Minala recently after it seemed to have gone very quiet about him for some time. How strange that he has popped up in this very save! :D I do agree with you about having three on-loan forwards. I like to have at least once permanent option for the reason of succession planning as you say. It's not ideal but sometimes you can't have everything, I guess! 

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19 hours ago, DefinitelyTaylor said:

I've seen a lot about Minala recently after it seemed to have gone very quiet about him for some time. How strange that he has popped up in this very save! :D I do agree with you about having three on-loan forwards. I like to have at least once permanent option for the reason of succession planning as you say. It's not ideal but sometimes you can't have everything, I guess! 

His name may have surfaced again recently due to the transfer, which revived those old stories. I've had this transfer planned for a while and had him down as a target before the BETA, so it was a surprise to me when I heard he found a new club from 25th October. I do need to correct myself when I said it was a lower league side he joined though, it was Lucchese who are in Serie C-B. It's a different division, but actually they're at the same level as Palermo too :lol:

Yeboah (and who doesn't want a Ghanaian striker with that surname) was signed for the future but I've already introduced him in the league and he will get other chances this season. He'll have to bide his time, but a clear plan for the future is to drop the loan numbers (hopefully to nil) ahead of next season. When he made his debut for Palermo, FM said he became the youngest player ever to appear at Serie C-C level, but I'm not sure that can be true.

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On 19/11/2021 at 23:32, SixPointer said:

Adore the Palermo and Catania kits and it’s a fantastic rivalry. Looking forward to following Luca Toni all the way to the top 

Thanks very much. The rivalry does seem to be present in my game, which makes it more special and tense...

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After a less than inspiring pre-season which saw one win, one draw and three losses, it was time for Luca Toni to test himself in competitive fixtures

The Serie C Cup delivered a nice introduction with an all-Sicily affair against ACR Messina over two legs, and a win on penalties was very hard fought

Serie C started positively, with a solid 4132 narrow formation being picked as the best way to suit the squad assembled

Turris have ground out two 0-0 results against us early on, but we scraped past them in the Cup - and other league results have been very consistent

ACR Messina were not the only side that have taken the lead against us, but they were 2-0 up very early on so recovering to win 5-2 was a special result

Other impressive outings were the 1-0 wins at Catania in the Sicilia Derby and at title favourites Bari

Defensively the side has been solid, and although we weren't on the money early on at Monopoli we came back strong and have had three clean-sheets since then

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The Derby win at Catania was more significant than it seemed, as it allows us to sit ahead of our big rivals by just two points after 12 league games,

An intense rivalry with them seems set to play a prominent part in the season, and I like that

My teenage striker Philip Ankrah Yeboah has grabbed a couple of goals from the bench, including a winner over lowly Latina

On-loan Genoa striker Flavio Junior Bianchi has settled in quite well and is top scorer in Serie C so far, but I have no complaints about any of my regulars at all

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The next Palermo update will probably be after the transfer window closes at the end of January

Thanks for reading 

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Luca Toni is back! Good to see you on the FM22 train as well :)

I definitely love the choice of club. Someone needs to take them back up the leagues. I had a fun save with them on FM20, Lucera was fantastic. Seems like he has moved on though. There is a lot of youth you could look to bring back down the line. 

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Good start! No surprise that you had a tough preseason with those fixtures. Fantastic start in the league.

This write up is making me miss Italy now that my current save has me back in England. Id seriously considered Palermo for my last save before landing on Livorno so looking forward to your journey.

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On 21/11/2021 at 11:27, DefinitelyTaylor said:

A very impressive start. You can’t argue against any of the sides towards the top - a very competitive division with some of the names down in the depths of the third-tier.

Thanks. Yes with only one automatic promotion spot there should be no complacency. It really won't be easy!

23 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Luca Toni is back! Good to see you on the FM22 train as well :)

I definitely love the choice of club. Someone needs to take them back up the leagues. I had a fun save with them on FM20, Lucera was fantastic. Seems like he has moved on though. There is a lot of youth you could look to bring back down the line. 

Thanks mate. Yes a really nice club to be controlling. Hoping Luca Toni can make a name for himself in due course. I haven't checked ex-Palermo players but should do that.

In one week or so I can reveal my new home, I am not due to arrive there for a few more weeks so its a bit delicate to say right now in public for contractual reasons. You never know who may be watching :eek:

20 hours ago, 13th Man said:

Good start! No surprise that you had a tough preseason with those fixtures. Fantastic start in the league.

This write up is making me miss Italy now that my current save has me back in England. Id seriously considered Palermo for my last save before landing on Livorno so looking forward to your journey.

I'm quite new to Italian football in FM terms, but really keen to run this one (amongst others) until FM23. Very happy with the start made so far, thanks.

15 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Fantastic start 👏🏻👏🏻

Thanks very much. I'm delighted with the early form too. A long way to go though :lol:

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19 hours ago, wicksyFM said:

Looking forward to see how you get on. Should get my Catania save going soon

Thanks, it's been enjoyable so far and in early January there are lots of sides all very closely bunched together. I hope you enjoy Catania (they are one of those pushing me hard).

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November 21 saw the first competitive loss for Luca Toni, as home advantage was wasted in a penalty shoot out exit at the hands of Gubbio in the Serie C Cup

The first league defeat followed soon after, and that was also on home turf - disappointing despite Catanzaro being on a really strong run at the time

A fairly poor month was wrapped up with a good win over a decent-looking Foggia outfit though

December also wasn't great with just one win from four and by this point we had slipped to 2nd, with six or seven clubs within just a few points of each other

Luckily the New Year was celebrated in better fashion as the side responded with maximum points from four games to go back to the top of the league

The last two victories were both all-Sicilian affairs, although Catania have slipped right off the pace with five straight defeats (it might be even more than that)

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The current top four have all shared the lead in recent weeks - and before that Catania had been at the summit too

It's still quite tight and a couple of poor results could easily see us slip away from that solitary automatic promotion spot

Financially the club isn't doing so well, and because of this promotion - by any means - could be absolutely critical for the club's future

The transfer window closed with no incomings as it definitely wouldn't have been smart to stretch the finances with new recruits 

However, one pre-contract deal has been struck for the summer - as central midfielder Simone Panada (19) will join from Atalanta for free on a very low wage

No players departed either, as there were no takers for the dispensable Crivello and Marconi even if giving them away for free

Whilst the wage bill would have been trimmed by £2950 per week in total if the pair had left, there would have been little real impact anyway

The only on-loan player I was prepared to terminate was our disappointing striker Fella, but as we pay nothing for him anyway there seemed no point in doing so 

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There are 14 games left of the regular season, and the next update will follow when that stage is completed

Thanks for reading

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2 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

New Year was celebrated in better fashion

Yeah, always good to get the year off to a flying start.

Also yeah, that financial graph is looking a bit relentless, but it looks like you'll end the season better off than at the start. Maybe :D

And what happens at the end of the stage - I guess you play a Top 10 mini-league?

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13 hours ago, warlock said:

Yeah, always good to get the year off to a flying start.

Also yeah, that financial graph is looking a bit relentless, but it looks like you'll end the season better off than at the start. Maybe :D

And what happens at the end of the stage - I guess you play a Top 10 mini-league?

Cheers. I think that the profit is only because they had sold Lorenzo Lucca to Pisa for £2m before I arrived, I didn't do anything that could have made those funds and can't really imagine the competition kitty paid out significant money like that. Perhaps some Mafia money or match-fixing money came in? As much as I would have loved Lucca in this team, it's a good job they did sell him - and it's probably the reason we had £250k starting transfer budget too.

I'm not really sure what happens with that end of season format yet. My approach is to concentrate on what goes before, but will check a few games before the end to see if I need to start resting players.

13 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Palermo has to win this! You are the best team in the division as well as most storied. That loss to Cantanzaro must hurt since they are your closest rivals.

So far just about the best, but who finishes top will deserve to. Yes it's never good losing to rivals, although I don't think they were 2nd at that point. Thanks for your interest :)

3 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

14 games to go, I will keep my fingers crossed for Toni. Looking forward to the next update. 

Thanks Matty. Hopefully Luca won't mess it up, the squad may need to be weakened because of economics next season if he does! Like him, I've never managed in Serie C, so it's good to mirror his make-believe inexperience at this level.

Your updates and so many others on here (many who have kindly commented on my effort too) are excellent insights, really deep and detailed. In comparison mine is a real 'FMCU lite' alternative to the amazing tactical and analytical updates you guys deliver, but if it's well written and enjoyable I hope it has it's place :lol:

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You’re doing well - a few bumps in the road but you seem back on course.

17 hours ago, warlock said:

And what happens at the end of the stage - I guess you play a Top 10 mini-league?

Allow me - (was worried about this in my FM21 Livorno save) yes, all top ten teams enter the playoffs, but the higher you finish, the less games you play. Finish 9/10, you have to win six games!

But if you finish 2nd, I think you “only”have to win two to get to the  promotion final. Wait, to get to the promotion final you ask? Yes.  Only four teams are promoted to Serie B from Serie C’s three sections. After the section winners, only other team gets promoted! 
Basically - hold on to that top spot…

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22 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

 

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Nice to see you top of the league at this stage in the season and four wins on the spin puts you in good form going into the next games. I find in the lower Italian leagues promotion is a must early on before the club starts draining too much money.

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On 27/11/2021 at 16:41, 13th Man said:

You’re doing well - a few bumps in the road but you seem back on course.

Allow me - (was worried about this in my FM21 Livorno save) yes, all top ten teams enter the playoffs, but the higher you finish, the less games you play. Finish 9/10, you have to win six games!

But if you finish 2nd, I think you “only”have to win two to get to the  promotion final. Wait, to get to the promotion final you ask? Yes.  Only four teams are promoted to Serie B from Serie C’s three sections. After the section winners, only other team gets promoted! 
Basically - hold on to that top spot…

Thanks for the encouragement, hopefully we can get over the line as I don't fancy the play-off battle. And many thanks for explaining what (not) to look forward to :lol:

On 27/11/2021 at 18:31, WilsonJuve said:

Nice to see you top of the league at this stage in the season and four wins on the spin puts you in good form going into the next games. I find in the lower Italian leagues promotion is a must early on before the club starts draining too much money.

Thanks, hopefully the form will continue like this but one defeat could throw us off track again quite easily. I'm not bothered personally if we don't go up this year, but would expect it to force us in to  'cutting our cloth accordingly' if it doesn't happen. Financially, the squad will probably break up and leave us weakened, so failure might mean a good few more years in Serie C, which wouldn't be ideal.

On 28/11/2021 at 00:21, warlock said:

Thanks for the info. I'll be sure to keep this in mind when I start my Italian adventure :lol:

Sicily is calling you...

On 28/11/2021 at 12:22, karanhsingh said:

Hope you can keep up this level of performance mate, nice work so far 

Thanks very much, I hope so too. Things aren't going so well on the other matter of being able to answer your location question. If that situation improves, I'll be happy to say more, but not going through a pleasant experience on it just at the moment :thdn:

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14 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Thanks very much, I hope so too. Things aren't going so well on the other matter of being able to answer your location question. If that situation improves, I'll be happy to say more, but not going through a pleasant experience on it just at the moment :thdn:

Hope it gets sorted out mate!

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20 hours ago, warlock said:

That's disappointing. Hope things are resolved to your satisfaction!

7 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Hope it gets sorted out mate!

Thanks both. Really pleased to say that all issues over my departure have today been worked through and we have resolved any differences, restored our mutual respect and agreed an exit strategy we all feel fine with.

There were no issues at the other end, and within the next few weeks I'll be enjoying my new surroundings in Malta :cool:

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On 01/12/2021 at 23:56, Jogo Bonito said:

Thanks both. Really pleased to say that all issues over my departure have today been worked through and we have resolved any differences, restored our mutual respect and agreed an exit strategy we all feel fine with.

There were no issues at the other end, and within the next few weeks I'll be enjoying my new surroundings in Malta :cool:

Sounds like a nice place to move to! Best of luck mate 

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2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Sounds like a nice place to move to! Best of luck mate 

Thanks mate, I hope so too. Well aware nowhere is perfect though :)

 

317103682_giornaledisicilia.jpg.130fcb17047074665d60282ac2f27ab9.jpg1578255147_.120annianniversario.jpg.b850a4b75505c4590a2243798c57008e.jpg

At the end of January there were 14 games left of the regular 38-match campaign, and we had a lead of two points at the top of Serie C-C

The plan was to do an update at the end of that stage, but instead let's see what our last 10 games have delivered

A big match with Bari (4th and close at the time) was a pivotal moment I felt, and a 4-0 win was beyond wildest dreams

That result boosted confidence as another four wins and one draw finished off a fantastic February

The first three games in March followed the pattern, and only two goals had been conceded in that run of nine games 

The goals return wasn't particularly heavy in the same period, and a curious observation is that all 15 goals were scored my strike duo

The latest win was a narrow 1-0 triumph over Catanzaro (4th) but then came a bit of a rude awakening

Last time out we played poorly and with little intensity as a third league loss of the season was suffered - to one of our challengers too

594825994_PalermoF.C._Fixtures1.3.png.9f9e0c888beff459f5b39a235c3f79a0.png

Given the situation, our next opponents, and the fact that the below news item was received, it seemed like a good time to take stock of our run-in

Next up is a road trip to take on Foggia (2nd) and with a six point gap to them, it wouldn't be bad to grab a point and maintain the same distance

Confidence is high that we will hang on to the one automatic promotion spot, but it's never taken for granted that one defeat won't lead to two...

1769623931_Palermo1run-in.png.2e78825af7594d86ea0032c07f3f86b3.png

Thanks for reading, the next update will definitely be at the end of the season - whatever happens

JB.jpg.30b53edfa239e6a4764dd427693cc700.jpg

Edited by Jogo Bonito
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