Ross is back with a new series and he’s gone all Italian on us as he takes over Serie A side Parma. Can he deliver the success the squad deserves?
Buffon, Cannavaro, Thuram, Dino Baggio, Stanic, Crespo and Chiesa. No not a dream team selection, all these players in 1997 were part of the Parma squad that had finished 2nd in the previous season.
They would go on to win UEFA Cup but then one by one the team was picked off by other European Giants. Then in 2015 the club was declared bankrupt and demoted to Serie D.
My aim in this, is to keep the bulk of the squad and give the trophies the fans deserve.
My first day at the Stadio Ennio Tardini and I check the squad.
Class, but to many non-EU players. Can only play three. I like the look of a Crespo and Chiesa partnership. So, I ship Tino off. Luckily Newcastle come back for a player they just let go.
I’m looking for a solid right back, and I go to Denmark for my first signing.
With the Asprilla money still burning a hole in my pocket I go shopping to pad out the defence.
Curtis and Dyer will be given time to bed in before they get regular starts. Worns will provide solid cover
The draw for the Champions League qualifier has sent us to Israel. And we play Jerusalem, not the song that would be weird. So being at home to Beitar Jerusalem, we obviously beat er.. Jerusalem.
Both strikers are off the mark and despite Stanic’s early withdrawal we coast to a 5-1 win.
Our next game is the second leg, it will be a good chance for the players to show me how professional they are and see out the tie. I play a strong team as I feel we had good chemistry in the first leg.
As you can see that didn’t happen. A biblical defeat to bring my players back down to earth. But we are through and for the bank balance, that is all that matters.
I work out I have two more signings left, both in attacking positions. One is a guy I’ve never signed before, Sibierski, and the other is basically me being a hypocrite.
All my worries of non-EU players and I sign a Brazilian I can’t play in the Champions League until the quarter finals, if I get there.
I go into the season with a few aims, to win a trophy and get back into the Champions League.
I want a solid but winning start in the league. Home to Juventus is just the challenge I wanted first. Said no one ever. But the night before the game I replay the previous game to wind the players up. Most of them just comb their hair.
Get in!! despite Inzaghi looking a mile offside for his goal, we prevail and my striking duo come up trumps. I pay for pizza for all the players, but some complain that there aren’t enough vegetarian options. Can’t please some people.
Next, we are away to Perugia in the Italian cup 2nd round. A cup I want to win and won’t take lightly.
We are 2-0 down after 55 mins, but Perugia go down to 10 men. I sense blood, really must go to the doctors about that, but before that I send on Sibierski and Denilson to rescue the situation.
Call me Don Jacobs. Though at 3-4 I did wonder.
15 months? Good player as well.
Our first game in the CL comes up, away to Tblisi and their stadium has Boris in the title. All I want is three points.
Thanks lads. Though this whole ‘concede first’ plan isn’t something that should be played to many times. Also, good to see Orlandini step up to the plate.
We play out a few more draws but keep conceding.
At last a clean sheet! Thuram gives a captain’s performance and Chiesa cant stop scoring.
With no transfer window Real Madrid win most surprising transfer award.
Sure John is a steady player but not exactly a Galactico.
With Man United up next, I think long and hard about resting players. Crespo has picked up a few knocks so my young Brazilian Adailton starts with Chiesa
Smash and grab stuff but I’ll take it with a big European game coming up. Also I’m not 100% certain who our ‘derby’ match is against. So I’m happy with a victory against one of the bigger teams.
Sir Alex comes up to me before the game and hands me a bottle of wine. ‘To toast our win’ he cheekily says before going into the away dressing room. I’ll show him, I think to myself.
Ha, take that bottle and shove it Fergie. Plus, I don’t really like wine.
Melli scores for the first time and Stanic finally works out what ive been asking him to do for the last 3 months and gets forward and scores the winner.
This leaves us top of our group and 5th in the league. Early stages but very promising. Come back next time to see if I can squeeze in any more poor puns into 900 words. Ciao for now.
You can follow Ross on Twitter @Riddley82