The Rise of Pro Vercelli

Mister Bosio

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Feb 22, 2015
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Hello all! I'm new to this forum but have been playing FM for many years and have decided to try my hand at writing an FM10 story for my latest save - The Rise of Pro Vercelli.


Based in Vercelli, in the North East of Italy, Pro Vercelli were founded in 1892 and play there games at the Stadio Silvio Piola (below). They were, following the dominance of Genoa, one of Italy's first great club sides. They won five Italian championships between the period of 1908-1913 and picked up another two in '21 & '22. Sadly that was to be the last of their successes, and for years now the club has been loitering, without much intent, in the Italian lower leagues.

Well, not any more! This club deserves better. It has been the home to some excellent players, such as the revolutionary Paolo Sollier (below), goalscoring icon Silvio Piola and legendary club captain, Guido Ara.

With confidence borne of years of FM10 experience, I aim to make Pro Vercelli my defining legacy, taking them back to the top tier of Italian football and, hopefully, on to further glory. My Italian managerial alter ego, Edoardo Bosio (named after the man who established club football in Italy) relishes a challenge, and this will certainly be one. Right now we are a feeder club to Juventus. Mister Bosio shall not rest until those roles have been reversed. I mean just look at him, does he look like a man that accepts Serie C2?


Let me lay out the basics of my story, for those of you who wish to know. I intend to write my story updates on a season-by-season basis, at least for now. If the story garners enough interest from you guys I may do more, but I feel one per season allows me to write quality, detailed updates that will cover the following:

- General summary of the season as it went; what went wrong, what went right
- Summer and winter transfer window round-ups
- Defining matches of the season
- Three key players of the season

I'll also throw in other things that may pop into my head, such as tactical changes, youth intakes and core principles, among other things.

Basically it means I can get on with the game, then dedicate as much as I can to each update, and interacting with you all about said update.

My first season update will be with you shortly. In the meantime please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see in this story so I can cater to your enjoyment as much as I can!

Cheers,
Mister Bosio
 

Mister Bosio

Member
Feb 22, 2015
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The Rise of Pro Vercelli Season 1 - Let's get the **** out of Serie C2!

Welcome back to 'The Rise of Pro Vercelli' for the story of Mister Bosio's first season at the helm! Without further ado, let's get into it.
Pre-season and some serious upheaval

The board had set out the aim of a top-half finish, giving me a very reasonable transfer budget of £80,000. The media predicted a 6th place finish for us, though I fully intended to ignore both my board and the press by challenging for promotion. Taking this club back to the top may be a marathon, but a bit of ambition won't hurt in speeding up the process.

I got my (questionably talented) scouts on the road hunting for any new faces we could bring in to improve a squad that is, quite frankly, a bit average. My first forays were in the loan market, where I brought in cheap youngsters from bigger clubs, such as Jorginho (Verona), Oscar Torres (Genoa), Cristian Tissone (Atalanta) & Paolo Maino (Albinoleffe). The latter pair (Tissone & Maino) would play very important roles.

Later in the pre-season our parent club; Juventus, forced Abdoulaye Bamba upon me. I accepted the loan as he was, in fairness, a decent right-back. Our other summer signings reinforced our strikeforce, with Nassim Mendil joining on a free and Nicolas Tagliani for £28,000. Both were the wrong side of 30, but were of sufficient technical ability to improve our goalscoring chances. We rounded off the summer window by signing goalkeeper Gabriele Monastra (£26,000), Francesco Evola (£4000) and Alessandro Ferri (free).

To make all these signings I had to re-allocate a large chunk of my transfer budget for wages, which were tight. I also released almost all of my youth players and reserves, as none were good enough and all were being paid at least £100 per week. I sat them down, gave them their pay and rushed them out the exit door. It was expensive to release all these players, but it freed up a lot in wages, which came in handy come January. There was thus a huge amount of upheaval in my first month as manager of Pro Vercelli.

Pre-season was okay - we lost two and won one, but our Serie C Cup group stage performance showed a lot of promise. Having drawn our opening game 1-1 with Pro Belvedere, we won our next three, including a 4-0 thrashing of Serie C1 Monza, with goals coming from Mendil (x2), Maino and Emanuele Chiaretti! This put us top of the group and ensured our passage into the knockout stages.
View attachment 779270

League inconsistency and cup woe

Buoyed by the success of cup progress we entered or first league game with confidence. The first players to line up for Pro Vercelli in a league game under my stewardship were as follows:


We used a narrow diamond 4-4-2, as we would throughout the campaign, and earned a solid 1-0 away win, courtesy of a Maino strike. Although we had made a positive start, our form would fluctuate frustratingly over the coming months. As you can see below we drew far too many games from September to November.
After our opening two matches, we failed to string back-to-back wins together in this period. The inconsistency was predominantly down to our inability to score. Although we lost just once in the league, we drew seven games, mainly due to the impotence of our forward line. With just three further league wins, we entered the winter period on the fringes of the play-off places. We also exited the Serie C Cup, losing 0-1 to Noicattaro, undoing all our good work in the group stages. On the other hand, this match (see below) would be a defining point of the season, as it allowed us to fully concentrate on our league form. Serie C Cup triumph can wait for another year ;)
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The Serie C2 summit and strengthening the squad in January

We soldiered on in the league, determined to improve our position. I was worried that we may fall away from the leading pack by the January transfer window. I wanted to strengthen the squad in that month to galvanise our ailing promotion hopes. Below you can see our results from November through February, where there was a definite improvement. We had a nice run in the lead up to January which actually left us top of the league.

This period saw two really good wins, a 4-0 at home to Sambonifacese (goals from Mendil x2, Tagliani and Daniele Di Benedetto), and a 2-0 at home to Spezia (Tissone and Evola).

In January I bolstered the squad with three players arriving from Serie C1 clubs. I was confident that, although they were dropping down a league, they would soon be back in C1. Emanuele Sembroni, a classy centre-half, joined from Pescara for £3.5k, Davide Drascek, a solid central midfielder, joined from Novara for £2k, and Lucas Simon, an industrious centre-forward, joined from Piacenza for £6k.

I was particularly enthused by Sembroni and Simon. Sembroni has all the attributes needed to slot into our central defence. Maino is only on loan, and so Sembroni gives us a longer-term option. As for Simon - I love him. He is aggressive, brave, a hard-working team-player with a good finish. His goals would prove vital for us in the second half of the season.

View attachment 779308View attachment 779309

Season finale - would we win Serie C2/A?

We went into the last third of the season well in the hunt not just for promotion, but for the league title as well. Our new signings were starting to blend into the team, and we had got over the worst of our inconcistency issues. Injuries to players like Tagliani and Tissone hadn't helped, but they were back now, and our defence had been exceptional throughout thus far.

We went on a fantastic four-match winning run, beating Pro Belvedere, Villacridense, Carpenedolo and Noceto, which propelled us back to the top of the table. Pavia were breathing down our necks going into the final five matches, but although we drew three times Pavia failed to capitalise. We went into the final match of the season two points ahead of Pavia, with our last match of the season a home game against...Pavia. It felt like destiny....

A fantastic performance saw us blow away Pavia to take the Serie C2 title by five points! We were absolutely first class from start to finish here. A first-half Di Benedetto double was followed up by a Simon double to seal the title, and promotion, with comfort. We didn't let them into the game at any point. The final league table looked like this:

Having secured the league title, we took part in the Serie C2 Super Cup. This involved us as well as the winners of Serie C2/B (San Marino) and Serie C2/C (Cassino). We would play each other in a round-robin tournament, with the winner crowned the best of Serie C2! We began against Cassino...
With a tight win we went into our next game with San Marino knowing that a win would earn us the Super Cup. We drew 0-0, a result that typified our season in some ways. However, Cassino then beat San Marino, meaning we had won the Super Cup. A league and cup double? Not bad at all!
View attachment 779327

End of season round-up, awards & key players

It's safe to say the board were delighted with Mister Bosio. They had hired me with the aim of finishing in the top half. Instead, I had guided the club to Serie C1 after years spent in the wilderness. I had three key players to thank for the achievement: my captain and left-back; Claudio Grancitelli, my central defensive warrior; Riccardo Corallo, and my defensive midfield ball-player; Marco Cristini.

Grancitelli is naturally a right-back, but he played on the left to accommodate Bamba on the other side. He didn't mind though, playing extremely well and earning the supporter's player of the season award in the process. Corallo was the only consistent central defender we had. Maino was replaced by Sembroni halfway through the season, but Corallo stayed firm. Cristini's average rating belies his importance to the team. His pass completion stats were the best in the league. He kept things steady at the base of my diamond midfield, earning interest from clubs in Serie B.

Grancitelli and Corallo made it into the Serie C2/A team of the season, along with right-back Bamba. It was no surprise that most of our defence made it, while our attackers were nowhere to be seen. We conceded just 10 league goals all season, but scored a paltry 42 in 34 games. We were very difficult to beat, something we hope to take with us up into Serie C1. Below is our squad, ranked in order of form:
Our best eleven looked like this:
To round off the campaign, Mister Bosio was awarded the Manager of the Year trophy! It will take pride of place on my mantelpiece, that is until pre-season starts again. This is only the beginning...
View attachment 779339

Conclusion: A note on tactics and philosophy

There were stages in my first season in charge where I reverted to a more conservative shape. I withdrew my attacking midfielder into the centre, playing a 4-1-3-2. I made the decision in order to stabilise my midfield at a time when we just were not winning enough games. I mixed it up, and it worked temporarily, though by early 2010 we were back to the good ol' 4-1-2-1-2.

The narrow diamond is my preferred tactic on FM10. I have experimented with many other formations, but I find this allows me to play good, but effective football. My full-backs are set to automatic, allowing them to patrol the flanks when in possession. My defensive-midfielder covers the centre-halves and does not join in attacks. My two central midfielders get up and down, while one of my centre-forwards drops deep and links up with the attacking midfielder.

I have other tactics in store that may be of use next season. My 3-4-3 with a diamond midfield is one I particularly like. It's quite progressive, offers plenty of attacking threat, but can be overrun and, as such, I may decide against using it initially in Serie C1. We want to bed in to the division, so I won't be rocking the boat too much.

Given my favoured tactics, I sold or released all of our wingers last season. This leaves us with a lack of options, and I may want to play a stable 4-5-1 in games where I feel we are under the cosh next season. As such I will look for cheap wingers in the summer window.

You may by now want to know my transfer policy. Primarily I look in-depth at the stats available. I like to look at tackles, passes, headers, shots per game, success rates etc, and use them to help make my mind up. Other than that, I have a preference for players with high attributes in work-rate and teamwork. I like to know that, even if we lose, it cannot be for a lack of effort or togetherness.

I don't really care about age. It is just a number. If a player is good enough, they are old enough, or young enough, depending on their situation. I find that older free transfers are a fantastic way to supplement the squad, especially when you are not one of the big-hitters. Short-term contracts give me the chance to annually review their performance too, so there is little risk if they do not work out.

I guess you might call me a pragmatist, but then some of my favourite managers are guys like Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis, so that makes sense! I enjoy good football, but the result comes first. I don't want to get sacked by the Pro Vercelli board before I have taken them all the way back to the top of Italian football, and if I have to sacrifice aesthetics to stay in the game, then that is what I'll do.

Thanks so much for reading guys! I hope you enjoyed it, and if there's anything else you want to know give me a shout. I'd love to know what you think.
 
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NateSpencer

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