We have come to the end of our second season and our first in Serie B which for me become game by game one of the most enjoyable that I have played on any FM release simply because of the connection that I have made with all aspects of managing the club. That’s a good thing right?
The start of the new year and a trip to play Carpi on Matchday 20 produced a 2-1 win with Daniele Casiraghi and Gian Marco Nesta getting our goals in the first half. It’s a good result for us considering we had a number of injury problems with our forwards. Milan completed the €5.5m transfer for one of our young eagles Romano a 16 year old central defender who was not the only youngster who was much sought after during this transfer window with Mirko De Lisio catching the eye of Milan,Bologna, Lazio and Atalanta who made the highest bid of €5m for the promising midfielder which we rejected managing to keep hold of De Lisio for at least another six months and hopefully beyond depending on our situation.
Matchday 21 saw Reggina visit the Cittá di Bergamo stadium but our visitors did not pose too many problems for us with Valeri, Nesta and Rosso all getting a goal in a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Just when we looked like having the opportunity to extend our unbeaten run which stood at 13 games we slipped to 0-1 defeat at Cosenza to bring us back down to earth. We never looked like getting anything out of this game but I am not concerned because our overall game is going well so we just have to move on.
Transfer deadline day was pretty quiet around the Cittá di Bergamo I was not looking to bring any new faces in and I was not wanting any of our Eagles to leave the nest so it was nice to get the transfer window closed message in my inbox.
February kicked off with a 1-0 win in Bergamo against Livorno thanks to a goal by the returning from injury forward Simone Mazzocchi that gave us a level of revenge over Livorno who had beat us 2-0 earlier this season.
A 0-2 defeat at Benevento came next after a poor performance from our defence who looked like they had never seen each other before but I am not going to take anything away from our hosts who deserved their victory.
We welcomed the return to the starting line up of Pietro Rovaglia for the visit of Pescara to the Cittá di Bergamo who we ended up beating 3-1 thanks to two own goals and a Rovaglia strike that keeps us well in the mix for at least a playoff place which should make it an interesting end to the season.
Matchday 26 added another three points to the total when we visited Perugia and came away with a 2-0 win after Pietro Rovaglia and youngster Walter Angelozzi both found the back of the net. Angelozzi at such a young age is showing why he is highly rated around the Peninsula.
The month of March started with the visit of table toppers Brescia to Bergamo for a Lombardy derby that could prove pivotal in the promotion race. Our visitors have already beat us twice this season both in the League and the Coppa both in Brescia but tonight it’s on our own patch were Danilo Quaranta’s 58th minute goal is enough to give us the three points that is enough to put us on top of Serie B.
It’s a fantastic win and with 11 games to go we find ourselves in a promotion battle which was never part of our plan this season but obviously now we are in a position we will give it our best shot and see what happens.
Things did not go to plan in our next game when Virtus Entella entertained their supporters with a smash and grab performance beating us 2-1 after going behind to a Pietro Rovaglia goal in the 20th minute. We literally threw the barn door at our hosts but if you don’t take your chances you run the risk of being made to rue them chances and this is exactly what happened here.
Matchday 29 and just under 24,000 are at the Cittá di Bergamo for the visit of Frosinone in the last match of the month and they are treated to a fine performance from Le Aquile as we run out 4-0 winners with goals from Simone Russo, a double from Simone Mazzocchi before Flavio Junior Bianchi scored his first goal in three months after being sidelined with injury.
We have our forwards back in the squad after a torrid few months with them in the treatment room so we are ready to give it our best shot going in to the last two months of the season with 9 games remaining of the regular season.
April would see us play six League games with the first away at Spezia seeing Pietro Rovaglia score two second half goals to give us a 2-1 win in front of a crowd 5,796 who had turned up to watch a Spezia side who go on to get relegated to the Lega Pro come the end of the season.
It was Pietro Rovaglia on target again in our next match at home to Empoli scoring a goal in each half in a 2-0 win to give us all the points that takes us a step closer to promotion to Serie A which is now a reality.
Our next game was a top of the table clash against Genoa in the Luigi Ferraris stadium that produced an absolute fantastic game of football which I played in real time which ended in a 0-0 draw. This game was without doubt one of the most enjoyable that I have played the full game on any FM. It was a complete tactical game of chess that had me on the edge of my seat for the duration.
Another 0-0 draw followed on matchday 33 when we entertained Juve Stabia at the Cittá di Bergamo. It is our second 0-0 draw against our visitors this season after we had a drawn our previous meeting back in November.
A fantastic 5-1 win on the road against Chievo Verona came next with Simone Mazzocchi becoming the clubs record most goals in a game record holder after he grabbed four goals in a man of the match performance after coming back in to the starting XI. Gian Marco Nesta got our other goal that puts us just two wins away from promotion.
Salernitana were the visitors on matchday 35 to Bergamo looking to boost their push for a promotion playoff place but after a goalless first half we made the breakthrough when Danilo Quaranta headed home from close range to give us a 1-0 lead. The goal looked to have upset our visitors who pushed for an equaliser. We made them pay when Pietro Rovaglia pounced to score our second on the break after Walter Angelozzi split the defence for Simone Rosso to cut back for the incoming Rovaglia to give us a 2-0 win.
With just three games remaining we started May an home game against Lecce with the knowledge of going in to the game that a win would guarantee us promotion to the top flight. So time for a team meeting to boost the motivation and morale of the squad before announcing the line up.
A Saturday afternoon 3pm kick off saw the Città di Bergamo attract a crowd of 23,989 and a sea of Black and Gold watch with baited breath as Simone Rosso produce a masterclass of modern day wing play that produced 2 first half goals for the tricky winger and an assist for Simone Mazzocchi that gave us a 3-0 half time lead.
We were on the brink of promotion coming out for the second half with an update from Genoa who were drawing 0-0 at the break with Livorno meaning that if the scores remained the same that not only would we gain promotion but do so by winning the league.
We conceded a goal midway through the 2nd half but Flavio Junior Bianchi added our fourth just nine minutes from time to give us a 4-1 win that guarantees Promotion to Serie A that sends the Città di Bergamo in to scenes of joy and then news comes in from the Luigi Ferraris stadium that Livorno have scored a late winner over Genoa…….. We are Champions of Serie B 🏆
What a season…….. !!!!!
We went in to Matchday 37 in a buoyant mood away at Pro Vercelli and came away with a 2-2 draw with both Flavio Junior Bianchi and Walter Angelozzi getting the goals.
A celebration at the Città di Bergamo ahead of the final game of the season on a sunny Thursday evening saw an attendance of 23,828 see Le Aquile round the season off with a 3-1 win against Pordenone with the clubs all time professional goalscorer Flavio Junior Bianchi add two more to his total and winger Simone Rosso get his 11th goal of the season.
The end of the season awards night saw Daniele Casiraghi voted the fans player of the year for the second year running.
Our leading goalscorer this season was our new signing last summer Simone Mazzocchi with 18 goals ahead of last years top scorer Junior Flavio Bianchi with 16 goals followed by both Pietro Rovaglia and Simone Rosso who both netted 9 times.
Our leading Assists came courtesy of Daniele Casiraghi and Simone Rosso both with 11 assists followed by Emanuele Valeri with 7 and Manuel Di Paola with 6.
Serie B Final Table
What can I say we have played some incredible football this season and overcome a number of injuries to our frontline but we have carried on game by game and defied all odds being one of the favourites for relegation and instead turning ourselves in to Champions of the second tier and gaining promotion to the first tier (Serie A). By doing this we have reached Serie A earlier than what I would have liked however we are there now so we have to adjust accordingly. Ideally another season in Serie B would have allowed me to get another season of development under our belts in the youth ranks.
What does promotion mean to the club at this point in the clubs existence?
At least another season in Serie B would have seen the current 1st team squad go through a natural transition of players leaving the club to be replaced by a number of players currently developing in our Under 20 squad and the odd exception from the Under 18’s. For me in my mind we have arrived at least a season too early for the aforementioned to transition.
With this in mind I feel that we will have to enter the transfer market and maybe the loan market to bring in a few players who can help us establish ourselves within the top tier of the Italian game. Of course we will still be adhering to our very own Lombardia Policy which is our very own version of Athletic Club and their Basque only policy. Below is a reminder of the Lombardia policy within the graphic.
The summer will be busy at the Città di Bergamo trying to adapt in preparation for the clubs first top flight experience. For me it’s an exciting time within the save and always one of mine and I think many FM players who really enjoy the close season after gaining promotion. It’s a time when you look to finely tune your squad with the balance of players that you think can match your goals at the club.
Who is good enough to take the club to the next level and beyond ?
Do we need to adapt our tactics ?
What do we need to do to establish the club at this level ?
Just three of the questions that are rolling around in my head throughout the day and when I lay in bed at night……. if you are reading this I know you can relate to this because it’s what us football people do and this game we play does to us in our own universe.
Thank you for taking the time to check this blog out and I hope you return for the next one and see how our preparation unfolds ahead of our first season in Serie A.