2016-17 End of Season Review
It was a very long Serie C for Modena. We had a full 38 game season and then entered the never-ending Serie C playoffs for the 4th promotion place. I'm not sure what a better playoff system would look like but I know the current system is not the best one out there. It's just too many games.
We finished the regular season in 3rd place. We bounced between 2nd and 6th place during the second half of the season. We never could really contend for the championship. Every time I thought we had a chance to pull ourselves into the fight, we would shoot ourselves in the foot with a bad loss or tie and lose ground on the leader. But considering the number of teams that make the playoffs, falling out of the playoffs was never really a consideration.
10th place has a chance to earn promotion from the playoffs?!?!?! What the hell kind of system is this?!?!? I thought American sports were messed up with their playoff formats but this is just nuts. The only teams who don't play after the end of the regular season are: 1st place, Last place, and 11th-15th place. Seven out of the 20 teams. Everyone else gets some type of "post-season football"
Because of regular season point total, we earned a first round bye. This meant two fewer games to reach the final. The first two rounds are two-legged ties while the semi-final and final is a one-off held at a neutral site because why the hell not. Here's what our playoff progression looked like (I didn't include the first round in the tree because it wouldn't fit on my monitor).
After six playoff games, Modena was the lucky winner of the promotion playoff. 28 teams battled for the lone promotion spot. We needed penalties to defeat Matera (3-2 - our keeper made three saves and they hit the post once). Extra time to beat Foggia, who also had a first round bye. (Yep, it's a blind draw after each round too). Renate was tough competition and pushed us in the semifinal. But our offense came to play and we escaped with 3-2 victory. 10th place Tuttocuoio was our opponent in the final. We scored on the opening kickoff and that goal held up as we claimed the 1-0 victory and promotion to Serie B.
The good news is, of course, promotion to Serie B. The bad news: I worked all my 2017-18 planning on the fact that we were remaining in Serie C. The odds just aren't your favor, even if you are the best team in the playoffs (which we weren't), to win the playoff. Thankfully, I only have 17 senior team players under contract for the 2017-18 season. I've got 6 to 8 roster slots that I can fill with who are better suited to Serie B as opposed to Serie C.
I shored up our inconsistent offense by bringing in two players on loan: Roberto Greco and Mattia Franchiti. These two players brought some consistency to the offense and a formation change. We moved into a 4-4-2 narrow diamond. Greco scored for fun. He had 15 goals in 25 appearances which tied him for the team lead but he only played half the season with us compared to Riccardo Ravesi who Greco tied for the goalscoring leadd. Ravesi had 15 goals in 40 appearances. Franchiti was better shooting in traffic where he scored all five of his goals. If he had an open chance, odds were that he would miss it wide.
The playoff run actually showed me something about our finances. We need to draw around 11-12 thousand fans on average to come out ahead with a 38k payroll. Now, having a 38k payroll is a sure-fire way to get relegated in the first season. But with the increase in ticket price and larger season ticket base, I can increase the payroll to the 50-60k range and, hopefully, pull down a profit at the end of the season. I also don't know if the chairman is willing to throw in his own cash to help pull us out of this deficit.