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Muttley84

Destination Calabria

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It is said a picture is worth more than 1000 words, so here it goes and see what we can make of it:

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From the 20 teams found in Seria in the 2018-2019 edition, 18 of them come from the North (west and east) and Center regions. Only 2 of them are coming from the Islands (Cagliari) and South region (Napoli). They are also the only one to ever won any major trophies of the Italian calcio (football). A lot of discussion can be made around what drives this discrepancy between the north and the south, but this is not the purpose here. Furthermore, I am not Italian and therefore not a lot of information for me on the topic. What we aim to do is pick over a club in the south, and climb to Serie A, eventually winning some trophies along the way. 

It is clear by now that I have decided on going to the region of Calabria. And that Is important because I aim to do all that only using players from Calabria (there are several careers here exploring the concept in other regions of Europe, most of them in Brittany, but also done it myself in the national Romanian forum by only using players born in cross-border region - Banat). It would be a difficult task as I've played around with some filters and there not a great deal of exceptional players from Calabria, but that will only add to the challenge. 

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I have yet to pick a club, but playing on Football Manager Touch I am bound by the clubs playing in the out-of-the-box leagues (although would have made a beautiful story to start from Serie D or even lower, but afraid real-life won't let me do that much time-investment anymore). Therefore I am still to decide between one of the following:

707654.pngCrotone (Serie B) - recently relegated from Serie A, but not doing great irl, good facilities, decent stadium, a bit to many loaned players.

1124.pngCosenza (Serie B) - promoted to Serie B, large stadium and decent facilities, the color scheme is a bit off-putting. 

1119.pngCatanzaro (Serie C) - lingering for years in the lower leagues after Serie A 30 years a go, medium sized in all aspects.

1165.pngReggina (Serie C) - largest city of the region, a large stadium and good facilities, been to Serie A before.

7983718.pngRende (Serie C) - not sure I wanna go that low as both the club and the city (an annex of Cosenza) are on the smaller size.

832154.pngVibonese (Serie C) - another smaller club which never been to Serie A.

Most of the clubs suffered a process characteristic to Italy (and especially the south) due to financial troubles and irregularities they have been re-founded several times, but that won't be big problem. Chosing one of them will be as searching for the perfect balance between to hard and to easy (although I doubt it will be the case, never had much success in the big leagues in FM with small teams). Might even put in one or two funnier criteria, like for which team I can buy online a game shirt (will help me stick with it), or which will be most suitable as a tourist destination for me and the miss this summer. 

Any suggestions are welcomed, as for sure gonna take a couple of days to decide (introducing all criteria in a excel database, giving them weights, calculating). 

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Shunsuke Nakamura used to play for Reggina. I loved Naka, so they get my vote! Decent stadium and large population too, so a useful base to build on.

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If I can make a suggestion, consider adding prefix (Calabria) to every Calabrian city in editor before the game. Makes life much easier.

About choosing a club. Maybe take the one with the coolest nickname? Crotone is The Pythagoreans or The Sharks, Cosenza are Wolves, Catanzaro are Southern Eagles, Reggina are Dark Reds, Rende is Red and White and Vibonese are The Lions.

Personally I like Southern Eagles the most here considering the nature of the save.

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1 hour ago, withnail316 said:

Shunsuke Nakamura used to play for Reggina. I loved Naka, so they get my vote! Decent stadium and large population too, so a useful base to build on.

Roger that, one for Reggina and I actually remember him playing. Thx.

1 hour ago, nie jem frytek said:

If I can make a suggestion, consider adding prefix (Calabria) to every Calabrian city in editor before the game. Makes life much easier.

About choosing a club. Maybe take the one with the coolest nickname? Crotone is The Pythagoreans or The Sharks, Cosenza are Wolves, Catanzaro are Southern Eagles, Reggina are Dark Reds, Rende is Red and White and Vibonese are The Lions.

Personally I like Southern Eagles the most here considering the nature of the save.

If only that would be possible, but as already said before playing it on Touch so no editor there. But thanks for the nicknames idea, I didnt really considered them. Seems its gonna be a animal battle till the end between eagles, sharks, lions or wolves. Gonna put one down for Catanzaro while I read more about the cities and history. Thx.

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Speaking about former players - Andrea Pirlo played for Reggina on loan. Another World Champion Simone Perrotta is Reggina's Youth Product. Franco Causio (World Champion from 1982) also played for Reggina at one point.

Other team aren't really famous for their players, with an exception of Gianluigi Lentini (once the most expensive player) who played for Cosenza later in his career, and maybe Stefano Fiore who's from Cosenza.

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4 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

Crotone vote here

Thx. Now I got three, one each for a different club :)) Guess you guys arent making things easy for me at all. :p

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Finally decided on the Calabrian team manager Vicenzo Iaquinta ( ;) ) gonna lead to glory - this will be US Catanzaro. Not  a bad place to start with, a medium stadium holding 14650 places, good training facilities and average youth facilities. Media predicts us at 6th and therefore the board want us to quality for the playoff positions. I will assess the squad and see if that's the best we can expect this season or we can dream for more. Avanti Aquile del Sud!

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Objectives of our stay in Calabria:

- Full squad of Calabrian or Academy players

- Promote to Serie B

- Promote to Serie A

- Qualify for Europa or Champions League

- Win a major trophy until the club Centenary in 2029

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So I had to construct a list for the filter of player searching. For this I just put the Place of Birth and started listing places in Calabria going from the most populated ones down. To be honest i stopped after 100 places when their population was just around 4000 inhabitants. There are still around 300 places in Calabria but with their population being so small and pretty much no significant football teams located there I wonder if its worth the effort to add them to the list also. In the first 100 places we found only a mere 203 players, with Berardi being the pick of the bunch and not much else behind him. I think we will have to concentrate a lot on our academy products and possible on some quality regens from Calabria showing up, otherwise our mission will be extremely hard.

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Lets meet the Catanzaro squad going into the first season at the club. You will notice it's a pretty big squad of 28 men (mainly cause it also includes several youngsters who will play mainly for the reserves, but I intend to keep them at the club), as I've also shipped everyone I don't count on in the Reserves and delegated the DoF to find a solution to get them out of the club (no idea how successful that is going to turn out). Almost everyone in the first team had his contract expanded (except a couple who asked to much). The second thing you'll notice it a mark * on some people's names - meaning that they are local lads from Calabria and therefore should be given more chances then the others.

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We have ta solid option in goal in Furlan and Elezaj is more than a capable backup. Unfortunately none of them is from Calabria so we loaned in Russo from Genoa with the hope he will be accustomed and like it at the club so we can maybe transfer him next summer.

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A lot of young players in our defense (and most of the youngest one not with great potential), but I think they will do enough for the Serie C season. Furthermore we have two young Calabrian players in Riggio and Nicoletti and I will do my best to keep them at the club for longer periods. Anyway, I have come to find out that the star-system is not always the most revealing about what a player can provide in a certain system, so all of them will be given good chances.

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Going for a 4-1-4-1 DM wide (in FM tactics mode, although to me that's more like a 4-3-3 system) it's important we have a lot of quality in the middle of the field. And we do at the moment, the only problem being that three of the best players are either on loan (Eklu from Spal) or I won't extend their contract cause they want so much money we cant afford to spend it on non-Calabrian players (Alvaro and Casoli).

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For the three positions up front we are pretty solid on the left, but only Ciccone can play on the right so probably I will use Casoli there as backup). The main problem is that we don't have a natural striker of our own, Bianchimano being only loaned from Perugia, so it will be priority to find something decent there for next season.

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We started off the season in a superb form - not only did we not lose any of the friendlies (which is pretty important considering we also met Ligue 1 Nantes or Serie B Hellas Verona), but we also qualified from the  Serie C Cup after two wins in the group stage against Bisceglie and Potenza. In the next round we will meet with fellow Calabrian side Vibonese at home. This start gives us confidence that we can achieve the board objective of playing in the playoffs (to be honest not that big of an achievement as it seems that the first 10!! teams qualify for that).  I dont get how this works, the 1st place gets promoted, but theoretically you can finish 10th and still get promoted to Serie B? Will have to follow carefully how that goes.

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That frustrating moment when you are unbeaten in 9 league games and only drew once, and somehow you are second in the league. That's only cause Virtus Francavilla has a better goal difference that us, but I cant be to upset as the guys were simply superb. We also passed another two rounds in the Serie C Cup, being now on a run of 13 official games without defeat (of which 8 are also clean sheets). Our confidence is sky-high at the moment. The funny thing is looking at the table, there is not room to show all of the teams due to no less then seven of them being punished for financial mismanagement. If that doesn't spell south Italian style I dunno what does :)

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It was only normal that the first defeat will arrive at some point, just didnt expect it at home against Sicula Leonzio, and coming after three matches in which we destroyed our opponents. Pretty satisfied as we progressed another two rounds in the Serie C cup all the way to the semifinals and also climbed to first position in the league. That was enough to convince the board for a new contract keeping the manager at the club till the summer of 2020.

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6 hours ago, Genox said:

The whole Serie C is a mess not only the South

No wonder considering how well under the wage budget we are, attracting crowds of 3-4000 in the third division and we are still leaking money bad each month.

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We have the following loan deals this season: three coming in, with all of them given game time this season, especially Bianchimano who is our main striker. On the way out no less than 8 players (most of them on deals agreed before I got here and at lower league clubs). Having a look at them seems that only Ielo is good enough (but of course he didnt play as SPAL are in Serie A) and maybe I can give Perri or Comito some chances, considering all of them are native Calabrians (hope that how its spelled in English).

Catanzaro_-Loans2f8b13ac2b7d8a44.png

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Towards February we hit a rough period of form, with 4 straight leagues games without a win. Fortunately for us the other clubs arent doing that great either, so we remain in first position and with 9 games to go on the league we have a 3 points lead to Catania in 2nd and 6 points to Sicula Leonzio. A bit worrying considering both our defeats are against Sicily teams but hope we can hold on to the lead. We also won the 1st leg of the Serie C Cup semifinal against Pisa.

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First trophy of the season. After beating Pisa in the semi-finals we met Ternana in the finals and managed to win the Serie C Cup. Full update to come later.

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Season almost over, just one match to go and will need just a draw to finish ahead of Sicula Leonzio and win the Serie C - group C. We have lost another match at Francavilla but was only because we rotated a bit to much in expectation of the Cup Final with Ternana. Another good performance from our defense (6 clean sheets out of 8 league matches in the period)  was the main reason we are sitting so high in the league. The last match is against fellow Calabrian team Rende so with them being so low I think we are favorites for winning the league and also for promotion.

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If anyone wishes to listen to a beautiful song about Catanzaro's first historical promotion to Serie A back in 1971. Careful, it's very addictive. 

 

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We've done it! Won the last game at home in front of over 6000 spectators who come to witness us get promoted to Serie B! We had 21 shots and scored only two (the second in extra-time) so was a bit nerve-wrecking, but in the end Catanzaro promoted. Next year will be tough in Serie B, as we only have 3.8 million for wages and next to nothing for transfers. Will have to heavily rely on players already at the club, hope for a decent youth intake this summer and getting some nice Calabrian players on loan from the big boys!

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Seems to me that the boys partied to hard after gaining promotion to Serie B, because we failed in the Serie C Supercup. We lost the home game against Ternana (which we defeated last month in the Cup) and the victory against Entella was useless as we finished second with 3 points. It would have been nice to add another trophy to the cabinet, but wont be to upset about losing this.

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56 minutes ago, Deisler26 said:

Congratulations on the promotion!

Thanks. It's been great in Serie C as the squad was pretty good, but now we need to step up a level but cant seem to attract any good players which we can afford. Its gonna be hard but I guess not as hard as a Waalwijk season :p

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Congrats on Promotion.

 

I would look to play defensively and for Set Pieces until you can get some Homegrown talent in your team.

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7 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Congrats on Promotion.

I would look to play defensively and for Set Pieces until you can get some Homegrown talent in your team.

Thanks. Definately defensive is the way to go, especially given it was our strong point this season. But dont know how lucky we will get about homegroqn players.

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You know you had a good defensive season when your GK, all 4 defenders and 3 midfielders were included in the team of the season in the league. Also when 9 players had averaged above 9 also a good sign for the team. Unfortunately, on those remarked players only Figliomeni and Nicoletti (who are both backups at DC and DL) are born in Calabria, with the others needing to be sent away at some point. However I wont rush this to much, at the moment we simply cannot afford a complete overhaul of the squad if we wanna keep some real chances of surviving in Serie B (small as those chances are at the moment). We will be losing the top goalscorer of last season as Alvaro is going to head back to native Brasil (he wanted way to much for contract renewal and I decided I would not invest that much on him). 

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The only surprise at the top of Serie A this season was Juve only winning it by 2 points. Pretty close and joining them in the Champions League were Inter, Napoli and Lazio. Three teams which go into Europa League next season: Milan, Roma and Torino. The disappointments are Fiorentina and maybe Atalanta who miss out of Europe. No surprise at relegation either, with Frosinone, Empoli and Chievo joining us next season in Serie B.

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Palermo and Benevento promote directly to Serie A, while for the playoff position there is gonna be a hard fought battle between the six teams (Carpi, Padova, Cittadella, Perugia, Venezia and Brescia) - any of them promoting would be a small surprise as some of the favorites (Hellas verona, Pescara or Lecce collapsed this season). What's interesting for us is that our fierce rivals Cosenza were directly relegated to Serie C so no derby match next season, and also Crotone relegated after the play-off with Spezia. Next season we will be the only Calabrian team in Serie B, which is pretty bad for football in the region, but might help us poach some interesting players from our rival teams. Curious to see also if implemented in the game and next season we have a 20 teams Serie B as normal.

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Update with Career Objectives:

x - Full squad of Calabrian or Academy players

v - Promote to Serie B - 2019

x - Promote to Serie A

x - Qualify for Europa or Champions League

x - Win a major trophy until the club Centenary in 2029

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I dont know if there's enough numbers in there for a "golden generation", but for sure it would be nice if at least a couple of them would fulfill their potential. For now all of them are remaining at the club until we decide on the squad for next season, and then we can see if they remain only in the reserves or some of them can be given some rotational roles in the first team (but that would be highly depended also on the way our season goes). 7 out of 10 are also born in Calabria so extra motivation on trying to develop them good for the club.

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Not a lot of confidence from the board or the media that we can avoid relegation. We are predicted to finish 19th, even behind teams like Pro Vercelli and Venezia who qualified through the playoffs. The board wants us just to attempt to avoid relegation, and I am sure we gonna deliver at least an attempt on that. The teams relegated from Serie A are favorites to run away with the League but I feel that we can aim for at least one of the play-out places, if not mid-table safety.

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We already received almost 1 mil. for our Serie B TV rights, but our finances are not looking that good anyway. And a funny thing, without me doing anything I received an affiliate in FC Arges, a team from my native Romania. Dont know how helpful that's going to be for our players recruitment, we will have to wait and see it next summer. 

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I have a feeling you need a "Sugar Daddy" owner. So that you can accomplish ALL your goals.

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2 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

I have a feeling you need a "Sugar Daddy" owner. So that you can accomplish ALL your goals.

Easier said than done. And I dont realistically think I need to accomplish all my goals, they are just a way to keep me motivated during hard times. Hard times which have yet to come, but for sure gonna be some of them also.

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A lot of transfer activity at the club this summer in preparation for the Serie B season. First we released on a free no less than nine players, including some Calabrians or youth players who were never going to make the cut. After that we sold almost for free another 8 of them, and loaned 3 youngsters to lower league, for a grand total of 20 players leaving the club this summer. The ins were considerable fewer (just five of them) with just Fornito costing us 150k from Catania, the other being three free contracts and a loan from Sassuolo. The market of Calabrian players isnt that impressive at the moment, and those who would significantly increase our quality are either to high reputation or salary for us at this moment.  

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To notice that Serie A doesnt have the financial power it used to have, the top 3 deals being represented by young and very interesting players (Sergej, Belotti or Chiesa) leaving for greener pastures. Not sure if that is a good sign for the league or an one season accident, will have to follow that.

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Serie A will always lose players to the Premier League and the Spanish Giants...in this game. The Premier League clubs and Real Madrid and Barcelona almost always spend over 100million every transfer window. (and it gets worse as time goes on my current save is in 2048)

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This is the season preview of the team we will be using in Serie B. Not sure of how competitive we are, but its actually the best we can do in such a short time. A squad of 27 players, of which no less than 11 are U21 players and just 3 are over 30 years old. The backbone of last season is here, lost Alvaro though hope that isnt a huge blow for us.

In goal we are in the same formation as last year, with Furlan being the main option, but increased time to Russo (who is actually also Calabrian but forgot to put the * sign). Game time given to Russo will probably increase if I can feel we could sign him permanent for us in the next summer. The third option is just a 16 yrs old for the case the first two are injured or suspended (hope we dont get in that situation, he really is poor).

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On the right back we have a clear favorite in Celiento but will try to use Micely 19c* as a rotation option and give him some game time (if that doesnt work out we can always use Signorini here as backup). On the left back Favalli and Nicoletti are good solid options so no stress here. In the middle of the defense very experienced players in Cosenza, Signorini or Figliomeni, but also decent young Calabrians such as Riggio and Gallo. The defensive compartment was our best in the previous season, they will have to do it again if we aim to remain in Serie B.

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Six players for the three positions in the middle of the field (1 DM and 2 MC). The main options are Maita, De Risio and Fornito. I have extended the loan of Eklu just cause I could not find a decent backup for the DM position so he will have to cover there. Two very young players will cover for the MC position in Ielo who is 18 and Pasquale who is just 16. Might be a bit thin here once the season progresses but in the same time did not want to keep to many players who would get unsatisfied at not playing.

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Now you might ask why did I kept 6 players for playing in the two wings? Well, for starters the main reason is that Casoli might be needed to drop down a bit in the midfield at some times, and because Stramaccioni is so young at 16 and being re-trained from playing in AMC to AML (high hopes for him considering he was the best prospect in this year intake). 

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The striker is still the worst position in our squad, and that not because we dont have good options for this season - as both Gliozzi and Bianchimano are good enough for us - but mainly due to the fact they are loaned players and not our own. If anything happens next summer and we dont find a good enough option we only have there the young 16yrs old Lombardi, and thats one of the main reason I kept him in the squad. Despite the fact some of the wingers can also play upfront I will try to keep him prepared also, at least for next season.

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Its just August and we are already out of the Cup - after beating Serie C team Latina we lost away at Ascoli and so it ends our performance in the Cup. We also had some high profile friendlies at home with Rennes and Crystal Palace, and some more games with lower league teams to increase team cohesion. In the League we had a decent start, a draw at home to Padova, a clear defeat away at Pescara and a win against fellow newly promoted side Virtus Entella. 4 points in 3 games is not a bad start, and also having over 6500 people in both our home games is encouraging (and hopefully will translate into our finances also).

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Still watching with interest...

My favorite Italian team to "help" to glory is BARI... ever since I randomly got the job while playing FM15 or 16.

The biggest thing to keeping financially solvent is to remain 10-20% BELOW the wages set by the board if possible. Also try to never spend more than 50% of your turnover.

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2 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

My favorite Italian team to "help" to glory is BARI... ever since I randomly got the job while playing FM15 or 16.

The biggest thing to keeping financially solvent is to remain 10-20% BELOW the wages set by the board if possible. Also try to never spend more than 50% of your turnover.

Bari promoted to Serie C this season, but are struggling in mid-table mediocrity. We are well under our wage budget (almost 25%) but somehow still leaking some money each month. Will have to see how finances go after the first season in Serie B.

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A wonderful season so far with only one defeat (away at Salernitana) and no less than four wins against some pretty good squads (such as Brescia or Empoli). After 11 games we are safety sitting in mid-table, but only 4 points away from the second position. We are already 12 points off the relegation places and somehow seems like relegation won't be a problem for us this season.

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Finances are looking worse by the month, despite our good run of results and tight control over the wage budget. No idea is it's something I am doing wrong or the general situation of small clubs in lower leagues Italy. Will have to be careful not to slip to much on a down direction.

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Look at your Backroom staff....are there any making way too much money for their needed attributes. (Scouts and Data Analysts especially) You can usually hire better ones cheaper if you search for young ones.

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8 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Look at your Backroom staff....are there any making way too much money for their needed attributes. (Scouts and Data Analysts especially) You can usually hire better ones cheaper if you search for young ones.

Playing on Touch so not that many staff at the club :)

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@Muttley84  I have been inspired by this career to start a new Italian save...but in Apulia with Monopli. I'm not sure if I will do a youth only save.

Going to try a 3-1-4-2 DM as main tactic.

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3 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

@Muttley84  I have been inspired by this career to start a new Italian save...but in Apulia with Monopli. I'm not sure if I will do a youth only save.

Going to try a 3-1-4-2 DM as main tactic.

Best of luck. Puglia was interesting for me also, but being almost double as population (4 mil while my Calabria has roughly 1.9) and with some very big clubs in there (like Lecce, Bari or Foggia) it just seamed a bit off-putting for me. Will be following yours though. Best of luck!

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