Comparison with previous season: Serie B
If there is a story that can mirror how exciting and unpredictable the Serie A campaign was, it’s the one of Salernitana. The Stadio Arechi has made this season one to remember as the diehard Tifosigave the club from Salerno an enviable heartbeat. This was always going to be a tough season but their fight was more than admirable as since April 16, they started the campaign for their ‘Great Escape’. Incredible to watch at times, but aslo stressful as they punched, kicked and screamed in the final months. The supporters can be proud of the club and the feeling should be mutual. It seemed impossible for them to survive and, at the end of December, they even risked being excluded from Serie A. Luckily, Claudio Lotito sold the club to Danilo Iervolino just in time to avoid the harshest punishment from the Lega and all the decisions taken by the new president, especially hiring Calcio Guru Walter Sabatini proved to be the right one.
Turning point of the season
April 16, Sampdoria 1-2 Salernitana: it’s the moment when the belief came. Davide Nicola had been appointed in mid-February and hadn’t had a win until that date. After that victory, they believed and beat Udinese, Fiorentina and Venezia. They drew with Atalanta, Cagliari and Empoli and mounted that final assault that would eventually go down to the final day. They faced defeat against Udinese in the final matchday at the Stadio Arechi. Still, luckily, Cagliari were unable to beat already-relegated Venezia, allowing the Granata to achieve something incredible and historical. However, Salernitana managed to avoid the drop with just 31 points, the lowest in the history of Serie A.
The coaches – Fabrizio Castori, Stefano Colantuono and Davide Nicola
Forget Fabrizio Castori and Stefano Colantuono, this season was all about Davide Nicola. The master of survival was a tag he took on willingly until the end. His confidence in what he wanted to do with the team took almost a month to bed in but he was strong willed trusted in his beliefs and stuck to the task at hand. His faith in himself transcended to the team and they fought to the death in this Serie A campaign. The former defender actually played with an attacking style that entertained the fans even though they were struggling against relegation.
Player of the Year – Federico Bonazzoli
There is a strong argument for Simone Verdi to pick up this award as whilst he netted five times, he was constantly involved and very influential since joining the team in the January transfer window. However, the award should go to Federico Bonazzoli as the former Torino and Sampdoria striker did what was needed to help the team from the very start of the season. He scored goals, 10 in total, and this is impressive for a team languishing at the foot of the table. Perhaps because he started at Inter and then went to Sampdoria at a young age, many forget he is only 24-years old. He is a very mature striker and it feels like he has found a home in Salerno.
Disappointing player of the year – Diego Perotti
Diego Perotti was one of the 11 players who joined Salernitana in a remarkable January transfer window led by Sabatini. The former Roma man should have thrived in Salerno, but instead, he seemed lost on his Serie A return. This isn’t about a missed penalty at Empoli (although it could have been costly), but about his general apathy in his performances. He is a beautiful, sublime and talented footballer that, if he applied himself (and was lucky with injuries), should and could have been a star man in this team. Many expected more from him, but luckily for the Granata, Milan Djuric, Bonazzoli and Verdi, eventually provided the goals needed to play another season of Serie A football.