Il Regionnaire – A Milan Story – 2.2



Two blogs in two days – you are welcome! When we last left off, we were sitting in 2nd place in Serie A after 22 games in our first season at the helm of AC Milan as we attempt to transition the club to a local-only club culture and playing squad within two seasons. The bad news however (in addition to being knocked out of the Champions League Group Stages) is that our star man and Segundo Volante extraordinaire Sandro Tonali has been ruled out for two months with a thigh injury meaning he will miss all of February and March, a crucial period as we look to continue our good form and secure at least a Top 4 finish which would be more than acceptable having already offloaded a number of key players as part of our process in bringing in players who were born/produced within 50km of the city of Milan.


The media are keen to know – who will we look to to fill the void left by Tonali’s absence? Enter 23-year-old Tommaso Pobega, signed by the Milan academy at age 14 and who in FM23 looks to be a solid and versatile midfielder who can hopefully fill Tonali’s boots and continue the positive influence that the Segundo Volante role has offered us so far in this save.



AC Milan vs Salernitana – Sunday 5th March 2023



🗣️ “Milan come into this Serie A fixture having gone unbeaten for the whole month of February, however are without two key players with both Sandro Tonali and Musa Barrow missing through injury. Manager MaddFM has turned to Milan academy graduate to fill the void left by Tonali, while veteran forward Manolo Gabbiadini gets the nod ahead of Charles De Ketelaere on the left of a front-three that has impressed all season for the Rossoneri”.


0′ – Giroud gets us started here at the magnificent San Siro with a flood of red and black surrounding us

4′ – GOAL FOR MILAN! (Bennacer) – lovely work down the right hand side by Calabria who crosses it in for Bennacer to smash home.

7′ – GOAL FOR MILAN!! (Pobega) – Saelemaekers delivers a dangerous cross and it’s Pobega who heads in after a clever run from outside the box.

23′ – GOAL FOR MILAN!! (Giroud) – Pobega intercepts brilliantly in midfield and threads a perfect ball through to the Frenchman who calmly slides it into the bottom left corner past Ochoa in goal.

37′ – GOAL SALERNITANA!! (Candreva) – the ball is hoofed over the top by Vilhena and Candreva is on hand to smash the ball past the helpless Maignan in goal. Game on!

43′ – GOAL MILAN!! (Diaz) – Pobega the architect again! The midfielder spots the run of Brahim Diaz and again threads through a pinpoint pass for Diaz to finish calmly past Ochoa. It’s surely all over now?



And that’s how it finished. We made 5 changes early in the second half and Salernitana did well to keep it at 4-1, a goal and two assists for Pobega gives him a 9.2 Man of the Match rating. Granted our opposition were poor but this gives Pobega a huge boost of confidence for the games ahead. We hoped he would simply cover in Tonali’s absence but we were wrong – the lad seizes the opportunity with both hands and picks up two goals & four assists in 8 games with a 7.36 average rating, and not only is he more than filling in for Tonali, his performances suddenly attract interest from the likes of Man Utd, Inter and Atalanta..NOT ON MY WATCH SON.




It’s hard to tell whether it’s the players (i.e. Tonali and Pobega) who are shining for Milan, or if it is indeed this glorious Segundo Volante role which is proving to be so highly effective in FM23 this year. They are constantly on the ball or involved in breaking up play, recycling possession, making defence-splitting runs and ultimately getting into excellent positions in and around the box, and the results are clearly evident despite it being a “defensive” midfield role. I would love to hear if you have had any similar experiences with it – drop a comment below or hit me up on Twitter, this certainly needs further discussion 🔥.


Death, taxes and the end of season slump..


Unfortunately our league form stutters as we see injuries picked up by Dimarco (3 weeks), Brahim Diaz (2 weeks) and Mike Maignan (3 weeks) which takes its toll as we find ourselves short of quality depth and cover in key positions, a natural yet very much unwanted symptom of the Regionnaire transfer model.



A 6-2 drubbing by Roma (José Mourinho is a tyrant in Football Manager) followed by defeats against Juventus, Atalanta and Fiorentina see us drop back to 4th in the league just a point ahead of Napoli in 5th, and suddenly our Champions League hopes are on the brink with just 4 games remaining as we gear up for 4 tough games against Lazio (h), Inter (a), Udinese (a) and Torino (h). This league is tighter than a duck’s arse and I fear the board may have something to say if we get knocked out of the Champions League and then miss out on qualification in the same season…





We’ve spent quite some time bolstering our scouting and youth backroom teams, filling them with local-born staff members in the hope that this will have a positive influence on our Youth Intake and unearth a true Milan-born Wonderkid for the black and red side of the city….



Wouldn’t you know it – we are told not only of a Golden Generation, but that our star youth prospect is of course…IRISH. Those of you who have following my nonsense for some time will remember that I once spent 9 seasons in Germany in FM20 trying to produce an Irish wonderkid before eventually having one come through, and now while doing everything to focus on local prospects, our so called “diamond” aka Cian Foy hails all the way from the village of Glengoole (pronounced “Glen-gooly”) in the obscurity of rural County Tipperary!! He of course is eligible for our save rules (as a local/academy produce) but f*ck me the Newgen gods have a sick sense of humour 😅.

Not a bad player though..👀




The Final Stretch 🏁


Four games to secure a Top 4 finish and keep the wolves from the door so we can continue our mission and spend the summer finishing the demolition of this squad to fully migrate to a local-only playing squad and backroom team. We are almost back to full-strength which will be badly needed with two of these games against teams currently above us in the league – it’s now or never for the boys in red and black, #SempreMilan.


Game 1 – Lazio (h)

Game 2 – Inter (a)

Game 3 – Udinese (a) 


We overturn a 2-0 deficit to go 3-2 up against Lazio (Pobega strikes again) only for my new FM nemesis Ciro Immobile to equalise with 14 mins remaining. We then face arch rivals Inter who know they will be crowned champions with a win, and win they did as we succumbed to a 3-0 defeat and force us to watch them lift the Scudetto trophy for the 20th time in their history. Thankfully we get back to winning ways away to Udinese with Olivier Giroud bagging a hat-trick on what will be his penultimate game for AC Milan with his contract up in the summer.

The outcome of those 3 games is that with just one game remaining, we find ourselves still in 5th place in Serie A and crucially one point behind 4th place Lazio who are of course now managed by Stefano Pioli, the man we replaced at the start of the season. This means we have to pick up all 3 points against Torino on the final day of the season and hope that Lazio drop points away to Empoli who themselves need a win to have any chance of avoiding relegation. It’s possible right?




AC Milan vs Torino – Sunday 6th June 2023



🗣️ “It’s an emotional day in Milan as Olivier Giroud takes to the field in what will be his final game in the black & red of the Rossoneri before leaving as a free agent this summer, along with substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic who also walks out at the San Siro for the last time as an AC Milan player – what a legacy these two leave behind them. Despite Tomasso Pobega’s impressive run of form, Manager MaddFM opts for Sandro Tonali in midfield in what is a full-strength Milan side who know that only 3 points will give them any chance at securing Champions League football next season, whilst relying on Lazio to drop points at relegation-threatened Empoli. If rumours are to be believed, anything but a win and the Milan board may reconsider MaddFM’s future at the club. Torino also have high stakes to play for as they sit in 6th place level with Juventus, just one point clear of Fiorentina with all three sides vying for those two coveted European places. What a day of football we have on our hands here!”






🗣️ “What a start for Milan!! Tonali carves open the Torino back line with a cutting pass into the path of Giroud who finishes to make it 1-0”



🗣️ “Ruptures in the San Siro as word spreads that Lazio are trailing 1-0, will today be Milan’s day?”



🗣️ “Dimarco plays a beautiful ball over the top to Barrow who plays a first time ball across the box and it’s Giroud in the right place at the right time to smash the ball past Milinkovic-Savic to make it 2-0 to the home side. What a way to say goodbye!



🗣️ “Giroud bags his hat-trick – that’s two in two games!! Dimarco and Barrow again causing havoc down the left-hand side before the latter beats his man before sliding across for Giroud to tap home into an empty net. What a way to say goodbye indeed!!”


HALF-TIME. 🗣️ “As it stands, Milan would advance to the Champions League with Lazio dropping back to 5th, while Juventus leapfrog Torino into 6th with the scores level at 0-0 over in Rome.”





🗣️ “Torino pull one back through Alexey Miranchuk – might there be a comeback here?”



🗣️ “Pobega comes on for Tonali and makes an instant impact – Barrow’s cross finding Pobega in the box and he volleys home from 10 yards. Surely that seals it..”



🗣️ “Gasps all around the San Siro as Lazio score an equaliser. A draw is no good for them with Milan currently one point more goal would seal it for Lazio and condemn Milan to Europa league football next season..


We’ve had 3 minutes added on here at San Siro while over at Empoli Lazio have 4 additional minutes to find a winner. Is there late drama to come or will it be Milan’s day after all?



🗣️ “I DON’T BELIEVE IT – LAZIO SCORE! A cross is swung in by Felipe Anderson, and wouldn’t you know it it’s that man Ciro Immobile who heads in what is surely the goal which sends Lazio into the Champions League and condemns AC Milan to 5th position and a place in the Europa League. You couldn’t write this!”


FULL-TIME! Heartbreak for Milan fans, euphoria for the blue side of Rome. Despite the Rossoneri and Olivier Giroud’s best efforts, they ultimately fall short and pay the price for having dropped points needlessly throughout the season. Manager MaddFM looks both defiant and upbeat – will he still be in the Milan hotseat by the time Serie A football returns next season?


2022/2023 Serie A Standings


Knock knock..



We enter the Milan boardroom. All the lads are here – owner Gerry Cardinale, Chairman Gabriele Tafi, Directors including Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. No-one makes eye contact. A muted TV screen shows us breaking news that José Mourinho has been sacked by Roma while Juventus have also parted company with Max Allegri. Is this to be our fate as well? Surely they can see what we are doing here..the Milan project..the beauty of the Regionnaire….our quest to resuscitate football production in this magnificent region of Northern Italy…


Great question Gerry


That’ll show him




RELIEF!! Not only have we nearly gotten sacked for a second consecutive save (the less said about Celta Vigo the better) – all of this also happened while we recorded Episode 316 of the 5 Star Potential podcast, so we were literally inches from getting sacked live on the pod having already been sacked live on stream just a few months ago. Thankfully the board see sense, they see the potential in this team, the football we are playing and they clearly realise it would be unwise to cross me as they try to stay on good terms. As always with the Regionnaire save, one thing is inherently clear…



We live to fight another day – but only just. There is no time to waste so it’s decided; we will spend this summer completely clearing out all non-local players and backroom staff, and go into Season 2 with a fully “regionnaired” playing squad containing only players who have been born or raised within 50km of Milan..that should make the board happy right? That means we will need to fill the following positions immediately (and sell our current non-Milan options):

  • Goalkeeper (replacing Mike Maignan)
  • Left Centre-Back (replacing Simon Kjaer)
  • Defensive Midfielder (replacing Ismael Bennacer)
  • Right Winger (replacing Alexis Saelemaekers)
  • AMC (replacing Brahim Diaz)
  • Striker (replacing Olivier Giroud)

What a transfer window this is going to be – if you would like to get involved, feel free to download my Il Regionnaire shortlist so you can see the top options that are available to us . Who should we sign? Comment below or as usual hit me up over on Twitter/X/Bebo etc 👌.

In the meantime..



Thanks for reading.


Be sure to drop a follow on Twitter for updates, jump in my Discord or Slack for offline discussions & sneak previews as well as catching me every Monday on 5 Star Potential, the longest running weekly Football Manager podcast




Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: