Admittedly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to write more blog posts. Not because I couldn’t be bothered or didn’t want to, but because I’ve been really enjoying my time with Torino. I’ve just been ploughing through the seasons.
Bringing You Up To Speed
I had started writing this blog at the start of the 2029/30 season, but as mentioned above, I was really enjoying the save. I just wanted to spend my FM time playing the game. It’s now the end of the 2030/31 season and I think that’s actually going to be my final season on this save. There’s plenty of reasons why and I’ll get into them as we go through this post.
Let me say though, this has been the most enjoyable FM save I’ve had in a few years. There are things that still annoy me about the game, but I was quite immersed in managing Torino. I had a real affinity for the players I had in my team, I really liked the football we played and we developed some great rivalries with INTER, Lazio and Juventus.
The Best Home-Grown
Once I got into the save and started shaping my team, I knew I was going to have a few players that stood out. It happens on every save. It’s pretty rare for me to take charge of a club and have a young player become my talisman.
On this save, I thought my key man would be Andrea Belotti.. and for a time, he was. He certainly banged the goals in for us. But he was 28 when I joined Torino, his time was going to be limited. He retired when he was 35 at the end of his contract.
During the first season, I had a couple of good centre backs but one I had read about before starting the save. Alessandro Buongiorno turned out to be one of my most important players. When you look at his attributes, he’s not incredible, he won’t blow you away. But he’s very good in the right areas.
He developed into quite a fine defender. His reading of the game and ability to be in the right place at the right time, saved our bacon on numerous occasions. Not only was he a good defender, had a keen eye for goal. Popping up in the box, scoring headers at set pieces. But his best goal came against Juventus in the derby, when he smashed a 25 yard scream into the top corner… on his wrong foot! Sublime! He scored 58 goals in all competitions and ended two season in a row with 9 goals.
You can see his growth from the start of the save. He had a good base to work from and it was good to see his anticipation and concentration grow so much. His physical ability meant he was a match for the best of strikers.
Despite his low leadership rating, he eventually became our captain upon Belotti’s retirement. He lead by example and I loved having him in the team. He rarely missed games, his longest spell injured was with an injury picked up before the save started. An ever present.
The Best Signing
At some point, I was going to sign some important players. Whatever save I do, I always try to buy the best players from the home nation. It still blows my mind that I managed to get this player in for just €13m. Best money I spent in the save.
I’d been reading about the best talents in Italy just now. Chiesa, Berardi, Kean and Scamacca. It was Giacomo Raspadori that really interested me though. In fairness, he’s not the most amazing player, but again, he was strong in the right areas and had time to develop. He was 25 when he joined, but his best years were ahead of him and boy, did I see the best of him.
Not the quickest or the most technical, but his movement was what made him so good. The plan was never to play him as a striker, I always seen him as a wide player who could drift inside and find pockets of space that my strikers left when they dropped off. This led him to score 145 goals in all competitions for us. His best return being 36 goals in 45 appearances, which tied him with the most goals scored by a Torino player in a season.
He didn’t develop massively, but was an important player for us across this save. We missed him when he wasn’t in the side. He did go through spells where he’d be inconsistent, but his goalscoring spells were quite spectacular and I really enjoyed his link up play. He ended up being my vice captain in the final couple of seasons.
Other Notable Mentions
I can’t miss out the important contribution of Lorenzo Pellegrini. He was my first BIG signing. He cost me €50m from Man City. He went there for €46m the year before, played one Champions League game and made a sub appearance in the league. He wanted out of there and I thought he’d fit in with our system.. and if he didn’t, we’d make the system fit.
He was an instant success. 9 goals and 11 assists in his first season was a decent return, but it got better over the next couple of seasons. In the 27/28 season he chipped in with 17 goals and 23 assists from central midfield. He was a monster.
Sadly, a couple of injuries robbed us of him for most of the next season, but he still scored important goals and always created for his teammates. He was on huge wages and we were haemorrhaging money, so I decided I’d let him go at the end of the 29/30 season. He joined Monaco and bossed Ligue 1!
You’ll know that I love attacking full backs if you read my previous full backs posts on here. Federico Dimarco was the best full back I signed on this save. I’d had a couple of other decent Italian full backs, Luca Pellegrini and Matteo Ruggeri were both decent players, but neither hit the heights of Dimarco.
In six seasons at Torino, he got 88 assists. Fuck. That’s nuts!
He was super important in the final season as I’d signed a big lump of a centre forward for him to aim at. Even at 33 years old, which is relatively young in Italy, he got his best return of 22 assists. Magic!
Nobody plays Football Manager with the aim of not winning trophies or being successful in some way. I don’t always measure success by winning the league ten times in a row. To me, that’s not being successful, that’s taking the piss out of the other teams.
As I mentioned in my first blog post, I wanted to win trophies, but it wasn’t the goal to dominate and only win trophies. I wanted to develop players that would be good enough for the first team. Sadly, despite having the best facilities in the country, we just didn’t get that magical player that I thought or hoped we’d get. We had a couple of players that made a number of appearances for the first team, but none that were good enough to ever stake a claim and make the position their own. I’m quite disappointed by that.
Torino’s stadium is old and I’m sure the fans love it, but it was limited in growth potential for us to make big money from ticket sales and really exploit the corporate facilities. In 2030, we eventually moved into the Valentino Mazzola Arena which had a 40,221 capacity and much grander corporate facilities. It ensured we raked in an additional €7m in gate receipts and doubled our Corporate income to €5m across the season. These are small gains, but any income boost at an unfancied team is a boost.
As for winning trophies, we smashed it mate.
We were competitive from the off. We were pipped to finish 14th in our first season, but ended up being 8th and qualified for the Europa Conference League. I didn’t really fancy that competition and played a rotated squad for every game… but we only bloody won it. First trophy in the bag.
Steady progress was made, 3rd and 2nd place finishes followed in 22/23 and 23/24. We finally got our hands on the Serie A trophy in 24/25 after a very tight battle with Juventus.
Over the coming seasons, more trophies arrived.
The pinnacle was the 2030/31 season. It was quite stressful in many ways. Inter were my closest rivals for the past three or four seasons. They’d always manage to breakaway at some point as we eventually dropped points in games we should have won.
This season was different though. We had our heads screwed on. We controlled games and could always pop up with an important goal. We were closing in on the title and I realised that we hadn’t lost a game all season. I wanted to win the league and I wanted us to be invincibles. That’s where the stress comes in, every game is painful to watch. When you go in at half time a goal down, you think that’s it, but we’d always nick a win or a draw. It was awesome.
We only bloody did it. The final game of the season, to wrap it up and complete the invincible season was away at Juventus. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
But there’s more!
We also picked up the Super Coppa Italia, beating INTER with a late Lorenzo Lucca goal.
And to complete the treble, we picked up the Coppa Italia with another late goal. We liked leaving it late in the finals!
So that sort of rounds it up… domestically.
What about Europe?
We’d made the Semi-Final stage in the 29/30 season and I aimed to get there again. We had a reasonably hard group, Chelsea, PSV and Rangers, but managed to finish top, winning five and only dropping points in the final game against Chelsea, drawing 2-2.
We managed to negotiate our way past Lyon… then Bayern Munich… and then Barcelona!
This setup a final against PSG in Dortmund. We’d gone the whole season, unbeaten in every competition, not losing a single game along the way. We needed this cup to complete a quadruple, to complete a proper invincible season.
By this stage in the save, PSG have a lot of top quality newgens, but they still have notable players like Donnarumma, Hakimi, Odegaard, Sterling and Chiesa. Some of these players are older, but they’re still a top team.
But we fucking smashed the bastids. 4-0. GET IN!
TORINO, CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!
Champions of everything to be fair. An invincible season in every competition.
This sort of seems like the right point to sign off of this save. Go out on a high. Win the league in the new stadium, leave the squad in good shape with a mix of promising young players and some very experienced senior players.
I had a lot of fun playing as Torino. It was great to lead one team from mid-table obscurity to domination. The club and players were perfect for me. Definitely one of my favourite saves in a long time.
I had promised to write about tactics, but I cast aside my early tactical plans when I didn’t have the right players for the job. I eventually settled on a 433 which was pretty basic in instructions and roles. I’m sure I’ve posted it in my Slack channel. The key for us was switching to a Balanced mentality as it stopped a lot of the mistakes we were making. We held the ball better and controlled games more. We didn’t get caught out of possession quite so much. It was less attacking, but our attacks were more clinical.
Q: Why didn’t you write about this save more?
A: I was enjoying playing it too much. I’d get to the end of the season, go right into the next one and miss a natural break point.
Q: There are rumours that Tony sent you the draw tactic for a while, can you confirm/deny this?
A: We were masters of the draw at some point, but I just used my own draw tactic.
Q: Did you consider getting FMStag in to help you with recruitment bantz?
A: No, I am able to find my own targets.
Q: There were a lot of words in your last post, any plans to put a picturebook in your next post?
A: I’ve put a few more pictures in here to make it Dan Friendly.
Q: Any plans for another FM22 save?
A: I’ve got some other games I want to play just now, but yeah, more than likely. I might do some other writing on it if I find something to write about.