Hey folks – none of that pretend interview rubbish today, just a good, old-fashioned, honest appraisal of #ThePadovaPlan as we enter our second season. For those not familiar with what I am trying to do, Calcio Padova went bust in the real world in July 2014 days before the FM season starts. As they were founding members of Serie A I felt a bit bad for them, particularly as they gave the world Alessandro Del Piero, so I reinstated them into Italian football, only in the graveyard shift of the lowest league.
We managed to storm to promotion from the Promozione last season and we are embarking on a season in the Excellenza Veneto Group A – tier five of Italian football.
So why the title? Well, it has been a confusing summer. Following the promotion our board decided to turn us from semi-professional to amateur and I lost a couple of decent players who were now technically out-of-contract. This was annoying as I hadn’t planned to do much with the squad other than replace the six loan players with six other loan players. The amateur status really messed up the recruitment plans, only one of the players I wanted would join on such terms and the potential loans fell through as the club wasn’t deemed good enough to send young talent to. It was frustrating and as a result I am not sure the squad I have is going to do the business.
You can imagine how delighted I was when, a fortnight before the season started proper, the president decided to revert the club back to semi-professional status!
Either way, we cracked on manfully with pre-season – a bumper eight match programme leading up to the start of the Coppa Italia Excellenza Veneto (which I now believe to be similar to the FA Vase in England).
The first friendly was on the day the players returned from holiday, so it was little wonder that we got turned over 3-1. We ended up topping and tailing the friendlies with a defeat, so the form guide read LWWWWWWL. I have to say, I don’t think I have signed the right players this time and this could be a really challenging season.
The positives – I have got a man mountain of a centre back in on loan from Verona. He is 6ft 5, 21 and from Albania and has a habit of heading home set-pieces. My veteran 40-year-old striker Innocenti is still with me, although his stats are in terminal decline. If he can repeat last season and get me 25 goals then I will be delighted, and hopefully the young lad De Mitri will continue to mature and net a few. Last season’s player of the year, Guariniello, is still with us and looking sharp.
The negatives – I don’t have much depth in the squad, a few injuries could cause me quite a few problems. I am also not happy with the quality of the under-19 squad members other than De Mitro and Smith and Italian rules seem to say that I must have two U19’s in each line up. Hey ho.
Anyway, tomorrow’s post will be back to the style of the series so far, some made up interview rubbish written in the a very self-indulgent third person kind of way. Of course, if someone actually comments and tells me not to write it that way, I might consider changing it. Or not. Who knows what kind of mood I might be in.