One of the easier challenges in the Championship Manager / Football Manager series was to take a fallen giant and take them back through the leagues to their position of former glory. The infrastructure and the fan base is already there to help you (re)build great things - but with those advantages come great expectations. Don’t be surprised at being unseated, should your progress not match those expectations.

One such challenge in CM0102 (running the 3.9.68 patch) is Fiorentina, who had been recently demoted from European greats to the fourth tier of the Italian football - so much so that you start the first season with a UEFA cup spot. The squad has not been entirely decimated, leaving you with some good players, but also carrying huge debt.

Read on to follow our progress back through the Italian leagues.

CM0102 | Fiorentina - Season 1

We inherited a Fiorentina squad which still contained some talent worth of Serie A, particularly Leandro up front, Raffaelle Longo in midfield and Angelo di Livio in defence.

The start of the game also presents an opportunity to sign some big talent available on free transfers. We pick up Adam Matsyek between the posts, Ivan Hurtado and Taribo West come in to strengthen defence, and we bring in Moreno Torricelli and Gustavo Mendez to patrol the flanks.

[gallery columns=“2” size=“medium” ids=“1713,1714,1715”]

With a strong balanced team we encounter little challenge on our way to the Serie C2B Title, or to the Serie C Cup, going undefeated in domestic competition all year. We all have a strong European campaign, finally succumbing in the Quarter final of the UEFA cup to follow Italians Parma after inspired victories against stronger Nantes and Wolfsburg sides.

[gallery columns=“2” size=“medium” ids=“1712,1711,1709,1708,1710”]

None of which brings any money, and we continue to haemorrhage money through the year. As the club begins to prepare for bankruptcy in the spring a new investor comes in clearing the clubs debts, and providing a small but useful transfer kitty for the following season. Leandro is very much the star of the campaign, firing in the goals to start our journey back up the league.

[gallery size=“medium” columns=“2” ids=“1707,1706,1705,1702”]

CM0102 | Fiorentina - Season 2

The transfer window following the first season was meticulously executed to ensure that the best available talent was brought in, while not threatening the newly solvent balance sheet or cashflow. In this window some of the stellar performers in CM01/02 were signed, and in some cases relatively inexpensively. The likes of the mighty San Marino trio of Moroni, Gasperoni and Della Valle were brought in to strengthen the right wing and central defence, Bergstrom for the left wing, and the exceptional Tsigalko to sit behind the two forwards.

The outlay was almost entirely fully funded by departures from the club, most notably Angelo Di Livio and Taribo West. With the former a last opportunity was taken to both cash in and relieve the wage bill, and our hand was force in the latter by the fee and destination.

[gallery columns=“2” size=“medium” ids=“1700,1699,1698,1697”]

As a result the second season was a breeze in the park in comparison to the first, Fiorentina demolishing all they came across, winning the league early and convincingly, and undefeated. We also rapped up the Serie C Cup again with a convincing two leg victory over Bari, and also the Serie C1 Super Cup against Crotone. Topping the league we avoided the play offs for the second season in a row.

[gallery columns=“2” size=“medium” ids=“1695,1694,1693,1692,1691”]

The summer signings performed well too. Tsigalko sweeping all before him on his way to player of the year and golden boot awards, with Kristian Bergstrom getting closest to him, and creating an enviable number of assists along the way.

[gallery size=“medium” columns=“2” ids=“1690,1689,1688,1687”]

Season 2002/3 was a breeze.