Chapter 4 – Relegation?
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How did our first season go at Bologna I hear you ask?
Ok, let’s rewind a little. When we last left off, we were approaching the end of the January transfer window with intent to go out and sign some form of Winger or Inside Forward to help create some badly needed chances for the likes of Adam Idah and Raul Ruidiaz up front. With about £9m to spend, what did we come back with?
A CENTRE HALF. Just like when Jack went out to buy a cow and came back with magic beans, so too did we end up spending £9m on the button for RC Lens Defender Loïc Badé. Badé is a player I’ve been following a bit in real life and on whom I’ve heard a lot of positive commentary of late (Cc: Scouted Football). In FM terms, he is probably what I would call a middle-of-the-road Centre Half at the start of FM21 but as good as we might attract at Bologna in our current state, however my main reason for bringing him in is that I can’t ignore the fact that we are consistently playing Takehiro Tomiyasu out of position and I’m keen to see what he can bring as a Right Full-Back or Wing-Back – dreams of himself and Aaron Hickey bombing down the wings clearly impeding my judgement in the transfer market but fear not, there is method to our madness as we still manage to squeeze in one last bargain before the end of the transfer window:
Ajax youngster Brian Brobbey arrives on loan until the end of the season and better still, he also agrees to sign permanently when his contract ends in the summer – I’m not entirely convinced he is as good in-game as he is IRL for Ajax however he will bring some much needed strength and firepower in the Inside Forward position, hoping the Serie A defenders wont know what hit them with his sheer power and decent finishing ability. Let the games begin.
Wow. No, seriously – wow. Let’s not forget we lost 3 games in January, meaning we went a grand total of FIFTEEN games without a win. FIFTEEN. That’s 1,350 minutes without a victory, and although Brobbey proved to be a vital addition scoring 4 goals in 4 games amidst a horrid run wherein we faced Lazio, Roma, Milan and Inter, we suddenly found ourselves in the muddiest of muds embarking on a relegation dogfight with just 5 games to go. Will we even see a second season at Bologna?!
It took us until May to finally find a win. With morale in the toilet we headed away to Torino and it was Adam Idah who rose to the occasion and finally started to repay some of the £12m fee we paid for him at the start of the save. It’s also worth pausing for a moment to revel in the fact that Adam Idah absolutely LOVES playing against Juventus with 3 goals in the two draws earned against the Italian giants this season.
This seemed to light a flame under the Bologna boys as we pulled out all the stops to stay unbeaten in May and seal our survival with wins against Spezia and Napoli, and in the end we somehow finished in 12th place which all things considered was a pretty decent finish when you look at our form in the second half of the season. Milan romped home to steal their first Scudetto title in 10 years, and overall I think remarkable is a fair assessment of the season overall.
Some particular highlights included getting into heated arguments with Gennaro Gattuso…..
…finding out that Stephen Kenny had been sacked by Ireland only to be replaced by this man…..
Having none other than my beloved Newcastle swoop in to ruin the bromance and poach our legendary Assistant Manager….
…who then proceeded to return and try to snatch our best player….
Positively I had my best Youth Intake in FM21 so far, with two really good prospects coming through the ranks…
…while our U20 team won the Primavera 1 title, steamrolling ahead of the likes of Inter, Juventus and Milan…
Sticking with youth, somehow Yunus Musah managed to finish 3rd in the NxGn awards behind Saka and Camavinga depsite only putting in a 6.73 average rating and waiting until the last game of the season to score his first goal for the club…
..while our board are clearly loving the youth success, agreeing to improve both our facilities and recruitment ahead of Season Two..
What a season! Our 12th place finish brings in a measly £5m in prize money, however with circa 20 players returning from loans and a lot of deadwood to offload in the summer, our mission will be to bring in as much cash as possible to continue the Bologna revolution and keep rebuilding this aging squad as needed (not to mention keeping our fingers crossed that Ricardo Orsolini gets picked up from Chelsea for a bagload of cash with that 50% next sale clause firmly waiting to be activated). Priority for us will be some additional quality in midfield with Soriano and Musah lacking the vision and creativity needed to ignite our counter-attack philosophy, while a Striker will also be on the cards with Ruidiaz proving to be a poor signing overall contributing just 7 goals in 27 appearances. Normally I would say tune in next week to see how our summer activity goes however to make up for lost time it is already written for you: Chapter 5 – Reckless, live now.
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