It was always going to be a busy summer. The squad would need to be rebuilt with no money and every member of the backroom staff was out of contract and I was also keeping an eye on the job market. First decision was on my own future. I felt if I was looking to move I wouldn’t be overly committed to rebuilding the team and staff. Given that Siena gave me a job I decided to repay their faith and commit myself for the season and, so, I signed the new contract I was offered.
Next step was backroom staff. Long story short I replaced everyone. New assistant manager, coaches, director of football, scouts, physios, data analysts, head of youth development. Everyone. A change is as a good as a rest.
Changing your staff, however, is pointless if you don’t get good players in. We needed players who were good enough for Serie B. We managed to extend the loan deals for Alessandro Bastoni (touted as the next Franco Baresi), Giulio Maggione, Fabio Gerli, Michael Fabbro and fan favourite Daniel Bezziccheri. All of their coach reports said they were Serie B standard so they were a no-brainer.
However, the step up a division meant that some players were no longer of the required standard so new players would be needed and selling a few would be good to try and balance the books. In came Mattia Franchini, an advanced playmaker, on loan from Porto and Tosin Adarabioyo, a central defender, on loan from Man City. We also signed Joel Pareira a goalkeeper who had been released from Man Utd. These last two are outstanding signings as I had them both in a previous save and they went on to become world class players. Them alone made me confident for the upcoming season.
We also managed to get in Stefan Simic and Dario Del Fabro, both centre halves, on free transfers. I signed them both as I fully expected someone to meet Mattias Andersson’s release clause and I’ve been bitten by that happening on the last day of the transfer window in the past. And then no-one came in for him. This has left me with 5 first choice centre halves so squad management is going to need to be vital to keep them all happy. The final main signing was Marc Brasnic, a 21 year old Croatia U21 striker. I’m not sure if Mendicino is going to be able to make the step up to Serie B.
There wasn’t a raft of players leaving but we did make a little bit of money. I transfer listed Andrea Doninelli and Bari paid £675k for him. Along with a board injection of funds this has eased the financial worries.
As I dealt with all this my new assistant manager, Daniel Bartsch, was taking control of an encouraging pre-season. We went unbeaten, including a 1-1 draw with Napoli, scoring 28 goals in 8 games, conceding only 5. The competitive fixtures started with the Italian Cup, where our target was the 3rd Qualifying Round, which meant we only had to beat Serie C side Parma. Which we duly did, 2-0. We were then drawn against Serie A side Atalanta (surely it isn’t a qualifying round if they Serie A sides are in it?) and produced an outstanding performance to spank them 4-1, away from home.
There was no way I was going to have as good a start to the league season as Ronnie but it was hugely promising nevertheless. We won 4 of our opening 6 games, drawing the other 2, to sit on top of the pile before we travelled to Pescara. Here we would suffer our first defeat of the season, 0-1, despite ridiculous match stats:
Our 2nd defeat of the season would come in game 9 after Vassallo was sent off after 30 minutes for a straight red card but it too was only 1-0 so I’m pleased with how our defence is shaping up. In the final game of this update we had to play a league game despite having 6 players on international duty. Pretty annoyed about that and we drew 0-0. So after 10 league games we have won 5, drawn 3 and lost 2 and sit in 5th place. We have the best defensive record in the league but i would like to see us take more of our chances as we are generally dominating teams. Overall though an excellent start.
Downsides are that we lost Maggiore for 4 months through injury and Mendicino has been transfer listed. He wanted a new contract, which I offered, but his demands were ridiculous and we couldn’t match them so he has spat the dummy and demanded to be transfer listed. It’s a shame but fuck him.