The Old Lady and Ronaldo #1: il Partenopei chiama (The Parthenope calls)

“Napoli get their nickname ‘Il Partenopei’ from the siren Parthenope, who tried to enchant Odysseus from his ship to Capri. In the story, Odysseus had his men tie him to the ship’s mast so he was able to resist the song of the siren. Consequently, Parthenope, unable to live with the rejection of her love, drowned herself and her body was washed up upon the shore of Naples.” – Wiki


For those of you who know me from my Newton Heath 1878 save, you’ll know that I goddamn love my football history, which for me is (occasionally) more important than tactics and winning trophies.  That said, this latest save diverts a little from this in that it deals with the more recent history of the long-standing rivalry between Juventus and Napoli.  Juve, ‘the old lady’ vs ‘Il Partenopei’, the very much young lady siren who was so much in despair at failing to lure Odysseus that she killed herself.

As it stands here in August 2018, for 7 years on the trot the old lady has danced at the top of Serie A, sweeping everyone before her away with a swish of her grizzled paw.  Napoli have been runners-up twice in the last three years and three times if you take it back to 2012-13, when Edison Cavani was the inspiration for their first serious title challenge since 1989-90. In that momentous year, the Golden Boy Diego Maradona powered them to the title with 16 out of their 57 goals, leading them to the highest points score in their history, just a year after a 2-leg 5-4 UEFA cup win against Stuttgart.

As a sometime fan of Napoli (we go to Sorrento for our hols) I have kept one eye on their progress over recent years and their pursuit of Juve and have watched them fall each time despite occasionally leading and looking at times like champion material.  Most recently, as many students of the game are aware, Maurizio Sarri’s high-pressing attractive football took Napoli to within 4pts (compared to 5 and 9 points on those previous two runner-up occasions).  I am no tactical expert at all but if you are interested here is an excellent Tifo explanation of it which will make much more sense than my attempts:

So it was all looking pretty, pretty good for this year, with Napoli chasing and on the up until this batch of lovely occurrences just happened:

  1. Maurizio Sarri left to go to Chelsea
  2. Jorghino, (their crucial midfield pivot) went with him
  3. Juve bought Ronaldo
  4. .. did I say, Juve bought Ronaldo?
  5. .. oh and Juve bought R .. (you get the idea)

On top of that, several of Napoli’s key players are now over 30 (including their talismans Mertens, Hamsik, Albiol and Callejon); their ex-Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina has left on a Bosman to Milan and there is bugger all in the transfer pot because the directors have taken a heftier than usual profit share this year (allegedly).

So as you can see the scene is set for a rather difficult FM18 save that has not one but several challenges that I hope I can make a reasonable fist of.  In the true spirit of ‘il Partenopei’ therefore, my main aim is to lure Oydsseus (aka Ronaldo) and his ship (Juve) onto the rocks without the bit where I end up killing myself if I fail.  To do this I have started the save using the sortitoutsi current date and transfer patches, meaning we start on 31st May 2018 with Ronaldo at Juve and Reina gone etc. Now that is established. here are the main aims with difficulty out of 10 + notes in red):

  1. To beat Juve in a competitive game (5/10 as they’ve done it already last season)
  2. To win the league ahead of them (hmmmmm .. 11/10)
  3. To bring strength and depth to the squad to cope with all competitions and fixtures (this has been a problem for the last few years, with Sarri relying on a bulk of around 15 players for all comps. I’m going to say 8/10 difficulty as I only have a 15mil budget and all my wages are maxed out)
  4. Renew an aging squad (8/10 linked with above – this may conflict as the only decent frees are aging elite players so this may have to go down as a work in progress)

I’m going to give myself a few seasons so I hope you pop by and follow updates.  I’ve already done some transfer business with a couple of cheeky elite free or peppercorn signings so that will be my first proper post, coming soon.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you there.

Daz (aka @FMheathen on twitter or FMtotality on here)

PS Yes, they are fountains coming out of her nipples, it’s like, a thing in Italy (to do with nature feeding the world) 🙂


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