Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Preseason 2039/40

Back in the CL, and back to being drawn against Santa Coloma.
Much, much easier than our 1st encounter last season, and while we also had the fitness issues this time at least we didn't exacerbate it by playing Extra Time.

Round 2 of the Prelims matched us up against the champions of Luxembourg, and as it turned out, much much easier than last season as well.
With hindsight, it was actually quite odd to have a Lithuanian side in the Prelims of the CL - the 4 clubs in this tourney this season were from San Marino, Andorra, Luxemboug and the Faroes - Lithuania might not be giants of the game, but they aren't literal microstates either.
But I digress - winning the Prelims means we've secured at least 2 more matches in Europe than last season: 1 CL and EL qualifying tie each if I lose immediately in the former.

... And yeah, we inevitably did.
I've still not got around to developing a tactic to barricade our goal, so we do find ourselves exposed and dominated at this level.

Same deal against the Slovak champions - showed a bit of ambition, but not enough ability, and as a result we bowed out of Europe - but at least with a marked improvement in our coefficient.

Oh, and a shit ton of money - so much so that we've quadrupled our bank to 2.1m after only having around 500k at one point after upgrading our facilities.

Now for the transfers - and quite a bit of bittersweet news:

So yes, Lazzeri has returned to Italy with Alessandria - I can't help but be glad for him getting a full-time deal at a Serie C team after 2 great years with us. A bit annoying that he left midway through our European tour, but at least he didn't leave to a La Fiorita for some trash part-time pay.

The others:
- Blanco... Ehh, he needed game time and I was never going to play someone as aggressive and positionally naive as he is.
- Pelliccia was slightly frustrating, he would've started league games this season; he's joined by Amici who did start league games.
- Santi was on awful form last season so I'm not too concerned with him leaving, but I guarantee he'll score against us next season.
- Gennari didn't start a league game last season, so I'm not going to begrudge him for looking for a starting berth.

A couple of arrivals:

De Letteriis is a talented midfielder, if a bit of a wrong'un, having already rejected being tutored by Bianchi.
Nevertheless he's already starting material, and will get the game time he deserves.

Bollini spent 10 seasons at Tre Fiori, though he really was only a starter for 4 of them.
Not as good as Bianchi as a whole, he still managed 11 clean sheets last season and will be starting in the Coppa Titano at least.
The bigger question I have is why Tre Fiori released him to begin with - they currently have no senior goalkeepers and it doesn't look like they're signing a replacement at this point - maybe they've got a couple of youth gems?

Preseason went pretty well, a couple of losses here and there but I'll put those down to rotation.

I can definitely see us finishing in the top 2 minimum, and we're helped by having to play Fiorentino and La Fiorita only once.

But of course the Coppa Titano is the objective going forward, and we find ourselves in a bit of a Group of Death.
Fiorentino, Tre Penne and Cailungo (who won the thing the season before last), yeah we had an objectively easier group last season and still nearly tripped up.

Lastly, some shoutouts to our best players of last season:

Della Valle has another 10 seasons left in him minimum, but for Bianchi I just hope he can still keep up with the game after his broken pelvis - he's done ok in preseason, but is clearly still unfit and will need further nursing.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Midseason 2039/40

7 wins from 9 is our best start to a season so far, being able to both blow teams out and grind out 1-0s.
Of course losing against Tre Penne and Virtus(!) puts puts a hell of a damper on things, especially finishing out the year with an L.

Being 3rd is always going to irk at 1st glance, but when considering that we've got:
- 2 games in hand on Tre Fiori, and
- 8 points and 3 games on Cosmos in 4th
We're actually in a much better position than at 1st glance - but it goes without saying when the team goes 7 of 9 right.

Far more issues in the Coppa Titano - whether it's the rotated team or a game approach issue, we can't seem to get it right in the Cup.
There's a case to be made that Fiorentino and Tre Penne are bum draws in an arguable Group of Death, but regardless of the draw we still need to beat what's in front of us.

It was imperative that we beat Cailungo to prevent this campaign from becoming a shitshow already, but we do still find ourselves 3rd in the group.
At our best we can beat both Fiorentino and Tre Penne, but my days have we been far from our best in the Cup in all the last 3 seasons.

At least we've still able to pad the trophy cabinet with another Supercup win.
Pelliccia's on loan at Libertas from La Fiorita, and as the sole striker in a 5-4-1 he was their only goal threat up top.
He did score too, and he really should have had a hattrick, such was he extent to which he terrorised our backline.
Fortunately our own young strikers also turned up big time to put any of his threats down.

We end off with another off-transfer window signing:

Much like Moses Bakare last season, Michael waited through the window for a club who would offer him a part-time deal that Tre Penne gave him last season.
Turns out no one thought him worthy of one, and so once the window slammed shut he had to have humble pie and entertain non-contract offers - that's when we pounced.
He's not brilliant, but he's a damn sight better than Molinari and that's all that counts really.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Regular Season 2039/40

An unbeaten 2nd half of the season, which is undeniably great, but even here we find things to be pissed about - 4 draws, especially the Tre Fiori game where we failed to score against 9 men.

It speaks to the quality at the top that we only sneaked top spot by 1 point.
The top 3 in our group was a class apart too, a 16 point gap between Tre Fiori in 3rd and Libertas in 4th.

Some of the draws could be attributed to prioritising the Coppa Titano, and with hindsight I'd say it paid off handsomely.
Winning crunch ties against Tre Penne and Fiorentino allowed us to debut some youth graduates, who promptly went on to open their goal accounts for the club.

Losing the 1st 2 games in the group? ez

Pretty much the only big gun that bowed out was Fiorentino, so we were likely to meet one of the others in the quarters.
And so it proved - hopefully we can repeat the insane heroics from last season.

A number of transfers out as usual:

Poggiali and Boschi came through the previous youth intake and were extremely talented, Poggiali in particular.
In fact they were all under 20, but other than the former only bGasperoni was close to the 1st team.

Only 1 arrival:

Renzi came in for the RB spot in the U19s, and who knows, with his physical ability he could turn out to be a somewhat competent option at centreback as well.

Finally, another youth intake:

Ohhhh yeah, Varela's going to be a starter for San Marino.
As mentioned, Ceccoli and Ugolini both scored in their 1st starts for the club, and while Varela wasn't able to due to injury I'm expecting him to feature in the cup knockouts as well.
Bindi's definitely a work in progress still, but that turn of speed will do us a world of good in central midfield, not to mention his freekick ability.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
End of Season 2039/40

Less of an evisceration compared to last season, but a dominant performance regardless.
George Michael popping up on the far post to score twice was a particular highlight.

Far tighter against rivals Murata, Protti put a dampener on our half-time break and threatened to derail our chances of winning the game. Fortunately, Varela scored on he debut off a set piece to regain the lead, before Michelotti and Ferrucci sealed the game.

So a first final appearance personally, and the first since in over a decade for the club:

Roerto Colonna continued his suspect form throughout the season here, struggling against Tre Penne's strike pair all game and eventually hauled off while on a yellow.
Even as they went a man down deep into extra time we didn't have enough time to capitalise, and as a result we had to face them off in penalties.

Going 2-0 up in the shootout only to miss all 3 subsequent pens, yeah this is absolute bollocks.

We now had to put away yet another cup disappointment (and having to play out at least another season here) and focus on the league playoffs:

Comparing the scoreline and shot counts it'd seem that we were much more clinical on the day - indeed that was the case, Michelotti entrenching his reputation as a penalty box sharpshooter.

Vengeance against Tre Penne! It was again quite a tight game, well up to the point when Poggiali got himself into the double jeopardy of conceding a penalty and earning a 2nd yellow.
Della Valle couldn't capitalise on the penalty of course, but we held on to qualify for the final anyway.

It was also a physical game, leading to many yellows including all our back 4; and wouldn't you know it, that meant we had both Tralongo and Colonna - our starting centreback pair - suspended for the final.

Well cometh the hour, cometh the man:

Yes, having been frozen out after last season's cup shitshow and only starting twice this season, Endri Bakaj was ready to hang up his boots but with our suspension issues, I had to swallow my pride and rope him back in for a last dance.
And my oh my did he have a solid performance, no fuss with dealing with that strike pair and seeing it through to win a 3rd title in his last ever match.

Season Review

Could have the Foreign player award wrapped up already 👀

Players of the Season

Michelotti has flourished in a Advanced Forward, fox in the box role, finishing with 25 goals in 34 starts.
The stats don't like, pretty much the Player of the Season.

Ferrucci is his partner in crime, doing the hard running while Michelotti poaches.
He's also a full international now, all in all great stuff.

Bianchi obviously started the season with a broken pelvis and did get his starting spot back once he got back to full fitness. However, De Letteriis' progress and Bianchi's own issues with lasting 90 minutes meant he was eased onto substitute duties.
With his setpiece ability though, he would always be first off the bench and did contribute with 2 goals and 6 assists himself.
His fitness means he'll continue to be rotated, but I'll do my damnedest to keep him around for as long as possible.

De Letteriis was supposed to be eased more gradually into the starting XI, but with the aforementioned issues and his own demand to start more frequently meant he had to get game time eventually.
He took to that deep-lying distributor to a duck to water, suffice it to say - being half-decent with freekicks also netted him one such goal.

Tralongo took the mantle of leading the backline this season - winning 85% of headers and 87% of tackles speak for themselves really.

Della Valle and Michael were our winged double act, clocking up the distance figures and whipping in crosses for Michelotti and Ferrucci to pounce on.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Preseason 2040/41

Bollocks, absolute bollocks.
So for context, in this year's CL preliminaries we had the usual suspects in us and Santa Coloma, with Maltese and Latvian champions in Birkirkara and Ventspils joining us - I don't know enough about either, but I know that Latvia isn't as bad as us.
So I tried to rotate the squad and try to snatch a win against the Malta side.
Nope, didn't work at all suffice it to say.

Well at least we wouldn't have beaten Ventspils-


Birkirkara then did the business and disposed of Santa Coloma (as we did and would have...)

So yes, we couldn't replicate the heroics of last season and confirmed 'progression' to the Europa League:

Where we promptly got torn a new one by Irish outfit Derry City.
Admittedly we had brought out the 5-4-1 last used in my 1st 6 months at Domagnano, and a team well used to dominate proceedings locally was not close to prepared for such a defensive system. And well, the scorelines showed.

So we're left licking our wounds while dealing with the transfer window:

More wounds.
Some were easier to stomach as others - Odaine Caesar has been a clear 3rd/4th choice since the emergences of Ferrucci and Michelotti, while Mularoni was only youth fodder at centreback.

The others... Well, not as much:
- Colonna might have been subpar last season, but he was still 1st team worthy and I could've done with keeping him around;
- Di Nicola - only left-footed left back in the club, nuff said;
- Ranocchini... Well he wasn't going to amount to much, but when he played his pace was a useful weapon;
- Giorgi I had hoped he would be happy with sharing game time in a title-challenging side, but clearly not.

And I've saved the best (worst) for last:

Well it was only a matter of time before he left, such is his ability and the boost in reputation he must've had having played in the CL qualifying rounds.
The one saving grace here is the transfer only going through at the turn of the year, which gave me a bit of time to find a replacement:

Admittedly a bit of a cheat here, as I had a peek at the World youth scouting package and looked for interested parties to offer loans.
Acosta was one such player, and my days is he an absolute stud - he lacks Tralongo's mobility, but is a much better tackler and is also capable in the air.
He'll play in the U19s for now (managed to talk him into a Hot Prospect role) and the cup as he learns the team and the language.

Our only other signing:

Semprini is someone who can actually dribble, which I hope, along with his speed will go a long way to making up for his lack of flair. Resolute personality helps too.

A more punishing preseason for the guys, playing more high-reputation sides to make up for our early CL exit.
A few losses, but all in all it wasn't a disaster.

We're title favourites, which while I'd much rather do without, I think I have to concede this as mostly true - 3 titles on the bounce is not nothing after all.
And it's clear that there's a distinct Top 6 currently, with a gulf in odds between Libertas and Tre Penne in 7th and 66th favourites respectively.

Which makes the draw for the league's group phase all the more bewildering really - 5 of the top 6 in the same group, including last season's top 3 (Cailungo lost in the Minor Semifinal), and that's without going into how there's a very real chance that one of the 3 professional outfits (Tre Penne, La Fiorita and Tri Fiori) will fail to qualify for the Playoffs.

Meanwhile Fiorentino's going to their the group a new one and reserve their spot in the Playoff Fourth Round as group winners.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Midseason 2040/41

3 for 3 in the SuperCoppa - some might dismiss supercups, but as far as I'm concerned these things are propping up my trophies to seasons ratio at over 1, so I'm counting these.

But of course the real meat is in the league:

A bloodbath indeed, though ironically we did well enough against the big guns, and tripped up more often than we'd liked against supposed smaller fry.
Folgore was a disasterclass in defending, while Juvenes Dogana... Well we just had no answer to their eventual control of the game.

As such both sides find themselves in the midst of overperforming seasons, and we find ourselves right in the mix as well.
La Fiorita completely shat the bed at the start of the season (losing 7-0 to Tre Penne among other results) and their season has stuttered since then, and while Tre Fiori started well enough, 4 straight losses to close our the year dropped them to the back of the queue.
Fiorentino also lost 4 of their 1st 6 but stormed back to top their group going into 2041.

For us, I'm just glad to have cleared most of the preseason favourites - Tre Penne and Cailungo (x2) are probably our toughest tests for the rest of the season.

Back on the hunt of the elusive Coppa Titano, and that start is about as good as it gets.
7 goals and 3 cleansheets in 3, gg ez.

We also had a signing in this time:

Welcome back Nicola Gennari, who was unceremoniously released by La Fiorita - considering he scored in 14 for them last season, that's just a stupid move really.
He's still the best finisher at the club, but also arguably the worst reading of the game with just Off The Ball of 6.
Just as enigmatic is his targetman frame and physique, but with such terrible heading (and arguably Bravery) I'm not sure how effective in the air he'll be.
Nevertheless he'll be in the rotation with Ferrucci (who has been on poor form), Michelotti, Bacciocchi et al., and has already played and scored in the cup.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Regular Season 2040/41

We start off with a bit of an impulse signing:

Federico Michelotti was released by Tre Fiori at the end of last season, and much like Gennari was unwilling to sign a non-contract deal.
Much like him too, he eventually caved in when the summer transfer window came and went.
However, it had to be said that with Della Valle around, we really didn't need another right winger - well that is until I contrived to convince myself to start playing Della Valle on the left and converting George Michael to play LB. We'll get to how that got on later.


Quite a painful series of departures, all in and around the 1st team:
- Ceccoli probably had the least impact as a young striker who hadn't yet made his mark in the 1st team;
- Would've liked to keep Giorgi as left wing cover, but he's offered even less than Ceccoli when given game time so ehhh;
- Tommasoni didn't exactly do well when called upon either, but with Tralongo also gone it meant we'd lost about half our senior centrebacks - bad bad vibes;
- Bacciocchi had only found some semblance of form, only to be whisked away on deadline day - pissed off at that.

I'd say the departures were the root cause for consecutive losses to San Giovanni, but truth is the ridiculous change of system to accommodate Michelotti had completely failed, and after copious amounts of humble pie I reverted to our usual system, just to get the team going again.
We went unbeaten in our remaining games, but a lot of struggling had to be endured - lucky to bite back at Juvenes Dogana, failing to capitalise on an early lead against Tre Penne, horrible setpiece defending in both Cailungo games, and only 1 goal against 10-man Virtus.
TLDR not good.

All in all, no one was able to stop Tre Penne's romp to the top.
The bookies got the right call though, with preseason favourites finishing in the top 5 of Group A - La Fiorita almost snuck into the playoffs with 5 straight wins to finish the season, but it wasn't to be.
It was quite the bloodbath too, with only 3 points separating 3rd from 7th - tight in an 8-team group.

Coppa Titano proved to be much easier for us, sealing progress into the quarters by Matchday 4.
It ended rather appallingly:

But ehh, it's not like La Fiorita were going to qualify anyway.

Lastly, we welcome another batch of youths:

Not quite the crop we'd seen from last season, but there were a couple of lads who could do a job here and now:

Micheli isn't the best marker, neither is he any good in the air, which makes him worryingly similar to Varela - good as they are, pairing them together will be a match made in hell.

Giovanelli's got a fantastic touch, but otherwise, well what a terrible personality to begin with - will need a lot of work.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
End of Season 2040/41

Coppa Titano quarterfinals, and a pretty easy win over Cailungo.
Ferrucci and Michelotti were at their best in a double act, and well we'll need them to replicate it in the semifinal - more so now because well, it's Tre Penne:

Fuck sake.
Michelotti gave us a vital lead early in the 2nd half, but other than that was pretty wasteful with his chances and keeping himself onside.
Meanwhile our defence wasn't able to hold on to the lead and eventually caved.
about 40 minutes of tense football later, penalties happened - and well, well see for yourself.

At least they failed to defend their cup title, the pricks.

So for a fourth season, we have to pick ourselves back up for the league playoffs:

A pretty shit win, but given our mental wounds after the cup run I'd take progress by any means.

Much better, though it was helped by Virtus going down to 9 men.
Michele Giorgi scored against his former club for their opener, but De Letteriis fired in a great freekick 7 minutes later, and once Ferrucci gave us the lead 5 minutes after we knew we had things under control.

A fantastic semifinal win against Fiorentino - none of that cautious stuff this time.

Another clash against Tre Penne, another opener, another inability to hold on to the lead, another penalty shootout.
At least we won this time round.

Season Review

Honestly, at this point every title win is just to keep the show going, since every win just means a season without the Coppa Titano and I'll probably be sacked if I didn't win it.

Not sure if I should've won Manager of the Season given Tre Penne's dominance, but I'll take it.

This is definitely the most annoying thing - La Fiorita got blown out at the start of the league and eventually failed to qualify for the playoffs, but despite winning 4 in a row we still can't overtake them as the best most reputable club in San Marino? Come on now...

Players of the Season

Michelotti was actually out with a torn hamstring just before the new year, so to finish as top scorer after that is testament to his undeniable talent (if not his consistency...)
Honestly, 14 goals in 14 starts is a stunning return,now all he needs is to work on his reading of the game and springing of the offside trap.

Della Valle could've had a much worse season if accommodating Federico Michelotti worked out - thankfully for him it completely flopped, so he kept playing at right wing and returned with 8 assists.

Midfield orchestrator Gianpaolo De Letteriis continued his orchestrating from deep, and chipped in with a couple of goals to boot.
The clear areas of improvement for him are his setpieces - with his technique as it is it just makes sense for him to be on dead balls as well.

For a last-minute loan, Nicolas Acosta eventually became the most solid centreback in the team, with his strength and aerial ability vital in making up for Diego Varela's lack of either.
Shame we'll be losing him - his parent club will only offer him a non-contract upon the expiry of his youth deal this summer, and frankly with a guy of his talent he needs (and wants from us) contract terms.

Lastly, some great news on the continental front:

Our first opponents in the CL Preliminaries are Kosovar side Trepca - a couple of Kosovo internationals in there, but I'm quietly confident I think.
In any case that's not actually the good news:

For next year at least, league champions go straight to the 1st qualifying round, which ensures at least 700k-ish of cash just for playing.
3 teams in the EL too, massive.
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Preseason 2041/42

Champions League Prelims had us pitted against Trepça of Kosovo, a better side than ours considering they'd made it to the 2nd round of Europa League qualifying last season.

A jammy, jammy win - being peppered with shots at home all game (including a missed penalty) only for Gennari to bundle in a winner, I'll take those.

Hibernians of Malta were also considerable opposition (well at this level I consider us rank underdogs so everyone's technically considerable) but playing at home, we didn't disappoint our fans and put them away.
That also turned out to be Nicolas Acosta's last game with us before the end of his loan deal - he helped to bring us into the CL (qualifying) proper, but we're on our own now.

Qualifying round 1 gave us our most famous opponent so far in Polish champions Lech Poznan.
And it showed - comfortably outclassed in both legs, helped by our 5-4-1 no doubt, though in my defence we'd probably be done for by more if we played more openly.

Upon dropping into the Europa League, Dudelange welcomed us for our next qualifying matchup - having beaten fellow Luxembourgish side Differdange a few seasons ago I really thought we had a chance here.
We showed that we did too, with our forward double act grabbing a goal each to give us a shock lead.
Alas, the loss of Acosta and inability to bring in a replacement in time meant Varela and Micheli started at centreback, and with an average age of under 17 that was always going to be a risky proposition - 3 goals in 5 minutes only exposed that fact.
Still, 2 away goals and a home leg, anything could happen.

We definitely gave it a go, and Ferrucci gave us a glimmer of hope early in the 2nd half, something to build on.
Well, until Goncalves broke San Marinese hearts with a belter from range.

So that was that, another profitable campaign in Europe, and with better news going forward:

Direct entry into CL qualifying, and 3 teams in EL qualifying! Great stuff for San Marino as a whole.

With our European exploits over, we returned into the usual preseason prep - 5 wins from 7 is good stuff, with Jena being the only real blip.

Of course, while all this was going on we had some transfer activity:

The standout departure had to be De Letteriis, who arguably stayed 2 seasons too long at the club.
Not that I'd begrudge him for it, far from it - he even stayed until we exited Europe, can't argue with that commitment to the cause.
But yes, now he's off to earn a regular wage back in Italy, and deservedly so given his ability.

Giardi would've been his successor as the midfield orchestrator, but he too left earlier having not seen a path to regular 1st team football here.

Giovanelli was a prospect from this year's youth intake - fantastic 1st touch and decent distribution from the centre, unfortunately his Low Self Belief and complete refusal to be mentored by any of the senior players meant I won't be missing him too much.

Bernardi was a bit more annoying, having rotated with Bakare regularly last season.

Teijeira was signed too late to play in the 1st leg against Dudelange, but he arrives on loan nonetheless - he'll partner Varela, mainly because of the latter's height deficiency.
You know things are getting desperate if we're signing players from (England's 7th tier) Warrington.
Jon McCombe will be to Micheli what Teijeira will be to Varela, a more aerially dominant player to shore things up at the back.
Fabio Novaes was actually offered to us by his agent, and judging by his stats back in Brazil I had to take a punt on him.
His stats were not without reason as he's probably the most intelligent defender at the club, but the back of any physical ability whatsoever really puts a dent on his potential.
He'll definitely need to toughen up in the U19s 1st.

Chiaruzzi, youth depth signing, not likely to do anything at senior level.

With 4 straight league titles we've come to expect the billing of favourites by now.

At least the groups are far more forgiving this time, with a better distribution of favourites than last season's bloodbath.

The Coppa Titano draw also gave us a very favourable group, so qualification is an absolute must even without this being my elusive trophy.

We finish with a surprise:

A casual chat about increasing physios' wages turned into an approval for turning professional!
It was just a shot in the dark and I hadn't expected it - it'll be interesting to see how we handle this (assuming I don't win the Coppa Titano and leave of course).
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Midseason 2041/42

Clearly a very frustrating season so far, starting with 4 points from 4 matches and losing both Virtus matches.
I don't know if De Letteriis' departure was the direct cause of this, but what I do know is Varela's way too limited to be part of a title-wining backline - short, way too aggressive and lacking in positional discipline to make up for that, he's cost us many a game already.

At least we can say we did the current league leaders for 7, though that was only 1 of 2 defeats all season as they recovered from missing out on the playoffs last season.
Meanwhile we're top of our group on points, but Fiorentino will catch us up if we're being honest - our double header late in the regular season will be crucial.

Didn't help that we weren't able to beat them in our 1st meeting this season, as we lose the Supercoppa for the 1st time.
Plenty of chances, but when your attackers aren't on it they just aren't, really.

Coppa Titano brought a lot more joy, even if we didn't exactly start promisingly, a late freak equaliser that really summed up our awful start to the season.
10 goals in our next 2 matches though, that's bound to give us a lot more joy.

Drawing on MD1 put quite the dampener on things, but at least we've got some buffer as far as qualifying in general goes.

To end off, some unfortunate news:

Yeah, to be honest McCombe was ever going to play in the cup, and with Novaes around as well there's just not enough game time to go around.
And what good is a superior aerial ability if you're not available to provide it?
Eric Portapotty
12 years ago
2 hours ago
Regular Season 2041/42

A stuttering season descends into a full-blown crisis.
Firing blanks in 4 of 7 games, and while we're usually ok when we score, the horrific reverse against Folgore only rubbed salt to our wounds.
Michelotti and Ferrucci have struggled up top, and Gennari has been arguably worse as their deputy - our reliance on strikers' goals have come back to haunt us.

Despite averaging barely above 1.5ppg, we've found ourselves 2nd on our group, behind runaway leaders Fiorentino.
We're very lucky we weren't in Group A and their trio of professional clubs, where our points total wouldn't even have been enough for the playoff deciders.

Thankfully the cup proved to be much more productive - beating Folgore secured qualification to the knockouts, while the remaining group games also afforded us some rotation.

Big shock was La Fiorita bombing out, but other than that group-toppers were the usual suspects.

San Giovanni is about as good a draw as we could get (other than Cosmos anyway), but with Tre Penne drawing Fiorentino that's already a contender confirmed out for the semis.
In any case, I think I need to win this more than any other season - I don't think we're winning the league this time round, and with the move to full-time (well part-time really) the money issues could well start to appear.

There were also some wheeling and dealing:

Outs wise, well they're all youths in the fringes of the senior squad - probably the more annoying one is Pontrelli who was developing into a good striker and recently started in the cup, while Novaes didn't show much in the games he did play.

Likewise, Ins were all youth fodder, including the Brazilian Cassiano - I can't help myself when I'm offered random Brazilian youths who reject trial offers.
Not the best technically, and not yet 1st team material in general.

We finish with another youth intake:

Ceccoli and Colonna are great striker prospects and will light a fire under Ferrucci and Michelotti hopefully.
Arzilli's... odd I guess, good passer and equally athletic.
Nah he's great, will be a 2-way option as a DLP or B2B/Carrilero in our system/s.
Zanotti's a tall centreback(!), not sure if he can improve enough to hack it alongside Micheli and Varela, but his height is already an advantage off the blocks.

And Michael Masi? The jokes write themselves, especially when you consider how his debut went:

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