Welcome back friends!
This will be my last season at Ternana Calcio. This save has been a ton of fun, it was my first time managing in Italy and trying to stick to a particular way of recruitment (although I strayed away from it at times), as well as the first time dealing with such insane amount of players at a club.
It was our best season so far and it also happened to be Alfredo Donnarumma‘s last season as he had announced his retirement earlier in the season. So I figured that it would be a great way to end my time in Terni.
Let’s dive deeper into the season and see what the future holds.
Summer: Junior Lopez – CS Municipal (Free), Martín Amer – Huachipato (£125k), José Wilson – El Sauce (Free), José Hernandez – Comunicaciones (£1m), Carlos Ríos – Tigres (£6m), Ricardo Alvarenga – Santa Tecla (£225k), Iván Guevara – Isidro Metaplán (£875k).
January: João Maria – Monte Azul (Free), Daÿanç Kadyrow – CSKA Moscow (£1.5m), Karolis Micevicius – Telsar (Free).
We sold a total of 20 players in both windows for a total of £13.5m. All players sold were from the youth teams and no one noteworthy.
We promoted two young strikers from the U19s for coverage, aside from that, the team remained quite the same as last season. We still had the youngest team in the league at 21 years old, also the tallest at an average of 6’2″ and the heaviest at 176lbs (I’m not sure if weighing the most is helpful, but I’d like to pretend it’s because my players are brick walls). We also featured the most homegrown players, not just the in Serie A but elsewhere in Europe. From the 27 players in the first team, 16 of them were trained at the club.
Super Coppa & Coppa Italia
We traveled to Beijing, China for our second Super Coppa in back-to-back years. This time around we faced Juventus as the winners of last season’s Coppa Italia. Unlike last season, this match was more competitive. Liridon Aliu opened the score in the 51st minute from a header via an indirect free kick. Juventus continued to put pressure on us and their efforts were rewarded in the 91st minute, Paulo Dybala placed a lovely shot from a low cross from Raphinha, so we headed to extra time. After not much action, we were able to complete a lovely passing sequence which led to new boy Francesco scoring the winning goal in the 118th minute!
We entered the Coppa Italia in the third round to face Verona. The Gialloblu were easily brushed aside by my B Team. Our journey end in the Quarterfinals after losing in penalties (0-0 FT) against Roma.
As you by now have noticed, we won the league once again. That’s three times in a row. What better way than to end my time in Terni, Italy by going undefeated in my last season.
Not only did we finish unbeaten, we had the best defensive record across the top 5 leagues in Europe with only 7 goals conceded. In total, we did not concede in 22 matches in-a-row (without including Champions League, more on that later). Our four central defenders were truly on top their game, all of them finishing the season with an average rating over 7.10, Gerald Brandt being the standout of all of them.
This season was truly a group effort. Gerardo González and Matteo De Rossi chipped in with 23 and 19 goals, respectively. Our midfielders combined for 30 goals between seven players. One-third of them were scored by Chilean international Lapo “Assumpta” Assumma, who had his best season at the club.
There’s no better way than end my time at this club than leave after breaking so many records. I wish them luck in the future!
In the group stages we were drawing against Dinamo, Monaco, and Valencia. For the first time in the save we were not in the group of death. We were able to get through to the knockout stages unbeaten with home-and-away wins against Dinamo and Valencia, as well as a set of ties against Monaco. We finished the group with 13 goals for and 3 goals against.
In the First Knockout Round we faced a decent FCKøbenhavn side, but not good enough to challenge us, we went to the next round after winning 3-0 on aggregate. PSG were next in the Quarterfinals. This team was filled with superstars; including an aging 35 y/o Neymar, former Ternana players Lorenzo Lucca & Andrea Colpani, Samuele Ricci (probably the beast DM/M in my FM universe, he’s worth £146m-£196m) and a few others. We managed to shut them down in the first leg, they didn’t even have a shot on target, the match ended (0-0). I thought all was coming to an end in the away leg, but luckily for us Neymar decided that he wanted to begin his retirement a bit early and lunged himself at Lapo Assuma and left PSG with 10-men after 20 minutes. Two first-half goals from Assuma and David Peréz were enough to take us to the Semifinals.
We were off to Barcelona to the face the Catalan giants. For the semifinals we moved to a back three to give us a bit more coverage in the back, still continuing our cautious approach, it was the perfect recipe when matching up against better oppositions such as Barça. We were able to FMed them twice over the two legs. The first match ended (0-2), a mis-placed pass by Balde landed on De Rossi’s feet and quickly assisted his fellow striker Gerardo Gonzalez. Moments later Mateo De Rossi’s header from a corner cemented our lead. The second leg was ours to lose, so we went a bit more defensive and dropped the lines to make sure that we were able to keep the ball on our feet and counter when possible. We were playing some lovely stuff out there, completing 960/998 passes. Gerardo Gonzalez put us ahead in the first half and Facundo Maldonado‘s GOLAZO was the perfect way to send us to the finals. As you can imagine, Titas Krapikas was the MotM on both occasions. In the two legs Barcelona attempted 31 shots with 16 on target vs our 15 shots and 7 on target,
At this point, we had yet to allow a goal for the entirety of the second half of the season in all competitions. By this time, I was not sure how many records we had broken and how many near loses we had, but I was confident. Our opponents were Vincent Kompany’s Manchester City, yes you read that right. I thought PSG had stars, I was mistaken, I mean take a look at this team. You know when you get this feeling that maybe if you tweak something to your tactic that it might give you the edge, if not… all good. I decided to switch to a balanced mentality and pushed the team up the field. This was my way of saying, “fuck it, I’m going for it.” Instead of a more cautious game we were able to go back-and-forth with the best team in the world. Kylian Mbappe stroke first in 28th minute after a lovely one-two with Valentín Barco. Six minutes later, Federico Salas won a header after clearance and passed it to Assuma, which began a well constructed passing sequence for Facundo Maldonado to scored another GOLAZO (this man loves the big stage) and keep us in the match. It would all come crashing down as Ternana new boy Liridon Aliu headed the ball back to Man City in our own half. They caught us out of shape and quickly counter, it took three passes for Joäo Felix to slip between our defenders to end our hopes of lifting the Champions League trophy.
Player of the Year
Titas Krapikas has been one of the best players for most of the save. He completely outdid himself this season. He had 31 clean sheets out of 38 matches in the league and the best save percentage, saving 96.75% of the shots faced.
Last season I switched to a more cautious approach and it worked wonders, that success continued this season. We had the best defense in Europe’s top five leagues, maintained the best passing accuracy and we were 5th in possession in the Europe’s top five league. We had a streak of 30 matches without conceding, the longest in my time playing FM and I believe also within the game.
As you can see by the graph above, everyone did what was of them. The standout player was Gian Marco Nesta, contributed so much going forward. He finished the season with 13 assists and 2 goals. Nast did this while splitting his time with Jairo Garcia, who played about 700 minutes more than him. Nesta completed the most key passes and dribbles in the team with 3.99 key passes p/90 and 4.28 completed dribbles p/90.
Seven Ternana players were named in the Team of the Year. This goes to show how dominant we were in the defense and midfield. I’m still not sure how Titas Krapikas was not named in the team but I’m content nonetheless.
First Team & Player Development
As written above, from the 27 first team players included 23 of them were 22 years old or younger. If I include the further 10 players that were out on loan, we have a total of 21 players in the first team that were Trained at the Club.
In terms of total Homegrown players that were Trained at the Club, we were amongst the top talent producers not only in Italy but also in Europe. We produced a total of 32 homegrown players in Serie A, only Fiorentina had produced more with 34 homegrown players. In Europe’s top five leagues, we were tied in third place with Real Madrid, only Bayern (41) and Barcelona (46) have produced more players throughout Europe.
The good news continued this season as 8 players were featured in the NXGN 2027, including the winner – Nicaraguan International Jairo Garcia. Out of the 8 featured players, 4 of them were homegrown academy players, Dalibor Verbič, Romano Conti, Tommaso Bernardi, and Uzbekistan International Rustam Jumayev.
Intake, U18s, and U20s
Once again our intake was labeled a “Golden Generation,” with three ‘elite’ talents (see below) and five ‘top’ talents. Our of the three ‘elite’ talents, Giuseppe Pastrello is the standout. He is already worth between £850k – £8.4m.
Both youth teams won everything that was up for grabs, our academy has become the best in Italy since taking over the club. They’ve also won a combined 18 trophies in the last 6 seasons.
U18s: 4 x Allievi Serie A/B, 4 x Supercoppa Allievi,
U20s: 1 x Primavera 2, 2 x Primavera 1, 2 x Super Coppa Primavera, 2 x UEFA Youth Leagues, 3 x Viareggio Cups
Finances & Infrastructure
Finances: 2021/2022 – 2026/2027
In the six years at the club, we were able to sell a total of 170 players for a grand total of £334m and bought 72 players for a total of £87m for a transfer net of £247m. I leave Ternana in a phenomenal financial state with £373m in the bank and the club’s worth is now £2B.
They will have a transfer budget of £201m and wage budget of £2.8m per week. I’ve managed to keep our wage spending extremely low at just £951k per week, this will give them enough financial muscle to recruit high profile players if needed. The club will be able to do as they please in the transfer market. I wish them luck.
Yup, you guessed it, no stadium…. So we finish our time at Ternana without a new stadium. That’s two versions of Football Manager in a row were we’re not able to build a new stadium.
If you’ve followed the save for the last few months you’ll know that we’ve maxed out on the facilities as well youth coaching and recruitment. I hope to see Ternana continue to develop wonderkids throughout the rest of this universe.
As mentioned above, this was such a fun save. I got to learn about the headaches of the Italian non-EU rules, and being patient with a tactic as well as understanding when to adjust it. It was my first time playing with a team that had a lot of players that were past their prime, including an aging striker, Alfredo Donnarumma, who was sensational through the seasons.
You might be wondering what’s next for me. The ones of you who are in the Slack Channel will know that I was debating whether to continue for another season or start a brand new save. I decided to do what some fellow FMers (cc: @oakyfm) do which is to continue in same save universe, so I resigned at the end of the season as my contract was expiring and no contract offer had been received by board. It felt like the right time to leave and #persuetheadventure elsewhere.
That “elsewhere” is FC Lorient. The club was relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of the 2025/2026 Season and finished in 7th place this current (26/27) season. My goal is to bring them back to Ligue 1 and hopefully one day win a trophy or two. I’ve never managed in France so this will keep me entertain until FM23.
Thank you all who have been following my time in Italy, let’s see if I can bring some sort silverware to Northwest of France.