Welcome to the city of Milan, the home of two former European Champions, AC Milan and Internazionale. A section of fans from both clubs have become disillusioned with how both clubs have been run in recent times, so they got together and put thier rivalries to one side and formed their own club FC Milan or to give you their full name Squadra Di Calcio Di Milano who they hope one day will play in the top flight of Italy. The clubs nickname is the Vipers and they will play their home games at the 4000 capacity Stadio Tifosi. Now before I go any further this is all possible thanks to @FMU_tv who created the club and made both the kits and logo’s to go along with the database which you can download via his twitter feed.
Before I get stuck in to this write up I have got to say this save has got me back in to FM again by opening up a new experience for me in that normally I pick a top division club who are usually a top 6 club and turn them in to champions and go on a trophy collecting mission and get bored by winning just about anything in our path. However after coming across this save I doubt I will ever take over a top division club again at the start of any save. In the past I have always enjoyed reading about lower league saves and how managers have to use a different strategy to manage their club. I now understand the appeal of lower league management and it as won me over. I know I am in the 3rd tier and that some managers go a long way lower with custom databases ect but I am now back enjoying the game once more.
FC Milan will play in the Italian 3rd tier Lega Pro Girone B and start pre season with no players at the club so one of the first jobs will be to build a squad. On taking the reigns at the club I am invited to meet the chairman who welcomes me to the club and inform’s me that the board have no philosophies to judge me on with the minimum expectation to fight against relegation with a transfer budget of 80k and a wage budget of 20k per week.
My vision for the club long term is to take the club up to the top tier of Italian Football but first I have to get stability at the club and in the short that means keeping the club in the league whilst keeping a close eye on the club’s finances. I am also setting some parameters around the tactics that I will be using, we all know that the match engine can be exploited but I am keen to try and avoid any of the obvious exploits for instance I will not be using any system that use’s 3 out and out strikers. I have decided that I will build my tactics around the following formations and will beware the past when it comes to building a system:
I will not use any other formation during the save other than the above.
I will be building the system around the following principles :
- Play out of defence
- Shorter passing
- Close down more
- High Tempo
Squadra Di Calcio Di Milano (The Project)
- Install a financial model that protects the clubs future
- Create a club D.N.A
- Build a youth development system that can support the clubs future
- Create a professional mentality throughout the club
- Limit the number of non Italian players coming in to the club
- Build a scouting system that recognises talent early
- Upgrade the club’s facilities
- Continue to Improve the quality of the staff
- Create an environment that allows young players to develop without any pressure to perform because expectations at the club are not demanding
I am in no rush to get promotion to the 2nd tier (Serie B) and then the first tier (Serie A) I want to take the club forward gradually step by step. With the club having no players to begin with I have to decide how I go about recruitment in this first window, it does not take a rocket scientist to work out that with the club finances I have to shop wisely in the market for players and I decide that if I am bringing players in to the club I am going to sign younger players which could be considered a big gamble but I want to bring in players who I can retrain another position / role if required. I am treating the club like an academy of football and decided that I will not be dipping in to the transfer funds soon but looking to sign out of contract players rejected by other clubs and the loan market.
Squadra Di Calcio Di Milano (The Squad 17-18)
Lets take a look who I signed during a busy first few weeks at the club, I brought in a total of 27 players of which 23 are free transfers and 4 are loans at a total cost of £0. 25 of the players are of Italian nationality with just 1 non Italian. Out of the £20k per week wage budget we are paying just £9855 per week whilst the transfer budget of £80k still remains untouched.
Edoardo Pazzagli (28) Free Transfer
Federico Capaccio (19) 2 Year Loan from Internazionale
Cristian Savastano (20) Free Transfer
Fabio Formato (23) Free Transfer
Mario Criscuolo (23) Free Transfer
Massimiliano Deri (21) Free Transfer
Giuseppe Faiello (20) 2 Year Loan from FC Crotone
Axel Campeol (17) 2 year loan from Milan AC
Domenico Di Fusco (27) Free Transfer
Francesco Rotunno (21) Free Transfer
Giovanni Dominici (23) Free Transfer
Francesco Verdone (22) Free Transfer
Nicola Rapaccini (21) Free Transfer
Andrea Mutti (18) Free Transfer
Andrea Lattanzi (23) Free Transfer
Lorenzo Evangelisti (22) Free Transfer
Nicola Campioni (25) Free Transfer
Gianluca Vallefuoco (20) Free Transfer
Alberto Rebecca (32) Free Transfer
Davide Miocchi (22) Free Transfer
Marco Privitera (22) Free Transfer
Niccolo Magistrelli (19) 1 year loan from Internazionale
Francesco Menarini (20) Free Transfer
Fillipo Nuti (21) Free Transfer
Leonardo de Paula (19) Free Transfer
Pietro Bartolotti (19) Free Transfer
Vittorio Vigolo (17) 2 year loan from Milan AC
Lega Pro Girone B 17-18
After a busy pre season we finall got underway playing our first competitive game away at Renate. After a spirited performance from the boys we looked to be heading for a 0-1 defeat when substitute Fillipo Nuti scored the clubs first ever goal in the 87th minute to clinch a 1-1 draw and our first point. It was a special day for midfielder Andrea Mutti who returned to play against his former club. I saw enough positives during the game to suggest that we can be competitive this season.
We travelled away again for our 2nd game of the season this time to face an experienced Feralpisalò side, and our young squad showed some grit against their elder’s despite us losing 2-3. Our goals came courtesy of our frontmen Vigolo and Leandro in the 2nd half after we went in 0-2 down at half-time. I like what I am seeing early on and feel confident that these young boys will come good for us.
Our opening game at the Stadio dei Tifosi was against early league leaders US Triestina in front of 3,883 supporters packed in to our 4,000 seat stadium. A scorching afternoon turned in to a frustrating one for us after going 1 down after 15 minutes we then got reduced to 10 men after a diabolical tackle from Domenico Di Fusco thus making my half time team talk difficult. I could not believe my eyes in the second period when just like the first half we concede another goal and get another red card this time Giuseppe Faiello got his marching orders. The remaining 9 players out on the pitch deserve credit because instead of folding they dug in and got a reward when ‘Golo’ Vittorio Vigolo scored a consolation goal at the death. So a 1-2 defeat and a case of bad discipline which I will be looking to stamp out quickly but another showing of character from a number of players non less so than ‘Golo’ Vittorio Vigolo who is already looking like a good piece of business with his 2 year loan from Milan.
Our 3rd away game in 4 this time a visit to 6th placed Mestre and our 3rd straight defeat despite playing well. All the reports from our games seem to open with ‘Youth was no match for experience’ but I know these boys will turn things around as we build our team cohesion. We went down 2-1 after on loan striker Nicolò Pozzebon punished our backline with 2 goals that showed he is one to watch. We had ‘Golo’ to thank for our goal.
Game 5 produced our first win in front of 3,822 tifosi in our own backyard against Santacangelo Calcio. After a goalless first half Vigolo put us 1 up in the 54th minute with a close range headed goal after some nice build up play. That man Vigolo put the game to bed in the 81st minute to give us our first 3 pointer. Vigolo as adopted the ‘Golo’ nickname after his productive start to life with us.
An away trip to Alto Adige also known as FC Suditrol produced our 2nd win of the season against the Division’s bottom club. We needed a kick up the backside though after going a goal down in the 2nd minute. We were without Vigolo who was away with the Italian Under 20 side, so we started with Leandro and Bartolotti up top and it was Leandro who got us back on level terms in the 7th minute. We dominated the rest of the first half but could not turn chances created in to goals and this was the same in the second half, we missed chance after chance and just as we looked like being held to a draw Pietro Bartolotti crashed a fierce shot home in the 87th minute to give us all 3 points.
With confidence on a high after back to back wins we entertained Ravenna in front of a crowd of 3,829 at the Stadio dei Tifosi. We were without Vigolo who was on international duties but it was time to use our squad and rest a few players with the schedule giving us a couple of days between our last match and this one. Unfortunately we ended up on the wrong end of a 0-4 scoreline that just did not give us any justice in a more even game than the scoreline suggests. Tommy Maistrello showed our players how to finish with a superbly executed hat-trick.
A frustrating performance at the Stadio dei Tifosi against AS Gubbio, we looked to be cruising towards the three points with goals from Nicola Campinoti and Pietro Bartolotti that put us two up with 21 minutes left to play however a goal for the visitors on 75 minutes was the signal for a crazy last 15 minutes that saw Gubbio equalise in the 83rd minute and then us miss a penalty just 2 minutes later when Bartolotti had his spot kick saved for us then to lose the game in the 93rd minute in front of 3,822 supporters.
A very welcome three points after a 3-0 win away at Sambenedettese with our goals all coming in a 15 minute period in the first half with tho opener coming from a close range header in the 26th minute from Fillipo Nuti. It took just 12 minutes for us to double our lead fom another header this time from Vittorio Vigolo who then got his 2nd just before the break. It was nice to get a clean sheet but we need keeper Edoardo Pazzagli to save a last minute spot kick.
Lega Pro Girone B Table
We have managed to pull ourselves out of the drop zone but we are fully aware that we need to keep scrapping for points with our next 4 fixtures against sides battling for promotion.
Before entertaining visitors Teramo Calcio, I fancied our chances of getting a positive result and after 10 minutes my positive thinking was being proved right with us leading 2-0 through goals from Fillipo Nuti and Leandro de Paula and even after Teramo pulled 1 back I was pretty confident at the break that we would go on and claim all 3 points and after the hour mark substitute Vigolo had put us 3-1 up, game set and match right? Wrong we had a mammoth collapse conceding goals in the 70th, 84th and 96th minutes to lose the game 3-4 in front of 3,819 bewildered fans.
I think we must have been still suffering from shock when we turned up to play Bassano who have one of the tightet defences in the league. We failed to breach the defence even though we had 14 shots but Bassano closed the game with 3 goals of their own in a game which saw us lose midfielder Campinoti and defender Deri with injuries and Andrea Lattanzi who got his marching orders for two late fouls. I am disappointed in the way we folded today with the result 0-3 sending us 2nd bottom in the table.
We welcomed league leaders Pordenone to the Stadio dei Tifosi and without the suspended Andrea Lattanzi I decided to play with an extra defensive midfielder to shield our back 4 but I got it all wrong and have to take the blame for a 1-3 defeat after the league leaders dominated us in every department. Pietro Bartolotti managed to get our consolation goal in front of 3,856 supporters. For the first time I feel I am over thinking things tactically and need to go back to the drawing board.
The trip to Padova underlined that I was suffering a tactical crisis for the first time in my FM lifetime. Padova peppered our goal and came away with all 3 points with us suffering a 0-3 defeat. 4 straight defeats for us now and I need to stop the decline in results ahead of our next game……
A welcome 1-0 win over Fano and a goal for Alberto Rebecca coming in the second half after our visitors were reduced to 10 men. By no means did we outplay our opponents but this was a much needed 3 points in front of a crowd of 3,825. For anyone who watches comprehensive highlights will now what I mean when I say this was probably the best win so far in my short stint with FC Milan.
A difficult trip this time to Vicenza Calcio who are in a rich vein of form. Our hosts took and early lead in the 3rd minute and then doubled their lead just a minute later. We then had to play with our backs to the wall which we did very well for the rest of the half. The 2nd half was much the same and we grabbed a goal ourselves when Fillipo Nuti headed home in the 85th minute to give us a glimmer of hope but we caught pushing for an equaliser when in the 94th minute Vicenza sealed a 3-1 victory.
The Stadio dei Tifosi was rocking with 3,850 fans for the visit of Albinoleffe. After a goalless first half we fell behind in the 64th minute but instead of folding under the pressure our young side rallied and got their reward in the 90th minute when Fillipo Nuti finished with great composure to level the game at 1-1, but it would not be so simple to see the game out for us and hold on for a point, our left full back the on loan Axel Campeol gave a penalty away in injury time……. The Albinoleffe captain Fabio Gavazzi stepped up for the chance to take all 3 points from the spot but Federico Capaccio our on loan 19 year old keeper turned the ball round the post to deny Gavazzi the honour, great save at the death that earns us a well deserved 1-1 draw.
The players were in good spirits leading up to matchday and with ‘Golo’ Vigolo back from International duty I decided to name him in the starting XI against our opponents Renate who we played on Matchday 1. On loan winger Niccolo Magistrelli gave us a 1-0 lead at the break after a good team performance. In the 2nd half we turned on the style and looked like a good solid unit before we added a further 2 goals courtesy of ‘Golo’ Vigolo himself that took us out of the relegation zone.
We took on a very experienced AC Reggiana side in the Mapei Stadium in front of 5,558 supporters. After a fairly even first half we trailed 0-1 after a goal on the stroke of half-time. We came out fighting in the 2nd period and got back on level terms when Fillipo Nuti tooked away a penalty in the 68th minute. Just 11 minutes later we were awarded a second penalty which Nuti dispatched to win us the game and take us in to 13th position in the table.
Lega Pro Girone B Table
With a new found belief we entertained Feralpisalò at the Stadio dei Tifosi in what we considered a six pointer with our visitors in the relegation zone. Our left winger Francesco Rotunno was a constant menace for our visitors and set up our opening goal in the 43rd minute for Vigolo to finish from close range. Rotunno then assisted fellow winger Niccolo Magistrelli just two minutes later to put us 2 up at the break. We are seeing our hard work being rewarded and a 2nd Vigolo goal gave us a well deserved 3-0 win.
The last game before the winter break took us to the Nereo Rocco to face promotion chasing US Triestina who had beat us in our own backyard back in matchday 3. Our hosts have racked up a good number of goals in the first half of the season so I decided to put numbers behind the ball and went with a contain mentality which worked well with us breaking up play frequently and limiting our opponents to long range shots that never troubled young Federico Capaccio in our goal. Ok it was not pretty but effective and takes us in to the winter break in 11th position and 4 points clear of the drop zone and extends our unbeaten run to 5 games.
Lega Pro Girone B Table Winter Break
Our leading Goalscorer Vittorio ‘Golo’ Vigolo as hit the back of the net 12 times followed by Fillipo Nuti with 7.
We go in to the winter break in good morale after pulling ourselves out of the relegation zone but I know the 2nd half of the season will be just as tough for us to star clear of the relegation zone. I will be looking to strengthen the squad during the winter break by trying to bring in the following:
- A forward with experience to both bolster our attack and tutor our youngsters
- A left sided winger to add depth to the squad
- A ball winning midfielder to add depth to the squad
When entering the market for the above players I will be doing so looking for free transfers.
Thank you for reading and hope you will return to see how our first season at the club turns out.