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[FM20] - A migrant story in Sicily


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10 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Your on the right track, keep going.

Thanks for your support.

This is the stage of the game that I enjoy the most. Not the top tier, but not crap either. It's all about slowly building the team and facilities so that we can become a Serie A club. It's about finding the right players for the tactic you prefer to play and starting to build up a youth squad that you can mould anyway you want them to.

In the amateur leagues your good players usually get poached for nothing in return. So you end up changing your squad and tactic almost every season. This happens far less in the professional leagues as there is usually a fee attached to players moving clubs.

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Faisal didn’t pay much attention to the conditions when he was negotiating the salary for new player Eugenio Leggio, and it turns out the club had to cough up € 27K in transfer costs. Faisal forgot to set the sign-up date to “End of season” when Leggio’s contract with Pavia expires. Oops… Gone is half of our transfer budget, but then again Faisal has been signing free players so far and Leggio is a quality prospect that would fit in the starting eleven straight away. No one else left or got signed aside from Leggio in January.

 

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Odasso is 1 month away from full recovery and looks like he’ll be back in action in February. It actually didn’t matter that much as Gaggiano took over the playmaker role and did quite well. He didn’t link up with Musso as well as Odasso does, but he does his part in the distributing department of the squad.

January and February were really good. Only 1 loss out of 8 games and Musso is still scoring relatively easily. He is now leading the goal tally in the Serie C/C.

 

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Even in March and April, the results are really positive. Odasso is back in the squad but hasn’t reached the same level as he did last season. Maybe he is getting a bit older? Maybe he can’t find Musso that well anymore? Not sure, but even without Odasso, we still play well. A couple of highlights in March and April were victories against our fellow Sicilian clubs, 2-0 at home vs Palermo and 0-1 away vs Catania. The squad is in a positive mood as we qualify for the promotion playoff by finishing 6th in the league.

 

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In the first round, we get to play Cosenza. They have always been a difficult team to beat for us. This season we’ve lost once and drew once against them.

They start well in the game and already score in the 19th minute from a set piece. We pick up our game but even after 2 clear cut chance, we still can’t change to 0 to a 1 on the scoreboard. Musso is not having a great game and missed a few shots. Faisal is a getting worried as we’re getting close to the end of the game and we still haven’t scored. He brings on Ferrari to play on the left wing in the 75th minute and sure enough, he saves the game with scoring a tap in at the 2nd post after Musso gave him a lovely assist from the right wing after a throw in. The game finishes at 1-1 and because of the home advantage rule, we progress to round 2.

 

 

In the second round, we play away in Reggina (relegated from Serie B last season). This was one of the most intense games all season. The game went something like this:

  1. Reggina scores in the 15th minute, 1-0
  2. We equalise in the 30th minute (Toninelli scores)
  3. Alberti scores 5 minutes later, 1-2 (assist by Toninelli)
  4. Reggina equalises 5 minutes later, 2-2
  5. 2nd half: Toninelli scores again in the 65th minute, 2-3
  6. Equaliser again, 3-3 (74th minute)
  7. We have to win as we are the away team so a 3-3 score is not going to cut it
  8. Faisal demands more of the team and switches to an attacking playstyle
  9. Toninelli scores in the 89th minute! 3-4, Faisal is seen running onto the pitch while waving arms up in the air out of excitement.
  10. 5 min overtime, but no more goals and V. Ispica qualifies for round 3

Very equal game, and anyone could have won it. Toninelli has scored 4 goals all season and he decides to score 3 of them in this game! What a performance…

Round 3 is a game over 2 legs against Lucchese Libertas who ended 3rd in Serie C/B.

They line-up very defensively and our wingers are having trouble penetrating the defence. We almost have to rely on set pieces but hey weren’t converted to goals. It wasn’t a bad game, but we were forced to adopt a different strategy which we couldn’t cope with. In the end we still had 19 shots and 9 on target so it wasn’t too bad, just none of those chances were clear cut. So the game ends with a bore 0-0.

 

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Faisal is having a stern word with Musso as he hasn’t scored for nearly 2 months now and if there is a time we need him more than ever, it is now…

Even the away game runs very similar to the home game. Yes, we have most possession, Yes, we have more shots both on and off target and Yes, we get more corners and free-kicks but No, we couldn’t score…. Again. Musso is actually having the worst game this season and forgot how to run past a defender, he forgot how run into space and he forgot how to strike a ball so it arrives in between the goal posts.

And then… 89th minute… we have a throw-in close to their corner flag but it gets intercepted by a defender who clears it straight into the run of one of their attackers. He controls it nicely and knocks it past our defender Moretti in one nice movement. He then runs towards our goal along the left wing, where he is followed by Porciello who misses his last ditch tackle, making the striker see eye to eye with our goalie Rovida…. And he just taps it in, along the near post…. 1-0… gutted….

 

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Faisal was seen later that evening, wandering through the streets of Lucca with his head hanging down in disappointment.

 

Also annoying that the squad doesn't believe Faisal when he says we can achieve a mid-table next season... Hellooooo!!!! We've done it 3 seasons in a row now....

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A few interesting stats this season:

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Youth intake

 

Interesting youth intake this season with players from DR Congo, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Albania and Uruguay. But none from Libya.

Best of the crop would have to be GK Carmelo Polenghi from Buttiglieri d’Asti (small town near Turin) How the hell did he end up in Sicily?

 

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Libya Check

 

Libya is 103th. They didn’t qualify for the African Nation Cup (3rd in a group with Mali, Tunisia and Burundi), and are currently 3rd in the qualification for the World Cup after 2 games. Ghana is in this group and are the favourites to qualify for the World Cup.

End of Season Details

 

Competitions

 

League

Serie C/C (level 3)

6th

Cup

Serie C Cup

2nd Round

Players

 

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Leonardo Musso

25

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Leonardo Musso

7.32

Most Assists (all competitions)

Leonardo Musso

 

10

Best Pass Completion

William Rovida (GK)

94%

Most PoM’s

Leonardo Musso

5

Most Yellow Cards

Luca Stanga

13

Most Red Cards

Giulio Alberti

1

Highest Value Player

Tomasso Odasso

€ 91K

Highest Paid Player

Leonardo Musso

Daniele Toninelli

3.7K

Manager

 

Reputation

National

3842

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage

€ 6.5K

Performance this season

B+

Club

 

Reputation

Local

1925

Stadium

Giovanni Palatucci

5000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

 

Fan’s Player of The Year

Leonardo Musso

Goal of The Season

Leonardo Musso

See Below

Singing of The Season

Alessandro Gaggiano

 

-

Young Player of The Season

Samuele Picone

 

23

Finances

 

Turnover

- 73,155

Balance (June)

- € 45,627

Avg. Ticket Price

8

Avg. Season Ticket Price

84.75

Season Ticket Holders

171

Sponsors

 

Main kit (Annually)

110K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

 

FIFA Ranking (June)

103

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

 

Player of the Season

 

 

 

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Team of The Season

 

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Legends

 

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The board, players and fans are excited about the new stadium and are looking forward to play back in Ispica. Faisal arranged a season opening friendly at home versus our closest rivals Catania. In front of a crowd of 3745 people, Eugenio Leggio scored the opening goal in the 3rd minute with a 30 yard screamer! How about that for an opening goal! The party didn’t last long unfortunately as Catania levelled the score in the 8th minute and scored the winner just after second half kick-off. Nevertheless, the crowd was happy with the new grounds, with the way the team was playing and with Faisal leading the team. The future is looking bright.

Speaking of future, finances are going to be a worry in the next couple of years. So Faisal is really carefull with who he signs and who is let go. He let go 3rd goalie Mattia Cicino, DL Francesco Vaccaro, DM Giuseppe Lenoci and another 4 young players that will never make the first team. This lightened the wage load a little so there was some room to get new players in: DC Bryan Papa and MC Emanuele Farrara.

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During an interview with a local newspaper, Faisal compared the performance from August through to October with wearing a pre-made suit. Sure it looks fine and does the job, but it just doesn’t fit nicely compared to a tailored suit. The club played ok and sometimes nice, but it just didn’t look impressive and was a bit uncomfortable to watch sometimes. We get results most of the time, but it never went smooth and we don’t seem to get in a rythme. A big win followed by a big loss, a great draw against a title contender followed by a draw against a relegation candidate. Faisal just can’t grasp what causes the inconsistency.

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November and December were slightly better and we seem to slowly grow to some sort of form. Maicol Cecchi on the left wing has been the saviour in many games this season so far. Musso seems to have lost a bit of form of late, but there are promising signs again in the last 2 months from him. Top scorer for the club at the moment is Cecchi with 13 goals. We seem to be hovering between 7th and 11th position in the league table. So not bad, but not great either.

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The Serie C cup has been quite positive for a change. The group stage was great with a draw against Reggina and a 3-1 home win (our first official game in the new stadium) against our sicilian rivals Palermo. Aside from 53 available spots, it was a full house at the Virtus Ispica Stadium. Second and Third round were also won vs ACR Messina and Cosenza respectiveley. We then play the Quarter Final away against Bisceglie. They have been a surprise package this season as they were topping the Serie C league up until round 10. They are now fifth but still play really well and are hard to beat.

The game was quite equal and both teams gave it a good go, but in the end we managed to outscore them with the smallest difference. That game was intense, but we’re happy we’re in the Semi Final where AC Reggiana awaits….

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Faisal had a look around to see if we can find some free players to strengthen the squad and found the following players who he singed in January: DLC Francesco Tassinari, MC Gaetano Fornaciari and AMR Guglielmo Gianardi. Most people raised eyebrows when Gianardi was signed as he seems to be lacking the skill to claim a spot in the first team. Maybe he’s really talented and grows fast?

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There are 14 games to go and with our current position of 9th place, we’d qualify for the promotion playoffs, which is Faisal’s target for this season. There is probably no chance of getting promoted and it probably not a good idea either as we’ll be in a lot of trouble in the Serie B due to the low income we get from games and sponsors, and also the quality of our players is not good enough in Serie B.

January and February run as exepected. We win against lower ranked teams and lose or draw against higher and similar ranked teams. The interesting games in February are the home and away game of the Semi final of the Serie C Cup.

Players and fans travel to the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia first.

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A crowd of 2150 saw AC Reggiana score the one and only goal of the game in the 9th minute. Reggiana was playing better than V. Ispica which worries Faisal as it’s looking like it may be a struggle to get past them when we play them at home.

At home, we start of quite poorly with Reggiana scoring in the 21st minute. Luckily we were able to draw at half time with Musso scoring a goal after a long range pass from Odasso. Only 236 people came to watch the game, which doesn’t give the players much support. Faisal realises this so he knows the support needs to come from him. He gives them a passionate motivational speech which seemed to help as the play start to improve and we have shots on target after shots on target. After a little while in the 72th minute, left back Picone shoots from outside the goal square in the top left corner after the ball was poorly cleared from an attacking corner. 2-1! We need to score 1 more to go through to the final.

And then it happens in the 88th minute… right back Babboni dribbles into the goal square after receiving the ball form a throw-in. He strikes the ball with his left foot…

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The goalie gets his fingertips to it…

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But he doesn’t touch the ball cleanly and the ball hobbles in the goal!!! 3-1

 

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We go to the final of the Serie C cup!

Just like the semi-final, the final is also decided after home and away games. We play against Alessandria who seem to have won the very first Serie C cup back in 1973, and they won it again 2018. This is the furthest Virtus Ispica has ever come in the Serie C cup.

We start of really well and opened the score in the 14th minute with Cecchi scoring a tap in from a nice cross from the right wing from Ferrara. And we score again in the 33rd minute! Alberti passing the ball into the run of Musso who has a clear run towards goal and belts the ball past the Alessandria goalie. 0-2! It’s looking very good for V. Ispica.

The second half went quite smooth. Ispica parked the bus but unfortuntely we scored an own goal in the final minute. Odasso tried to head the ball away from an attacking free kick, but unfortunately it was in between the posts and our goalie Rovide couldn’t push it away far enough to not land in between the posts. 1-2. Still a good result and quite promising for the return game of the final. If only we get more spectators at home this time…

Faisal got his wish, but still not a full house. Only 511 people rocked up to see the final at home.

The game started off quite poorly for Ispica with Alessandria scoring the first goal on the 9th minute mark. Still not good enough for them to win, but they’re only 1 goal away. Nothing else happens in the first half.

The second half was quite interesting… we got most possession and seem to have most shots on target. They got a straight red card after their defender did a shocking tackle on Musso while he was receiving the ball from a long pass. Luckily he didn’t get injured.

Two minutes later, Babboni scores the winning goal… again! He seems to be a cup player with scoring goals at the most important times. Alessandria lost all drive and even got more aggressive with another player sent off after collecting 2 yellow cards. Eleven vs nine players and they still need to score twice to win the cup. Howver, it’s all over and done in the 65th minute with Alberti scoring the final goal of the game… We win 2-1 at home and 4-2 on aggregate:

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Silverware for the club!

Back to the league: Aside from the victories in the cup, the league ended up fine as well. We finish 9th and go straigth to the 3rd round of the promotion playoff where we play Taranto.

We beat them away 0-1 and smash them 3-1 at home. Clear victory for us and on to the quarter final!

We travel to Carpi in the QF first. Carpi is a good team and it will be tough for us to beat them. We do however open the score via Musso in the 22nd minute, but Carpi scored back in the 25th and again in the 44th minute. 2-1 at half-time and that’s where the game ended as well. It’s not a bad position to be in having scored away from home, but you never know.

The home game was something quite different:

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How the hell did we score 4 goals against Carpi?? This was such a great game and no one saw this coming… Player of the Match Cecchi played amazing again on the left wing and scored 2 goals and did 3 key passes.

On to the semi final… Is this the season where we break through to the Serie B by winning both cup and league? What a season that would be!!

The answer to that is…. No….

Alto Adige in the semi-final was better than us. We got beaten at home 1-3, giving us little hope for the away game. Turns out the away game was actually close as we won that game 1-2! But not enough to get through to the final. Nevertheless, fantastic effort by the team and Faisal couldn’t be more proud of the squad for the fighting spirit in the last game.

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The board couldn’t be more happy, they even elevated Faisal’s status to Legend! Yay! If only a new stadium would be built now so it could be named after Faisal…. Maybe in 10 year’s time when we’ve outgrown this stadium and depending on expansion capability.

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Youth intake

Not many players get to see a youth contract shoved under their nose, but faisal decidedes to give this kid a go: 17yo Ghanian wing back Samuel Owusu-Ansah. Faisal likes his professional attitude and hopes he can grow into a great player.

No players from Libya again.

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Libya Check

Libya managed to climb in the top 100 again! They are currently 99th on the FIFA ranking. They didn’t qualify for the World Cup, and will likely struggle to qualify for the African Nations Cup.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie C/C (level 3)

9th

Cup

Serie C Cup

WINNERS!

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Maicol Cecchi

25

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Maicol Cecchi

7.15

Most Assists (all competitions)

Giulio Alberti

13

Best Pass Completion

William Rovida (GK)

93%

Most PoM’s

Maicol Cecchi

10

Most Yellow Cards

Francesco Paolo Gabriele

11

Most Red Cards

Maicol Cecchi

Luca Stanga

Francesco Paolo Gabriele

Jonatahn Babboni

1

Highest Value Player

Gaetano Fornaciari

€ 62K

Highest Paid Player

Leonardo Musso

Daniele Toninelli

3.7K

Manager

Reputation

National

3842

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage

€ 9.0K

Performance this season

B

Club

Reputation

Local

1925

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Leonardo Musso

Goal of The Season

Maicol Cecchi

See Below

Singing of The Season

Gaetano Fornaciari

-

Young Player of The Season

Giulio Alberti

24

Finances

Turnover

- 317,912

Balance (June)

- € 403,346

Avg. Ticket Price

9

Avg. Season Ticket Price

95.20

Season Ticket Holders

194

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

110K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

99

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

This must be glitch…. How the hell is that a goal???

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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Great work getting the trophy.

you might need to invest in youth to get the required depth needed to get to the higher leagues.

But you are doing an outstanding job coming up from the lower reaches to win a Trophy in roughly 10 years!

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On 28/06/2020 at 02:31, Hootieleece said:

Great work getting the trophy.

you might need to invest in youth to get the required depth needed to get to the higher leagues.

But you are doing an outstanding job coming up from the lower reaches to win a Trophy in roughly 10 years!

Thanks, that's exactly what I was thinking as well. Expensive players need to go to free up some cash, and substituted by young talent on the cusp of breaking into the first team.

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Faisal made an important decision this season. The current key players are in their late 20-ies and Faisal believes they can only play well in Serie C, but they struggle in Serie B. With youth players, if they play well now in serie C, they will learn a lot in Serie B and improve massively. So if the club was to challenge for Serie B and be able to survive there, a younger squad had to be built so that they can evolve as the club evolves towards the next level. With that in mind, Faisal is phasing out the older players by not renewing their contracts.

Another reason for this is that the older players are on high wages, which we really can’t afford anymore. The club made a massive loss last season and Faisal doesn’t know how far in the red we can go.
So cheaper, younger, talented players are the type we are looking for. Faisal won’t stand in their way either if they get interest from bigger clubs. As we are in financial trouble, it makes business sense to sell these young players for a profit. The following players didn’t get a new contract and were a big part of the success of the club: AML Daniele Toninelli, MC Tommaso Odasso, AML Lorenzo Ferrari and DC Francesco Moretti. Another 4 players from the youth squad were shown the door as well.

Luckily, the scouts have done a great job in the past year and identified lots of young players with potential. So now we just need to find the one that are interested in playing for the club. New players are: SC Andrea Cossu, AMC/ST Vincenzo Pisano, AML Piermario Fadda (the new Toninelli), SC Leonardo Previtali (the new Musso), MC Gianni Capuano and MC Manolo Tagliavento (the new Odasso).

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Faisal isn’t actually a huge fan of focusing on the wings. He adopted this approach due to the players we had available, and it turned out to be a great fit for the club. Faisal actually loves the Tika-taka play down the middle and wouldn’t mind trying it this season. Considering we got a whole bunch of young players coming through, maybe now is the time to experiment a little and change the tactic a bit.

It sounds that this season may be a struggle because of good players leaving, inexperienced players coming in and a new tactic being trialled, but Faisal believes we can still perform and stay clear of relegation, maybe play for promotion playoff.

There are 2 tactics Faisal would like to adopt, but only 1 would really be tested this season. And that tactic is the 4-3-1-2 Narrow. The idea is that the wing backs provide the width on the flanks as a passing option, but the focus is on short passes through the middle while the strikers are looking to run into channels. This play suits someone like Musso as he is lightning fast, agile and good at dribbling and off the ball. He just needs the “run into channels” trait. Also Previtali (see above) would suit a poachers role and become the main goal scorer. He already has the “run into channels” trait and now just needs to develop his attributes, in particular composure and finishing.

Faisal would like the playmaker to be positioned in the AMC slot, but we don’t really have a creative player in that slot so for now he is counting on Tagliavento or Fornaciari to distribute the balls from a MC spot.

Red = Passing, Blue = Movement

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Picone is to move forward so he can cross the ball to the 2nd post where Faisal would like to take advantage of the aerial presence of Cossu or Alberti. Babboni plays as IWB and Tagliavento as MEZ. This is to create an overload of players in the middle and try to drag out the opposition out of their zone so that gaps form for either Pisano on AMC or Previtali/Musso up front. The flaw of this tactic is that when we lose the ball, our flanks are wide open and we may be facing with a 3 attackers vs 2 defenders situation. So we really have to be careful of the counters.

Faisal decides to play the new tactic against the weaker teams in the competition, or if the other team also plays narrow. A bit bit of mixed results as there is a lot to adjust to this season. New players AND a new tactic. We only get 1 point out of the first 4 games, which is not great. We then get a surpris win against Bari, but we don’t get the same level as we did the past couple of season. We still hang in there and are just inside the relegation zone, but not far from safety. So it seems possible to get some results with all the changes, but it’s not easy.

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November and December were two great months. 8 games: 1 loss and 2 draws, and we even mostly played with the new formation.

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Up till now, it was only Cossu that was showing some skills in his position, while the other kids were struggling. Previtali was losing confidence as he has been playing half of the games up until now, but hasn’t scored yet. But then, finally, in the last game of the year, Previtali scores 2 great goals at Nocerina. Let’s hope that this good run and Previtali’s goals increase the confidence of both squad and striker.

That good run let us climb to 11th in the league, just outside of promotion playoffs. Faisal is happy that we still challenge for a promotion playoff.

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The Cup was different this season. Faisal doesn't know exactly why, but we are now also playing in the Coppa Italia. Without much match fitness, one of our first games of the season was an away game against Bisceglie in the First Qualification round of the Coppa Italia, which we won 0-1!

We then lost the 2nd qualification round away against Serie B side Sambenedettese with 3-1. Interesting we play the coppa Italia now!

The Serie C Cup was also different. We didn't have to play the group stage anymore, and got into the first round straight away. Unfortunately we lost that against ACR Messina, so we won't be able to retain the Serie C cup unfortunately.

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The club couldn’t afford any new players in the january window so no one got signed and we kept playing with the same 25 players from the first half of the season.

Faisal was requested to play a solid defensive line by the board. The problem with that is that we focused quite a lot on achieving that requirement, that we actually forgot to score at the same time. So many games ended in 0-0. While this is not bad as we still get points that way, it’s not great for the fans as the entertainement value of the games is quite low. Three 0-0 results in February, and again two in march and april. We even went on a 6 game non scoring run which was quite frustrating for everyone involved with the club. And most games even had a few clear cut chances so it’s not like we lacked the finesse to create chances, we just didn’t convert them into goals. Musso wasn’t in great form and youngsters Previtali and Cossu were maybe a bit too green to confidentely put the ball into the net. This will hopefully improve next season when the youngsters develop a bit better. Faisal is happy at the moment that we at least avoided relegation, thanks to the last two wins of the season. We end up 12th in the league, which is a tad downhill from last couple of season, bet then again it was expected due to the change of tactical system and influx of youngsters that still need to develop.

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No promotion or relegation playoffs for us. Guess we have an extra long holiday before the new season starts.

A big part of the success of keeping clean sheets is our goalie William Rovida. He had 15 clean sheets this season and was awarded goalkeeper of the Serie C/C, and he also had the highest pass completion of the league.

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Youth intake

Not many great prospects, but Faisal decided to offer a contract to Agostino Aleo.

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Again no Libyan players in the youth intake

Libya Check

Libya is 101st in the FIFA Ranking. They ended up third in the African Nations Club qualifying and hence don’t qualify for the Cup.

All other games were friendlies that were won or drawn. Seems like Libya is doing well in friendlies, but not so great in official games.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie C/C (level 3)

12th

Cup

Coppa Italia

2nd Round Qualification

Cup

Serie C Cup

1st Round

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Leonardo Musso

10

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Gaetano Fornaciari

6.97

Most Assists (all competitions)

Samuele Picone

5

Best Pass Completion

William Rovida (GK)

95%

Most PoM’s

Samuele Picone

Jonathan Babboni

3

Most Yellow Cards

Gianni Capuano

13

Most Red Cards

Gianni Capuano

Francesco Paolo Gabriele

Jonatahn Babboni

1

Highest Value Player

Gianni Capuano

€ 61K

Highest Paid Player

Leonardo Musso

3.7K

Manager

Reputation

National

4007

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage

€ 8.75K

Performance this season

B-

Club

Reputation

Local

2252

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Manolo Tagliavento

Goal of The Season

Alex Sassi

See Below

Singing of The Season

Andrea Cossu

-

Young Player of The Season

Manolo Tagliavento

24

Finances

Turnover

- 438,172

Balance (June)

- € 889,943

Avg. Ticket Price

9

Avg. Season Ticket Price

95.20

Season Ticket Holders

204

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

110K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

101

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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Good job so far.

Defensive football can also be played "offensively" by playing a possession tactic. My board in my Clermont Save (on this forum) has the same requirement, And We play a Tikitaka tactic and play keep away form other teams while achieving shutouts.

We ended up scoring 60+ goals over a 38 match season but gave up only a league low 23.  Many of our matches ended 2-1 or 1-0.

 

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The club got some money in from players sales! As Faisal wasn’t going to stand in the way of clubs poaching our players, he agreed to the following transfers:

 

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We lost our rock between the goal posts, but at least we got some money for it. Faisal was really surprised he was able to sell Owusu-Ansah for a big (future) fee. Maybe he was more talented than we initially expected? Faisal hopes we didn’t sell a wonderkid as we probably could have asked for more money… Players sales resulted in an income of € 175K which helps our terrible finances.

This motivated Faisal to look for more youngsters so we can benefit from their sales even more. He brought in a total of 11 new players. These are the new kids on the block:

 

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Italian/Seychellois Tebogo Bonne looks like he may have a bright future. We also welcome the return of Eugenio Leggio! He was sold 2 seasons ago to Padova, where he played a total of 5 games over 2 seasons. Faisal told him he wouldn’t get much opportunity and it would be best for his career to stay at V. Ispica, but he still wanted to leave. Padova released him on a free and Faisal didn’t hesitate to bring him back to the club. This time on a contract with a nice release clause of € 92K.

New sponsorship this season as well, but not a great increase from last season. Sicilian pasta producer Poiatti (based in Mazara del Vallo) is sponsoring the club for an annual fee of € 150K. These are the new jerseys:

 

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No qualification for the Coppa Italia this season, and even in the Serie C Cup we don’t go past the group stage.

We have a tough league start with games against top teams Avellino (predicted 6th), Latina (8), Foggia (2), Bari (4) and Juve Stabia (3). So Faisal knows it’s going to be hard at the start, but hopefully an easier run in October-November.

It did turn out to be a start where we didn’t get much points. Four losses, two draws and a suprising 4-0 win against Bari. Faisal was really annoyed that we also lost against Taranto(10) and Casertana(15) as getting some points against them would have really lifted our spirits.

 

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Time for a bit of a change. Faisal noticed the 4-3-1-2 tactic didn’t work well against teams who played a 4-1-4-1 DM Wide line-up. So he added one more tactical system to our repertoire. He decided to also train a 4-2-3-1 Wide, with an enganche in the AMC spot and two inside forwards. It appeared to works slightly better as we created more chances, but we needed some more time to train this tactic and apply it to the games successfully.

By this time, October had arrived and we now have a relatively easy run all the way to the Xmas break. We need that run as we are currently in relegation danger and are hovering around 14th place.

So far, the new players have done ok, but no standout performances just yet. Bonne, Bizzotto, Cossu and Musso all scored a few goals, but neither of them have done enough to convince Faisal that they should be in the starting line-up every game.

In October, we’ve had some great wins against Monopoli, Catania and Nocerina. We lost against Cosenza, but they are actually top of the ladder at the moment and have surprised everyone with great performances.

November and december were good as well and as expected, we rise up the ladder and are now in a safe 7th position.

 

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There is absolutely no money available for new players as the wage budget has been maxed out, however Faisal managed to seel one of our most influencial players Francesco Paolo Gabriele for a € 25K transfer fee. He was on a high wage as well so that helps with our finances.

The matches in January/February were a bit of a mixed bag. Lost to the teams above us in the ranking and drew or won to the teams below us in the ranking. It looks like we found our perfect spot in about 7th position in the league. Tebogo Bonne found the way to the net a bit more often now that he is positioned as the main goal scorer in an advanced forward type role. Faisal sometimes switches to a 4-2-3-1 Wide depending on the opposition, which means Bonne moves to the left wing as an inside forward. He’s ok in that position, but he seems more valuable in an advanced forward role.

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March and April was more of the same, but we had to play teams that are mostly below us in the ranking. This was really great as it gave us a non-losing streak of 8 games before we head into the promotion playoffs. We ended up 7th in the league.

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First Round of the promotion playoffs is against Bisceglie. We have a good record against them this season so we are slight favourite because of that, but also because we play at home. The game is quiet balanced actually and Bisceglie looks like they will give us a good run for our money. We score the first goal early in the second half which seems to affect their mood as they now have to score twice to win. We get a bit sloppy though and they score in the 84th minute. Six minutes of anxiety awaits, but in the end we keep the 1-1 on the board and we progress to the next round.

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Second playoff round is again at home, against Reggina. Reginna dropped from Serie B a few seasons ago and haven’t found the way back up yet. They are a strong team and they are eager to get back into Serie B so we’re expecting a tough fight.

The tough fight didn’t really come. They got most possession, but we managed to be the biggest goal scoring threat. We just never scored. End result 0-0 and again we progress with the smallest margin.

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The fans are not sure if this is a stroke of genius or a desperate fall back on a system that has proven to be succesful, but Faisal has switched to a 4-1-2-3 DM for the last two games. He even lined up players that made this tactic so successful, like Cecchi on the left wing and Musso up front. The next games will show if this is really the way to go, even when the usual 4-3-1-2 Narrow worked quite well this season.

The third round is the best of 2 games against Carpi. We’ve beaten them before in the playoffs, but that was a few seasons ago. The first game at home is a convinving 2-0 victory and again Faisal used the old tactic to get us this result.

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In Carpi, we are expecting an attacking side so Faisal told the lads to be cautious and not taking too many risks. We played for possession so that the opposition doesn’t get the opportunity to attack. While this worked initially, Carpi managed to score in the 41st minute. We were getting a bit worried and Faisal decided to bring in Alberti on the right wing. He hasn’t really done this all season as Alberti has been on the bench the whole season and is even leaving the club on a free to Massese at the end of the season. It turned out to be a great move as Alberti scored in the 52nd minute! 1-1 is where the score stayed at so Virtus Ispica moves to the next round!

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Quarter Final! We have been here before 2 seasons ago, and progressed to the semi-final at the expense of Carpi. Hopefully we can do the same this season. We start off at home and it is clear that Pro Vercelli got promotion on their mind. They scored in the 29th minute and it looks like more goals are to follow. We play much better in the second half and get all the chances but never converted. Until their defender takes out Bonne in the penalty area when he was even no where near the ball. Their defender must have thought the ball was coming for him while in fact they (Cocchi) were about to clear the ball. The ref saw it and awarded the penalty which was neatly scored by Pisano.

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Nobody else scored so it stayed at 1-1, which means it’s not looking good for us.

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In Vercelli, Faisal decides to go all out attack. We just have to win the game, it’s as simple as that. Result: 0-3! My god, what happened?? We actually created some good chances and they were converted into goals. Pro Vercelli didn’t get that many opportunities to shoot towards our goal, to the delight of Faisal and the fans who traveled out here to see us play… and win!

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We get Foggia in the semi final and Faisal is already thinking about next season. Foggia has a much better record against us so it is going to be really hard to get past them over two games. We start at home again and finally get a full house! It’s annoying the local fans only seem to come out when the club is on the verge of getting promoted. They don’t get to see a spectacle though as the game ends 0-0. Foggia played better and we’re lucky to get a draw out of it.

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Not looking good again but hey, what worked agains Pro Vercelli can work against Foggia… right? And it did… Musso scored early in the 2nd minute and Cappellini made the misery of the home team even greater by scoring another in the 21st minute. Faisal decides to play defensive for the rest of the half, but they managed to score seconds before the ref blew the whistle for half-time. Their star player Marcello Somigli has been scoring all season to make it league top scorer and again he shows why he is the best striker of the league. He just weaved through our defence and scored a fantastic goal at the end of his run.

Not much happened in the second half as we set back and played on the counter most of the time, but it didn’t result into a goal for neither teams.

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The fans can’t believe we’re in the final and have a 50% chance on getting promoted to the Serie B! We just have to win against Catania, but we are happy we can host the final at Virtus Ispica Stadium.

Again a full house and the atmosphere at the Virtus Ispica Stadium is electric. Both teams started off quite nervous and didn’t get many chances until we get a corner in the 37th minute. The ball was plucked out of the air by their goalie, who looked up and saw their striker Muccini waving his arms to boot the ball. So he did and it landed right on his feet. He ran towards goal in between two Ispica defenders and decides to boot it 30m out from goal. It was well directed and our goalie Mosele gets a figertip to it, but not enough to tip it out of the top corner… 0-1. Not much else happened in the first half.

Faisal is giving the players the hairdryer treatment as the lack of chances created is just unacceptable.

The second half starts much better and we are creating some chances. But then in the 51st minute, they get a set piece near the side line. They cross the ball in and they get a head to the ball which is parried by Mosele. The follow up however came from a Catanian foot and they just tapped the bal in the net…0-2. We now put everything on attack on the hope we can start scoring, but then 5 minutes later they score again… from a corner this time. 0-3 and just over half an hour to play. It’s looking quite impossible but we don’t give up just yet.

We created chances and some good ones were missed, which doesn’t help our case. We did manage to score a goal, but it came way too late (extra time), and we therefore stay another season in Serie C.

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Disheartened but proud, Faisal thanked the fans for their support this season and pleaded for bringing friedns and family to the stadium for every home game, so we can push for promotion soon.

Samuele Picone was also awarded with Defender of the year in the Serie C/C.

Youth intake

Neither a Libyan newgen, nor any player that can grow into a first team regular. Best of the crop is French/Algerian Yacine Boudiaf.

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Libya Check

Libya is ranked 93rd. They have a chance of qualifying for the African Nations Cup as they already won 2 games in their qualification group that also has DR Congo, Ethiopia and Gabon.

For World Cup qualification, they are drawn in a group with Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau and Togo. Winner goes through so there is a shot a qualification for the World Cup as well. Qualification games kick off in October.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie C/C (level 3)

7th

Cup

Coppa Italia

Not entered

Cup

Serie C Cup

1st Round

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Tebogo Bonne

13

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Cosimo Capellini

7.12

Most Assists (all competitions)

Tebogo Bonne

7

Best Pass Completion

Paolo Mosele (GK)

93%

Most PoM’s

Cosimo Capellini

6

Most Yellow Cards

Samuele Picone

13

Most Red Cards

Eugenio Leggio

1

Highest Value Player

Eugenio Leggio

€ 54K

Highest Paid Player (Annual)

Gaetano Fornaciari

41K

Manager

Reputation

National

4082

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage (Annual)

€ 90.5K

Performance this season

B

Club

Reputation

Local

2351

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Cosimo Capellini

Goal of The Season

Raffaele Amodio

See Below

Singing of The Season

Cosimo Capellini

-

Young Player of The Season

Cosimo Capellini

22

Finances

Turnover

- 409,628

Balance (June)

- € 1,191,746

Avg. Ticket Price

9

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 99.85

Season Ticket Holders

205

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

150K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

94

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

https://youtu.be/Ouzt3oDDnmI

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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16 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Considering your financial constraints making the Promotion Final was a great achievement.

KUTGW!

I'm really relying on my scouts finding decent to good young players that I can sign on a free when their contract runs out. If the board no longer has any money for scouts, I'm afraid we won't get those quality players and we're doomed to go down again. So my staff is currently a skeleton crew just so I can afford an extra scout. I got three at the moment.

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Still slightly disappointed from last season, Faisal started the season with the promise of top half again this season. Most players frowned, but he’s sticking with his guns. We have a pretty good draw with some weaker teams first so hopefully we can build momentum and launch ourselves in a top 5 this season.

Again, we sold a few players to decrease our debt as we are now over € 1M in the red. We sold a total of € 240K worth of players. These are the players leaving us (Eugenio Leggo again… Faisal again told him he’s not going to get much playtime at Salernitana and we’ll see each other again in 2 seasons!)

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Most of the players joining us are on the edge of starting eleven, but just not quality to elevate our level. Except for Leonardo Cella. Very physical player and looks like he’ll be able to toy with the left backs on the right wing. Also pretty good with both feet which means he can play multiple roles on that right wing.

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As predicted with the easy draw early in the season, we bring a lot of points in which will definitely help us staying in the promotion playoff zone. We actually top the table from day 1 with a 4-0 win over Taranto. Two goals by player of the match Cella. It’s looking quite positive.

We reach the end of September with 17 points out of 7 games (all wins but 2 draws), which is a great result so far. But now we play against our first title contender this season, Juve Stabia. We surprisingly beat them 4-0, with hattrick hero Pisano claiming the main role. What a game, and what a mentality. The confidence in the squad is seriously high and we now feel we can take on anyone.

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A few more big teams await, but they seem to be dealt with quite swiftly as well: 0-1 win in Palermo, 1-2 win in Foggia, a 1-1 draw at home vs. Salernitana and a 2-0 win at home against Bari. Where is this team going to stop? So far we had ZERO losses and we have 17 games to go. Is this the season where V. Ispica becomes a force to be reckoned with and gets promotion to the Serie B? It sure is looking very promising. Faisal has masterminded this brilliantly as Cella seemed to be the missing piece in the puzzle.

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What surprised everybody even more is that the team is collectively playing well. Sure Cella is one of the better players, but so is GK Mosele and defender Iori. You can tell that the team doesn’t have 1 player who provides all the assists or scores all the goals. It’s a combination of several players. Just some stats up till now:

Goals:

  1. Leonardo Cella AMR, 7 goals

  2. Tebogo Bonne AML, 7 goals

  3. Ludovico Bizzotto SC, 6 goals

  4. Vincenzo Pisano AMC, 6 goals

  5. Even defenders Adriano Iori and Daniele Valeau each have 4 goals

Assists:

  1. Gianni Capuano MC, 8 assists

  2. Leonardo Cella AMR, 6 assists

  3. Samuele Picone DL, 5 assists

  4. Tebogo Bonne AML, 4 assists

  5. Alessandro Andreani DR, 3 assists

This has got to be hard for the opposition defence to pinpoint where to position the best defenders to block the assists, as they come from freakin everywhere.

We won’t win top goalscorer or most assists of the league this season, but who cares when you can actually go for the title instead!

We’re ranked first and actually have a mind blowing 10 points lead over 2nd placed Bari.

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The Serie C cup was positive as well, up to a certain point. We go past the group stage and make it all the way up to quarter final where we lost 3-1 in Pisa. Our first competitive loss all season.

On the 20th of December, the board presented a new chairman taking over from this day onwards. Emanuele Benini (who Faisal quite liked) moved on from the club and Spaniard Juanma Domingo was promoted to chairman. He announced a new € 1.5M loan to bring our figures back in the black. Faisal is sceptical about this new loan as he doesn’t know if this just going to snowball out of control or if is this is actually going to bring and keep us in the black. Time will tell. This is extra motivation to get promoted this season.  

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Only 1 transfer in the January transfer window and that is AMC Vincenzo Pisano leaving us for € 100K to Salernitana. That means youngster Dario Veroni can take over his position in the AMC spot in our lineup.

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That went quite seamless as Veroni seems to find his way in that position quite nicely.

So January and February are following the same trend as before the Xmas break: no losses and all draws and wins. Faisal, board and fans are now starting to get really nervous as promotion to Serie B starts to become very real. A few more good results and it would be done and dusted.

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March was excellent! 4 games, 4 wins! We are now in a position that the number 2 in the ranking Reggina has to win every game to be able to beat us to the title, and there are 5 games to go. It also means we have to lose every single game for that to happen so there is a very slim chance…

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Matchday 34: 1 day before Ispica plays a big game at home against Foggia (3rd), Reggina plays at home against Avellino (10th), and they lose 1-2! Without even having to play in this round, Ispica crowns themselves to winning the the Serie C/C title! The home game against Foggia is now obsolete and you can tell everyone has been partying the night before as this game was our first loss in the league all season! A dry 0-1. But it didn’t spoil the fun and Faisal proudly walked with the trophy around the stadium.

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The other 4 games didn’t matter so Faisal gave some opportunities to some younger players who normally would be starting on the bench. Two more losses, a draw and a great last game of the season where we smashed Avellino 4-0 at home. Perfect last game to a very succesful campaign.

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Leonardo Musso decided to retire from professional football. He is going to play in the lower leagues. His contract ran out this season and he has been a great servant to the club, especially in season 2028-2029 where he was top scorer of the league, striker of the year and player of the year. He’s also made it to the favoured personnel status within the club. Faisal actually gave him a proper goodbye as he know he was going to leave the club. Musso started in the last game against Avellino. It was an emotional substitution in the 82nd minute when he got all the attention and standing ovation from the fans during the substitution. Unfortunately he didn’t score in that game but it was a memorable goodbye nonetheless.

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We then battle it out against the winners of Serie C/A and C/B to find out who is the winner of Serie C in the "C Super Cup". Carpi is the winner of Serie C/A and Siena of Serie C/B. We first play away at Carpi. We have a good record against them in previous playoffs and this year is no different: We beat them 0-2 with Andrea Cossu in outstanding form on the SC position, scoring both goals. Siena vs. Carpi ends up being 2-2, so we only need a draw at home against Siena to win Serie C!

Result:

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It didn’t look great at the start as Siena was playing very well and got an early lead. We didn’t create many good chances but were able to finally score in the 81st minute through a devastating counter attack which was finished of neatly by Cossu… again. Ispica also wins the Serie C!

Faisal is stoked! This was not expected and it will raise concerns for next season’s survival, but hopefully with a few strong additions to the team we can battle against relegation. The players didn’t believe Faisal when he annouced this as his plan for next season, and they feel they are going to get relegated straight away. Watch this space…

 

Youth Intake

Luigi Minichini is listed as best player from the youth intake. He’s got a long way to go if he ever wants to feature in the first team.

No Libyan players this season.

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Libya Check

Libya dropped to 108th. They lost every single qualification game this year and are therefore not qualified for the African Nations Cup. Still 4 games to go for World Cup qualification, but it’s not looking good.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie C/C (level 3)

1st

Cup

Coppa Italia

Not entered

Cup

Serie C Cup

QF

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Andrea Cossu

Ludovico Bizzotto

Leonardo Cella

11

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Daniele Valeau

7.20

Most Assists (all competitions)

Gianni Capuano

7

Best Pass Completion

Paolo Mosele (GK)

94%

Most PoM’s

Tebogo Bonne

Samuele Rabitti

5

Most Yellow Cards

Gianni Capuano

13

Most Red Cards

Andrea Cossu

1

Highest Value Player

Leonardo Cella

€ 84K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Leonardo Cella

9K

Manager

Reputation

National

4783

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 7.5K

Performance this season

A-

Club

Reputation

Local

2746

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Daniele Valeau

Goal of The Season

Samuele Rabitti

See Below

Singing of The Season

Adriano Iori

-

Young Player of The Season

Daniele Valeau

21

Finances

Turnover

1,422,254

Balance (June)

€ 189,329

Avg. Ticket Price

9

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 99.85

Season Ticket Holders

213

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

150K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

108

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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Are there any Libyan players on your radar right now? I think it would be interesting to show the best players playing for their national team.

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1 hour ago, Fudal said:

Are there any Libyan players on your radar right now? I think it would be interesting to show the best players playing for their national team.

There are, but we're not allowed to sign players outside of the EU. I had my eye on El-Maryami and Al-Damja for a while but can't scout or sign them.

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There are only 5 non-greyed out players in the national team at them moment.

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Only Akram Abdalla has a EU passport, but I haven't scouted him yet. Might do that now.

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Here we are, one promotion away from the top flight in Italy after 14 seasons at the helm of the club. Faisal brought glory to the club, far beyond any fan’s dreams. But Faisal knows it is going to take time again to get promoted to Serie A. First he’s got to make sure the club doesn’t relegate. To do this, he needs to find some good players and get the current quality players on better contracts.

As the club is now in Serie B and our status has grown in the footballing world, it becomes easier to attract quality players. We still can’t offer much wages to new players so finding the right players at the right wage is going to be key for survival.

Faisal was also thinking of switching to a new tactic. Most tactics so far have been a gegenpress style play, but he fears we may not have the players to do this at Serie B level. So he’s looking into a fast paced counter-attacking style and is therefore looking for the right players to play this style. He is thinking it would be similar to how Leicester played when they won the EPL back in 2015-2016.

As we currently don’t have a fast paced striker with good finishing skills, this would be a first acquisition. Congolese/Belgian striker Louis Kayembe seems to fit this description really nicely and is one of the first players signed this season.

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We would also rely on the wingers to stay wide, which is ok for Cella on the right wing, but the left wing would need a player who is adept at staying on the wings and supplying crosses. Faisal found Gerard Kouakou a good fit for this role.

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Faisal also brought in some spanish blood, not only because the chairman is spanish, but also because they are good playmakers: Cristopher Piñeiro and Mexican/Spanish Brian Muñoz.  

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Faisal also couldn’t go past Francesco Morganti when his scout report came up. We lost our reserve goalie and Morganti looks like he would be able to take over from our current goalie Paolo Mosele. Although Faisal is thinking alternating both goalies as they a both suitable for Serie B.

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All other transfers are players for the future and will be put in the u20 squad. They may make an appearance in the first team if they are needed to cover for injuries or suspensions.

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For some reason, our scouts found lots of Icelandic free talented players. Three of them were signed for the u20 squad and Faisal hopes he can loan them out to give them some playing time:

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Our first official game is the 2nd qualification round of the Coppa Italia which we win 2-0 at home against Bisceglie. Unfortunately Kayemebe is injured so he can’t play in this game yet and Faisal can’t test the new 4-4-2 counter attacking style play yet. Even our next cup game against Serie A giants AS Roma is still without Kayembe. We have no chance against them and lost 3-1. We were surprised that we even scored (Defender Papa scored a header from a set piece). So that’s the end of our cup adventure.

But now the league starts…. Siena and Carpi are the other two promoted teams and we’re lucky we play them early in the season as they are our best chances to get a victory. And we do win against them! 3-1 at Siena and 1-0 at home vs Carpi. Even in October we get a lucky 1-2 win against Crotone with our counter attacking football. Up until now, the new tactic seems to work. Last season, a lot of different players scored while this season it seems that the goals come through one man at the moment. And that man is Louis Kayembe. He scored six out of the ten goals scored in the league so far. Not bad at all.

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In November and December we draw a lot of games. This is not bad as at least we get points and we acutally run away from the relegation zone this way. We only recorded 1 win in this period, but the draws make us climb to a safe 13th spot at the moment. Again Kayembe is the main goal scorer. Let’s hope he doesn’t get injured as we would be in trouble if he does.

We're also stoked we've beaten the other Sicilian club in the league, Catania. Sadly it was a penalty goal but we'll take any win we can grab as results are more important than playing style at the moment.

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We're currently the "best" club of Sicily!

 

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No transfers in or out during the transfer so window so Faisal will motor on with the squad we currently have. He actually couldn’t extend some of the current players’ contracts as they were asking for way too much wage for what Faisal is willing to give them. Faisal thinks that banking on young kids and let them play in the reserves for a season or two is still the way to go. He’s hoping the three Icelandic kids develop well and become a feature in the starting eleven in a season or two/three.

We have a pretty good start to the new year with 2 great wins. Siena got beaten 3-0 but we were really stoked with a 3-2 win over Pescara. This was really unexpected as Pescara is listed as 2nd favourite to win the title this season. But the squad played really well in that game, and we also had a bit of luck as Pescara fired 32 shots all game, of which 11 were on target. If they had a better game, a lot more would have landed on target and they would have probably scored more. We had 13 shots, of which 10 were on target, and 3 goals! We lost the other 2 games in January.

We drew every single game in February which we are still happy with as any points keep us clear from relegation. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t win against Carpi, as that would have made a lot of difference in the standings.

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March was ok, but we had a crazy game against Ternana in the Virtus Ispica Stadium. 0-3 behind at half time and Faisal was giving the hairdryer treatment to the squad. They played better 2nd half and my god, we won that game 4-3! Cella must have been influenced by the half time talk as there was just no stopping him! Kayembe scored in 62nd and 73th minute, while substitute Cossu got all the fans on their feet in the 89th minute with close range header goal. All assists came from the right foot of Cella. He then put the cherry on top of the cake by scoring in the 95th minute with a header himself! The fans couldn’t believe we pulled off a victory in the dying seconds after being 0-3 behind at half time… What a game! It was also noticable that all Ispica goals were headers.

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Deflection off the goalie and headed in by Kayembe:

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Then there was a crazy month of April where we played 7 league games in a month. We were very proud of our victories over relegation candidates Siena and rival Sicilian club Catania. Everything else was a distraction as we were safe from relegation 2 games before the end of the season. We end up 15th in the league.

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Kayembe had a fantastic first season with Ispica and we’re happy we have him as he has been prolific this season. He actually matched the goal scoring record of the Serie B with 21 goals in the season (recorded since 2020, although a quick Google search reveals that Luca Toni scored 30 in 2003-2004 with Palermo) and is also top goal scorer of the league. That’s not bad for a team that is fighting against relegation. We sure hope we can keep him as he’s made all the difference this season.

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Youth Intake

The youth intake remains average at best so there is not much to report in this segment. Least crap prospect this season is Gerry Manitta.

We’re also still waiting on our first Libyan player to come through the academy. With Faisal gaining popularity, this should hopefully happen soon!

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Libya Check

Libya is 99th on the Fifa ranking. Even though they started quote poorly on the World Cup qualification campaign, they did finish strong. Two draws and a good win against Togo got at least 5 points in the qualification group, but that wasn’t good enough to get out of that last place in the group.

Qualification for the African Nations group looks good as Libya has recorded 2 wins against Mauritius and Botswana. Next up is Congo and all the return fixtures. Not a bad opportunity to qualify for the Nations Cup.

Mohamad Alzabbad seems to have scored a fair few goals this season. Pity he is a greyed-out player.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie B (level 2)

15th

Cup

Coppa Italia

3rd Qual Rd

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

21

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

7.07

Most Assists (all competitions)

Cristopher Piñeiro

10

Best Pass Completion

Brian Muñoz

89%

Most PoM’s

Louis Kayembe

5

Most Yellow Cards

Gerard Kouakou

12

Most Red Cards

Manolo Tagliavento

Samuele Rabitti

1

Highest Value Player

Leonardo Cella

Andrea Cossu

€ 67K

Highest Paid Player (Weekly)

Leonardo Cella

Brian Muñoz

9K

Manager

Reputation

National

4868

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 11.25K

Performance this season

A-

Club

Reputation

Regional

3155

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Louis Kayembe

Goal of The Season

Samuele Picone

See Below

Singing of The Season

Louis Kayembe

-

Young Player of The Season

Louis Kayembe

23

Finances

Turnover

- € 1,125,402

Balance (June)

- € 1,149,904

Avg. Ticket Price

11

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 131

Season Ticket Holders

544

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

150K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

99

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

 

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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New season, new players, new hope. It wasn’t bad last season, but we need to keep developing to be able to stay in the Serie B. None of our players got bought by other clubs this season, so Faisal decided to get rid of a few players on a free. Defender Bryan Papa, American defender Steve Mattingly moved back to the USA as he signed with Rio Grande Valley and striker Michele Barba didn’t make it into Faisal’s list “players to keep”.

The transfer policy this season is again to focus on young talent either from home and abroad, just like we did with the three Icelandic players. They are actually out on loan this season so hopefully they develop nicely with some game time at their loaned out clubs (In Serie C and D). The new players don’t necessarily have to be good enough for the first team yet, but they have to be close so that we can rely on them in a season or two (or sell them with a profit).

These are the new players coming in for free:

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Players for the first team:

Both signed to play in the midfield, however Faisal is contemplating lineing them up in defence as well:

 

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Hopefully a good striking partner to Kayembe:

 

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Initially signed as backup to Cella on the right wing, but he might become first choice right winger:

 

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Borderline first team, but he’ll get some games off the bench:

 

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Future prospects:

 

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Also a new sponsor this season. Based on the chairman's connections in Spain, Spanish hotel chain Melia is now our main sponsor:

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The Coppa Italia followed a similar scenario as last season: Win in the 2nd Qualif. Round (Pro Sesto), but lose against a Serie A team in the 3rd Qualif. Round. Teams in the Serie A are still way to strong and we lost with a heavy 4-0 score in Udinese. We did get 5 shots on target though, so that’s not too bad.

In the league, it takes a little while before we get some traction. Only 1 point out of the first 5 games until we score our first victory at home against Sambenedettese. The players started to moan that they would like to enjoy their time at the club but the atmosphere was pretty bad. Luckily this win made a few players happy which then started to cascade to the other players as well. Especially when we racked up another two wins in October. The atmosphere was better, and so was our team play.

 

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Faisal is happy to see Kayembe is still scoring. He is actually listed in the top 5 predicted top goal scorers of the Serie B. Striking partner Maldonaldo is also scoring a few but Faisal hasn’t found the right balance between the two yet. The problem is that Maldonaldo is really fast, but his best position is a false nine. Faisal would love to use Maldonaldo as a go to player on a long ball counter attack but his false nine position makes him sit too deep to run towards those long balls. He’s actually a good advanced forward, but this is Kayembe’s position and he is doing really well so there is no need to swap them yet. Maybe alternating may be the solution.

The months November and December was following a similar trend: a win or two, a draw or two, but mostly losses. The result is that we are ranked just above the relagation zone at the Xmas break, but more importantly we’re above Palermo and still (arguably) the best club in Sicily.

 

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Louis Kayembe is 2nd in the top scorer ranking and the moment, 2 goals behind seasoned Benevento striker Mark Malfer.

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Faisal is a little worried as Kayembe has been called up by D.R. Congo to play in the African Nations Cup (Libya also qualified btw!). He has been called up before but hasn’t received his first cap yet. Hopefully this happens during the African Nations Cup. Faisal is quite proud of the lad, but worried at the same time as we now miss our main goal scorer for potentially 4 weeks.

Ispica never had a player that played in the national team of their country yet. Kayembe looks like he might be the first although it looks like he is the third (maybe even fourth) striker in the national team. The Icelandic youngsters play in the Icelandic u21 national team, none of them have made it into the national first team yet. Maybe one of them becomes the first player in the club to play for a national side?

Faisal (actually the scouts did) also found a youngster out of contract that was too good to not sign him for the club: Alessandro Filippi (released from Triestina).

 

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____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I haven't done an update on other leagues and cups yet, so after 16 seasons it might be good to run through a few results:

World Cup:

The usual suspects represented in the latter stages of the competition, although Ivory Coast is a suprise finalist in 2026. Also Belgium equalled their best World Cup result by finishing 3rd in 2034.

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European Championship:

 

Mostly the Iberian countries (aside from Andorra) reach the finals.

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Champions League:

No real surprises, except maybe Hertha BSC in the final in 2031?

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EPL

City and Liverpool still rule the EPL

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La Liga

Aside from Real Sociadad in 2032, no other club other than the two Madrids and Barcelona in the top three.

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Bundesliga

Bayern didn't make the top three in three seasons recently. They had a bit of a dry spell between 2027-2029

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Serie A

Mostly Milan teams winning the Serie A. Most notable result is Bologna's 3rd position in 2030 and 2033.

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Ligue 1

All PSG, except last season!

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Edited by fmonit
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Aside from Filippi as mentioned before, no other player joined or left the club. Kayembe is now in Tunisia for the African Nations Cup where he is representing DR Congo. He didn’t play a single minute so Faisal is a bit annoyed that he had to go as we could have used our main striker. DR Congo also got kicked out in the Quarter Final on penalties by Ivory Coast. Morocco eventually won the Cup.

Kayembe was back in the squad early February. He missed a total of three games so it’s not too bad, but they were three games we struggled to score. When he got back and had a bit of a rest, we again started to play better. A fantastic 1-0 win against top 3 team Benevento and a hattrick by Kayembe the game away at Sambenedettese. It just seems to go a lot better when he is in the squad. You just know what is going to happen when he is one on one with the goalie and he strikes the ball with his left foot.

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Faisal would love to get more spectators to the home games as our average is quite low compared to the rest of Serie B. We’re averaging 2480 spectators per home game while most teams average above 10K! No wonder we’re struggling in the finance department. Faisal thinks this has to do with the reputation of the club as we are still quite low compared to other clubs in Italy. We’re definitely the lowest in Serie B and there are lots of teams in Serie C that have a higher reputation compared to Virtus Ispica. Hell, even Teramo, Casertana, Ravenna and Carrarese from Serie D have a higher reputation!

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Looking beyond Italy, we have a similar reputation to teams in the regional leagues in Germany (Greuther Furth, Steinbach, Drochtersen), 2nd division in Norway (Bodo/Glimt) or even the Scottish League One (Inverness). Doesn’t look good so that is something that hopefully improves over time.

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A big surprise in March where we were able to beat Torino 1-3 away! Unbelievable game and everything went just right for us. The stats show that the game really should have been Torino’s victory, but we managed to get more CCC’s so I guess a victory is somewhat justified.

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We had another 2 victories in April and mostly 1-1 results in May. All in all a good season and Faisal kept his promise by staying outside of the relegation zone. We finished 16th in the league.

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Kayembe wasn’t top goalscorer this season like last season, but he came close:

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Our chairman decided to retire and he has been followed up by one of the directors. New chairman is Italian Giovanni Albanesi. He took out a € 4.5M loan to pay off the other 2 loans and to give us a buffer. Only downside is that our monthly repayments have now skyrocketed to € 39K/month, for the next 10 years!

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Better get that reputation up soon!

Youth Intake

Local boy right winger Rosario Nastasi is predicted to be the best player from the youth intake this year. Faisal likes the fairly professional personality so a youth contract was offered.

No Libyan players this season.

Libya Check

Ranked 101st, Libya qualified for the African Nations Cup this season! They were drawn in a group with Ivory Coast (12th), Angola (64th) and Guinea (53rd). They only managed a 1-1 draw against Angola while the other games were lost. They played well against Ivory Coast and nearly caused an upset in that game. Libya scored 1-0 in the 5th minute and Ivory coast only managed to bring the score to 1-1 at half-time. Ivory Coast scored again with 30 mins to go bringing the end result to 1-2. It would have been nice for Libya to get a result against such a big team, but they were happy with the end result as it could have easily been a trashing.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie B (level 2)

16th

Cup

Coppa Italia

3rd Qual Rd

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

20

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

7.07

Most Assists (all competitions)

Stratos Kalyvas

7

Best Pass Completion

Alessandro Filippi

86%

Most PoM’s

Louis Kayembe

4

Most Yellow Cards

Samuele Rabitti

12

Most Red Cards

Samuele Rabitti

2

Highest Value Player

Alessandro Filippi

Louis Kayembe

Simone Fattori

€ 115K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Simone Fattori

€ 10.75K

Manager

Reputation

National

4910

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 11.25K

Performance this season

B

Club

Reputation

Regional

3491

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Louis Kayembe

Goal of The Season

Stratos Kalyvas

See Below

Singing of The Season

Stratos Kalyvas

-

Young Player of The Season

Louis Kayembe

24

Finances

Turnover (before new € 4.5M  loan)

- € 1,351,803

Balance (June)

- € 2,484,701

Avg. Ticket Price

12

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 130

Season Ticket Holders

544

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

150K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

101

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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Suprised to see Kayembe hasn't made it to this list yet considering he's been integral to the club's success the past 2 seasons.

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Some players didn’t want to renew their contract and some players didn’t get a renewal. Faisal tactfully decided to get rid of players on high wages that are listed as regular starter or below. The most notable people walking out of the door are: MC Manolo Tagliavento (been with us for 5 seasons but couldn’t break into the starting eleven much past season), MC Brian Muñoz (was on a high wage so Faisal didn’t want to renew as he also started from the bench most of the time), AMR Leonardo Cella (he was key 2 season ago but with the arrival of Croce, he barely played past season) and AMC playmaker Cristopher Piñeiro (Faisal wanted to keep him but he was asking for way too much during the contract renewals, Faisal is partially counting on Alessandro Filippi or the Icelandic talent to take up the AMC spot this season).

Faisal only signed 2 new players this season. The idea is to save a bit on player’s wages by letting more people go than coming in. He did find a nice substitute for Piñeiro in the AMC spot: Liechtensteiner Yves Wenzel.

 

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And the defence also got strengthened through the acquisition of the brave Jacopo Francalanci.

 

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The early games were ok. They seem to follow a similar pattern every year: A win in the 2nd Qualif. Round, only to get kicked out in the 3rd Qualif. Round by a much stronger team. This year Empoli had the honour to boot us out of the cup, while we had beaten AC Reggiana in the previous round.


We were hoping for a good start in the league as we play 2 promoted teams in our first three games. We start off sluggish against Siena (first promoted team) and end up drawing 1-1, which is a game Faisal hoped of winning to set us up for a good campaign. Torino afterwards was a disaster (0-2 loss) but we managed to get a win against the other promoted team Alto Adige, 0-2 away. So the start was not too bad. Little did we know that we then went on a great run of form where we managed to first draw Vicenza and then beat Perugia, Hellas Verona and Foggia (also promoted)! Even top 5 club Benevento had to go home without any points when they visited us at the end of October.

 

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Faisal was happy to see that Icelandic player Guđlaugsson was doing well, partnering up with Maldonaldo. Kayembe is still around but he was out for most of October with a twisted ankle.

November and December were ok. We played a few strong teams and actully managed to keep relegated Padova to a scoreless draw in Padova, only to blow our positive attitude the game after with a heavy 1-4 loss at home vs Catanzaro. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag this season and several players are doing well, but no standout player at the moment. Maybe our goalie Paolo Mosele might be our standout player at the moment as he has kept the nets dry on several occasions. He’s actually been with us since 2028 and has really grown into a top goalie for the club. Faisal had no idea he would grow to be this strong when he was signed as a young backup goalie to William Rovida 8 seasons ago.

 

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Maldonaldo also grew a lot in the first half of the season, to the point that he didn’t want to extend his contract (due to expire in 6 months) as there was a fair bit of interest in him. Faisal did offer something but his demands were just way off the charts. It would be a pity to lose a player like Maldonaldo as he is really one of the fastest players in the league. Hopefully nobody else can afford him either.

 

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Currently proudly standing in 11th spot in the league and we seem to not be a contender for relegation this season… (hope Murphy’s law doesn’t apply to us)

 

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Edited by fmonit
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No players left or joined the club over the January transfer window. Faisal is worried about Maldonaldo leaving the club as he couldn’t extend his contract and it is running out in 6 months. So far, no other club has offered a contract but that can happen anytime now. Faisal is actually trying to get rid of the “Dwells on ball” trait as it doesn’t suit his attributes. Faisal thinks it doesn’t take advantage of his lightning speed, even though the coach thinks it’s a bad idea to try to get rid of that trait. One of the reasons to get trid of that trait is so that Maldonaldo can score more goals like this:

https://youtu.be/hq6BuTMiwoM

Maldonaldo was our best player in the January games. Only two games this month but he scored all three goals.

While we started the year on a positive note, February was quite a dark period. We forgot how to find the back of the net. Seriously, no score in four games is really killing our momentum. Because of that, our confidence dropped but we managed to stay 11th in the league before we raked up a narrow win against bottom team Foggia.

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A former player was talking positive about Maldonaldo and that Virtus Ispica is lucky to have him. Faisal checked out this former player and it turns out to be Leonardo Musso who is now an unemployed Director of Football. Faisal checked him against the current DoF and found that they were quite similar. But because Musso has a history with the club and has both Faisal and Virtus Ispica on his favourites list, Faisal was considering signing Musso for DoF.

Faisal contacted him and they had a good chat about football and how Leonardo is now enjoying his time playing social football. Leonardo is keen to get back to work in the football industry and Faisal is contemplating offering him a contract. Faisal had a chat with the current DoF’s and he is happy to terminate his contract for a small fee, which the club was happy to pay so we can get Musso on the staff payroll:

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We had another 2 wins in April before we went on a crappy run again where we lost most of our games. It’s been very hot and cold this season but in the end we are happy to have avoided relegation for three seasons in a row now! We even ended our highest ever by finishing 14th! We were hovering around 11th all season and even were 6th in October. Just that poor run at the end of the season made us drop to 14th.

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Kayembe didn’t get to the same standard as the seasons before but still is our top scorer with 15 goals. Faisal has been trying to involve Maldonaldo a bit more by tweaking the tactics here and there, which probably meant Kayembe wasn’t the main outlet anymore. Maldonaldo scored 10 and even backup striker Guđlaugsson scored 7 this season.

Then this message arrived in Faisal’s inbox:

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Wait… Liechtenstein is in the European Championships?? How is that possible for a nation that is listed 129th on the FIFA ranking and only has a population of 38K? Good on them!

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Tracking their history, this is how they did it:

They drew 3 games (Finland twice and Czech Republic once), which made them 4th in the Qualification Group and qualified for the semi-final playoff.

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They get a “lucky” draw against Kosovo. I say lucky as it could have easily been against Croatia, Slovenia, Norway to name a few.

The game gets played in Liechtenstein and they came back after Kosovo made it 0-3 in the first 8 minutes! Liechtenstein picked up their courage and did a similar feature by scored 4 times before the half time whistle! Then Ispica player Wenzel scored a fifth goal and bringing the end result to 5-3… wow! Must have been a great game. Wenzel was PoM with 1 goal, 1 assist and 2 key passes.

https://youtu.be/fjAdB-X7_LA

The Final Playoff is played at home against Bulgaria. Bulgaria is ranked 77th so not exactly high up the ranking either, but they have a few players playing at top clubs in Europe (Benfica, Sporting CP, FC Koln). Best players of Liechtenstein play at clubs like Kaiserslauteren, Neuchatel Xamax, Amiens and Virtus Ispica :).

This game is a thriller again as well.

Bulgaria 0-1 in the 36th minute

Then a whole series of chances until the 93rd minute, Liechtenstein 1-1!

Hero of that moment is left winger Valentin Narr, playing for FC Vaduz. He didn’t start the game but came on in the 56th minute and what a difference he made. He then did it again in extra time with a wonderful assist from the left wingin the 109th minute.. 2-1! And he even scored again three minutes later 3-1.

Bulgaria grabbed one more goal through a well placed free kick in the top corner in the 118th minute but it was too late to score another one… 3-2 end result and Liechtenstein are going to Germany for the 2036 European Championships! A huge celebration must have followed to celebrate this historic moment for Liechtenstein football.

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The group stage of the European Championships sees them play against Austria (17th), Poland (39th) and Serbia (33rd). At least they avoided the big nations in the top 10 ranking (currently Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and England) but it will be though nevertheless.

Youth Intake

Finally a youth prospect who appears to have room to grow. His attributes are not too bad and his personality will allow him to grow. Faisal is definitely keeping an eye on him. Also because there is no Libyan in the youth intake again.

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Libya Check

96th and going strong. Most friendlies were won, but they were against lower ranked nations. Libya didn’t reach the world cup qualifiers group as they lost 3-1 on aggr. against Burkina Faso for a spot in a qualifying group.

This time the qualification for the African Nations Cup is in a group with DR Congo (and Kayembe), Liberia and Egypt. Libya already won 3-0 against Liberia and lost 2-5 against DR Congo (Kayembe was on the bench but didn’t come on the pitch)

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie B (level 2)

14th

Cup

Coppa Italia

3rd Qual Rd

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

15

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

7.01

Most Assists (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

9

Best Pass Completion

Yves Wenzel

86%

Most PoM’s

Louis Kayembe

4

Most Yellow Cards

Samuele Picone

15

Most Red Cards

Samuele Picone

Gerard Kouakou

1

Highest Value Player

Francisco Javier Maldonaldo

€ 155K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Francisco Javier Maldonaldo

€ 17.75K

Manager

Reputation

National

4945

Qualifications

Continental C Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 17K

Performance this season

B-

Club

Reputation

Regional

3728

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Louis Kayembe

Goal of The Season

Francisco Javier Maldonaldo

See Below

Singing of The Season

Yves Wenzel

-

Young Player of The Season

Stratos Kalyvas

20

Finances

Turnover (June)

- € 2,300,861

Balance (June)

- € 1,781,754

Avg. Ticket Price

13

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 138

Season Ticket Holders

584

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

450K

General (Annually)

12.25K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

96

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

https://youtu.be/hq6BuTMiwoM

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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Musso still on the list, but now he is a DoF. Surprised to see Kayembe hasn't made it on this list yet.

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11 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

What an achievement from Liechtenstein!:eek::applause:

Yeah, that's really amazing. And you can't say it was a fluke either as they really played well against Bulgaria and it could have gone either way. It could potentially be because I have the Swiss league loaded and they have FC Vaduz (Liechtenstein club) in their 2nd division. I can also count 6 Liechtensteiners in the 1st division in Switzerland and about the same playing at decent clubs throughout Europe.

They bombed out in the European Championships though. Pity they didn't score a goal.

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See how they go for World Cup qualification. They're in a group with Belgium, Russia, Wales, Cyprus and Faroe Islands. They will have to be at least 2nd placed to stand a chance to qualify. Cyprus and Faroe Islands could be good for a win, but I doubt Wales and especially Russia and Belgium are going to lose against Liechtenstein.

 

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Faisal is a bit annoyed at himself as he played for most part of the previous season with a wingerless formation. While the results were ok with this formation, he felt he should have changed it a bit more often as this has upset AMR Alberto Croce as he is furious about the lack of playing time. Especially as he was told that he is an inportant player for the team. Croce decided to not renew his contract and he was happy to jump to our rivals Palermo when they offered a contract. That sucks as he is one of our best players.

There are still a few players who could be positioned on the right wing (Maldonaldo, Gudlauggson, Filippi), none of them has the AMR position as a natural position. So Faisal would ideally find a replacement for Croce on the right wing, but we could potentially move forward without.

That is until Rosario Gemelli crossed his path:

 

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He’s got the speed, the dribble and some crossing abilities to claim the number one choice on that spot. He’s also a handy central striker so he could also line up in that position if we do decide to play narrow. His finishing and composure is lacking a bit in that aspect, but we’ll get him to train to go round the keeper as he’s got good agility and dribbling skills.

Faisal also found Albanian/Italian AML Arben Torra.

 

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He is not exactly of the same caliber as Gemelli, but he can be used as winger cutting inside and receiving crosses from the right wing. He’s got great aerial presence so Faisal is expecting him to win aerial battles with defenders and hopefully score a few goals, or lay it off to the striker in front of him.

Other players joining us are MC Nigerian/Belgian Femi Godwin and AMC Cameroonian/Spanish Rodrigue Nlend.

 

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The idea with Nlend is that he will be mostly positioned as Shadow Striker on the AMC position when Maldonaldo in front of him would play as a False Nine. Alternatively, in our narrow formation he could also feature as an Enganche on the AMC position, allowing the Mezzala to move further forward into an attacking position.

Femi Godwin was signed mostly as an additional creative player in the midfield. Faisal likes his long range passes trait as this would work well with our fast strikers and also his left footed free-kick abilities. He is expected to score a few set pieces and provide a few assists this season. The only thing the scouts warned Faisal about Godwin, is that he is quite injury prone. He is actually injured for 4 months since last season so we’ll only be able to rely on him from November onwards.

We also have a new sponsor for a nice 875K/year. We’re still one of the lowest in the Seri B in terms of sponsoships, but we’re getting there. This time, internet company EOLO is sponsoring us. We’ve gone back to jerseys with stripes, while the away colours are the colours from our sponsor:

 

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It was highlighted in previous season and there no change on the horizon for us in the Coppa Italia. Again we win our first game against Livorno (2nd Qualif. Round), only to get a Serie A team in the next round (Sampdoria) and get smashed. Although this time we didn’t get smashed. We lost 1-2 and were even 1-0 ahead at half time.

 

The start of the season is going quite well! Playing a mixture of 4-3-1-2 Narrow and 4-2-3-1 Wide we seem to get some good results. A couple of boring 0-0 results but the most important here is that we didn’t lose, in particular against Parma who just got relegated from the Serie A.

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This is quite promising, and even in November and December we play well and record some outstanding results (Padova, Torino, Chievo Verona and Catanzaro in particular!). It really looks like we are able to beat the teams in the top 8, but fail to do something special against the teams in the last 8.

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Nevertheless, the football is enjoyable and the fans are happy we are 10th on the ladder at the Xmas break. Kayembe is still the stand out player, but Maldonado is doing well and even new acquisition Torra is surprising everyone with great performances as well, and even scored 5 goals already. The fans even nicknamed him “The tower”.

Edited by fmonit
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Nobody left or joined over the January transfer window. When we’re playing above expectation, there is no need for new players, unless they are development players. There were a few players that could have been signed as development players but Faisal decided not to sign them as their personality may limit their growth.

Looking at our transfer history, we haven’t sold a player in the last 5 seasons. Faisal thinks this is because the quality of our players is not at a level so they would be bought by Serie A clubs. When we were playing in Serie C, a lot of Serie B clubs were interested in our players and did purchase them for a moderate fee. Faisal has also put our best players on a big release clause for clubs from  higher division. For instance Maldonaldo has a € 2.9M release clause, Torra’s release clause is € 900K, Filippi € 1.5M, and so on. Faisal is hoping to smash our figures back into the black with the sale of one (or more) of these players.

Our highest transfer fee received is for the sale of Vincenzo Pisano in 2033. He went to Salernitana for € 100K where he played for 2 seasons before getting released. He now plays for Serie D club Savoia. The only player we sold playing at a higher level compared to where we are now is Samuel Owusu-Ansah. He actually came from our academy in 2030 and is now contracted to Serie A club Pescara, but on loan at Perugia in the Serie B. Looks like he developed nicely.

 

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From January through to March, we failed to win many games. We were doing well but just couldn’t get that last goal to give us the 3 points. Mostly draws and losses in this period with only 2 wins. We did record a massive victory over Lecce (13th), but then failed to do well against lower ranked clubs such as Pro Vercelli, Cittadella, Novara and Catania.

 

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We’ve missed Kayembe until mid-February as he was playing in the African Nations Cup with DR Congo. They did really well and reached the Final which they lost on penalties against South Africa.

Kayembe scored his first goal for DR Congo in an 8-1 thrashing against Uganda in the Group Stage…. or so Faisal thought. It turns out Kayembe scored against his own beloved Libya in the qualification stage for the African Nations Cup back in November! Faisal can’t believe he missed it! It was a nice one touch volley out of reach from the goalie. DR Congo won that game 4-0.

 

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Maldonaldo has been scoring in Kayembe’s absence as he was lined up as an advanced forward (he usually plays false nine).

April-May was a lot better.

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Kayembe is back in form and so is Maldonaldo. But what happened this period is pleasing Faisal a lot: Gunnar Már Þrándarson took his position in central midflield and performed beyond expectation. The 22yo Icelandic player finally broke through and does everything Faisal wants him to do. Faisal is playing him as an attacking Mezzala on the right hand midfielder spot in the 4-3-1-2 narrow formation. His instructions are to go forward so he can be the person just outside of the goalsquare to either shoot from range or give a pass to a striker up front. This has worked really well as he receives lots of crosses from the left side, running wide and opening up the defence. This is because he is mostly open when the pass from the left is being played, while our two strikers are usually covered by the defence. Faisal sees this position as critical in the team and he is over the moon that Þrándarson makes this position his own. Here is an example:

Nlend receives the ball in midfield from the left. He sees Þrándarson running into the space and passes it in his run:

 

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Þrándarson ran wide to receive the ball, dragging the opposition left back with him and creating a gap in the defence that Maldonaldo can run into. Þrándarson intends to pass the ball into Maldonaldo’s run:

 

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Maldonaldo receives the ball and has an open shot towards goal which he scores:

 

 

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His attribute “Tries long passes” has also been very succesful as he has been able to give out long balls to (mostly) Maldonado who just outruns the defence and scores in a one-on-one with the opposition goalie. In this example he supplies Kayembe, but he’s done the exact same move with Maldonaldo earlier in the game.

Þrándarson receives the ball and sees Kayembe on the shoulder of the defence. He decides to give a long pass in front of Kayembe so he can run into the space and pick up the ball:

 

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Kayembe moved in front of his defender and chests the ball received from Gunnar. He now has a clear run towards goal:

 

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Kayembe is fast, but their right back was able to catch-up. He didn’t get there in time before Kayembe pulls the trigger for a shot which passes the goalie and lands in the back of the net:

 

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He has supplied 7 assists this season, and most of them in the second half of the season. Faisal believes that our good run of form at the end of the season is entirly because of Þrándarson.

 

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We finish in a fantastic 11th position, which is well above our expectations!

 

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Paolo Mosele has also been in great form this season. He’s been awarded with the “Italian Serie B Goalkeeper of the Year” award for the 2nd season in a row!

Louis Kayembe also received the “Italian Serie B Striker of the Year” award, even though he was 8th in the top goalscorer ranking of the league. Even Maldonado scored more goals this season so this award is unexpected. Back a few seasons when Kayembe was top goal scorer (4 seasons ago) he didn’t even make the top three of this award.

 

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The chairman has been putting money into the Virtus Ispica coffers. The first chairman to ever do that. It really helped our financial situation as it meant our losses weren’t as great. He did 3 or 4 deposits this season ranging from 150K to 600K. Faisal is really happy about this as it brings us closer to a positive number on our account statements.

Then this happened:

 

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Wow, what an honour! Does Faisal take the top job and quit the rise of Virtus Ispica which he is so determined to do? He thought about it for a few days…

…. and decided to reject the Italy job offer…. He wants to bring Virtus Ispica into the Serie A, and into Europe before he considers a switch to a different club or nation. The board and all 591 season ticket holders are over the moon… the other 60 million Italians are not.

Youth Intake

 

Federico Sala is listed as the best youth prospect, although he is quite unambitious so Faisal thinks he’s not going to get far in professional football.

 

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Libya Check

 

Libya dropped to 102nd. As mentioned before, they lost to DR Congo in the qualification stage for the African Nations Cup, and they also lost every other game in that group. Except for a 2-2 draw against Liberia. So not enough points to qualify for the Cup.

End of Season Details

 

Competitions

 

League

Serie B (level 2)

11th

Cup

Coppa Italia

3rd Qual Rd

Players

 

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Francisco Javier Maldonaldo

15

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

7.13

Most Assists (all competitions)

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

 

7

Best Pass Completion

Rodrigue Nlend

86%

Most PoM’s

Louis Kayembe

5

Most Yellow Cards

Simone Fattori

15

Most Red Cards

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

Massimo Russo

1

Highest Value Player

Louis Kayembe

€ 215K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Francisco Javier Maldonaldo

€ 17.75K

Manager

 

Reputation

National

5264

Qualifications

Continental B Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 17K

Performance this season

B

Club

 

Reputation

Regional

3954

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

 

Fan’s Player of The Year

Fabio Favaro

Goal of The Season

Simone Fattori

See Below

Singing of The Season

Arben Torra

 

-

Young Player of The Season

Fabio Favaro

 

22

Finances

 

Turnover (June)

€ 508,483

Balance (June)

- € 588,458

Avg. Ticket Price

14

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 167

Season Ticket Holders

591

Sponsors

 

Main kit (Annually)

875K

General (Annually)

€ 24.5K

Libya

 

FIFA Ranking (June)

102

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

 

https://youtu.be/EGDXSazL4p0

Player of the Season

 

 

 

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Team of The Season

Not entirely correct as Kalyvas should be on the left, Godwin in middle and Þrándarson on the right. Also Kayembe and Maldonaldo are switched.

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Legends

 

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Edited by fmonit
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For some reason I only just discovered this thread, but I got caught up and am definitely following now. Great read and great progress. And I bet you have developed a real affinity for a club you probably didn't know existed before - through the magic of FM! :) 

It would have been interesting to see you tackle the Italian job (ahaha - get it?) alongside the club job, but somehow it wouldn't have fit into your story, so I can understand why you would reject it.

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1 hour ago, dllu said:

For some reason I only just discovered this thread, but I got caught up and am definitely following now. Great read and great progress. And I bet you have developed a real affinity for a club you probably didn't know existed before - through the magic of FM! :) 

It would have been interesting to see you tackle the Italian job (ahaha - get it?) alongside the club job, but somehow it wouldn't have fit into your story, so I can understand why you would reject it.

Thanks for reading!

Yeah I have an affinity for the club and town now! When the new stadium was announced, I was looking at google maps and imagining the location of the new stadium. Close to major roads or trainstations, but also from walking distance from the town centre. I was imagining it being built here:

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The blue line would indicate a new road extending from the big roundabout towards the stadium. The idea is that the stadium would use the rock face as part of the home supporters stands and they could just walk from the town to the stadium and enter the grounds from the top of the stands. While the visitors would be seated opposite side and they'll entry from the bottom of the stands. That would intensify the home and away feeling. I was thinking of modelling a stadium to sit in that spot, but that will take a lot of time, and I do still have work to do IRL.

It does makes me want to travel there if this pandemic ever finishes. I love wine but I've never done a wine tour in Italy so maybe one day I'll get to do that and also travel to Sicily to sample some local wine and visit the town of Ispica as well (preferably during football season so I can see a game of the club as well).  

The immersion is what this game makes it fun for me. If I would have taken the Italian job (pun intended), that immersion would have dissipated somewhat as I don't have a connection with the players and the team wouldn't have been brought up from the bottom.

With next FM, I'll likely do something similar to what I'm doing now, but probably in a different country.

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Posted (edited)

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Faisal feels bad. “I’ll be leaving now, because you never got my name right” were the last words Maldonado shouted as he walked out of the meeting room with a new contract to go and play at Deportivo de La Coruña in his back pocket. Faisal kept pronouncing his name Maldona-L-do, but it turns out there is no second “L” in his name. Faisal was surprised that he never corrected him though, but maybe that’s because he has a lot of respect for Faisal and didn’t want to be on his bad side.

So Maldona-do was sold for 450K to Deportivo de La Coruña who are now playing in the 2nd division in Spain. He is 24 and Faisal is sure he’ll do well in 2nd division LaLiga SmartBank. It looks like he’ll play in a similar F9 position, creating opening for their main striker, in a 4-4-2 line-up.

It’s a pity none of the Serie A clubs wanted him as he was on a 2.9M release clause for domestic clubs in a higher division. If a Serie A club would have bought him, we would have smashed our finances out of the red into the black. The thing is, lots of clubs were offering in the range of 120K – 200K since January last year, but since Maldonado was on contract until the end of 2038, Faisal was reluctant to sell for such a low fee. When Deportivo came knocking with a 400K transfer fee, Faisal negotiated to 450K and decided to sell as he was worried he wasn’t going to be able to sell him for much more this coming January. He was also convinced he woudn’t be able to extend his contract as he is already on the highest wage and he would have likely asked for more, especially since several clubs were interested in his servies. He also wanted to avoid the scenario where he would leave the club for free at the end of this season, so the decision was made to sell.

So did Faisal find a substitute for Maldonado? The answer to that is “sort of”. He is counting on both Icelandic players Róbertsson and Guđlaugsson to fight it out for the F9 / PF position. They are both capable playing in that position. If neither of them perform well, there is also our youth academy player Omar Seck that can claim that position. He is developing nicely and Faisal is including him in the first team squad now.

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We did beef up our squad a little with 3 new players:

GK Lefteris Prosilis, mostly as backup goalie as Morganti was out of contract and Faisal didn’t want to extend. The Greek goalie becomes our 3rd Greek player, which will help relationships with our playmaker Stratos Kalyvas and Defender Arbnor Marku. Paolo Mosele is still our number one goalie, but Faisal is hoping that Prosilis can develop so he is on par with Mosele in a few seasons.

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Midfielder Luca Locatelli joins us after he was released from the Inter youth squad. He may not be in the starting line-up, but he will feature in some games.

 

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And our best acquisition of this season is left back Stefano Ronzani (released from Juventus). When Picone left us on that position, we didn’t really have a natural left back anymore. Russo played in that position most of the time, but Faisal believes Russo is better positioned in the centre defence as he has a jumping reach of 18, and he is not that fast. Ronzani fits way better on the left wing-back as he is a lot faster, can cross a ball and has a high work rate. Faisal thinks he’ll do well in our 4-3-1-2 Narrow formation.

 

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This time, the Coppa Italia was slightly different. No problem getting past Bisceglie in the 2nd Qualif. Round, and again a serie A club awaits in the next round. This time it is recently promoted Acoli so we may have a chance here.

We play really well and managed to get a scoreline of 1-2 with only 6 minutes of injury time to be played. And of course, Ascoli manages to score in the very last second of injury time: 2-2. They then score twice before the last 15mins of extra time starts, in which we only score once via our arguably best player Þrándarson. 4-3 after extra time…. We were soooo close….

 

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Up until November, we’re doing quite alright. We only recorded 3 losses (mostly against big teams such as Udinese and Empoli), heaps of draws, and 3 wins against teams that we really should win against. So not a bad performance and it looks like we’re destined for mid-table again. It's all Kayembe on the scoresheet again with the odd other player here and there.

Faisal is really happy that we now seem to be able to play along in the games against big teams. The game against Udinese was a great example of that. Previously we would have lost that games with 2-3 goals difference, but now we actually made it difficult for them. This gives Faisal and the squad confidence and we can only hope it keeps moving upwards.

 

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We follow the same trend in November and December where we win some, we lose some and we draw some. Again Faisal was impressed with the performance against Pescara. Yes we did get a penalty goal to secure a draw, but we had 58% posession and 5 shots on target (vs 8 for Pescara).

By the time we cut into the Xmas turkey, V. Ispica is in a great 11th spot in the league.

 

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Edited by fmonit
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Faisal was re-capping the performance of the first half of the season and there was one result that he got really annoyed at that we must not repeat again. That result was a 1-1 against Siena. He didn't care about the loss of points, he was more looking for potential improvements so we can be a bit more targeted in training and potentially recruitement.

What he found was that we actually create a lot of chances, but we lack the finishing. In this particular game, we had 7 CCC's and 10 balls hitting the woodwork, but we only scored 1 goal. The goal was the typical long-range assist from Þrándarson, passing it into Kayembe's run who finished it off.

 

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Looking at our current players finishing skills, Kayembe is really the only one with good finishing attributes. Faisal knows you can't detach this from other attributes such as composure, decisions, technique or bravery, but it is interesting to see that 14 is the highest finishing in our group of players. Maybe we need find some players who do well in this departement as well.

The finishing attributes from other attacking minded players: Gudlaugsson 7, Robertsson 7, Gemelli 7, Nlend 13, Þrándarson 7, Seck 6.

So maybe this is the issue with our lack of goals and the draws we get. Maybe we are over-relying on Kayembe up front? If he has a bad day, then the club has a bad day.

Faisal decided that we need to be a bit more thorough with our striker transfers. A finisher is what is on our wish list now as we have way too many supporting strikers. It's probably also a good time to look for a new promising striker as Kayembe has a few more years in him before he starts to deteriorate (he's 27 now), and he'll miss games becasue of international duties.

Unfortuntely Faisal couldn't find a good one in January, but he is sending his scouts out to find some youngsters that have decent to good finishing skills already. He even engaged 3 new scouts so we have a total of 5 scouts.

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Between January and March, we won a fair few games. Mostly with 1 goal difference but that still gets you 3 points! We lose against the top teams still but that’s ok. As long as we lift our spirits against the lower ranked teams and avoid big defeats we should be fine for a mid-table finish.

Our attendances are also going up slightly. No sell-outs yet, but the numbers are creeping close to our 4000 max capacity. We may have to expand in the next few seasons.

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We were safe from relegation since early April, but we were actually in contention for a promotion playoff spot! We just have to be 8th or above in the league. Unfortunately we didn’t play that well near the end of April and missed out on the playoff’s by 2 points! If only one of those draws could have been converted to a win. The game against Siena comes to mind where we gave the woodwork a good workout…

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So we end in a 9th spot, just behind Lecce. Great postion to be in, but it could have just a tad better if we converted more draws in wins.

Kayembe is listed 10th in the top scorer list, so not the best striker in the league this season. But a few players made it in the top 3 of the Serie B players:

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We also have 2 players that are represented at the upcoming World Cup in South Africa! It's a pity Iceland didn't qualify as otherwise we'd have a few more.

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Youth Intake

Local boy Cristian Pace is listed as best youth prospect. As his name suggests, he is ok in the speed departement and can develop to be faster, but in his position this is not really a requirement. His trait is actually quite abt as he sets the pace!

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Faisal is starting to wonder if there are ever going to be Libyan players coming through the academy? It’s been 19 seasons and still nothing….

Libya Check

101 on the ranking. Lots of wins but they were all friendlies. Only 2 official games played and they were for the African Nations Qualification. 0-2 loss to Nigeria and a 3-0 win to Mauritius.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie B (level 2)

9th

Cup

Coppa Italia

3rd Qual Rd

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

13

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

7.23

Most Assists (all competitions)

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

9

Best Pass Completion

Fabio Favaro

89%

Most PoM’s

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

5

Most Yellow Cards

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

Stefano Ronzani

10

Most Red Cards

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

2

Highest Value Player

Louis Kayembe

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

€ 215K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Rosario Gemelli

€ 13K

Manager

Reputation

National

5303

Qualifications

Continental B Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 25K

Performance this season

B

Club

Reputation

Regional

4165

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

Goal of The Season

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

See Below

Singing of The Season

Stefano Ronzani

-

Young Player of The Season

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

23

Finances

Turnover (June)

- € 1,435,656

Balance (June)

- € 2,542,952

Avg. Ticket Price

14

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 151

Season Ticket Holders

644

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

875K

General (Annually)

€ 24.5K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

101

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

https://youtu.be/8O3zVBSDOyI

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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Faisal thinks this may be broken. Kayembe and Þrándarson should have at least favoured personnel by now.

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Very well done this season. I don't think Serie A is that far in the future for you... 

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4 hours ago, dllu said:

Very well done this season. I don't think Serie A is that far in the future for you... 

Yeah, maybe a few more seasons. I do think I'll need a better striker as I don't think Kayembe is going to do anything special ins Serie A. On the lookout for some talent up front at the moment.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

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Faisal is starting his 20th season at Virtus Ispica! He’s gone well past the “interim” status he had in his very first season and has become the one and only club legend! Fans are curious where the rise of the club will end, and Faisal has already let them know that he won’t stop until the club wins the Champions League. This gets a lot of frowns from the fans as they know this would be hard to achieve, but then again nobody expected the club to be in serie B after 20 seasons either. Faisal does hope he’ll get there before he’ll retire. He was thinking to retire at 65yo, but may extend it to 70yo if the targets haven’t been met yet. Faisal is 52yo so he’s about halfway his managerial career. His attributes have gone up nicely and he could feature as a manager for a top club with those attributes:

 

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Unfortunately, a lot of players left on a free at the end of previous season for various reasons: MC Samuele Rabitti (pushing 30 and only wanted a min. 3 year contract), DMC Joel Artigas (not good enough for first team), Cameroonian AMC Rodrigue Nlend (wanted too much wage), Albanian DC Arbnor Marku (hasn’t developed much) and Nigerian MC Femi Godwin (not renewed as underperformed over the past 2 seasons).

As Faisal wanted to sign a striker with high finishing skills, he found what he wanted in the form of 19yo Belgian/Italian Mattia Conforti:

 

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Mattia is fast, good finishing, off the ball and good composure. He’s got the right attributes in the right places to become a good striker. The only negative items Faisal is a tad worried about: Bravery and decisions could be better, and he’s quite short. We usually don’t rely on the main striker to score headers so that may be ok.

 

Interestingly, Conforti comes from the same Belgian club that Kayembe is from (although they never played together), K. Lyra Lierse Berlaar in the 3rd division in Belgium.

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Lyra-Lierse bouwt eigen stadion(netje) aan de stroom - Gazet van ...

Sounds like they are becoming the feeder club for Virtus Ispica. They don't have a particularly good youth recruitment either so it's a bit odd they produce good players for the Serie B. Having said that, both Kayembe and Conforti were released on a free and they were already free players before we signed them.

Lyra actually merged with the formerly successful club Lierse SK that went bankrupt in 2018. Lierse SK has won 4 championship titles and 2 belgian cups. Romelu Lukaku actually played for Lierse SK in the youth series as well. So maybe not that surprising they produce good players.

We were also short on ball winning midfielders. Most of our midfielders are of the creative type, but lack a bit of physical presence to steal balls away from opponents. Luckily Faisal found Antonello Gallo who would be a great BWM in a midfield position. Again he is quite short so he probably won’t be able to intercept high balls as well, but that may be ok in a central midfield position with two other (taller) midfielders around him.

 

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Two other players were signed, but they are more back-ups to broaden the squad and will occasionally feature in the line-up: Spanish DC Ismael Salvador and DR Alessio Cacciatori

 

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What do you know, we finally get past the 3rd Qualif. Stage of the Italian Cup. We beat Fano in the 2nd Qualif. Stage first, and beat Udinese after! We weren’t the best team in that game but scored twice on the counter giving us the 0-2 final score. Next up is Sampdoria in the 4th Qualif. Stage. The winner of that game qualifies for the first round of the cup. That would be a milestone in the club’s history, but unfortunately Sampdoria was too strong and easily beat us 3-1. Good effort though and the qualification for the Italian Cup is creeper closer every year.

The good run in the cup was also extended in the league. Two wins, followed by one loss and a whole series of draws (again). Nothing really spectacular happened up until the end of October where we met a few title contenders to which we lost three games in a row. Confidence was starting to drop at that stage.

Draws against Parma, Torino and Palermo were not too bad as they are also high up the ranking at the moment.

 

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Palermo is going up and down a lot these days. A couple of seasons ago we were battling it out with them in the Serie C and now we seem to have grown together in the Serie B as well. This is actually an interesting graph if you compare the progress of both clubs. We were hopeing we left them behind in Serie C when we got promoted but they have slowly followed us and are playing better than we are.

 

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A little better again in November-December as we win a few more games. Great wins in particular against Empoli and Pescara as they are supposed to be good team and challenge for a top 5, but they are rather down the ladder more on par with us.

 

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We’re 10th at the Xmas break and can hopefully get close to 8th position so we can qualify for a playoff spot.

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Then something unexpected happened. The board announced that they were reducing the amount of wage buget available, basically $30K under the amount we are currently spending. This means that we are struggling to renew contracts, and there is a whole list of players that need a new contract. Aside from Paolo Mosele, Faisal couldn’t extend any other contracts due to the lack of wage budget available. This puts us in a pretty bad situation as we are potentially going to lose a whole bunch of players that will either be poached by other clubs, or leave on a free if we can’t renew their contracts. The list of players potentially leaving us is impressive:

  • SC Louis Kayembe,
  • DC Simone Fattori,
  • DC Jacopo Francalanci,
  • DR Alessandro Andreani,
  • AMR/SC Rosario Gemelli,
  • DC Fabio Favaro,
  • DC Massimo Russo,
  • AMC Alessandro Filippi,
  • SC Magnus Mar Gudlaugsson,
  • MC Gunnar Mar Prandarson,
  • DL Stefano Ronzani,
  • AMC Luca Locatelli.

That’s 12 first team players! Faisal is not happy about this and hopes we can find some budget to give at least a few key players a new contract….

Edited by fmonit
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What Faisal was worried about has happened unfortunately. One of our best players got offered a contract and it was accepted. Even though the fans and club don’t seem to list this players as a legend, for Faisal he is: Louis Kayembe signed a contract to go and play for FC Groningen in Holland next season.

As there is no money for us to play with during the transfer window, no one got signed and no one was offered a contract to join us in July either. It looks like a few people will have to leave so Faisal can offer contracts again. Hopefully it’s not starting from zero and we can retain some of our better players.

We play really well in January and February and didn’t lose a single game! A few vistories with small margins, but we’ll take it as it secures our mid table position in the league. We even climb to 9th position and started to dream about qualifying for the promotion playoffs!

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But then, our dream of playing promotion playoffs just crashlanded on the floor and scattered in a million pieces. From march onwards we just stopped playing and had a really hard time finding the back of the net.

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8 goals in the last 12 games of the season is not going to keep us mid-table and we dropped to a 13th position where we finished. That was unexpected! Even against teams the we usually beat (like Siena) we lose quite convincingly. We end up 13th in the league:

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On a more positive note, Faisal was at least able to sign some players on new contracts: DR Alessandro Andreani, DC Fabio Favaro, DC Massimo Russo, SC Magnús Már Gudlaugsson, MC Gunnar Már Þrándarson and DL Stefano Ronzani. So 6 players are leaving us at the end of the season. So it’s not as bad a initially feared.

Kayembe finished his season as top scorer again with 17 goals for the club, but he only came 7th in the league top scorer’s rankings.

This is why he is our best striker (and we’re sad to see him go):

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Hopefully either Conforti can take over his position, or we find a really good striker on a free who is willing to come and play for little pay in the Serie B. Conforti didn’t play terribly well, but he didn’t have that much playing time either as Kayembe plays when he is fit. He had his chance when Kayembe was at the Africa Nations Cup with DR Congo, but only scored 1 goal all season. Even in the games where Conforti did get the nod from kick-off, he barely got a 6.7 avg rating for those games. Not very good so Faisal is worried he might not be good enough to make the difference for our team.

Gunnar Már Þrándarson also had an ok season. After such a fantastic season last year, everybody was expecting a lot from him, buthe never really found the same form this season. Five goals and four assists is not bad though, but not great either.

Youth Intake

Do we even need to highlight this? Again no Libyan and again our main prospect is too far away from ever getting to the first team of Ispica.

Giulio Marsiglione:

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Libya Check

95th! Not too bad but still hovering around the 100th spot. Didn’t qualify for the African Nations Cup this year but did have a great 2-2 result at home against Nigeria.

End of Season Details

Competitions

League

Serie B (level 2)

13th

Cup

Coppa Italia

4th Qual Rd

Players

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

17

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Louis Kayembe

7.13

Most Assists (all competitions)

Stefano Ronzani

8

Best Pass Completion

Stratos Kalyvas

89%

Most PoM’s

Louis Kayembe

5

Most Yellow Cards

Stefano Ronzani

14

Most Red Cards

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

Massimo Russo

1

Highest Value Player

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

€ 450K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Gunnar Már Þrándarson

Antonello Gallo

€ 13,750

Manager

Reputation

National

5304

Qualifications

Continental B Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 25K

Performance this season

B-

Club

Reputation

Regional

4381

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities

Poor

Data Analysis Facilities

None

Youth Facilities

Basic

Junior Coaching

Basic

Youth Recruitment

Basic

Awards

Fan’s Player of The Year

Louis Kayembe

Goal of The Season

Stefano Ronzani

See Below

Singing of The Season

Ismael Salvador

-

Young Player of The Season

Stefano Ronzani

22

Finances

Turnover (June)

- € 9,463

Balance (June)

- € 2,529,327

Avg. Ticket Price

15

Avg. Season Ticket Price

€ 157

Season Ticket Holders

701

Sponsors

Main kit (Annually)

875K

General (Annually)

€ 24.5K

Libya

FIFA Ranking (June)

95

Libyan players from manager’s club

-

 

Goal of The Season

Player of the Season

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Team of The Season

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Legends

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  • 2 weeks later...

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As our best striker has now left us, Faisal needs to make a decision about what to do up front. Mattia Conforti was initially signed as a backup to our main striker Kayembe, but he has failed to impress. Does Faisal give him a chance this season, or do we find a new striker?

Looking at our current strike force:

Mattia Conforti: should be able to claim the main striker role, but failed to impress so far.

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Guđjón Rafn Róbertsson: not a natural finisher. His role is mostly pressing forward in support to the main striker. Only has scored a handfull of goals every season.

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Magnús Már Guđlaugsson: Not entirely first squad material yet. Lacks finishing and is also considered in a more supportive role. Scored a little more than Róbertsson but not enough to be a main striker.

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Omar Seck: Is really still a youth prospect and may benefit more from a loan. Also lacks finishing but is being trained as Advanced Forward.

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So it looks like Conforti is really the only one who can take up that role, but because Faisal is not confident that he will do well, he is on the lookout for a new main striker.

As finances are tight, there is no money for buying a player so we have to sign them on a free where possible. As we are now in Serie B, it is getting harder to find free talented players. Faisal has been focussing on released youth prospects from big serie A clubs, but most of them were released for a reason (being that they are likely not good enough for Serie A). This means that most of them would be ok for Serie B, but may not grow into a player suitable for Serie A which is where we want to be.

Faisal decides to look into which strikers are listed for loan as that may be the solution for our striker issue. If we can get a quality finisher for just one season, then hopefully Conforti and/or Seck would have developed more to become the main striker next season.

Faisal found and signed Marco Mantovani on loan from Lazio. Mantovani is not super fast, but he has great finishing skills, knows how to make himself available and has a great aerial presence. We score a lot of goals from set pieces so he is able to help in that departement as well.

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Other players joining us on a free are:

Mario Giuffrè: will most likely play in the Mezzala position. Faisal loves his long range and technique, and will train him to take more long shots.

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Luca Balestra: signed to play in the AMC position behind the strikers, mostly as an advanced playmaker

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Diego Riccobono: Also to be played in the AMC position, but Riccobono seems to be able to dribble his way into a shooting position, or be able to give a key pass to a striker. Faisal thinks he’ll be able to supply lots of assists. He’s a bit more versatile compared to Balestra.

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Gabriele Galatioto: strengthening the defence with his aerial presence. Seems to be at his prime and hopefully we can rely on him for at least 4 seasons.

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Fabio Spallanzani: Faisal sees him connecting with Galatioto in defence. Spallanzani is a bit faster and has good positioning and tackling. He’ll be the “fast” defender in the “fast-tall defender combo”.

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Aside from Kayembe leaving us, a lot of players didn’t get a new contract as there was little wage budget that Faisal could offer. Other players leaving on a free are: DC Simone Fattori, DC Jacopo Francalanci, AMR/S Rosario Gemelli, AMC Alessandro Filippi, MC Luca Locatelli.

The intent is to focus on a narrow 4-3-1-2 formation, which is why Faisal is phasing out attacking wingers. Players like Gemelli didn’t get a new contract and didn’t get replaced in the squad.

On to the games:

Similar to last years, we win the first cup game, but lose the second (3rd Qualif. Rd) against a Serie A outfit. This time we lost against Sampdoria with a dry 0-3 score.

Our first seven games were fantastic!

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Sure we have a loss against Ternana, but the victories against Pescara, Frosinone and Chievo Verona were heartwarming as those three clubs are predicted to finish in the top 5 in the league. It gives us great confidence and hope that we may actually qualify for a playoff spot this season! We’re actually 3rd on the ladder after the first seven games.

Faisal realises that not many goals in these games come from actually well set-up plays. They are either from set-pieces or from the opposition making a mistake leading to a goal. So the results may be fantastic, the way we achieved them is not.

Faisal was right to be worried about the fantastic results. Sure the mood goes up, but it can come down quickly after a few bad results, and the bad results came:

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A positive result against our fellow Sicilians Palermo, but we failed to make the difference against “weaker” opponents such as Foggia, Lecce, Cremonese, Crotone. We must find a way to score more goals aside from set pieces.

Mantovani has performed ok in the squad. He is currently our top scorer with 7 goals while Conforti’s tally is at 2. Faisal is favouring Mantovani as he still hasn’t seen enough from Conforti to warrant a starting position.

We’re currently ranked 9th in the league.

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Conforti is a little weak to lead the line and you need low crosses as his heading ability isn't great.

You could use a big CF type player and use Conforti as an IF-A.

Your rest of your attack force and midfield really need some shooting training.

 

My Guess is that Conforti is being marked out of games because he is the only real threat to score.

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On 10/09/2020 at 03:56, Hootieleece said:

Conforti is a little weak to lead the line and you need low crosses as his heading ability isn't great.

You could use a big CF type player and use Conforti as an IF-A.

Your rest of your attack force and midfield really need some shooting training.

 

My Guess is that Conforti is being marked out of games because he is the only real threat to score.

Thanks for the feedback.

That did seem to be the issue. Solved in my next update below.

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Faisal is in two minds at the moment. Do we keep playing with a narrow formation and only sign players that suit the system? Or do we sign any good players we can find (and want to play for us) and change the system to suit the new star player(s)?

Faisal had the mindset at the start of the season to phase out attacking wingers as he wanted to play with a narrow formation. Although since we are a small club with no cash reserves, it feels like we can’t be picky with who we sign and we almost have to sign whoever got some talent and want to play for the wage we can offer. The reason for this change of mindset is the availability of Dutch/Georgian AMR Thijs van Assema. Thijs got scouted and is actually on a free at the moment after having played all of his young life in Georgia (but born in Volendam, Holland). If Thijs was signed, he would be by far our best player and we would have to change our system. So Faisal had a look to see if it would work with our current squad. Luckily our loanee Mantovani is quite skilled to play on the opposite wing so this could work out well. Even Torra who was going to be released at the end of the season can now play again on the left wing.

Result was that Thijs was signed and we are bringing back the 4-2-3-1 system.

 

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The idea is that the attacks will be built up from the right flank, while our main finisher is positioned on the left wing (Mantovani or Torra). Conforti now slides into a shadow striker AMC position and the lone striker will be a deep lying forward (Seck or Robertsson), mostly bringing Mantovani and Conforti in shooting positions, or even creating chances for himself if possible. Giuffrè in midfield is a DLP, which is slightly annoying as he’s got a good long range shot which he wouldn’t use much in a DLP position. Gallo is a BWM and will mainly keep position in the midfield.

We also said goodbye to Gunnar Már Þrándarson. He was asking a lot more money than we could afford and he is on his final 6 months. So Faisal made the decision to sell him as we wouldn’t be able to cash in on him at the end of the season. He was sold for € 400K to Spanish club Elche.

The new tactic worked quite well as you see from our results in Jan/Feb:

 

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All games in Jan were still with a narrow formation, but from Feb onwards, we switched to the new system. Even though we lost 2 games in Feb, we played quite well and they were title contenders anyway. The 5-0 victory against Bari was impressive and our strikers actually started to score.

The mood of the players lifted with and Thijs in the squad, we played very well. A great month of March where Mantovani claimed the AML position and scored a hattrick against Empoli. We suddenly seem to have found how to score again!

 

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April was sensational as well:

 

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Great scores! Even against the stronger teams we managed to win (Except Padova unfortunately). We jumped to 2nd place and are in a real position to get promoted to the serie A!

The game vs Hellas Verona was a critical result. The reason being is because before the game, we were 2nd and they were first! It was a title match! We had never dreamed to be in this position at the start of the season, yet here we are, and we’ve (luckily) beaten them 1-0 with a penalty goal! We are now 1st and there are only 2 games to be played.

The next two games are Perugia (16th) away and the last game is Siena (11th) at home.

We’re on 67 pts, Hellas Verona on 66 pts and Pescara in third on 63.

We travel to Perugia with what would be the biggest game in the club’s history. We’re all a bit nervous when we enter the Renato Curi Stadium. The kick off whistle blows and off we go for a nailbiting game:

We dominate the stats in both possession and shots on target. A couple of chances here and there but no CCC’s for either team in the first 40 mins… until this….

Balestra moved out wide to chase a lost ball, van Assema runs inwards and receives the cross from Balestra.

 

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Van Assema doesn’t even control it and unleashes a volley towards goalI

 

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 The ball fizzes in between the defenders and only has the keeper to beat

 

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But the ball is out of reach from the goalie and hits the back of the net! 0-1! What a goal!

 

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Half-time and we’re 0-1 up. Looking at the Hellas Verona game, they are 0-1 behind against Torino. So that would be a 4 point difference and bring Hellas Verona out of the title race. Pescara on the other hand is winning 1-0 at home vs Palermo and they are still in reach of the title.

The second half was quite good as Perugia didn’t create any shots that went on target. We had a few more but none of them resulted in a goal: 1-0 end result which keeps us in front of the other teams for now.

Hellas Verona ended up losing 1-3 and Pescara won 2-0. Both Hellas Verona and Pescara are now 4 points behind which means:

 

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Yes, we clinch the title and head to Serie A!

The final game against Siena will be a massive celebration as this is an important milestone in the club’s history. Nobody expected this around Xmas when were 7th in the league, but the acquisition of van Assema and the change in system made all the difference.

This final game was a goalfest where we end up winning 4-3, finishing off a fantastic season. Faisal got carried around the ground at the end of the game and everyone was cheering his name!

 

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This wasn’t the only fantastic event this season. We can also be proud that Omar Seck is our first academy player that got selected for the national team (Senegal)! He even got his first cap in a friendly against Saudi Arabia, but didn’t score.

 

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He is also our first academy player to score a goal in a professional league

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Faisal also negotiated the following:

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Youth Intake

 

Girolamo Emanuele is our top pick of this year’s youth intake. He has a long way to go if he was to ever feature in the first team squad.

 

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No Libyan player again.

Libya Check

 

Libya is 97th. They had a great 2-0 win against Kenya in the African Nations Qualifiers, and are currently in 2nd place. Burkina Faso and DR Congo are the other teams in the group.

End of Season Details

 

Competitions

 

League

Serie B (level 2)

1st

Cup

Coppa Italia

3rd Qual Rd

Players

 

Top Goal Scorer (all competitions)

Marco Mantovani

14

Highest Avg. Rating (all competitions)

Mario Giuffrè

7.11

Most Assists (all competitions)

Stefano Ronzani

 

9

Best Pass Completion

Antonello Gallo

90%

Most PoM’s

Stefano Ronzani

4

Most Yellow Cards

Mario Giuffrè

12

Most Red Cards

Stefano Ronzani

Alessandro Andreani

1

Highest Value Player

Thijs van Assema

€ 625K

Highest Paid Player (Monthly)

Thijs van Assema

€ 20K

Manager

 

Reputation

Continental

6102

Qualifications

Continental A Licence

Wage (Monthly)

€ 25K

Performance this season

A

Club

 

Reputation

National

4925

Stadium

Virtus Ispica Stadium

4000

Corporate Facilities

Adequate

Training Facilities