We’ve got a new series for you today as Rob Tait joins the party. He’s taken over Roma to try and re-live Totti’s glory days. He had many glory days. Without further Freddy, here’s Rob.
The idea: It’s the start of the 97/98 season, Roma have sacked their manager after a 12th place finish last season, they need someone new to revitalise the squad. They have one positive to take from the previous season and that is the emerging talent of a young Francesco Totti. He is Roma through and through and they are looking to build a future around him. For some reason the board decided that the best person for this job is a 35 year old English man with no previous managerial experience. I have two key aims, I want to win the Serie A title by the 2000-01 season, as Roma won the title that year. I would also like to guide Italy to World Cup success and maybe rewrite history with a Euro 2000 victory, however the Euros will probably come round a bit early for me to have secured the national team job. I’ve made one tweak to Totti’s stats and that is to increase his influence stat from 15 to 20. After all he was Roma captain by 22 and the idea is to build a team around him.
In reality Roma had a good season in 97/98 and finish fourth in Serie A so my aim is to match or better this. Totti played 36 matches, scoring 14 goals during the 97/98 campaign, I hoping for a similar performance here as I need European football next season or this could be a very short lived idea as Totti maybe requesting a transfer to move to a bigger club (as has been seen time and again club loyalty doesn’t exist in CM9798) or the board may start to question their left field appointment.
Let us begin, I would rate the squad I inherit as weak medium.
A few good players but a lot of dross. I have ten players who have centre back as one of their positions, WHY?! It’s a squad of 31, not much room for maneuver or whole scale restructuring and there are way to many non-eu players. I shed a few on free transfer and that immediately gets the boards back up so they are less than satisfied and we have not even kicked a ball yet.
I decide on a hybrid of the 2-3-1-2-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations that were reviewed in the tactics section on the https://cm9798.wordpress.com/ website so I need to buy two (narrow) wide players to slot in behind either my lone striker or front two. I really want to buy Denilson but there are two problems, one he is from Brazil so would add to my tally of foreign players and two he thinks we are crap and doesn’t want to sign for us. I’m in turmoil until League Scout 1 suggests Alessio Pirri, swayed by my love of Nandos and the fact the kid is Italian and cheap I buy a left winger. There is nobody else for sale really so I return to and old faithful in Morten Bisgaard to play on the right hand side. After this I add two other signings Tommy Svindal Larsen (who I’m not sure I need) and Marcio Santos who I do need but would really like it if he wasn’t from Brazil but there is such a lack of centre back talent I have to do it.
I arrange three friendly’s to get my eye in, and experiment with this hybrid formation. It doesn’t go well and I lose 2:6 to Barcelona and 1:4 to Atletico Madrid, however I’m boyed by our 5:1 thrashing of Man Utd and I take this confidence into our Coppa Italia 2nd round match.
Not really the start I was hoping for, best focus on the league then.
Umm… it’s not really going to plan. Inter are quality but a draw with Brescia was poor. I ditch the formation tinkering and go back to the old faithful.
The lads really embrace this formation and we turn on the style with three victories on the bounce, best of which came against Juve.
We take our high spirits and world beating attitude to Florence, we can’t be stopped, confidence is flowing through the side.
Petruzzi’s rash challenge brings us crashing back down earth. Maybe we got a little carried away, I think to myself, but the attitude on the training pitch is top notch and the following four games see us win two and draw two, we scored 14 but conceded 9. The neutrals are loving our brand of attacking entertaining football while I’m wonder what our four international defenders are playing at. I then remember three of the four are from Brazil and defending means something different there. I embrace my inner Kevin Keegan and accept that our approach will be if they score three we score four.
Our next match is against Parma, the press are excited, two strong attacking sides going into battle, they are predicting goals and plenty of them.
Well that was a game for the neutrals. After 11 games we are 6th in the league, we have shown flashes of brilliance but are plagued by a lack of consistency and a leaky defense. I’m hoping the team will gel, Old Man Balbo isn’t getting it done up front the coaches tell me his legs have gone. Del Vecchio is in to replace him.
Rob will be back next week but please welcome him to the CM9798 family by giving him a follow on Twitter @Taitanator