Welcome to chapter 3 of The Battle For Milan! In the previous chapter, we won the Prima Categoria Lombardia on the final day and you can catch up on all previous blog posts here:

I also completed a quick club overview of the facilities and finances following season 2, which can also be found here.

This time out, we will be covering our 2023/24 campaign in the Promozione B along with progress in the Coppa Dilettanti Lombardia.

Despite being champions last season, it certainly was not a straightforward campaign, and I knew that it was going to be a challenging campaign from the get-go. We were surrounded by amateur football clubs at this level, which meant that technical quality could be a bit more even across the board, but certain teams could have more experienced players at this level. Which then prompted me to consider the following for the club as a whole:

  1. Identify where on the park we lack technical quality or mental quality.
  2. Identify weak points within the current squad.
  3. Ensure the current backroom staff is competent enough at this level.
  4. Plan for club transfer policies for the future.

Whilst I want to introduce a culture for the club to stick to over the years, I want to begin implementing a plan that will see me be able to reshape the playing squad over time, as opposed to wholesale changes and potentially affect any promotion hopes. This will be discussed in greater detail in due course, but I want to begin reshaping by the time the club becomes semi-professional.

Step One – Quality on the Park

My first port of call before checking the average comparison across the league was of course the season preview.

A media prediction of third following our league title victory was very promising, to begin with, but a lot could change between the 1st of July and our season opener on the 3rd of September. Players could leave the squad, and immediate replacements may not be good enough; immediate replacements could be better.

However, I wasn’t satisfied with just taking the media’s word for it. The club had to continue its growth over this season, and it was time to start the comparisons. We had no players in the dream XI for the league at this stage, and I had to ensure we changed that.

For comparative purposes, I included the position of last season’s rivals Aurora to show that this league is a step up in quality. Whilst the title race last season was close, our run from January 2023 to the end of the season was remarkable, and it needs to continue into the new season.

I tell the players that the bus is moving. This club has to progress. And the bus wouldn’t wait for them. I tell them to get on board

Sir Alex Ferguson


I begin my analysis with the technical side of the game to find the results quite surprising; we are on average quite a technical team in this division. Whilst there are certain areas of the game we are weak – the strikers’ ability to finish and head a ball for example – I now have an indication of what we need to work on heavily over the summer in that department.

Our defence is technically strong, and whilst our midfield is weak in some areas, they are very strong in others. Unfortunately, this analysis alone is not enough for me to decide on what we require, and so I need to review the mental side of the game and then into our own squad depth.


Again, the trend seems to follow in a similar suit; our strikers seem to be weak mentally, the defensive relatively strong and the midfield a bit of a mixed bag. Alarmingly, our goalkeepers are lacking in comparison to the rest of the division, and this screams out an area of recruitment.

My hope with the strikers is due to their age, their mental side of the game is a work in progress. Although it wouldn’t hurt to have an experienced figure around the team for these players to lean on, it may be something I consider.

Step Two – Identify Weak Points

Squad Depth

The squad depth report, coupled with the analysis of technical ability and mental, gives me an indication of where we must improve. Now my above analysis already includes one player that I signed shortly after the end of the season, out of worry that someone else would snatch him, but it still raises cause for concern in the attacking department.

Francesco Gobbi arrives from Tritium Calcio 1908 (Campionato Interregionale 1) on a free transfer, and was on the books as an AC Milan youngster. At the age of 24, he has not developed fully into a superstar, but filling in the role of a supporting pressing forward gives me confidence for the season going forward.

Moving on from Gobbi, I realised that we needed to secure the services of a better goalkeeper, as our current options are significantly weaker than the rest of the keepers in the division, along with new fullbacks to give the best possible opportunity. A new defensive midfielder to take over the reins from the ageing Guerci would be a bonus but was not classed as a top priority over the other three positions.

With a first-choice goalkeeper arriving in the shape of Zampaglione, I knew that we had an improvement on our current options. I needed to find a backup should anything ever happen to Zampaglione, but I do have options there to cover on a short-term basis should it be required. Moroccan youngster M’Hamsi joins the club with the view to being the starting left-back going forward. With attacking qualities and the ability to tackle and work in a team, I felt he was too good to turn down at this stage, and also fits in with a philosophy I want to bring into the club – more to be discussed in step four.

Pietro D’Urso announced that he would be retiring at the end of the season, and I would have been foolish not to search for his replacement now for them to become familiar with the club. Ricozzi seems well suited to the ball-winning midfielder role and will come in to be the first choice.

With new signings in through the door, the team looks a lot more stable, but that is in the opinion of my assistant manager, more of that to come in the next section. I am still on the hunt for another player on the right, but I think we should be able to see out the season with what I have so far.

Step Three – Evaluating Staff

Whilst on paper my backroom staff is more than capable at this level of football, I had to look at the bigger picture; the staff may well be good at their job, but what is their knowledge of the game like? To aid with the club’s progression, I asked the board for another coach and they approved, so my reshuffling begins with the coaching department.

Sadly assistant manager Enrico Izzo is not good enough in terms of managing the squad and knowing his players. WIth a Catenaccio style of play, he isn’t suited to help coach the team, and thus I began searching for his replacement. Head of Youth Development Daniele Corbellini was certainly good at youth coaching, but again his ability to spot talent let him down. Whilst I would strive to replace Daniele, I figured to keep him around for the time being, and if a more suitable replacement presents itself, then I will look to replace Daniele. Finally, Michele Macrì is the only coach at the club, and whilst he is average with a decent discipline level, he doesn’t suit the style of football. Macrì will be moving on shortly.

In the recruitment department, I don’t feel the need to make wholesale changes here. Both scouts, Massimo Murtas (Chief) & Gioele Paolantonio, are more than capable enough for this level of football, and given that I am not making the most of a scouting package, there is no need to replace them as of yet. I do have room for one more recruitment analyst, but this time I will be making a change here due to the Director of Football situation. As things stand, Luca Mori is currently in power but lacks the necessary skills to be a competent DoF. I feel it would make more sense to search for a DoF that is better suited to the full package.

Finally, in the medical department, I cannot make any more appointments here, and with no room for Sports Scientists, I have to admit defeat here and leave that one as it is for the time being.

After analysing the above roles and where change needs to be made, I am proud to announce the following additions to the backroom staff:

Although none of the coaching staff suits the style of play I want to play, I do feel that they are much better suited to their roles than the current options.

Step Four – The Transfer Policy

Being in the heart of Milan, I feel that it is important we connect with the city and its communities. From the Italian residents to the foreign residents, we are all pulling in the same direction, and that is exactly what I want to try to replicate from within Brera. With some quick research, I was able to come up with two policies that follow suit with Milan as a city, and two more that can only benefit the club in the future.

  1. Thanks to information available as to what countries make up the population in Milan, I stumbled across this list of nations. This will be a key policy for the club, as integrating players from these countries means that they will already have a community to be a part of within the city.
  2. Following on from researching Milan, there is a list of sister cities spread across the world that I feel will help benefit the club, as they are like-minded cities.
  3. The area of Lombardy. Lombardy as a region has a handful of top clubs – AC Milan, Internazionale, Atalanta & Brescia to name a few – and I want to be able to develop younger players before these clubs get their hands on them. I have created a filter based on cities with more than 39,999 population to start headhunting players that may have been turned away from these four clubs, looking for a fresh start in their footballing careers or looking to kickstart their football journey.
  4. Rejected prospects from the Milan clubs. Who would not want a stage to perform on to show their previous employers that they were wrong to release them?

I addressed the players at the start of the season with one challenge and one challenge only; replicate the title-winning form they found at the start of 2023. We only lost one game (our first game of the calendar year) as we went on a run that would see us cut the gap to Aurora and win the league, and I had a good feeling that if we carried it on, we would win the league this year.

After what can be classed as a successful pre-season, grabbing a win and a draw against sides at the same level as us, along with a narrow defeat to Serie D side Seregno, I had faith that the season was going to go our way, and with an unbeaten first half of the season, I wasn’t wrong.

We blew away the competition during this spell and it pretty much sealed our status as league champions after Christmas. I was delighted we kept our run going, but as the old saying goes, “all good things must come to an end”

At the end of January, Serio felt a move to Bra in the Campionato Interregionale 2 was too good to turn down, and realistically no one could blame him for wanting to jump up so many divisions. Losing our star player was a big blow, and performances certainly felt his loss.

To try and combat and soften the blow of losing Serio, I felt that my next best move for the short-term was to look at the division as a whole and see who was performing well to replace him, whilst looking to strengthen the squad where I could:

Enter the fray, Emanuele Romanini. I managed to snatch him from Landriano in the other group, and he was actually leading Serio in the race for top-goalscorer. More of a natural striker than Serio, I felt it was a no-brainer bringing him in, and after being born in Milan, he fits in nicely with the new signing policies. Simone Marchese also joins the club as backup on the right-hand side for the short-term, I was still looking for someone similar to Oussama M’Hamsi, but it was good to bring in Marchese as a rotation option. Simone Selmi also joins on a free transfer from the division above as a starting central midfielder, and he certainly looks as though he could be crucial for the club’s success in the short term.

The loss of Serio was felt as we slumped to a couple of poor defeats, but we did do more than enough to get the job over the line in February, as we finally confirmed our status as champions:

A third consecutive title for Brera, and another major step toward semi-professional football. With a good core of players involved in the squad, I was confident that we could continue our good fortunes into the Promozione A Lombardia and target the Eccellenza within a year, but recruitment over the next year is going to be vital to help with the step-up in the quality we would face in the Eccellenza weekly.

Coppa Dilettanti Lombardia

A much-improved performance in the Lombardia cup this season saw us reach the Quarter Final stages of the cup, knocking out higher-tier opposition on 3 occasions.

Offanenghese, Virtus Ciserano and Carpenedolo all play in the Eccellenza A, but it was actually an Eccellenza B side in Luisiana that dumped us out of the cup after a poor performance in front of our own fans.

You deserve to lose if you concede four at home…

A massive missed opportunity as Club Milanese from our tier went on to defeat Solbiatese, also in our tier, in the final. But given that two lower-ranked sides were in the final, I have high expectations that over the next couple of years we could go on to win the competition at least once.

Virtus Ciserano and Offaneghese spend big bucks on wages in comparison to our amateur status.

Brera FC – Youth Intake

Yet again, I was graced with what was dubbed an “excellent intake” but with our current facilities and staffing, I knew it was a long way off the standard I want to bring through on an annual basis.

Of the full intake, my staff believe that Caligiuri, Andersson and Bastianoni are good enough to be on the fringes of the first team. From my own assessment, I think that Caligiuri and Bastianoni are both good future prospects for the Pressing Forward support role – with their mentals due to improve over time with age and experience.

However, much like last year, I was delighted that we were able to bring in more talent for the U20s squad, and it is beginning to pay dividends as they gained promotion from the Campionato Juniores Provinciale 2, missing out on the title on the last day of the youth season:

They now begin their climb up the youth leagues, looking to reach the Italian U20 Primavera 1 division, matching our ambitions of playing in the Serie A.

Achille Banchini was last year’s star of the intake, and he continued his development with the senior squad this season, making 12 appearances all season and grabbing himself 2 goals in a 6-0 victory over Concordia Robecco in the Coppa Dilettanti Fourth Round. Kevin Serio managed to grab himself 24 goals in 26 games before leaving for Bra, but since his move to his new employers, he has been playing on the wing and not showing the clinical form he showed at Brera.

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