Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank FM_DaveIncid for all his hard work throughout the campaign of Football Manager. Dave releases monthly updates on his Increase Realism Megapack, which can be found here on the SI Forums, and thanks to him, I have managed to add a further challenge to this save once I begin my summit to the top of Italian football.

As previously mentioned on my Twitter feed, a further shout-out to CharooFM, FM_Burt & YouthIntake for providing quality Italian content this year. It has been a real inspiration to get involved on the Italian Express!

On the 21st of August, Internazionale kicked off their defence of the Serie A with a 4-0 home victory over Genoa. The blue half of Milan flocked the streets, meeting up with friends before the early evening game and made their way to their home – the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

The red half of Milan were preparing for their away day to Genoa on Monday to go head-to-head with the blue half of that city, a little poetic that both clubs from Milan were playing their opposite colours from another city. AC Milan recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sampdoria as they looked to lay down their credentials for the upcoming season.

However, one small club in the heart of Milan could only watch on, dreaming that it could be them playing on Italy’s biggest stage.

Less than 6 kilometres separate the homes of Milan’s giants and their smaller city compatriots, and although there are 7 steps on the pyramid* between the clubs in question, the ambition is there for this club to grow and develop into something truly special.

Formed in 2000, following the acquisition of league rights of the former Atletico Milan, Brera Calcio started to attract publicity due to being the third team in Milan and being in the heart of the city itself. In their inaugural season back in 2000/01, Brera was relegated from Serie D to the Eccellenze but began to put foundations down for the future of the club to strive on and off the park one day.

It was 2001/02 that the club decided to change its philosophy of the club, Brera became an amateur side whilst recording a third-place finish in the Eccellenze division, before finishing 11th in 2002/03 and then 3rd once again in 2003/04. The return to Serie D was always so close, yet just too far for them to grab with both hands. However, the feel-good factor surrounding the club came to a crashing end in 2004/05, when their relegation to Promozione was confirmed, and it got worse with a back-to-back relegation from Promozione to Prima Categoria in 2005/06.

2006/07 was a far more successful season, Brera won their promotion playoff games to take them back to the Promozione division, after finishing 5th in the Prima Categoria – certainly an unexpected promotion given the league position, but a wonderful accomplishment for a team that was made up of 18-20-year-olds. The same group of players then recorded a respectful 10th place finish in their first season back in Promozione in 2007/08. 2008/09 saw the introduction of “il Brera Dei Tifosi” which was the project to involve Brera’s fans in the direct management of the team. Despite this being a resounding success, the footballing aspect of the club could not match the success as they finished dead last in the Promozione, going back down to the Prima Categoria.

Brera then came to a fork in the road with choices to be made surrounding the future of the club. They had just finished 8th in the Prima Categoria, with projects continuously ongoing to support the youth in the Milan centre, and give opportunities to them. However, by the end of the 2009/10 season, Brera decided to stop senior footballing activities to consider brand new opportunities.

Brera then re-emerged in 2012/13 back in the Seconda Categoria with a new vision for the club and attempts to involve the public in the running of the club – creating transparency in the running of an amateur football club. Their first season back looked to end on a high, but ultimately fell just short of promotion with a defeat in the play-off rounds.

Since then, Brera Calcio has flirted with some new ideas, trialling no training and just playing as an example. Some of these ideas worked in their favour, others not so much but the dream is still there to re-implement them once again in the future. Brera became a bit of a yo-yo club and plays their games in the Prima Categoria in this current season.

Many thanks to Brera Calcio for making as much information as possible, available on their website. All above information, and more, can be found here as it has further links enclosed on the page for further reading/watching.

* it is worth noting I do appreciate the time, effort and work that has been put into this database to give me the chance to manage Brera Calcio, there are a few inaccuracies with the setups etc. However, I won’t shy away from that. Brera currently play in the Prima Categoria, and whilst this database has them in Seconda Categoria, I look at this as though it is an opportunity to win an additional competition

Manner of the Save

So this save will strictly be a one-club save. My primary goal is to take Brera Calcio from the depths of Seconda Categoria right to the heights of Serie A. It will certainly be a long-term save, one that will last until the end of the current Football Manager cycle, but I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one.

With many thanks to The Last Throw Of The Dice, he has kindly given me a copy of his Bristol City progression spreadsheet, so that I can tick off a few accomplishments along the way, and track the progress of the amateur side.

Given that we want to take over Milan, I feel that it is appropriate for Brera to aspire to be equal, if not better, in the above fields. This is going to take a lot of work, and there will be spells in the club’s future where we become primarily a wheeling-and-dealing type of team, but ultimately we need to get funds into the war chests and ensure that our facilities are state of the art.

Naturally, I want to progress this club as quickly as possible, but due to the money involved in Italian football, it is going to take a bit of time to build up the club’s finances:

With a squad of amateurs, I have 13 players to pick from, meaning I will need to bring in numerous players to rotate the side around as the fixture pileup commences. However, I don’t want to bring in too many players at the same time, as I want to ensure a large bulk of my squad is fighting fit each week – the club only trains once a week.

Eli, Daniele and Paolo are certainly the strongest players in the eyes of the assistant manager, and I believe I can build around them to try and find a style of play that will suit the side best. The hardest part is trying to keep a hold of Eli who certainly looks to be a solid option at this level, he and Daniele both make it into the league’s key players.

Moving away from the more senior and established players, I like the look of Francesco, Reny and Foday – however, all are being touted by multiple clubs so keeping a hold of them will certainly be difficult. Francesco looks to be very solid in the defensive third, but the lack of pace would require him to be more disciplined and stay back in transition. Reny looks as though he is going to be a key player in the middle of the park, but is lacking on the fitness side of the game which could be a concern late into games. Finally, Foday will certainly be accompanying Eli in the heart of the defence and will be given the role of a proper old-fashioned defender.

Dream big is the goal here. Dream big is the motivation. Will I be able to steer Brera Calcio back to the Serie D and beyond in the future? Time will tell as The Battle For Milan commences.

One thought on “#0 – Introduction

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