Welcome to the latest from Bergamo but more specifically Società Sportiva Bergamo the club who are playing by their own rules using a strict transfer policy that allows the club to sign any player over 17 years old that is born in the Lombardy region only.
Punching Above Our Weight
We start in the middle of our debut season in Serie A carrying on from my last post that took us up to the Christmas break with us in 14th position in the table 8 points above the relegation zone meaning we are on track to meet the boards expectation that we fight bravely against relegation.
I had kept faith in the 424 / 442 formation that had took us to two back to back promotions to get us to were we are today. I did feel that I could get more out of the squad and decided that a move to a 41221 or 433 however you look at it could help us to maintain our status in Serie A.
I had built a system using our Under 18 squad (something that I have a tendency to do on recent FM’s) that was successful at that level and now ready for me to give it a whirl with the 1st team.
Our youth development focuses on the technical side of the game and already we have a number of very technical players coming through our system with the central midfield area looking very strong. Already we have two of our youth #4 Bellino and #8 Angelozzi already making waves in the 1st team.
We all have our favourite styles of play and influences plus our own ideas of how we think or like the game to be played. The following system is influenced by both my philosophy of the game and that of managers past and present that I look to.
I want us to set up in a 4-3-3 / 4-1-4-1 wide shape with an emphasis on the following:
- Build attacks from deep
- Draw our opponents out by moving the ball around at the back to create openings in their first line of defence
- Break the line with a pass in to one of our midfield technicians
- Our Midfield should then look to play direct passes to our wingers or in to space in behind the defence
- Wide players with good finishing attributes who can take the opportunity of space created by the movement of our Centre Forward
- Full Backs to push high during the attacking phase creating overlaps that allows our wide forwards to get in to the half spaces to combine with both our advancing midfield and centre forward to create shooting chances.
An example of the build up leading to a goal that we are looking to replicate :
You can see how patience in building up from the back is suddenly turned in to a quick attacking play that leads to a goal. The central defenders spread wide to enable Pirlo to drop in between and find a pass in to the midfield that turns in to a an attacking situation with quick direct passing first out wide and then in to the final third leading to the goal.
(Source) Video taken from New York City match footage https://www.nycfc.com
Serie A 2021 – 2022 Review 🇮🇹
A tough restart for us with a visit to the San Siro to play Milan and it was a Milan player who opened the scoring but not for Milan, loanee Daniel Maldini put us 1-0 up after just ten minutes on his return to the side after an injury plauged first half to the season. We were on cloud nine when Walter Angelozzi put us 2-0 up in the 38th minute.
Milan came out for the second half all guns blazing putting us under pressure that eventually ended with them rescuing a 2-2 draw.
A 3-1 win followed against Sassuolo with second half goals coming from Angelo Massimo D’Agostino, Davide Mondonico and Simone Mazzocchi. The new formation is working very well giving us more control centrally with a central pivot in either Marco Brescianini or Valerio Bellino conducting play and shielding the defence.
Another three points in the bag at the Città di Bergamo with a brace from Flavio Junior Bianchi giving us a 2-1 win against Udinese with another competent performce with noticeable performances from 3 of our players who have come through the development pathway and who are looking like being top players in the future (Walter Angelozzi, Angelo Massimo D’Agostino and Valerio Bellino).
We then took the short trip across the city for the derbi Bergamo against Atalanta but it was our hosts who took all three points beating us 2-0 under new manager Massimo Carrera who replaced Rafa Benitez in the role. I like Rafa in the real World but after a few derogatory comments about us in my FM universe my love for him is tainted.
We end the month with a point against bottom club Cosenza after a 0-0 draw played out in the Città di Bergamo in front of a crowd of 24,006 with just an handful of away support to witness a rare point on the road.
I set a target of 40 points that I thought that would be enough to avoid relegation but as it happened 30 points would be enough and after a good run in January we had reached 27 points.
A 2-0 win inspired by a double from Christian Capone Against Hellas Verona gave us a good start to February and when goals from two of our young eagles Angelo Massimo D’Agostino and Valerio Bellino gave us a 2-1 win against Parma I was confident that we would avoid relegation and more to the point pleased with how the new system was playing.
Despite an early Davide Mondonico goal we lost 2-1 in Rome against title chasing Roma who are locked in a battle with big rivals Lazio to break the Juventus domination.
We left it late to beat Bielsa’s Genoa 2-0 in a game we dominated but needed a Mattia Lombardo penalty in the 71st minute to break the deadlock which then brought Genoa out of their shell which gave us an opportunity to get in behind the Genoa lines to the advantage of Daniel Maldini who put us 2-0 to the good and seal all three points.
A young line up shocked the Old Lady in Turin when a Flavio Junior Bianchi goal on the half hour mark turned out to be enough to give us a fantastic 1-0 win against Juventus to take all three points and start the month off in style. The result costs Sarri his job and the return to Turin of Zinedine Zidane.
A capacity crowd saw us slip to a 1-0 defeat against Internazionale but again I am pleased with our performance against one of the big clubs.
We end a short month of games with an absolute fantastic display of football when we travel to Florence and thrash Fiorentina 5-1 with Daniel Maldini putting on a masterclass with 2 goals and 2 assists with a superb individual performance. Simone Mazzocchi also scored twice with Marco Brescianini getting our other goal.
The team look full of confidence and when we start the month of April off with 0-0 draw against Napoli in Naples another manager loses his job with Maurizo Pocchetino being sacked after the game with us. A bit harsh really but we have become the nail in the coffin for managers under pressure.
A late Danilo Quaranta goal is enough for us to beat Cremonese 1-0 that puts us in to tenth place in the table with the media now asking the question can we sneak in to a European qualification place?
A 1-1 draw in Sardinia against Cagliari after a first minute Simone Mazzocchi goal extends our unbeaten run to 4 games as the board dismiss new rumours linking the club to a takeover again.
Its now week 33 of the season and we pick up another 3 points when we beat Bologna 1-0 after a Christian Capone goal in the second half. We pull another superb win out of the hat when we travel to Rome and beat Champions elect Lazio in the Olimpico 2-1 with both Simone Mazzocchi and Daniel Maldini rounding off a good performance with a goal each.
We enter the last month of the season with just 4 games to play to bring the curtain down on the clubs first top flight experience. We are sat in tenth place but after a 2-0 win against Sampdoria we jump up to 8th place in the table thanks to both Simone Mazzocchi and Angelo Massimo D’Agostino hitting the back of the net.
I can’t believe our position in the table when we beat Torino 4-1 in Turin to extend our unbeaten run to 8 games that takes in to 7th place in the table and the European Conference Play Off place. Daniel Maldini is on target with a brace and both Christian Capone and Angelo Massimo D’Agostino getting our other two goals.
Milan must be ruing the day they loaned Daniel Maldini to us on a two year loan with no loan restrictions allowing him to play against them because another Maldini double helps us beat the Milan giants 3-2 with Danilo Quaranta getting our other goal.
The win against Milan means that with one match to play we go in to the last game of the season against Sassuolo with the European Conference Play Off place in our own hands with us sat in 7th place a win will guarantee that we will take the play off spot.
Just a few days before the game I was asked to vote in the Serie A player of the season vote……. I voted for Jérémie Boga the Sassuolo player with 22 goals this season.
Days later we travelled to play Sassuolo on the final weekend of the season on the back of a 9 game unbeaten run and on the verge of getting a chance to take the club in to Europe next season.
Matchday 38 Full Time Score US Sassuolo 2-0 Società Sportiva Bergamo
If you have already not guessed it the Sassuolo goals came courtesy of the one and only Jérémie Boga and elsewhere Fiorentina beat Hellas Verona 2-0, you could not make it up we had blown it and with no exploits on hand or a save and reload in our armour we have to reflect on a fantastic season and an 8th place finish and 4 places higher than our city neighbours Atalanta.
Serie A 2021 – 2022 Results 🇮🇹
Serie A Final Table 2021 – 2022 🇮🇹
Simone Mazzocchi was our leading goalscorer with 10 goals ahead of winger Daniel Maldini who scored 9 ahead of the clubs leading goalscorer Flavio Junior Bianchi who netted 7 times during an injury plauged season. Another of our forwards Pietro Rovaglia was limited too just 2 starts and 7 substitute appearances after being sidelined for most of the season.
Daniel Maldini led the way with 7 assists rounding off an impressive 19 appearances returning 9 goals and 7 assists at an average of 7.30.
Fillipo Melegoni was voted the fans player of the year with 35% of the votes with full backs Emanuele Valeri and Alessandro Semprini finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The young player of the year was 18 year old Angelo Massimo D’Agostino who became a valuable member of the 1st team with 23 starts and 1 substitute appearances and scoring 4 times in his first team debut season averaging 7.23.
Another youngster in his debut season Valerio Bellino made 15 starts and 7 substitute appearances scoring 2 goals at an average rating of 7.00
A number of players three to be exact namely Rosario Maddaloni, Daniele Casiraghi and Mattia Lombardo will leave the club in the summer. All three players have been with me since day 1 but after 3 years together it is time for them to move on and make way for our Young Eagles to get their chance in the 1st team next season.
I have yet to make my mind up about Pietro Rovaglia next season as to whether I will let him leave the club permanently or sending him out on loan. The forward had an unfortunate season through injury which set him back in his development and I feel I am at a crossroads with him.
Central Midfielder Manuel Di Paola will also move out on loan another who as been with me since day 1 and who had two very good years in Lega Pro and Serie B but this last season as found it difficult to get in to the side and have the same effect finding himself playing second fiddle to 18 year old Walter Angelozzi.
The time has come going in to our 4th season to promote from within and give le giovani aquile (the young eagles) a chance in our 1st team following on from the successful promotions of Angelo Massimo D’Agostino, Walter Angelozzi and Valerio Bellino who are all now key members and regular starters for the 1st team.
Le Giovani Aquile (The Young Eagles)
Our Under 18 squad have had a superb season in completing a League and Cup double and our Under 20 squad finished 4th in their League. Winger Giuseppe Giacobbe led the way with 17 goals from 15 appearances at an average of 7.65 in the League. Giacobbe is a player that I am looking to promote to the first team squad ahead of next season to be the back up to Daniel Maldini. I think the experience of some game time and a good mentoring group will help Giacobbe realise his potential.
Youth development is our main aim at the club and already we have seen three of the young eagles force their way in to the first team picture. I would love for us to have a full home grown squad competing in Serie A and European competition in the future.
The club are in a very good financial position after receiving €38.6m in TV money but I am fully committed to keeping costs down at the club. You can see below that our wages to turnover is the lowest in Serie A at 15% which is something that I am looking to keep tight control over.
I think you will agree that we had a very good first season in the top flight narrowly missing out on a European play off place thanks to a solid second half of the season that saw us win 13 games and draw 4 from the 21 matches played in the new year. This for me is without doubt thanks to the change in tactic which is very encouraging for next season.
I don’t know if it comes across in my writing but I am really enjoying this save and can only hope that the next FM gives us the ability to carry a save on with the new version. If not I will definitely be continuing the save on FM20.
Next season will see more of the Young Eagles represented in our 1st team with no external signings coming in to the 1st team. My focus now is for the scouting network to concentrate on youth to take this club in to the future and hopefully one day a Serie A title and European participation.