Today, Rocco Commisso released his acceptance speech for an Italian Heritage Award, “Patrimonio Italiano Award” through Fiorentina’s social media. Rocco has been very busy since purchasing Fiorentina with multiple trips to Firenze and back, financing a new stadium at his high school Alma mater, and now an award from Patrimonio Italiano TV. Here are his words from the video acceptance:
“Good evening and thank you for this award. I’m here in America. First of all, II’d like to congratulate everyone who is being honored this evening, I’ve been a very lucky man. not least because of my parents, who made hug sacrifices to make a better life for their children. Especially my father, who spent five years as a prisoner of war in Africa. After that, he brought us all to America, where I began my American Dream. That’s where I started out. I played football and the accordion and I had a lot of good fortune. I received a fantastic scholarship to Columbia University and then the career I had after Columbia was a dream. Rocco is one of the most successful Italian immigrant entrepreneurs in our countries history.”
Narrator talks “He is the founder, chairmen and CEO of Mediacom Communications, with over 4,500 employees serving over 1.4 million customers. It is the nations fifth largest cable company and the second largest in Illinois.”
Rocco continues, “My Love for football was stronger than anything else. Football helped me achieve what I have in life. I learned how to play in Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, a small town in Calabria, where a the age of seven or eight I would play in front of the station in the winter and on the beach by the sea during the summer. Now, 57 years later, its my turn to give back to football and my country, what football and Italy have given me. I bought Fiorentina three months ago. Walking out of the Franchi on June 7th was a fantastic day. It was a thrilling couple of hours unlike anything I’d ever experienced in my life. They accepted me for who I am, Rocco. Before I was a club owner, I was a player and a fan of Italian football and now of my Fiorentina. Of course, I want to repay Fiorentina for all the love they have shown me and my family with some silverware in the near future. Thank you Firenze and thank you Patrimonio Italiano.”
There is a lot to take out of his speech. The comment I focused on is the one on silverware, “I want to repay Fiorentina for all the love they have shown me and my family with some silverware in the near future”.
Let me add one story that I didn't write about in articles from my meeting with Rocco Commisso. During our conversation he pointed out it has been 19 years since Fiorentina had won any cups, and that it is important to win something soon. I replied, “as a Fiorentina fan, overall we don’t expect to win cups, but we expect to always be competitive in league and in Europe.”
Rocco stopped me right then and there and replied, “Fiorentina fans should demand cups. I want cups. That’s our goal now.”
It is nice to have an owner with ambition. It is nice to have an owner who is impacting lives on and off the field. It is nice to be able to walk into my neighborhood gelataria and cafe and feel proud despite being surround by droves of Inter, Napoli and Juve fans.