Luis Garcia - The New Manager On The Block

Godfish93

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It had been a huge week for us. Three games in eight days; Perugia at home, followed by away trips to Brescia and Napoli. I was pretty certain we could pick up at least six points, but eight would have been more useful. At least we played on the Saturday in Napoli, so I could watch a bumper highlights package.

Perugia ended up being a tale of two penalties. One missed, one scored. Thankfully, ours was the one scored. That was pretty much it for the match though, I wasn't going to dwell on it. We got the points, we moved on.

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Brescia though was much more entertaining. A seven goal thriller with us on the right side. I was incredibly disappointed Jo scored twice, our defenders were mocked for that. Having gone behind though, we recovered well, and smashed Brescia. It was good to see Cornelius put two in the net, he'd been having a rough time of it. Illicic and Schwegler scoring off the bench was also satisfying, as we showed real depth.

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Finally, we moved to Napoli. A much bigger game for us, and anything we got here would be vital. As it happened, the point we got was fair. Napoli looked better for periods of the match, and an unfortunate own-goal cost them all the points. As we played on the Saturday though, we didn't know where we would stand after the rest of the round.

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We need top six if we want European football next season. The table flickered up on the screen. 8th. It'll do, I figured. With four games to go, we were a point off. Champions League was too far off, but that would have been a step too far for us this year anyway.

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The next question is, who do we have left. Well, Parma are next up, that should be winnable. I was more worried about Lazio/Genoa, those games would decide the season. I just had to hope champions Juventus would be kind on the last day.

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Godfish93

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Last day already. This was for all the marbles. The three games before, Parma, Lazio and Genoa, had all been victories. Were I not so nervous, I may have considered reflecting on them properly. But this was 9am on game day, and we were in Turin. We had the title holders in their backyard. Not ideal.

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The table posed an interesting question. We were 6th still, but we could go up to 4th, and as far down as 7th. Very much all to play for on the European stakes. Inter play at Atalanta, Udinese host Perugia, and Roma travelled to Cagliari. A Roma defeat would guarantee Europe, but that was optimism.

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I paced the hotel room. I had a lot of thinking to do before I submitted my line up...

 

Godfish93

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Team submitted, and we are moments from kick off. Funnily enough, still nerve wracking. We stick with the 4-5-1 that has been treating us so, so well. No Radosevic or Jansen though, so we have a couple of changes. Roncaglia goes in the centre, with Albertazzi moving into left back. Radosevic is replaced by Schwegler, who will be supporting the traditional middle two of Valero and Roberto.

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We're set, our spies at other grounds are set. Bring it on.
 

Godfish93

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Half time was unconventional. Everyone was crowded round an iPad, looking at scores.We were down 1-0, Llorente firing home with ease. I knew what was going on, Daniele was keeping me informed.

At half time, it stood thus:

Atalanta 1-2 Inter

Cagliari 1-1 Roma

Juventus 1-0 Fiorentina

Udinese 0-1 Perugia

We were 6th as it stood. We looked out the match though, and Roma were no slouches. They could recover. I sent the same lads out there after the break, with one instruction. Shoot. We can't lose more than we already are, so have a crack at them. I just had to hope it paid off.
 

Godfish93

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Full time, Juventus 2-0 Fiorentina.

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We were solely reliant on Cagliari. We waited in anticipation as the page loaded to show the results. I stared at the page. We couldn't believe it.
 

Godfish93

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The players celebrated in the dressing room. We were in Europe once more. We were only taking part in the qualifying round though. Until...



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Cue even bigger celebrations. This season was ending in spectacular fashion. In fact, some may say it was almost going too well...
 

Godfish93

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That last bit sound very ominous!!

Congrats on the great season though!!
Yeah, that last bit does not sound great..... :S
Fiorentina fail FFP maybe?
Nah, we're all good on FFP and are pushing new signings. But we have the unending question to attend to... who sent the note earlier on in the piece? Time for a face from the past to re-emerge from the shadows...
 

Godfish93

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It was at the announcement of the departures of Pirmin Schwegler and Alexandre Pato that I finally found something out about the threatening note I was sent weeks earlier. We were having drinks to celebrate the two outbound players' spell at the club, when I spotted Santiago Tovar across the bar.

For those not in the know, Santiago Tovar was the administrator of Sporting during my tenure. I didn't see eye to eye with him, but we appreciated each others efforts nonetheless. After all, I was here, and Sporting still existed. I wandered over.

"Santiago, long time, no see! How is Spain?"

"Still warm. And beautiful." Santiago was nothing less than a patriot. Ignoring the fact he was originally born in Colombia anyway.

We chatted about Spain, and my career, and how he had been all over Europe, after developing a reputation as an effective administrator. It was while we spoke about his career that he dropped an interesting piece of information.

"Did you know Antonio Veiga was in Italy? Was looking at buying Lanciano. No idea with what money though." I was curious to start with.

"When was this?"

"Around April time I think, not too long back anyways. Why do you ask?" I explained about the note. "Ah, I see. Well, Lanciano is the other side of the country. But, he was here for a month or so, I saw him when I went to watch Pescara play on my holiday. It's feasible he could have 'dropped in'." That didn't exactly re-assure me. With no money, and an interest in the Italian football world, would he stoop to extortion?

"Can you keep me informed if he comes here again?" Santiago nodded. "With Europe next season, I need as little distraction as possible, and it would be a great help if I knew what was going on around me."

"Si, Luis. I'll do my best. Now, if you'll excuse me, I want a quick word with the pretty brunette at the bar. There is a distinct lack of drink in front of her." He grinned. Santiago hadn't ever really grown up. His boyish charm still shone through at the age of 32. We shook hands. "And Luis, as soon as Antonio does anything, I'll be ringing that phone of yours. Not that you ever answer!" With that, he sidled up to the bar.

I ordered a large glass of wine. Veiga in town was not a prospect I wanted to entertain. Could he really be after me? If so, then why not Santiago too? It didn't make any sense. Perhaps it was all a coincidence. I shivered. I hated coincidences.

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xtremeRED

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great job on getting Europe!
the suspense is amazing...
new signings you targeting now?

how are some of the wonderkids on your save? Balanta, Romero, Ajer, Barbosa, Scuffet, Cleiton etc... if you don't mind checking ;)
 

Godfish93

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great job on getting Europe!
the suspense is amazing...
new signings you targeting now?

how are some of the wonderkids on your save? Balanta, Romero, Ajer, Barbosa, Scuffet, Cleiton etc... if you don't mind checking ;)
I know Balanta is at Inter, and iirc Romero and Kranevitter are both Napoli, but I can check later. New signings wise, I have a couple of players in mind, depending on how steep their wages are.
 

Godfish93

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July 1st had been a busy day at the Artemio Franchi. You could argue it was very much like a revolving door. We spent 35m, and brought in another 19m, as players went here, there and everywhere.

Pato was the most obvious departure. He never scored for us, but for some reason Swansea wanted him badly. We capitalised. The rest of the sales were mainly backup players, or players not good enough for what we needed. There were also some higher earners that departed as well, lightening our wage load slightly.

So who did we get? Well..

Nicola Leali

Reina's new heir. With Neto departing, and Pepe not getting any younger, a new keeper was needed. If he was Italian, that would be useful. Leali had tonnes of promise up at Juventus, but never played for Sampdoria after joining on a free. He'll be looking to resurrect his career.

Jeison Murillo

A deal we confirmed in January, Murillo is to be Tah's primary centre back partner. A steal at 2.6m really, the Colombian defender should form a big part of our plans this season.

Amara Dosso

The big signing. I know what Dosso could do from my time in France, and I'm looking forward to a repeat. He'll initially take Pato's spot as reserve striker with a view to challenging Cornelius.

Lorenzo Crisetig

The ex-Inter youngster should give us some bite in midfield. Being young, he has a boundless energy as well, and we'll looking for him to do some significant running for us. He'll be battling to replace Sergi Roberto in the team, after his loan spell ended.

Edoardo Goldaniga

Another CB/LB, he is of a similar vein to Albertazzi. We'll be looking for him to grow into the team, with the potential for him to challenge Tah/Murillo. At only 23 years of age, he hopefully has a sterling career ahead of him

Jack Wilshere

A slightly surprising signing perhaps, as we raid Chelsea for the Arsenal youth grad. Touted as the future of England's midfield, Jack has lost his way in recent seasons, and it is hoped that a move to Italy will help him to find his best form. The competition for places will be fierce, but Wilshere is capable of challenging them all.

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With the transfer dealings done for today, we look towards the next task, the end of season awards dinner. It is a late one for it this year, but owing to me being across Europe the last few weeks, it was easier to wait. It will also be a final chance to send off some of the departing players, and for the fans to get to meet the team.

Finally, we will look at our fixtures, kept largely under wraps by the Italian FA until 3pm today. Only minor details have been announced so far, with us knowing that we will face Verona on the opening day.

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