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.

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Football Manager 2009:
And the Winner Is…

With 69% of the vote, Pro Vercelli. Otherwise known as the Bianche Casacche (White Shirts) and the Leoni (Lions): the winners of Italian championships in 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1921, and 1922. Read about us here, kind of, and here, if you can.

My aim, and it is a deadly serious one, is to restore the pride of Vercelli, a Piedmontese city of fewer than 50,000 people that was founded in 600 BC but has not possessed the world’s greatest football club for at least 86 years. It was the site of the annihilation of the Goths by the half-barbarian Roman consul Flavius Stilicho, and of the world’s first public university, founded in 1228. Milan, Inter, Roma, Juventus…on behalf of the imaginary computer versions of the citizens of this city, we are coming for you.

We’re doing it for Guido Ara, who played for the club during their first six championships and managed them to their seventh. (He went on to manage Roma, Fiorentina, and Milan.) We’re doing it for Silvio Piola, who started his career at the club and later scored two goals in the final of the 1938 World Cup. We’re doing it for 1935, the year the club suffered its first relegation to Serie B, and we’re doing it for 1941, when they fell to Serie C.

We’re doing it for whatever Wikipedia author added the optimistic twist to the end of the following sentence on Pro Vercelli’s seventh national title: “Incredibly and unfortunately, it was to be their last – to date.”

For anyone who’s keeping track, the other clubs to place in the voting were Afyonkarahisarspor (19%) and Queen’s Park (12%). No one voted for Athletic Bilbao, which is fine with me, because my regard for talent causes me to chafe against even benevolent forms of regionalism.

All I have to do now is, you know, actually pick up a copy of the game. Which I intend to do presently.

For anyone who’s impatient to read more about FM09, Daryl at The Offside is keeping a hugely entertaining (and meticulously detailed) blog on his attempt to keep Newcastle up this year. They’re currently 6th in the Premier League, and as far as I know, he hasn’t compared a single referee to a Disney character or imploded in even one press conference. One great manager recognizes another. I’m an admirer of his work.

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Football Manager 2009:
And the Winner Is…

by Brian Phillips · November 28, 2008

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