Welcome to the latest post covering the goings on in the North of the Peninsula at Società Sportiva Bergamo as we come to the end of my first season at the helm of the club.
A quick recap for anyone who is visiting the blog for the first time. I created a brand new club Società Sportiva Bergamo using the FM editor and placed them in the 3rd tier of the Italian pyramid. I also used the create a club feature in FM20 to randomise the starting squad and then copied the players in to the FM editor to give us our starting squad. I have also set a transfer policy based on Athletic Club’s Basque only policy which means the club can only sign players that are over the age of 17 that were born in the Lombardy region. (You can read the full transfer policy here in my opening post)
The start of the season was the unknown for us in knowing how we ranked within the League however it soon became clear that despite the bookmakers and media predicting a 7th placed finish that they had under estimated us and that we would most definitely be chasing the top spot and promotion to Serie B. We started the campaign off with two wins in the Lega Pro Coppa Italia against Gozzano and Renate which means we had topped our mini group of three and advanced to the 2nd round which would resume later in the year.
Our main aim though was the League and getting off to a good start was imperative if we was going to challenge for promotion. I could not in all honesty have wished for a better start with us going unbeaten in our first 13 games that put us on top of the table with 11 wins and 2 draws. We had started the season in fine form playing a good on the eye attacking game using a 442 / 424 base formation with the odd tweak here and there depending on availability due to injuries sometimes forcing us in to playing a 4411 formation but whatever we used we looked pretty solid in mounting a promotion challenge and it wasn’t until Matchday 14 against Juventus U23 that we experienced our first defeat losing 0-1 in November.
After the defeat against the young Zebras we finish the year off with 6 straight victories in the League meaning our record from our opening 20 League games stood at 17 wins, 2 draws and just the 1 defeat plus we had advanced to the Semi Final of the Lega Pro Coppa Italia with wins against Novara, Virtus Verona and Pro Vercelli.
After such a good start to our first campaign together the fans have been wax lyrical about the performances of Daniele Casiraghi who is dubbed il maestro by the supporters and rightly so, Casiraghi who is Lombardy born seems to be involved in everything we do on the pitch also possessing a pin point right peg from set pieces.
Pietro Rovaglia and Flavio Junior Bianchi are forging a good understanding up front and look the best combination to lead our attack in the second half of the season. Between the sticks Matteo Soncin looks the real deal and definitely looks a star for the future of Italian Football.
The second half of the campaign started with two wins but then we suffered defeat to promotion chasers Pistoiese after a poor performance to finish the month of January. The defeat sempt to take its toll on us and although we won our opening 3 games in February they were all by a single goal in three 1-0 wins.
Our next game was the Coppa Italia Lega Pro Semi Final 1st leg against Sambenedettese in their backyard which ended in a 0-0 draw setting up the 2nd leg nicely at our own Cittá di Bergamo stadium. On reflection we missed our chance for a couple of away goals but we have been struggling to convert our chances in recent weeks and again we came up short.
With our performance in front of goal over the last few weeks our next match would be away to our 2nd placed and our biggest hurdle for promotion Monza who are owned by Silvio Berlusconi. The game on paper looked like being a tight contest and in some ways it was but it was a 5 goal contest and fortunately for us it was us who took the three points with a 3-2 win. It was just what we wanted and now we looked favourites for promotion or should I say it was in our own hands.
In our very next game we only went and relinquished some of our advantage losing 2-4 against Como who themselves are battling for a playoff place.
March was a busy month with 7 games with the first one being a 5-0 victory over Renate that gives us a bit of a morale boost ahead of the cup Semi Final 2nd leg in the Cittá di Bergamo stadium in front of our own fans, what better way to progress to the Final….. Well it didn’t really pan out how we had pictured it when Sambenedettese opened the scoring in the first half meaning we needed two goals minimum to reach the final but with just under 70% of Possession we struggled to break our visitors down until 2nd half substitute Christian Tommasini levelled in the 97th minute. It was little too late and we had been knocked out on the away goals rule. I have lost Semi Finals and Finals before but for some reason this one hurt me more and I don’t know why.
We brushed ourselves down and went to Siena and grabbed all 3 points with a 2-0 victory spearheaded by il maestro Casiraghi who opened the scoring from the penalty spot before assisting Castellano for our 2nd and decisive goal.
With four more matches to play in March we won 1 and drew 3 to leave just four more games until the end of the season in April with a 5 point lead at the top of the table.
April started with an home game against Olbia who were languishing in the relegation zone. We played a very nervy first half missing an handful of chances meaning we went in at the break all square at 0-0. It was one of those times to put a rocket up the players backsides to get a reaction out on the pitch and it worked a treat. Flavio Junior Bianchi put us 1 up from the penalty spot just one minute in to the 2nd half and then his strike partner Pietro Rovaglia put us 2-0 up just four minutes later. Bianchi made the game safe with his second just after the hour giving us a 3-0 win.
We went in to our next game away at Arezzo knowing that a victory would secure us the title and guarantee promotion to Serie B. The travelling supporters didn’t have long to wait to start their celebrations when we came out the traps flying putting our hosts under pressure from the off with both Bianchi and Rovaglia creating panic amongst the Arezzo defence which paid off when Bianchi was brought down inside the 18 yard box. Bianchi stepped up and dispatched the resulting penalty to put us in front after 22 minutes.
With the Arezzo backline still all at sea Rovaglia pounced on a Casiraghi through ball to double our lead just a minute after we had gone in front and Rovaglia wasn’t finished he rose above the defence to head home our third goal in the 34th minute. Arezzo pulled a goal back before the interval giving us a 3-1 lead.
The second half played out with us having plenty of possession and looking at winning the title until we got a scare when we get caught on the counter and punished with an Arezzo goal that made it a nervy end but the boys held on for a 3-2 win and more importantly we had secured Promotion and been crowned Champions, this was a great moment for all involved with the club.
We must have partied hard because we lost 0-1 in front of a packed Cittá di Bergamo stadium against Novara but it really did not matter. We had took our foot off the accelerator but we made up for it in our final game of the season by beating bottom club Pergolettese 8-2.
Lega Pro Girone A Final Table 19-20
Supercoppa di Serie C
The Supercoppa di Serie C, formerly named Supercoppa di Lega Pro, is an Italian football competition played by the three group winners of Serie C, inaugurated in 2000.
A 5-2 win in our opening game against Reggina was the decisive game in the round robin tournament after Carpi had also beat Reggina 1-0 which meant the final game for us against Carpi left us just needing a draw which we got 0-0 to be crowned Super Cup Champions.
What a first season we have had doing the League and Super Cup double along with a Coppa Semi Final. Flavio Junior Bianchi ended the season as our top goalscorer with 26 goals ahead of regular strike partner Pietro Rovaglia who finished the season with 14 goals. The fans player of the season with a whopping 86% of votes was Daniele Casiraghi who was also our assist king with 22 assists and 7 goals, il maestro was also voted the Serie C Player Of The Year an award he richly deserved. The board are more than happy with the clubs performance on and off the field with us working within the wage structure using only around 60% of the wage budget. I am now looking forward to next season in Serie B of which we have been made 3rd favourites to face the drop.
I have decided to offer new contracts to all our first team squad ahead of the new season which they have all accepted. I want to give the squad the opportunity to stay together and try and prove the media wrong by performing well in the second tier.
I have decided that we will be making just one signing in the transfer window with us identifying a Forward who can come in and hopefully add strength to our frontline. Born in Milan (Lombardy) 23 year old Simone Mazzocchi will join the club in a deal worth €675,000 from F.C. Südtirol.
Thank you for reading and hope that you all are keeping safe and enjoying your own FM experience. I have decided that I will keep this save ongoing even through new releases of the game and continue to blog about it alongside any new saves on future FM releases.