On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

[FM08] American Calcio

Started on 23 June 2015 by tenthreeleader
Latest Reply on 8 August 2016 by tenthreeleader
That ending :P
Amazing how lengthy your updates are without the use of graphics, really unique and I like it, especially that ending ;)
Your writing is immense, no pictures of screenshots but yet enough to keep us wanting more.
and that ending...
Thanks, fellows ... my style has always been to write without images because if I'm doing my job correctly, your imaginations are providing you something that a picture can't. The comments are kind and most welcome. Thanks for the nice words and I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, September 13

Talk about a distraction!

As much as I wished Patty could have stayed, she had an early morning meeting in Venice so she left at 11:30.

So she left for home, I got into bed and thought back on an evening very well spent.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to get out of control but without speaking to each other I think we both realized we aren’t ready.

I’ve decided a few things today. The way we’ve taken off indicates that she wants a relationship and now I’ve decided to accommodate her however she wishes.

She has shown me strength of character and quality of person that is refreshing and genuine. She won me over, frankly, and in a time when I was not looking for a relationship she made me want one. That’s a rather remarkable thing to say.

So I was practically singing as I took the training pitch today for drills that will work us up to our very long trip to Salerno on Saturday.

We play at Cavese on Sunday and it’s fully 450 miles away. So we are making our first overnight trip of the season and frankly, it will be interesting to see how we perform.

About half our road trips this season will involve overnights. We go to Salerno twice, to play Cavese and Paganese. Those are our longest trips, but the trips to Foggia and the return trip to Manfredonia are also over 400 miles each, straight across the country to the northeast from Salerno.

Further north, our trips to Ternana and Foligno will also involve an overnight even though they’re about half as long. I’m not keen on the idea of spending three hours on a coach and then playing a match right off the bus and thankfully higher management agrees.

Legnano, Pro Patria and Novara are the other trips we may make overnight depending on when they fall on the schedule. And since our trip to Legnano is the next one on the schedule after Cavese, we will be spending quite a fair amount of time on the bus over the next ten days. I’m planning on an overnight stay there as well.

So today’s training was primarily about staying alert, staying sharp and milking this run of good form for as long as we can.

We did video work on Cavese in the afternoon and even though we are out of the heat of the summer, temperatures can still get into the high 80s which is awfully warm for full training. We have to be smart about it.

The press talked with me today about the striker situation and how it’s going to be if and when Muzzi starts scoring on a regular basis. Everyone covering us can see the good form we’re in and how the enthusiasm from winning is rubbing off in more ways than just on the table.

I can also sense they’re trying to create a controversy, so I am quite careful about how I answer these questions. I have strikers playing very well and Baú has also already pumped home five goals, though three of those have come as a result of penalties.

But in short, you have to put the round thing in the goal to win and we’re doing a wonderful job of that. The adage in the game is that you don’t change a winning eleven and I’m still trying to figure out how much I should buck that adage.

Players like DeCristofaris, for example, are only fit enough to play once a week. I can’t keep him in the regular XI on our present schedule because I’d wear him to a frazzle in two weeks’ time.

So you have to be smart about it. I keep coming back to that phrase and the biggest early challenge I face so far is figuring out where the middle ground lies.

Right now we’re sixth in the table, just off the playoff places, and a win at Cavese would put us comfortably in the hunt while I finish sorting out the squad. It’s an important match for us and my emphasis to the squad was to stay on the right track today.
# # #
Good luck against Cavese and hopefully you'll rise as high as you can!
Thank you very much :) The league is a lot of fun to play and everyone seems to have a potentially fatal weakness. We'll see how it goes ...

Friday, September 14
I woke up in the middle of the night this evening and couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind is racing on more than one front.

I lay on my back, eyes wide open, and looked at the clock. It said 3:11 and I knew I wasn’t going to sleep any more tonight.

I tried, but I know my body well enough by this time to have an idea of what it can and can’t do. So I got up, made myself some coffee, worked on my training plan for the day, and finally as 8:00 rolled around I placed a call to the State Department office in Venice.

“Rob! Good morning! I’m the first item on your agenda today, I see,” she teased.

“Well, you were on my agenda for most of the night, too,” I said. “I just needed to hear your voice this morning.”

“Did you have a nightmare?” she asked.

“No, quite the opposite. But this is a Federal phone so I shouldn’t elaborate!”

She laughed. “Please don’t,” she said. “But can we get together this weekend?”

“We’re heading out for Salerno in the morning and we’re coming straight back after the match on Sunday,” I said. “We’re taking Monday off from the travel so if you want to get together, that’s the day.”

“It sounds like something that needs to happen,” she replied. “I’ll do my very best to make Monday happen for us, and I’ll let you know. Gotta go now, though. Talk later, okay?”

“Perfect,” I said. “Have a great day.”
# # #

Since it’s a short week, this is the only full day’s training we can take for the match on Sunday. We’ll have a short workout at Simonetta Lamberti in Salerno tomorrow, where we will do our shadow play and rest up for the match.

This early season schedule is difficult for the clubs. We make up for it at Christmas, though, with a three-week break over the winter holidays.

For now, though, the matches are coming fast and furious and they mean quite a bit as clubs are scrambling to get off to good starts.

We’re in that mix and as a result I’ve placed a premium on getting some sort of result out of Cavese’s pitch on Sunday. They are off to a very slow start, sixteenth in the 18-team Serie C1 and it’s my job to keep them there.

The way we’re playing, I’m optimistic we can keep our focus. If we go there thinking we’ll carry all before us we’re in for a tough time but this is a match I believe we can win. I’ll be looking for a strong performance.
# # #
Best of luck against Salerno!
Thanks very much! I hope to keep the good vibes going!

Saturday, September 15

The trip to Salerno is about seven hours long by coach driving straight through, so when we left Padova at nine o’clock sharp this morning I knew we’d be in for a long day.

We gathered for a team breakfast at eight o’clock and soon the traveling squad was ready to pack overnight kit on the coach and head off for the south.

It was a very nice day to travel, though tomorrow’s forecast isn’t as positive. Salerno is of course on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western side of the country and as we drove further south the weather got nicer.

Not that it’s bad in the north, mind you. But it was a nice drive and we had a chance to relax for most of the day. Players spent time, as many modern players do, on their cell phones and wireless connections but the coaches got together a card game at the front of the coach.

Italians, as a rule, are very good at games of emotion. So when I taught the staff how to play Texas Hold-Em, we soon had quite a crowd gathered at the front of the coach.

Before long, the poker players in the group had separated themselves from the kibitzers and we had quite a little party going on. I dealt while the coaches and a few of the players joined in for a €2 big blind.

They picked it up quite quickly. That helped about three hours of the trip go by more quickly by the time we stopped in Rome for a late lunch. That sounds odd, certainly, but we were traveling and we had to stop someplace.

Several euros had changed hands by that time and when the game finally broke up for the lunch break, I was quietly playing cribbage in my seat with Masolini. I thought that was a nice touch, myself.

As the coach rolled onward down Italy’s western coast, I got a message on my Blackberry from Patty’s private e-mail, and I really appreciated it.


Thinking about you on your long trip today. Hoping things go well tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you again! See you Monday!


So I wrote her back.

What a lovely note for me to read a dozen times on my way to Salerno!


With that, we had a very nice lunch in Rome and continued on our way to Salerno. And I have to decide how hard I am indeed falling for Patty Myers.

# # #
Great update. I must say that even including that BlackBerry part (as it was the hype in 08) was the killing touch for me XP
Jer, that's one of the things that makes writing fun for me. I enjoy finding the little things. Thanks for your comments and readership!

Sunday, September 16
Cavese v Padova, Serie C1A

We’re heading back home on that long bus ride pretty unhappy this evening and I’m in a dispute with my captain.

Crovari did a silly thing today. He got himself sent off and it may well have cost us the points today since I thought we played well enough to win.

Sometimes players get sent off by poor officiating. Sometimes players get sent off through their own lack of discipline, and that’s what happened today. That’s also what led to the argument, which was held behind closed doors in the visiting manager’s office at Simonette Lamberti.

And along the way I laid down a hard marker as to what I consider acceptable conduct on the pitch. I mentioned a few days ago that someone was going to have to screw up to allow the entire squad to see what would happen if they crossed me. Well, now they have seen it and even players who played with and against me have no doubt as to where I stand.

In so doing, I have opened myself to criticism and possible negative reaction if the squad doesn’t bounce back in the way I intend. That is a calculated risk, especially one for a first-year manager to take. But if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it my way.

# # #

Today was not a day terribly well suited to the nuances of our particular style.

I like to employ a mixed style of passing. I prefer the players to get the ball down on the ground and play it, but I don’t have a player I consider a true playmaker to ignite the offense. I inherited a squad of players that is sufficient to contend in Serie C but there’s a reason most of these guys are in this league and not in Serie B.

So from time to time we have to play a direct style, especially when we are getting pressured in the midfield, as often happens to us. Being able to switch play and counterattack quickly – as well as take advantage of Muzzi’s pace, which is among the best in this league – is important.

But today we had winds of 30 MPH for most of the match, meaning if we were going to pass accurately and put the ball where we wanted it to go, it largely had to happen on the ground.

So we were at a disadvantage from the beginning. Being on the road was another disadvantage. Naturally, playing the last half-hour with ten men, after we were starting to take over the match, was the third strike against us.

In the final analysis, I am happy to get out of Salerno with a point. We could easily have gone down to defeat today after Cavese turned up the heat on us in the late going to try to smash and grab the three points. Still, we won the match statistically, which makes me wonder what might have been if we had only been able to keep eleven players on the pitch.

Today was also Cavese’s “fan day”, as designated by its board. So a good crowd of 3,520 saw the match at Simonetta Lamberti, and they went home disappointed. We battled them in the last half-hour and Orlandoni made sure nothing wound up in the net so our ride home wasn’t totally without cheer.

However, the story of the day was Crovari. Referee Fabio Manera, who had a pretty decent game by my thinking even if we got three of the four yellow cards shown in the match, didn’t have much choice when Crovari held back Vincenzo Riccio 58 minutes into the match when things were starting to go our way.

I got my captain’s attention and motioned to him, palms down – take it easy. He of all people was one I didn’t want to lose so I made it quite clear to him that he needed to be circumspect. He nodded and went back to his play.

So I was quite displeased when, just four minutes later, he hacked down Giuseppi Aquino with an embarrassingly late challenge, leaving Manera no option but to give him the second yellow.

I said an unusually rude word in reaction and immediately signaled for a double substitution. On the road, I knew I couldn’t consider continuing to play with two strikers so that meant I had to choose between Muzzi and Varricchio, a choice I didn’t relish.

I chose to take Massimiliano off and though he wasn’t pleased, at least he knew it was a tactical substitution. I put on Anaclerio in Crovari’s holding role and moved Paz from right back to central midfield, a position I know he can play well but which he had not yet played for me. Paolo Cotroneo took Paz’s place at right back and we played on with ten.

Crovari didn’t even look at me as he headed up the tunnel to the changing room. Neither of us was happy – the player was unhappy for being sent off and I was decidedly unhappy for having direct instructions so blatantly disregarded.

Still, even in the last half hour we carved out some decent chances, with Cavese keeper Domenico Cecere called upon to save in close from Sacchetti’s header just six minutes after Crovari’s dismissal. In fact, Cecere had a solid enough game to be named man of the match.

But we didn’t threaten after that, even as we kept Cavese away from our goal to earn a split in the points. Defensively our ten were more than good enough. So we left with a point and even though we gained no ground on the leaders at least we didn’t lose any either.

It was at a time like that that I was happy to not have to deal with home media. The trip was too far for them to make so I didn’t have to worry about ripping my captain in the press. However, the Salerno media asked if I agreed with the decision to send Crovari off, and I was honest in my reply.

“The referee had no choice, did he?” I asked. “The first card, he held back the player and I could see doing that considering where the player was placed. I had no argument with the decision but I told the player he had to be careful – hell, he should have figured it out himself – and then not five minutes later he’s heading up the tunnel for a late challenge. Now he’s got a match off for suspension to think about it and to say I’m displeased would be kind.”

With that, I headed back to the changing room to try to leave a positive message with my players.

“We played well with eleven men and we played well with ten,” I told them. “We leave here with a point and that’s better than none. Hit the showers and we’ll have plenty of time to talk about the match on the way back.”

Then I called Crovari into the office and closed the door.

“I’m disappointed that you didn’t listen to me,” I said, and his face got red.

“What does that mean?” he challenged, using a rather strong word elsewhere in his reply.

That was certainly the wrong way to react to his manager and I let him know it.

“It means I expect you to stay in the match,” I said, remaining as calm as I could under a direct challenge. But, being captain, Federico gets to talk with me directly and I as the manager have to understand that. That’s fair, and it’s right.

But he chose to confront me.

“Maybe you play football half-way in the United States,” he said. “That’s not how we play here.”

That crossed the line and I had to let him know.

“You play football here the way I tell you to play it, or you don’t play, and I don’t care if you’re captain,” I said. “Let’s get that out of the way right now. You are captain of this club because I made you captain and that means when I have an expectation, I expect you as club captain to lead by example. Do I make myself clear?”

“Are you threatening me as captain because I got sent off?” he asked.

“I threaten nothing,” I said. “But I expect that you, as my captain, will take a lead role in doing what must be done to get results. That means not getting yourself sent off! You can’t captain anything next weekend, because you lost your head and you didn’t listen. Now you’ve done a fine job leading us on the pitch and all I am telling you is that you need to stay on the pitch because we need you.”

“Are you going to fine me?” he asked.

“No,” I answered, and he showed considerable surprise. “But I am going to set the bar. I need you on the pitch for this team to be successful. Understand the circumstances of your sending off and see that they are not repeated. And I’ll be watching how you train this week before deciding on when you are restored. That will go for any player who is sent off under my management.”

He nodded, and the discussion ended.

As captain, he has to understand that getting sent off hurts the team and on a day when we left two points on the pitch, that ought to upset him more than it evidently did.

He can tell the whole squad for all I care. If he tells the media, though, he’s got a problem and he knows it.

I reminded the squad of my expectations when we arrived home at 2:00 a.m Monday morning, though, and I intend for them never to forget it.

The only good thing about today: Patty’s e-mail. She will be with me tomorrow.

Cavese 0-0 Padova

# # #
Great update man! Crovari sounds like a knob-head btw.
Well, what happened in the previous post was an example of how I interpret "player has reacted negatively". I try to take as much writing inspiration from the game engine as I can. Crovari's a good egg, he just doesn't like getting warnings. :)

Monday, September 17
I’ve gone from the ridiculous to the sublime today and I couldn’t be happier.

The squad got the day off and I know now my meeting with Crovari is going to be a topic of conversation tomorrow. Federico called me this morning to say he didn’t tell the media but someone did, so I’ll have a controversy.

The question is whether or not I believe what I’m hearing. He was certainly mad enough at me yesterday to go to the media but he swore up and down, using different words than he used yesterday, that he didn’t do it.

Naturally, that means someone else did, so I have to find out who that person was.

That is for tomorrow, though, and I am told I’ll have every opportunity to respond in the media. Of course I will -–the media will get its controversy that way and I intend to keep this firmly under wraps.

That was the ridiculous. Now for the sublime.

I got home at 2:15 this morning, crawled into bed and was awakened at 9:00 by Patty’s phone call, on her way from Venice. That gave me half an hour to freshen up before she arrived.

I jumped in the shower, managed to shave without slicing myself open, and straightened up the apartment before enjoying a true day off for the first time in weeks.

Usually, weekends are the only days I have to relax when we aren’t playing, but today was a weekday off, wonderfully rare and very relaxing.

I was in a bit of a hurry, as you might imagine. I didn’t even get to eat breakfast before she was knocking on my door. I won’t say I minded that.

I opened the door and saw a very happy and very pretty woman on the other side.

“Now that’s the way every lucky guy should start his day,” I teased, and she blushed in reply.

“I’m glad you think so, especially since you’re starting your day with me,” she said, as I closed the door. “So tell me, what do you want to do today?”

“I wouldn’t mind spending some quiet time,” I said. “Yesterday’s match didn’t go like it should have, as you might know. And the papers are on me already.”

“One match you don’t win and they rip you?” she asked, with a disgusted expression.

“This is Italy,” I said. “They expect you to win all the time here and if you don’t, God help you.”

“Well, sounds to me like you need a friend,” she said, as I offered her some coffee to start our conversation.

“Sounds to me like I have one,” I replied, as she accepted my offer.

I crossed behind her to the kitchen and poured a cup for her, as we sat on the couch.

“You do,” she answered. “I’m just happy to get to see you today. I have some time off coming and the exhibition is going really well, so they didn’t have any problem letting me go as long as I have my Blackberry with me.”

“I know how that goes,” I smiled, patting my shirt pocket in response. “And I’m not sure I like it either.”

“So what does a football manager do on a day off, anyway?” she asked.

“As little as possible,” I said. “Unless his girlfriend is coming over, in which case he’s looking to revisit his plans.”

“Oh, so I’m your girlfriend, am I?” Patty teased, batting her pretty eyelashes at me.

“I think we’re both old enough now that if we meant to play games we probably would,” I answered. “Otherwise I think we’re both too busy.”

“That’s why I’m here today,” she said, summoning up her courage. “I want to talk about us today, Rob. It’s really important we do that and I think it needs to be today. What happened between us last time I was here was beautiful and I need to know that you are interested in a real, lasting relationship. It’s time to close the deal on us.”

# # #

She was more relaxed today than I have ever seen her, a sign of her growing confidence.

I’m seeing Patty start to blossom and it’s really a beautiful thing to see. The flower analogy is perfect for her – after her long and cold winter I’m starting to see shoots of green and soon, she’ll be in full bloom. I feel privileged to be allowed to watch it from close up.

We spent the rest of the morning talking and putting into words what both of us have felt but left unsaid.

“At first I really didn’t want a relationship,” I admitted, as we started our second cup of coffee. “I’ve been pretty absorbed in my job and unfortunately, in Kate, so I thought it would be best to steer clear. But you’ve opened my eyes and your honesty has really taken me by surprise.”

“You didn’t think I’d be honest?”

“It wasn’t that,” I said hastily. “I was just so used to duplicity and hurt that I didn’t think anyone would start a relationship with me from a position of honesty. It had nothing to do with you and you were the one who started it the whole idea of something lasting.”

“That was hard for me,” she admitted. “Especially since he was just one lie after another.”

“And you’re way too good to deserve that,” I said, slipping a gentle puff to her self-esteem as I spoke. “Way too good. And here you are with me, so I am feeling like quite a lucky man!”

“So what’s your answer? Would you turn me down?” Now her look was much different.

“Oh, no,” I said, returning her look in equal measure. “I just want to make sure that if we take the next step, we’re staying together. I’m not going back to where I was and I know you aren’t going back to where you were. Neither of us needs that kind of pain or wants that kind of complication.”

“Neither of us are in a position to make guarantees,” she correctly noted.

“That’s true, but it’s also not completely what I mean. No one is talking about getting married. It’s just this, Patty: I refuse to hurt you. I will not do it. Given the history we both have with the same people, I simply won’t put you through that again. I already care about you far too much to do that. And heaven knows how much those two hurt me. You know what I mean?”

She nodded slowly. “I sure do, and one thing I know for sure because of it,” she said.

“Which is?”

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your being a gentleman,” she said.

# # #

After about an hour together, we made ourselves get up and go for a walk on the piazza, stopping after a lovely stroll along the Bacchiglione River for lunch at the Aggujaro.

I like the speed of the city. Padua is a city of about 200,000 but with a nice local touch. It’s big, but it’s not huge and as a result I could take my girlfriend out for a nice lunch with only a few people gawking at us.

It’s quite different here than it is in the States when it comes to getting recognized.

Back home, the biggest stars can’t go anywhere without a bodyguard. Here, the footballers are the stars and in a city the size of Padua, you can do what you need to do without too much trouble.

And since we’re off to a good start, I can do so quietly. Aggujaro is a family restaurant that was perfect for a couple of young lovers, so to speak. We enjoyed a very nice traditional lunch with a wonderful bottle of wine and spent a lovely long lunch hour just enjoying each other’s company.

As well as things were going, we were still dancing around the main issue. As we ate dessert, I swallowed hard and she could tell there was something else I wanted to say. She looked at me with concern and, dare I say it, with love.

“Tell me what you’re thinking, Rob,” she said.

“I’m thinking there’s a chance here for me, to be with a lovely woman and to start my life again,” I said. “I need to have a positive start with you. I’m desperate for it.”

“Then let me tell you,” she said, reaching for my hand. “You’re doing just fine.”

After lunch we headed back, very slowly, to my apartment, walking arm-in-arm.

As we walked, we talked some more.

“What made you decide to seek me out?” I asked.

“The last time I saw him, in Reading, he was with Kate and he went on and on about you in a professional setting, and accused Kate of still being in love with you,” she said. “He had already told me that if I breathed a word to Kate about what had happened between us he’d destroy me, but by that time I had had enough. Frankly, I was pretty offended. So when I was posted to Venice I knew I had to find you.”

“How long have you been in Italy, then?” I asked.

“Six months. I needed to build up some time so I could get away to see you. The biennale took up a lot of my time and when I met you I wanted to do it right. So here I am, with time to spend.”

It seemed very strange, but here I was with Patty and I hadn’t had a single thought about Kate until that very moment. I decided I was simply going to enjoy the moment.

When we reached my apartment, she came to my arms and made sure that thoughts of Kate stayed far, far away.

# # #
Great update. It'll be interesting how you will take the media with the whole issue.. and who is the traitor!
Tuesday, September 18
Today was quite a day for more reasons than one.

First, we returned to training today to prepare for our trip to Giovanni Mari on Sunday, and that meant a meeting with our media over Crovari’s sending off. They had been informed of our bust-up and one of my priorities was finding out who had squealed.

Second, and certainly no less importantly to me, Patty went back to Venice today. I don’t think I’m going to get to see her this week, which will hurt a lot given where our relationship seems to be going.

Third, today is Kate’s birthday. So I sat there missing Patty on perhaps the ultimate day for my prior relationship.

I started the day on my couch, with Patty nestled one room away in my bed. She left early, and I got on with my job.

At training this morning, there wasn’t a word from Crovari. He trained as normal, though knowing he wasn’t going to play on Sunday. That knowledge is always difficult for a player.

I missed games through yellow card suspensions when I played. As a central defender, I picked up my share of them. However, I was never once sent off in a sixteen-year career, which is a rather remarkable record for a central defender.

I had a good disciplinary record, yet people like the late Sir Stanley Matthews of Blackpool and Stoke City fame put mine to shame.

Sir Stanley played in the English game from 1932-65, in an amazing career that spanned 34 years minus time lost for World War II. He played his last competitive match in 1985, at the age of seventy.

The man affectionately known as “The Wizard of The Dribble” for his prowess with the ball at his feet was never booked in his entire career. I can’t even imagine that. Not one single yellow card, and at the end of his career an official would have had to be a brave man indeed to put Stanley into the book.

While yellow and red cards weren’t introduced into the game until 1970, Sir Stanley still managed to stay in the good books of every referee who worked one of his matches – including the famously rough “Battle of Highbury” match between England and Italy in 1934.

Due in part to his reputation, Stanley Matthews was the only player in the history of the English game to receive a knighthood while still an active player. He meant that much to the game and most importantly, to fair play.

So yours truly, as a young man, is out of the playing side of the game fully thirty years in age before this legendary figure hung up his boots. But then, there’s no way I’ll be remembered in anywhere near the same context.

Now Crovari, who had done twice in four minutes what Matthews never did in 34 seasons of competitive play, kept largely to himself.

I called him over to me near the end of the workout and I didn’t even have to open my mouth before he protested his innocence.

“It wasn’t me,” he said. “But I know who it was.”

He was talking about a teammate, currently in the reserves, and one of the players I often bring on road matches without suiting up. It was bad for two reasons; first in the way Crovari had told me; and second, if true, that the player had evidently broken my strict rules about changing room sanctity. I will investigate.

It wouldn’t surprise me to learn it’s true – disgruntled players who aren’t in the first team often have issues with the manager’s rules – and if it is, it’ll be awhile before he sees the first XI. I can promise that.

But today’s training was, on the whole, good. The players are ready to get back to work and we finished the day with video to get them out of the sun after their cool-down workouts. I like to get video in while the players are relaxing but not before they switch off completely.

When I was done training as a player I liked to go home and shut down for a little while. The physical and mental aspect of training can tire a player out completely, so the break after training is important from my point of view.

For me, the video work is a way to keep players mentally sharp at a time when they want to shut down. I have been known to walk up to drifting players and give them a little poke to keep their attention, along with a message about staying mentally alert at all times. I understand when players are ready to shut down, but it has to be when I say it’s okay.

After I let the players go home it was time to face the media, and this time there were bigger fish swimming in my little Padova pool.
# # #

When managers and captains clash, it’s often news outside of town, and with the fiercely provincial Italian rivalries, there were journos from all over the area waiting to quiz me on my bust-up with my captain.

“Federico knows it hurt the team to get sent off,” I said. “That was what our conversation was about. He didn’t like the way I explained it to him and that’s his right as a player. But it is his responsibility as a player, and especially as my captain, to get the message the manager sends. He has done that.”

“Did he take it well coming from you?” I was asked, in Italian-accented English. The question surprised me.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I replied, surprising him right back.

“I mean, with you not being in calcio for more than two years.”

“I’m his manager,” I said. “I am his manager until the board of this club tells me I’m not. So that means he listens to what I have to say and if he doesn’t, I take steps.”

“Which would be?” A miscalculation on my previous answer led to that question and I knew I had to be careful.

“Steps that lead to behavior I endorse,” I said, giving away nothing.

“Which would be?”

“Left to my discretion,” I said. “Look, Federico is important to this club and that’s reflected by the fact he was not fined. He did something silly and got himself sent off. Neither one of us needs the aggravation of fighting about it. I need my captain on the pitch and he needs to play. It does not set a good example for the captain to be walking to the showers early and he understands this fully.”

# # #

Tonight, at home, I got an e-mail that was frankly stunning. I don’t know how the hell she did it, but somehow Kate got my e-mail address.

I had just finished a very nice conversation with Patty and was ready to head to bed. Her day was good but we already miss each other. As it should be, frankly.

But when I opened my e-mail browser, I saw an address that was unmistakable. The only question was who it was from, and I knew if it was from him I’d immediately delete it. It wasn’t.

My dear Rob:

Just sending you a word of greeting on my birthday, which I trust has crossed your mind today. I hope it has, anyway.

I’m writing because I’m hearing rumblings and wanted you to be the first to know. I heard you are in a romantic relationship with Patty Myers and if that’s true, good for you. I heard she was once in a relationship with Peter and I hope that doesn’t make things uncomfortable for you.

Even though I’m married now, I’m having a pleasant thought tonight about being in the West End shops and theaters with you on past birthdays. I hope those memories are pleasant for you too.

As before, and I know this must seem odd to you, please don’t write back. I’d love to hear from you and hear how you’re doing, but it wouldn’t be a good thing from Peter’s point of view and I must respect his wishes.

Be well and be happy.

With love,

I sighed heavily and deleted the e-mail.

“I’m supposed to just sit here and take it,” I said. “And I can’t change this e-mail address. It’s such a waste.”

I shut down my computer and headed to bed, missing Patty more than before.

# # #
Ahh, Kate.. Such a bitch imo. I wanna know who squealed, and if he will get sold or something :P

You are reading "[FM08] American Calcio".

FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.