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There was a time when our word was gospel in the halls of Stadio Renato Dall’Ara in Bologna. People would jump out of our way in the hallways, board members feared making eye contact during meetings and overall life was good at Bologna after finishing 4th in our second season thus gaining Champions League qualification for the first time in the club’s history.
For some reason that all changed during the summer. It started with the board deciding to get brave and only allocate around £4m to our transfer budget despite amassing around £15m in prize money, severely hampering our chances of improving the squad with European football ahead of us. If that wasn’t bad enough, they then did this:
Joey f*cking Saputo. You absolute chief. Not only is Tomiyasu one of our best players, he is also our best asset and €30m is an insult to what we could surely have demanded had we been given a chance to lead the negotiations. Despite our best protests, the wheels are already in motion and just like that, Tomiyasu is gone and is making the 2.5 hour trip North from Bologna to Milan. Absolute balls, and our hopes of some strategic pre-season preparation are already thwarted as we are forced to switch our focus to finding his replacement.
Fortunately we don’t have to travel far…
While convenient (especially as he also holds Austrian nationality meaning no issues with non-EU registration), it took £17m to lure Mert Muldur to Bologna, an extra £4m on top of the funds allocated to our transfer budget following the Tomiyasu deal. That meant, after letting a couple of players go we were only left with around £6m with which we are expected to build a squad capable of competing in the Champions League. Not half enough, however if you read our last post you may remember that we had started to dabble in the free agent market knowing that funds would be an issue this season regardless. Business went well, really well.
On top of that we add Tanguy Nianzou on loan from Bayern (you may remember he was a baller in my Angers series), as well as making Oscar Mingueza’s earlier loan move a permanent one by activating his €7m option to buy from Barcelona. All in all, despite a couple of hiccups I feel we are ready to embark on Season 3 as well as our first Champions League adventure.
Bologna FC Squad List 2022/2023
Goalkeepers: Uğurcan Çakır 🇹🇷, Christian Fruchtl 🇩🇪.
Defenders: Oscar Mingueza 🇪🇸, Mert Muldur 🇹🇷, Tanguy Nianzou 🇫🇷, Aaron Hickey 🏴, Loic Badé 🇫🇷, Luis Binks 🇬🇧.
Forwards: Adam Idah 🇮🇪, Pietro Pellegri 🇮🇹, Brian Brobbey 🇳🇱.
Unfortunately – amidst all the panic following Tomiyasu’s departure, we failed to spot that the addition of Jack Harrison to the squad means we now have 4 Non-EU players in our squad along with Aaron Hickey, Musa Barrow and Uğurcan Çakır – meaning we now can’t even register the lad and he won’t feature at all this season. €25k per week to sit on his arse – not a bad job I suppose.
The season starts – average. We opened by snatching a late draw away to high-flying Atalanta, then picked up wins against Verona, Genoa and Torino either side of a draw with Lazio and a defeat to Inter. Unfortunately a winless September saw us slip down the league and after 10 games we found ourselves in 11th place in the league.
Meanwhile – the Champions League draw arrives and is not as kind as it could have been as we are drawn against Real Madrid, Arsenal and Shakhtar. Predictably we lose to both Arsenal and Madrid away from home, however a win against Shakhtar and then back-to-back home draws against the two giants mean that with just one game remaining we are in with a hell of a shout at qualification. Should Madrid beat Arsenal and we win our final game at Shakhtar, a European knockout round beckons for the first time in Bologna’s history.
Back to Serie A and things are going from bad to worse..
We are making life very difficult for ourselves, as we slip down to 13th by the time January arrives and things are well and truly muddy in Bologna – not aided by the fact that neither Idah nor Pellegri seem to be able to kick snow off a rope this season let alone find the back of the net.
Our league form has gone to shit, and knowing that this may be our lsat season at Bologna with FM22 around the corner – perhaps it’s best we put all our eggs in the European basket this season. Can we beat Shakhtar in Ukraine and hope that Real Madrid return the favour by beating Arsenal at the Bernabeu?
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Bologna FC
European Champions League Group C
We take a slight gamble by starting Musa Barrow up front ahead of Idah and Pellegri, a gamble which pays off on 34 mins as Barrow opens the scoring to put us 1-0 ahead and level on 8 points with Arsenal but still behind on goal difference. 30 minutes later and our moment came as Vinicius Junior finally broke the deadlock for Real Madrid – WE ARE 16 MINUTES FROM THE KNOCKOUT STAGES!
We bring on Nnamdi Collins to help shore things up and do the natural switch to defensive mentality in the hope we can see out the game. The right thing to do yeah?
Well that was fun while it lasted. A draw with Shakhtar consigns us to 3rd place and a spot in the Europa League knockout stages which we proceed to lose to Slavia Prague in a one-leg tie caused by the 2022 World Cup (which incidentally Brazil won in a thrilling 6-2 final over Italy). So no more Europe and 4 months left in what has been a disappointing final season at Bologna – can we somehow find a way to resuscitate our campaign and finish this save with a shred of dignity in tact?
“MaddFM knocks on the boardroom door..”
We again strut the halls in Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, the board folding to our pleas and forking out €21.5m to sign Adeyemi who we hope can be the spark that reignites our season. Obviously 4 months is a short time for a Wonderkid to make a big impact but at 21 years old he is primed and ready to help propel us up the league. Let the games begin.
After scoring on his debut against Atalanta at the end of January, Adeyemi bags 7 goals helping us pick up 9 wins and 3 draws in 18 games to finish in a respectable 8th place in the league – disappointing compared to our 4th place finish last year however after our disastrous start (not helped by the board’s decision to offload Tomiyasu) we will have to take it even though it means we miss out on European football. Milan take the Serie A title for a third consecutive season, bringing our Scudetto Gospel saga to a close and thus concluding another chapter of Football Manager as we bid farewell to FM21 – a year which saw us reach 973 hours of gameplay, 42/98 achievements, 2 long-term save series, 24 blog posts, 8 WeStreamFM articles, 4 Byline pieces and overall an outstanding gaming experience during what was easily one of the most chaotic years most of us will ever experience.
So what next? With FM22 soon to hit the shelves, you can be sure that a new long-term save adventure with a banging backstory will soon be available to read right here on MaddFM.com, as well as a host of brand new FM content and collaborations in the pipeline. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye on Twitter for an FM22 save reveal in the coming weeks, and catch me on the 5 Star Potential podcast for ongoing FM nonsense and FM22 hype as we gear up for the next edition of this epic game. Thank you to everyone who has read and followed any of my blog series this year – never hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, feedback, suggestions or help needed!
Over and out – thanks again and see you on the other side.