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La Madonna

A woman's journey in a man's world
Started on 26 October 2018 by LovelyLudwigVan
Latest Reply on 3 November 2018 by LovelyLudwigVan
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Born on the 19th August 1990 in the town of Cammarata, Sicily, Camilla Cordella grew up watching her favourite team, Palermo, with her father Luigi. Her bedroom was pink, but unlike other girls, it wasn't pink because of dolls or princesses, but to match the colours of Palermo. She would spend her evenings, weekends and holidays going neck to neck with the local boys as they passed a weathered ball around a dusty square. She would often getting hurt and the boys would push her to her limits, but she would never cry and gave back as much as she could take. When her father died of a heart attack in 2004, as the team won the Serie B and promotion to the Serie A, Camilla's last words were a promise to finally bring success to the club by whichever means possible. By this point she was playing football at a regional level. In 2012, her playing career came to an end after a bad injury, so Camilla went to Rome where she studied to get her football badges, working her way up to the Continental Pro. During her studies, she worked in various coaching positions and had work placements at AS Roma before heading home to Sicily and getting a position at Parlermo.

When Bruno Tedino was relieved of his role as head coach in the summer of 2018, Camilla managed to convince the board she was the right person for the role. They had misgivings because of her gender and age, but believed the fans could be brought round by her determination and charm, and it would always be helpful to have a lifetime supporter at the helm. Camilla promised attacking football and to develop and use players from the team's prestigious youth academy. Could she carry out her father's dreams and take on the best in Italian football?

Upon being hired, Camilla Cordella decided to take a more hands on approach. She kept director of football, Rino Foschi, in place, but decided she would be the one to negotiate contracts, assisted by Foschi when needed. She also decided to shuffle her backroom staff a little, filling out her scouting team and dismissing a couple of her coaches to replace them with people she deemed more qualified. The main change came in the shape of her assistant manager hiring 55 year old Fabrizio Del Rosso who had managed Juventus' under 18s between 2011 and 2013 before going to china as a coach, he has been tasked with the general training of the team as well as tactical briefings and press conferences.

In order to reduce her wage budget she decided to thin out her squad, this would also free up some space to bring some of the youth through from the under 20s. Defenders Bellusci and Rajkovic left for Middlesbrough and Augsburg respectively. She also managed to move on Ferchichi to Alessandria, Ingegneri to Carpi, Costantino to Trapani and veteran goalkeeper Pomini to Torino. Overall the club made 1,3 million euro, but the goal was to reduce the wage budget, which was over the set allowance, and this was a success. She also released striker Stefano Moreo to further benefit the overall finances.

On the in side, she brought in midfielder Gasper Iniguez from Udinese for 950k, a needed addition to the squad. She also found three young players Ebui, Guiseppini and Vicaroni who she signed on free transfers. To further reenforce the squad after the departure of key members, she promoted Mendola, De Marino and Zé Maria from the under 20s.

On the tactical side, she has chosen to familiarise the squad to a 4-1-4-1 Wide and selected the following team as her first choice selection:

The preseason went well with some big victories in friendlies and a 4-1 defeat of Siena in the Coppa Italia 2nd Qualifying Round. However, when Sampdoria came up in the 3rd Round, the team fell to a 3-2 defeat despite leading 2-0 in the first half. The game featured two penalties, one either side, decided by the new VAR technology. Camilla was left ruing her decision to continue attacking while ahead instead of falling back on her defensive counter-attacking tactic. It was a first lesson learned.

Up next is the start of the 2018/19 Serie B season. August closes with three matches in quick succession. Benevento at home, Cittadella away and Perugia at home. Can Palermo make the perfect start to the campaign and forget their early exit from the Coppa Italia?
So August has come and gone and Camilla Cordella has had a great start to her career. With two wins and a draw, Palermo sit atop the Serie B having scored 5 and conceded none.

The media had us down for a draw against against Benevento, the team expected to challenge us to the title this season. But we produced a comfortable 2-0 win with goals from Fiordilino, including a spectacular long range effort. Winger Falletti and vice captain Rispoli provided the assists at the Renzo Barbera.

We were expected to win against Cittadella but the side never got going with striker Nestorovski having an appalling game, missing a penalty in the mix. At least there was the positif of a clean sheet and a solid defensive performance overall.

Another match that was expected to be close finished with a big victory for Palermo. Trajkovski, Nestorovski and Chochev bagged the goals with Falletti getting two assists. This made sure the month finished on a high, putting Palermo on top stop.

September comes with trips to Pescara and Livorno, whilst we welcome Venezia to the Renzo Barbera. Can Camilla keep up the good work?
September is over, as is summer. The evenings are coming earlier in Palermo and the days are getting shorter. With another 5 points in the bag, and 4 goals scored and still none conceded, Palermo are proving the media was right to back them.

Left back Aleesami was injured on duty with Norway and will be out for 3/5 weeks. We travelled to Pescara and again came back frustrated, dominating play and having many chances, neither team was able to break down the other.

The mood around the Renzo Barbera felt different, the fans' early animosity towards Camilla is beginning to wane. Supporters are overheard calling her an angel, a gift from God. However, many still remain suspicious that a woman can guide their team to glory. In the late summer sun, the guys in pink took on the 4th in league Venezia and pounded them 4-0, Trajkovski returns after being rested to score and assist. Haas, on loan from Atalanta, also bagged a lovely goal while Nestorovski scored from the spot. Schiavone scored a late own goal from a corner.

For the final game in September, we travelled to Livorno but again we were frustrated, sharing the points in a goalless draw.

With the team in 2nd place and not having conceded or lost, Camilla Cordella looks forward to October as autumn settles in across the Sicilian countryside. With home games against Spezia, Padova and first place Lecce, and trips to Cosenza and Cremonese, Palermo will hope they can cement their position as early frontrunners in the competition. Can Camilla Cordella finally get her first win on the road and convert some more of her doubters?

So Halloween came and went, Camilla Cordella enjoyed some maple glazed roasted pumpkins. It was a productive month with 4 wins from 5 and a draw. The team scored 7 goals and conceded 1.

The month began at the Renzo Barbera with a fine victory over 10th placed Spezia. Nestorovski scored from the spot again whilst Trajkovski made it two from a Rispoli assist. Nestorovski's form has been criticised in the media, with the player failing to produce solid performances in spite of the goals. Palermo broke their record for consecutive matches without conceding.

The international break came and Camilla took some time to herself, enjoying the Sicilian countryside and the autumnal colours. But she returned to the news that first choice defensive midfielder Chochev had been injured playing for Bulgaria, he will be out for up to three months with a calf strain.

With Chochev injured, the obvious replacement would have been Polish midfielder Murawski. However, Murawski stormed into Camilla's office demanding first team football. Several players had began to question her authority and she felt they were not all taking her seriously because she was a woman. Camilla told Murawski that he would need to show he deserved first team action to which he stormed out muttering that "women know nothing". The next day Murawski was transfer listed and Camilla called a team meeting to reassure the rest of the players that their performances were setting a good foundation for promotion. When questioned by the journalists about Murawski, Camilla Cordella simply answered there were reasons he would not be playing first team football for Palermo.

An example was made, hopefully this would give Camilla the upper hand in the dressing room. Murawski will be sold to Lech Poznan in January for 675k.

With the international break out of the way, it was back to business and a trip to Cosenza was next. Hoping to finally secure a win away from home, Camilla Cordella decided to switch her tactics to a more defensive counter-attacking style of play. This worked with the team dominating the game in both chances and possession. Nestorovsky finding the net from a Falletti assist.

Next up was Padova at home. Again the team dominated play with Haas scoring the second goal from a Ebui assist. The first goal was a Salviato own goal as he was put under pressure by Trajkovski. Padova pulled one back in the second half via Sarno as they mounted a surge late on.

A trip to Cremonese saw Palermo stuck in another goalless away draw. The team went for it, hitting the bar twice, the post once and having a goal disallowed for offside. Still the clean sheet was welcome after the previous match.

Back at the Renzo Barbera and an impressive win against third placed Lecce. Iniguez scoring a wonderful long range effort and Falletti grabbing the second via a Rispoli assist. Lecce didn't have one shot on target all match and outside the stadium fans could be heard saying "il calcio è bello".

13 points from 15 leaves Palermo five points clear at the top of Serie B. November sees the team travel to Salernitana and Verona whilst we welcome second place Brescia and Ascoli. Can Camilla Cordella maintain her team's form and her authority on the dressing room?
Standing on top of the league is a good achievement, unbeaten season to come? :P
Let's hope, it would be a great first season for the save.
After November Palermo still sit on top of the league with another 9 pts from a possible 12, there seems to be only good times ahead.

The month started with a divided dressing room with some backing Camilla Cordella and her reaction against Murawski, and others siding with the Polish midfielder. Other players have come forward to complain about lack of first team, so Cordella may have to look at her squad again before the January transfer window and see who can be moved on.

A trip to Salernitana in Salerno saw us come back with a second win on the road. Goals from Jajalo and Trajkovski, assisted by Fiordilino and Zé Maria, gave us a comfortable away win to ensure Palermo beat their own and Serie B record for the most games without defeat in a row.

With second place Brescia coming to the Renzo Barbera, we expected a tough game, Nestrorovski scored from a Salvi assist in the second half, but the team truly dominated play.

Left back Aleesami was once again injured while on duty with Norway so Mazzotta stepped in. We travelled to Verona and in a tight match suffered our first defeat of the season. Verona were two up at half time with goals from Dawidowicz and Di Carmine. Falletti pulled one back in the second half through a Haas assist. It was a hard defeat as the players looked to be a little more complacent.

The month was rounded up with a home tie against Ascoli. In another dominant display, the guys in pink took a narrow victory as Embalo scored late on with an assist from Rispoli. There is a lack of power up front and Puscas has started to come into the fray in an attempt to change things and not rely on the underwhelming Nestorovski. Cordella warned the players against complacency, the worry is that the success is going to their heads.

So we finish the month firmly on top, 9 points clear of Perugia. December is a busy month with trips to Carpi, Crotone and Benevento, while Foggia and Cittadella visit us in Sicily. Can the Cordella improve the teams away record and guard against the team's creeping complacency?

Palermo enter the new year 12 points clear at the top of Serie B having won five from five in December. The guys organised a surprise party for Camilla Cordella who is more and more accepted at the helm of the team.

The month began with a trip to Carpi and a great match saw a two goal lead questioned in the late stages. Trajkovski got the early and Jajalo doubled the lead from the spot. Giorico got one back for Carpi in the 84th minute before Nestovski added a third in injury time. In the dying seconds Giorico managed a second, but it was too late for Carpi.

Foggia came to the Renzo Barbera and gave a good challenge but young Mendola's 79th minute goal from a Chochev assist was enough to make sure all the points were taken by Camilla Cordella's team.

A trip to Crotone was next and with Robbie Keane up front, Cordella was a little more cautious in her approach. Haas got an early goal to secure the win. Crotone's Simy had a late goal disallowed but Cordella's team did enough.

In the deep winter of Sicily, Camilla Cordella returned home to a festive welcome. On Christmas day her mother kissed her and cried, saying how proud her father would be to see how far she had come. Camilla replied that there was still much to do to fulfil her promise.

On the road again, this time to Benevento, the team piled on the pressure from the go and Benevento's Nocerino was send off for an elbow to the face of Trajkovski. Nestorovski converted the penalty. Trajkovski added a second in the second half thanks to a Rispoli assist.

In the final game of 2018, Palermo welcomed Cittadella. Two second half goals from substitute Puscas and youngster Cannavo with assists from Falletti and Zé Maria secured a comfortable win. Cannavo who was making his senior debut collected the man of the match award for his second half performance.

The team sit comfortably at the top of Serie B, looking untouchable. The second half of the season begins with new challenges though as many players are gaining interest from elsewhere. Camilla Cordella plans to thin her squad as well as finally take time to decide on the fate of her youth academy, which has a large number of players. January sees a quiet month for the team, with a trip to Perugia and the coming of Pescara to the Renzo Barbera the only games. Can 2019 see the promotion of Palermo to the Serie A?
The year began with a new contract for Camilla Cordella, her doubters where now few and the board showed their faith. Cordella, having a better understanding of her players, told several they were free to leave the club. Struna and Aleesami both left for Genoa in deals of 1.9M and 1.7M respectively. Nestorovski who hadn't managed to provide consistent performances up front left for Dinamo Zagreb for 1.6M and Embalo to Rio Ave for 350k. Young Cannavo was loaned out to Cittadella until the end of the season to get more game time. Rispoli took the captain's armband from Nestorovski and several promising youth players were promoted to the first team to fill the gaps. The finances aren't looking good despite the sales, it's going to be hard to secure the bank.

The team travelled to Perugia knowing that a win would set a new record for consecutive wins for the team. However, Mazzotta was send-off for a bad tackle in the 40th minute. The team tried to create something, but the inferior numbers in midfield made it too much to ask. A goalless draw was an acceptable result under the circumstances.

Pescara came to the Renzo Barbera and were easily brushed aside with a dominating performance. Puscas bagged two goals with assists from Trajkovski and Salvi, while Jajalo scored from the spot. Another solid three points.

The team go into February 16 points clear, but have played two more games than second place Brescia. February sees trips to Venezia and Spezia, while Livorno make the journey to Palermo. Can Camilla Cordella maintain the team's excellent form in spite of several key players leaving the club?
Another 7 points from a possible 9 sees the guys in pink further cement their dominance in the Serie B.

The first game in February was a trip to Venezia. Trajkovski scored a magnificent freekick to give Palermo the lead, but Camilla Cordella was left fuming as goalkeeper Brignoli literally placed the ball in Letteri's feet in his own penalty area, gifting him a stoppage time goal.

Jajalo scored the game's only goal from the spot and Livorno were later down to ten men with Maicon being sent off for a terrible tackle.

A trip to Spezia came next with another Jajalo penalty. The team has been further thinned with Salvi on his way to Parma at the end of the season for 1.3M. And Puscas has left for Steaua Bucharest for a million.Holstein Kiel's Kingsley Schindler will join us at the end of the season on a free transfer.

The team sit 18 points clear of Perugia, the title seems almost a certainty.

Camilla Cordella will now focus on the rest of the season, reporting back at the end of April before the last two games.
A breathtaking season so far for Palermo. I've very much enjoyed playing catch-up with this story, as there is a tremendously written backstory to it all. Best of luck for the remainder of the season and I hope this story can continue for a long time. I'm following!
Thanks, it's nice to have some feedback. I will continue for a while I think, I have an idea for a spin but will need to see if it is possible.

Spring is here again and the colours have returned to the Sicilian countryside. Two months have gone by and Camilla Cordella's position as manager of Palermo has never been more secure. Brescia manager Eugenio Corini spoke to the media about his initial doubts concerning Cordella but how she has managed to inspire respect over the course of the season. He did speak about other managers who still do not take Cordella seriously, but Corini's support was a tremendous boost to Camilla's morale.

The team played nine games during March and April, winning 6 and drawing three. The 20 match unbeaten streak is a new record and counting and Palermo have set the record for the most wins in a Serie B season. The promoted youth are doing a good job at replacing the transferred senior players with winger Agostino Rizzo, scoring 3 goals in 4 games, picking up the U19 player of the month award for April, defensive midfielder Gennaro Ruggiero claiming third place, thanks to his two goals.

Promotion was earned with a comfortable 2-0 win over Salernitana and the title was secured a few days later with an emphatic win over Brescia.

With two games left to play before heading to the Serie A, Palermo find themselves 20 points ahead in the league. With a tight race for second place, who will be the second promoted team? Can Camilla Cordella manage a defensive feat and concede less that 10 goals for the season?

The season closed with two draws, another 0-0 away to Foggia and a 1-1 at home to promotion contenders Crotone. Rizzo scored the goal for Palermo but Budimir scored a stoppage time penalty for Crotone to equalise in the last seconds.

Palermo finished the season 20 points clear with one loss and only ten goals conceded. They set a Serie B record for least defeats.

The under 20s have also won their league with 8 points to spare. The under 18s are currently playing the playoffs, they beat Fiorentina and are taking on Inter Milan in the upcoming weeks. So the youth looks very promising.

The chairman has announced his retirement so the club is now in the process of a takeover bid and transfers have been put on hold, which could make it difficult for the upcoming season if the situation drags on as the team really needs a good striker. But there are a host of players to come back from loan, including potential first team players. Can Camilla Cordella get the team fired up for the upcoming challenges of Serie A?

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