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challange of the changeless, From unemployed manager to: the Mario Rossi story


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Italia Summer 2002

A warm summer and life is all about football, as long as 75% of the italians claims to be football-addict. Inter or Juve? who will win the scudetto in the serie A. Or will it be Milan, maybe Chievo. The common talk of the town in all the small local Toto-bars in Italia. People drinking a cup of coffee and discussing about their favourites. Maybe with some luck a bar can be found about old glories, with Bolgona, Torino or Napoli Supporters, with attributes refering to scudetto's of long gone days. Every bar has a favourite team and here we will join Toto-bar '1928' in Montichairi. The discuss however differs abit from all the other bars in Italia.


Entering bar '1928' in Montichairi made clear the Serie A was not the main interest. Huge discuss with passion, including lots of talking with hands. What made that few locals so deeply involved in a heating discuss? Even without a question it will be clear very soon. Just by listening it is easy to found out this bar is also the board-room of Montichairi Calcio, the local pride.

Montichairi has a small problem. It all has to deal with returning into the serie C2. Only for the third year since 1928 the club raised above the serie D. No problem? no, normally not and more something to be proud of: playing in the serie C2! Facing some clubs with a rich history and playing games with some fine clubs. A big bonus for a team that surprinsgly took the serie D championship last year. Even now, a few months later the small town of Montichairi is so amazed of that succes.

Who will be the manager?

Succes which also has a dark side. The coach who made this succes possible has left the club. No wonder, if you imagine the '1928 bar' is not only board room but also dressing-room and trainingscomplex (good it is fair to say the complex includes the market square) for this team. Not the most ideal circumstances to work. To make it worse , for a new trainer the highest degree for trainers was needed. No wonder that till now, only 5 coaches from the Italian profesional circuit has said 'no thank you' to Montichairi. Now it is the first week of July and time is running out to find a manager, also with the required degree to train here. Possibly for one year, will the bookmakers rates the team as regulation candidate number 1 (80:1). What to do in this tricky situation?

Another set of stravecchio enters the table. Prosit! The board and some supporters discussed. "hey what if we will place an announcement at the unemployement office?". It was spoken out and some people started laughing, replying "if we find a trainer there, you're funny". "well an attempt can be made, we need a trainer, in fact we need a trainer next week!".

meanwhile at the unemployement office

Mario Rossi (born 1965, 37 yrs old) entered the unemployement office at Bergamo for another routine search. It was hard to find a job as gymnastic teacher and being an assistant-trainer in the football league? well a dream, and sure not the be found here. Some luck and relatives can open doors. However? what is this... 'Montichairi Calcio, Serie C2 seeks manager. Training degree needed, experience not requiered. For more info please call bar 1928'. That sounds amazing! Mario has that degree; taken during his unsuccesfull and very fringe football-carreer as super-sub in the lowest divisions of italian football. And it is in the area here. Why not giving it at try?

unexpected phonecall

To the surprise of all people in the small bar, some-one requiered to become Manager. Is it a joke, is it a lunatic? This can't be the figure. since when do trainers reply this way, from the unemployement desks. At the other hand, still no one else was found and time passing by... The manager could be any one, so give him a chance. To go short here, Mario made his way up that sunny afternoon to the small market sqaure of the minor village of Montichairi. Without doubt Mario has some experience as player and as gymnastic teacher. More important, he is allowed to work in the serie C2! The board feels they have something to celebrate. Mario feels he has the chance to make a dream come true: being Manager of a football team!!

Mario Rossi joined Montichairi Calcio as manager. A short press-bulletin for the media mades it clear. "Montichairi Calcio, last year serie D champion has found a new trainer in the person of Mario Rossi. Rossi (37) is experienced as gymnastic teacher and will make his debute as Manager at our club, esthablished 1928".

So here this amazing story will start, running over far more years as the one predicted...

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Italia Summer 2002

A warm summer and life is all about football, as long as 75% of the italians claims to be football-addict. Inter or Juve? who will win the scudetto in the serie A. Or will it be Milan, maybe Chievo. The common talk of the town in all the small local Toto-bars in Italia. People drinking a cup of coffee and discussing about their favourites. Maybe with some luck a bar can be found about old glories, with Bolgona, Torino or Napoli Supporters, with attributes refering to scudetto's of long gone days. Every bar has a favourite team and here we will join Toto-bar '1928' in Montichairi. The discuss however differs abit from all the other bars in Italia.


Entering bar '1928' in Montichairi made clear the Serie A was not the main interest. Huge discuss with passion, including lots of talking with hands. What made that few locals so deeply involved in a heating discuss? Even without a question it will be clear very soon. Just by listening it is easy to found out this bar is also the board-room of Montichairi Calcio, the local pride.

Montichairi has a small problem. It all has to deal with returning into the serie C2. Only for the third year since 1928 the club raised above the serie D. No problem? no, normally not and more something to be proud of: playing in the serie C2! Facing some clubs with a rich history and playing games with some fine clubs. A big bonus for a team that surprinsgly took the serie D championship last year. Even now, a few months later the small town of Montichairi is so amazed of that succes.

Who will be the manager?

Succes which also has a dark side. The coach who made this succes possible has left the club. No wonder, if you imagine the '1928 bar' is not only board room but also dressing-room and trainingscomplex (good it is fair to say the complex includes the market square) for this team. Not the most ideal circumstances to work. To make it worse , for a new trainer the highest degree for trainers was needed. No wonder that till now, only 5 coaches from the Italian profesional circuit has said 'no thank you' to Montichairi. Now it is the first week of July and time is running out to find a manager, also with the required degree to train here. Possibly for one year, will the bookmakers rates the team as regulation candidate number 1 (80:1). What to do in this tricky situation?

Another set of stravecchio enters the table. Prosit! The board and some supporters discussed. "hey what if we will place an announcement at the unemployement office?". It was spoken out and some people started laughing, replying "if we find a trainer there, you're funny". "well an attempt can be made, we need a trainer, in fact we need a trainer next week!".

meanwhile at the unemployement office

Mario Rossi (born 1965, 37 yrs old) entered the unemployement office at Bergamo for another routine search. It was hard to find a job as gymnastic teacher and being an assistant-trainer in the football league? well a dream, and sure not the be found here. Some luck and relatives can open doors. However? what is this... 'Montichairi Calcio, Serie C2 seeks manager. Training degree needed, experience not requiered. For more info please call bar 1928'. That sounds amazing! Mario has that degree; taken during his unsuccesfull and very fringe football-carreer as super-sub in the lowest divisions of italian football. And it is in the area here. Why not giving it at try?

unexpected phonecall

To the surprise of all people in the small bar, some-one requiered to become Manager. Is it a joke, is it a lunatic? This can't be the figure. since when do trainers reply this way, from the unemployement desks. At the other hand, still no one else was found and time passing by... The manager could be any one, so give him a chance. To go short here, Mario made his way up that sunny afternoon to the small market sqaure of the minor village of Montichairi. Without doubt Mario has some experience as player and as gymnastic teacher. More important, he is allowed to work in the serie C2! The board feels they have something to celebrate. Mario feels he has the chance to make a dream come true: being Manager of a football team!!

Mario Rossi joined Montichairi Calcio as manager. A short press-bulletin for the media mades it clear. "Montichairi Calcio, last year serie D champion has found a new trainer in the person of Mario Rossi. Rossi (37) is experienced as gymnastic teacher and will make his debute as Manager at our club, esthablished 1928".

So here this amazing story will start, running over far more years as the one predicted...

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"You only have to imagine the stones are grass"

Rossi signed in blind ambition to be a football-manager. Possiblily not the most solid basement to start. Surely, the pitch was a basement.

Stadio Romeo Menti is about benches and fences.

A small tribune at one side and at 3 sides of the field just fenches. Capacity 2.500; even for the serie C2 a small stadium. anyhow with a fine field, looking good to play technical football. And the stadium has a nickname , the sturmbahn! Laying at mountainside even a calm wind can turn to a storm above the field and no tribune or other buildings to protect the field. Playing football is often about struggling storm winds or maybe take advantage of it; an old trade mark of Montichiari.

A day before the first training was scheduled, Rossi decided to take inspection. "where is the trainings-facility", "oh Mario we don't have one, the only ability is the market square". "and the stadium? can be trained there?", "no". "why" asked Mario. WEll because on weekdays it is in use by the local school for gymnastic leasson, and in evenings by the other local sportclubs, the weekends are for the football. Saterday the lower and youngerteams and sunday-afternoon for your squad. You know in a small village as this we have share things, there is not much we can do about it. besides some hillsides there is no other grass here and well the market square is at least flat and big enough. You only have to imagine stones are grass."

From the bar to the field , only a door

To his surprise Rossi also found about about bar 1928 and its funnction as dressing room, board room, administration, supporters-desk and training-staff-office. Yes, being football-manager could be about a dream coming true, but this is far beyond any margine. The charmes of small local squad. How would teams as Castel di Sangrio or Viterbese react if they will use this as dressing room? The backrooms of a cafe and by stepping out the door, entering the field.. It is just the way it is.

16.000 Euro Transferbudget

Anyhow, Mario sees the difficulties with playing techincal football. He likes to play it however how could it train on technique in this circumstances. Maybe buying or loan some technical players could help. With 500.000 Euro Capital , Montichiair was a quiet rich club even for the serie C2. No loans at the bank, a healthy structure and the local butcher as sponsor bringing in 12.000 euro. Or see is more as as paying a huge conticbition to the transferbudget of 16.000. Depends on how you look, but at least there was a transferbudget.

Good everything has it's charme and at the end the club was rich. Even the supporters seems to be very loyal. On an average sunday 1.500 till 1.800 people will come to the stadium , Paying 4 till 8 euro to watch a game. And with at 3 sides public standig just behind the fences, even this small crowd looked impressive.

And above all Mario has not to do everything at his own,an assistant manager, a quiet good goalkeepertraier, a scout and the 2 local fysiotherapists as staff. Good the club lacks trainingsfacilities and a yout acedemy. But at least the club has a homeground and some transfer money to spend. Looking at the squad, an experienced defender, some good midfielders, a good striker and above all a goalkeeper as transfers seems to be needed. Goalkeeper Rosin was already 37 and a sub was not aviable. If Rossin would be injuried, there was simply no alternative. Left-foot striker Cosimo Sarli seems to be more interested in sleeping, hanging around and take it easy. Cosimo has played in Belgium, France and England and it was not a succes story. Despite his age of 22, his days of hope seems to be past already! Was he as lazy as the assistant-manager and the chairman told or was he desperate about ending up here instead of the English premier league?

Rossi do not know now, the only fact is is that Sarli was the only striker in the squad..

Van Persie, Rooney or Saviola?

Rossi took his first actions, Montichiairi Entered now the serie C2 and some new players where needed to improve the level. To survive, 'serie D' level was not enough.

First actions, buying the UEFA players guide and look what is interesting. page after page. Mmmm, Everton,... Rooney (16 yrs old), youth player, striker, already played some premier league matches... COOL!! he is for free! Rossi immidaitly made a bid to Everton: 0 Euro! , just as a youth contract made possible..

No wonder how Everton and Rooney reacts. Dito to proposals to loan Van Persie and Saviola. Although those 2 see it more as a joke , after the rare Rooney-bid which was of course know in the circuit of footballers. both contacted eachother and decided to play "the game" for a short funny holiday in italia. Well.. Horrordays.. nothing to do in this village. So montichairi was in the news. Even Lo Gazetto dello sport mentioned the club at the front pages. Only the articles has more to do about is this about football or about lunatics?

Rossi seems to be in the wrong position halfway july. After 1 week managing, he has made some name, but no-one took him serious. To make it worser, in the hunt for a midfielder and a defender from italian origine already 15 players refused to come. And all those 'target's were realistisc. Serie B players on the transferlists and serie C1 and C2 players. A maximum salary of 20.000 Euro was not even worhtwile to talk about. And those strange articles in the press. Well it makes it all even worser. Even at the age of 33 or 34 you must be very mad to sign at regulation candidate number 1, the lunatic club.

11 footballers!

1 day to go to the first trainingsmatch and 1 week before the groupstages of the Italian cup will start. A minor youth acemdemy, no trainings facilities, and no transfers in sight to lift up the level. Rossi decided to play with 11 footballers. This means here the goalkeeper has the operate as sweeper. IF the quality was not good enough, maybe the quantity of the players can help. If a goalkeeper can operate as defender, another extra player could be added at the midfield.

Sparing a lower division team, the spectators could not believe what the saw. An old 37 yrs old goalkeeper with no use in playing sweeper and the no speed at all, has to ooperate as goalkeeper and defender. The team did not play well and some how struggling with eleven does help a bit to put the oposite under pressure. On the other hand.. the goal was empty and some long distance shots turned in goals. The end result a 6-3 loose. Not the best debut to start with. losing with 6-3 at a lower division team. To rhe luck of Rossi luck, the game was not played at the homegrounds. OR? "well we play a new system, we have something to improve, nothing to worry about..". Welcome to profesional football Mario!

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pre season 2002/2003

Football is a tough scene, the desire of a club and the supporters create the credit a trainer will have. Mario Rossi is a no-no , or said nicer a no name, at the other side no else could be found to do the job at Montichiari. Lucky enough club and supporters are not demanding. Succes is playing in the serie C2 and even regulation will not be a problem at all. Even serie C2 feels as playing above the normal capabilities of the club. Important is to drink a coffee and a stravecchio or Beer with supporters at the bar, talk a bit and just do the job. The club is from everyone in the village and if you just show some respect for everyone it is oke. So to the surprise of Mario no problem with the 6-3 defeat away, no supporters shaked hands "Hey Mario, we are playing. The season has started. Good luck. give it a try"

Combat football is the way

The month of august was about the start with official matches. The tactic was unchanged and the desire was still to have some capable players. Only question how to find players if almost any one refushed? Mario send his scout on the the way and hoped for the best. 31 august will be the deadline by the closing of the transfermarket. August is the month of the groupstages in the Italian cup. On short term not an issue to worry about decide Mario. The change to win the cup is zero and the main goal will be surviving the regulation battle and or regulated with some proud and honour. It was easy toset the cup matches as first experiences for the team with ssquads in the series C. No problem to discuss this at all with board and supporters. Let's see what happens and the compitition is prior.

Due to the lack of any serious training-facility for ball training Rossi pointed out that it was the best way to train as much as possible on conditional things, and combating at the pitch. A lack of football technique can not be compared at the trainings so it has to happen with combat. Tackling, heading, sprinting and condition will be the keywords this year. However some Improvement of techincal skills was also needed. A difficult question in this situation, remember that till now players not wanted to come to Montichairi. Mario drinked some beer at '1928' and talked a bit about the refuse of players to come to the club. Well, it seems to be the problem of all the years and the fans seems to be used to it.

Even the board did not worry . "Tranquillo Mario, have another beer and Enjoy it . It is far better as stress about players you can only dream about. Don't worry. As long as you have 11 or more players you can send a team on the pitch and be sure here at Romeo Menti we will enjoy it as long as we are able to play football here.

Loaning players

Friday-evening. Mario was at home in his new small appartment; some small rooms above a local store. Without wife and kids this woudl fit for the coming months. He worried about the complex of getting players compared with the mass refuse of asked players. A complex question, and a solution can not be based on any experience. This was something completely different as giving lessons to schoolkids. Mario remember the words in '1928'. Tranquillo.. Well relax that is it. Maybe that is what i have to do now. anyhow it is my free evening now. Mario clicked on the television and zapped away.. His eyes catched a sport programm. A discussion about loaning players, and youth acedemies. The camera's swinged to a famous acedemy, Ajax Amsterdam. A coach of that team was talking about how important it was fo them to loan players, give them experience in competitions instead of keeping a bench warm.. That sounds great and as oppurtinity. Far more realistic as buying Rooney and or Van Persie.

Mondaymorning the phone rings in Amsterdam. Only Italian talking Rossi tries to ask for an italian speaker. Lucky enough there was one, the presscheff annex assistant to the staff. Mario talked about his clubm the need for some technical players and the idea to lon some. It has not be the best players, but players capable enough enough to get some experience in a tough competition, the Italian Serie C2. Mario dd not know much About Ajax. and lucky enough it was explained to him that Ajax make school with technical football and that is was interested in loaning some players. If Mario was interested in some young benchwarmers and squad fillers from the B-team? Of course he was!

Mario also pointed out that housing was not a problem only the team could not affort many wages. Even that seems to be not a huge block for Ajax To go short here, in a few days the deal was made and 3 young minor players from Ajax should join Montichiari.

Of course this seems to be like gambling, no one knows for sure what the level should be of the players, except that it would be a back, a midfielder and an attacking midfielder.

First Transfer

So August started with the fine idea that the demand for technical players was solved with the 3 Ajax Loaners.

In this story names of all the players are not of major interest, even as detailed views on all the matches. It is more important to express the what happens. For that reason it is very important to take good notice of this early stages, to take notice of the situation at Montichairi and in what circumstances the story plays. Names will be mentioned at some major events.

To feed the desire about more player backgrounds, at regular points in the story a single player will be placed in the spotlight. By knowing this the names of the 3 loaners nor the names and info about the complete squad will be dropped. There is a story to tell!

Just a view days later Mario was in the bar for a regular visit. Just a normal morning as usual. Cappucino to start with and think about the training for today. Scout Giavanno Pecora entered the bar. "Mario, i know you should be here... I've great news. I spotted an experienced defender, a defenceleader and as far as I think he will be interesting!".. " well and will he be interested in us? replied Mario. "yes, i am quiet sure about that otherwise I will not recommand him at all. "oke, tell me more". The player in fact was Giorgo Zani, an experienced leader at the age of the 36. A calm person and not stressfull at all even at high pressure on the defense. Zani Played in the Serie D by Messocorona. Spotted in a friendly with Juventus, easy to see that in such a cat and mouse play the boys and mans in a team will be separated. His weakness is is low speed. His age can be an advantage, because carreer planning and calculation an one-season-disaester ruining a carreer was not the discuss. Zani would like to end his carreer and was ambitious enough to give it a try at the serie C2. Only problem: Zani never acted at serie C or higher. From that point of view he adds nothing to the team. However, his prizelabel was interesting enough to give it a try: 2.000 euro.

Rossi knews that a defenceleader was welcome, because pressure on the defence is to expect in a regulation battle. His slowness was a concern, however some other more speedfull defenders could compensate this gap. And if it wont succeed, an experienced defender on the bench who should not moan by not playing is hard to find. So lets give it a try! After some negotiataions the prize was fixed at 3.000 euro and the first real transfer was a fact. With the 3 promised loaners from Ajax, the sqyad seems to be complete. The season can start.

Heavy defeats in the cup-stages

In the preseason settings the cup-stages were not a huge highlight. Still with the keeper/sweeper system only one single draw was fought. Two heavy defeats of 6-2 at Pescara (away) and 0-4 in a homegame against Novarra were the results. Even with eleven instead of 10 fieldplayers, Montichairi seems to be regulation candidate number one. Scoring goals seems to be difficult. Scoring against Montichairi seems to be easy. The ideal time to win lost confidence back. Every win should be worhtwhile to celebrate.

How many games will be end in a win this season? Not can be expected, so every win will be celebrate as a championship. to motivate the squad, bar '1928' offered the players free drinking after every win. Maybe that foresight would help. The competition will be heavy and the preseason doesn't predict struggling. After 2 months working under Rossi, Montichairi still waits for the first winning game. So the competition can start, the first introduction weeks at the sqaud are history now. Lets see what the competition will bring, when also the 3 ajax-loaners will play. Both arrived last week of August, when cup-competition was already played.

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Season 2002-2003 A rollercoaster (part 1)

oh sweet regulation

0-6, 0-5, 0-7. What does this mean. In fact the first three league games of Monthchiari. 3 heavy defeats and a team complete in race to succeed all predictions.

Regulation! oh sweet regulation is awaiting.

The keeper sweeper system was not a succes. 11 players on the pitch. Sounds good, one man extra. Only a very slow goalkeeper usually operating at the middle line. Well the public enjoyed fantastic long distance shots, lobs over 40 meter and the whole bunch of what can happen with an empty goal. If this squad was Juventus, the first manager should be whipped. However it is the club without any ambition and the newcoming manager Rossi who has to found out where is football about.

still 31 games to go

Sure, football is about scoring goals. And a creative vision can be allowing opponents to score. So in such a formula, Rossi is a definitive top coach. 6 games played, 1 draw, 5 heavy defeats! serious football fans can place bets how many days it will lost till Real Madrid signed Rossi as new Galactico; a bit negative one.

If we have to think this sort of jokes were the talk of the town in Montichairi no way.

The villagers are in close contact with the squad and the club. No problems at all if a start was very choking. Nothing to worry about. Still 31 games to go, and no worry that some of those would be winned. Just a matter of time. No silly jokes nor boards and players chainsawing the stables of Rossi's Chair.

the story of the bartender

Monday evening. The bartender gives Mario another Grappa. "mate i see you like and know you need it". Mario smiled, of course he needed a strong drink. Worrying the start of the season. The bartender goes ahead. " you know, back in 1966 i was the goalkeeper here. Yes that year we played in the serie C2 too, like 1996 and now.

It was tough. Most of the games it was about taking heavy defeats. We never lost confindence. Those days these bar helped. we drinked here and promise to give all the best. Somewhere in october we met the latter champion away. I don't know which team it was, but be sure the were strong. The sun shined and our keydefender was injuried. He was the only good player we have had. Of course every body in the whole wide world expected us to be cut in small and bloody pieces of meet! That morning we came together here. I was nervous, afraid of a disaester, already noticed double numbers at the score-board. Teammates offered me Grappa after Grappa. I was drunk, at the bustrip.. So relaxed also, of course as silent as a sheep. I don't know what happened but at the pitch i still felt like flying. And not only felt so, as a bird i raised to the air, blocked shots as a rock.. As if i was in trance. The ball was mine and i would like to keep it. The enemy became nervous, and more nervous. Frustration came in., wondering why they should score. and started to make piece of meat of us.

It all became worser and worser for them, the shouted at eachother, the public moaned an we grow into the match. With 5 minutes to go, we breaked out. Instead of defending, i saw opponets shouting at eachother, getting angry. Their keeper came out took the ball and our only chance seems to be lost. However it wasn't. The ref was in a good mood, already tired of the moaning. He gave a penalty. Dont ask me why, but he did. Now was the problem we hadn't score a penalty in three years. An appointment was to give penalties to the best man in the match. everyone pointed out me. Me? i was hired to stop them not to score them. This bird flies over the pitch, and filled with a rare boost of energy i kicked the ball as never ever in my whole life. 0-1!!

15.000 spectators were silent for a moment and then realized our miracle. An applaud came up for us fighters.. for such an amazing game. you know never lost confidence. At the end of the season was everything normal, they were the champs with just 1 defeat and we regulated. For years and years people talked about this magic moment. For us that has more worth, more sence as being troubled with regulation. We had no chance in that year, but everybody knows since then we appeared, were alive, SI. So why should you worry anyway..."

Mario was silent, amazed, felt new energy and was inspired. at some moment during the story he knows now for sure he has to drop his 11players tactic and give it a new try. Hope keeps alive. That sunday, 22 september 2002, became a day to remember.

The '8' and a day to remember (22-09-2002)

Mario created a tactic which enables his eleven best players on the pitch on their favourite position. A tactik, in the form of an 8. 2 DC's, and at the wings DMC's and AMCs, 2 strikers and 3 midfielders. So an 8. The opponent Meda was not able to fought the combat-style of Mario's Montichiairi.

Even Cossimo Sarli gets confidence. 22 years and already booked as mistake ? With such a hard working side , the goals has to be scored. Even Cossimo was in real need for a free drinking night (Remember!). 1.444 spectators at the Romeo Menti show the Miracle. Sarli scored, not once but a real hattrick. Suffering Montichairi beats Meda with 3-1!

Finally Rossi has made his first win as coach. Glory days!.

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Season 2002-2003 A rollercoaster (part 2)

the first match of March, Montichairi faced Novara. 2.450 people in the stadium, lets say it is sold out; only 50 tickets unsold. Montichairi faced already 14 games in a row with a lose. 14 games in a row without a lose. What has happened last half year?? A season as a rollercoaster with high ups and deep downs. Stable results, steady perfomances? not at all.

The joy of goalscoring and beerdrinking

After the Meda game came a serie of difficult games. Tight defeats , and lots of troubles with goalscoring. Rossi never lost his faith in Sarli, and believed that selfconfindence was the key to his years and country lasting goalscoring problem. Confindence could be given by playing games, maybe one day Sarli would score as his capacities predicts. Rossi had no choice, replacement was not aviable.

More surprisingly last year transfered old man Zani turned more and more in a solid defenceleader; although he debutes at the age of 36 in the serie C2, it seems he has played for years on a higher level. In fact he never did. Even in a two man-defence our granddaddy turttle was as solid as a rock.

If Montichairi take a losing game it was by 1-0 . 0-0 and 1-0 defeats turned as predictable results in the october and november month. But as said, two keyplayers raised week by week while ajax-loaner John Nieuwenburg turned more and more into the Iron Mike or John Rambo of the squad with lots of dirty tackles breaking enemy attacks. Besides that he also showed more and more beautiful rushes as defensive right midfielder. Confidence came in and the general idea to achieve a monsterscore against Montichiari turned to unrealistic fairytalebooks. The leaugue table by the start of December still shows the team as number 18 and last, but even a blind fool could see the progress of the team.

It all payed back since december when Sarli finally started to score goals, with a preference for more as 1 goal each match. After years of struggling his form, he did found back the joy of scoring and... beerdrinking. Montichairi started to win games; defeats became rare.

Sweet revenge

As said 14 games without a single lose. Novara was the angstgegner. Remember the cupstages in august. The same sqaud of Novara demonstrated football and ended with a 0-4 win. David lost from goliath.. So here was the first testcase. Also because Novarra topped the tabled. Rossi noticed the progess of his squad and also that this Novara was the team to measure the progress.

Here was progress, after 90 minutes a filled stadium chanted Sarli, Sarli, Sarli. In fact it was Cossimo Sarli against Novarra. After 4 times hitting the net, and hitting the woodwork for 3 times , he was the model of our raising Phoenix ..

Montichairi - Novarra 4-0. How else it was in august. No the difference could not only be figured out by Sarli or the now used 8-tactic. The team as whole became a team and raised its selfconfidence hugely. Anyhow this afternoon was magic, a sweet revenge against Novarra (still topping the table). Sad enough the week after this fine result, the first defeat in months came.

"Unbelievable: smalltown boys in serious promotion run!"

By the beginning of march, marching Montichairi climbed quickly at the table. From an 18th spot in december, the team stand at the 5th spot in the ranking. 5th and to a dream. Serious, very serious changes for promotion! Who had ever thought so. Regulation candidate Montichairi on the run for promotion! Lo Gazetto dello sport turned back to the village. This time for a far more serious and respectfull story about Rossi and Montichairi.

A nice article (at page 28 however) headed "Unbelievable: Smalltown boys in serious promotion run". The story starts nicely. " Last summer montichairi entered the serie C. Without doubt the team should joy this year before it dropped to the serie D again. Even the newcoming manager doesn't seem the needed anchor while acting as a clown with idiot transferbids and awfull tactics. The village of 2.000 inhabitants does not seem to care. after 3 games it al was clear with 0 points and the goal-stats 0-18. But Look now, it is more as an ordinairy methamorphosis. The same team, the same players, the same manager and all the cards for a sensational promotion in own hands. What has happened here". And the article continues. Oh dont think the Gazetto article was enourmous special. Of course the interest was special. However it is fair to mention it was the serie C weekly background article.

The situation in the league was very simple. Number 1 (Novarra) will promote to the serie C1. Number 2 till 4 will enter play offs. Montichairi now ranked 5th follows the equal number 3 and 4 at just 1 point. The last two games however can be mentioned as finals by facing both number 3 and 4. A draw and a win must be enough to secure a play-off position and with some luck even 1 win could open the door which has been closed since the establisment in 1928! This sound as a dream. Full of convidence Rossi tried to manage the play offs with his squad. compare this with the non confidence at the start of the season. However remember this season is a roller coaster and it ended this way. 2 chanceless defeats as if it was december again.

In the best season ever Montichiari finished 9th and getting very close to a second promotion in row!

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Facts and figures 2002/2003[\B]

Serie C2/B,

ranking : 9th,

points : 34-51 points (38-43).

average att.: 2.207 (capa. 2.500)

topscorer : Cosimo Sarli, 27 (league 26)

assist : Roberto Menassi,7

Mot season : Cossimo Sarli

Player in the spotlights: John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg came to Ajax in 1999 and already stepped into a great carreer when a heavy knee-injury knocked him out for 2 years. By the time he was fitm he found himself back as reserveplayer at the reservesquad. The Montichairi offer to loan players came at the right moment. John could prove that he was able to play footballgames and Montichairi offered the opportunity to do so weekly. At first his sharp and hard tackles were mentioned, within 2 matches the fans nicked him 'Iron Mike'. Notice that every man in Italy has a nick. John was the frontsoldier in concept to combat every oposite at the pitch. Soon the fans found out that he also was an excellent footballer, far to good for only the serie C2. Long rushes at the right side of the pitch, beatifull crosses . A banana-cross with a fine feettouch made, be sure it was John. Good passing work also and as saidevery week the frontsoldier of Montichairi. Only once in a while the Serie C, wether it is the C1 or C2 appeared a player with of this top-level. Thank you, John Nieuwenburg.

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(I]Many thanks for the support, what feels as a warm welcome here[/i] icon14.gif

Preseason 2003/2004

This preseason started immediatly after the last match of last season. Without doubt we can see now, in review, it was the most important preseason in the history of Montichairi.

Sometimes a manager or a player can not make the difference but will need the board for more structural and effective changes.

End of may

As we know the attitude in Montichiari about football is relaxed. Football as a fine form of being active. However that is not about amateurism, it is more that Montichairi can not expected to be the new Juventus or new AC Milan. Compare San siro with 85.000 seats with Romeo Menti with a capacity of 2.500. Compare Paulo Maldini with Giorgio Zani. It is so different but not with less passion for the game or less willingness at a club. In those circumstances a board meeting at the end of may was held.

Spending lots of money on transfers?

Surprisingly the club survived the serie C2, and to be honest it was a stable season. The foresight of another good season and some more years in the serie C2 was good. And maybe the club could reach more, reaching out to the serie C2. The club needs to improve some things to come closer being a serious serie C squad, without losing the identity of being Montichiari. With a good filled bankaccount (300k) some investments could be made. What could be done? This meeting was without supporters, although even they will not cry for a huge transferbudget or more topplayers. Spending 300.000 euro at players will be an investment for short term succes. Players could fail and one day a player needs to be replaced, where new funds will be needed. A sort of vicious circle, spending money and money. The situation now is about money aviable but it is not guaranteed it will be the case in 5 or 10 years.

new: Training-grounds and youth academy

Without doubt the accomodation of the club was still that of an amateur squad. The stadium was a bit small but was also a huge part of the village-identitiy of Montichiari. Worse was the lack of training-grounds and an youth academy.

"The succes of the club (a good serie C2 performance and a serie D championship last year) has its effect at the local youth. Lots of them want to play football and wants to be Cossimo Sarli or midfield anchorman Roberto Menassi. In those circumstances the youth has dreams and those dreams could bring a lot of potential". This all was the statement of Mario Rossi at the board meeting. He asked for reasonable funds to invest.

With his background as gymnastic teacher he did not demand for huge transferfunds, he asked for a fundement to make the club a stable contender in the series C. Anyhow he made clear that bringing in a youth player is cheaper as transfering players and without doubt local players guaranteed the identity of Montichairi. Proud of their village and their club they can and will have good contribution to the first team.

The board was willing to invest but expected difficulties with a manager demanding a huge transferbudget. So this was brilliant. What an advantage that Rossi has a background as teacher and does think about youth and structural investments. In this case the time was now, right now to invest in the club. The manager should not moan about transferfees. The board sees the reason to invest at long term. And trainingsfacility plus an youth acedemy would always fit, even in the serie D. One of the boardmembers remembered some land just outside the village which was almost flat and could easily suit some fields. Even an old farm was aviable which could be easily rebuild into dressing room, cantina and all the other facilities needed at a complex. A phonecall to the major, the owner of this land, makes clear he was willing to help. "great idea, this could be a fine propaganda for the village and besides that it gives new chances for our youth to be active. I would not even think about this proposal. I'll giving the land in use for the club. All you have to do is rebuild the farm to match your needs. I'll take care of building 2 football-fields..".

An historic moment for Montichiari. The club will have trainingsfacilities and a youth acedemy! It would take 3 months to realize this all so by the start of the season this all will be in use!!

Another question was difficult at fore hand. Rossi demands larger salaryfees. A top of 30.000 Euro yearly was still at serie D level, by far it was the lowest top of the complete seie C2. The board realized that due to the help of the major not the complete 300.000 euro would be spend on the new facilities. So surprisingly there was enough space to raise the salarytop to 50.000 euro for topplayers.


The trainingscomplex and youth acedemy was finished. The youth squad has more abilities to educate youth players. The first team has finally a trainingsground and could be trained much more at football qualities.

Meanwhile Rossi sets his focus on forth coming season. More training on the ball was ideal. However circa 10 of 24 contract players showed last year to be more Serie D regulars as serie C-players. At first it was no problem to achieve a new loan deal with Ajax for 3 reserve-squad reserveplayers of their side. 13 capable players from last years team could be enought to survive the competition. However Rossi believed a stunt was in reach, promotion.

lots of transfers

Rossi decide to gamble at the transfermarket. After a good season it was easier to get players. Especially young talented players from the lower division. Spending the huge sum of 40k on transfers brought in 8 new players. It must be said most of them only agreed on high salary-fees; on average 20 till 25.000 euro a year. Rossi knows his best players deserves a higher salary as last year, because it could be the figure that a newcomer should earn more as a keyplayer. Some contracts would be opened and the toprange was filled with 5 players.

the 8 transfers includes

- Marco Trufelli, a young defender from Fidles Andrea (8k)

- Daniel Visentin, a promising defender from Italo Sanmarco (2k)

- 18 year old goalkeeper Angelo Antonassi from Grotallie (5k)

- left midfielder Tiziano Mucciante from Pescara for the huge sum of 14k; besides that he was a backup for Roberto Menassi and for a reserve a salaryfee of 30k can be called a fat premium

With 3 loaners and 8 new first team players, the youth department was also given a boost with signing 10 youth players on a free transfer. Their salary of 8k each represents 80k or in a creative manner compare with having 2 more topplayers in the squad. The salary-level raised far beyond the budget. Lucky enough Ajax paid the salaries of the 3 loaners for 100%, their average salary of 150.000 Euro was sky high.

The reservesquad was now filled with 10 more players who did not face the demands of Rossi, however no club in Italy was interested in the trash of Montichairi. Lots of incoming transfers without any outgoing transfer.

Skyhigh salarybudget

With a skyhigh salarybudget and an almost empty bankaccount of the club, regulation should be a disaster and even missing promotion will be a problem. Of course this made Rossi worried. In his enthusiastic attempt to give the club more structure and search for more capable players , he made mistake number 1. He forgot the budget of the club. Saying 8 players on expensive fees and 5 players on a top-fee of 50k. Bankruptcy should guaranteed after the season! Lucky enough the local wine-farm turned in as new sponsor but 22.000 euro respresent nothing. Compare with previous season, a smaller sponsor-budget was enough to cover the transferfees. In that way Rossi spend 18.000 to much.... As he spend to much on almost everything!

A competitive squad

Sad news was that John Nieuwenburg could not come back. He waa given the best tribute for his splendid season, by being member of the first team of Ajax again.

Lucky enough the youth acedemy already brought one very promising talent, 16 years old right defender Stefano Rosi. On some day he could be a sort of replacement for Nieuwenburg. Only now it could not be the case to demand anything from a young talent.

So the squad was promising, competitive for a good performance in the serie C2. With lots of youngsters and some oldies like defender Zani (37) and goalkeeper Rosin (38) from last season the season could start!

Didn't I mention Enrico Albertosi? The famous former Goalkeeper of AC milan will join as second goalkeeper-trainer; well needed with a youngster Antonassi who would be throw for the lions, or else said this youngster will be part of the starting line up!

No ball has been touched for months but lots of things has changed at Montichiari. Let's see what the new season will bring!

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Season 2003/2004 take a deep breath and one day the wind will help (part 1)

Heavy cupmatches as preseason trainingsmatches

Rossi started august with more training on the technical skills. The team lacked a bit to much football last year, playing good football will also be a fundamental investment for the comming years. Combatting is fine, the games will be played tough but better passing is welcome.

For the Italian cup Montichiari was drawn in a heavy weighted group. Under normal circumstances an awaygame at Novarra and serie C1 topsquad Padova will give us not the best chance to end first in the group small . Both appeared also last year in the cup and those dramatic results are livingly in the memories. Pro Vercelli a decent C2 regular and Mestre seems to be programfilling. With 2 weeks to go before the first cupmatch Rossi did not really worry. He did not arranged any friendly, such a fine cup-group is the ideal trainingsstage for the competition. Lucky enough this set of cup-games started with an away game at Pro Vercelli.

Tablefootbal as inspirator

Actually what made Rossi really happy that players did not complain about training on the market square or intense fitness and several running training forms. The players like to train with a ball and the oppurtinity to do so at the new complex brought fun and laughter. Even the cantina was discovered as fine place to hang around.

A table football game, some fine sandwiches and a video makes it the ideal hang around for the players. Of course Bar '1928' will not be forgotten. Matchday will end there with the supporters; of course at homegames this bar will enclose the dressingroom. And as last season, an evening free drinking after a win will motivate.

No doubt players has to stay healthy and has not to become alcoholics. But staying one day a week at the bar is progress enough from that point of view. Mario recognized also how important teamspirit can be so why cancelling motivator no. 1, free drinking after a winning game? Besides that the cantina was a fine home for the club and supporters as well. tablefootball can be a real funny alternative to give an impulse to the teamspirit.

Major concern of Rossi will be the lack of a good striker besides Sarli. Good strikers were seen as capital by most clubs. So no serious alternative could be found at the transfermarket. The only backup for this position was Ajax loaner Kujala.

from his origine an attacking midfielder, but in case of emergency he could act as striker.

The cup-stages

The cupstages made the potential of Montichiari clear. Pro Vercelli was beaten away with 3-1 and last years cup-nightmare Novarra was crushed with 6-2 at Romeo Menti. Serie C1 squad Padova will be next. A win will be enough to secure the next round. Even it was a tough battle at Romeo Menti, Montichiari fight back from 0-1 to a 2-1 win to secure the another cup-round!

It was not required to survive the cup-stages, but this felt great. Now the last game at Mestre could be used to give the reserves their matchminutes. A 2-1 defeat did not really matter. This short and intense set of trainingsmatches made clear Montichairi will play a role in the league. Mario dreamt about the championship, however he had the bookies not on his side. As last year 80:1 and figured out as regulation candidate. Lots of things has changed at Montichiari last summer but the bookmakers did not mention it.

A promising start and a surprise-act against Reggiana

The league started well with 3-0 and 4-0 victories. When Regiana would face Montichiari at Romeo Menti for a cupmatch. Reggiana, freshly regulated from the serie B, was the favorite in the serie C1 and the first serious testcase for the power of our team this season. 2.458 spectators saw a solid playing Reggiana, maybe a bit afraind caused by the last years regulation. Besides that a strong storm made playing good football difficult. Lots of times it became combating and that figure still fits with the Squad. Awaring also a fanatic homepublic, nothing was at the side of Reggiana. Used to the storm conditions, so regular at Romeo Menti, Montichiari survived the first half and started the second one with a long ball kamikaze tactic. It did worry the favorite opponent, some heartcrushing attempts appeared in their box. However the famous Reggiana defense could resist this heavy 'sturm und drang'. As so many times in last season, goalscoring was our problem.

Even the many goalscoring of this seasonstart predict else, nothing seemed to help. 0-0? no, in the last 10 minutes good old defender Claudio Catteneo (33) headed the 1-0 from a corner! A reserve player, just needed as replacement, became matchwinner. This victory tasted sweet. In this form, a long cup journey could be possible. The beer tasted so well that evening. Players and supporters became drunk, youth celebrate the victory at the market square with playing a football game. This secured confidence amongst players, staff and supporters. In this form Montichairi could go for the championship of the serie C2!

In the awaygame at Reggiana became more clear about the level of this former serie B squad. Without the advantage of homepublic and storm, Montichiari was the spectator and Reggiana the footballing team. their 4-0 shows what level could be expected in the serie C1. The cup-dream was over. Anyhow, 25.000 visitors made our bookkeeper happy, or less hopeless, with over 200.000 euro gatefee money.

November, 2 shocking defeats in a row

In the competition awaygames turned to a problem. At home many teams seems to be impressed and maybe underestimate the power of Montichiari, maybe listening a bit to much to the bookies. However, only the first away game turned in a win when the month November started. Lots of 0-0 draws masque the awaycomplex till Foggia made it all clear at november 9th. Foggia turned into another Reggiana, 4-1.

This heavy defeat had a serious impact on the self confidence and that was a major difference compared with Regianna. That was about hope and a defeat could be predicted. But here at Foggia, a sledgehammer knocked at our title aspirations.

The next demolishing job came in the next game, again an away game. After a resting weekend on the 16th, the small side of Atletico Catania hammered a 4-0 defeat at the 23th. Two games played, 1 scored, 8 against. A rare figure for this season's Montichiari, it remembered more at last season. The defence turned in a sort of present shop. This 2 defeats were shocking. It could ruin selfconfidence and on the long term a serious run for the title.

Home and away, night and day

Mario could not decide. At homegames, the same defense looked as safe as the bank of London. Should he change the squad or not. A complex question because on the other hand the not very fast left winger Kujala made some goals and produces lots of fine assists and more important Cossimo Sarli scored 50% of the goals. How would that be without Zani and Trufelli, certainly the best passing defenders in the squad. One change in the defense could have an enormous negative impact even on the easy scoring frontplayers! Newbought talent Trufelli shows not to be used to performe at this level and Zani turned slower and slower. Especially at quick counterattacks it looks sometimes as if an old turtle has to compete with Ben Johnson on doping. It is not fair to blame one or 2 players, but as said away our defence looked more and more as a presentshop.

Maybe Bar '1928' beside the home-pitch inspires players to fight 100% for a winning game. What is easier as winning and within 15 minutes entering a bar for a free drinking party. If that is the fact, no homegame would be a problem. Only what to do with awaygames? Long bustrips, f.e. to Foggia, could be seen as problem. Coming home at 8 or 9 o clock means just 1 or 2 hours at the bar. That is something different as being drunk and getting knocked out at this time by home games. Of course not the complete team is a bunch of heavy drinkers. But maybe this fact can play a role.

Or were the oposite teams to impressed by the very fanatic Montichiari public? do they still see as as regulation-team? Is that the key which allowed our defence to performe steady and the frontlinie to score goals easily. The contrast between a regular 3 or 4-0 home win and this serie of 0-4 and 1-4 is huge. Home and away, differs as night and day. Maybe the bar could motivate enough in the next game. Otherwise confidence should sink far below zero and turn the season in a nightmare at this early stage

A wellneeded break, visiting Ajax-Schalke 04

Lucky Enough Mario was invited by Ajax to visit an UEFA-cup match against Schalke 04. Mario never visited a foreign football match in his whole life. And now he could travel with his 8 yr old son to Amsterdam. This one day off felt as a wellneeded holiday, the holiday he missed this summer. Just one day off, one day no worries about the football and the financial troubles which would be fact if Montichiairi should miss promotion. Mario was impressed by so many things. The large stadium, even a roof appeared, both squad, the attacking football on the pitch, the tense of a top-game. Also feeling fine abot the joy of his son Mario forgets about everything. This match (3-2) was about topfootball, so different to what he was used to. A wellneed break after this promising but complex seasonstart.

No replacements, a set of homegames is awaiting!

Already the next morning travelling Mario faced the schedule till the end of December. with only 1 away game , there was no urgent need to change the team. The score at home was still 100%. Lets face the next home game, before concluding the last shocking defeats are the start of a lean period. So why risking an interupt in the team. Besides that how would the young goalkeeper Antonassi react if defensive-leader Giorgio Zani would be replaced. It could make him unsure and an 38 old goalkeeper as alternative?

On the other hand Claudio Catteneo, a 33 yrs old defender with not so much qualities, performed well as respectable right defensive midfielder or even as solution number 1 in case one of the centre defenders could not play. After his matchwinner against Reggiana he became part of the starting line up. An unexpected present from a guy who was expected not to play many games in his last contractyear, choisen as back-up just because of his many years lasting appearance at the team. The defense is a problem but surely the demand to celebrate at the bar will be stronger. No replacements, a set of homegames is awaiting! This sounds sure, but be aware Mario has serious doubts and lacks the guts to take action. A very dangerous piece, which could have more effects on the squad as all the figures he doubted about.

A good december month, reaching spot 2

The month of December made clear Rossi took the right decision. the awaygame turned in a poor 0-0, however Romeo Menti turned more and more into a castle. All homegames turned into easy victories. When Mario finally found some time for his family with christmas, Montichiari ranked at Spot 2 at the leaguetable.

The fine atmosphere of those days with the family could easily forget the fact Montichiari just won 1 awaygame, the first of the season.

A strange struggling but so promising first seasonhalf has ended.

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Season 2003/2004 take a deep breath and one day the wind will help (part 2)

Flabbergasted Mario

Mario was flabbergasted, almost desperate. 3 games played in April, 3 heavy and chanceless defeats! All plans and ideas could put in the refrigherator? Only hope could keep alive? Losing 2 homegames, including a 2-4 against table-leader Lodigiani, is not funny. Especially if 2.490 people sold a ticket (a new record only 10 unsold).What went wrong here?

Was December the last sign of hope for the Rossi Boys?

It seems there has changed many things since last december. Well to be honest that is true. Mario was desperate about the 3 weeks lasting injury of key-player Stefano Rosi, the still 16 yr old right defender (DR). Nope, Rosi didn't play any game untill dectember. And no, a right defender does not mean the 8-system is past, this talent has to act as Right defensive midfielder. By knowing this, it should be good to look back. What has happend between January and April and what went wrong here?

A new defense

January started with a new defense. Only Claudio Catteneo came surprisingly back at the pitch. This 33 years old seems to lack everything except performing solid. However youngsters Visentin and Rosi struggled the heavy battles in conditional way. Not in footballing sence. Rosi became the surprise of the team. Solid defending on the right, even in the position of DMR. His speed was high enough to took the complete right flank as his home. Good due to some mistakes, Januari did bring more defeats as wins. Looking further as the results, the football now came from the wings and the new defense just needed the January games to get used to footballing weekly

Rosi managed to get the credits in the last game of januari, lots of long rushes allowed him to gave a huge number of crossing assists. Struggling goalscoring, Sarli had an off month, Rosi breaked the ban. One of his assists ended in a foul, Penalty. our 16 year old boy walked to the spot, took the ball and scored.. Thats what we like, a brutal 16 year old, breaking the ban. Since then followed a glorious serie of games, even with some solid away winnings.

Now, this april, Rosi was injuried for 3 weeks and centre rookie Visentin did not appear 1 match due to a ban. April become hopeless. The first seasonhalf defense failed 3 matches in row, as only reasonable replacement for the new build defense.

3 games lost in a row and the title could be put in the refrigherator. How on earth could a squad so depend on a 16 yr old youngster and a 18 year old Rookie? How long would Claudio Catteneo's indian summer last, or was it all over now?

A struggling end

Match 34, may. Already regulated Puttolana vist romeo Menti. Montichiari, ranked 4th, felt the pressure of the numbers 5,6,7 and seven. Only a win would open the doors of the playoffs. The young team of Rossi was tired, mentally and physically the team was at the end of their latin.

last week the chances at the title dramaticly explode. As mentioned before, direct competitor Lodigiani knocked with another sledgehammer. Again a slegdehammer and this one seriously ruins the season. 2-4 at Romeo Menti after leading 2-0 by the break. 45 minutes of a kamikaze Lodigiani, with the wind in its backs, became fatal. Normally that should be the quality-add of our squad. But whatever happens, this time a tired Montichiari could not face it. A serie of 3 defeats includes this important one which ended the last hopes for the title. Some following victories could not change that.

The last important leaguegame

Now ranked 4th after 33 games, the last game was all about securing the play offs.

To make it worse, only 6 six players were suspended for the last game against weak Puttolana. Including Cossimo Sarli, scored 30 of the 60 competition goals, our new hero Rosi, yet with 5 assists and 3 goals and Kujala (15 assists). An enormous lack of scoring power.

However regulated Puttolana could be faced, not feared. The game turned exactly that way. A strong Montichiari faced enormous trouble with scoring goals. Even a kamikaze 2-3-5 tactic could be resisted by our poor opponents.. poor? well with a great gape in our defense, the dream of Montichiari ended in minute 87. After 22 attempts of our squad, the first one of Puttolana hits the back of the net. 0-1.

Normally the season was over and again with missing the play-offs in the last two matches. Somethings seems to change never.. The crowd and the players were sad, broken, crushed. Till the stadium speaker took the word. Endresults serie C2..

"we are in, we are in!"

Mario could not believe it. All the competitors lost too. The still sad players and leaving public looked up. A load crying, happy Mario at the pitch.. "we are in , we are in" Mario was the only one who knew the consequences. Ending 5th, just enough to enter the play-offs! Finally the stadium speaker makes an end to all those who still doubted, thougt that Mario went crazy again. With a great dozen of luck, the team did enter the play-offs

Dangerous financial situation

The bookkeeper was not amuzed. Good the narrow escape was fine but it seems to be a little relay before ending bankruptcy. Even the gushing cash of a Reggiana cupmatch did not help. 16.000 Euro was left and a few hunderd thousand bucks were needed.Otherwise coming season will end bankrupt.

This due to an overdosis of transfers including high salary fees. Remember last summer when Mario spoke out not to invest in transfers. So here was Mario to blame with only 18 incoming transfers. The pressure was up to Mario, with the knowlegde that selling players will be more as difficult. Of course the board did not moan. To be honest they did not know the dangerous financial situation yet. Mario escaped with the play offs, otherwise the club was already ruined!

Being chanceless that is all what has been left to the club. Again being chanceless.

A team on the losing side since april, despite two late april decent wins over the poor sides of Barletta and Nocera. Huge financial troubles. How on earth could Mario fix a promotion and gush some cash?

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Season 2003/2004 take a deep breath and one day the wind will help (part 3)

Silent Bob

'could it be anybody, I need somebody to help. Get back a little from your friends'.

Monday afternoon, the beatles filled the air in bar '1928'. Mario was there, and the amosphere was strange. Some happy supporters and again a doubtfull Mario,feeling ashame of the ruine he has made. What if the supporters know their proud and once so rich club will probably end in the hands of the Bank? Anyhow Mario took a cappucino and was in deep thougts. At his table Silent Bob acompagnied him. Bob was an English migrant in his mid forties. Only love brought him to the village and his poor Italian, even after 20 yrs, didn't make him the greatest talking head on earth. Fine compagny to think in silence. How could the squad given a last boost. The dream of promotion was not over, but this duckwalking squad needs a last boost. Bob did not joy his beer. Italian crap, not even worth to be called beer; a classic english pint seems to be miles away. Just to please Bob a little, the Beatles filled the air softly. Bob had nothing to say. Mario also hasn't untill the barkeeper asked "Bob, you like going to Fidles Andrea far more as your beer right now?".. "sure how on earth could I miss those matches. The beer is Italian, coming saturday here at Romeo menti will be fine but the final piece is at Andrea. I'll be there, i like finals" (or something like that in Italian with english accent. "Well Bob, it is not only you, we'll all go to Andrea Away. What we need is just the 12th man, the supporters, is it Mario". Mario agreed and remained in silence, he did not want to talk. Normally not likely here in bar 1928, but this time the people did not feel the need to change. With the play ofss coming up, a manager is allowed to have this silent afternoon.

If Mario doubted again, he could now be sure the supporters were still very loyal. Supporters like Silent Bob, loyal to the team without crying or demanding, always showing support and joying exciting days of play-offs.

Fidles Andrea

To go short, Montichiairi took away the blame of defeat against Fidles Andrea in january. 2.490 fanatic supporters turned to be the 12th man and even the wind did help. An exhausting first halve was enough to set a 3-0 final score. Away, another bunch of 2.200 own supporters shouted the team to a solid 1-1 Althought not in great form, the supporters and the wind did help Montichiari over its breaking point.

Lacking form and a mountain to climb

The final play offs would be played in stadium Fruili of Udinese. A long ride from Montichiari but who on earth would complain. For the first time ever, the team has the serie C1 in sight. Although the opponent was the worst you could imagine. Call it a mountain to climb: Lodigiani, the team that crushed to a 2-4 at Romeo Menti last month and missed the title on the last matchday. A team that shows having more skills, playing better football.

Good this serie C2 as whole was a bit stronger as the last year series, that is true. It did not feel secure to face the best team of all the C2-series while we are lacking form just at the moment all the best is required. Mario has doubtfull thoughts again.

Entering the stadium for the first 'homegame' in Udinese made the team fly; 25.000 visitors, just 10 times a filled Romeo Menti. What a great amosphere. Even Television camera's to register the game. For a while the players did felt like Maldini, Totti, Matterazi or Baggio.

Mario didn't need a peptalk about facing Lodigiani. Even the knock out of last month seems forgotten. Full of fighting spirit Montichiairi shows it was equal to Lodigiani, even with their surplus of football-qualities. A nervous and tough game brought a 1-1 draw. A hardworking Montichiari could resist abd could not be disappointed about this result after this game.

Promotion seems to be far away. Montichiari must win the "away" game here at Friulli with the knowlegde that 3 previous Lodigiani games did not include a win. It is likely that we should miss the boat twice. Lodigiani is the better team and we lost our form in April. Nevertheless a ball is round and never ever the club was so close at the door for the series C1. Lets hope Lodigiani gets a bit frustrated of this 1-1, in the league they crushed us twice. Even this could be a knock to them and every knock is needed to break them. Next weeks final game will bring the answer

How on earth will the goals be scored?

Again 25.000 spectators in Fruilli for the final match of the season. Lodigiani is 10:1 favorite for their welldeserved promotion. But at least Montichiari has given away enough presents this season. Enough presents to give the best to do, fight for promotion.

Both teams consider that a lose is about missing the boat twice, reminding good league rankings. Good, the form of Montichiari increased a bit in last games, just abit. A fresh and excellent footballing team could not be expected. It is more clear that goalscoring will remain a major problem today. An injury ban of Cossimo Sarli (39 goals this season) makes this game almost mission impossible, while at least 1 goal must be scored.

Anyhow how would youngsters like Visentin, Rosi or Antonassi play under this circumstances. 15.000 Lodigiani supporters, 2.400 Montichiari fans and the pressure to beat the favorite opponent. Even from the crowd no major support could be expected. So how on earth will goals be scored, needed to win a game. The only little advantage seems to be the storm, which blown so often over Romeo Menti and now decided to blow over Friulli. However didn't Lodigiani crush us at such a storm day?

Lodigiani, kings of the pitch

With the stormwind in their back, Lodigiani started to attack, locking us up at our own side. Only 5 minutes ticked away before it turned 1-0 and a fanatic crowd brouth in lots of anti-energy to our squad.

The pressure on the field and from the crowd was enormous now. We could not handle to leave our own box. Every wildkick or icing brought the ball back within seconds. The team fought for their lives, but how long would it last before Antonassi could pick up the ball from the net. Antonassi seems to joy this atmosphere amd performs will; only this kind of pressure is inhuman, especially for a young goalkeeper in his first senior season.

A serie of great saves shows his form and let us survive the first 20 minutes. Instant-fix striker Kujala did face the own box more as a striker would like. A long distance shot throw by the wind, Antonassi chanceless.. Oh my god! BANG, the ball exploded on the woodwork. How long could we stand? After 40 minutes full attacking football became clear that Lodigiani has spend lots of power to achieve a quick decision.Now Taking away the pressure, they still were the kings of the pitch. 1-0 seems to be enough.

A shocked Mario, realized he has some work to do when the whistle blows for half time. This is the hell of an awaygame and with only 4 away wins this season, everything is needed to score just one single goal. He used the break to power up the team. "Come on lads! Storm in the back, give all you can.. Only one goal, we can do it".

{B]Obodai? Obodai!![/b}

70 minutes played. Lodigiani suffers the storm and could not set up any attack nor counterattack. A desparate Montichiari tries to set up some serious attacks, however the team did not create any danger in the Lodigiani box. The game was dying away. Montichiari lacks a quality striker, a cool goal scorer. The Lodigiani defense felt as the Berlin Wall in its better days. Rossi brought in 3 fresh replacements for some tired players. Strong header Catteneo, again centre defender in this game, was send to the front as extra striker. Ajax-Loaner Obodai, a midfielder was now allowed to rush with the ball or send long balls. Obodai seems to be the fittest of all, but to be obvious he was more a combatting footballer as a "mister Assist". Depending on long balls from his side is as a lotery...

74th minute. Antonassi saved on a counterattack. Oh dear, our defense seems to be insecure again. Antonassi throwed the ball to Obodai. Just walking, not rushing, away from his own box. Far away he saw Catteneo rushing as hard as he could to create space as attacker.. {I}Obodai knows what to do, A long ball flied away from his feet..{/I] Again a weak assist, the ball flow through the air and was on its way to the Lodigiani keeper. 'What a crap, could not give Obodai any decent assist?', What else should Rossi think this split second?

Meanwhile a strange friend came in with a little help. No, it was not Catteneo in a short of last attempt to beat the keeper. The storm! The storm picked up the ball, which now sails at the wind. The Lodigiani keeper stretched around the penaltyspot to save a ball which seems so easy to catch a second ago.. He stretched and streched, take a step behind and missed!!! The ball goes down and hit the net! Obodai? Obodai!! He scored his first goal of the season. What an incredible 80 meter shot. One shot brought us, the already as a dead man acting team, back alive. 25.000 visitors could not believe what they saw, nor milions in front of a Television. Of course this goal was curious enough to reach the major sport broadcasts in Italy. 1-1 without a single shot at goal. No chance, no serious attack and a dead man came alive.

A dead man came alive

This time Montichiari Slegdehammered Lodigiani. The opponent acts now duckling, very tired and almost near to a knock out, their final surrender. Montichiari now ruled at the field with some good attempts to decide the game within 90 minutes. It did not happen but the 25.000 gets an extra, two more 15 minutes football for a decision who would join the serie C1

As said the incredible 80 meter shot of Obodai (a real sunday shot) changed the game. In extra time Lodigiani looked already beaten and allowed Montichiari to set up some attacks. Finally in 5 minutes the decision was made, Catteneo headed a corner in the 112th minute! Wow, promotion is in reach, Who could expect it. A rush of Rosi (DMR) sealed the fate of Lodigiani. Ending in the box, a 117th minute Penalty was the result. Rosi did his job again and a 16 year old locked the door safely. Final score 3-1 after extra time. Montichiari can celebrate promotion to the serie C1!

With a lacking form, Montichiari had enough at one regular win to survive the play off.[/i} Even in that single win the wind helped, just as in the so curiousfinal match. It is fair to take a deep breath with so much lucky, the wind was a fine little helper

Anyhow the youth did also performe well, the youth academy inspired a lot; the youth team became champion in their series. Even our youngsters can celebrate a championship! great! Another season like this can make a manager 10 years older. Lets hope for a less tense coming season. This one was a bit to much nailbiting!

700.000 euro

A happy bookkeeper also announced that the finance were safe again. The play off gate fees of 700.000 Euro garantued financial safety. With all the luck of the world and just 4 aways wins this season, and factually 1 winning game in the play offs could secure promotion. It was not the season Mario expected, sometimes more a nightmare as a dream but a dream came true, promotion to the serie C1.

How would Montichiari performane in their first ever serie C1 season?

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Facts and figures 2003/2004{/B]

Serie C2/C,

ranking : 5th, promotion after play offs

points : 34-59 points (60-31).

average attendance 2.238 (capa. 2.500)

topscorer : Cosimo Sarli, 39 (league 30)

assist: Jussi Kujala, 15

man of the season: Cossimo Sarli

Topscorer Serie C2/C: 1th Sarli (30)

Manager of the year C2/C: 2th Mario Rossi

Player in the spotlights: Claudio Catteneo

Claudio appeared for many years at Montichiari. After the start of Coach Rossi his days seems to offer a minor role, due to a supposed lack of quality. In the first season at the serie C2, Claudio managed only 12 replacement duties. This year was his absolute Indian Summer, after a fine winning header in a heroic cupmatch, Claudio showed his attitude to go for the full 100%, inspiring a team to work as hard as possible . Without doubt one of the weakest footballers added pace and passion to the squad. In this form an absolute add to the team, and no one else deserve to score the most important goal of the season, the deciding header in the final play offs. Rossi gave him the glance in this last days of his career. And this man deserves to be member of the serie C1 next year; a new 1 year-contract will secure the best stage to say goodbye to the club he loves. Thank you, Claudio Catteneo.

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Season 2004/2005: Toto Nero! (part 1)

May 2005: a CNN team somewhere in Italia covering the Italian Toto-scandal. Just as many other news-broadcasters did. Black days for Italian Football and also for Montichiari. Not that we were mentioned so many times, who on earth knows that Montichiari excist any way? But some many years after Toto Nero, Italia faced another Toto-scandal, not so huge but with harder efforts. The bankruptcy of 3 international bookmakers explode to a media scandal.

Toto nero in 1979

Back in 1979 a nightmare started for a.o. AC Milan and Juventus. The gambling industry pushed sometimes a bit of extra pressure to create results, including money for keyplayers. Just assuring the likely and mainly surprisingly result, which turned in gushing cash of course. As long as brave gamblers puts in lots of money, these rare result guaranteed that money will flow to a small group of 'friends'. When daylight shines over this illegal activities, the horror started.

Wether it was maffia or not, the Italian football federation realized they could not use even the suggest of maffia-tendencies. it ended with AC Milan officially banned to the serie B and a.o. famous goalgetter Paulo Rossi with a 2 yrs ban till augustus 1982.

AC milan won the Serie B and collected one more price as archrivals Inter, the Serie B scudetto. After an early relay Rossi became the surprise ot the worldcup 1982, leading the Squarda Azzuri to their thirth world cup. With scoring 6 goals, including a sensational hattrick against favorite Brazil, Rossi became the topscorer of that tournament and was no longer associated with Toto Nero but with the world cup. Those opportunistic football fans!

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Season 2004/2005: Toto Nero! (part 2)

100 milion euro outstanding payments

Now 25 years after Toto Nero, gambling and Italian football were connected again. Participants Montichiari Calcio, AC Torino, Catania 3000, Lad-bets Italy, American Gambling and Calciototo Italia. Ministers debats what forms of gambling could be allowed and which not. Is a weekly toto safe? How about gambling on cupwinners or year rankings. Should it be forbidden or not.

Mario Rossi did not care. For decades people played the weekly toto and since the nineties gambling on year rankings become normal. Yeah 10 euro that Liverpool will win the premier league and another 10 on Juventus taking the scudetto! What is wrong about it? Normally nothing. But what happend as 3 bookmakers can not pay the prizes earned by prizingwinning gamblers? Well bankruptcies, media -attention, the parlemaint in action. And that is exactly what has happened this month!

Circa 100.000 people did gamble on endrankings of the participated squad at the 3 mentioned bookies. Gambling with quotations variated for 1:200 till 1:5000, on a average 1:1000. How on earth could 3 major bookies pay 100 milion Euro, based on 100.000 bets. Nothing more nothing less. The key-problem was that the bookies accepted far more bets as they could cover. Their policy "well it is incoming money, these bets will never result in prizes" was a bit too close to the Italian way of life. Toto Nero II and Montichiari was in. Only this time the bookies were wrong.

So now at the end of the season, a review. Lets have a look at previous season.

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Season 2004/2005: Toto Nero! (part 3)

July 2004

Rossi went back at Montichiari after a welldeserved holiday. Finally 4 weeks with the family after a season which gave him a bit too much grey hairs.

Fresh in mind Rossi realized he has gambled far too much last season. Too much transfers brought the club in serious financial danger. Nowadays bankaccount can garantuee 1, maybe 2 seasons unless Rossi would not spend to much on transfers or Salaryfees.Some space was created by a 100% rise of the ticketprizes, necesary for the youth and trainigsfacilities and a budget belonging to a Serie C1 squad. The topsalaryfee increase to 90.000 Euro, again very low compared to other squads in the same competition. Just so necessary to guarantee topplayers could not been taken away, just caused by complaints about minor salaries. 2 Players, Menassi and Sarli, gets a new contract with a topfee, running. The most of the contracts remains the same.

2 retirements

Reserve goalkeeper Rosin (39) retired and oldie Zani (38) annouced retirment. Both have done their job well. The squad leaped two gaps and Mario was not really in the mood for a transfer. Last season the youth department became champion. So it could be a great deal if several youth players would join the first squad. This will motivate the other youth players and was a serious commitment to his statements pro youth acedemy last year.

3 new youngsters

3 young players were welcomed from the acedemy:

- Marco Orlando (17), again a talented right defender, like the first pick-up of the acedemy, Stephano Rosi (17). However Marco could also play as left defender and his fine almost perfect crossball could made it worthwhile to develop attacking midfielder skills. Rosi is given with the most talent but Orlando is the most multifunctional.

-The second talent was Mauro Alfano (17), a not to hard working but overtalented midfielder, capable to send fine passes with both feets and with an excellent view at the game. His footballqualities are unique, even for Italian proportions. However Mauro has the problem of a very fragile body, very weak for suffering injuries. With his more as gifted talent, including 2 golden feets, any club of the world would have Mauro. Only his weak body will block a glorious start at Juve or Milan. A midfielder of this type was welcome. Every match with Mauro will be a gift

- Finally there was Maurizo Venturi (18). A quick and powerfull striker, with an excellent long distance shot and with his strong physics a realcombatting striker, with a good technique. Venturi promised to be the ideal mate of Sarli. Depending for 50% of the goals on 1 striker is about gambling and possible Venturi could take his part in scoring goals, especially on Sarli's off-days. With some luck Maurizo can grow to a Serie A striker in the future. It is honest to say that in previous year Maurizio appeared in some matches as sub. However now he joined the first team. The serie C1 is ideal to start his career as first team squad member.

For the last time, an Ajax loan deal was announced. again 3 loaners, including last years assist-king Jussi Kujala on a very talented quick centre defender Michael de Haan, Strange that this club never gave the chance to this 21-yrs old talent, even from Ajax's point of view he seems to be a very hot prospect.

A gifted keeper was a problem; even a scouting-searchery for months did not bring any hope for a payable and experienced goalkeeper. A local nobody, Lo Basso -the small one- could be signed on a free transfer as backup with some skills. However his length of 1.69m seems by far to small for a goalkeeper. According to the trainers he was a prospect, now with the lack of a reserve keeper, there was no choice unless signing. Hopefully youngster Antonassi could performe like last season, when he only allowed 30 goals in the league. In that case Lo Basso could warm the bench safely

The start of Toto Nero

So the squad was even younger as last years talented bunch and would represent Montichairi's debute season in the serie C1/B. The bookies still see us as sort of serie D regulars, with a 2000:1 title quotation; translated this means: 2 regulations in row were expected. The local newspaper announced this a bit too black expectations and demand the supporters for some support. Gambling at the own squad is ususal. And place a bet can be explained as form of support. well both Catania 3000 and Montichiari faced a 2000:1, maybe unrealistic? Unrealistic enough for a Catania newspaper to take over this action. It seems great with 10 euro at the title for Montichairi, 10 for a Catania 3000 title. Or maybe 10 euro at Catania 3000 and Montichiari finishing top 5 (5000:1).

In fact both squads lacks a realistic quotation and the newspaper hoped the bookies would replace it by a more realistic one. Those lazy monkeys took 1000's of bets but did not even think about changing the quotations. Other institutes took over the quotations and also took profits of the gamblings. If people wants to waste money, we would not refuse. To make it rediculious, Juve-fans started to gamble en massa at a second regulation in row for archrivals AC Torino (200:1) and lots of other not to serious bets were placed, lasting for Chievo winning the Champions leaugue, the regulation of Inter and AC milan. In the giant money circus of milions of bets, no one noticed the serious increase of unfund bets. oh no, it was some extra incoming money, sure some extra profit. Toto Nero started here in August and explode next may.

[b}Amazing debute with Title![/b]

By now we know what went wrong. After 34 games in the serie C1/B, only one team derserved the title, Montichiari! Montichiari took the title, the mega-surprise of this Italian football season. Remember the 2000:1 quotation. To make it worse: Torino regulated indeed and Catania 3000 finished, after a close race, 5th in the C1/B. Where the C1/A has with Venezia an expected champion but runner up Ternana is also very rare. The nightmare doom-case scenario for all the major bookmakers at the Italian Market. Lucky enough Chievo did not take the scudetto otherwise the disaster would be 3 times greater.

But how on earth could 100 milion Euro be paid at some football supporters? The Villagers in Montichiari , loyal to the club, did place their bets hughely and thought for one day the village would be a rich place, just as the folks in Catania did. However, offices closed their doors, asked for bankruptcy and a scandal started.

Lucky enough nor the club, nor any board or staffmember did not place any bet otherwise a regulation ban could be avioded.

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Season 2004/2005: Toto Nero! (part 4)

4-4-2 and a serie of 26 games

The '8'-system, with the squad playing in the form of an 8, was excentric and about taking risk in the defence with only 2 real defenders. Now on a higher level with better teams, Rossi agreed it was full of risks. Besides that at homegames it functioned, the trackrecord away is a very poor, year in year out. So this season will be done a more common tactic; sadly for those who adore excentric tactics!

Great job of the players

The season brought an excellent break through of all the youth players in a very realistic attacking 4-4-2. Both Orlando and Rosi, act as wing defenders with attacking impulses, (DL and DR) taking advantage of their footballing skills and produced lots of attacking runs. Rosi also became a very cool penaltykiller, scoring 4 out of 4.

Kujala was as cool as last year with some assists. Alfano was often injuried but when he plays it was beautiful to see him. That elegant way of touching the ball and the overview, a real classic playmaker.

Anyhow the chief of the midfield, Menassi had his best season ever. some years ago an anonymous serie D player and now turned to nothing more as the weekly appearing playmaker of a C1-squad, not bad!

Michael de Haan, our defense-loaner,turned into a surpringly defenceleader; an average rating of 7.70 on 30 matches is excellent on a debute. So last seasons hero Catteneo found himself back on the bench again. with 10 start and 8 replacementduties enough minutes for him at his farewell tour. Anyhow his magic was gone, so the loan of De Haan was not only a lucky shot but also right in time.

Last but not least, Venturi joined Sarli in the right way. Both inspired eachother, and took a major part of all the scored goals. A young goalscorer with 21 goals in his debuteseason was above all expectations at fore hand. It took pressure from the shoulders of Sarli, without stopping his duty. 48 leaguegoals for this duo in 34 games was fantastic.

Mario had nothing to worry about, only the serie of Alfano-injuries were a problem. But what can be called a problem with a so well performing team. Week after week the confidence grow. Not knowing what could be expected, the team started its operation without fear, resulting in an unbeaten serie of 26 games from scratch (matchday #1).

Even some serious defeats in the last set of april and may games did not have impact, caused by the great gap with the number 2 spot, which once turned to 17 points. The first title for Rossi, and the 3th promotion in 5 years for Montichairi!

Golden glance

To give the season an extra golden glance, the C1 supercup - the overall championship for the series C1 - ended up in Montichiari. Serie C1/A champion Venezia was crushed with 4-0 and 3-1.

Next year, Serie B. Small Montichairi can fear the great teams of Italian football.Toto Nero was not the most happy end of a glorious season.

The sports performance was unique, raising from the serie C2 to the serie B in 12 month feels like a fairytale.

Facing the facts, the foresight will be a regulation battle. This season was unique. With the end of the loan construction with Ajax, the team also will lose 3 keyplayers; Epecially the depart of Kujala and de Haan will not be easy to repair.

(once playing the game, I could not believe my eyes after this season. Montichiari and Ternana in the serie B, Catania 3000 5th in the C1/B, next year accompagnied by AC Torino. Knowing the incredible will to spend money on toto's, I imagined serious problems if this would happen in real life.)

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Facts and figures 2004/2005

Serie C1/B

ranking : 1th, Championship including C1 Supercup

points : 34-70 points (76-30).

average attendance 2.176 (capa. 2.500)

topscorer : Cosimo Sarli, 34 (league 30), Maurizio Venturi, 21 (league 18)

assist: Roberto Menassi, 18

man of the season: Cossimo Sarli

Topscorer Serie C1/B: 1th Sarli (30), 3th Venturi (18)

Player of the year C1/B: 2th Sarli, 3th De Haan

Manager of the year C1/B: 1th Mario Rossi

Player in the spotlights: Roberto Menassi

Now in his mid twenties, Menassi faced the best performance in his entire carreer.

For years he had faced the serie D with Montichiairi. his first years in the serie C2 were hard. As centre midfielder, he was nothing more and less as a decent value for the team, always rated with a 6 or 7. When Rossi finally agreed to Menassi's favorite system 4-4-2, Menassi shows his qualities as fine footballer, playmaker. In a system ususally based on creating space for the winger AM's to produce an assist, it is incredible that a centre midfielder could produce 18 assists. Although Roberto could play as left midfielder, he always appeared in the centre as anchorman and captain for the team. It is easy to look at goalscorers but his excellent performance, including a golden assist was a major contribution to this glorious season.

It has hard to say, and can't be said with an enormous sorry, that Menassi did not make it in and after his first serie B season; acting in the serie B was above his limit. Since then he never found back his great and excellent form of the golden 04/05 season. Finally ending with 229 offical matches for Montichiari (once a record), Roberto deserved his place in the gallery of greatest Montichiari players. Thank you Roberto!

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Summer 2005

A journey

When Rossi started in Montichiari, the club was beyond low profile and the general expectation was to enjoy one season in the serie c2, a bonus in clubhistory. Last season the club broke its long lasting away-fear and with results in awaygames the team fixed nothing more as winning the serie C1/B and the overall C1 championship.

The journey will last longer as a season with a debute in the serie B awaiting. For small clubs like Montichiairi the royal top of football, with the commercial serie A as a sort of Valhalla; that is the domain of the gods and out of reach. In this royal feeling competition the club will travel all over Italia to play against great clubs or clubs with a history, like Palermo, Napoli, Bari or Como. Well lake como sounds good on a journey and isn't there something as you have to look over the bay of Napoli, before you can die?

Romantic hearts, Poets, writers and Romeo Menti

The ideas of Rossi now can be compared with those of the board by entering the serie C2. one year chanceless appearance in the serie B, before dropping down. So let enjoy what is possible.

The regio buscompagny helped a bit by becoming the new sponsor, including the usage of a comfortable bus. However a sponsorbudget of 100.000 euro is to laugh about compared to all other clubs in the serie B. And what about Romeo Menti, still with 3 seatless sides at the pitch, it looks real amateur. For a Serie D squad is was fringe. Compared with the temples of Napoli (85.000) or Lecce and Palermo (both 30.000), it can be seen as a small trainingscomplex.

We have to remember the great results at Romeo Menti. Maybe the inclusion of bar 1928 helped, only 8 lost homegames in 3 seasons is the trackrecord, like a serie A topsquad! Some underestimation of a huge cry for help by discovering the stadium for the first time is common as long as Montichiari can defend it as their own castle.

Another rise of 25% for the gatefees brought the ticketprizes in the scala from 10 to 20 Euro. Hopefully the supporters will pay so much money, these prizerange can be comapred with san siro, a major stadium. Last years 100% prize increase brought a dramatic incline of visitors, only an amazing championshipsrun could repair this in the end. But we dont have to forgot the two unique surplusses of Romeo Menti. A Montichiari team always going for a win in cooperation with the supporters. Plus the feature of a very local bar, 1928, were players have their dressingrooms and will walk freely on a place everbody is welcome,

including opponent supporters. That is what football is about for milions and compare that with the 'distance' at San Siro or even Napoli's Sao Paolo. For the romantic hearts, poets and writers, Montichiari will be a welcome feature to the serie B.

What about drinking a grappa, hearing a novelle from a poet, and after that walk away, open the door and enter the stadium. That is also poetry! The serie B will be introduced to that. The smell of coffee, alcohol and cigars whelming over a stadium, at sunday afternoon 14:30... Not usual at the profesional stages, just as one minor seat-tribune (which factually is the stadium). If a player is addicted to great stadiums, huge crowds, here is the 90 minutes cold turkey therapy to them. Our players do not know better. So definitfly we are a curious add to the this competition.

A guide

A great moment came when the Napoli Board offered us some support as guide to introduce the serie B. Like Montichiari it is an folk club only on a far bigger scale and with a richer history. Sao Paolo has a church in the stadium and deals about the golden days with Diego Armando Maradonna. For two days some Napoli Board came over to Montichiari. They liked the real atmosphere of Romeo Menti and adviced "be proud of it, it is the beating heart of your club". We didn't had the plans. However their advices about what to do with hooligans, or more practical teams coming from the deepsouth to our northern village were usefull. Of course it could not be expected from f.e. Palermo to enter the village on matchday without any opportunity to come over saturday, and play the match at sunday. It is honest to say Italian clubs always offered help to newcomers in the serie B because this deals about a countrywide league. It was fine to see that Napoli turned to our guide. The club with the biggest stadium of complete italy - Sao Paolo- guiding the serie B squad with the poorest attendance ever appeard in the serie B, Montichiari with Romeo Menti (just 2.500 tickets and a few hunderd -wooden banks- seats)

More seasoncards but no derby

Another fine figure was the rise in sold seasoncards. For years 95% of the tickets were sold on match day, but now we could count 1.200 seasoncards. Even some merchandising was introduced. Merchandising is no longer about buying or mostly stealing the beerglasses with footballclub-logo from our favorite bar. Small minishirts for in the car, a special set of glasses (beer and longdrink) and playcards were introduce. A save investment to have a small range and it, if public should not like it, it could be saled over the years.

The only sad figure was that Atlanta Bergamo joined Serie A this year. A local derby could be fun, but even now by reaching the common domain of Atlanta this will not be the case. You can not have it all.

Regular TV broadcast

The weekly football-broadcasts at television included the serie B. So from this point of view the nation can get introduced to our team this way. It does not bring in any extra money. See it as a fine feature to raise the image from a fringe and obscure name to a small and hopefully likely club. People can now take notice who we are! Till now we were just nobodies for the country-wide television spectators.

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The 2005/2006 squad

Again the financial situation is not about gushing. Last seasons prize-increase of 100% and good performance were enough to keep bankruptcy far out of sight. A saldo of less as 1 mlion Euro can be called poor, in serie B definitions.

Lucky enough a great exodus started of not usefull reserveplayers including a bunch of talents who did not make it. It allowed Rossi to improve some (youth)contracts.

On the other hand he could now take full profit ot the youth acedemy. With a transferbudget of 800.000 Euro it would be hard to find an interesting and experienced serie B player; for this sum the risk that it will be scrap is far more huger as getting a decent player.

Dealing at the transfer-market

So the policy of last year remained the same. The squad will primairy be added with players from the own youth acedemy. In case of emergency a youth loaner is prefered, and if both options failed for a position a transfer will be made.

For the first time the club managed to get some outgoing transfers, 3 reserve players tried their luck in the lower divisions, for the amount of 128.000 euro. Recieving 100.000 Euro for a slow and overrated midlfielder is a very high fee. A record, but lower division team Rondinella liked to pay it for Dario Dossi. Not bad for a guy, who played 5 games under Rossi!

The loandeal with Ajax ended officialy now, as we know since last year. Montichiari could not meet the demands from Ajax for contribution in salaries. Slighty a pity because all the loaners were good adds to the first team. This does not mean all contacts ended. Kujala ended up at the transferlist and due to his good performances here, Rossi took action. With 128.000 euro transferincome it was worth a try. Ajax agreed with the first bid of 100.000 euro and to the surprise of Rossi, Kujula was in for a huge salary decrease. Our proposal of 75.000 for 4 years could be compared with his 2 years lasting 175.000, unless Kujala would gamble on a club willing to pay a higher salary. Fine to see that Kujala choice to play football and was very happy to join our team. Without doubt a wellneeded player.

During the negotiations Ajax mentioned to have problems with last year defenseleader Micheal de Haan. He refused to resign his contract, expiring last year and made serious troubles at the club. Ajax could not handle him. And some gossip in the football-press dealing about 'a guy impossible to work with", declined any interest at national level (international interest could not be expected of course). Here we didn't have any troubles, so a 0 euro paying loan deal was a fine quick fix for both. We had our defenseleader back and Ajax ended a problem in a gently manner.

The squad was complete now, however the youth acedemy added a huge bunch of fine prospects: Giussept Paulucci (17), Maurizio Bocchi (18), Gianluca Bonomi (17), Giuseppe Asile (17) , Pasquale Renzoni (19)

Total investment in the complete squad: 115.000

With last years very succesfull youth-class, it was very easy to create a team based on all talents from our youth acedemy. A young and promising team will challenge the Serie B. Hopefully they will not get to confused or disappointed and learn quickly this year. Of course a talent can have some off days or need some extra resting periods but with more talents as the 11 places on the spot, it can be explained as advantage.

With this knowlegde it is interesting to have a look at the favourite starting line from Rossi this season. For the total of 115.000 Euro, Rossi managed to build up a squad which would appear in the Serie B. Some opponents invest this amount 3 times just on a fringe reserveplayer. And remember Kujala (100.000) took the main part of this total sum. A real curiosity in the serie B. A selection with only 2 foreign players and costing as less as this Montichiari.

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The 2005/2006 squad: Introducing the core 11:

Angelo Antonassi (20), GK

Contract expiration: july 2007, basicwage 30.000 yr

Angelo Antonassi joined the club in the summer of 2003 after a 5k transfer from Grotallie. Antonassi did function well over last 2 season but also never indicated to be a keeper with grow potential. Not satisfying, but found no other.

Stefano Rosi (18), DR

Contract expiration: july 2010, basicwage 60.000 yr

as first player he made the step from the youth acedemy (YA) to the first team. As quick right defender with a good cross and decent positioning, Stefano became an important first teammember. Beside long rushes, he is a cool penalty specialist. Already a keyplayer but still with an enourmous potential. in one and a half season first team, 18 yr old Stefano played 40 games, scored 14 times and set 12 succesfull assist.

Marco Orlando (18), D RL, AM RL

Contract expiration: july 2009, basicwage 25.000 yr

Marco is a rightfeet footballer, also from the YA. basicly he is a back, he learned also to play as Midfielder with attacking aspirations. A good crossball and some defense qualities are his trademarks. Started slowly but still hungry too learn, he is now at the point to prove to be good enough for professional football or not.

Maurizio Bocchi (18), DC

Prospectcontract, basicwage 16.000 yr

"Look what we have here" mentioned assistent Stefano Agresti to Mario Rossi. Both joy his appearance in a youth match last year. Operation as a real man-defender in classic Italian style, he seems to have enourmous potential. If needed he will follow his man till the toiletroom. Defending is an art and Maurizio shows to have the potential to become a huge artist. Let see how long it will last before the serie B will fear him. If that doesn't work out, it would be a waste of talent. Maurizo debute this year, as another hot prospect from the YA

Micheal de Haan (21), DC

On loan, basic wage 75.000 yr (100% paid by Ajax)

Last year quick and decent defender De Haan entered as Ajax-loaner without any reputation. Without any senior match under his belt, he became a real defenseleader with a surplus on football qualities. He is heading specialist, and likes the long ball pass. last season's 9 goals and 8 assist can be mentioned as excellent for a defender. Surprisingly he gets troubled at Ajax, so for his last contract year he was gently banned to us. Hopefully he will continue his form of last year to offer him a topplayer-contract (on a Bosman). A Potential International, if you ask Mario Rossi.

Jussi Kujala (25) AM/A RLC

Contract expiration: july 2010, basicwage 75.000 yr

Jari Litmanen is the idol of Jussi. He even followed Litmanen to Ajax, however Jussi could not make it there. His ballkicking is excellent and he is a very decent player, decent enough to hide his low speed. As midfielder he did well here as loaner, so this summer he could finally be transfered. In case of emergency Jussi could be an instant fix as striker. A transfer of 100.000 is top in the range of Montichiari and Jussi's previous loans made it worthwhile.

Giussepe Paulucci (17), D/DM LC

Prospect contract, basicwage 16.000 yr

as said an accelerating left defender or midfielder with good positioning play.

Another newbe for the YA. Seems to be quick but average. With not much quick alternatives Paulucci will be given the chance fully to show what he is worh.

Mauro Alfano (18), MC

Contract expiration: july 2010, basicwage 40.000 yr

Mauro has excellent football skills and this includes also the type of lazyness which so often appeared on artistique playmakers. Very prown to injuries, but when he plays, asteady 8 will be his rating. Likes to pass with both feets, left prefered.

Roberto Menassi (27), M LC

Contract expiration: july 2008, basicwage 100.000 yr

See previous player in the spotlight, one of the hardcore players from the first hour

Cossimo Sarli (25), SC

Contract expiration: july 2009, basicwage 100.000 yr

As we know a goalscorer pur sang. Sarli is left feeted, and like to use his pace on long runs from the left side. Trademarks are his lobs or his outplaying of keepers

Over the last 3 years responsible for ca 50% of all the leaguegoals; he lived up after his poor adventures abroad. Married to a woman from here, don't like to go in another adventure.

Maurizio Venturi (19), SC

Contract expiration: july 2010, basicwage 60.000 yr

Strong and quick promising striker with deadly long distance shot. Iron will to improve his skills. 21 goals in his debuteseason serie C1. The B-serie will be his next challenge. Has all the qualities to become a great one in the Italian footballscene.

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The 2005/2006 squad: Introducing the bench:

Lo basso (21), GK

Contract expiration: july 2008, basicwage 65.000 yr

How on earth could a doubtfull keeper who had nothing proven yet, earn 65.000 a year? If Rossi is not sure about his first choice, he is very unsure about Lo Basso. Hopefully Rossi will find a keeper to have faith in

Marco Trufelli (20), DC

Contract expiration: july 2007, basicwage 35.000 yr

Came over on a 8k transfer from fidles Andrea 2 years ago. Performed normal in the serie C2 but being regular in the C1 seems to be above his limits. Due to his age, Rossi will have a little patience if he will improve. Other wise this season will be his last.

Daniel Visentin (22), D LC

Contract expiration: july 2008, basicwage 40.000 yr

Promising centre defender came over on a 2k transfer from Italo Sanmarco 2 years ago. Very decent for the series C2, but seems to be a lightweight for the serie B. Has to be satisfied with replacement duties.

Giuseppe Asile (18), DR

Contract expiration: July 2010, basicwage 30.000 yr

Ideal back up for Rosi, Lack the qualities of Orlando or Rosi, just a back-up. Maybe needs some time to improve. another debute from the YA.

Paolo Dini (23), MC

Contract expiration: july 2007, basicwage 40.000 yr

Came in on a free transfer some years ago. Has some qualities but Rossi prefers Alfano; however take his games due to the injuries of Alfano or suspensions of Menassi.

Gianluca Bonomi (17),(SC)

Prospect contract, basicwage 18.000 yr

Very promising dynamic striker, newbe from the YA. Potential an excellent and deadly finisher. As first back up for Sarli and Venturi this season will give enough playminutes in his first senoir season.

Pasquale Renzoni (19), MR

Contract expiration: july 2010, basicwage 25.000 yr

Another newbe from the YA. hardworking, lacks assist. Last year Pasquale prefered to finish the cook-school before he would like to give a try at his football-carreer. Promising cook, lets see what he can mean at the pitch.

Not exactly what we neede but give it at try. At least he is from the village, people like that!

Tiziano Mucciante (24), ML

Contract expiration: july 2008, basiswage 36.000 yr

Normally not at the bench, only in case of any injuries. Even as back-up for Menassi he is not first choice anymore. Two years ago a huge transfer, but the player has fringe impact on the team. Personification of an unsuccesfull transfer, the reservesquad is filled with those; however unlike Mucciante all unsuccesfull free transfers. Tiziano, the number 19 of the squad.

If this 19 players are not enough to deliver 18 squadmembers youth-players or even reserves will be picked up.

Montichiari line up

Attacking 4-4-2, including:

- backs allowed for attacking runs

- Attacking midfielders on the side (L/R), allowed to rush to the crossline

favorite line up:

Antonassi (GK),Rosi* (DR), Orlando* (DL), De Haan+ (DC), Bocchi* (DC), Kujala (MR), Paulucci* (ML), Alfano* (MC), Menassi# (MC), Venturi* (SC), Sarli#(SC)

Bench: Lo Basso (GK), Trufelli (DC), Visentin (DC), Asile* (DR), Bonomi* (SC), Paolo Dini (MC), Pasquale Renzoni* (MR)

* Player originated from the own Youth acedemy (9x)

# Player appearing at the club since the serie D days (2x)

+ Player on loan (1x)

This selection will be the basement for some coming parts in the Mario Rossi challenge. Our ex-gymnastic teacher finally has his youth squad. Lets look if he managed some developments.

Again this story is not about names or many matchdetials, here it is funny enough to summarize a squad due to low total of transfermoney spend on this team

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We knew ths squad now , we knew the stadium and 38 serie B matches are coming up. By far with the youngest team of Italian football with an average age of 20 years. With some exceptions it could have been a youthsquad from a serie A team. No wonder with no serious funds aviable for transfers, a minor wagebudget. Count the blessing that Montichiari 2 years ago choiced for a youth acedemy.

Transfers? nice, but what if regulation is the fact and the expensive transfers still eat hugely from the budget? it is no longer as year ago when bankrupcty was under the horizon. The newspapers can cry for any transfer or target Montichiari for transfergossips. Especially with mentioning drop outs from serie A squads. Costacurta is a great footballer but this almost 40-yrs old granny could not be taken serious to our youth squad. Lots of oldies were mentioned but Rossi knew every of them would block the development for the youngsters. The chance to performe in the serie B is unique and could not be wasted. Hopefully the youngsters learn enough here to improve their level and the complete level of the club. Till now lots of folks looked at the club as serie D or C2 regular. Agreed, this year nothing could be expected. But with all the lessons from this year, becoming a decent C1 squad will be possible. It is a save tought, and it is all about the attitude of board, club and village.

Karl Heinz Riedle

However the coaching staff would not hear it. Of course not, tell this once to a player and it felt as surrender with a white flag before a ball has been touched. Good it would be difficult, but did not last year prove that everything is possible. Rossi and his staff would fight bravely to stay in the serie B. To make this ambition serious, a very rare oldie joined the club, German ex-international Karl Heinz Riedle. Riedle hanged his booths under a tree and would like to be a scout. We asked him for some part-time work beside his normal job. Every year he will hunt for 8 till 10 weeks at young talents in Italy. Just to sign more hot prospects and young flexible players. The experience till now is very good with the youngsters. However also something became clear that some talents did not make it, or very good players could not make the step to a higher level. This makes clear that a yearly incoming stream of talent will be needed.

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Season 2005/2006 Entering a major league (part 1)

The Cupstages: not clear if we are ready for the serie B

The Italian season starts always with cup-stages. Actually Italy deals with 2 cups, the Serie C cup, or the 'little cup' and the main cup, Coppa d'Italia. In the Coppa d'Italia the hors concours, the best Serie A squads will not appear in the first cupstages.

For minor serie B squad the cupstages has to be finished at a number 1 spot before dreaming about doubles against the great ones. Juve and Inter are the favorites to dream about, clubs for the common with fans allover Italy. AC Milan is about capital, not really from the common. Lazio and AS Roma are capitol affairs, where especially AS Roma is the team to hate if you are not from Rome. All those clubs bring in huge gatefee moneys on awaygames (Remember any cupfee has to be shared). Attendances from 30.000 up to 70.000 garantueed big money especially for those serie B squads who can not raise to the commercial circus of the serie A. So for every club coming trough the cupstages is important, in sportive view and moneywise.

Our this year cupstages were strange. We managed, with dozens of luck to win a thrilling game at serie A squad Empoli with the remarkable score of 4-3. But in the following game,serie B midtable Salernitana took a simple 3-0 victory. While Empoli won over Salernitana, we had to live with a draw against the other newcoming team Venezia. A pity, knowing we crushed them easy some months ago. A win would lead to qualification for the next cupround. At the endtable, the qualifier was as usual the serie A squad, Empoli. It is fair to announce this is common in Italian cup-stages. Teams drop points and in the end the Serie A squad calculated the best, by taking just enough points to qualify. And we still do not know much, winning over a serie A sqaud and being changeless against a midtable serie B team.

Even a long series of testmatches before the cupstages did not make us wiser what could be expected. Serie A and B teams refused to play testmatches, just as many small UEFA cup contenders all over Europe. What was left was a serie of 6 testgames against lower division teams. The tests fit well but did not brought any clearity. unfortanately the first leaguematch won't do neigther. Another serious regulation candidate would visit Romeo Menti for kick off, Ternana. Starting with a 1-0 victory, halfway september we still did not know anything about what could be expected in the Serie B.

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Season 2005/2006 Entering a major league (part 2)

Even struggling regulation seems faraway

Losing an awaygame at Palermo (4-0) was no drama, but the next awaygame against Bari was. In the first minutes of the game Montichiari lost their young and promising playmaker Alfano on a injury. Again! After half an hour another injury came in while inbetween our keeper was send off with a red card. 10 man at the pitch, all subs used and the game was not ours. After 90 minutes, Bari ended their finishing training with half a dozen of goals. Bari-Montichiari 6-0. To make things worse, Alfano picked up a serious injury. As known, it is calculated to miss him due to injuries. A heavy knee-injury would last 8 months and his season seems to be over. That was not meant with some more missings. 0-4, 0-6, It was clear by now, this season would bring hopeless awaygames. Even a fair regulation-struggle seems far away, with the knowlegde that every squad needs to pick some points away.

Playing Montichiari home? 3 points security!

Awaygames did not fit with Montichiari. Again! Previous season with enough away wins was an incident. We had to wait till 11 december before the first and till now final away-victory was ours. 0-3 at the small side of Cosenza. Montichiari turned into the ugly duck of the serie B. Playing at home to us, turned into security of 3 points.

How else about Romeo Menti. Lots of teams did not take Montichiari serious and arrival at Romeo Menti made them laugh. Sometimes even their trainingscomplex looked more professional as our stadium. Only with the opponents prepared for another easy one, we did fought for every change to took the points. The fanatic crowd was our 12th man just as the bar near the pitch motivated alot.Something as it would not feel well to come out from the dressing room after a defeat. Where in previous years a home-lose was very rare, it became now more regular to feel sad. However this does not mean we did not give it a try.

Serie C1 awaiting

After 36 games, we could count our blessings. 1 away-victory at Cosenza, 1 boring 0-0 draw away at Lecce. And 11 out of 18 victories at Romeo Menti. At home it was not too bad with a trackrecord which was decent enough, even in the serie B. Facing a 5 points gap with the first non-regulation-spot, the serie C1 was awaiting, just as we know at fore hand.

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Season 2005/2006 Entering a major league (part 3)

Youth improvements

Looking at the squad, it was fair to notice the youngsters took their advantage to play at this level. They learned far more as could be the case in any youth team. A nice experience. Sadly our midfield anchorman Menassi could not improve in the manner our youth did. Without too much serious alternatives, he still was a teamregular, but an average rating of 6- was not that of an anchor man. Apart from that he could not set a game to his hand or even combat at the midfield, most of the time he lost any command and control there.

Positive was the way our frontline worked. Not scoring as much as last year but the three strikers for 2 positions counts 25 together. This could be called the only average in this heavy and minor season. So it is good compared with the team, which in whole was about operating above limits. At a total of 30 teamgoals, those 25 had some glance. Venturi appeared in the Serie B goalscoring top 10, with 12 now. The only succes of this season, a very fringe succes.

One day we will face the serie B again

Our next season will be promising. This one is gone. 2 games to go. A homedefeat against in round #35 sealed our faith. In a run to achieve promotion, Genua took a professional 1-2 win.

Anyway our squad improved a little, after the winterbreak most defeats were tight,even in awaygames. Every team has to give the full 100% against us. Good our awaygames were a 3 points security for the opponents, as said. But those teams taught we should be nutters at our own Romeo Menti, could expect a long and dull bustrip, with leaving the full 3 points in Montichiari.

So with a gap of 5 points to a save spot and 2 matches to go -including an awaygame - our faith has been sealed. Mario Rossi can count his blessing on a good learning year for his young and promising squad. If the youth kept up improving this way, there would be a day we will face the serie B again. And be sure, with a stronger and more competitive squad as this year. The white flag waved over Romeo Menti. Surrender!

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Thank you bjorn for support, so needed at this stage.I apriciate your kind word very much

Season 2005/2006 Entering a major league (part 4)

With the white flag waving now, Mario could continue his Serie B journey in relaxed manner. The next awaygame was promising. Not caused by an expected result, only by the destination. Como is awaiting. The last trip and the beautiful lake Como, an Italian holiday-evergreen, is in reach. Supporters and Board found theirselves in an attempt to say bye bye Serie B in a nice way.

A 4-day camping trip on the last awaygame

A 4 day-camping trip to lake Como was organized. Just for the fun and the first team should also be part of it. 4 days of fun and Silent Bob, loyal as ever on the camping. Bob, our english fellow was not used to campings nor cooking. So friday-evening was to laugh about. Squad youngster Renzoni, a cook as we know, in an attempt to cook a meal for the team with aassistance of non-talkinghead Silent Bob. Black burned tomato's , cold spaghetti. Blame Bob! an icecold desert, Blame Bob! Lucky enough Bob has knowlegde of strong alcoholic stuff, like whisk(e)y, port or even grappa. Singing along by a small woodfire was very good for the spirit and coming close together with our most loyal supporters. Wellneeded after this suffering season. Very good to see the squad was complete, including Maurizio Alfano, who made some minutes in previous to matches. Fine that everyone could joy this funny weekend.

Whatever was the reason, the good spirit of Montichiari or the nothing to play for attitude from a save midtabling Como, the game brought a major surprise. It was tight, as usual last months, but very fine too see Venturi hitting the net twice in first half. A late goal from Sarli did not matter anyhow, just as a Como Goal. The second away win was there. 3-1 at Como. At least we can say bye bye with an away-win, significant for our improvement this year. If the complete season was played this way and on the level we reached now, the season could look a bit better; but still fringe enough to battle regulation. Could be, indeed. To the surprise of anyone, the Rossi boys still were not regulated officially. Raising from spot 19 to spot 17 on the table made the suffering a bit less, stll 2 points behind.

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Season 2005/2006 Entering a major league (part 5)

final matchday coming: 2 points behind

Nothing to worry about. Montichiari had their faith not in own hands, however not really willing to survive the Serie B. The gap with save spot 16 was still 2 points. And the number 16 just need to draw their homegame to leave us behind. With almost everything decided on the table, and our surrender, we did not hope and did not even want to.

Teams playing the compitition out, with some experiments in their squad. It is just about more Como-like attitudes. Nothing to win just playing out the season.That is what we will do today. Why hoping on the sporting attitude, to create a sort of houdini escape? We surrendered already. This year we were not good enough and it could not be expected for next year.

Regulation would suit. Besides that,our opponent is Reggiana. Last year and this years football lessons from this team, both 4-0 at Reggiana, assured it will be difficult enough to take a draw already. After a quick start, Bonomi heads 1-0 within the minute, the game was locked. 89 dull minutes followed.

Not exactly what Rossi hoped for

We could not make any impact in a fancy fantasy-setting and Reggiana seemed to be very tired from a long season. The minutes counted away, just as that other game remained 0-0 halfways. Anyhow nor Rossi did look at it, nor more as 2.400 visitors of Romeo Menti. Celebrating a tight 1-0 win, when the message came this result could be placed near a 2-0 defeat of the number 16. Damn! Montichiari reached spot 16, and saved another year in the serie B. Not exactly what Rossi hoped for. From sportive point of view it was good.However the staff hoped for a regulation, opening the way to make the team stronger on an easier platform. The raise from serie C2 tot serie B in two seasons was too quick. Now another year serie B must be faced; another poor year. Full of risk to break all sorts of confidence to far below zero.

This season showed how difficult it would be to give a small contribution to this league. 7 points in 19 awaysgames tells the story of this season.

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Season 2005/2006 Entering a major league (part 6)

Dark clouds above Romeo Menti

Another year of struggling will come. Should we be lucky or not. Some years in the serie C1 will garantuee playing in the first half of the league table. Now we have to face another and more difficult serie B season. Not as fresh newcoming anymore. Now with the knowlegde that our anchor midfielder sunk this season to a disappointing level, could not handle serie B possibly. And still not sure if our new anchorman,on loan-defender De Haan, will come back.

The serie B does not give time to build a new squad, which could be easier after a regulation. The pressure is up to Rossi now, but it is disappointing. Nothing to win and the foresight that an Anchorman is missing. It would be tougher as this year. With this knowlegde and also that not many players like a transfer to a small side as Montichiari, it is very difficult to improve the squad on short terms. Especially with the small wagefunds and the small financial foundation. Sure noticed is that the young players showing their willingness. But improvement is a matter of long time, this season has learned. Any major improvement could not be made in one season. Montichiari learned that it is not ready for the serie B and has to face this competition again. Dark clouds appeared above Romeo Menti. The foresight of Serie B football could be fine but not with this knowlegde.

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Facts and figures season 2005/2006

Serie B

ranking : 16th

points : 38-43 points (34-71).

average attendance 2.412 (capa. 2.500)

topscorer : Maurizio Venturi 18, (league 14)

assist: Maurizio Venturi, 9

man of the season: Maurizio Venturi

Player in the spotlights: Jussi Kujala (Finland)

After some good jobs on loandeals, Montichiari could contract attacking midfielder Jussi Kujula in the summer of 2005. Jussi's idol is Jari Litmanen, and like this famous finnish player Jusi is an attacking midfielder. He could be used at the left, right or as centre midfielder or even as instant fix striker. He could not made it at Ajax, but he was a great signing. His fluent balltouch is a joy to see, just as the way he inspires other players on the training-stages. Anyhow he is decent enough to cover his major weakness, the lack of speed. Within the years he lost due to that, his spot in the core eleven; but never lost his importance for the club. Wether it was as in the core eleven, like season 2005-2006, or as regular reserve. He was willing to help the youngsters at any time; his experience at the famous Ajax-youth acedemy made him the ideal 'coach' amongst the footballers. Thank you Jussi.

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Season 2006/2007 the art of defense (part 1)

Some times the development of a season is mainly written in previous season. We do know now that Rossi prefered to improve his squad in the division C1, with more equal opponents. Just running this season decent and finally next year trying to reach the serie B again. Tragically this went wrong and Montichiari has to face the -sometimes by far- too strong opponents in the serie B for another year with his youth squad. Young minds can be fragile, can give up easily.

This year the youth acedemy did not bring in any youngster ready for first team football. Under the dark clouds of last season, this was the first message in the new season and an unlikely one.

Previous defenseleader prefered a season without club above Montichiari

The second unlikely thing deals about Micheal de Haan. On loan he leads our defense for two season as well. After making himself impossible at Ajax last season, mainly the cause of the last year loaning, he runs indeed out of contract and could be picked up on a 'Bosman'. However it became more clear why he was troubled with Ajax, Mister De Haan demanded just 4x times the highest salaryfee we paid. apart from the fact we could not pay it: 400.000 euro per season, for 5 years including a 25% salaryrise. A straight demand, his agent told that due to the fact he is a Bosman he could ask more and besides that he is worth it. The problem is our squad could not do it without him and this 'gangster' knews it. A month of talking follows but it did not succeed in a lower demand. Oh no, Mister De Haan even found it worth to wait.

At the end of june, it was clear we could not get him and predicted our defense was without a leader. A drama, just once more feeded by the fact that De Haan would not appear on any pitch this season. It must be said, he was straight. If no club would agree with his demands, he won't play.

One centre defender left

To make things worse and dark clouds turn darker, our back-up defenders arranged transfer-intrest. Knewing the fact they were no regulars, Rossi would not stop them if they would like to go. And so it happend that Marco Trufelli and Daniel Visintin, two promising signings from 3 years ago, left the building without taking their promise. To make it bitter, the only serious contender in the reserves, Alfredo Bendarocchi, also left the club on a free transfer, feed by only some duties as sub last years. All 3 left to lower division teams. So when the smoke faded away, only 1 centre defender was left; the promising mandefender Maurizio Bocchi. With his 18 years very young and last year made clear he was not ready to lead the defend, despite his performance, somewhere between average and could be promising.

Incoming (panic) transfers

With scouts who did not found any serious alternative -except a gently saying "No Sorry" oldie called Paolo Maldini- a panic hunt started. No Italian defender would come, included some serie C talents from Italy's under 21 army. The focus goes abroad.

Nichlas Andersson, a 21 year old centre defender from Swedish lower division team FC Hacken came for the reasonable transferfee of 40k. As member of the Swedish under 21's, it could only be hoped that he will take the step to the serie B. Andersson was also a mandefender, so with Bocchi and Andersson as both mandefenders in our centre, the football amount there was zero. A tricky foresight, with the attacking 4-4-2 of Montichiari demanding at least 1 defender with footballing qualities.

The other transfer was Stefano Ricchi (22), a defensive midfielder, picked up by Tempio for the 30k. Maybe he could play defender as well, but he was mainly coming as alternative for the last year dissapointing supporters favorite Roberto Menassi. Just picked up with the hope he could grow to a better midfield anchormen as Menassi; with his 28 years any improve could not be expected.

No defenseleader

So Montichiari started the season without a defenseleader, with two youngster would had not proven so much yet and with not much security about the midfield. Besides the last years so disappointing Menassi, Alfano had to deal with his very fragile body and Paolo Dini did not also get a decent contribution managed as well. Placing Kujala on the centre midfield was an alternative, with youngster Orlando as upcoming right midfielder. To be honest Orlando performed within expectations to him, only he did not really showed he was ready as attacking midfielder.

One of the testmatches, again with lower division sides, was a bad sign for this season. Treviso crushed us at Romeo Menti with 3-1, made clear all the mentioned weak spots in our team. Our defense and midfield did not show great, just as in the other testmatches, but there the results could masque this. This year's squad was weaker as last years one. It did worry Mario Rossi, remembering the fringe 7 points stolen on away games.

A frustrated Rossi

This season has to be feared. With last years almost regulation this was not the part of Mario's long term path. A regulation this year would mean a delay for most likely 2 or 3 years to appear coming season or one year later in the serie B. So very important for improvement to stay in the serie B. The board however was as relaxed as always. Still reacting that every year above the serie D was a bonus. For some years this fitted. Backed with a promising youth acedemy it stucks Mario. Yes, he showed ambition here despite the club already was satisfied. Lucky enough for Montichiari no club showed interest in Rossi, unlike previous years when Rossi was hot for serie C clubs. Rossi stayed loyal to Montichiari in his dream to show ambition here. Knowing this club gave him the ability to build up some things right from out of nowhere. However this season has nothing to deal with being ambitious; even a struggle to survive was out of sight. Rossi was frustrated but lacking a good name as manager and any alternative to leave; he had to stay. Otherwise his days in Italian football would be over.

Getting back to the unemployement office? No, never. Mario was glad to have a job. Good it did not fit perfect this moment, but it is far better as being unemployed. Anyhow which compagny or school would like to contract an ex-football manager. managers presumed to know everything better and mostly not the most smartest on the world, mainly lacking any form of healthy overview. Mario Rossi is not a Capello, Sacchi or Trappatoni. Leaving Montichiari now could mean exchange football for a career as frustrated ex-coach (a.ka. the flip-side). After years of running in luck, Rossi has to deal with tough strugglings.

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Season 2006/2007 the art of defense (part 2)

The cupstages were not ours, like last year. Two heavy defeats was a weak start and showed again the enormous weakness of our defense. Hopefully new-bought Andersson could improve, his appearance till now made only wonder how he manage to reach the Swedish under 21. Lucky enough the league start was promising. Freshly regulated Siena visited Romeo Menti and it must be said, a hard working Montichiari deserved the tight 1-0 Victory. Even the defense looked okay. Only one week later the same players showed again why Rossi was so afraid for this second year in the serie B. Ancona could wonder after the game if we had played with a defense. A stunning 5-0.

Lucky enough the upcoming game was at home and the public knew how much we needed supporter. The demand for tickets was above the capacity of the stadium. for the first time ever, all tickets were sold. 2.500 saw a nailbiting and tense game with Ternana. Ternana could be spotted in the same edge as us. Both we were the major regulation candidates last year but for some reason both were here again in the serie B. Venturi, Sarli and sub Bonomi made clear that our strikers could level the serie B. Final score 3-1 after a long period of tense at 1-1.

3 games played and already six points in the pocket. The table did not express any of Rossi's concerns.

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Season 2006/2007 the art of defense (part 3)

Unbeaten in November

The first half of the season showed that at home the team picked up the points when it could. Although several stronger teams grabbed the 3 points from Romeo Menti. Our home was no longer the castle from some years ago. Any decent squad could win here. Surprisingly we grabbed also some points on awaygames, with 3 draws; one already on matchday #3 and the other 2, including a 2-2 at Empoli, in november. November was full of hope, by staying unbeaten these month.

Maybe the squad improved really compared with last year and was the team not as weak as predicted. Good, no decent or good game played till now but the results garantueed a low midtable position. With an injuries of one of our main goalscorers, Venturi the tide turned.

Venturi was out for months and could not be expected back till the final stages of this season, Now with Sarli and Bonomi our frontline was still more as decent but nothing had to happen before the problems also came in on the best side of our squad. Grabbing the points on some Romeo menti games, this kind of accidental troubles came in mid januari, when also Sarli knocked out on injury.

It has to be said that the goalkeeper (Vecchi) already took his chance with some solid performances, but 2 centre defenders in front of him declined their form weekly. Once Vecchi would lose his great shape and the backline in front of him did not point out any good for the future.

Black months

Once the januarytransfer window was closed, the team collapsed. Without the so feared attacking couple Sarli/Venturi, a huge crisis started on februari 11 with a tigh away defeat at Calgiari (1-0). Week after week, defeat after defeat, with as highlight the game of 18 march. Mediocre Catania at their finest hour. The counter did stop at 9, without any chance for us.

Catania - Montichiari 9-0. Till date a negative record for Montichiari, a remark of this dark season.

This heavy defeat was not an incident! 1-6, 0-5, 1-7, 0-4 showed that our defense collapsed. Rossi imagined defense troubles but even this was far beyond his darkest doom expectations. To make it worse, there was no alternative for the now playing defense, and although Rossi tried to change as much as possible, the serie continued. By the start of april, star-player Cossimo Sarli returned but even his appearance could not break the negative circle. After march, april ended with heavy defeat after heavy defeat.

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Season 2006/2007 the art of defense (part 4)

It started to rain, heavier and heavier

Regulation was not the problem, but this was beyond everything. Suffering heavy loses since February. Not ending, now by the end of april! Such a negative record has to be broken. Our moral was totally ruined. Something must happen otherwise coming season could be feared as well. The poor performing defense was the sign to send the scouts beyond the pitches all over the country. Especially newcoming Andersson was to blame, he could not lead the defense and even performing on this level was above his abilities. That was a pity despite his contribution to the swedish under 21 team; he could not make it here. Also youngster Bocchi appeared poor compared with his previous debute-season. Even our so promising back Rosi had a defensive off season. Bocchi and Rosi,two indices that our defense struggles this year. compared with last season, it was easy to figure out why. Why? As predicted before the season start, our defense missed a leader.

Once the other teams noticed our weakness, our team turned to fix any opponent problem with goalscoring or negative goal-balances at the table. The dark clouds hanging over Montichiari this season, started to rain, heavier and heavier.

Too Rossi's luck, scout KH-Riedle came back with 2 free signings. Vincenzo Pauloni, a 17 year old centre defender, with abilities to play football; using his left foot. His stats seems to be not great, but does it matter in this heavy rain? Another one was Salvatore Maccarone(17), also a cente defender, including the ability to play at as defending centre midfielder. Like Pauloni he has some talent for his age. Both were very welcome now. Maybe their appearance could sort in a shock-effect. Besides that Venturi became fit and Alfano also came back from a minor injury.

Another new record and breaking the spell

On 6 may 2007 we reached a dark and rainy record which also holds till date, defeat 11 in row.

Because it was an awaygame - Montichiari till now collected just a fringe number of 3 draws away - Rossi wisely decide to give the suffering team their last chance. Well they did not take it this 6th of may. Deadwood FC needs a shock.

What is a better deal to do so while hosting proud tableleader Genua. If the team could fix the result so needed to get some confidence back, it was this game. With the return of Venturi and Alfano, the team included two debutes. Maccarone on the midfield, instead of this season very disappointing Menassi; our former anchor could not handle the serie B level. And Pauloni coupled at Bocchi; last year sided by a real leader was good enough to prefer him far above mistake Andersson. A win or draw against the tableleader will increase confidence above zero. How hard it will be, it has to be done for the future of the club.

Shock effect

With 4 replacements compared with last weeks losing squad, the team started unused to eachother but freshly against Genua. Pauloni impressed on a very solid debute and Maccarone worked more as hard. Alfano showed again his fantastic abilities as playmaker.

Genua ready to take up 3 points suffered some more resistance as it would like. They took the lead halfway, with a tight 1-2. But 45 minutes of football already made clear that our squad differs from last week 11 in row defeats-team. Just after the break, Paoloni headed a corner, 2-2. What an impressive debute. The crowd showed for the first time this year being a real 12th man. Shouting and singing inspired not the give up. a 2-2 draw against Genua would be great. But it became heroic when Alfano made subtile assist for a rushing Venturi, Rushing throw the defense, he lanced a bomb from 25 meters. His trademark ended in the net. 3-2! 20 minutes to go.. A real good Genua tried what it could but the final score remaind the same. 13 may 2007, a heroic day in the pages of Montichiari. The spell was broken. Finally after 3 months we show we could win a game.

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Season 2006/2007 the art of defense (part 5)

Mission possible

With matchday #36 now coming up, Montichiari was still not regulated. Last years final program was a blueprint for this one. ranked 18, Despite 3 away draws and only 32 points, Montichiari was still not regulated. While last year a regulation was wished, it was now about reaching a save spot.

Matchday #36 was the last away game and ended in a tight defeat. Unlike the previous months, the team was alive, promising, at least trying. A season with a fringe 3 points on awaygames; far weaker as last years weak performance. But after already regulated Crotone (matchday #37) is a real final in foresight; facing the number 16, direct competitor Bari. On matchday 37 we could close the gap to 2 points, as long as Bari would lose. With their game scheduled in Genua, where Genua could take the title for their homecrowd, this must be mission possible.

[/b]Matchday #37[/b] did not include any surprises, as far as our 2-1 win over Crotone could not be called so. With Bari on the losing side, it became clear the last matchday #38 included that real final.

Matchday #38 scheduled Montichiari vs Bari: 2 teams fighting out who would be the 4th regulator. Bari, 16th with 37 points and Montichiari 17th with 35 points. Montichiari in a real need to reach a save spot, to secure the long term ambitions of Rossi. Any heroic game can be described with many words. Even I did it once in a while in this story. But the - since Genua, not changed - squad did win their tense final. After 90 nailbiting minutes, with 2 teams fighting for their last chance, a 2-1 victory over Bari was enough. With last season as blueprint, Montichiari saved their bags on the last matchday, again.

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Season 2006/2007 the art of defense (part 6)

The after season brought another surprise. Our promising striker Maurizio Venturi recieved the best award that a youngster could have. He was included in the Italian under 21 squad and played 3 youth interlands in june. For the first time in the history, Montichiari had a member of the Squarda Azurri; Although it was the junior version, it was and is something to be proud of. Also a tribute to the club, raising from serie D to serie B in several year. Surprisingly the supporters did not vote him again as their player of the year. Impressed by the talents of the other promising target man, they credited Bonomi.

The future will be brighter

Facing the figures show how poor the season was, with a serie of negative records:

- 95 goals against, 24 more as last year!!!

- 11 (heavy) defeats in row

- a 9-0 defeat against Catania.

- an awaybalance with only 3 points; 3 draws (and 16 defeats)

The squad suffered a very weak centedefenseblock. Count some months lasting injuries to keyplayers and figure out the weakest season till now. Compare 38 points with last years 42. However there was light at the end of the tunnel. the 53 goals scored, was a major improvement compared with last years 34.

Venturi scored 14 times in 22 games, Sarli 12x and with an amazing increase from 1 to 12 assist (Bonomi hitted the net 10 times, and Kujala (7) plus back Rosi (5) took their goals). Anyhow with the departure from Menassi out of the core 11, Sarli is the last man standing from the orginal core 11 at the start of this story. Not bad considering we tought those days he had his best days behind him; the truth is the best has yet to come.

Late april pick ups Paoloni and Maccarone act surprisingly well, already seems to bring in more defensive balance in the team. And lets not forget the 35 points we grabbed at Romeo Menti, one more as last year. This year we lost 6 games at home, last year 7. Even in this very weak season it remained hard to beat us at home.

Next season will be a season of hope. Montichiari survived the darkest clouds, and even heavy rain. The future will be brighter.

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Facts and figures season 2006/2007

Serie B

ranking : 16th

points : 38-38 points (53-95).

average attendance 2.408 (capa. 2.500)

topscorer : Maurizio Venturi 14, (league 14)

assist: Cossimo Sarli, 12

man of the season: Gianluca Bonomi

Player in spotlight: no one?

no one, or should we mention Nichlas Andersson. What a mistake. Mainly responsible for 95 goals against. But it is not fair to blame him, he was a panic transfer. Lacking alternatives to him, he was thrown for the lions and died. Not the leader we hoped for. Now transferlisted this is an affair to blame for players and coaching staff. Under normal conditions, it would never happen that a promising player get burned down till the ground. Sorry Nichlas!

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Season 2007/2008 A Season of hope (part 1)

Who had ever thought that Montichiari could survive two years in the Serie B? Once Mario Rossi started at the club, the proposal was to have one year of fun in the series C2, before the series D became regular. Before Rossi entered Romeo Menti, the club succeed in only 3 years serie C2 since 1928. And now a raise to the serie B in 3 years time, far above its regular serie D level.

Two lessons

Look now, 5 years after the start of Rossi, the third year in the serie B is awaiting. Without any huge transfer, the total transferamount over 5 year is below 250.000 euro, the team progressed to where it is till date. In Rossi's plans it was great to be in the Serie B this year. After 2 very fearful years the time will come now to perform as a serious lower midtabler. The very young squad, average age below 22 yrs, promised to improve for it self. Even with the dark last season in mind, this promise did not change.

Rossi had learned 2 lessons. 1.A transfer not always had a positive impact, Last years Andersson showed a transfer could also turn negative on the team. 2. the youth acedemy could not deliver every year one or more players worthwhile to try.

Easy to see that No transfers were scheduled.

Experience? from the team itself!

Experience for this years team would come from the team itself. With 2 serie B seasons under the belt, most players knew by now what it is all about. It is sad to see that the oldest squad member, Menassi (29) could not make it in the serie B. In his 11th season at Montichiari he turned to a back up for the midfield. He lacked the skills to have an impact at this level. He still is a supporters favorite and with his history at the club, still of worth for the teamspirit. Ideal to have him on the bench and see him correcting youngster laughing about the minor series C2 and C1. Sometimes a team-captain is a regular non-player.

Besides that Youngster and fresh Italy under 21 member Venturi scored exactly 75 goals now in his career and youngster Rosi has now much more as 100 offical matches under his belt. Even Orlando and Alfano took more as 50 games. That is a lot of experience for our own under-21 bunch, alreadycoming close to the clubrecord currently hold by Menassi (224 games).

Most contracts get renewed

Most contracts of the core-11 gets renewed; All the prospects at the first team gets more serious contracts. Besides that, the salaryrange became 60.000 till 150.000 euro. For most players a major salary-raise. They deserved it by fixing a 3th year running in the serie B. For the players a great profit but the range was by far the lowest of the league, a figure usual to Montichiari. Anyhow finances became not in danger with more as 2 milion cash.

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Season 2007/2008 A Season of hope (part 2)

16 july 2007 a phonecall

The new season start today. Mario Rossi entered bar 1928, still running as club office, for a set of cappucino on this early and beautiful summer morning. The sun shines and Rossi has great sence for this season. Our bartender had also just like the few visitors this early morning. The field seems to be in perfect condition, the bar was still the same. What a great day to start!

9 o'clock in the morning, the phone rings at our favorite bar. "pronto?", "si, tu sei?". " Sono Toni, buongiorno". "Toni, quelcosa Toni?". The barman picked up the phone and a guy named himself Toni on the line, asking for Mario Rossi, speaking not the most fluent form of Italian. What kind of journalist would it be as the bartender tried to serve this Toni to the PR-office of the club. "Call them..." "No! Obodai here". The bartender changed mind, not forgotten that heroic goal from some season ago. "hey Obodai, my friend, how is life!" An animated conversation started. Of course Obodai had not forgotten Montichiari and the bar and it was very fine for him to speak the bartender after some years, an icon for the club in his eyes.

"May i take my football kit with me?"

Finally after half an hour Rossi gets Obodai on the phone, Call it an expensive international call. Obodai calling from his home-land Ghana. Fine that he shows interest. "Toni, you have to visit us this season, we would like your support, you are always welcom". "may i take my football kit with me?". "You may what, what does it means"?. Slowly it became clear. Obodai, once a hot prospect for Ajax, had not made it. Fighting to enter the first squad, but not coming further as a decent loan season here and only a fringe number of 17 offical matches in Ajax first team. Wisely he decided his future was not in Amsterdam anymore. His contract expired this summer and sad enough no club showed interest. Now aged 24, it was a bit to early to hang the boots in a tree or to return Ghana football. in his 7 ajax-years, he liked his Italian loan year as period of regular football.

If he could come to Montichiari, just for some trainingsexperience. Rossi was pleased, very pleased at this proposal. Rossi did not forgot his combat skills and realized his difficulties to get a decent midfieldplayer. At what price would he play here, could he be signed. Rossi calculated. This with the knowlegde that Montichairi never ever could afford his last salaryfee at Ajax, a little 350.000 euro....

4 days later, with Obodai already at Montichiari, the great transfer of this season was fixed. Newspaper 'Corriere della serra' mentioned "Montichiari signed former Ajax player Anthony Obodai (24) at a free transfer. For the coming 4 seasons he will join the small serie B squad in the hope to get his pleasure back by playing regular football. Obodai did accept a far lower fee as he is used to be, with the words 'I like to come here, playing regular football is prior to money.". (salaryfee 80.000 a year, position DM RC)

This was our only transfer and a very good one. Lacking a decent combatter at the midfield, this was a major add to the squad. Obodai always going in the frontlinie for combats. Exactly what is need for a young team struggling regulation.

This summer did Tiziano Muzziante left the pitch. He could not make it here and Fucchechio bid 30k to offer him a new chance. Andersson found himself on the transferlist and in the reservesquad, banned from first team football

The season started as usual with some transfers. Of course in the montichiairi-manner, so it dealt not about spending money

Scout Riedle adviced beside youngster Luca Paoletti (17) to sign Victore Messina (18), a defensive midfielder (DMC). Welcome due to the small number of midfielder in the squad.

A promising goalkeeper

2 days before cupmatch 1, A very promising keeper was lifted from our youth department; Guiseppe 'Beppe" Vecchi (19). This guy had an almost perfect ability to control balls, seems to be very good in potential, in fact did already look better as the keepers we had. Now he entered the first team, with already some promising games under his belt. This decision was made, because the other keepers did not satisfy last season and in the testseries. Call it gambling but under those circumstances, this youngster will be given the chance for this season.

How to deal 4 young centre defenders?

The youth acedemy brought one very promising centre defender, Luca Paoletti (17) (DLC).

Rossi discussed with his assistant Stefano Agrestti about the 4 very young and promising centre defenders in the squad, all aged under 20. Which one should play and who needed the time to improve skills. Agressti made his statement: "You want a Jaap Stam or a Richard van der Meer". "Richard who?" replied Rossi.

Our walking football encyclopedia Agressti started to tell. " Van der Meer was once, one of the most promising defenders in Dutch football. Aged 21 he had won 2 cups, 1 championship , picked up the Orange shirt and played one UEFA-cup final with his club AZ'67. This guy was very promising and the Dutch hope for the eighties. However aged 22 he resigned football; lacked inspiration, burned out, he achieved already everything. At the age of 22 Jaap Stam still played in the Dutch amateur-leagues, not invited by any club to join them. Jaap seemed to lack skills once, but can be compared with a flower. A flower starts under the ground, grow slow and with patience it will become beautiful. Now we know his history. started at very mediocre Zwolle, he climbed via some clubs to PSV. Finally became a legend at Man. United, Lazio and AC Milan. Now with his carreer ending, this late starter is one of the legends of nowadays football". Agresti's point was clear. Some players needs a long time to devolp skills, others could peak quick and possible end early.

Looking at the squad, he suggested Bocchi (19) peaked already very young, now aged 19 he already had some seasons under his belt. Last april's signing Maccarone (17) could be a fine defender, but simply lacks age and games to pick it up now. At the midfield he would be a welcome back up as long as he took lots of playing minutes. But most patience has to be taken with the other last april signing, Vincenzo Pauloni (17). He performed promising in the finals of last season but be aware that he will not become a new Van der Meer. He operated at his toes. He has a great talents, but needs the time, just like Jaap Stam once. don't burn him out at his young age. Like Maccarone patience is needed for such youngsters

Rossi interupted, "so our core 11 has only Bocchi in the centre defense ,just like two seasons ago. I am not in for a panic transfer. The club don't need a new Nichlas Andersson.". "Well Mario, trust me. Managing the youth, I know what I am suggesting. Number 2 is Pauletti. Paoletti has some assist, and is a great combatter. How ever it is not a rough diamond like Maccarone or Pauloni. Paoletti is now the best fist choice. He showed his abilities weekly in my youth team last year, but I don't think he will improve much.

See it as a quick fix, a bridge to coming seasons. Maccarone and Pauloni can improve huge and now can target Pauletti and maybe Bocchi as first step to progress. It will motive these 2 newcomers to develop and it will give confidence to our acedemy players to be first choice now. All 4 will not sink this season as Andersson did 2 years ago, the question is how about the future! With youth you have to think long term; unless you want 4 Van der Meer's". A wise lesson from the assistant, who managed the youth acedemy. Pauletti and Bocchi will be the young defense block of our core 11. Maccarone and especially Paoloni needs patience as long term prospects.

For that reason Pauloni gets back to the youth squad. He could play there weekly, mainly a need for improvement, especially for a defender needing defense qulaities and some footballing/attacking qualities.

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Season 2007/2008 A Season of hope (part 3)

A heroic cupstart at Fiorentina!

A serie of 4 testmatches in augustmade clear that our squad was more promising as last year. 4 wins including a 3-0 over serie B contender Empoli. Promising and pretty luggage for a heavy and very difficult cupmatch to start. Freshly regulated Fiorentina will be our host. 35.000 hopeful supporters to see one of this years title favorites at their first offical homematch this season.

We were not really impressed and started in our normal attacking stance. 35.000 noise makers became silent when we took the field and walked away to a 0-2 after only 29 minutes... 15 months without an offical away win and knocking good old Fiorentina down in half an hour.. What to do now. The team could not really decide; defending or attacking. Our almost dead but so experience opposites smell some blood to become alive again. Just before the halfway whistle they hammered back...1-2. The crowd came alive and doubts came over Rossi. He saw some nerves at the players, normally not the best indication to score more goals, and decide to defend.

Under pressure

A rock solide Montichiari came at the field for the second half, 35.000 whistling supporters welcomed us to 'hell'. Attack after attack from a desperate Fiorentina came in. Rossi was amazed how his team stand them, not believing his eyes. Dead duck Montichiari stands at the brink of a shock victory. Again a corner for Fiorentina, no problem.. still 1-2. The public became silent again; Expecting a walk over at fore hand, the game turned in a deadly fight for a draw. Nothing more nothing less, as out of the blue a long distanceshot hits the net.. 2-2! still a good result to defend with only 20 minutes to go.

we kicked off again to consolidate. Here we go... as the crowd chaunted again..a striker breaks through, rushing with the ball to a free goal. Only a keeper to go. Oh no!! Within 28 seconds the net waved again. It was ours.. 3-2, sadly behind.. The pressure was too much. The public goes wild now. In this pressurecooker called pitch, Rossi decided to gamble. 2 subs came in and tactic changed in 2-4-4 kamikaze.

35.000 nerves in the throat

Experienced Fiorentina became now the fearing squad.

78th minute corner. Venturi shot... Woodwork.

83th minute... Sarli one on one with the keeper, playing him out.. An open goal.. a last sign of pace from a defender, crushing the ball from the line.

85th minute counter Fiorentina.. Woodwork!. 87th minute. Bonomi head deadly hard, again woodwork.. A quick Fiorentina counter followed.. saved.

A game goes from side to side and every chance seems to be deadly.. Nerves in the troats of 35.000 spectators, chaunting so hard that the complete city realized something was going on tonight. What a noise from the adrenaline-filled stadium!

93th minute last corner of Montichiari. Even our keeper appeared now as striker.. A last ferm shot, but it was too late. A spectaculair and heroic game came to an end. The wild public knows how to respond, under a huge applaud two teams left to the dressing rooms.

Television review

"One of the most exciting football games in years has been played tonight. It can not be described if you was not at the pitch. Montichiari visited Fiorentina. Without an away win for almost one and a half year, they nailed the coffin of Fiorentina within half an hour. But the purple fight back from dead to 3-2. From that moment Montichiari took up their last strenght, sets everything on attacking, to fight for a welldeserved draw. Woodwork and a fantastic keeper stopped them, but anyhow who predicted this before should not be taken serious. But it happened in to a wildgoing stadium.", according RAI television after the highlights of the came.

"Lets talk to the trainer, Mister Rossi we did not know that your team was so good? "well it surprised me too. Fiorentina is normally too big for us. Anyhow I am not dissappointed, so proud of my lads. We lost again, that is true. But this is promising for coming year. Now I'll go to my lads, thank you". "Well Thank you Mario and thank you both Montichiari and Fiorentina for such an amazing game. Fiorentina-Montichiari 3-2".

A defeat but a highlight in our history, this is the way a football-game has to be played. And for the first time the club seems to be ready for serie B football. That is what counts. Montichiari found hope, hope so needed to survive this season.

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P.s. this game has not been played for the CLC challange. I started playing in september 2003 when the CLC was not a story challange.

However, lots of cicumstances do not differ from the CLC. two major differences. I only run the Italian leagues. Plus I afford (some) foreign transfers, with the 'knowlegde' that i wish to have at least 8 native italians at the pitch.

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Season 2007/2008 A Season of hope (part 4)

The ball is round

With a solid 4-0 homevictory over Salernitana for the cup, the fist league match was awaiting. For the third time in row, a starter at home with Siena as visitors to temporize the hugely growed hope: 0-2 defeat. What follewed was a fine game away at Vicenza (2-2) - with the first awaypoint, earlier as in previous serie B seasons- and again an awaygame. this time for the last cupround. Travelling to Siena we took revenge for their crush at our home 2 weeks earlier, again 0-2. The first away win in the league since may 2006 was a fact. As the results predict, the ball is round, and nothing could be predicted to us at forehand.

The following homegame to Cosenza made this clear. Again an amazing game, ending in a 3-3 draw. 3 games on the way, only 2 points. Compared with last struggling season a poor start (6 out of 3). However the football was so much better! Even the following away-defeat of 3-0 at Catania felt so; last year those fellows ended at 9-0...

Another day to remember

30 september 2007 became another day to remember. Ancona was crushed at their home with 1-4. We could not only play good awaygames for the cup; but also took 3 points at a leagueperformance. In fact it was only the third ever away win in our serie B history ! So september ended, we could count 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats. As said the ball is round, nohting can be predicted and hope keeps alive!

October starts familiar with a 3-0 away defeat at Luchesse. The following game at october 21 was the start of a serie of 5 games, home and away, without losing: 4 wins and 1 draw. Regulation seemed to be not our main thing! the efforts were more about hope, just for a mediocre midtable finish! Or else said: Montichiari finally becoming a serious serie B squad. One remarkable fact is that at 21 october Venturi found the net 4 times against Cesena to make clear his mission: becoming in the serie B topscorer top 5!

Lacking luck in december

December came in, the days remain shorter and darker and as last year a sort of depression landed at Romeo Menti. 6 defeats in row did not change the drinking behaviour or the fun at Bar 1928, just faded away a part of our huge hope. Nobody feared another long serie of defeats like last year. The december games were not more as lacking any luck at our side. Losing Reggina or Triestina could happen.

In the winterbreak was clear how promising prospect new keeper Vecchi is. A solid half season of goalkeeping in our first team. After years of doubts about goalkeepers, this youngster did grant the qualification "solid" within half a season. 19 years old, a lot to learn, but already able to pick some points for the club. The club can dream about Toldo, Buffon or Pellizolli, just as Vecchi does; but this was promising and fine to watch.


When the days became longer, the first homematch of 2008 was scheduled at 13 january. Not an ordinairy match. Still remembering and proud of the heroic cup-performance of last august, Fiorentina -Placed number 3 at the tables- was coming. With huge feeling for revenge to the match, it turned in 'Sarli-day'. Cossimo hit the net 3 times to secure our 3-0 revenge. With new filled hope, we manage to win the 2 next games also; a serie of 3 wins; a new record for Montichiari in the serie B. So by the end of January the early conclusion of the ball is round, nothing can be predicted was the right one for this season. A season including our start to win awaygames, but also with again some difficult homegames. Regulation was not in sight, just as a finish in the first half of the table was not.

Only one game was targetted to lads now. This season was decent but the pain for last years 9-0 defeat at mediocre Catania was still felt till day. Last september awaygame came to early to took revenge. But now with Catania some places under us in the table, it was now or never. A high motivated Montichiari came at the pitch at sunday 10 february 2008 and it became another day to remember, another golden day in the history of the club. Catania was butched in small pieces, 6-2. That was perfect for the moral. What a revenge!

"The Butcher of Catania"

Besides revenge, Cossimo Sarli became news in the country. What he has done was incredible, by breaking an almost 50 years old record. Cossimo hits the net 6 times; he was not only the fear of Catania's defense for 90 minutes, but also the holder of a new record in the serie B! Since this day, Italy had a new one-day-cult-hero, from now on known as "the butcher of Catania", Cossimo Sarli!

Safe finish

The rest of the season did not matter much. With some away wins or draws, and some mor points collected at Romeo Menti, this season was safe. Maybe it mattered that Venturi did not make it as Topscorer. Even Sarli hitted the net more, after a good second season half from him. 22 league goals were enough to finish 3th in the serie B topscorers ranking.

Sadly enough the public had to wave bye bye to Roberto Menassi. In the last homegame of the season, an emotional crowd saw Menassi picking up his 229 and last game for Montichiari. Their hero who could not make it in the Serie B, could nothing more given as a fair goodbye to and from the supporters. This result did not really matter. Important was to see that squad, club and public could create a fantastic atmosphere to make this a real tribute for a club-hero.

The team finished 14th with 51 points, showing indeed the improvement of the youngsters and the squad as whole. Even Obodai showed the way it goes up. Our frontsoldier collected 8 yellow and 2 red cards, as signals of a frontsoldier always wanting to fight for the points in every game!

More important was that the regulation ghost never entered Romeo Menti. The season was safe! Hope brought us here, as grey but proud number 14. Finally we lost the label "Montichiari at home? 3 points security!". Lots of hope will go to next season. With this improvement, coming year is promising. Fans already dreams of a top-10 finish in 2009! The same fans who voted a super-sub for the second time in row as their Player of the year: Gianluca Bonomi.

The dessert was worth to be mentioned. A friendly at home against the reserves of Barcalona. a fine game, going from side to side with 2 attacking teams ended up in 2-2. After the Game, Mario Rossi found out to his surprise that he was elected 3th, in the Manager of the year Serie B.

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Facts and figures 2007/2008

Serie B

ranking : 14th

points : 38-51 points (59-67).

average attendance 2.428 (capa. 2.500)

topscorer : Cosimo Sarli, 22 (league 22),

assist: Maurizo Venturi, 11

man of the season: Gianluca Bonomi

Topscorer Serie B: 3th Sarli (22)

Manager of the year serie B: 3th Mario Rossi

Player in the spotlights: Maurizo Bocchi

Season 07/08 was the third with Bocchi as constant value in the defence. A classic mandefender, who knows what to do. Pick up the enemies target man and play him out of the game. Nothing more, nothing less. He lacks football qualities but for this task Bocchi is very good. Call it excellent as Bocchi is one of the last of the monicans, one of the last classic mandefenders. In modern football a figure which is rare. And due to the commitment of Montichiari to a more modern system of zonal marking without any mandefender, Bocchi could notbuild up a great carreer. He stopped in 2020, still at Montichiari, but for years as nothing more as supersub. Only in games with an overwhelming attacking stance as opposite, public could joy Bocchi. Ending up the bench nearly 2011,but ever a great value for the club he served for his whole career, Montichiari. Thank you Maurizio.

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Season 2008/2009 Where will it end? (part1)

With an almost unchanged and still young squad Montichiari has at least to step into the midtables this season. Call it dreaming or thinking big for last seasons number 14. Do not forget this still deals about a very young team with minor changes in the complete squad. Only third keeper Lo Basso left and just one youngest made it from the youth department. It was not promising Pauloni, he is given another year to improve but talent Riccardo Cardinale (18) (D/DM RLC). This guy is very welcome at the bench because of his multifunctional attitude at every place in defense or midfield.

The olympic squad: only one serie B player, Maurizio Venturi

The major change to the squad came by surprise. With the olympics coming up the every 4 year hunt for young and talented players started again. 25 promising talents from the serie A made. The one place left came surprisingsly in the hands of a footballer from low midtable runner Montichiari: Maurizio Venturi. Our 21 years old striker with almost 100 goals on his trackrecord. A surprise call up but very well deserved. A very heartwarming salute from the Italian foundation to our youth-work.

On the other hand it will mean, that one of our targetman will miss the start of the season. With the knowlegde that "back up" striker Bonomi succeed in being the supporters favourite Rossi made a clear choice. This season dynamic Bonomi will be the first man and Strong Venturi can take a role as pinchhitter. Which coach would threat a fresh international this way?

Cupstages : a record attendance at Fiorentina

Two days later started the season for Montichiari. A solid 2-0 win at home in cupgame against Lecce sets the way up for a reprise of last year. Fiorentina away. Their supporters has not forgetten last years exciting game. For them the start of a cup-run lasting till the semi finals. Never before were so many people interested in watching a game of Montichiari. 47.852 spectators hoped for a clash a la last year.

After 90 minutes they were not disappointed but the tense was not as high as last year. This time we gave away a halftime 1-0 lead and has to take a 1-2 defeat.

However our bookkeeper was the man with a big smile. 1.100.000 Euro gatefee money let our bankaccount rise to 4 milion Euro (+25%). He could smile but in sportive view it was hard. For the 4th time in row Montichiari will not make it from the cupstages. Despite every time a close finish, the village has to live with this figure.

Montichiari could play finals but could not make any impact in the cup. Again a good played game, again knocked out and again at Fiorentina. This to the frustration of Rossi and his mans. Completed an important striker on 'national' duty in Beijing, this mades the squad really angry. Lets show we are good. Lets crush them all!!! An enormous boost of spirit came in on the away bustrip from this game. Opponents be aware, we will eat you! Of course not really realistic, but it pleasured mananger Rossi. Such a fighting spirit, one of the 'unknown powers of sports' came over the team. Hopefully it will lift the team to improve last years poor seasons start (2 out of 4)

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Season 2008/2009 Where will it end? (part2)

A golden medial for Venturi

The league started wit a defeat at Pescara (0-2) but what happend after that was nothing more as a glorious september month. Venturi scored an important goal for Italy to survive the olympic groupstages. And his mates at home took wins over Vicenza (4-1) and Reggina (4-1) with a nothing meaning cup-win over Cremonese (3-1).

A following draw by Varese (0-0) was dull but the after the game news was incredible. Venturi hitted the net again in olympic semi finals. Italia beats Brazil (4-1) and will go for the first major football-title since 1982. The country did not went complete mad, but the Olympic squad warmed all beating football hearts. Now with a medail secured for Venturi, our lads could celebrate something, despite a dull draw.

The next homegame at Luchesse was a 3-2 victory and the team rushed to spot 3 at the table. A reason to party in bar 1928 but there was a better reason to go drunk. Meanwhile Venturi had a day of glory, with a hattrick he sealed the fate of Germany. More important he took responsibility for a golden olympic medail. Not bad for a supersub to set the olympic final to his hand in 45 minutes. Olympic final: Italy-Germany 3-0 (Venturi 3x).

Bar '1928' turned to a mad place this night. All over Italy the golden medail was celebrated. Just as "that nobody" became talk of the town as surprisingly olympic topscorer. It was our beloved nobody, Maurizio Venturi. When the last player left the bar, the sunrise was visible at a beautiful monday-morning. The village of Montichiari had a golden medail winner on the olympics!

Montichiari topping the table

3 days after this monday morning, Cesenza was awaiting for an awaygame. While Venturi and all the other medailwinners visited the italian president, our team struggled the mondaymorning drinking affairs. However the will to win as tribute to Venturi was great, great enough to secure a memorable game. A 3-1 for the opponents halfways turned to 4-4. The alcohol was now cleared from the legs and the minds. Our high motivated team rushed through. 10 minutes for the whistle Venturi's 'stand-in' Bonomi secured 3 points and the best way to say "welcome home Maurizio": 4-5!

After the game, it became clear how important it all was. Not only for the lads or Venturi. This 28 september 2008, Montichiari became number 1 in the leaguetable!

Montichiari leading the serie B, who could imagine that?

a golden September month lays behind Montichiari. A month which will never be forgotten by any villager.

Where will it end

The party continued the week after with a 5-1 crush over Catania. Including a scoring Venturi, again as sub. The crowd celebrated this goal as their way to thank the italian olympic squad. What an impact can a golden medail make! Italy is a football-madhouse! and yet on another week in the lead of the serie B... Where will this end?

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Season 2008/2009 Where will it end? (part3)


Coming sunday Montichiari will visit Ternana for a serie B game. Normally just worth attention for the fans of both teams. However a golden september month changed all for Montichiari. It started in august when Marcello Lippi picked up the young and promising striker Maurizio Venturi as extra add for the olympic squad. Now with a golden medail , the same Venturi is celebrated as olympic topscorer. It is the world on a strange flip. To make it a real fairytale, his team Montichiari climbed without him, their beloved front-leader, to spot 1 in the serie B. A huge surprise from a club common to struggle regulation.

Venturi was picked up by Lippi as last striker in the hierarchy. It was a political choice to add 1 player from the serie B. Ment to show talents could not only be spotted in the serie A. The very strong Venturi however took his chance. "To me it does not matter if my selection is political or not. Now I will represent my country. If the coach ask me to play, I will do it for my beloved country. we are here with 26 players and be sure all 26 will give the best here".

After an injury-rain over the strikers, Venturi landed at the bench in the second game against Venezuala. It seemed to be the highest he could achieve. However Venturi is a fighter and promised not to rest before he could score goals for Italy. A 14 minutes lasting sub-duty against Venezuala made clear that hugh will is so important. The game was locked at 1-1. Although Venturi did not score in the 14 minutes last for him, he impressed. Working hard, taking the team over a dead point with using his strong body and long rushes as a feared weapon. No wonder that Lippi recognized his potential and declared Venturi pinchhitter number 1. Venturi, the only teammember never played in the serie A, in a crucial role for the Squarda Azurri Juniors. His duties were immediatly needed in the last group-game, A locked Italy could not took the so needed lead in an ultimate attempt to qualify. Venturi came in 30 minutes before the endwhistle. Half an hour later 11 france players hated him collectively. A long distance shot from Venturi demolished the french wall resulting in a 1-0 securing Italy going on and France to go home.

Meanwhile the first team of Montichiari seems to be inspired. Most of the players are young enough to appear in an Olympic squad. Not choicen as olympia's, they let their feet speak. A 4-1 win over Reggina could be mentioned incidentically. But 3 winning games later, including a great 5-1 over Catania, lead to nothing more as the topposition of the serie B. As if the players would prove why they all deserved an olympic ticket. In the words of defender Gianlucca Paulucci "Of course we are proud of Maurizio and he inspires us much. We miss him here at the pitch, all we have to do is giving our best. So when he comes home, he will not enter a world of regulation struggle or grey mediocraty. Anyhow his olympic election feels as a tribute to us all. Can you imagine we will give 200% now. It is more as Maurizio, it also shines over our very young team".

The fairytale lasted over the whole september month. A golden month for Montichiari. After a heroic crush over Brazil, our olympic hero's did win their amazing final with Germany. For the first time with Venturi in the starting line up and everybody knows were it ended. Dazzling and daising defenders after our hero-warrior on his finest hour. Superlatives can be spoken out about just another squad filler growing in one month to a hattrick scoring striker in an olympic final. What about the 4-1 he scored against Brazil in the semi finals. A 20 meter cannonball, only ment to demolish the net as one of the finest goals on this tournament. Golden Maurizio from Montichairi, lead a national team to the first prize since 1982's world cup.

If you said this three months ago , you were pressumed mad. Even in Montichiari, the small villages which adored their football hero's . "euuhmmm as long as they give it a try" according to supporter silent Bob. Those words did not include the so common high predictions as spoken on most clubs. It is the typical relaxed matter of a fine spirit over the team and its supporters. A team always hoping but not demanding to win. Every win is celebrated in their favorite local spot from late sunday afternoon till late sunday evening . A small bar, just besides the small stadium as place to be. Hopefully again tomorrow, meaning another week as proud number 1 in the serie B.

Now coming sunday, the Montichiari-players promised to disappoint no one. "being tableleader means we are the team to hunt at, so we will give all to show it is deserved, not a coincedence" according Keeper Vecchi. Words that predict a fine football-afternoon at Ternana. For brave Ternana is nothing else left as the role of underdog in their own stadium. It is the world on a strange flip. For anyone who would like to see the surprising leaders of ther Serie B in action, all tickets are sold out. No need to worry because RAI television will broadcast a 15 mintues summary in Calcio Italy, sunday evening 21.00 hours.

Gazzetto dello Sport, 18 october 2008

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Season 2008/2009 Where will it end? (part4)

A sunday at Ternana

A beautiful sundayevening sun in Ternana and a full stadium expecting their team to battle with the tableleader. A new sort of pressure for Montichiari, so used to regulation-struggle in the serie B including the stance every win is one. Now the team is the one to beat and is expected to win. The game started with our team playing well, full of confindence. As if the lads where used to this kind of pressure and did not look up from a very defensive opponent. It was Ternana at the counter and Montichiari in a patience attacking stance. Within 15 minutes it was clear that this would not turn in an exciting game, and thinking of many goals for one or both sides seems nothing more as a dream.

After 33 minutes Ternana openend the score on a counter and still nothing to worry about. Our patience attacking stance was difficult for Ternana to handle. But their enthusiastic crowd gave them of course new energy and more confindence. Too much confindence maybe, they started to make mistakes as if they could do everything with Montichairi.

No problem for them to rest at half time at a 1-0, and no problem for Rossi. An oponent making mistakes due to risen confindence will allow some huge chances for us. He asked the lads to stay calm and not try to attack as idiots. "our moments will come, lets take them to score. 45 minutes later was clear how right this vision of Rossi was. After the 1-1 (56 minutes) Ternana collapesed and Montichiari concentrated as well walked away to a 4-1 victory; with 2 goals from -this time supersub-Venturi in the last 20 minutes. Another week topping the table, another week of dreaming. this was a dream-start, far beyond every expectation. The team manage to play a sort of decent attacking football, making the top-spot very justified.

With the feets back at the ground

One week later we could change our dreams of a top-spot for bitter reality. The shock was very huge, because we were beaten at Romeo Menti. Not expected in this form, but an excellent counter-attacking Modena made clear that this time it was our team struggling with overconfidence and making mistakes under pressure. Montichiari-Modena 1-3.

The following 2 games made clear that Montichiari was not ready to take a favourite role. Of course starting as favourite is a big learning proces for this young squad, and lots to learn after defeats against Verona and Ancona. With 3 defeats in row we were midtable again. But at least we have had our finest hour this season and we have learned so much from the huge pressure at favourites. If this team once will achieve in the topranges of the table, it has to deal with that figure. From that foresight, the Ternana-game proved we have abilities. The end will certainly not be the championchip. We have dreamed about it, back in reality, the club found out it will be not this year but hopefully in the future.

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