Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.
Such was the rollercoaster of emotions and the stop-start nature of my first season with Pisa, by the time we won the league I thought “that’s it, I’m done”.
FM21 is on the horizon (the beta has officially launched at time of writing), I can park things for a week or two, enjoy the rest of the holiday and few days off, then crack on with a new long term save come 24 November.
Except, I realised, I’m enjoying the holiday and the few days off by getting to spend some quality time with FM20 and to be fair to Pisa, I can’t just leave it at that. Yes, winning Serie B – a first since 1984/85 – was the absolute icing on the cake. But just how would the lads fare out in Serie A?
There’s over £30m in TV money coming down the line, increased sponsorship, a little windfall for topping the table. Could I do something with improved finances? Could I possibly survive the season in Italy’s top tier when you’re facing down Inter, Juve, AC, Roma and the rest?
Will it turn into the ultimate relegation battle with ourselves, Frosinone and Crotone facing an immediate return to the second flight?
It turns out, Pisa were watching too.
We go again
So, while the gold rush is on to cover all things FM21, I’m going to give it one more season with Pisa and see what we can do before it’s time to get back to the office. After all, the FM21 beta is already out but I’m holding out for the end of the month when the physical copies of the game will be available locally to make sure FM21 joins the collection.
At the end of season team meeting I suggested that we could fend off relegation. It didn’t go down well. We’ll see what happens when Pisa kick off against Genoa on the opening day of the season.
Of course, in order to survive, I’ve had to make some changes.
Tactically, my Italian Job 4-4-2 (occasionally 4-4-1-1) that got me through the bulk of the first season is being put aside in the hope that a more defensively minded 5-2-3 (read it as 2-3-2-2-1) may work out.
Having scored 9 in 32 for us last season, I managed to secure the permanent transfer of Marco Pinato from Sassualo, also bringing in 23-year-old Ivorian striker Florian Ayé to replace the departed Asencio and Fabbro.
Joining on loan for the season are the Inter pairing of Sebastiano Esposito and Degnand Wilfried Gnoto and SPAL’s Lorezno Dickmann, largely because of the shift he put in against us playing for Chievo last season.
There’s a way to go yet but I’m hopeful of getting through Serie A – whatever the weather, whatever the results – by the end of this coming week before picking up on research for my FM21 save, that one getting the real blogging treatment.
More anon, until then, #ForzaPisa.