BadManager

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About BadManager

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    Canberra, Australia

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    Cricket, Australian Football (as in AFL), FM (duh)
  1. Sepember 2023 S.P.A.L. Italian Serie B Lecce (predicted 4th) v S.P.A.L. (predicted 10th) – Serie B, Game 1 of 42 Oh, dear. We were murdered from start to finish. And had the injuries to show that was only a slight exaggeration in the literal sense as well. Lecce had all the ball and we were very lucky to still be at nil-all when Francomacarro went down on 42 minutes. We came out firing after the break and managed our first shot of the game. That was quickly followed by letting in the first goal of the game, one of the best players in the league Immobile got away from the marking set on him and headed in a long free kick. We then lost both Cyril Durand and Emanuele Quadrelli to vicious tackles. Somehow, in the 94th minute Mendicino put home a long strike from the left to draw level. A lucky point, but at how much cost. A lot. Francomacarro will miss around two months, maybe slightly less. The other players injured during the match should be available. S.P.A.L. v Ascoli (predicted 5th) – Serie B, Game 2 of 42 There wasn’t much difference between the sides early, but once Ascoli go an all too easy opening goal from a corner they took charge. Our midfield is really lacking, Urbani is great but can’t do it all on his own. Even after Ascoli were down to ten men we could not string passes together or make any sort of moves. One point in two games against sides expected to finish towards the top isn’t terrible, its obviously not good either, but the nature of the games has me worried. Empoli (predicted 1st) v S.P.A.L. – Serie B, Game 3 of 42 If the media is near the money, it doesn’t get any easier. With Francmacarro out and fixture congestion meaning I started a very tired Urbani on the bench I was hoping to sit back, and not concede for 60-65 minutes before bringing Urbani on, changing focus, and seeing if we could do something. We did that, and Urbani came on to replace an injured Durand 64 minutes in. That left us with a bung formation though. We didn’t look like making a breakthrough, but nor did Empoli and a scoreless draw was fine in the circumstances. We picked up a promising 19 year old Turkish midfielder during the week. He’s here on a three year deal, so hopefully will develop with first team football. He and Quadrelli will probably swap in and out a lot. S.P.A.L. v Bologna (predicted 7th) – Serie B, Game 4 of 42 – televised We created one excellent opportunity on the counter very early, but Lertua was a split second too slow to pass to Mendicino. It was Lertua again who made the break a couple of minutes later. This time he got the ball to early, and Durand ran past for Mendicino, then slotted home an advantage against a fierce rival team. Fifteen minutes in Quadrelli was hammered in the back, and Bologna went a man down with a straight red. That somehow seemed to settle Bologna, they took more care with their passes and slower build-ups that were harder to cut off. Just as I was thinking the three points would consolation for not being able press home a numerical advantage we conceded. 1-1 after 87 minutes. We didn’t do a lot wrong, they just got their most skilled players combining with their best skills and opened the whole goalmouth. I just can’t find avenues to goal, which is going to make wins hard to get. Cesena (11th 2-1-1, predicted 12th) v S.P.A.L. – Serie B, Game 5 of 42 Valdivia is available again, but I started him on the bench to ease him back into things. Lertua had three good chances early on, two who pinged straight at the goalkeeper and one he decided the corner flag made a better target than the net. It was amazingly bad with the full goalmouth to aim at from close range. After 35 we did score, a Perez header from a corner. Mbiakop was called on and made a great save on 65 minutes to maintain the lead, at least temporarily. Mbamba was getting tired, but the ref was card-happy and I was reluctant to bring on the occasionally fiery (and less skilled) Piccini to replace him. Valdivia came on after 70, an underperforming Mendicino came to the bench and Durand went forward. In the end, while we deserved the early lead I’m not so sure we deserved the win. Cesena came close a few times in the final 30 minutes. During the week, we signed another midfielder. This time a proven mid-career player. I think his wage is above his worth really, but we needed somebody else in there with Urbani as the youngsters just aren’t cutting it. Twenty-six-year-old Ecuadorian international Francisco Lascano joins until 2025 after six years in Spain. This must be the last signing; I’m getting close to the wage budget now. S.P.A.L. v Sassuolo (9th 2-2-1, predicted 15th) This is a concerning match-up, given we can’t score and Saasuolo enter the game as the second highest scoring team in the early stages of the season. Frowny face. We dominated for 43 minutes, without looking like scoring because we like to send the ball to the moon or just not take a shot at all. Sassuolo make one foray, our defence runs away from the ball and lets them in easily. From that point on neither team tries anything. Pathetic. I’m on the brink of resigning. As if to taunt me with the way we can’t finish anything, this side would miss twenty penalties in a row right now, Mendicino wins goal of the month. Not a good opening month. On the plus side, we have conceded equal fewest in the league, with some luck involved, Lecce could easily have been 3-0 defeat. We are also the equal least potent in attack. I do tend to build my teams from defence but this is a serious concern.
  2. July-August 2023 (off-season part two) S.P.A.L. Italian Serie B With out of contract, and traded, players having left, there was £11k per week in the wage budget at the start of the month. I'm reluctant to use all of that, as we only make small monthly profits. To use anything above last season could see losses being made instead and with the match day revenue already close to maxing out I can't rely on bigger income. I was offered an extra year on my contract, which had a year to run. This is with quite a big pay rise. Accepted. The media have us predicted to finish tenth, and the bookies had us 40/1 for promotion. So, they recognise improvement but don't quite expect us to repeat last year's finish. That's probably fair enough, anything above mid-table would be a bonus. Why can't my scouts find any wingers? Surely somewhere in Europe somebody affordable plays on the wing. Particularly the right, Mendicino can go to the left and someone else can fill a striker sport; or Francamacarro can play as a sole striker. Another central mid and a better backup striker would be handy too. Friendlies: Bologna (Serie B, predicted 7th) – 3:3 – the defence was leaky when Bologna had chances, but good at limiting the number of chances Fiorentina (Serie A, predicted 5th) – 0:2 – crushed all over the park, but at least we made a very good team work for their goals Juventus (Serie A, predicted 2nd) – 0:3 – we may as well make money from friendlies Bari (Serie A, predicted 16th) – 2:2 – Bari maybe slightly better, but Francomacarro brace gives false hope (the only kind of hope) Siracusa (Serie C2/B, predicted 4th) – 3:0 – intended as a morale booster, showed up the forward structure is failing as it was 1:0 for about 80 minutes Ternana (Serie C1/B, predicted 8th) –3:0 – always in control without being spectacular, started with near first team, bulk substitution and finished with near reserves Expectations League Board – mid-table Media – 10th Me – top half-chances Cup Board – 3rd qualifying round Me – 4th qualifying round, 1st round proper if draw is kind S.P.A.L. (Serie B expected 10th) v Triestina (Serie C1/A, expected 2nd) – Italian Cup 2nd Qualifying Round Our cup opponents finished last in Serie B last season, and won 4-0 against another Serie C1 side in the previous round. So, they aren’t that far off our level. No excuses, but it was not going to be as easy as it may have looked. Debutants, starting eleven: Constant Mbiakop, 21yo Cameroonian goalkeeper Steve Loic Mbamba, 26yo, Cameroonian defender, starting right back Lukas Dams, 18yo German defender, starting defensive mid Luis Jose Valdivia, 19yp Spanish attacking mid or wing, on loan from Poli Ejido, starting as central attacking mid All except perhaps Dams I expect to play every just about available game. Bench debuts, brought in to enable a wider formation: Giuseppe Pendola, 27yo Italian right wing Dennis Rimondini, 18yo Italian left wing Somehow, despite the ball being in the opposition’s third all night we never looked like scoring. We did have a disallowed goal on 20 minutes, but I thought the decision was correct. When Valdivia got injured at around the 80 minute mark, I swapped formations and brought the debutants off the bench. After 90 minutes, still scoreless. Sure enough, on 99 minutes with Triestina barely making a play, they score the game-breaker. Giacomelli, who usually odes a fair job filling in for Kolaric, missed his challenge; Mbiakop missed the ball on a ver saveable shot. Controlling possession, controlling field position, it all means nothing if you don’t score and the opposition does. Out of the cup early in an embarrassing result, yet a game we looked by far the better side in except if there was a net nearby. Early signs are my second season curse is going to continue. Valdivia will miss 4-5 weeks, possibly giving Cyril Durand time back in the first team. Brescia come in with a co-owner offer for Perez. £500k now and £1m at any time to buy out the other half - or both teams at season’s end. (Or, I might be able to cheat and delay for a year again which is how we kept Urbani.) I don’t want to let him go, but suspect he will be unhappy if I don’t accept a Serie A bid. And, potentially, that is quite a bit of money for a club this size. So, reluctantly I accept, hoping it ends up being a free half-million and we keep Perez. Given our struggles in friendlies and the cup game with turning control into goal, I switched the team preparation to focus on attacking movement. The same day as the Perez co-ownership deal is confirmed, news that Jetko scored on debut in Spain. And the fans are out in force over the Perez deal. I can’t blame them really. If we lose him for just the £500k its probably under value. The player himself is thrilled. I agreed to send 20-year-old reserve striker Mario Rencricca on loan to a Serie C side. He wants to go on loan to get first team football, but he rejected the deal. Go figure. Nothing special in the build up to the league beginning. All the deals and those who walked out That leaves me with almost £6k a week before I hit the wage budget. In some ways that's a waste, but it might be a handy buffer for the unexpected too. Quadrelli is probably my biggest question mark in the starting eleven right now. He might not be up to the job on a consistent basis just yet. I'm really expecting Mbiakop to be a fantastic inclusion, the young Virta is project player to hopefully eventually take over in goal. Mbamba is probably our best defender now, playing centre or right; and right back was a problem for us last season. I think we're a better team than last season, despite the big loss of Jetko, but that doesn't necessarily mean better results will automatically come. The Cup game is a huge wake-up call in that regard. With options for left and right wings, the formations we are training have more flexibility this season. Lots of international action. North and South America, plus Asia. Asian Cup ============================================================== |Previous Years | |============================================================| |2015 |Saudi Arabia 2 |South Korea 0 | |2019 |Saudi Arabia 2 |Qatar 1 | |============================================================| |2023 Asian Cup | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Group A GD Pts |Group B GD Pts | |China +4 9 |Uzbekistan +5 7 | |Syria +1 6 |Saudi Arabia +1 5 | |South Korea -2 1 |Iraq -1 4 | |North Korea -3 1 |Jordan -5 0 | | | | |Group C GD Pts |Group D GD Pts | |Australia +3 6 |Japan +9 9 | |Qatar +3 6 |Iran +4 6 | |Oman 0 6 |Bahrain -4 1 | |Kuwait -6 0 |Tajikistan -9 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | | |Syria 0 |China 3 | |Australia 6 |Qatar 1 | | | | |Saudi Arabia 2 |Uzbekistan 1 pens | |Japan 0 |Iran 1 | |----------------------------------------------------------- | |Semi Finals | | | |Australia 0 |China 0 | |Saudi Arabia 0 pens |Unzbekistan 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Third Placed Playoff | | | |Australia 1 | |China 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 ASIAN CUP FINAL | | HT FT ET Pens | |Uzbekistan 1 1 1 2 | |Saudi Arabia 1 1 1 4 | ============================================================== Saudi Arabia's third straight title and the second time in a row they have knocked Australia out in the semis. 2023 Gold Cup ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2013 |Jamaica 1 |Mexico 0 | |2015 |Mexico 2 |Costa Rica 1 | |2017 |U.S.A. 1 |Mexico 0 | |2019 |Mexico 1 |Costa Rica 0 | |2021 |Mexico 2 |Honduras 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | |Trinidad & Tobago 1 |Guatemala 1 | |Honduras 2 et |Jamaica 1 pens | | | | |Panama 1 |Costa Rica 0 | |U.S.A. 5 |Mexico 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi Finals | | | |U.S.A. 4 |Guatemala 0 | |Honduras 0 |Mexico 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 GOLD CUP FINAL | | HT FT ET Pen | |Mexico 1 2 | |U.S.A. 1 1 | ============================================================== Mexico also go three in a row. But again they fall short as an invitiational to the Copa America Copa America ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| | 2015 | Uruguay 1 | Colombia 0 | | 2019 | Argentina 1 | Mexico 0 | ============================================================== |2023 Copa America | |Group A GD Pts | |PERU +5 9 | |VENEZUALA +4 6 | |Ecuador -4 1 | |Bolivia -5 1 | | | |Group B GD Pts | |BRAZIL +5 9 | |COLOMBIA 0 4 | |U.S.A. -1 2 | |Paraguay -4 1 | | | |Group C GD Pts | |ARGENTINA +2 7 | |MEXICO +1 6 | |URUGUAY -1 2 | |Chile -2 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | | |Peru 1 |Uruguay 0 | |U.S.A. 2 |Brazil 1 | | | | |Argentina 0 |Venezuela 2 | |Colombia 1 |Mexico 4 | |----------------------------------------------------------- | |Semi Finals | | | |Brazil 3 |Colombia 1 | |U.S.A. 0 |Mexico 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Third Placed Playoff | | | |Colombia 1 | |U.S.A. 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 COPA AMERICA FINAL | | HT FT ET Pens | |Brazil 2 5 | |Mexico 1 1 | ==============================================================
  3. Quite a rant. For the sake of your heart, and your children, I hope you beat Udinese.
  4. Rough start with Genoa, but clearly ou inherited a team that wasn't faring that well to begin with. You've got a plan in place, cut some deadwood, that's about all you can do at this point. It sometimes only takes that one good win to turn things around. Good luck.
  5. June 2023 (off-season part one) S.P.A.L. Italian Serie B Our parent club, Trevizo, were relegated to Serie C in a playout. The Serie B team of the year was announced. Of course the only person we have in it is Pavol Jetko. During the month we signed a new goalkeeper. 21 year old Cameroonian international (OK, only five times so far) Constant Mbiakop will probably be our starter in goal. That will leave us with a decent backup, our current number one, and another youngster. So I think we're well placed in front of the net for next season and quite a few years beyond. I went hunting for an out of contract, or soon to be so, right wing as well. I think we need more flexibility to play wide at times. We lacked that through the year. However, I was severely limited by what the board would allow me to offer so had to wait until the new wage cap was announced and some of the current players leave. We couldn't come to terms with 32 year old defensive mid. I just don't see the value in what he is asking for. It will be a bit of a shame to lose him, but he really wasn't vital and I'm sure we can fill the gap with a better player at an only slightly higher price. Even with an increase in wage budget and losing Jetko (and presumably Kolaric, I can't see the co-owner deal going any other way) and his demands below his current deal, he's just not worth it. Our coaching stocks were boosted, the retiring Donnarumma will make a good coach for attack and technique. The fans player of the year was announced as Manuel Francomacarro. Captain Renzo Iachettini was inducted into the club's overall best eleven. Financial figures for the season amounted to a profit of a touch over £1.3m, take out on factors like player sales/purchases and that would be about £800k. But that was at least enough to make the bank account in the black. The £1.8m in TV rights in Serie B makes all the difference. Not surprisingly, the average attendance was new record for the club. Its a shame the stadium can't hold many more, breaking that record seems unlikely. The next season expectations are for a respectable league finish. The league won't being until September, but I expect the cup to start for us again in mid-August. Friendlies aren't book yet, but must be the next thing I do. Internationally, the Gold Cup has almost ended. And at club level in South America: Copa Liberdatores ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2012 |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 4 | | |Sao Paulo (Brazil) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2013 |Corinthians (Brazil) 4 | | |Clube Atletico Mineiro (Brazil) 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2014 |Corinthians (Brazil) 2 | | |Fluminense (Brazil) 4 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2015 |Corinthians (Brazil) 6 | | |San Lorenzo (Argentina) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2016 |Flamengo (Brazil) 3 | | |Cruz Azul (Mexico) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2017 |Sao Paulo (Brazil) 5 | | |Corinthians (Brazil) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2018 |Sao Paulo (Brazil) 5 | | |Cruz Azul (Mexico) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2019 |Corinthians (Brazil) 6 | | |Cerro Porteno (Paraguay) 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2020 |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 3 | | |Flamengo (Brazil) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2021 |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 3 | | |Corinthians (Brazil) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2022 |Sao Paulo (Brazil) 3 | | |Flamengo (Brazil) 2 | |============================================================| |2023 Copa Liberdatores | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Internacional (Brazil) 0 3 3 | |Santos (Brazil) 1 3 4 ` | | | |Lanos (Argentina) 3 1 4 | |Bolivar (Bolivia) 1 3 4 pens | | | |Racing Club (Argentina) 1 1 2 | |Corinthians (Brazil) 3 4 7 | | | |Tigres (Mexico) 3 2 5 | |Boca Juniors (Argentina) 2 1 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Corinthians (Brazil) 1 1 2 | |Santos (Brazil) 0 1 1 | | | |Tigres (Mexico) 0 1 1 | |Bolivar (Bolivia) 2 3 5 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 Copa Liberdatores Final | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Bolivar (Bolivia) 0 0 0 | |Corinthians (Brazil) 2 5 7 | ==============================================================
  6. May 2023 continued Leagues finished up around Europe. The Champions League has sudden;ly got less predictable. ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2011/12|FC Barcelona (Spain) 6 | | |Arsenal (England) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2012/13|Manchester United (England) 3 | | |Manchester City (England) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2013/14|FC Barcelona (Spain) 3 | | |Olypique Lyonnais (France) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2014/15|Manchester United (England) 2 | | |FC Barcelona (Spain) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2015/16|FC Barcelona (Spain) 2 | | |FCP (Portugal) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2016/17|Manchester City (England) 3 | | |Paris-St Germain (France) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2017/18|Chelsea (England) 3 | | |A.C. Milan (Italy) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2018/19|Manchester City (England) 2 penalties | | |Chelsea (England) 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2019/20|Manchester City (England) 3 | | |Manchester United (England) 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2020/21|FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 1 penalties | | |Manchester City (England) 1 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2021/22|FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 2 | | |Manchester United (England) 1 | |============================================================| |2022/23 European Champions League | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quater Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |FC Internazionale (Italy) 3 0 3 | |FC Barcelona (Spain) 0 1 1 | | | |Olympique Lyonnais (France) 0 1 1 | |Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 1 3 4 | | | |Arsenal (England) 2 0 2 | |FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 1 1 3 | | | |Manchester United (England) 2 1 3 | |Olympique de Marseilles (France) 1 4 5 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi-Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Olympique de Marseilles (France) 3 0 3 | |FC Internazionale (Italy) 0 2 2 | | | |Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 4 0 4 | |FC Bayern Munchen (Germany) 0 0 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2022 European Champions League Final | | HT FT ET Pen | |Olympique de Marseilles (France) 1 4 | |Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 0 0 | ============================================================== England 2022/23 ============================================================== |Previous Winners | | League Cup | |2011/12|Manchester United |Aston Villa | |2012/13|Manchester City |Tottenham Hotspur | |2013/14|Manchester City |Watford | |2014/15|Tottenham Hotspur |Wigan | |2015/16|Manchester United |Fulham | |2016/17|Chelsea |Liverpool | |2017/18|Chelsea |Arsenal | |2018/19|Manchester United |Tottenham Hotspur | |2019/20|Chelsea |Birmingham City | |2020/21|Manchester United |Fulham | |2021/22|Arsenal |Arsenal | |============================================================| |League |Cup | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Chelsea +50 85 |FA Cup | |Arsenal +34 81 |Reading 2 | |Manchester United +33 65 |Liverpool 1 | |Tottenham Hotspur +10 64 | | |Birmingham City +6 59 |League Cup | |Manchester City +11 57 |Chelsea 3 | |Reading +7 57 |Tottenham Hotspur 1 | ============================================================== Italy 2022/23 ============================================================== |Previous Winners | | League Cup | |2011/12|FC Internazionale |FC Internazionale | |2012/13|FC Internazionale |Atalanta | |2013/14|FC Internazionale |A.C. Milan | |2014/15|FC Internazionale |Napoli | |2015/16|FC Internazionale |Genoa | |2016/17|FC Internazionale |Novara | |2017/18|Juventus |FC Internazionale | |2018/19|A.C. Milan |Juentus | |2019/20|A.C. Milan |A.C. Milan | |2020/21|FC Internazionale |FC Internazionale | |2021/22|FC Internazionale |FC Internazionale | |============================================================| |League |Cup | |------------------------------------------------------------| |FC Internazionale +32 78 |Italian Cup | |Juventus +15 70 |Juventus 3 e.t. | |Fiorentina +13 67 |Lazio 2 | |Novara +11 66 | | |A.C. Milan +10 60 | | |Sampdoria +4 57 | | |Genoa +4 56 | | ============================================================== and a double in Spain, not by barcelona Spain 2022/23 ============================================================== |Previous Winners | | League Cup | |2011/12|Real Madrid |Valencia | |2012/13|FC Barcelona |Atletico Madrid | |2013/14|FC Barcelona |Sevilla | |2014/15|FC Barcelona |Osasuna | |2015/16|FC Barcelona |FC Barcelona | |2016/17|FC Barcelona |Atletico Madrid | |2017/18|FC Barcelona |FC Barcelona | |2018/19|Real Madrid |Sevilla | |2019/20|FC Barcelona |Real Madrid | |2020/21|FC Barcelona |Deportivo la Coruna | |2021/22|Real Madrid |Mallorca | |============================================================| |League |Cup | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Real Madrid +35 83 |Spanish Cup | |Atletico Madrid +41 79 |Real Madrid 2 | |Sevilla +29 74 |RC Celta SAD 1 | |FC Barcelona +39 72 | | |Athletic Club +10 65 | | |Zaragoza +8 64 | | |Mallorca -4 61 | | ============================================================== To my career update, and its still very dismal reading Competition History ============================================================================================================ |Season |Club |Compeition |Finish | |======= |==============================|==================================================|===============| |2011/12 |CF Braila |Romanian Second League Group 1 | 10th of 16 | | | | Arrived in 11th place, 15 of 30 played | | | | |Already out of cup, 4th round | | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2012/13 |CF Braila |Romanian Second League Group 1 | 12th of 16 | | | | Sacked after 6 matches of 30 | | | |Romanian Cup |4th round (start 4th round) | | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2012/13 |Gaz Metan Severin |Romanian Second League Group 2 | 6th of 16 | | | | Arrived in 8th place, 19 of 30 played | | | |Romanian Cup |Already out of cup, 4th round | | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2013/14 |Gaz Metan Severin |Romanian Second League Group 2 | 10th of 16 | | | | Sacked after 30 matches of 32 | | | | |Romanian Cup |7th round | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2015/16 |CF Bihoril Beius |Romanian Second League Group 2 | 9th of 16 | | | |Romanian Cup |3rd Round | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2016/17 |CF Bihoril Beius |Romanian Second League Group 2 | 10th of 16 | | | | Sacked after 31 matches of 32 | | | | |Romanian Cup |3rd Round | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2017/18 |Real Madrid (RSA) |South African National First Division | 14th of 16 | | | |South African Cup |1st Round | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2018/19 |Real Madrid (RSA) |South African National First Division | 15th of 16 | | | | Relegated, sacked at season's end | | | | |South African Cup |Prelim Round | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2019/20 | | | | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2020/21 |Roses United |South African National First Division | 14th of 16 | | | | Arrived in 15th place, 17 of 30 played | | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2021/22 |Roses United |South African national First Division | 15th of 16 | | | | Relegated, sacked after 14 games of 30 | | | | |South African Cup |Prelim Round | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2022/23 |S.P.A.L. |Italian Serie B | 5th of 22 | | | |Italian Cup |3rd Qual Round | |==========================================================================================================| |==========================================================================================================| |Season |Club |Competition | W| D| L| GF| GA| GD | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |2011/12 |CF Brailia |Romanian Second League | 4| 6| 5| 14| 17| -3 | |2012/13 | |Romanian Second League | 0| 3| 3| 4| 7| -3 | | | |Romanian Cup | 0| 0| 1| 0| 2| -2 | | |Gaz Metan Severin |Romanian Second League | 3| 2| 2| 6| 7| -1 | |2013/14 | |Romanian Second League | 7| 13| 10| 36| 37| -1 | | | |Romanian Cup | 3| 0| 1| 11| 9| +2 | |2015/16 |CF Bihoril Beius |Romanian Second League | 11| 12| 12| 51| 55| -4 | | | |Romanian Cup | 1| 1| 1| 7| 5| +2 | |2016/17 | |Romanian Second League | 6| 10| 15| 37| 50| -13 | | | |Romanian Cup | 1| 0| 1| 4| 5| -1 | |2017/18 |Real Madrid (RSA) |South African First Division | 6| 5| 19| 29| 55| -26 | | | |South African Cup | 0| 1| 1| 0| 3| -3 | | | |South African First Division Cup | 0| 0| 1| 0| 2| -2 | |2018/19 |Real Madrid (RSA) |South African First Division | 3| 4| 23| 25| 66| -41 | | | |South African Cup | 0| 0| 1| 2| 3| -1 | | | |South African First Division Cup | 0| 0| 1| 0| 2| -2 | |2020/21 |Roses United |South African First Division | 2| 3| 8| 11| 21| -10 | |2021/22 |Roses United |South African First Division | 4| 4| 6| 17| 20| -3 | | | |South African Cup | 0| 1| 0| 1| 1| 0 | | | |South African First Division Cup | 0| 1| 0| 1| 1| 0 | |2022/23 |S.P.A.L. |Italian Serie B | 18| 11| 13| 64| 55| +9 | | | |Italian Cup | 1| 0| 1| 3| 2| +1 | |==========================================================================================================| |Totals |CF Brailia |Romania 22| 4| 9| 9| 18| 26| -8 | | |Gaz Metan Severin |Romania 41| 13| 15| 13| 53| 53| 0 | | |CF Bihoril Beius |Romania 71| 19| 23| 29| 99| 115| -16 | | |Real Madrid (RSA) |South Africa 65| 9| 10| 46| 56| 131| -55 | | |Roses United |South Africa 29| 6| 9| 14| 30| 43| -13 | | |S.P.A.L. |Italy 44| 19| 11| 14| 67| 57| +10 | |----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| |Grand Total 272| 70| 77|125| 323| 425|-102 | |Percentage |26%|28%|46%| | ============================================================================================================ Note: Cup matches which go to penalties are considered draws in the above.
  7. May 2023 S.P.A.L. Serie B S.P.A.L. (7th) v Crotone (6th) – Serie B We took an unchanged starting eleven into the game, with an eye to kept on fitness. It seemed to work, 2-0 up inside six minutes with Jetko and Mendicino on the board. Both runs up the middle, between defender, with perfect balls laid into the their path. We alsmot ahd a third 15 minutes in, Iachettini's close range header brilliantly parried away. Instead, ten minutes later Crotone got one back. They were playing their defence well forward; which had opened up the runs for the earlier goals; but this time delivered them plenty of men around the ball when needed and a fast break home. Suddenly it was 2-2, an innocuous looking ball found a Crotone player who simply trapped the ball and hammered it home with brute force. It ricoch3ed off two players without any major deflection, it was struck so hard. Five clear cut chances to at the half, but 2-2 the score. We pressed very hard for a long time in the second half but our best chance in the next 20 minutes was fluffed when Mendicino and Jetko let the ball go for each other, giving Crotone's defenders a chance to run back on to it. One of them should have been one-on-one with the goalkeeper with the whole area to play with. Mendincino broke the deadlock, from the edge of the area to get the lead back. At this stage Quadrelli again came off tired, he's just not used to 90 minutes of first team yet. Two late changes in defence, a switch to a 5-3-2 with defensive mindset, and a 3-2 win that should not have been so close. Cesena (15th) v S.P.A.L. (5th) – Serie B End to end stuff early, with no goals. Until the 26th minute, when Cesena's Cavilieri was on the end of a free kick and nimbly evaded two p[layers and basically dribbled the ball over the line. Meanwhile we were regularly going one on one with their goalkeeper and then shooting high.,Wwde, or anything except netward. This was really hard to watch, we made most of the running, created all the chances, but Cesena looked far more likely to actually score. 1-0 loss, and deservedly so. Despite having 12 shots to 4 we were by far the inferior team. With three games to go, we hold on to 6th place because results between teams is used before goal difference. Otherwise Bologna would be ahead of us by one goal. But it won't matter anyway, the gap from 3rd to 4th is now 12 points with only 9 points to play for. S.P.A.L. (6th) v Pescara (13th) – Serie B Mendicino had reached his yellow card limit, and was suspended for this match. Boyeka made a rare appearance replacing him. Urbani made his first start since injury. We started the game with a goal that was called offside. Probably correctly. A round twenty minues in Boyeka copped a heavy knock, but appeared to be slowly recovering so I did not replace him at that stage. It almost paid off, but his goal was also called offside. Again, marginal, again probably correct. And he almost scored just before the half, his shot going off the upright into the goalie's arms. And then a quick counter, Pescara scoring with their second shot to our ten (plus offsides). Again, clearly the better team but wasting it, and paying the price from one bad lapse. We finally levelled after 77 minutes, through Francomacarro's centring pass to Urbani who tapped in from almost on the line. There was nothing I could do about the lack of potency, 1-1 and more points thrown away. We've completely fallen apart the last few games. Juve Stabia (9th) v S.P.A.L. (7th) Its never a good sign when you gove the team talk and the captain is demotivated. It is a good sign to go 1-0 up. Francomacarro with some footwork and then a shot from just outside the area to put us ahead. The game changed after the break, Juve taking advantage of their numbers out wide. Mendicino went on quite the solo run for us though on the counter. All the way up the left wing, cutting inside, around two and then getting the shot away, but pushing it wide. In stoppage time Francomacarro was there to advantage of Mendicino stripping a defender of the ball, and 2-0. With one game to go Foggia claim the Serie B title. S.P.A.L. (5th) v Padova (12th) The end of the season. The worst we can do is finish seventh. The last time S.P.A.L finished that high in Serie B was 1974/75. Retiring Donnarumma gets a start, for the fans to say farewell. Its also the last of Jetko and Kolaric, as they are moving on next season unfortunately. But it was either agree or lose them for nothing, and have morale brought down while they stayed. Three minutes in, a goal down. Not good. A backheel from a Padova midfielder caught our defence out of position and an unmarked striker hit home. Two minutes later a second, that was surely offside but Iachatteini should never been stripped of it so easily. Mendicino had us pul one back on 15 minutes, a pass from Urbani allowed him to take the ball, turn past his defender and slot it. And it was two all just short of half an hour in, with Francomarraco's pass blocked he followed up, dispossessed the defender and from 45 degrees sent us level. The fans seemed to be getting quite a game to remember the season by. Kolaric had been poor and I had to speak to him at the half. The second half began much like the first, Padova finding a way to pass almost into the goal mouth. Down by one again. That became 4-2 from a free kick with ten left to play. Playing around a bit with selection and formation did not seem to have paid off. What had at one stage seemed like an entertaining game to finissh the season was rapidly become a probable point of fan anger. And so a good season ended in a shocking result. Remarkably, we still finished in 5th, the best finish for S.P.A.L. since a third placed Serie B finish in 1964/65. As the squad goes on break, there are some contracts I either need to renegotiate or not. Right back Alessandro Vinci played most games, but at 35 years old I'm not sure I can justify another year at the £2000 a week he is demanding. My players of the years. 3rd Manuel Francomarraco I expected Mendicini to be the main man up forward, even if he is better suited to the left wing. Francomacarro came on strong in the second half of the season. His attributes don't look world beating, but he did the job. Even if I never get the spelling right. 2nd Willy Urbani He almost went unseen in the beginning, except my doubts over the balue of that salary, but it didn't take long before it became obvious how important he would be to this side having any chance of avoiding the drop. 1st Pavol Jetko I'm still annoyed I was forced to agree to sell him, and at unders too. The team he is joiing has made playoffs, and he could be playing at the top level in Spain next season. Overall for the season, I'm thrilled to have finished so high. I took the job will full exepctation of dropping to Serie C. And we still have a Serie C squad and salary. Financially being up a division turned things around. There isn't a lot of improvement there though, as we came close to averaging 100% ticket sales.
  8. Also in April, the North American Chmapions League finished. For the first time in the save, a team from outside Mexico and USA made the final. ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2012 |FC Dallas (USA) 2 |Colorado (USA) 0 | |2013 |Xolos Tiajuana (Mexico) 3|Chivas (Mexico) 1 | |2014 |America (Mexico) 5|Monterrey (Mexico) 0 | |2015 |New York (USA) 3 a |Seattle (USA) 3 | |2016 |America (Mexico) 4 |New York (USA) 0 | |2017 |Cruz Azul (Mexico) 3 |America (Mexico) 2 | |2018 |America (Mexico) 4 |Pumas (Mexico) 3 | |2019 |Monterrey (Mexico) 5 |Cruz Azul (Mexico) 0 | |2020 |Monterrey (Mexico) 5 |America (Mexico) 3 | |2021 |Necaxa (Mexico) 7 |DC United (USA) 1 | |2022 |New York (USA) 4 |Monterrey (Mexico) 2 | |============================================================| |2023 North American Champions League | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | | | |Necaxa (Mexico) 2 2 4 | |Portland (USA) 2 1 3 | | | |Monterrey (Mexico) 2 3 5 | |Chivas USA (USA) 0 0 0 | | | |Saprissa (Costa Rica) 1 1 2 away gls| |Seattle (USA) 0 2 2 | | | |Pumas (Mexico) 1 1 2 | |America (Mexico) 0 2 2 away gls| |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi Finals | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | | | |Monterrey (Mexico) 4 1 5 | |Necaxa (Mexico) 1 1 2 | | | |Pumas (Mexico) 0 2 2 | |Saprissa (Costa Rica) 2 1 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 North American Champions League Final | | Leg1 Leg2 Aggr | |Monterrey (Mexico) 2 2 4 | |Saprissa (Coasta Rica) 0 1 1 | ==============================================================
  9. April 2023 S.P.A.L. Serie B S.P.A.L. (7th) v Grosseto (17th) – Serie B While the win was needed, I also wanted us to dominate this game. We weren't clinical, but got to a 2-0 lead befopre one was pulled back right on half time. The tackling was impressive, especially by the more attacking players. Both first half goals came after good tackles, and quick movement. We weren't playing a counter mentality, but classic counter-attacking football. Halfway through the second we regained a two goal lead when Perez slipped his marker on a corner and put home an open header. Shoirtly after Mengicino was on the board, for the 4-1, thanks to a fantastic team move built from the middle and well placed short passing. I wouldn't say it looked like 7th v 17th, as Grosseto had their moments but clearly the better side own. That win put us, temporarily, into a potential playoff spot. I don't expect to stay there, but to be in with a shot at this point of the season is a good thing. Sad news between games. Jetko will be leaving for Spain at season's end. We only got £400k out of the deal, plus a percentage of next sale. Treviso (19th) v S.P.A.L. (6th) – Serie B This was another chance to get some easy points (in theory) and build morale before some more difficult games. We dominated for 70 minutes. But only had one early goal to show for it. A good solid team goal, playing the angles while moving forward the whole time. We should have been three up at the half though. Those fluffed chances – two of which seemed unmissable until proven they weren't—and one defensive lapse on a corner, a missed header to clear, cost us two points. And two spots on the table. S.P.A.L. (8th) v Sassuolo (9th) – Serie B Another goal conceded from a corner, three minutes in and one down from the first substantial move of the match. Apart from that one moment we controlled the game, at least until Urbani was stretchered off, cutting our midfield in half. But no score for that control. And immediately afterwards we were 2-0 down from Saassuolo's second foray forward. With Urbani off all our creativity, and possession went as well. From that moment on, we were crushed in every aspect of the game. So it came as a huge surprise when Iachettini pulled one back, heading in a Jetko free kick. At the 20 minute mark, just before the Urbani injury, we had 80% possession and seven shots to one. At half time it was 10 shots to six, possession 66% our way. Iachettini's return to the starting lineup, after a couple of games coming off the bench recovering from injury, produced a brace. Vicni's corner onto his head and we went level. It stayed 2-2, we probably deserved better given how much of the ball we had forward early. Urbani will miss 3 or 4 weeks, with a groin strain. The next two games area against other sides on the fringe of possible playoffs (depending on whether there are are any or not, if the gap between 3rd and 4th is under 10 points there aren't any). Lecce (4th) v S.P.A.L. (6th) – Serie B We struggled to have any impact on the game early, and were very lucky with one offside call five minutes in. And that remained the pattern throiughout. Lecce in control while we tried to hang on somehow. It took an hour for them to break us, a good strike from a man we are supposed to be marking tightly who got free. Don't think Urbani would have made a difference, even though he is fve times the player of his replacement Catalano. It did give the chance for 17 year old Quadrelli to get a rare taste of first team football, coming on a sub. And he had an impact, with an assist for Jetko's close in equaliser. Lecce set the game right again late in the piece, sending us down 2-1. I couldn't complain really, a point would have been a steal. Defensive mid Niccolo Luzi will miss 2-3 weeks, but his absence isn't that important. A number of players are his equivalent, or near enough. We also signed a young Finnish backup goalkeeper for next season. S.P.A.L. (7th) v Bologna (5th) – Serie B – televised This and the next game against sixth placed Crotone, also at home, are massive in terms of any hope of falling into playoffs. They both must be wins. With a small squad and just four days between the matches, that's not an easy ask. A bit of a reshuffle. Durand had given us nothing for a few games, so Jetko went back to his more potent attacking midfield spot. This brought Quadrelli on as a starter, a risk but he showed a bit as a sub last game. Early on we seemed to be playing better, without really pushing hard for any reward. We did get a lead after 22 minutes, Jetko from a free kick, over the wall and past the goalkeeper. On 57 minutes, Mendicino had his shirt pulled inside the area. He went to ground very easily, but got the penalty. Bologna also went down to 10 men, with a red card shown. Jetko took the kick, and placed it home low and right. Not long after I made two subs, partly with the short turnaround in mind. A tiring Quadrelli came off for Durand, and a like for like replacement in defence. We maintained control, and more importantly the scoreline. Crotone beat Lecce 3-0, so we made no ground. Goal difference isn't going to matter, we must overtake teams on points.And it might not matter, the difference between 3rd and 4th is now ten points. In which case, if I understand the rules correctly, third promote with no playoffs.
  10. March 2023 S.P.A.L. Serie B S.P.A.L. (8th) v Foggia (1st) – Serie B The leaders were coming off a 3-0 home loss to Lecce, which gave me some little hope pre-match. Hope wasn't completely misplaced. The opening half was a case of both sides making inroads but both defences holding firm and no really good opportunities eventuated. The second half, that changed. We gave up the ball easily and Foggia ran forward with no pressure. I'm not entirely sure the final cross wasn't to an offside man, but either way the lapse deserved to go a goal down. The it went back to neither side opening anything up. Until the 89th minute, and we got a bit of luck as reward for sticking with them all game. Francmacarro was on the end of a rebound, after the initial cross was blocked, he got there just before a clearance could be made. In the end, I think we deserved the point. Salerno (20th) v S.P.A.L. (10th) - Serie B The domination I wanted wasn't happening, but we did deserve to takre the lead just before half time. A nice move up the left by Fancomacarro, a cut inside and inboard pass for an Urbani goal. With Vinci needing a rest I started the whinging Piccini. He repaid that by getting sent off after around 60 minutes. Salerno put us under tremendous pressure in stoppage time, but we held on for a disappointing 1-0 win. Still, the three points are the important bit. S.P.A.L. (10th) v Triestina (22nd) – Serie B We were all over them for much of the first half, showing why they are sitting last, yet somehow contrived not to score. Until the 27th minute, and even then Durand almost managed to fluff it. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU. 77 minutes in, own goal. Triestina had barely been forwardm put in a nothing cross and two of our defenders conspired to slam it home for them. Absolute throwing away of two points. Siena (14th) v S.P.A.L. (8th) - Serie B Jetko and Kolaric were unavailable due to internationals. Some games nothing happens. And then something does, and it is all bad. Catalano needs to go. An own goal from a Siena corner is not the first reason to say this, but adds to some damning evidence. We drew level thanks top, well, I'm not sure. Uninspired play, for sure, but ending in a solid Francomacarro shot from a tight angle. Once things did happen, they happened fast, from barely a shot either way after 20 minutes to 2-1 down after 40. Aerial cross, simple header, defence looking ragged. Some hope early in the second half when right back Vinci was brought down and the Siena player was handed a straight red. And we took advantage through Urbani not long later. Another twenty minutes and it was the same pattern, Francomacarro getting to the byline on the right, cutting it back to Urbani, scoring from the right side, just past the goalkeeper's left. 3-2. It was 10 on 10 when Masi was forced to come off, we already had two injuries and I had made the other sub. We only needed to hold out for ten minutes or so though. And we did. An unbeaten month, but I'm still not sure what to make of it. We threw away points and got lucky on other occasions. The good news is, with the way the system works in Serie B 6th could make playoffs. Could. It depends on how big the gap between 3rd and 4th ends up being. The bad news is, we're far more likely to drop than make sixth.
  11. February 2023 S.P.A.L. Serie B After the Olympic qualifiers, Fiji had no need of an Under 23 manager as there no tournaments for quite some time. A fairly cruisy month for the players, just the three games scheduled and a chance for the tired to recuperate a little. Ascoli (5th) v S.P.A.L. (10th) – Serie B We managed a solit hit on the dangerous Velocci (I mean, Ascoli's Velocci was took an unfortunate knock in a completely fair challenge). It didn't help though as while the physio was running out to see to him we managed to concede anyway. Mendicino has been out of sorts and only in the side due to Francomacarro being suspended. However he did on a run, toward the left but not along the sideline, that resulted in him beinmg brought down and a penalty. Willy Urbani levelled from the spot. Velocci copped another knock just before the half and I didn't even send everyone out to get him (I should have, but didn't). Ascoli were looking the better side, not by a lot but by enough for our 1-1 half time to be lucky. Mendicino might be back. He managed a solid run forward, perhaps refused to take the simpler shot, found a way around a marking defender and the goalkeeper for the 2-1 lead. Both Kolaric and Bacchetti started this game on the bench due to a lack of match fitness. Kolaric came on after 60 minutes, Bacchetti after around 70. In between times, Mendicino's scoreboard mojo was back, completing a brace with a straight run onto a good, long ground ball and a well placed finish. And in the 85th that became a hattrick, all scored in different ways but relying on hard running. 4-1 is a fantastic result, due largely to one man who almost didn't play. During the week Jetko made just his second full international appearance for Slovakia, in a friendly against Norway. I wish I had an option to tell him he wouldn't be getting picked if he was at a big club sitting on the bench, and so he's better off staying here. Livorno (3rd) v S.P.A.L. (9th) – Serie B A well crafted Livorno move had us behind early, Iachettini perhaps could have intercepted the final pass along the goal linebut had he done so probably would have turned it into an own goal anyway. From that point on I couldn't find a way to get us into the game. We stole a possible equaliser late, Vinci's corner landing on the head of Perez at the near post and a pretty good header having got away from the man marking him. Very much against the run of play. Definitely an undeserved point. S.P.A.L. (9th) v Torino (16th) – Series B – rescheduled after pitch was deemed unplayable We started stronger, but as the game wore on Torino took control. And should have gone one up after half an hour. The basic difference was they created chances, we created half-chances. Despite the windy condition I switched to a more direct passing game to see if we could catch them off guard with quick movement. Almost. A long ball resulted in two very good saves, one straight after the other, by their goalkeeper. We had 22 shots to 10, but probably something like 5 realistic chance to 8. Nil all, and despite all the stats going our way, we were probably lucky to get a point. That said, the second half was definitely ours overall. I'm not sure what to make of that month, overall perhaps a bit disappointing in the way we played but five points with two tough teams in there isn't a bad return. A quick look at the squad. Selections shown are as they were for the Torino game. Note: Anotnio Accetta is on loan to Spezia in Serie C1. I expect to keep him with us next season as a backup/rottation option, unless we upgrade our strike force considerably. Internationally, the focus was on Africa. African Cup of Nations ============================================================== |Previous Years | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2011 |Mali 2 |Ghana 1 | |2013 |Ivory Coast 3 |Cameroon 0 | |2015 |Cameroon 3 |Tunisia 0 | |2017 |Cameroon 0 pen |Tunisia 0 | |2019 |South Africa 2 |Senegal 1 | |2021 |Egypt 1 |South Africa 0 | |============================================================| |2023 African Cup of Nations | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Group A GD Pts |Group B GD Pts | |Tunisia +9 9 |Cameroon +2 5 | |Mali 0 4 |Nigeria +1 4 | |Senegal -6 2 |Kenya -1 4 | |Togo -3 1 |DR Congo -2 3 | | | | |Group C |Group D | |Ivory Coast +3 7 |Morocco +9 9 | |Ghana +1 6 |South Africa 0 3 | |Zambia 0 3 |Egypt -3 3 | |Algeria -4 1 |Gambia -6 3 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Quarter Finals | |Tunisia 2 |South Africa 1 | |Cameroon 1 |Ghana 0 | | | |Mali 0 |Morocco 0 | |Ivory Coast 1 |Nigeria 2 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Semi Finals | |Ivory Coast 1 |Tunisia 2 | |Nigeria 2 |South Africa 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |Third Place Playoff | |Ivory Coast 1 | |South Africa 0 | |------------------------------------------------------------| |2023 African Cup of Nations Final | | HT FT ET Pen | |Tunisia 1 2 | |Nigeria 0 1 | ==============================================================
  12. Well, that answers the earlier question. Maybe you should target everything. Just try to win all the things.
  13. January 2023 S.P.A.L. / Fiji Under 23s Serie B / Oceania Olympic Qualifiers Offers came through for co-ownership of Jetko and Urbani. The money wasn't huge, but it was tempting in both cases as it would mean I could get some cash and keep the players for the remainder of the season. In the end, I declined both as I am not sure I could find replacements and those two really are the key to the midfield – and Jetko in particular sets up so much of our attack. And so the break ends, and our target of 50 points to be sure of avoiding the drop remains in place. Padova (11th) v S.P.A.L. (10th) – Serie B Tyhe new year did not begin well. Nine minutes in Kolaric came off injured, ten minutes in we were a goal down unable to stop a string of passes in the area which opened up the whole goal mouth from short range. BY the 30 minute mark it was 2-0 and we hadn't seen the attacking third of the pitch. Terrible goal the second one, an unskilled player managed to run around three defenders pretending to harass him, and a goalkeeper whose “effort” was abysmal. A token move off the libe by two steps to cut down the angle, and then no move toward the ball when the shot was dribbled. Three down shortly after the break, the defence was woeful today. Having Kolaric and Bacchetti subbed off for injury already didn't help. The midfield lacking, and the forwards not asked to do anything. It did become 3-1 when a Padova defender trying to clear a header got it wrong and deflected it into his own net. Quickly 4-1, and not one goal in the matchhas come through good play. Maybe the break saw some momentum loss, or something, but was terrible. And I fear the physio's report. As it turns out the injury front wasn't as bad as it could have been, Kolaric will miss 4-5 weeks. Bacchetti and Francomacarro are both available for the next game. Reserves striker Viscardi came and asked for a contract termination. He's 30 and not getting a game any time soon, so the £3.5k payout seemed reasonable to me. Solomon Islands Under 23s v Fiji Under 23s – Oceania Olympic Qualifiers What can I say. A bad team, not gelling being their first time together, and all under-performing even for their lack of skill. There seemed nothing I could do to get the ball to right end of the pitch. 3-1 loss not a surprise, pre-match predictions had us long underdogs, but still a disappointment. Through the magic of teleport, I was back in Italy the next day. Parma have made a serious offer for Pavol Jetko. £350k up front and at any time may pay another £700k to take full ownership. If they don't do that he continues to play for us for the season. I tried to renegotiate a little more up front, a little less to take full ownership, and marginally more overall. Really, I think I should have taken it as is but the buying outright probably won't come to fruition. They can easily outbid us at season's end for much less than that. Cagliari (8th) v S.P.A.L. - Serie B The value of along bomb. We had most of the ball, most of the attack, anf Cagliari didn't look threatening when they did move forward. They scored though, I thought we were safe. Everyone looked covered, nothing to work with, then BOOM! With the left boot and we were a goal down. It took until midway through the second half to level the game after a minor tweak to formation, Durand put Francomacarro through to score. That was quickly followed by a floating ball to Mendicino's head, which in turn was lobbed over the keeper and under the crossbar. And ten minutes later, 2-2, Bonassi not quite coming off his line quickly enough and his lunge at the ball was beaten by the left foot of Cagliari's Zohore. He kept composure making it a simple put-away. Late in the piece Durand managed to turn a defender around, run inside, and beat the goalkeeper. Nice way to get a lead back, and add to his two assists in order to win the match. Fiji Under23s v American Samoa Under 23s – Oceania Olympic Qualifiers With a wet pitch and a bit of wind, I decided just to hoof the ball forward and chase. When player have no pace, not a great move but American Samoa shgould be equally bad on skill and pace. Good news was we got an early penalty, somewhat dubiously. Wow, we even scored from it. The second goal came 60 minutes later and was just as dubious. Our best player trrok a dive (I assume I taught him that, I'm managing an Italian club after all). The resulting free kick was almost cleared by a Samoan, but our other winger was there to get in the way of the clearance and sent it home with a decent shot by the standards of these teams. Two goals from two dives, the secret to winning in the Pacific has been unlocked. Really both Samoas have to be expected to be the weaker teams in the group. Serie A side Brescia offered £300k for co-ownership of Damir Kolaric. With a further £625k in two years time. He's not someone I wanted to sell, but I figured I could find another good quality left back so I agreed. Papua New Guinea Under23s v Fiji Under23s – Oceania Olympic Qualifiers I only just realised, we're hosting this tournament. Or at least this group. Failure to at least finish second in the group, Solomon islands probably started favourites, really will be failure. And largely hinges on the PNG game. With thos sort of tournament on the back of no games, a bit of shuffling due to fatigue was needed coming into this match. PNG had beaten both Samoas coming into this game. We had the better of play but the passing was so poor that it never resulted in chances. Eventually, 86 minutes in, a PNG defender did the job for us, putting a poor cross past his own goalie. And a second in stoppage time, directly form a free kick (that was probably there, no dive this time). That temporarily puts us on top, but Solomon Islands have a game in hand. Samoa Under23s v Fiji Under23s – Oceania Olympic Qualifiers We need to win and Solomon Islands not win. Falling behind after eight minutes was not helping the “need to win” part of the equation. Samoa were outplaying us everywhere early on. We pulled that back early in the second. Sixty eight minutes in and all was lost. No way could we score two goals in 25 minutes to get the win. A floated ball in stoppage time stopped it from being total embarrassment, 2-2 after 92. Solomon Islands yet to play, if they lose by a more than three (they should win by around four) we go ahead of them – but Papua New Guinea go to the final. Its over for Fiji regardless. As expected it was Solomon Islands v New Zealand in the final. S.P.A.L. (8th) v Perugia (21st) – Serie B I wasn't really sure wer were on top, the game had been flat. Even when Francomacarro sscored there was nothing to celebrate. Iy was only when L looked at the stats 40 minutes and realised Perugia hadn't taken a shot that I felt at all comfortable. A Jetko goal early in the second increased the comfort factor, I can only assume Perugia where playing very defensively and that was why the game had nothing happening. Its starting to look more like a 40-45 point safety spot this season, rather than the 50 it can be in some years. With 36 already, it would take a disaster to get the drop. Playoffs aren't in play though, depending on point margins down to 6th can make playoffs. If the gap from 3rd to 4th is big enough there are no playoffs and the top three just go through. Another offer was made for Jetko, this time by Fiorentina. I turned it down as the value was not enough. Jetko is, understandably, unhappy about that. AlbinoLeffe (2nd) v S.P.A.L. (8th) – Serie B – televised Wow. The first few minutes suggested these guys were ready for Serie A. Torn to shreds for the opening goal, quick, precision passing that left our defenders starting and stopping and essentially rudderless. A long ball counter for Francomacarro was our first meaningful foray, and it resulted in an a well placed equaliser 34 minutes in. The second half began a bit like the first, superior class putting us a goal down. Suspicion of offside this time, but replays showed it was fine. After that we had the game shut down but had no way forward still. A one goal loss against a 2-3 goal better team. S.P.A.L. (9th) v Modena (17th) – Serie B One of the old problems returned, control without goal. We were almost being too cute, plenty of shots (10 to 0 at 20 minutes) from good positions. But good positions aren't that good if you give a gaggle of defenders time to get around he shot-taker. I had to set “shoot on sight” which I never set, because shots from the edge of the area might have a better chance because the players might have time and space. It seemed to make the goalkeeper work harder, rather than so many blocks directly off the boot. Eventually it came from a corner, captain Iachettini's height doing the job for a knock in off the head. That was followed by Modena's second shot, and a goal from it. A quick counter, good long pass, and slotted right. I thnik Willy Urbani just likes the sound of the ball coming off the goalframe rather than the much quieter ball hitting net. Its not possible to slam the crossbar so many times. 30 shots to 3, and a 1-1 score. Actually looking at the analysis less shots were from close range than I thought. A mixed bag of a month for S.P.A.L. Slightly disappointing for the Fijian Olympic team, the Samoa game was bad. Second in the group was pretty much as expected, I had hoped to play better though. Overall, still sitting reasonably comfortable given the pre-season expectations but we need to string a few wins together to avoid a morale collapse. With the transfer window shut, we must make do wuth what we have. Getting Jetko back on track will be important, I expect he might get sold in the summer. He should be replaceable but I do want at least fair value for him. edit: I wish I knew why for the last while images have been showing up small.
  14. Yeah, at Under23 level there's often not much reason to hang around. And I really only took San Marino because I was expecting no jobs for a long time. I figured Fiji was my best shot at qualifying for something - though a long shot. Did that work out? January update, including the qualifying tournament, soon.
  15. Maybe the thousands of supporters are all on the camera side of the ground, and only one of your players not in the team is sitting on the other side. No? Oh well.