A long time ago, someone asked me for help getting a person motivated. I was incredulous . “You don’t need to motivate someone, they just need a reason, an excuse.” That’s fundamentally FM for me, I love the game, I get motivated to play when I find a compelling story that keeps me rooted to one club. And this time around, my eyes have settled on the saga that forms the history of the club called Torino. Some football historians probably rank the club as one of the greatest in the world. And for those of you that don’t know the history of this club. I guess its time for a simple recap.
Torino football club based in Turin, Piedmont was founded in 1906, and was one of the most successful clubs in Italy with seven titles under their belt, including 5 consecutive ones.
After playing in several venues, the club finally settled on a small multi-use stadium in Turin called Stadio Filadelfia where they carved out a piece of history for themselves. Between 1942-47 they were the dominant force in Italian football, winning the league 5 consecutive times. Tragedy struck the team following a friendly with Benfica. On the way home from Lisbon, dense fog and a faulty altimeter combined to tragically end their journey. There were no survivors.
Difficult years followed the club, as they struggled, landing themselves in Serie B. Their stay lasted only a season, as they bounced back. Barely 3 years later the arrival of Gigi Meroni to the side inspired them to claim 3rd place, cementing his status as a club icon. That partnership unfortunately would be cut short by another tragedy when their future president Attilio Romero accidentally ran the player down on the road. Romero would end up playing a darker role in the club’s history.
Orfeo Pianelli became president in 1963 and would be the architect to rebuild the former giants. He reconstructed the team, and went on to win the Coppa Italia in 1971 and finished second in the 71-72 season. By the end of the 1975-76 season they were champions and a legendary rivalry with Juventus was born.
In the intervening years before 1999, Torino would taste relegation again, only to bounce back to challenge for another title. They began the 1999-00 season looking to retain the status as champions but were relegated back to the Serie B, where they were eventually bought by Francesco Cimmenili. He would appoint Attilo Romero as president. This was the same man who had run down club icon Gig Meroni on 15 Oct 1957. Together the duo would play their part of almost burying Torino into the forgotten pages of an old history book.
Cimminelli had failed to pay a large part of 5 years of club taxes. 40 days after failing to deposit a guarantee with FIGC, the club were found in default, and were declared bankrupt.
Torino would have disappeared had it not been for a group of businessmen. By 16 Aug 2005, and with some luck they managed to revive the club as “Torino Calico”. The new institution would have to start from scratch. By the 31st of Aug, the club structure was set and they were ready to compete again. Today they play out of 28,140 seater stadium called Stadio Olimpico, and its where I am heading, hoping to have a much better impact than poor ol Romero.
After meeting local businessman Urbano Cairo, I head off to take a look at the kind of staff I have at my club and I am actually shocked to find that the club have 5 first team coaches, me and my ass man, and, we have one of the worst fitness coaching rosters in the land.
There is a fair bit of work left to do before I even meet the players, we need to work on the boot room first and what a shock that was. I do have a habit of over-reacting, so I predictably ran off to get me some more coaches. Our chairman who was infinitely patient, agreed that I could bring on some more. That was good news, but his generosity stopped short of handing me a higher staff wage budget
Now getting in more coaches should always be done slowly, you need to take a really good look at what you have to fill in the gaps. Furthermore, you should always consider either sacking the assistant manager if he’s totally useless, which in our case, was certainly the case, or, you could go and promote someone from the ranks.
What I should have done was to take a look at my youth team. I have 2 youth teams, an impressive training facility and a galaxy of coaches, the list is so long, I would need to scroll down. Its almost 20 long. We may have more coaches than we need and I need to make sure we have quality coaches as well. The players will have to wait.
The first thing to find out is what kind of coaches I have, and because its such a long list, this will be the first time in history I’ve used a spreadsheet for coaches..at least for me. I stick every single coach from the U20s and I go through them.
Thank god for conditional formatting. This list will need some culling. Maybe some of them can be promoted to the ranks of the first team, but the white areas on the sheet indicate one thing. Only a few are above 10 in any attribute. From that list only 4 were shortlisted to have a future with us in Turin.
Now I turn to the task of finding myself a new assistant manager, and maybe shortlist a few more to run the youth teams. And so it begins.
My goals have to be simple at the start. You can’t expect to go gunning for everything at the start. Instead you should look at keeping your best and then investing for the future. We have a lot of youth out on loan and a cursory look indicates there may be some limited potential there. First things first, we need a plan.
- My long term goal has to be winning the Champions League and establishing ourselves as the best club on the planet.
- Within 10 seasons we should be able to achieve all that
- The club will need to focus on a policy of renewal and investment. We need to continually look for great youth players and we need to be able to sell players for a profit.
- Our target has to be to sell to clubs within our own league when it comes to prospects who don’t fit into our club and maybe to some extent even to the clubs who are challenging us for the title. The best will not be allowed to move, but if they choose to, they will go to foreign clubs. We can sell to our league, but we need to strike a balance. As long as the league sustains its position as a top quality league our reputation can only get better.
- We need to make a clean profit of at least 10million each year that can be reinvested back into the club, whether its facilities or players.
So apart from my first steps of assessing my coaching staff, we need to evaluate the squad. The club’s DNA will include these attributes: First Touch, Composure, Passing, Pace and Work-rate. For now let’s keep things simple. Once I get a better handle on the club we will expand that list. For now that’s how my filters are going to be set. I take a look at compare us to the rest of the league in this area.
In terms of passing we are 15th in the league, (Insert Torino Passing Comparison – Desktop FM16). For first touch we are 11th, at least we are 3rd in work-rate, whilst our attack may be 3rd in the league for pace, our defenders are some of the slowest (17th). There are obviously areas that we need to address, and that’s how we will filter down the side. For now, we can’t go out and just replace these players, that would be too expensive. A better option would be to look at loan options and some cheaper replacements. And even before we do that, we need to find out how much room we have with wages.
Next season’s wage budget is almost £8k more per week than we can afford, its time identify the players who can either be loaned off for full wages or sold off for a small profit. For now, getting the wages under control has to be a priority. My transfer budget is only £3million. I love this.
We will reduce the wage budget by around 30%, so I need to knock off around £35-40k in player wages a week. We take a look first at all players with expiring contracts, then its off to the players who are either too old or too young to make a difference. At the age of 35, Giuseppi Vivas becomes my first victim. His contract expires in 2016, and while he still looks like a solid player, we are planning for the long term. Our first season will not be a bed of roses, but we will certainly set ourselves up the right way. There is no room for emotional attachment, and its a good thing, I don’t know any of them. I send in my assistant to break the news to everyone while I continue to go through the list of players.
Next to go Lucas Castellazi, our 49 year old keeper. It’s time he considered a life outside of football. I plan to see how my Director of Football handles this so I post him to the Unwanted list with a deadline to sell or release by the 31st of July.. That’s potentially only £12k a week.
At the age of 35 Amauri still looks a fairly decent striker, but at £19k per week, he’s
too expensive, considering the fact that our highest wage earners reap around +£20k a week. As I set him to the transfer market, I spot a small note that says we have 12 home grown players registered, and I remember the debacle I had with West Bromwich last season. When I culled WBA I removed quite a few potential HG players. I never expected us to finish in a European spot and had expected to need more time to build the squad up. As it turned out, we qualified in our very first season. As a result, I ended up having to field a smaller side because I couldn’t meet the HG rules. So I add another criteria to my list. I plan to use a 4141 with Torino, so my short-listing criteria gets a boost
Nikola Maksimovic is a future star at the club, and valued around £10m he’s already attracting the attention of some big clubs. He doesn’t want to stay and I plan to add his name to the pile. Its a real pity. but I do have Danilo Avela who’s every bit as good, but slightly older. I put him up for £30m, let’s see if anyone bites.
Maxi Lopez has a natural fitness of 8 and even though he looks a half decent
striker, we have no place for that. At £1m and a wage cost of nearly £15k a week, off-loading him will go a long way in reducing our wage costs.
That’s four players at nearly £40k a week. We still have players we can sell, but it’s now time for me to see how this lot does, and play a few friendlies without them. It’s time for me to emerge and go meet the players. I take off my jacket, grab my notes and head off to the pitch for our first training session. At the back of my mind, I know we can offload a few more. A few friendlies will help convince me I reckon. I doubt my work at culling this squad is done.