Time For A Wake Up Call

FOOTBALL : Toulouse vs Lille - 35eme journee de L1 - 04/05/2013

The past few months have been filled with despair and frustration, as we continued to struggle for form, waved goodbye to yet another coach, and suffered defeat to Lazio in the Coppa Italia final. For once, many Romanisti were pleased to see the season end. However, one problem still remains. A problem which has provoked the strongest felt emotion of all: embarrassment.

By: Daragh Tavey


It finally looks as if the situation will be put to bed, as Rudi Garcia looks set to be confirmed as the new coach. The process of selecting the new coach hasn’t come without it’s drama, though. Sabatini and co. have had months to resolve the problem, yet failed to come up with any resolution. The stumbling block? Following rejection from Allegri and Mazzarri, the board were divided. Pallotta, wanting a high profile coach, in the shape of Roberto Mancini, while Sabatini preferring Rudi Garcia, of Lille. The situation became even more humiliating when Sky Sport reported that Sabatini was ready to hand in his resignation if Roma’s management failed to agree on the next coach. Given the sheer amount of names thrown about, tifosi, and seemingly players alike, are growing quite restless, as Daniele De Rossi took a swipe at the board, claiming, “They’ll find a new Coach sooner or later.”

However, if there’s one positive to take from all of this, it’s that the situation has provided one heck of a wake up call for tifsosi. It was quite telling of just what sort of position we, as a club, are currently in, when Massimiliano Allegri turned down the opportunity to move to the capital, and instead remain at Milan. Where during his two years at the club, he continues to be undermined by owner Silvio Berlusconi, who once publicly called him an idiot and continually questions his tactics. Heck, even Mazzarri’s rejection should send a crystal clear message, opting for a move to Inter Milan, who finished below the Giallorossi in Serie A. It’s provided a reality check for tifosi, one which will sadly go unnoticed by the majority. The club is not in the luxurious position they once were. We’re stuck in a transitional period, one which requires patience.

Roma – a dream job?

Why did Mazzarri opt for Inter, or Allegri remain in Milan? The owners clearly don’t lack ambition. “We want to make Roma the biggest club in the world.” While an extremely big statement to make, they’ve worked tirelessly to enhance the image of the club, to provide a global appeal and further enhance marketing potential. Not to mention wiping away the majority of the club’s debt and also pushing for a new stadia. The club are in a much more stable condition than that of two years ago, under Rosella Sensi. They’re making the right decisions off the pitch, while showing a willingness to back Sabatini with appropiate funds for matters on the pitch. Perhaps the real problem doesn’t lie within the club. The Roma hotseat is one of the most high pressure jobs in European football, where every decision is scrutinised and every point dropped provokes an unpleasant response from media and fans alike.

Luis Enrique’s reign at the club highlights such ignorance and stubbornness displayed by many. His appointment was met with great skepticism, and unsurprisingly, it took just two games, before tifosi and media had enough. The second leg Europa League qualifier versus Slovan Bratislava saw fans jeer throughout. Once Slovan had scored, fans, without any hesitation, raced out of their seat to shout abuse at the Spaniard. Granted the performances over the two legs were extremely poor, the reaction from fans wasn’t about missing out on European football. The performance simply provided fans an opportunity to display anger at an appointment which would inevitably bring change. The idea of implementing a philosophy or system completely foreign to calcio was never greeted with much optimism, regardless of how promising the project looked. The media and tifosi refused to open their mind to change, and in the end, forced Luis Enrique into resigning. The project in place was never going to gain results instantly. It was a long term project, one with a lot of promise. Time in the capital doesn’t exist, however, and it’s been a key reason as to why we currently find ourselves in this predicament.

The fans demand instant success – gets more change

Of course, the fans aren’t the sole reason as to why the club finds itself in the position it’s in. Of course not! However, it’s quite alarming when you see fans already expressing anger and disappointment with the boards’ decision, questioning whether or not Garcia is prestigious enough. The appointment mirrors that of Luis Enrique’s. An experience, I’m sure all of us, don’t wish to relive. What the tifosi must realise is, again, the club is in a transitional period. Regardless of who is appointed, it’s important they receive the full backing from the supporters. One could argue it’s just a matter of steadying the ship. So much change in recent years, from playing staff, to backroom staff, provides an obstacle in itself, but trying to implement three (if counting AA) completely different philosophies/systems in the last two years certainly hasn’t helped! One could argue, a big reason as to why likes of De Rossi are underperforming (One, of the many, things Sabatini and Baldini – who has since resigned – have got wrong. Appointing a coach of similar personality and whose preferred system is similar to that of his predecessor adds for a much smoother transition). It may take another average season next season, but if that’s what it takes to get the club back in the right direction, then so be it. So long as the board recognises this and stick by whoever is in charge. And the same applies to tifosi. The fans are continually looking for instant success season after season, with coach after coach, which inevitably leads to more changes when high expectations aren’t achieved. We need some stability!

Let’s start afresh this summer. Accept whoever arrives with open arms, and support the guy from the off, regardless of results. Give him the best opportunity to succeed. Results next season are irrelevant (to an extent, of course!). The club need stability, and the players need a bit of familiarity, both with the staff, and the system. Hold your tongue and reserve your judgement for one year. Then let’s see how we progress as a TEAM, as a CLUB, and as a COMMUNITY.