The Squadfather – A Sicilian tale – Palermo – Welcome to the family

I Rosanero…. Commonly known as Palermo Calcio or more simply Palermo, is an Italian football club placed in the Sicilian city of Palermo. Originally founded on the 1st of November 1900, Unione Sportiva Citta di Palermo was excluded from Serie B 12 July 2019. A Phoenix club was formed in July of the same year and was admitted into Serie D for the 2019/20 season. Palermo were the first club founded in Sicily, first in the South and the 7th oldest existing club in the country.

The team achieved its best sporting results in the 2000s, during which it had three 5th place finishes in Serie A, and reached the 2005-06 UEFA Cup round of 16.

Why pick Palermo?

If any of you had read my last post, you would have seen that my last choice of possible saves for football manager 2020 was West Auckland football club. Who have a link with Sir Thomas Lipton due to winning his inaugural continental competition, known as the Sir Thomas Lipton trophy. The link between Sir Thomas Lipton and Palermo is the Lipton Challenge Cup. Which was held from 1908 until the final event in 1914. Coppa Lipton was a football competition competed between clubs from Southern Italy and Sicily. During the 6 years of this competition Palermo manage to reach all 6 finals. Winning on three occasions. And it is through this little nugget of information on why I initially thought I should manage Palermo as a save on Football Manager 2020.

The more recent history of Palermo is very well documented. At the end of the 2018-19 season Palermo finished third in Serie B, but due to financial irregularities the FIGC demoted their standing to last place, which in turn would have meant being relegated to Serie C. This ruling was revised upon appeal and saw the club reinstated to Serie B with the club punished with a 20-point deduction.

However, with the club fighting tooth and nail over the financial court ruling, they took their eyes off the greater picture and forgot to submit the correct application for Serie B for the current season, which left Palermo failing to provide a valid insurance policy for the new year. Palermo were then formally excluded from Serie B on 12 July. Kicked but not completely defeated by the end of that month new owners were now backing and presenting a new phoenix club which was admitted into Serie D.

This regeneration of a new club is not a new thing for Palermo. Having formally been founded in 1900 with the name Anglo Palermitan Athletic and Football Club. A name change was then made in 1907 to Palermo Foot-Ball Club, yet the club ceased during World war 1. Which led to the revival of 1919 with the club undertaking the name Unione Sportiva Palermo. A year later the club merged with Vigor Palermo to take the name Palermo Football Club. (Hang on – Weren’t they called that before?!)

Despite trying to play on through World war 2 the club struggled financially and went through another merger this time with Unione Sportiva Juventina Palermo, which would see the club adopt the catchy name of Unione Sportiva Palermo Juventina. The club would adopt the name US Palermo for short.

The late 1980’s would then see the Rosanero struggle with finances once again. Where the club failed to exist for one year until the summer of 1987 and a phoenix club regenerate with the more recent name of US Citta di Palermo. This club then ran until the most recent financial problems.

So with more name changes than Prince and more mergers than Google I hope to see some stability within the game. Although I will not hold my breath as I’m sure FM20 will no doubt have a takeover in this save.

That was a brief overlook of their off the field history. On the field they have managed to be runners up of the Coppa Italia three times, Champions of Serie B five times. Along with Serie C champions once, Serie C1 champions twice and Serie C2 champions once. Along with several historical trophies and competitions. Critically they have never won Serie D which is the priority target set within the club’s vision.

Now we have our club in place…… Who do we have as Head Coach?

Please meet Jorge Santiago “Ghito” Garcia.

Ghito originates from San Nicholas, Argentina. The former forward dreamed of emulating the goal scoring feats of his hometown hero Omar Sivori. Sivori would play for River Plate between 1954 and 1957 before moving to Juventus, where he played for eight years before winding down his playing career at Napoli between 1965 and 1969. He was crowned South American Championship best player in 1957 and European Footballer of the year back in 1961.

Ghito’s playing career was slightly less successful but he did play for numerous South American clubs ranging from Velez, Colo Colo of Chile, Wanderers of Uruguay and of course Palermo. He even represented his national side at the Olympics during the 1970’s. But due to a cocaine habit which followed him around after a brief time in the presence of a bloke called Diego, he never quite hit those highest heights again, instead he became an unsuccessful journeyman in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Sicily. Since his playing days he has kept his mind busy living on the island of Sicily, in the city of Palermo. He has been seen passing on words of wisdom to the youth teams of US Palermo and telling tales of old to the coaching staff. With the club dropping to their lowest ebb, they turn to Ghito to help them rise above the ashes.

Credit to @requestakit for the Palermo kit currently used in game. And Credit to @FMrensie for the skin

Meet a couple of Palermo’s stars of season 2019/20.

First up is defender Andrea Accardi the 23 yr old is a home grown talent who Ghito plans to use as the first defensive building block with the plan to build the team around Accardi. Looking at his playing history, Andrea has spent most of his playing time at FC Modena and Sicilian side Trapani despite being on the books since 2011. Andrea is keen to pull the club forward and make new records for his home town club.

Next is another homegrown talent, Raimondo Lucera. An 18yr old forward with the pace and adaptability to be used down either wing. Raimondo is yet to make his first team debut. I can only imagine that his wait for first team action will end soon with Ghito preferring to use youth players from the clubs academy.

And finally Alessandro Martinelli, A swiss national who started life playing at Grasshopper before a move to Serie A giants Sampdoria. He spent most of his contractual time with Sampdoria out on loan. He most recently played for Bresica in Serie B.

Thank you for your time, with some of the pleasantries of a why Palermo and who I hope will be key players to the Palermo family out of the way. The next update will describe our progess through pre-season and the early part of the 2019-20 season. And at some point I hope to update you with a brief description of how the team are playing tactically.

Ciao for Now.