Prologue, Part III: The Crew of the Damned
Disabling first-window transfer budgets was a mistake.
Normally I do this in my saves because I usually play a top-division team and I grow tired of seeing my already-rich rivals buy 3 or 4 players on top of their IRL offseason spending spree (which was already accounted for in the game). In FM15, for example, Chelsea bought PSG midfielder Marco Verratti at the start of every single save
unless I either bought him first myself or turned the option off entirely. That sort of thing gets old rather quickly.
This sort of thing also
has less of an impact when the players are all fake and you start in the fourth tier. The concerns of teams owned and operated by multibillionaires are somewhat eclipsed by you discovering exactly how many holes your roster has and there's nothing you can do to fix them - not even by bringing people in on loan or signing people on free transfers - until January at minimum.
And boy, do we have holes.
Let's start with the good, first. Probably my best player is in a position that I place high personal value on: Defensive midfielder Lorenzo Fantini
. At 24, he's one of the older players on the team, and his mentals are surprisingly decent for a player you'll find in this level of competition. Fantini is very likely not going to be a player who stays with us as we climb all the way up the ladder to Serie A, but for now, he's the closest thing there is to a leader. I'm making him team captain.
Fantini's main competition for best player I have access to right now is defender Pasquale Dell'Oro
, an Italian who can play anywhere on the back line but is best in central defense. Unfortunately for all parties involved, I will mostly be playing him at left back (probably his least comfortable spot on defense), simply because while I have other passable options at center and right back, it's Dell'Oro or nobody else on the left.
The chief hope at goalscorer for us will be striker Andrea Tini
, who has a surprisingly good personality ("Perfectionist") for this level of play and will probably
not collapse in a puddle of his own sweat if things don't immediately go his way. In Serie D, we call that a positive feature.
The bad, though: Our roster is entirely too reliant on people whose voices frequently crack.
At goalkeeper, 15 year old Matteo Mularoni
has first crack at the job largely because his competition is also
15 years old and has a Composure stat of 2 (out of 20). That is... not a good recipe, and thus Mularoni has first dibs by default. For now. In italics.
And at central midfield, our best player in that position is a) 16, and b) not a central midfielder. Meet Pier Marino Mularoni
(not related to Matteo, somehow):
You'll note that the "elder" Mularoni's listed positions are left winger and attacking midfielder, neither of which is the position I'm going to play him in. That's because we have zero
natural central midfielders on the team. Fantini, the defensive midfielder, can play in central defense well enough but not further up. I have a couple of attacking mids and wingers who like to play in the final third, but essentially shrivel up and die if I ask them to play a more central role. Mularoni is pretty much the only player that has any positional familiarity at central mid whatsoever, and he's also terrible.
Normally I'd get my coaches working on training a player or two for the position, but, well, we have no coaches (I've put ads out and expect to get applicants soon). And due to me turning off first window transfer budgets, there will be no reinforcements of any kind until the winter. This isn't because we can't afford them or anything, it's because the game will physically not let me sign any new players from any source whatsoever. It is a complete global ban on all player movement, and I am not exempt.
This lack of options does have one positive side effect: it's made setting up a tactic rather straightforward. Behold, the plan:
This tactic looks wacky and unbalanced, but in essence it's a classic 4-4-2. Pretty much by necessity, we're going to play an old-school English game complete with long balls and fast service to the attacking players. I wouldn't call them "speedy", exactly, but they're pacey enough to theoretically do what I need them to do. Hopefully.
The overall goal is to bypass the midfield and render Pier Marino Mularoni, almost certainly our worst starter, as irrelevant as possible.
I'm naming Fantini
captain and Dell'Oro
vice captain. Luca Ottaviani, our right winger per the above tactic, has a better Leadership stat than both of them, but his Determination and Composure stats are pitiful and I have a feeling I'm going to need steel in the leadership.
The preseason friendlies start with a match against Swiss club Young Boys
(yes, that's their actual name). We will lose. The goal of the preseason overall is to see who I can trust and who I need to prioritize a replacement for in the winter. The national team, which will be playing six games over the course of the autumn, will be a good opportunity to see if there are any Sammarinese players who can do a job for me on the club team.
As I'll actually be significantly advancing time and playing matches, the pace of updates will (generally) no longer be one per day.