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[FM16] San Giovanni - A Sammarinese youth only challenge

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San Giovanni

S.S. San Giovanni is a Sanmarinese football club, based in San Giovanni sotto le Penne, a civil parrish of Borgo Maggiore. The club was founded in 1948. San Giovanni currently plays in Girone B of Campionato Sammarinese di Calcio. The team's colors are white, red and black. It is the only Sammarinese side not to win any silverware.

That's about all there is out there on the internet on San Giovanni. Essentially, they're the worst of the 15 teams who play in San Marino, having finished bottom of their group the last two seasons. By using only the players that come through my academy, my plan is to take both them and San Marino as far in the world as I can. In all honesty, it's probably not very far.

Before I get started, I'd like to just answer any questions off the top of my head that you guys may have.

It's a random choice. Why San Giovanni?

I've always had a real affinity for San Marino - I'm always a fan of the underdog, and such a small country who clearly love football (despite not being all that great at it) really tugged at my heartstrings. It was probably made worse by the English media every time San Marino were due to meet England, with the media debating whether San Marino should even be allowed to enter competitive tournaments. In the real world, San Marino are constantly belittled for trying their hardest at the hobby they love. This isn't the real world. I'm hoping to take San Marino, and at the very least show the world that they're no laughing stocks.

As far as San Giovanni goes - well, that was completely down to Makoto Nakamura. On FM 2012 he took on this challenge, and wrote what is by far my favourite FM story to ever grace these boards. Honestly, you should read it. You won't regret it. I didn't read the thread while it was going on, but came across it roughly a year later, and read the whole thing in one very long sitting. Since then, San Giovanni has been the team for me.

Realistically, how far do you think you can go? San Marino is a hard enough challenge, but to only be using youth players?

Honestly, probably not all that far. I've actually done this save on FM15, and despite getting through roughly 80 years, all I had to show for it was about three or four Europa League group appearances - very brief ones. We never made it to the Champions League. Part of that may have been down to luck - I didn't get a single usable striker through my academy for about 30 seasons, and so had to go strikerless for a long time. Part of the fun of the challenge is having to adapt your tactics based on what you're given, but I wonder how different things would have been if I was able to use a tactic I was more comfortable with. To be honest, a lot of this is down to luck.

The main part of luck is with the Champions League draw - you start off as an unranked team in the second qualifying round, and will pretty much get battered every year until you improve enough to beat one of the weaker seeded teams. But that alone won't improve your coefficient - you then need to get lucky and draw a weaker team again in the next five years, so that your coefficient pushes you into a seeded second round team. From there, getting into the third qualifying round should be a breeze - but you're then relying on lady luck to give you a draw that leaves you with a chance of winning. To summarise, I did this for 80 years on FM 15 and never made the CL group stage. I'm hoping I can at least make it to one this time around, but we'll have to see.

80 years? How did you get through that?

I want to make this clear at the start, just so there's no confusion. Once I've got a firm grip on the domestic side of things, I'll usually go on holiday for a lot of the league season. I understand that some people might have a problem with this, and that's fine. If you don't like the way I'm planning to do this, you don't have to read it - it's just the only way that I can feasibly get through enough seasons to make progress. Presuming I get knocked out of Europe, I'll holiday from the end of the summer transfer window to the start of the January one. I'll then play through until youth intake day, sign the players, sort out their training and then, barring any problems holiday until the beginning of the league playoffs. The league has a very strange format - it randomly splits into one group of seven and one group of eight. You play the teams in your own group twice and the teams in the other group once, bringing you up to 21 league games for the season. The top three teams of each group then go into double elimination playoffs, where losing one game (unless it's the final) doesn't knock you out straight away. It's a complicated system, but hopefully we'll be winning the playoff and that CL spot most years.

If you did this last year, did you notice anything special or out of the ordinary? San Marino actually produced two world class midfielders last year relatively close to each other. It was really strange - these guys both played for Champions League teams. They played together for the National Team, but never really had any success.

The second thing would be Belgian teams - they're my worst nightmare. These guys would come in for all my players on frees until I could turn semi-professional, and my players would always join them due to the higher reputation. I wonder if it's the same this year, or if there's any reason that it's almost exclusively Belgian clubs.

The third thing isn't really strange, more of an annoyance. The league system essentially means that the CL spot is up for grabs in a single match at the end of the season. No matter how much better I was than other teams, I could never avoid losing the playoff final some of the time (usually on penalties) and dropping into the Europa League. The money's much worse there, and the teams you face are harder, so that's something I need to avoid this time around.

How are you using a team from San Marino?

I downloaded the excellent Leagues World Pack, fantastically put together by Claassen. If you want to download it, you can do so here.

Before I get started, I'd just like to say that this is my first time posting a career thread on these forums. I'll probably make mistakes, so bear with me. I also don't know what sort of things you guys want to see, so if you have any requests feel free to ask!

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The Club:

2015.jpg

San Marino isn't big enough to allow each team to have their own stadium, so instead the teams groundshare. The picture above is the Stadio Borgo Maggiore, which Wikipedia lists as their 'home' ground. It might not be impressive, but it's certainly pleasant.

Professional Status: Amateur



Reputation: National

Finances: Okay

Estimated Value: 45k (Really? That seems quite high to me)

Training facilities: Poor

Youth facilities: Basic

Junior coaching: Minimal

Youth recruitment: Limited

Media prediction: 13th (We're not last! It's already off to a good start)

Manager Profile:

3d3ff90d505975acaf9ba44a92af41f9.png

After coming bottom of the Campionato Sammarinese for the last two seasons, San Giovanni have decided to appoint a 20 year old Englishman with no experience and who can't speak Italian as their new manager. The San Giovanni fan club was fairly nonchalant at the news, with it's only member stating "He can't be worse than Van Gaal." Jamie Sewell is known to use a possession based game, getting men behind the ball and then looking to hit teams on the counter. Even if he had the language skills required to get that across to his new players, it's almost certain that they wouldn't be good enough to carry it out anyway - two passes counts as a successful passing move over there. If anyone actually cared about San Marinese football, this would be an experiment worth watching. I give him a week before he's sacked - although can you actually fire someone who isn't getting paid?

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The squad:

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I don't want to read too much into the star ratings, because: my "assistant" is actually a goalkeeping coach with 1 JPC and JPA, and the players are likely all terrible regardless and will be replaced quickly by youth. However, if we take a look at my best player:

6b574bc5813b3ed9a50254f74b27292d.png

He's actually not too bad. For San Marino, he's rather good. Quite a few of the squad are better than I'd have anticipated - it seems that San Giovanni have improved since last season. However, when your best player featured for "unknown club" in 2008, he may not be the worldbeater that you hoped.

In terms of potential, there's not much, and I'm not expecting any of these young players to ever play many games for us. I suppose the best talent is Edoardo Cecchetti:05928c95d1f31fa8060d32e86af30c46.png

There's a long way to go from here, and these players will all be long gone before San Giovanni ever do anything of note. One or two of them, however, might help us win some silverware for the first time.

One player that you wouldn't have seen on the squad list is Fabio Giardi. He's a 44 year old CB. So what's special about him? c1db2839b9c713ac0b71dbabcbf6fd40.png

That's right. He's also my chairman.

As far as staff goes, there isn't much. I have one fitness coach who has a 5 for fitness coaching, and one goalkeeping coach who has a 4 for goalkeepers. I also have a director of football, and two terrible physios. The good news is, since they're not on contracts, I can get rid of them for nothing whenever I choose. Considering our chairman is also a player, not having to spend any money might be quite important.

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An interesting and slightly different twist to the San Marino challenge.

The stadium does look nice. Just don't kick the ball over the sideline and onto the roof of a passing car, or you'll never find it again. ;)

Also: Player-chairman - that's a first! I wonder what happens if there is a board takeover? :D

Good luck!

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An interesting and slightly different twist to the San Marino challenge.

The stadium does look nice. Just don't kick the ball over the sideline and onto the roof of a passing car, or you'll never find it again. ;)

Also: Player-chairman - that's a first! I wonder what happens if there is a board takeover? :D

Good luck!

I just have a weird image in my head of a player mishitting a shot and swearing to himself as he has to run into traffic to get the ball back :D

Thanks for the kind words!

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Just a quick update here. I've gone with two tactics for now, a narrow 4-3-3 which suits the players we have right now, and a 4-2-4 that I've used in the past with some success, although won't be using it unless I get some good wingers come through. Both tactics are possession ones to be used on the counter. I'm not expecting them to work miracles, but hopefully opposing defences are bad enough to let a few passes expose gaps. Regardless, expect me to be using a completely new tactic in the near future - you always have to adapt to what you have at your disposal.

My personal expectations for this year are pretty low - I'm not expecting Europe, and so I don't really mind where I finish in the league as long as I don't get sacked. The main aim for this year is to hopefully have a few good players come through on intake day.

On that note - the board rejected my first request to improve the Junior Coaching. I don't actually need it improved until Youth Intake day which I think is sometime around February, but I'm hoping that they'll accept it soon, as Junior Coaching is the key to progress in the early years. The youth players won't reach their potential with terrible facilities, not being full (or even part) time and terrible coaches. In fact, they'll hardly improve at all. The better they are when they arrive on Youth Intake Day, the more useful they are to me (Junior Coaching improves the CA of the players who come through on intake day).

I made some staff changes, getting rid of the deadwood and replacing them with some slightly better deadwood. I did sign an assistant manager and a HOYD - both are terrible, but I needed someone in those roles. The board also let me take a coaching course, which is great, as the coaches I can sign are all terrible, and the best training will be coming from myself - improving my coaching stats is huge in that regard.

I can't really tell you who the strongest and weakest teams are as of yet - because all players aren't on contracts, they tend to bounce around teams on a whim, meaning that the league winners one year can slump to bottom place the next. So far we've had contracts offered to three of our best players, but they've chosen to stick with us. I'm elated at that, but somewhat surprised - they could all be playing for much stronger teams in this division. Regardless, we started off the league campaign against Domagnano. 8 minutes into the game, and this happened.

[video=youtube;jbqyDs_QMNY]

I'm expecting lots of strange goals like this, but it didn't matter in the end. We won a thriller 4-3, winning it with a William Pierini hatrick in the 87th minute. It's been a good start so far, both on and off the pitch. Long may it continue!

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Youth Intake Day:

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Not a bad first intake, with some players there that will likely get a first team place at some point. Here's the best of the bunch:

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He's not overly fantastic, but he's pretty good, especially for this level. Hopefully, the quality of player rises each year as we push our Junior Coaching up the tiers.

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Just a quick update here. I've gone with two tactics for now, a narrow 4-3-3 which suits the players we have right now, and a 4-2-4 that I've used in the past with some success, although won't be using it unless I get some good wingers come through. Both tactics are possession ones to be used on the counter.

Eh? How can it be possession and counter??

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Good youth players on your first season!:) I don't know what that greyed-out player means?
Looks like a decent first intake

Thanks guys! While 5* potential means very little right now, due to it both not being all that hard to get due to the weakness of my current squad and the fact that they won't really improve all that much, it's certainly a good start. The grey player is just there to fill out the squad, he's not actually part of the team and I won't be signing him up. I'm guessing because San Marino is so small I didn't have as many youth players come through as I might have done elsewhere.

Eh? How can it be possession and counter??

Sorry, I didn't really explain this all that well. I wanted to play a counter attacking style of football due to being such a weak team, but playing long balls consistently when your players aren't great at passing just means you come under too much pressure. Instead, I created this tactic, which essentially gives the players two choices as soon as we recover possession. The first option that they should look for is the counter attack - if there's a counter available, they'll use the high tempo in the tactic to quickly move the ball downfield, overriding the instruction to retain possession. If the counter attack isn't on, they look towards the second option, and begin to patiently pass the ball around, waiting for an opportunity to open up. I admit that it's confusing and a little contradictory, but the game engine seems to understand my intention. When I tried it on FM15, it was more successful than a long ball counter attacking style or a controlled possession style, and the highlights did show them ignoring the possession command and starting a counter attack when there was the chance to do so.

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Cup Final Day!

Our league campaign saw us finish 6th in our group of seven, with only Domagnano keeping us off the bottom. The cup, however, was a different matter. Being drawn in a group of three, we only needed to avoid finishing bottom to go through to the quarter final. We did just that, picking up 10 points from 6 games and comfortably going through. We narrowly won from behind against La Florita in the quarter final, before demolishing Fiorentino 3-0 in the final. So who would our opponents be?

Virtus.

That's right, the bottom team in the entire league, having picked up just 17 points from 21 matches would be our cup final opponents, with a Europa League qualifying place at stake.

Was I overconfident? Well, we went 1-0 down inside a minute. Our goalkeeper Montinari couldn't hold onto a close range shot, and the Cup's top scorer William Innocenti was waiting to gleefully smash home from 4 yards out.

Virtus put up a strong defensive front. For a while. 37 minutes in, Nicholas Brilli floated a cross towards the penalty area, and Alvaro Musta flicked it into the bottom corner past the despairing goalkeeper. 1-1!

The game reached a stalemate after that. Matteo Bugli had a decent effort for us in the 72nd minute, but the goalkeeper got down well. The game was going nowhere, and something needed to change.

It was time for Marco Bernardi (YP1) to make his debut.

He started off nervously, with his only real impact coming in extra time. After giving away the ball with a horrendous pass, we recovered it and played a through ball towards Alvaro Musta, who just couldn't beat the keeper. Penalties.

The first 9 penalties were scored, making it 5-4 to Virtus. Our fifth taker was Marco Bernardi (YP1). If he couldn't score, we wouldn't be playing in Europe next season.

He could.

Bernardi blasted it into the roof of the net, and the stalemate continued. And continued. 20 penalties in, and not a single miss. It was time for the goalkeepers.

After Pazzini put his penalty home like a pro for Virtus, Montinari stepped forward. He hit it left, but not left enough, and Pazzini was able to punch it away.

The dream was over.

It was a fantastic run, but to come so close to our first taste of Europe so soon, only to have it snatched away was devastating. I wasn't expecting to be challenging for Europe until a few seasons in, so I have to look at the positives. This cup run was a bonus. The real work starts next season, where I'm hoping (although not necessarily expecting) to be pushing for a playoff place.

Onwards and upwards!

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I won't do a full Season Review, as I've covered most of it in my post above. Pennarossa, our arch rivals, won the league, but there was a lot of bad news off the field.

Firstly, San Marino dropped below Gibraltar in the coefficient rankings. This means that, for next season (at the least), we'll only have one Europa League place instead of two. I think this means that the losers of the playoff final will get absolutely nothing, and it's the League and Cup winners who play in Europe. That's not likely to be us. NINE players all decided to retire, including some first teamers. Our depth is stretched seriously thin - we don't actually have a RB in the squad, for example. This season will likely just be a transitional one, with hopefully a strong intake meaning that the young are replacing the old.

One of the players who retired was Fabio Giardi, our player/chairman. Our new Chairman is one of the directors, and nothing's changed as a result except for the name of the person I answer to.

San Marino managed to earn a very credible draw in a friendly against New Zealand, in what is the country's best ever result by far. Apart from that, it was the usual mix of batterings, with Switzerland and Germany putting 8 and 7 past them respectively.

I did manage to sign a few new coaches, some of whom are pretty good. I also got a much better HOYD, and I'm hoping that he provides me with a decent intake that would leave me in a position to fight for Europe in a season's time. I probably won't give another update until the Intake Day, barring anything strange/special happening.

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The main thing is you stayed up, shame about losing the Europa spot but with a nation that small it was always going to be a possibility. Hopefully the retirements won't jarm you too much and a few kids can step in and do a decent job for you.

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The main thing is you stayed up, shame about losing the Europa spot but with a nation that small it was always going to be a possibility. Hopefully the retirements won't jarm you too much and a few kids can step in and do a decent job for you.

Ah, sorry, I don't think I explained the league system well enough. San Marino only has one division, but it splits it into two groups for the ease of scheduling. At the end of the season, the top three teams in each group go into a double elimination style playoff, which is to decide the league winner rather than who gains promotion. Hope that clears it up.

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Just a suggestion.

When and if you get to the stage where you are thinking about holidaying games, maybe you should experiment with an Instant Result button skin.

Good luck. :thup:

Youth only and San Marino eh? All you need now is for your GK to start banging the goals in and you are a proper manager. :lol:

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Just a suggestion.

When and if you get to the stage where you are thinking about holidaying games, maybe you should experiment with an Instant Result button skin.

Good luck. :thup:

Youth only and San Marino eh? All you need now is for your GK to start banging the goals in and you are a proper manager. :lol:

Instant result is a good idea, I'll take a look and see if any skins take my fancy, thanks!

Haha, I read your Gibraltar story, it was great. I don't trust my outfield players to score right now, let alone my keeper :lol:

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Youth Intake Day!

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Oh.

This isn't what I was hoping for, with no-one above a 1/2* in CA. Here's the best player from the intake:

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He's actually not all that bad. With decent finishing and a little bit of pace, I could see him becoming a very useful striker for us. There's little else apart from him, but at least he saves this from being a completely dreadful year.

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Season Review

Campionato Sammarinese:

League Table

Schedule

As I feared, we struggled badly to cope with the loss of nine players through retirement. A lot of them were big players, and it'll take us a little while to replace them. To not win more than two games in a row was disappointing, although we did manage a five game unbeaten streak at one point.

Coppa Titano:

Group Table

Schedule

We got beaten pretty handily here.

Key Players:



Highest Average Rating:

Andrea Maiani - 7.40

Top Goalscorer:

Andrea Molari - 9

Aims for next season:

I don't think I'm good enough to be pushing for Europe yet, so my main aim is actually something that (for the most part) is out of my control - I'd like a good youth intake so that I can think about challenging for Europe sooner rather than later. In terms of league positioning, I'd be happy if I could avoid being in the bottom two of my group again, and maybe sneaking into the knockout rounds of the cup.

Other teams:

League Winners: Domagnano, who beat Murata in the final on penalties. Domagnano were the only team keeping us off the bottom last year - how much difference a year makes in San Marino!

Cup Winners: Virtus - for the second year in a row!

How the team in CL qualifying did: Pennarossa got destroyed in the first round, losing 7-0 to Armenian champions Shirak on aggregate.

How the teams in Europa qualifying did: This was Libertas and Fiorentino. I've got no idea why Virtus weren't in it, seeing as they won the cup - did something happen to them in particular? The game did tell me that I was playing them for a place in Europa, so I can't understand why they didn't get to play in it. Libertas managed a credible 1-1 draw at home to Istra 1961 in the first round, before losing 3-0 away. Fiorentino didn't fare quite as well, losing 8-0 on aggregate to Omonoia.

San Marino National team:

Made history! They won their first ever competitive game, beating Azerbaijan 1-0 in World Cup qualifying with a 92nd goal from Matteo Vitaioli. Other good news - we're now up to 169th in the world! The national side seem to not be needing my help for the moment.

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Very good start for the San Marino national team! Of course, your first season quite well. I hope you need to continue your rebuilding process to make San Giovanni a dynamic run! Good luck on your second season!:)

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Very good start for the San Marino national team! Of course, your first season quite well. I hope you need to continue your rebuilding process to make San Giovanni a dynamic run! Good luck on your second season!:)

That actually was my second season, I didn't do a proper season review for the first but it's up there.

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Hopefully once you do some improvement to Junior Coaching and Facilities, the quality will improve quick - exactly what happened in my save.

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Hopefully once you do some improvement to Junior Coaching and Facilities, the quality will improve quick - exactly what happened in my save.

Junior Coaching really makes such a difference at this level - the quality is so bad that an improvement in the CA of your players coming through can take you from the bottom of the league to the top in one intake. Facilities are also superb, but it'll be a long time until we have enough money to improve them, and a longer time until we can turn semi-pro so it actually matters.

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Youth intake Day!

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It looks pretty good, but I'm disappointed. This league season has shown me that 1 great player won't help us - we need to start getting 2 or 3 players who can come in and start instantly for us in these intakes, or we're going to be floundering at the bottom for a long time. Still, it's not all doom and gloom - let's see the best of the players:

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He's pretty good. He should be in line for a starting spot straight away next season, so at least our midfield trio is looking relatively strong. It's just the rest of the squad that isn't...

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Season Review

Campionato Sammarinese:

League Table

Schedule

The less said about this season the better. The thing I want to note is that the Europa place didn't go to Domagnano, despite them winning the cup and making the playoff final! It went to Juvenes Dogana, who didn't even qualify for the playoffs and got knocked out of the cup in the Semi Final. I have no idea what's going on.

Coppa Titano:

Group Table

Schedule

1 win in 6 games says it all, although we only lost by more than one goal once.

Key Players:



Highest Average Rating:

Marco Bernardi (YP1) - 7.32

Good to see our first ever Youth prospect play this well for us, and hopefully bodes well for things to come.

Top Goalscorer:

Andrea Molari - 12

Aims for next season:

Are we good enough to push for Europe? I doubt it, as just one good youth player probably won't be enough to mask the deficiencies in the rest of the squad. Again, the main aim is just to hopefully get a decent youth intake, so we can start competing sooner rather than later.

Other teams:

League Winners: Faetano beat Domagnano 3-0 in the final.

Cup Winners: Domagnano

How the team in CL qualifying did: Domagnano's fairly easy draw didn't help them out, as they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Maltan champions Sliema Wanderers in the first qualifying round.

How the teams in Europa qualifying did: Again, Virtus (the cup winners) weren't in it. Pennarossa lost 6-0 to Swedish side Elfborg on aggregate in the 1st qualifying round.

San Marino National team:

They didn't win a competitive game after that, but did manage to go unbeaten in two consecutive friendlies! A 0-0 draw with Gibraltar and a 1-0 win over Malta might not be all that impressive, but things are moving in the right direction, and they're up to 166th.

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Retirements are going to hurt me again.

The best player in our entire squad with 5* CA, Matteo Camillini, is retiring. He's only 34, and I was really hoping to have him around for a few more seasons. He's not the only one, as our CM who started 20 games for us last season, Matteo Bugli, is also going. His retirement is softened by the arrival of Mattia Bianchi (YP3), but I want to be going forwards, not sideways or backwards.

It then got worse, as our goalkeeper, Nicola Montinari decided to step away from the game. He wasn't fantastic, but he was better than the players we had behind him. Here's our new starting goalkeeper:

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It's going to be a long season.

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Youth Intake day!

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It's a blow to not get any decent outfield players, but I did need a goalkeeper badly - now I have two! Lets take a look at them:

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I think that it'll be Nicola Bacciocchi (YP4) that gets the nod for me next season. Nicola Nanni (YP5) might have 14 reflexes, but his other stats are woeful.

Every single player this year had 5* potential - Junior Coaching shouldn't improve youth players potential, so I'm seeing this as a sign of how much weaker the squad has got since the start.

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That's a crazy youth intake in terms of potential across the board! I think you are right - it might be a reflection on the general status on your current squad's abilities. On the bright side, any improvement is good!

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That's a crazy youth intake in terms of potential across the board! I think you are right - it might be a reflection on the general status on your current squad's abilities. On the bright side, any improvement is good!

Very true - and as it turned out, we didn't fair all that badly this year..

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I cleverly deleted the Season review for this one and haven't saved it anywhere :mad:

Essentially, we did horribly in the cup and lost out on the playoffs by head to head record with Domagnano as we were level on points with them. Our best player was once again Marco Bernardi (YP1), our top scorer was Andrea Molari again, and the San Marino NT had another solid year, beating Luxembourg and drawing with Latvia twice to avoid coming bottom of their Nations League group.

Sorry about that.

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I was wondering why it hadn't happened yet, and I suppose it was only a matter of time - our first player has left us. Mattia Bianchi (YP3) rejected our offers of a new contract, and has moved to Cosmos. He's a big loss, but I'm lucky that he's the only one so far.

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EDIT: Now another of our CMs, Marcos Moreno has joined him, going to Cailungo. I'm going to be switching from 4-3-3 to 4-2-4, just because I now don't have the depth at CM that I did before.

Second edit: It got worse. Our star CB, Gabriele Genghini decided to join Cailungo. I've got no idea why it's all suddenly happening, but it's really frustrating.

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Not good news at all after being so close to the playoffs too, hopefully it won't get any worse with players leaving

No players left, but Folgore Falciano did just take my coach and promote him to assistant manager :(

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Youth Intake Day!

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Now that's what I'm talking about!

Not only did we get two players with 4* CA, but we got one in a position that we desperately needed at CB. This is by far our best intake to date, and with our junior coaching now at good, this is hopefully the turning point for us in San Marino. Lets take a look at the best of them:

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He's not fantastic, but he's miles better than what we have now. Delighted to have him in the team, he should be an absolute rock in San Marino for us.

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One year after we got our best two keepers, we now have a new number one. His stats aren't that much better than Nicola Bacciocchi (YP4), but he probably has the edge over him overall - it's his job to lose.

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Decided to give these two the tag. I don't have as high hopes for them as the other two, but they look like they could become good CMs for us.

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Cup Final Day!

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We made it to our second Cup Final, and we'll be taking on La Florita. After the heartbreak we had in our first one, I'm hoping that second time will be the charm. I don't really care about the cup, in honesty - while it'll be nice to get our first ever trophy, I'm fully focused on the Europa League place that will (hopefully) come with it.

Our road to the final:

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Does two wins from six group games sound like title winning form? Probably not, but our 9 points were enough to see us comfortably through. The youth players can't play in the league until the following season due to registration issues, but they don't need to be registered for the cup. Ever since I introduced the new regens, we've looked unstoppable. We saw off Domagnano in the final group game, before easily getting past Tre Fiori in the Quarter Final. A rematch against Domagnano awaited in the Semi Final, and for 80 minutes there was a stalemate - until Giacomo Mancini (YP9) fed an inch perfect through ball forwards to Michelle Zafferani (YP2), who gleefully smashed it home, booking our place in the final.

La Florita's road to the final:

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11 points in six games saw them comfortably top their group of three. They didn't have it all their own way in the knockouts, as Fiorentino took them to penalties. They were able to scrape through, before comfortably beating Cailungo for the third time in the Cup to make it through to the final. If there was any team capable of halting our winning ways, your money would be on them.

With just two days in between our Semi Final and Final, we may be struggling a bit for fitness at times. Despite that, we've gone with an unchanged team from the Semi Final - it's by far our strongest team, and those who got us this far deserve to have the chance to win it for us. There's a staggering four players out of our starting 11 from the most recent intake, and only 3 in the starting team (Pierini, Molari, Cecchetti) haven't come through our youth system. Here's how we line up:

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We've gone with our narrow 4-3-3 - I tried switching to a 4-2-4 earlier in the season before quickly realising that we didn't have good enough wingers for it. I went back to the 4-3-3, and we've now lucky got an excellent midfield trio of youth players who, in all likelihood, will win or lose this game for us. La Florita probably have the best goalkeeper in the league in Gianluca Vivan, and we'll need to make our chances count.

We're underway!

"We're 15 minutes into the game here, and there's not much to report so far. Both teams seem to be feeling each other out, neither wanting to push forward and leave themselves exposed."

"Marco Bernardi (YP1) picks the ball up here for San Giovanni.. that's a fantastic pass out wide! Cecchetti with a chance to cross.. IT'S MOLARI... WHAT A SAVE! Molari is given a fantastic chance, but somehow Vivan is able to reach his hand out and block the shot!

"Half time here, and there's been very little action to report on. Andrea Molari was given a golden opportunity to give San Giovanni the lead in the 22nd minute, but Gianluca Vivan pulled out one of the saves of the season to deny him down low. San Giovanni were beginning to flag a little at the end of that half, and their fitness will be something we need to keep an eye on."

"AND MARCO BECCARIA HAS SCORED! San Giovanni just switched off there, and they were dutifully punished for it. Just two minutes into the second half, and La Florita have one hand on the trophy!"

"Bernardi (YP1) has found Michelle Zafferani (YP2) with a good pass forward. Can he outrun the two defe - HE CAN.. TIGHT ANGLE.. GOAL! GIANLUCA VIVAN GOT HIS POSITIONING ALL WRONG THERE, AND ZAFFERANI HAS PULLED SAN GIOVANNI LEVEL!"

"Vivan's slices that goal kick horribly, and the ball rolls right to Cirillo. Forward to Molari. Switches it to Cecchetti, there's a chance for a cross here.. he puts it into the box - MOLARI IS AT THE BACK POST.. GOOOOOOOOOAL! An unmarked Cecchetti had all day to put in a fantastic cross to the backpost, where San Giovanni stalwart Andrea Molari was waiting to volley home! With just 23 minutes left on the clock, is there any way back for La Florita?"

90th minute:

"Gatti throws it in to play quic - BUT NOT QUICK ENOUGH! SAN GIOVANNI HAVE WON THE COPPA TITANO!"

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Season Review

Campionato Sammarinese:

League Table

Schedule

We started off well, but just fell apart when our players left us, getting just one point from our last 8 games - that's 1 point from 24, and in a league where you only play 20 games, that's just a monumental collapse.

Coppa Titano:

No need to post this again. We won!

Key Players:



Highest Average Rating:

Marco Bernardi (YP1) - 7.28

Third year in a row. Technically, the highest rating went to Giacomo Mancini (YP9) who averaged an 8.00, but that was only in 2 games, so I'm not counting it.

Top Goalscorer:

Michele Zafferani (YP2) - 11

He's still not where I want him to be, but he's getting there. Decent season for the youngster.

Youth prospects:

Marco Bernardi (YP1) - The best player three years in a row says it all.

Michele Zafferani (YP2) - Getting better each year, but still not averaging above a 7.0 rating.

Nicola Bacciocchi (YP4) - Good but not great season, and will be our backup next year.

Nicola Nanni (YP5) - I might have tagged him, but he may never play a game for the club.

Nicola Romanelli (YP6) - his play next year will be huge in determining how we do. Hopefully could be the missing piece at the back.

Fabrizio Lo Russo (YP7) - Starting goalkeeper spot is his to lose. Played in the four cup games he was eligible.

Manuel Ciacci (YP8) - Played in 3 cup games, will form part of my midfield trio with Marco Bernardi (YP1) and Giacomo Mancini (YP9).

Giacomo Mancini (YP9) - absolutely tore up the two cup games he played in. High expectations for him.

Aims for next season:

I think we finally have the strength in the squad to push for the playoffs. I'd really like to get back into Europe again, whether through retaining the cup or maybe even winning the league and tasting Champions League football for the first time. I'm not expecting us to get past the first round of Europe this year, and any wins are just a bonus.

Other teams:

League Winners: Domagnano beat Libertas 2-1 in the final.

Cup Winners: Us!

How the team in CL qualifying did: Folgore lost 5-1 to Welsh Champions TNS.

How the team in Europa qualifying did: Domagnano got a horrible draw, and did well to only lose 6-0 to Dundee United.

San Marino National team:

Rough year this time around, only playing European Championship qualifiers. They did manage to pick up a point in a credible 0-0 draw with Latvia, but lost their other 9 games, including a 7-0 drubbing away at Germany. Down to 181st in the world.

Caps for our players:

Marco Bernardi (YP1) has 17 caps for the San Marino national side. Nicola Bacciocchi (YP4) has one cap for the U21s, Giuseppe Omiccioli has 3, and Andrea Maiani has 2. Mattia Bernardi and Manuel Vannucci have 2 and 3 respectively for the U21s, but as I don't expect them to ever play a game for us I won't show screenshots (unless someone wants them?)

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Well, this is really annoying.

Despite getting the message telling me that we were in the Europa League, we're not. Our place has gone to La Florita, who we beat in the final. I'd noticed it was strange teams in it before, and I've got no idea why it's them and not us. I can only presume that the Coppa Titano is bugged. I'll just have to play through this - the main aim is Champions League, not Europa, and hopefully once we get our second Europa league spot back things will go back to normal.

Frustrating.

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Shame about the bug, it is really frustrating when things like that happen especially as even the £70k or so even if you lost the 1st round would still have come in handy. Hope things on the pitch improve for you next season

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Shame about the bug, it is really frustrating when things like that happen especially as even the £70k or so even if you lost the 1st round would still have come in handy. Hope things on the pitch improve for you next season

Thanks mate. The 70k would have been big for us, but now I'm just even more focused on getting to the CL and the huge money that comes with that :D

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Well, this is really annoying.

Despite getting the message telling me that we were in the Europa League, we're not. Our place has gone to La Florita, who we beat in the final. I'd noticed it was strange teams in it before, and I've got no idea why it's them and not us. I can only presume that the Coppa Titano is bugged. I'll just have to play through this - the main aim is Champions League, not Europa, and hopefully once we get our second Europa league spot back things will go back to normal.

Frustrating.

That is a real shame, but it's a good attitude to have that you can play through it as your end-goal is Champions League.

If it's bugged to the extent that it is always the Runner Up that gets it, then maybe you should consider throwing the Final if the situation presents itself again. It's a toughy. Early domestic silverware is not to be sniffed at but cash and exposure to European football.......

Good luck anyway, (and congratulations).

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That is a real shame, but it's a good attitude to have that you can play through it as your end-goal is Champions League.

If it's bugged to the extent that it is always the Runner Up that gets it, then maybe you should consider throwing the Final if the situation presents itself again. It's a toughy. Early domestic silverware is not to be sniffed at but cash and exposure to European football.......

Good luck anyway, (and congratulations).

I've just had a look back, and it doesn't seem to be the runners up who get it. It probably isn't completely random, but I can't work out who's getting the place and why.

Thanks for the kind words :)

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This is where the team's dreams came so close of having a good spot already. Are you preparing for another season and will the San Marino NT is playing well soon?

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This is where the team's dreams came so close of having a good spot already. Are you preparing for another season and will the San Marino NT is playing well soon?

I've already started the next season, but I don't want to give away any spoilers yet :D

The NT will take a while to get to a reasonable level. They've started off better than I thought they'd do, but they aren't likely to improve much any time soon.

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Youth Intake Day!

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Three players with 3*+ CA? It looks like our now excellent Junior Coaching came up big for us.

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Natural at either LB or CB, and looks pretty damn good. I'm not sure where I'll use him yet, but I'm pretty sure he'll manage just fine whereever he plays.

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He looks good, but nothing special, and he'll be backing up our midfield trio of youth players in the pecking order.

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11 marking is great. 5 tackling is not. Think he'll probably be a backup to begin with.

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For the first time under my management, we've made it to the playoffs. Because they're in a really confusing format, and because I think this will be quite exciting, I'll be making a new post for each match. I'm not expecting to win them, but winning is the only thing that matters because of that sole CL place.

Let's go!

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3 players with decent CA from the Intake.

Possibly more importantly, 3x Pro players and a Res from those slightly less blessed in CA.

It's a shame that the best CA guys have poor personalites though.

Good luck in the Playoffs. I don't know what the format is so it will be interesting to follow and learn.

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I'm not happy.

Things were going well until the 48th minute, when Manuel Ciacci (YP8) got himself sent off for a stupid second booking. We got pushed back and back after then, and our late goal was no more than a consolation that we probably didn't deserve. It's double elimination, so we're not out yet, but I really don't rate our chances.

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3 players with decent CA from the Intake.

Possibly more importantly, 3x Pro players and a Res from those slightly less blessed in CA.

It's a shame that the best CA guys have poor personalites though.

Good luck in the Playoffs. I don't know what the format is so it will be interesting to follow and learn.

I knew you'd notice their personalties :lol: For now, I don't really think it matters - we're an amateur club with the worst training facilities imaginable, and I don't expect anyone to really improve from their current ability at all - maybe a few points here and there, but nothing major. Until we can turn at least Semi-Professional, I don't expect personalities or tutoring to have an impact, although they might be useful players to keep around to become future tutors.

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