seasonThree.episodeThree | Ritorno
When I started my journey at Parma, I saw it as a long-term investment into a club who I saw being leaders in Italian football; bringing back the glory days and leaving the financial woes in the past.
However, I’ve hit somewhat of a crossroads. My head has been turned. My attention is elsewhere. My enjoyment of Italian football is on the decline and my frequent review of the vacancies is telling me that perhaps I should move on… Time will tell, but it’s something I’m yet to rule out.
The inability of Daniele to bring in any players I highlight as a requirement to progress the club is seriously slowing down my plans. Sometimes we’re looking as low as my 4th or 5th choice targets, and often we’re missing everyone. It’s food for thought. Development of the team through first team purchases is not happening as well as I had hoped.
However, we did sign Wayne Rooney. So, onto the rest of the season.
We persisted with the 4-2-3-1 deep system but 18 goals conceded in 11 games is just not good enough in this league. However, 5 wins in 11 is good form when you consider that we are still favourites for the drop.
Excluding the Inter result, which was a phenomenal team effort, we got the wins where we expected to and lost the games that we were expected to lose. We were scoring a goal a game on average which I was happy about.
At this point, we were midtable and well above the drop zone with 8 games to play.
The end to the season was fantastic. The system really gelled and the lads pulled out some fantastic results, like the 2-1 victory over Roma. By the match against Juventus, we were 8th and a point away from European football, with Juventus sitting in 9th place. We were playing more direct football, hitting the flanks and getting plenty of balls into the box. All the while doing relatively okay at the back, with the exception of the Frosinone and Milan matches.
However, just 1 win in the final 4 matches meant that we missed out on European football. Just. There’s always next season, perhaps.
Final league table
Lazio were eventual winners rather surprisingly. Juventus managed to bink a European place in the end after Guardiola was sacked mid-season for another poor performance. He is still managerless at the end of the season.
We were 2 points off Europe in the end. A crazy feat considering the odds against us. The target of 15 wins was met and we beat our goal target of 60 goals by reaching 65 goals in total. Unfortunately, we conceded 63 so our goal difference wasn’t that impressive.
My player of the season would have to be Iemmello. 20 goals in 32 appearances put him second in the Serie A scoring charts. Scoring 0.70 goals per game made him the key reason we finished as high as we did.
The key for next season will be to keep the supply to him and continue to set up quality chances.
Financially we’ve had another great season. Our balance is healthy and we’re competing in this league despite being one of the poorer sides. They key will be trying to grow our revenues and increasing the balance organically. Short of a takeover, it is going to take European football to take us to the next level, which is still going to be a few seasons away yet.
Commercially we’re improving all the time. We need to keep pushing on with the sponsorship deals and try to get a slice of European TV revenues.
PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON
We need to strengthen. We need more options on the wings, and defensively we’re weak in both full-back positions. I’ve given Daniele my lists for each position and expect him to deliver. I fear, however, that we just don’t have the financial muscle to compete. We only have €6m in transfer funds available and little room in the budget.
Short of creating a tactical plan that blows away the opposition, it looks like another season where the objective will be to avoid relegation at all costs. The youth players will be another year older, so some of the higher rated prospects will get more game time.
Until next time, arrivederci.