The Great San Marino Challenge


Aug 20, 2011
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The Great San Marino Challenge

The challenge is two-fold looking to achieve domestic success in the Italian leagues with a Sammarise club whilst also developing exciting players who can help lift the National Team up. Throughout the save I'll be focusing on a number of 'achievements' listed below as a measure of success.

1. No save scumming
2. No custom tactics - everything will be designed by myself (this includes abusing set pieces)
3. I will start with no coaching/managerial experience and will need to complete my badges along the way
4. I won't start as the San Marino national coach and will apply for the job off my merit
5. If I am sacked by the club/national team I will have to wait until I am re-employed by them

San Marino is a small micro-state located within Italy, notoriously known as the 'worst' footballing nation according to FIFA's National Rankings which places them (as of writing) at 210th out of 210. The micro-state itself has a population of approximately 35,000 making it about 10 times less dense than Newcastle as a comparison. Whilst everything appears to be negative, San Mario finds itself abundantly wealthy with no national debt and a solid economy based on finance, tourism and services.

San Marino Calcio

Founded in 1959, then again in 1973 and most recently in 2000. It is the only football club based in the Republic of San Marino that is eligible to play in the Italian football league.


The club plays at the Stadio Olimpico which has an all-seater 7,000 seater stadium.
In 2014, the San Marino national team gained their first ever European Championship qualification point here, in a 0–0 draw with Estonia.

The club itself has two Serie D titles one in 1987-1988 and the other in 1999-2000 falling just short in 1986-1987 as runners up. And their most recently success was finishing runners up in the Serie C2 in 2011-12.

For those who don't know much about Italian Football (like me). Here is the tier system as I know it.


Serie A - 1st Division - 20 Teams
1st, 2nd and 3rd - Champions League
4th - Champions League Playoff Spot
5th - Europa League
6th - Europa League Play Off Spot
7th - Europa Conference League
Bottom 3 Teams Relegated


Serie B - 2nd Division - 20 Teams
1st and 2nd - Promoted to the Serie A
3rd - 8th - Play in the 6 team knock out play-off with only one team winning promotion
16th, 17th and 18th - play relegation play-off
19th - 20th - relegated to Serie C


Serie C - 3rd division
3 Divisions of 20 Teams
Champions of Division promoted to Serie B
2nd - 9th play play offs for promotion
16th - 19th - relegation Play Off
20th is relegated to Serie D


Serie D - 4th division (non-professional)
9 Divisions with 166 teams
1st - Promoted to Serie C
15th - 18th Relegated to the Eccllenza


Promotion from Serie D (L4) - 2021/22
Promotion from Lega Pro (L3) -
Promotion from Serie B (L2) -
Qualify for TIM Cup Final -
Qualify for Europa League -
Qualify for Champions League -
Win TIM Cup -
Win Europa League -
Win Serie A -
Win Champions League -
Win FIFA World Club Cup -

Win Serie A with Sammarinese Only Squad -
Win Champions League with Sammarinese Only Squad -

Youth Teams

Win U20's Division 1 Title -
Win Italian U20's Cup -
Win U20's Super Cup -
Win U20's Champions League -
Win U18's Division 1 Title -
Win U18's Super Cup -

International Achievements.

Win a Competitive Fixture -
Promotion in The Nations League -
Break into FIFA top 150 -
Break into FIFA top 100 -
Break Into FIFA top 75 -
Break Into FIFA top 50 -
Break Into FIFA top 25
Break Into FIFA top 10 -
Break Into FIFA Top 5 -
Become Number 1 ranked Team -
Qualify For European Championships -
Qualify For FIFA World Cup -
Win European Championships -
Win FIFA World Cup -

Youth Teams

Qualify for U19'S EUROS -
Qualify for U20'S World Cup -
Qualify for U21'S EUROS -
Invited to French Youth Invitational -
Qualify For Olympic Games -
Win U19'S EUROS -
Win U20'S World Cup -
Win U21'S EUROS -
Win French Youth Invitational -
Win Olympic Gold -

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Season 2020/21

As above, we've started out with some abysmal attributes and nowhere near the quality to coach a top team. We bring a wealth of knowledge of England which likely won't be of much importance to us given the wage demands, scouting costs and need to raise young talent. It'll be important to bring in some Italian scouts to develop knowledge in a region that I have no area of expertise.


The media predicts us to finish roughly high to mid-table which is going to be a tough ask first time round given what I have to work with. I'm uncertain if that's due to the weak nature of the league, or the expectations on my shoulders due to the financial backing I have.


Thankfully the board seems to be behind us and are backing the club financially which is important given that we have no players or staff at the club at present. The issue we have is, due to being a poor reputation club attracting players won't be easy.


As expected the boards want a top half finish to back up their funding of the club. Likewise, they are expecting me to sign players under the age of 23 to play for the first team.




We wasted no time signing 25 players who were first team ready, with another two coming in during the winter break and another two more joining us in summer. Our reputation really hurt us when it came to loans and the quality of player available wasn't worth the investment.

Edoardo Di Gennaro was our most expensive transfer and while he is by no means a phenomenal footballer. His pace was the real reason why I paid a premium.

Matteo Vitaioli was available on a free transfer, and being a current international for San Marino allowed me to overlook his age which went against the club signing policy. With good leadership and determination, as well as a solid physicals, a range of positions and decent set piece taking - I think he was a real coup for the club.

I was able to pinch Ander Irigoien who was released by Real Sociedad in the Winter who already attribute-wise is one of the best players at the club.

I'm going to look to play a 4-3-3 with pace up front and out on the wings to try and exploit the lack of speed of some of these lower league sides. Playing so few defensive roles may hurt us in the long run, however I think we should have enough quality to finish mid-table and look to build upon that.

End of Season Review

We finished one place above expected, satisfying the board and achieving a new two-year contract. Our form was a bit choppy throughout the season starting really well winning five on the bounce and going unbeaten throughout September and October. November and December were winless. And in the New Year we picked up only five wins which really emphasises the importance of that early momentum when over 40% of our points came from the opening weeks. The board also announced their intentions of making the club professional meaning we'd be full-time. In exchange for next season they'd want to be promoted to the Serie C, meaning only 1st place would be acceptable.

All of the players performed particularly well and either have/deserve a contract renew. However we will be looking to recruit a bit more quality particularly going forward and at the back to really emphasise our desire to win the title.


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2021/2022 Season

I'm sticking with the same formation moving forward. If it isn't broke - don't fix it. The players I had performed admirably I think we just need a bit more quality in certain areas of the pitch.


Of which we announced an affiliate with Reggiana who yo-yo between Serie B and C. I see this as a short-term link in which we can snap up their non-starters/loan players to help us further propel ourselves.

Federico Rotella joins us on a season-long loan with no fee or wages. A solid all-rounder who can play in a range of useful positions for my system.

Andrea Crema was available on a free and I wasted no time snapping up this gem. No only is he very young. But he is already an exceptional player clearly capable of putting in a performance in better leagues.

Finally Silvestre Tripoli is our pace merchant who can play up top or on the right. Those goals or penalties he can win us just purely on running at the defence will be vital moving forward.

All in all. We've been sustainable with our transfers. And as a professional club in a non-professional league the pressure was all on us to deliver what was expected.


The season was a tight one particularly at the top end of the table. We came out on top in the final day despite Fiorenzuola rallying and winning their last five games on the bounce to put the pressure on us. Which confirmed we will be playing the in the Serie C/C next season and is our first managerial trophy/achievement.​
Season 2022/2023

Our first season in a professional league meant that recruitment was essential. We went out immediately signing 14 players for the club and 6 players on loan.


Massimo Bertagnoli somehow was convinced to join us on loan. He's way too good for us, but I won't be telling him that.

Stefano Blanco an exciting teenager who is very capable of doing a job for us either on the left hand side or right. He could be a potential international with the way his development is going.

Mirco Lipari joined us on loan from Empoli. Unfortunately he didn't want to play in Serie C and joins Monza next season who are pushing for promotion from Serie B.

It seems like Empoli is having a bit of a golden generation of wonderkids, and I wasted no time signing Abdallah Ahmad the Italian-born Lebanese right winger for a season long loan.

Our final loan from Empoli is 24 year old Gabriel Meli who is easily my first choice.

As expected San Marino are still the worst footballing nation in the world.

However, Stefano Gualtieri is an exciting young prospect who has come through the academy of AC Milan. He's already playing for the U21s of San Marino.

A lot of development in terms of my managerial progress as I'm currently studying for a Continental A License to further my badges. Likewise our scouting knowledge of Italy and San Marino is almost maxed - not to mention the rather generous wages being afforded to me from San Marino.

Whilst I have no issues with the board and their expectations on me, which seem achieveable. I'd like to think that by the end of 2026/27 that we'd either be pushing for promotion or promoted into the Serie B. Only time we tell, but remaining in Serie C is a long-term goal that I'm happy to push forward with.

Rather unsurprisingly Palermo beat the rest to the title, returning to the Serie B. We had a really great first season in the new division finishing 8th which is beyond top half and slipping into the promotion play-offs. As much as I'd love a back-to-back it's rather unsustainable and I have no expectations on my players to progress further.

With that said, we got rolled over by Vibonese making the play-off game a bit of a novelty rather than real opportunity.

With no less than six players leaving us due to their loans being up. We will need to progress in the transfer market to keep up our success in the league. A key area to improve is at both wing-back positions where we have been caught lacking several times this season.

Nicola Maretti was poor throughout the season. And it's clear to see why, he's punching above his level and being played at right back when his more natural position is right wing. If he doesn't leave we may keep him as a rotational option against weaker teams, but he isn't good enough to push for the higher positions in the league.

Giuseppe Verduci whilst good enough to play for us, was fairly inconsistent throughout the season averaging a 6.8 in the league. He has another year on contact with us and will be given a chance to prove himself - however we will be looking to bring in a left back who can compete for a starting position.
Season 2023/24

Moving into our second season in Serie C we are predicted to finished joint 6th-8th.

Pablo Ruiz Varvaro was our first signing who is all-round phenomenal forward not only for the money, but also attribute wise. He was available for loan from Martín in Argentina's Second Division and I snapped him up immediately.

My second coup of the transfer window was Mattia Viti from Empoli who is clearly good enough to do a job in Serie A (despite Empoli being in Serie B). The man is by far our best player and will undoubtedly be a rock for us at the back.

While not as impressive as the last two signings, we needed strength at either full back position and Lorenzo Migliorelli comes in as an aggressive attacking full back for us down the left on a full time two year deal for £51k.

Nathaniel Amoah comes in on loan from Reggiana on the opposite flank on a six-month loan deal.

Beyond those transfers we also strengthened our midfield in January bringing in two players above our current midfield skill level.

First is our Finnish International Kaan Kairnen who signed on a 2 and half year deal joining for free from Brentford in the Championship. Clearly a talented midfielder who can do a job for us and we can hopefully make some profit from in the future.


Similarly, Neven Djurasek joins us on a free from Dinamo Zagreb on a two-and-a-half year deal and immediately joins the first team alongside Kaan.

Coppa Italia
First Round

This is the first year where we've been drawn for a cup competition, and therefore I took the competition very seriously playing a full strength squad throughout.
Our first game saw us up against Modena who sit in Division C/A making them slight favourites due to their home advantage.

An early flurry of goals from both sides saw the game 3-2 by 12 minutes. however their goals dried up and we scored again in the 83rd minute forcing both sides into extra time. Federico Sala scored the winning in the dying minutes.

Second Round

A tougher task this time not only with a tough away draw but up against a Serie B side admittedly who were struggling a bit in the league. Three goals before and after the half-time whistle buried Novara and sent us into the next stage of the cup.

Third Round

We drew newly promoted Serie A side Cittadella at home and with our giant slaying side we scored mid-way through the second half and shut up shop making us the only Serie C side left in the competition and leaving a lot of big boys to face.

Fourth Round

SPAL who are also in Serie A were unfortunate to draw us at home, our home advantage proved too much and a late goal saw us marching on having taking the scalp of two Serie A teams already.


We saw ourselves drawn up against Fiorentina who were high flying in Serie A, having signed Thiago Almada they fielded a full-strength squad and were saved by goalkeeping heroics of Gabriel Meli.

Coppa Italia Quarter Final

Can you believe it? San Marino playing against Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia Quarter Final? The holders of the previous season were too good for us and two solo strikers for Romelu Lukaku saw us gracefully crash out of the competition after a phenomenal run.

Serie C/C


The league itself was pretty routine, we only picked up 3 losses along the way and went on a 15-game winless streak at the start of the season. As expected it was no doubt down to the players who are really far too good for our squad.


You are reading that correctly. Pablo scored 36 goals which is twice as many as his nearest competition which was one of the real reasons we were champions this season. Alongside that a solid average rating from our star centre-back Viti and 12 assists from the right-wing saw us as the best team for large lengths of the domestic season.

Next season sees us automatically promoted to Serie B, which looks like this at present. Full of big teams who probably should be doing better based on reputation. With the likes of Empoli, Frosinone, Parma, Palermo, Chievo and Genoa to name a few. We will have our work cut out for us.
Where did you find a database with them in it? The club side dissolved in 2019, would love a crack at this myself
Where did you find a database with them in it? The club side dissolved in 2019, would love a crack at this myself
You can find it on Steam Workshop just by typing in San Marino into League & Database Updates. I went with the one with them in Serie D, but there's others with them in Tier 7. Keep in mind you'll need to have San Marino active as a nation, and loading up the Sammarise leagues can't hurt! Let me know how it goes if you do pick it up.
Season 2024/25


Recently promoted I wasted no time in spending as much money as I could to improve the squad bringing in 13 players to compete in the Second Division whilst also recalling some recent 'legends' from last season - notably top goalscorer Pablo Ruiz Varvaro and Erminio Negri.

Erminio Negri is phenomenal in all aspects of his game and it's humbling that he's willing to play not only lowly in Serie C with us, but also Serie B where he is easily a low-mid Serie A talent with room to be playing for Milan (ironic seeing as Milan are having a tough time in the Serie A currently)

Giampaolo Patrizi is a right full back by trade, but he's too good as a Centre Back to not play him there. We've robbed Roma of a star on loan who is easily one of the best in the league.

Coppa Italia
Second Round


What I was preparing for to be a tough fixture against a Serie B Chievo side turned out to be a rather simple thrashing. A convincing win despite our early season injury woes.

Third Round

In truth we were lucky to force Salernitana to penalties and missing three of them was enough to see us out reasonably early given our run last season. Though in truth, I was reasonably happy as I could focus on the real competition.

Serie B

Yes, you read that correctly. We made it to Serie A through the Promotion Play-Offs. Our early season started off dangerously with seven first team players written off on long-spells. But our late season rally pushed us up into fourth which gives us really generous seeding. We only needed to get through four games to be playing against the likes of Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli next season.

Promotion Play-offs

Funnily enough the Parma game was harder than the Empoli game. We snatched an early goal and shut up shop taking a crucial away goal into the second leg at home. Empoli then drew us at home in the first leg where we battered them in both legs sealing our top division delight.


The bookies don't like our odds and to make matters worse we've recently undergone a takeover by a owner who has little interest in funding the club financially. On a shoe string budget, can we do the underthinkable?​
Season 2025/26


As explained previously, on a shoe-string budget we managed to spend 200k more than last season in the Serie B and most of that was on loan fees.

Étienne Tipple is the pick of the bunch. I snatched him from Luton Town FC for a measly £700k and slapped a £3m release clause on him immediately. Not only do I think he can do a job for us, but I think larger English clubs will easily come fishing for him.

Tobias Klammer was even cheaper costing me only £70k to steal him from Crewe FC. Whilst not as good Tipple, he has the potential and the low fee to really represent great value. Likewise, he's also got a £3m release clause in his contract.

Vontae Daley-Campbell also joined on a free transfer and you can already see a bit of a transfer strategy emerging. I'm looking to sign low priced British talents and re-sell them back to Brexit restricted Premier League sides to help fund the Serie A siege. He was playing in League One when we picked him up, but I think we can develop him into either a low-Premier League talent or a high Championship side.

Coppa Italia
Third Round

Immediately I disregarded the cup prioritising my efforts towards league performance in an attempt to stay up. A fully rotated side were able to pull off a penalty win after extra time.

Fourth Round

Already you can see the cracks beginning to show in our performance. A valiant 10 man defence saw off Torino.

Fifth Round

And finally we were knocked out by a better team on the day marking the end of our cup run this season giving us a good solid five months to focus in one competition.

Serie A











Unsurprisingly we were near the bottom. Surviving the drop by -3 goal difference. It seems 36 points is the safety barrier moving forward and that'll be my aim for next season to comfortably avoid relegation.​
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You can find it on Steam Workshop just by typing in San Marino into League & Database Updates. I went with the one with them in Serie D, but there's others with them in Tier 7. Keep in mind you'll need to have San Marino active as a nation, and loading up the Sammarise leagues can't hurt! Let me know how it goes if you do pick it up.
Legend mate thank you, loving the story man keep it up
Mate, this looks amazing - which database in the steam workshop did you use? Please help a brother out as there are about a million and I cannot find this one anywhere!