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.
We didn’t make the playoff. We won four of our last five against the league’s bottom-dwellers and drew the fifth, but still wound up in ninth place, four points out of the last playoff spot. We did, however, beat my late-season goal of 66 points, and our 67 would have been good enough for sixth place or better in any of the last four years. But the league was tougher at the top this year, and the cutoff was 71, the most it’s been in any season since the game began.
Here’s our strong end to the season:
And here’s the final league table:
I’m not down about this. This has easily been one of my most enjoyable seasons in any FM game. What looked like it was going to be a relegation fight turned into a promotion fight, we exceeded expectations, we beat three teams that were in Serie A last season, we increased our cash reserves by more than tenfold, our new signings all worked out, our young players almost all improved, my tactical assessments were accurate, the switch to the 4-3-3 turned the team’s fortunes around, I took a lot of questions like this in press conferences—
—and a lot of messages like this from opposition managers—
—and while it’s not like I care what the press or other managers think, the whole thing is just indicative of the way all the currents of the world seemed to be going our direction this season. We didn’t get promoted, fine. But at the start of the year I thought we might be spending the next season back in Serie C, and now we’re not only staying in Serie B, we might even have an outside chance to win it.
Make no mistake. This was a breakthrough year for Pro Vercelli. The armies that ride out of the fortress we’re building now are going to win a lot of future wars. If we can keep the pressure on our rivals by strengthening at a couple of key spots (mainly goal and central midfield) and bringing in some better backups for our wingers, it won’t be unreasonable to hope that we can plant a bigger flag on a better hill next year.
by Brian Phillips · March 10, 2009