Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Mind The Sack

We are only 6 and 7 games into Serie A and B respectively this season and already we have seen FOUR managers dismissed in Italy's top two divisions. It is a very short period of time for the upper echelons of a club to decide that a change is needed for their team to better themselves during the rest of the season. Yet, it is a decision that we have seen taken all too often in Italian football over the last decade or so and even beyond. Two of the men in question are ex-Milan star Gennaro Gattuso who was given the chop by recently relegated Sicilian side Palermo and another fairly well known ex-Italian footballer, Fabio Liverani, who also was given his marching orders. In this case, however, it was by Serie A outfit Genoa.

Some may point out that in the last week or so the same has happened in the top two tiers of English football, where we have seen managers Di Canio (Italian) and Nigel Clough both removed from their posts. Whilst this is a similar length of time into the new season there is no comparison between them. It is true that Di Canio was only in charge for 13 games on Wearside after he took over the club in March of the previous season. But Di Canio seems to be an exception to most cases. It could be argued that his methods did not go down too well with the players, the fans and ultimately even the board. Results and off the field antics seemed to force their hand in letting the enigmatic Italian go. Clough is almost an entirely opposite case since he spent nearly a healthy 5 years with the Rams and in the end the club must have decided that he was not going to be the right man to get them up this season. He may have left Derby in better shape than Sunderland since they lie 14th in the Championship, however, the board obviously felt that no signs of progress were being made.

Gattuso finding life in management tricky 

These two cases are in stark contrast to the sackings of Gattuso and Liverani in Italy. Let us start with Gattuso and his now former club, Palermo. Gattuso lasted only 6 competitive games in Sicily before he was let go by club owner Maurizio Zamparini, a.k.a 'The manager eater'. Gattuso had only been in charge of the side from the beginning of July after their relegation from Serie A last season. He left the club with them only in 9th position and whilst that is not the best start to a campaign for the league's promotion hopefuls it is also most certainly not the worst with still a hefty 35 games or so to go in the season. Yet, it still comes as little surprise to those in the know.

The facts that follow Zamparini are quite astounding. It is also hard to determine whether they are all completely correct or not because of his liberal use of the term 'manager' and the fact that he has sacked some coaches more than once. It is possible that during his time in football, Gattuso, who won 73 caps for Italy, has become the 43rd manager to be sacked by the 72 year old. He also becomes the 20th manager to be dismissed since Zamparini took charge of Palermo 11 years ago and also the 32nd manager to leave the club since the year 2000. Breathe.

Zamparini plotting his next managerial move

Even in last years fateful season he sacked 3 managers, 2 of which were re-hired at some point later in the year making the figure actually 5. One of those managers was a man called Gasperini who was hired in February of this year, promptly sacked and then rehired 20 days later only to be sacked again. It all sounds like stuff of legend and one begs to think of what the English media would make of it all if this habit came much closer to Britain's shores. Gattuso went off the back of two home defeats in a row and rumour has it that that is all it takes in Italy now. Two home losses on the trot and you are out of there. Next manager please.

Liverani is another manager to have been given his marching orders this month. The first and only sacking in Serie A so far this season I believe, unless someone goes whilst I am writing. He has been replaced by that man Gasperini again who has funnily enough already managed Genoa a few years ago when he was at the helm for a mammoth 3 years. Liverani, like Gattuso, was only hired this very summer and lasted less than 2 months into the season before he was shown the door. In this case though Genoa really have had a poor start to the season with only a solitary win in their opening 7 games. This includes a shock Coppa Italia defeat but is also strangely coupled with the fact that Liverani did lead the team to a 3-0 thumping of fellow city rivals Sampdoria less than 2 weeks ago. However, a 2-0 loss to Napoli at the weekend proved to be the tipping point and the merry-go-round of managers continues.

Fabio Liverani on his way out at Genoa

This is not an issue which is solely concerned with Palermo or even Genoa. Every Italian club and owner is at it. Since the beginning of last season in Serie A to the start of this season there were 27 managerial changes. 27! Baring in mind that there are only 20 clubs in Serie A. This is also compared with the comparatively small number of 10 changes that have taken place in the Premier League in the same amount of time. And even many of those changes have been not because of sackings but of managers like Martinez and Moyes choosing to take their talents to a better club.

What is also quite noticeable in Italy is how many of the well known managers have by and large each managed a number of the 'Big 4/5' clubs in the country. Or some who have managed more clubs than they could probably care to remember. By no means is it their own fault. More often than not they are sacked after a single season at a club with very little chance of proving their real worth. Here is a list of a select few managers and their credentials.

Massimiliano Allegri: 46 years old. Current club AC Milan. He has managed 7 clubs in 13 years of management.

Fabio Capello: Has managed Milan x2, Roma and Juventus.

Franco Colomba: Not a famous manager but I wanted to include him for the sake of his managerial career. I honestly don't understand how he keeps on being hired. He is currently 58 and out of a job. He has managed 19 clubs in 23 years.

Antonio Conte: Regarded as a very good manager and doing a great job at Juventus now. But has managed 7 clubs in the 8 years since he turned coach.

Luigi Delneri: Has managed 9 clubs in the last 9 years.

Claudio Ranieri: The tinker man is a well known and respected manager. He is now doing very well with Monaco although the resources available to him are incredible. In Italy he has managed Napoli, Fiorentina, Parma, Juventus, Roma and Inter. Nearly every big club there is in Serie A. That is like an English manager coaching in his career Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal and Newcastle.

Delio Rossi: Currently at my favourite side Sampdoria. He has coached 16 clubs in 23 years of management.

Giovanni Trapattoni: Milan x2, Juventus x2, Inter and Fiorentina. Again another lovely range of top Italia clubs.

This sacking culture does not look like stopping anytime soon and I can only hope that in the future this does not spread to England. It will be a sad sad day if it does. Let us only hope that Sir Alex Ferguson is not the last man to spend nearly three decades at one club.    

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