Brief history of Casale FC
Casale FC, a little known team with an important history, the date is the 12th July 1914, whilst the world is anticipating what would turn out to be the bloodiest war in history, world war 1, this little known team from the little Northern Italian town of Casale Monferrato, is celebrating its maiden Serie A title win. Placing itself in Italian football history with power house clubs such as Juventus and the Milan clubs. A feat that would eclipse the modern-day fairy tale, which recounts the Premier League title win of Leicester, 2015-16 season, masterminded by the Italian Tinkerman, Claudio Ranieri. Whilst, also becoming the first ever Italian team to defeat a professional English team when they defeated, Reading FC, 2-1, just the year prior to becoming Scudetto champions for the first and very last time.
The birth of Casale FC goes right back to 1904, a club by the name of Robur FB was formed which represented the city of Casale Monferrato. Sadly, by 1909, Robur FB had gone out of business, only to be reformed by the persistence of Professor Raffaele Jaffe, Casale FC was born later that year in December. Jaffe took an interest when his students notified him they were going to watch a soccer match in the next town, Caresana. When Robur FB dissolved, Jaffe was already bitten by the bug we all know as football, he proposed to Cavasonza and Gallina brothers that they reform the old club. A meeting took place, several matches took place on small pitches at Leardi Technical Institute's Hall, the meeting then concluded and Casale FC was born to be in direct rivalry with the dominant Pro Vercelli.
The following years consisted of Casale competing in the lower regional leagues, after which, Casale Fc were accepted into the top tier of Italian football, Nerostellati. In 1911 Casale FC were competing with the big boys. The competition was significantly different to the top tier as know it in Italy nowadays, Serie A. The structure itself was a daunting task, never mind for a little known side with little pedigree at the top level.
After competing at the top level for a few years, the historic win against Reading cemented a dramatic rise and a major achievement for not only the little known Italian side, but Italian football as a whole, being the first Italian team to beat an English side. However, the best was yet to come, as Casale FC only year later were celebrating the only Scudetto win in their history. As mentioned above the structure was different to how we know it. To become champions of Italy, Casale FC, had to first qualify from their Liguria- Piedmont division. Secondly, they had to negotiate a two legged final against the southern/central champions. The route to the title looks tough enough, however the competition was fierce in the form of the goliath that was Genoa and bitter rivals Pro Vercelli, who were in fact in the hint for their fourth straight Scudetto. Whilst be outstanding favourites to do so.
The rivalry dates back 200 years to 1215. Not originally a football rivalry, the birth of the rivalry came about in 1196, when the City of Casale rebelled to form its own city and independence. Casale Monferrato had been the capital of independent state known as Marquisate Del Monferrato on the north-western fringes of what is now Italy. In 1215, the city was destroyed by the military forces of Vercelli. The city was soon rebuilt by Frederick the second, naturally the rivalry is as strong as ever lived on and is now part of football.
That wraps up the brief introduction to Casale FC, in all honesty there isn’t really a great amount of information out there, there history is great, whilst brief. They have also managed to win Serie B (1929-30), Serie C (1937-38), Serie C2 (1988-89) and Coppa Italia Dilettanti (1998-99). Nothing much in the way of recent success, residing in the lower regions of Italian football structure.
So obviously, the aim of the save is to get Casale FC back to Serie A and see what we can do from there. I haven’t had much time for Football Manager this year due to work, but I had planned on managing Casale for a few years, so it seemed it would be a good time, now that my private life as settled down and gives me an interesting save to keep me hooked until FM20.
What have we been up to so far?
I’ve played up till January so far in the first season. We are competing in two competitions, in which my aims for each competition are:
Italian Serie D Group A: Promotion
Italian Serie D Cup: Not overly bothered, money for winning might be helpful
Pre-season went very well, I’m pleased we kept the scores down against the top tier teams down to a very respectful score line. I’m very happy with the draw against Pro Vercelli, I arranged it purely to judge the gap, albeit it being a friendly. We saw off all the teams I expected us to, whilst adding a modest amount of money to the bank balance. We also managed to get a feeder club in the form of Palermo, I haven’t used to the link to get any players yet, but the annual fee will go a long way to balance the books.
We added two players to the squad, Matteo Rizzuto was the first to arrive. I was instantly drawn to his all round mental attributes, which were very good for this level, even the bonus of being a young player too. Normally well rounded players are on the older side and have poor/declining physical attributes at this level, so he was snapped up and will add genuine quality to the central midfield area. Secondly, Pasquale De Vita was brought in for cover in the midfield. It really was a light area in the team in terms of numbers. It lacked any sort of creativity and when Lorenzo Coccolo, the player originally earmarked to be the attacking playmaker in my team got himself injured for 4 months in preseason, it forced my hand into the market. Neither player is out standing, but neither is the league, I’m confident enough between them they will do a steady job.
How have we fared in the league?
The league couldn’t have gone any better really, better than I thought. We ended the year in 1st place, comfortably. Our media prediction before the season had us finishing second from bottom, I was confident we were better than that and could challenge for promotion, but the form we showed knocked that prediction out of the park. The performance was no doubt down to our stupidly good defence, which has only conceded 6 goals in 16 games. With the league restricting the first 11 on a match day by forcing you to play 4 players under the age of 20, 3 under the age of 19 and 1 under the age 18. I decided to have an experienced defence and keeper, which seems to have paid dividends with our form in defence. The aim of the second half of the season should be about keeping our consistent and we should bring home the title, it would be nice to avoid the play-offs as means for promotion.
And the cup competitions?
Again, imperious form in the Serie D cup, just like the league. Delta Rovigo match was a bit lucky, in highsight I probably rotated the squad far too much. The more I am learning about my team though and the form they are showing there is no reason why I can’t complete a league and cup double this year. Though, there is still a long way to go yet. It will be important we stay injury free, as I am not convinced by the depth in certain areas, testament to the Delta Rovigo match.
What we thinking for next season?
I have started to plan tentatively for next season and I have a few players I am interested in if we are promoted. Firstly, Ramon Muzzi, who I came up against when we played Savona in the league this year, he gave us a torrid time. He is also top scorer in the league with almost double the amount of goals as any other player. Fingers crossed they don’t get promoted too. I also see him as someone who I could sell for a decent profit in a few years if he can replicate his form us and develop. If that move doesn't work out then I have spotted Matteo Macchiaroli, from rivals Pro Vercelli, not as good and I may have trouble attracting him from our fierce rivals. Looks okay for a free transfer, providing they don't offer him a new contract. The other player is a rather decent looking player by the name of Roberto Bonaventura, he looks solid all round and will probably replace one of Lorenzo Coccolo or Pasquale De Vita in the team. He looks to be an instant upgrade on either in the more adventurous role in our midfield 3. Finally, I will also look to exercise the link with Palermo for the first time and try lure Luigi Mendola to the club. He looks like a star in the making, will we be an attractive enough option for him next season? I hope so, he looks a cut above everyone else we have in the team and will instantly give our midfield that bit of extra quality it needs.
I also have a pretty all the squad up for contract renewals at the end of the season, which is something I will review closer to the season end, however, Emanuele Testardi is someone who I think can make the step up effortlessly next year, so I have already renewed his contract for another 2 years.