Well, the AR Crimea experiment has come to an early end – we threw it away on the final day of the season. Having lost the key match against Zhemchuyzna we only needed to win our final match against a mid-table side to secure the title.
Having only lost to Zhemchuyzna all season, it was a massive surprise to me to see that my team failed to turn up and lost 2-1, handing the First Division title to the Yalta side. Call me a conspiracist, but it smelt a little fishy for sure – especially considering Zhemchuyzna got their winner in the 97th minute to ensure they ended top dogs. Let’s just say we will never know.
It left a very sour taste in my mouth, a taste that led me to pack my bags instantly and look for the next project. I have been unable to settle in FM15, nothing has lasted long than my spell at FC Carl Zeiss Jena or Clapton FC and I have decided that my next save will be my last save, so I had better make it a good one!
I have not managed in Italy since Championship Manager Italia, so I started researching on the internet for a club that has some history but has fallen from grace. Three clubs made it on to the shortlist instantly. AC Siena have fallen to Serie D due to financial incompetence and Triestina are also at that level having been one of the founding members of Serie A back in 1929. But I found the one, I really did and it was love at first sight. Calcio Padova became extinct officially on 15th July 2014 and were lying dormant in the FM database as a result. Having squared it in my own mind, as the Italian database starts a game on 1st July 2014, I have entered the club in the lowest Italian division available, the Promozione, and another of one of Serie A’s founding members will start the long road back to the top division.
I need to add, there has been no editing of the club – they will restart as they were left, no money, no players but with a stadium they can play in.
Calcio Padova, (you can read a great article on what went wrong here) were the club that gave us Alessandro Del Piero so I am hoping that through some slow, patient management I can get them back to a decent level and maybe even unearth some potential World Cup winners along the way.
This is the last save that I will be writing about on FM15, so as I said it needs to be a good one!
So, as I head off to Northern Italy for a final hurrah, what are my plans? Well, firstly, to find a squad of players – I have been given a wage budget of £12,000 per week which sounds astonishing for a semi-professional club playing at the lowest level of Italian football, but we’ll take it – and being the kind of manager that I am, I will not be splashing huge wages around. I can see a mix of experienced journeymen and loan signings being the way I go initially. We have a 32,000 stadium which was built for Italia 90, and by all accounts we have 3500 season ticket holders so I am confident we will have the best atmosphere in the division. I expect us to fly through the lower levels pretty quickly, regardless, and this should buy me enough time to start developing our own players so by the time we hit Serie C we should be pretty self-sufficient and youth orientated.
This club feels like love at first sight, so I really hope I can do this justice.
Updates start tomorrow on #ThePadovaPlan.