So why Pontedera?
So i have really struggled to get into a save for long enough this year and I just kept going back and forth on different save ideas but I needed something to help me decide. So in the end, I let the World decide what i was going to do. I know I wanted a one club save, something where I built a club from the bottom division to the top picking up trophies and being crowned Champions of Europe. However, what country would that journey be in? Well I let a little thing called Eurovision decide on the Country and with Italy winning Eurovision, they also won the destination of my next save.
Then it came to picking a club and with 60 odd sides spread across the three Groups in the 3rd Tier of Italian football, I needed some help narrowing it down. Here I turned to good old FM and let FM pick a club for me. So i kept choosing pick a club until the first 3rd tier side was selected and voila here I find myself at Pontedera.
Unione Sportiva Citta di Pontedera are a Italian Football club located in Pontedera, Tuscany. The town of Pontedera is an Industrial town in the province of Pisa situated between Pisa and Florence with a modest population of around 30k. Built on the confluence of the Era River and the Arno, it became a manufacturing and artisanal town, moving goods along the rivers. It takes it name from Ponte dell'Era (Bridge on the Era) which was built in 1099 - Hence the bridge on the badge (Exciting i Know!). Historically it has always been the crossing point to go from Florence to Pisa but nowadays it is most famous for being the home of the Piaggio Company who famously make the Iconic Italian bike the Vespa.
The Club was formed in 1912 and have never gained promotion to Serie B let alone Serie A. For many years the club has played in the 3rd tier with occassional falls down to Serie D and even the Eccellenza as recently as 2002. Since then the club has been in a steady rise up the leagues, getting promoted to the 3rd tier in 2013 where they have remained ever since.
Despite a modest history in the lower leagues of Italy, Pontedra have perhaps three claims to fame. The first of which is World Cup winning manager Marcello Lippi started his professional managing career at Pontedera managing the team for the 1985/86 season and in game he is seen as a Legend at the club. The second is during the 1993/94 season the club finished the season as the only undefeated team in all of the Italian professional leagues and incredibly beat the Italian National team 2-1 in a Friendly in April 1994 of that season. Thirdly, in the Summer of 2006, The Gunther Corporation purchased Pontedera Football club. Now that doesn't seem that interesting until you read who the Gunther Corporation are or more importantly who owns them. Karlotta Leibenstein was a German Countess who had a multi-million dollar fortune. She never had any children but she cherished her pet dogs throughout her lifetime. Karlotta passed away in 1992 and with no close family to share her fortune with, she left all of her money to her dog - Gunther III. So her entire fortune of $80m was transferred over to him. Through many investments the Gunther Corporation is now worth $400m and Gunther III unfortunately died and left the Gunther Corporation to his son Gunther IV. So yes, the Football club is owned by a Dog technically.
Gunther IV - My Boss
Well the Dog seems to be running things Ok. The club is going through a period of stability and has largely moved up the league table, albeit slowly. A nice healthy bank balance of £750k with a transfer budget of around £250k means we have some room to play. The wage budget is maxed out at £34k per week meaning we will need to shift some money around to get some players in but there is enough to build a foundation on. The Stadium has a small capacity and will need some work based on its description of being in Poor condition but we have the basics set up in terms of facilities which will do for now, but will obviously need bulking out over time. The Club are predicted to come 17th out of 20 teams with a relegation fight expected this year. However, if you look over the pre-season odds it seems like it will be a tight affair and with a wacky play-off / play-out system in place, there should be something to play-for no matter where we finish
In the next update, I will have a look at the squad and our pre-season activity