San Marino Challenge Part 2: Serie C and B.

2017/18 Serie C

After securing promotion fairly easily in my first season widespread strengthening of my squad was needed. My transfer prospects were also boosted by the news that the club had gone professional!

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By abusing the loan market and without spending a penny in transfer fees i secured 25 new signings throughout the season. Using the slight increase in the clubs profile i obtained the hot prospect Roberto Biancu from A.C Milan who would serve as the main stay of my midfield as well as resigning the massively improved Gori, the top league goal scorer from last season.

With an eye for the national team Mirko Palazzi and Filippo Berardi were also signed in an attempt to develop them faster on home soil.

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Playing a counter attacking style and lead by the goals of Gori (24 goals and the golden boot) once again Calcio managed to have a successful season, finishing the league in 5th place achieving a place in the playoffs. The promotion play off format at this level is fairly insane . There are 28 teams that qualify for a knockout tournament with only the winner obtaining promotion.

Fortunately the good form continued into the play offs with back to back promotions secured and with Calcio set to play at their highest level ever!

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  • Average Attendance – 423
  • Biggest Win – 5-1 v Monticelli
  • Biggest Defeat – 0-3 v Reggiana
  • Top Scorer – Gabriele Gori, 28 goals.
  • Player of the Year – Gabriele Gori

2018/19 Serie B Survival

As with the previous season a huge squad overhaul was needed and again this was managed through abusing the loan market (there are no restrictions on the number of loan players in a match day squad in Serie B). Notable signings included; Aiden McGeady (free), Antonio Cassano (free) and spending a whopping £72k on French striker Sylvain Mirval. Sadly Gabriele Gori who so far in his Calcio career had managed a steady 36 goals in 74 appearances flat out refused to join again for a third season instead preferring to join Juve Stabia on loan.

Throughout the season Calcio used the counter attacking prowess that saw them promoted last season to steer them to a steady mid table finish ending up in 9th. Fortunately Sylvain Mirval stepped up to fill Gori’s boots to become the clubs new leading striker.

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  • Average Attendance – 1332
  • Biggest Win – 5-2 v Juve Stabia
  • Biggest Defeat – 1-5 v Juve Stabia (Thanks Gori)
  • Top Scorer – Sylvain Mirval, 21 goals.
  • Player of the Year – Sylvain Mirval.

Youth Intake

Sadly, despite growing the club significantly in the three seasons so far, the board wouldn’t allow any expansion of the youth or training facilities. This lack of expansion resulted in youth intake day still being a bit of a crap shoot with only one player of top quality and a handful of minor players for the national team.

Alessandro Franchini

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I couldn’t expect any more from my first youth intake. Aside from a brief spell on loan in his first season he has gone on to play his entire career so far under me at Calcio making nearly 250 appearances. Fortunately he agreed to play for the national team straight away and has so far made 78 appearances scored 18 goals. He was the first to break Andy Selva’s record for goals and will continue to play for both club and country for the rest of his career. Sadly players like him are few and far between so far.

Michele Andreini

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A second year intake who was initially touted to have higher potential than Franchini. Again he agreed to play for the national team straight away and i couldn’t believe my luck. Sadly his jovial personality trait came back to bite me. I attempted to develop him the same way as Franchini with an early loan spell then develop him in my first team but he never showed any signs of progressing much at all. He has 51 caps but has never contributed much in terms of goals, assists or good performances (he has never averaged above a 7.0 for a season in his career). As a result his career so far reads like a Chelsea squad player with a total of 13 separate loan spells in a 9 year career.

The Rest

From my first three youth intakes these are the only two players to have consistently played in the national team. As far as i can tell the rest of all of my youth intake players have only achieved a grand total of 20 caps between them and most of the regens retired in their early 20’s. My facilities are in desperate need of an upgrade or there is no chance at all of progressing with any speed whatsoever.

The National Team

Boosted with a big improvement on each wing there was some potential for the national team to progress, even if it was baby steps forward.

I continued with the same strategy as before, arranging friendlies against the worst teams whilst hoping for damage limitation in competitive matches.

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In three years this yielded wins against Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar. It was hard going. Even parking a human wall in front of my goal failed time and time again against anyone but the worst of teams. In three years the only real close competitive game was a 3-2 defeat against Georgia where Franchini (now on 4 goals in 26 appearances) nearly stole a draw with two goals.

At one point San Marino’s world ranking rose as high as 183rd after a run of two wins and a draw in friendlies however the abject failure in the European League saw this plummet back to a lowly 199th by the end of 2019. There is still a long way to go.

  • January 2017 World Ranking – 202nd
  • December 2019 World Ranking – 199th
  • Biggest Win – 3-0 v Bahamas
  • Biggest Defeat – 0-7 v Northern Ireland and Croatia.
  • Highest Rated Player – Alessandro Franchini, 6.83.

Best Eleven

best11

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I still don’t have the confidence to play anything other than a very defensive formation to try and restrict goals. Hopefully with a few more good players coming through I can play the same tactics at both club and international level.

Hopefully i may be able to post another update before the end of the weekend. As ever i appreciate any feedback and i will get round to finishing off the WordPress website soon 🙂

Alex

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