Matt Wills is back in Turin with some of the heroes of England’s 1990 World Cup Squad. Part 1 is available here if you missed it, or AC Jimbo gives us a neat little summary to start off part 2…
‘Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Gazzetta Football Italia. The big news this week is the blistering form of one Gary Lineker, fresh out of retirement and lured to Torino in Serie B by manager Matt Wills, who is attempting to bring this sleeping giant back to the top table. The last time Lineker was in Turin, there were tears and blood (poo) on the carpet (pitch), but now he’s bringing a smile to the faces to the Toro fans. The least said about Peter Shilton’s mobility the better….’
Ah, James Richardson and your Grandma’s roast dinner were always the best cure for a hangover on a Sunday, shame we can’t go back…still we have Dave’s blog updates to keep us happy.
Welcome back to Part 2 of One Season in Turin, where I’m trying to get Torino promoted whilst playing Lineker, Shilton, Butcher and McMahon amongst Torino’s Italians, plus Aussie Englishman with Italian heritage, Tony Dorigo. Things were going very well in Part 1 as we entered November, so hopefully things will continue.
With no Coppa Italia fixtures to trouble us, a game a week should keep the old timers legs fresh and the Italian young guns hungry. One young gun who is off however is defender Fabio Moro who leaves for Udinese. His stats are good, but Butcher is stifling his development, so he’s off.
We pick up in the league against Salernitana at home and a Marco Ferrante goal see’s us collect 3 pts and a clean sheet for Shilts.
Next up is Castel Di Sangro away and another Ferrante goal gets us a point, but we should have capitalised on playing 10 men for the final third of the match. We’re definitely missing Dorigo through injury at left wingback.
Padova come next to Turin and an early penalty by Lineker, who opts for power rather than a chip this time gives us all 3 pts, but we are woeful in front of goal which could have cost us. Still 7 pts from 9 is not to be sniffed at.
We travel to Perugia at the end of November full of confidence, but the match is a disaster! Briaschi gives Perugia a 4th minute lead, however we equalise on 28 through midfielder Sommese, but we are level for less than a minute as Briaschi doubles his and Perugia’s tally with a header from a corner. Two more from Briaschi give us a heavy defeat, which to be honest I felt was coming, but it still hurts. They beat us and didn’t even need to bring Marc Emmers off the bench. We played the second half against 10 men too, which is an extra worry.
I tell the chairman it’s nothing but a blip and sure enough, we beat Ancona away 1-0 through that man Ferrante again.
Against Ravenna, Lineker salvages a point after going behind, and Shilts gets man of the match for saving 3 shots with his knees.
Verona are up next and Lineker has his shooting boots on again, but we can only force the one goal, but luckily, we prevail against ten men to get the points on the board.
We’re effective, but we’re also bloody boring. I’m not intentionally playing catenaccio but it sure feels like it. I feel like Shilts has a howler in him every time the clock ticks past 60 minutes. However, I’ve made my bed, now I have to lie in it – and pull the covers over my head.
We’re now into the xmas break and I’m hoping the winter sojourn will rejuvenate my aging England heroes. I send them all home to their families, whilst Gary does some moonlighting on Match of the Day and flogs some more crisps. I like the fact that I have Salt ‘n’ Lineker and Tony Dorito in my team.
Speaking of Tony, he is back from injury and I’m hopeful of pushing for top spot, but we start the New Year with a thud, losing 0-1 to midtable Treviso. Incredibly, that’s our first blank all season. We had 20 shots, 6 on target, but Pasa’s 1st minute goal was enough for them.
The next match brings us to the halfway point of the league, with a visit to Genoa and we are masters of our own downfall, conceding an own goal and second 2 minutes later. Sommese reduces areas but the 3rd goal in the second half does us in.
We’re still second in the table and on course for promotion, but the last run of games has me concerned. Do I need to sort out the defence, replace Shilts or bring in another striker?
Lineker has 16 goals in 22 games, which for a 37 year old is pretty good going, while Ferrante has 12 in 22 himself, but there’s not many other goal getters apart from Sommese with 6.
I wonder if Gazza fancies coming back to Italy?
What about Beardsley?
He tells me he’s had a wonderful afternoon but he’s going to let someone else have a go.
Maybe they don’t have to be English?
Maybe they don’t have to be at another club?
Maybe they can also be a star from Italia 90?
Maybe Toto can Hold The (Front) Line?
See you next time!
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills