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PGC: The Italian Job for FM15

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This has been a tough pre season for Spezia the manager is in his 6th year at the club and his amazing progression has stalled some what with a growing un ease between the manager and the board over a lack of funds and there constant moving of the goal posts regarding there expectations.

A tough pre season was summed up with Spezia losing in the Europa league qualifiers to isreali minnows Beer - Shava and Gillespies temper got the better of in the post match press conference

" ive had enough of this all the possession and all the chances not one of them worthwhile ive spent years building this team its time for a change im not going into this new season and falling at the same hurdles I need to change things up from top to bottom it would be nice to spend 100 million but that's not us were going to work with what we have I believe the quality is here I just need to figure out the best way too harness our players talents and turn it into results "

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And so Spezia head into the new season after a serious face lift a whole new tactic inspired by Diego Simeones old atletico Madrid team and Jose Mourinhos Chelsea team of years gone by there is no wingers anymore and the relatively free flowing attacking football of the last year or so has been reined in and a more structured 2 lines of 4 with an out and out striker up front it really is a drastic change for the team and the fans alike but if the first 2 results of the season are anything to go by then its going to be an exciting season .

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The wins over wolfdburg and real Madrid in the pre season games will last long in the fans memories but the 2- 1 defeat of last seasons title chasers Pisa is the one the fans really wanted these games in the past have been really tough matches with both teams playing to win and a real passion which shows off all that is special about italian football.

Spezia controlled large portions of the match and deservedly went ahead with a special goal from star striker Bonnazolli from an almost impossible angle after the goal though Pisa come back really hard creating some good chances and holding on to the ball well, they deservedly equalised through there new signing Zeulalam who by a twist of fate had also held signing talks with Spezia in the summer. The game became a bit of a chess match going into the second half with the tactical prowess of both managers on show for all to see. The turning point came when Spezia superstar Halilovic produced a magical turn right at the edge of the box and after being hauled down by one of the Pisa defenders the referee controversially gave a penalty kick. Pedro Nervios frustration was there for all to see and the 4th official really got pelters from him and the replays showed the manager may have a point. Bonnazolli gave the goalkeeper no chance from the spot and Spezia turned the screw lookin for that all important 3rd goal. A period of sustained pressure where the pisa keeper pulled off some outstanding saves was followed by Pisa having there turn creating chance after chance in the final ten minutes some last ditch defending from young dutch centre back Fosu - Mensah and former Barcelona reserve player Xavi Quintilla meant that Spezia held on. after the game Gillespie had this too say

" That was tough we were lucky to get a win there what a performance from our defenders though they were really top class they may not have kept a clean sheet but il be speaking to the chairman and getting them a clean sheet bonus after there efforts today. Bonazolli was a star today aswell hes coming into his own now I see a bright future for him hes a future international theres no doubt in my mind I think the fans got there moneys worth today and would like to thank Pisa and there manager for the part they played in this tremendously exciting match were not going to get carried away its just another 3 points but its a good start and that in itself is hard to come by here at Spezia "

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Another notable performance was that of promising youngster Mathieu Kleine he created a great chance for Bonazolli after a cute back heel with his first touch and a sublime through pass to halilovic he really looked a class act. He is one of a number of youngsters acquired by Gillespie this summer and the offer of immediate first team football helped thim fight of real Madrid man u juve and psg for his signature.

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Its early days yet but the early signs are promising and the fans excitement is building with the board getting restless and the manager proving hes ready for the challenge ahead its going to be an intresting few months ahead for the mighty eagles.

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What a season we managed to do the unthinkable we are going up to serie b as the champions of lega pro group b having only lost 4 league games all season.I have been here over 3 years now and evey single transfer window that has came the board has put in 6k every single time i could not even go on any course as the board cant afford the £400 to do it so ofc to go up as league winners am over the moon

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Next its on to serie B the board have gave me 80k to keep the team in the division and at last i can go on a course (only been waiting 3 year):D.The board want me to fight relegation media prediction is 20th already played 5 games won 2 and lost 3 already so as you can see there is the gulf between the lega pro groups and serie B lost 3 in 5 :thdn: Already played mikes monza and i lost 1-0 am sure he will be up there fightting for atleast a playoff spot

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END-SEASON REVIEW (2019/20)

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FIXTURES

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MEDIA PREDICTION: 10TH. ACTUAL POSITION: 6TH.

ITALIAN CUP FIRST ROUND. EUROPA LEAGUE RUNNERS-UP.

When put into the above context, it sounds like a good season. However, it was deeply unsatisfactory on many levels, which I will elaborate on. Foregone conclusion progression was made in the qualifying rounds for the Europa League Group Stage, while we drew our first match in the league 0-0 after umpteen chances and shots, giving me a horrible sense of misgiving for the season ahead. That was alleviated a little as we comfortably beat Inter, but then we failed to score away to Torino, again despite many chances. Beating AndyG's Spezia and drawing away to Pedro's Pisa was great (best nil-nil I have ever seen in FM), but then we drew at home to Cagliari, and failed to score away from home again next up. That was four away games, over 100 shots, over 20 clear chances and no goals. Aside from Pisa, all against sides I would be expected to beat too. And this was happening against the backdrop of the Europa League where we were averaging four goals a game, away or otherwise. Seven games in, six goals scored and we were in trouble.

We then beat Napoli and spanked Lazio, to give me hope that our bad run was over and playing well would now pay off but we dropped more points with the same kind of story to Genoa. The story was this: batter teams for 70 minutes, score none, or just one, and get sucker-punched with a long shot or something of that ilk, raising massive doubts in my mind about the calibre of my incumbent GK, Rajkovic, and massively increasing my frustration levels. That was 12 points I had dropped at this stage of the season, all of which I could have reasonably have expected to get. A better run came at the end of the year, winning some hard games, losing unluckily to Juventus and Roma, the Roma game deciding for me that Rajkovic would have to go at the end of the season, as he let in two long shots and the other through his legs.

As we started the new year, I had eight games in January, and I set a target of winning seven, not unreasonable considering the fixture list. We didn't even get close, 'that story' happening against Chievo and Cesena, playing terribly v Ali's San Marino and Inter Milan, and playing well versus Fiorentina and Torino. Up front the issue was not the striker's goals to games ratio, but their ability to score consistently, I couldn't back any of them to score in four matches in a row for example. They would get braces and then not score for two or three games. When Rescaldani and Ongenda weren't putting away the chances, my back-up options left much to be desired, the young Cizek and the flighty Wilson. This coupled with my GK's sudden dislike of pot shots was making for much disappointment.

After the end of January, we did go on the winning run I wanted, five in a row in the league, and scraping past Fenerbahce, while, you guessed it, dominating. But obviously this run was too good to be true, and we then lost four in a row, even managing to almost throw away a 4-1 first leg lead in the Europa League against Sporting. My favourable draw in the competition continued as I avoided the Man Utd/PSG half for the quarter and semi finals, picking up Sociedad and PSV, dispatching both fairly comfortably. At this stage in the season we were in danger of not even qualifying for Europe, having finished fifth the season before and been just three points off Juventus before my four game collapse. And with me missing the final few games of the season, it was left to my assistant manager, who didn't do too badly to be fair, though it could have been better, and he couldn't mastermind a victory over PSG in the Europa League, an early Fischer goal deciding it for them. Despite misfiring in many matches, Rescaldani ended up top scorer in Serie A, which summed up my season really. World beaters one match, unable to hit a barn door with a colander for a bucket at the back the next.

TRANSFERS IN

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TRANSFERS OUT

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In the market I made two key moves, signing Sandy Walsh and Bjorn Engels. Walsh is officially seen as a centre back, but being short, with pace, flair and no little skill, I saw him as a DR and bought him as such, turning out to be a total success it has to be said. The other key signing I made, I almost immediately regretted, knowing I had paid £3-4m too much for him, in Engels. Not a bad centre-back per se, but not the replacement for Sviatchenko I was chasing.

Other players brought in were those like Jech and Alisson on loan, to bolster DC and MC, while in January I made a move for van der Wiel as back-up to Walsh, with long-time servant Henrik Dalsgaard let go, and tried to bolster my attacking options with Thierry Ambrose on loan, who promptly injured himself after scoring two in his second game. Such was my luck this season. I also made permanent the loan deal of Dimarco, who has blossomed into a fine, physical left back after being here for two and a half seasons on loan. The only significant departures were those of Hejda, Devine, Skjelvik, Salifu and Sadiku, who had been important building blocks for this club's progression.

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Well we did it, we finished off the season like we started it, ripping apart all who stood in our way. After winning the league so early there was little to play for till i saw there was a record number of point up for grabs with the record held by Pedro and his Pisa side. What a great idea it would be to go up not only as champions and take the record that stood at 96 points. By this time i had let Pedro know what we were aiming for and we went for it big time, there was no room for error as we could only get to 97 points so every game was all out attack trying to break the record. It came down to the last game of the season with a away game at Foggia we went 442 and was soon 1-0 down, i thought that i had made a error by using that formation up against a 4231, i stuck with it tho and was rewarded with a goal just before half time and this changed the whole game as 2nd half we ran the show knocking in a goal after 52min and then again close to the end. WE HAD DONE IT!! CHAMPIONS OF SERIA B AND ALSO BREAKING THE POINTS RECORD JOB DONE.

Below is the full season Resuilts

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SUMMER WINDOW.

As expected it was a busy window for me but found myself in trouble as alot of the players i wanted never wanted to join me. I was able to sign a good center half off Ryan for next to nothing and i thank him for that. I missed out on a striker who i wanted big time, the board had somehow found 10million for me to spend in the summer and i was willing to match the asking prise asked of 5million to my suprise they rejected my bid only to sell him to another club for 3million, This left me Angry and unable to work out why this had happend. I wont be telling you the name of this striker because i will be going back in for him in the summer. Trust me when i say hes a beast!. I signed 13 new players but let alot more go.

My business this summer

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My 1st signing was a Striker. After missing out on my main target i signed him. Needs work but this is the way i have to go about my business.

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Signed from Ryan for 2.5m this Center half i have got is everything i like about Center backs. the 2,5m is good business and i would like to Thank Ryan for letting me have him for that kinda cash.

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Another Center half, this time signed from Andy ( aka gilly) another poweful Center back who never cost me much. The 13k a week make him my highest paid player.

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My first loan signing from barca, Will fit into my first team well, tried to get a end of season agreement with barca for the player but the 86million wanted is a little out of my league lol.

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My 2nd loan signing this time from Fulham. A left back who i signed as back up but is more than good enough to break into the first team if needed.

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One for the Future and already out on loan.

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Another Goalkeeper who needs work on. He will be backup for the first team but i do have high hopes for him to come good in a season or 2.

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My new right back. He bring much needed depth to the side and has already shown he is upto the task in this league.

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My new winger signed from AC for next to nothing. He has already shown his class and is sure to be a fans fav. Could be the buy of the summer for me in the 3 games he has played.

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Free signing and is back up for the lad above.

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A striker i have high hopes for. He needs work on his finishing but his Physical's are very good for a lad his age. With time he could be the next big thing in Italy. One to keep a eye on.

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Much needed signing. With only one 1st choice keeper in my side this lad adds much needed depth. Has already shown he is good enough and a good back up to my no1

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Signed from mike for 215k 3rd choice to the other 2 but good enough if needed for 2,3 games.

The Fans.

I said at the start of fm 15 that i think i have walked into a sleeping giant and it looks like i have been proven right, With Gates of 6,000+ in C with 5,000 being season ticket holders it jump upto 9,000+ this season with 8,000 Season ticket holders but i was not expecting 19,800 season ticket holders for this season in A but thats what i got, News came thought and i was quick to share it with Ryan and Ali as i knew how happy they would be for me lol. My first home game saw me with 22,800 a full house and i guess that is what it will be for the rest of the season. Again i would like to thank the fans for there support.

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SEASON AHEAD

There is little pressure on me this season with the board asking for a brave fight to stay in the league. It will be hard to stay up but i do have some good players at my club. With a 2-1 home win over Inter showing we are not here just to make up the numbers this season. It also gives us a boast that we are good enough to stay clear of the drop with that kinda Resuilt.

Well thats you upto date on whats been a seaosn to remember. I said from my first post that i had a 6 year plan to get into the Top Division. This is the 7th season now so i hit my target but i never thought it would work out the way it did.

Till next time

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SEASON SUMMARY (2019/20)

We had a very good first leg of the season we ended up at 10th position in mid-season.

But after the break we had some problems to stay focused and sharp.

I think the squad was a little small to stay where we where or to go up.

With couple off vitaly injury's like Bravo and Rothwell where out for 2-3 months, we fell down to the bottom of the table.

But at the end we could turn back the tie and we secure to stay up without playoffs with no losses in the last 7 games.

Our aim was to stay up that has been completed.

Now for the new season we only need to look up.

There where some players who left the club and some new players came in.

Transfers In:

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Also the training facilities are being upgrade, so we can get more out of our players and will be completed begin of November.

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Also there a few new staff members who came to join our club and will help us progess more.

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Alessandro Jacobo - San Marino Calcio

Serie A - 5th Position + The Italian Cup Win

Outstanding performances all round this season, from the defence to the attack, which lead to a Cup win and a 5th place finish. I'll be the first to admit that it wouldn't have been so high if Ryan had made every session, but the truth is that we far exceeded our expectations. We did get lucky in some games and, in my opinion, you need a bit of luck especially in a cup run. Speaking of which, it was a completely unexpected surprise and we did manage to knock out some top teams on the way, including Ryan's Pro Vercelli. The final against Roma was pretty one-sided, with two goals in the last fifteen minutes sealing the victory.

Summer Transfer Window

A steady window, which saw the arrival of several players in an effort to replace some of the older hands.

Perhaps the most exciting of those is Borek Dockal, who looks as though he could be integral to our new 5212 formation, spear heading the midfield in a retrained AMC role. Although he is 30 years of age, I am hopeful that I can get 2 productive seasons out of him before his inevitable decline. I am personally targeting a top ten finish, but I would be satisfied with a mid-table position.

As it turned out, Dockal was not the AMC figure head I had hoped for. He ended up playing better in the Central Midfield roles, but as my two Central Midfielders had their positions on lock-down, he didn't get much game time aside from injuries. He has also lost quite a bit of pace and I now see him as a 'sitting midfielder' holding his position and recycling possession.

Leonardo Tuya

In his place for this season, I have bought in Leonardo Tuya for £10m. Overpriced, considering I could have got him for £6m, but needs must with budget restrictions and I ended up paying in 48 monthly instalments. I am somewhat concerned about his mental attributes, most notably his vision and composure, but his strengths outweigh his weaknesses.

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Francisco Rogerio

My other notable signing was Rogerio Francisco. The idea is that he plays a more withdrawn midfield role, perhaps a Box-to-Box or some other supporting role. I am pleased with both of these signings, as they add something extra to my midfield. The drive and technique of Tuya and the physical nature of Francisco really changes the dynamic and contrasts nicely with the creative abilities of Berndsten. On paper, the best midfield trio I could have hoped for. In reality? Time will tell.

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    It was an absolute nightmare of a season for the wolves of Avellino. An up an down season start was continued with 9 defeats in a row, and a 12 game streak without a win. Conceding way too many goals, and not being able to score has been the story of the season so far really. Just 2 players have managed to average 7.00+ and barely so. I had a goal of finishing top 10 this season, but it seems I have vastly overestimated the quality of my players. Rest assured, there will be a massive clearout and changes next summer, regardless if we stay up or go down.

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    With just 5 games to go, we were in a dogfight to avoid relegation, but could have clinched it with a home game to Cesena. That however also went out the window, as we crashed to a humiliating 1-4 defeat. With the last 4 games remaining, I really needed to push on to have any chance of staying up. A few good results after a change in tactics saw us with what former Rosenborg coach Nils Arne Eggen would describe as "hope in a hanging snore". Away at the Giuseppe Meazza to face Inter, and we would be down without a win. Luckily for me and my team, Inter seemed to have already strolled off to the beach as we went on to hammer them and managed to land safely in 15th place!


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Stuart - SACKED

After a big fall out with the board over money the club sacked me on the spot. With a shocking start to the season i had just started to turn things around with 3 wins in a row.

The club had over 23million in balance with no debt to speak of, With the club looking to have a balance of over 33 million by the end of the season i thought they would of given up some funds to help the side push on. I was Wrong and now find myself out of a club.

I Wish Ancona all the best and i had 6 great years there at the club winning back to back divisions and leaving them on a solid foundation.

I am keen to get back into the swing of things with my Italian side Lazio in the bottom 3 and there manager under the all kinds of pressure i hope to land my dream job next week.

Till then im off somewhere warm.

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AndyF - Novara

Slightly disappointed sitting here writing this post even after finishing the week sitting in 2nd place in Lega Girone A because looking back on it we should be top of the table after dropping some unnecessary points against teams in the bottom half. The team are currently on a 9 game unbeaten run but we have more draws than wins resulting in picking up 17 points in the meantime, for those not very sharp with their maths that's 4 wins 5 draws. I should easily keep the run going come the first game on Monday as we have the bottom side who haven't notched a win yet this season.

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A full list of this seasons transfers will be posted come the end of the season but my best signing without doubt has to be Karlo Prahic the 22year old Croatian, one of the 4 Croatians signed this season, signed on a free after being released from French side AC Ajaccio. So far Karlo has found the net on 19 occasions in his 22 statrts for the club with an average rating of 7.29.

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With a dozen games left we will be looking to push on and hopefully be in Serie B next season.

Until Next Time........

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After such an excellent start for manager Gillespie this season it really fell away badly mid season 4 defeats on the trot and a 4 - 1 thumping from juve means the club is languishing behind its main rivals the injury to star strikers Bonazzoli and Acosta was tough too cope with but the teams form has been really poor of late they aren't conceding a lot but goals are hard to come by and to be honest the 9th place the team finds itself at the moment is a fair reflection of how the teams performed.

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With new sponsors in place this season and the sale of Vergera for a healthy 10 million Spezia is on a firm financial footing even allowing the manager some wiggle room in the transfer market and the ability too tie down bonazzoli to a permanent move from Spanish giants Barcelona. The manager also brought in Argentinian attacker Lucas Boye for a reported 5 million in the January window to bolster a struggling attack.

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After some tough games and bad recent results the teams 5 - 0 demolition of Pisa couldn't have come at a better time the fans and manager alike hate losing this game and the teams performance will last long in the memory. Dominant at the back a confident performance in midfield and clinical up front this was a really top performance by the whole team and Bonazollis hat trick was well deserved with him putting on a real masterclass up front

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The Owners obviously wont be happy with the teams current position but its tight at the top with 10 points separating the top 10 teams it remains to be seen if this season will be judged a success or not some big games are still to come and the manager and team will have to step up and improve if they want to be in Europe next season

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End Of Season Standings Serie A 2020/21

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AndyG got sacked after the final game of the season.

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Well what can i say am still the manager of reggiana just my media prediction was 20th and i finished 21st so its back down to the pro league for me.

It was always going to be an uphill struggle with the funds i had to play with (£50k) so now i need to build again the the pro league with a buget of £18k

and media prediction of 9th i have my work cut out again.

Media prediction

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Job status

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Not done this so i might aswell put it up before i get the sack :lol: history of myself at the club

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Might aswell bang this up aswell bare in mind i have ony studied for 2 badges as my board cant afford to pay the £600 for me to take anymore which

is a bit of a joke if the truth be told

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Got ourselfs a new home top and a new sponser for the club aswell :p

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So our first season in Serie B is over and what an exciting finish to the season!

When the season first started out, we were struck hard by injuries, and at one point we had over 30 players away due to injuries and international games colliding, and since we had sold the majority of the starting XI that got us promoted, we were left with an unfamiliar team...

This meant that in the first 6 games in the league, we only got 2 points, and it looked like we were in well over our heads. But as the injuries started to clear up, and we started to get a more consistent starting XI, we quickly started getting more points, and we proved that we could easily compete with any team in the league.

A few mishaps against midtable teams towards the end of the season unfortunately meant that we wound up just 3 points outside of the PO spots, but all in all, I was quite satisfied with our comeback.

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So for our second season in B, the board have slightly higher hopes than last season. Last season we were expected to get a respectable position, but this season, the board wants midtable - which we should be able to get, considering our last season.

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We've been given a decent budget with just under 3 million for transfers and a wage budget of 116k... But with our balance only being 4.76M, I don't expect to be spending all of the budget, as I want to keep us somewhat stable financially.

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16 players have left us so far, and 1 player has gone out on loan. Only 1 of those players was a former starting XI - Gianmarco Zigoni. A player who had scored 51 goals in his 4 seasons at Siena. He had reached an age of 30 years, and with us having many good, young strikers, I felt I didn't need him anymore.

We also sold a fringe DC and sent one out on loan, since we have around 4 DC's that were in front of them. Another DC is on his way out - Landwehr. I signed him last season, and while his stats are good for Serie B, he just hasn't been consistent enough for me, so I felt it was better to offload him again.

If I can, I'll also be looking to sell my star GK Lecomte - much to my regret. His contract expires after this season, and since he's getting 11.5k in wages, I can't afford to give him a new contract with the restrictions in B.

8 players have joined my side - of which 2 are on loan. I'm pretty satisfied with my side, so I doubt I'll be seeing much more activity, unless I wind up selling someone. If Lecomte goes, then I might need to find a GK, but I've gotten a 20 year old GK from Man Utd in on loan, who can do the job for this season, if I can just find a backup.

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If we can keep the team mostly injury-free, I have high hopes for this season. I know that the side can compete against most of the other teams, and I can only really see 2-3 sides that are a lot better, so I'm hoping for a PO position this season, and I believe it's quite possible.

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AndyF - Novara

We have finally managed to get that first elusive trophy this FM after clinching promotion to Serie B after a close fought battle with Taranto for the title. It all boiled down to the final game of the season with us a point behind Taranto only a win would do and then hope Spal could do us a massive favor against the leaders. Boy did they come up trumps with a 1-1 draw and after a 3-0 win for Novara v Renate the title was ours.

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Karlo Prahic enjoyed a fantastic debut season hitting the net on 26 occasions in all competitions and am delighted he has just agreed a new 3 year deal. However he was just pipped in the end of season club awards as Mattia Finotto picked up the supporters player of the year.

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On to the new campaign in Serie B and with a media prediction of 16th and the board wanting us to be at the minimum competitive I will be looking to consolidate with hopefully a top half/mid table finish and try and get these finances in order. Even thou we start the season in the red the board have still come up with a £1M transfer budget but as you know its very rare that I spend any cash on players so I will just plow the majority of this into wages.

The board have also invested in a new team bus for this season after previously getting to away games using the Italian railway network.

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Transfers So Far

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Until Next Time.....

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As the 2020/2021 season came to an end, I had quite mixed feelings. On hand hand, we had stayed well clear of relegation all year, scored alot of goals and played some astonoshing football at times. On the other hand, we lost out on European football due 4 straight defeats the last games. This meant we still finished 10th, and well above the media expectation of 20th, but a measly 2 points off 6th spot.

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This year the board hasn't been to helpful in the budgets, but they once again have agreed to upgrade the training facilities. With undersoil heating already in place, and the pitch being relayed, at least there are no excuses to play Ali football from our side. We still intend on playing football in Avellino, regardless of the antics of some of the other managers.

On the transfer side, we've managed to bring in as many as we have moved out, but I am worried that we've not been able to get the quality needed to progress further up the table. We might just have to overachieve once more, get into EURO before the board would offer me some more money to spend on quality signings.

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I do however hope that utility righthand man Eldar Fejzic could prove to be a quality signing in the end. With pace in bundles, and a great determination, I will try to put his skills to the test on both right back and right wing.

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I am also quite confident that Ladoslav Bohac would be the perfect loanie this year, as he will gain great first team experience in our team. Definately no playmaker, but he will go to battle for sure. Very glad that Ryan decided to let this young prospect join us this year, and I am certain Ryan will reap the benefits in the following seasons.

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With finances looking healthy enough, the fans filling up the stadium and buying all the season tickets available, all I can do now is to make sure we prove our metal on the pitch. The time for excuses is over, and the only way is forward. If you don't progress, you die. The aim is quite clear now, and that is european football. Whether or not this is realistic, is a whole other matter, but only time will tell!

Arrividerci and forza Avellino!

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END-SEASON REVIEW (2020/21)

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FIXTURES

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MEDIA PREDICTION 6TH. LEAGUE POSITION 2ND.

ITALIAN CUP QUARTER FINAL. EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP STAGE.

This was a much more satisfying season than previous for numerous reasons, but not without it's tribulations. We started the season off well, after I finally managed to bring in my summer targets, ST Dude, GK Hadzikic and R/CB Andre. The last transfer, of Andre, had me worried after a weird glitch saw me pay off the agents ownership but not finalise the deal. Thankfully it finally went through after a month of wrangling. I was sick of my former GK Rajkovic's susceptibility to long range efforts, so bought Hadzikic, AndyG's back-up GK for £3m, while selling Rajkovic for £9.75m, so even if he was as poor as Rajkovic, at least a profit was turned, in our first season in our new stadium.

Fixtures-wise it was also a positive start, after destroying Napoli, before a crazy 4-4 draw with Cesena and a loss to Ali's San Marino had me on the back foot. We rallied well in the league, and didn't lose again until December, though we undid much of our hardwork with two 3-1 losses in a row against 18th and 20th. In the Europa League it was a strange set of results. We battered Atletico but couldn't score in one of the matches, battered Basel, but we had no answer in either game against Bastia, who seemed to have some kind of magician in charge; they made the semi-finals in the end. So despite winning three of our six games, we were out.

January came round and three major exits occurred, two no doubt changing the future of the club forever. These departures were Dimarco, Correa and Richter, none of which I was a willing party in.

Federico Dimarco (£9.75m)

Dimarco had been on loan at my club for 2.5 seasons when I signed him for £6.5m last January and he locked down a minimum fee at the initial opening of contract talks. Because of this I meant to offer him a new contract, but never got chance as he was constantly with a 'slight concern' due to interest and eventually it came to a head where Arsenal signed him for the minimum fee of £9.75m. I could have stomached £20m, but to lose one of the top three young left-backs in the world for under £10m was gutting.

Angel Correa (£30m)

I stretched every sinew of my budget once I knew I could get Correa a few seasons ago, and what a signing he proved, giving me 15+ goals and assists each season. He again had his head turned by bigger teams and was awaiting a bid from Chelsea, which they made. Losing him was a blow, somewhat softened with the £30m minimum fee, though I saw only £20m of this once all was said and done.

Ondrej Richter (£1.1m)

I had identified Richter as a future star when he was just 16, and paid £4.4m for him. He got to the age of 17, and decided he 'had achieved all he can at the club' and requested to leave, so with his contract coming to and end, my hands were tied. I could have sold him for £5m to APOEL, but decided to sell him to Koln for £1.1m, but with a buy back of £2m. Sneaky.

So as a result of these transfers I brought a guy in, Ferati, to replace Correa as the creative forward, for just £10m. I didn't manage to identify a replacement for Dimarco at LB, and so didn't sign anyone. I had become disillusioned with my standard 433 formation, and after an extensive playtest, I decided to throw my new 343 formation in at the deep end and see what happened. The result was improved performances in the main, and slightly improved results, despite not possessing any suitable players to play on the wings, and we went on to seal second in the championship, after a nervous flutter towards the end. The major worry was Tomas Popelka; my star in the making as a roaming playmaker had his leg broken by a former teammate of his at Avellino, Tomas Arrigoni.

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And so Andrew Gillespie was finally sacked by the board at Spezia in a shocking move after winning 5 of his last 7 games and missing out on Europe by 2 points the board deciced to repay his loyalty and hard work with ending his contract

" I learned about it from a text message ive gave this club 6 years of my life taking them into the top league for the first time and onwards into Europe am I disappointed?...... I was now im looking onward to better things my reputation speaks for itself ive had inter torino and udinese pestering me all summer so that in itself tells u what people think of the job I did at Spezia im going to take my time picking my next job I cant wait to get back into management but the job has to be right for me I wish the players and staff I left behind all the best but il not tell u what I wish upon the board of directors im not sure u could print it in the papers "

Gillespie has made his feelings clear and so have the fans who despite a poor run in the league never once turned on the manager and the appointment of Roberto di matteo and his rumoured negative tactics hasn't appeased them with demonstrations going on in and around the stadium for days after the sacking.

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The latest news is that Gillespie has an intrest in the soon to be vacant post at fallen giants Parma this really would be a shock move for the manager with much bigger clubs lookin at him but if its a challenge hes after this would definatly fit the bill.

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Alessandro Jacobo - San Marino Calcio

Serie A - 4th Position

Pretty much treading water at the moment with The Titani. There aren't very many players, who'd improve our squad, willing to join and we don't have the funds to compete for those who are willing. Add Ryan's Pro Vercelli and Stu's Inter Milan snapping up the best targets limited money can buy, I can see us slipping back a bit over the next couple of seasons. That said, the season was an interesting one from a neutral standpoint.

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We went into the winter break in 1st position, all be it with a relatively small points total. The second half of the season was a struggle. As you can see from the fixtures above, we went on a barren spell, beginning with Ryan's Pro Vercelli and culminating in 0-0 draw with Cesena, before we managed to pick our selves up.

Several players failed to maintain consistent form and I began questioning my tactical set-up. A little bit of work has gone into this during the summer window and, hopefully this shows with some better performances - with emphasis on an increased amount of chances created. Fingers crossed.

Summer Transfer Window

One striker signed, by the name of Nemenco. Aged 21, he may well become a star player for us in the future, but for now he slots in as a rotational player. As mentioned above, nothing more to speak about. The team is solid enough. Certain areas require strengthening, but we simply do not have the funds.

Leonardo Tuya

In his place for this season, I have bought in Leonardo Tuya for £10m. Overpriced, considering I could have got him for £6m, but needs must with budget restrictions and I ended up paying in 48 monthly instalments. I am somewhat concerned about his mental attributes, most notably his vision and composure, but his strengths outweigh his weaknesses.

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Francisco Rogerio

My other notable signing was Rogerio Francisco. The idea is that he plays a more withdrawn midfield role, perhaps a Box-to-Box or some other supporting role. I am pleased with both of these signings, as they add something extra to my midfield. The drive and technique of Tuya and the physical nature of Francisco really changes the dynamic and contrasts nicely with the creative abilities of Berndsten. On paper, the best midfield trio I could have hoped for. In reality? Time will tell.

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I signed both these players during the last summer window and I have had just over a year to assess their performances and development. Rogerio is clinical from the penalty spot. Something I hadn't envisaged as his attributes don't suggest this to be the case. However, considering we won the most penalties in Serie A last season, they were crucial to our Champions League qualification success. His role as a sitting midfielder, however, was mixed. He clearly lacked the concentration to hold down that position, despite his searing pace. His role as a supporting midfielder however, was good for a youngster in his first season in Europe.

Tuya was pretty much what I expected. Not particularly clinical in front of goal, due to his weak composure, but that is improving as we speak. His direct running was key to a number of our goals last season, coupled with his movement off the ball dragging the opposition defenders out of position. Effective, but with the potential to be so much more.

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AndyF - Novara

Currently we sit 6 points clear of the drop zone after 20 games but its the same old story we've scored a ton of goals, 43 so far, the second highest scorers in the league just behind leaders Empoli. Once again its at the other end were we are having problems conceding more than we having scored (45), this also the second highest in the league. So I will be looking to bring in 1 or 2 better defenders to try and tighten things up at the back.

Karlo Prahic has continued his form from last season into this current campaign and once again is up there in the stats tables for his goals and average ratings.

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Discipline seems to be a bit of an issue this season, some might say that nothing changed on that front, as the club has picked up the most amount of bookings and dismissals this season.

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On the transfer front I am having to sell Hugo Cuypers for £1M to Catania in the January window, this after hes come a bit of a bad egg of late complaining that he's not getting enough game and this is having a negative effect on the squad harmony and we all know what happened at Latina.

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With not much cash available the club start need to start producing some serious home grown talent and with the best facilities outside of Serie A this is something that the club needs to start investing more heavily in. Its OK having these facilities but if the board doesn't hire the relevant coaches and staff to nurture these youngsters then the heavy investment in this project is all for nothing.

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Until Next Time......

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