The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

Contact Us

[contact-form 1 'Contact form 1']

Pro Vercelli: A Press Conference
at the Silvio Piola

I’m on a two-year, €600-per-week contract. Here I am, incidentally:

The first move I’d like to make is to fire my entire staff and replace them with candidates of my choosing. However, with our entire season budget standing at around €70,000, I can’t afford to terminate many contracts. Which means I’m going to have to spend at least a couple of seasons tolerating the help of men like my assistant manager, Walter Colombo, whom I have already grown to loathe.

Fantastic. How do you get to be an assistant manager at a top club like Pro Vercelli when your man management skills, your determination, and your motivational abilities are so inadequate that they register at the lowest possible point on the numeric scale? When it comes to judging player ability, the difference between Walter Colombo and a six-month-old baby is that Walter is under contract through 2013. Fine, I guess he can get my coffee. It’s no better anywhere else around the offices, of course.

I haven’t taken a hard look at the squad yet, but my first impression is that they’re really young—more than half our players are teenagers. My second is that we’re never going to live up to expectations (the media have Pro Vercelli picked to win promotion from the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione Girone A, which for sanity’s sake I will henceforth call Serie C2/A) if we don’t do something about our goalkeeper problem. Our current pair look like they’ve just escaped from a glue factory, and one of my first objectives as manager will be to send them back.

Well, first things first. I have to see what I can do about our scouting system, devise a set of tactics, and cut whatever dead weight I can to help free some room in our wage budget. (We’re currently only €175 in the clear, and our average weekly salary is €180.) Oh, and I’m giving my inaugural press conference at our stadium—the Silvio Piola, named for our legendary striker from the 1930s who became the highest goalscorer in Serie A history—in just a few hours. There’s a lot to think about.

A couple of notes about the game:

  • I’m using a large database, with Italy as the only playable country (I don’t intend to leave) and all leagues selected. Serie C2, where we’re currently residing, is the lowest available in the game.
  • When I set up the game, I deselected the option to use real players. Using fictional players will make the game a little harder (since I won’t be able to find hot tips on players online) while also assuring that every player gets a goofy computer-generated portrait. And since I’ll be toiling in the lower leagues for at least a few seasons, it won’t affect realism much, because the real players at that level are largely people neither of us has heard of anyway. And this way I’m free to express my real feelings about bunglers like Walter Colombo without worrying about “lawsuits” and “boundaries.”
  • Our starting budgets: €73.78k for transfers, €10.66k for wages. I’ve had worse.
  • I haven’t seen the bookmakers’ odds yet, but according to the media, our main rivals for promotion will be Carpenedolo and Rodengo Saiano. If I have one rule in life, it’s that I refuse to lose to a club with a panda on its crest.

I’ll try to post frequent updates during my flurried early days with the club, so check back soon for history in the making.

Read More: , ,

Pro Vercelli: A Press Conference
at the Silvio Piola

by Brian Phillips · December 3, 2008

[contact-form 5 'Email form']