We’ve written a lot about Rocco Commisso over the past few weeks and for good reason. He is the patron of Fiorentina and someone who’s here to take La Viola to the next level both in Italy and abroad. If you want to read a little bit more about his inner circle, check out Mike’s great article here. Now I understand there is a ton of frustration from the fans based on our current form and justifiably so. As a fan, I am equally as annoyed with the results on the pitch and in the transfer market. As one of the Seven Sisters of Italian football, Fiorentina should be challenging for European places every single season. However, the Commisso takeover was always going to be a long-term project, not a short-term one. PSG, Man City, and others have ruined the ability for owners to come in and inject much needed cash into clubs. FFP makes that practically impossible unless you’re a bigger club, which we are not. So Rocco has decided it would be best to find alternate sources of revenue in lieu of UCL or UEL money that Fiorentina is usually accustomed to. The new stadium, the Centro Sportivo, the new shirt sponsorships are just a few of those avenues.
Mike did a great job of summarizing what Rocco’s vision is and why we should be patient, but I am here to give you a different perspective on Rocco. I too am an Italian-American like him, raised in the Tri-State area. Family, hard-work, and loyalty were principles instilled into my siblings and me from a young age. You work your tail off, treat everyone with dignity and respect, and don’t quit even faced with a little adversity. My father came from Italy at age 17 with no knowledge of the language or culture, but he did so to pursue the American dream you always hear about. While he didn’t become a billionaire like Rocco did, he achieved his American dream and was a successful businessman. Pretty good for an immigrant with no High School diploma, right? I tell this story because what Rocco was able to achieve as an Italian-American immigrant is similar. He came to this country and made something of himself.
He is a BILLIONARE, he doesn’t need any more money, power, or fame. He bought Fiorentina because he genuinely loves the project and wants to bring Fiorentina to new heights. Let me ask you a question, why would a 70-year old man travel back-and-forth from the U.S. to Italy (during a pandemic I might add) if he didn’t truly believe in this vision for this club? While we should always be grateful to the Della Valles for saving Fiorentina, they always seemed to run the club as a business more than passion. I think this is what people sometimes fail to understand about out new owner, he’s in it for the love. He’s inevitably going to lose a good chunk of money in this venture, but that’s okay, it’s all part of the process. He’s ruffled some feathers because of his direct and no nonsense attitude, but let me let you in on a secret, that’s New York/New Jersey love right there. In the States you can get things done much easier than you can in Italy, so Rocco isn’t going to give up until he can cut through all the bureaucratic red tape and get fans a state of the art stadium they deserve. You may not love his attitude on occasion, but it’s the type of attitude that’s going to take this club to the places we want it to go. As a successful businessman he is used to getting his way and he will in Italy too.
Going back to one of the core values of Italian-American homes I mentioned before, let’s talk about loyalty. Is Beppe Iachini the coach who is going to guide Fiorentina back to the Champions League? Probably not. However, he did successfully steady the ship last season and ensure Fiorentina finished in a respectable place in the table. Rocco rewarded that performance with his loyalty to the coach by picking up the option on his contract. I was raised that loyalty is earned until it isn’t and I can see that Rocco has a similar mentality by the people he’s appointed to this club. So I understand a lot of fans would prefer Sarri or De Rossi and that’s perfectly fair, but now that you understand a bit about the morals we both grew up with, maybe you’ll understand Rocco’s decision making a bit more.
I don’t know Rocco personally, but I hope to meet him one day. He’s an inspiration for all Italian-Americans and he’s going to restore this club to glory in time. Fiorentina fans are often like a doctor facing a malpractice suit, running out patients quickly. The Philadelphia 76ers coined the phrase “Trust The Process” and they are 100% correct (although I hope we can actually win a championship unlike them). It’s going to take some time, but we are going to get there and I truly think Rocco is the man to lead us there. They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere and Rocco has made it in NYC tenfold. He’ll succeed in Firenze too, you can take that to the bank. Hopefully you learned something about Italian-Americans or me reading this article and maybe, just maybe, you will put a little more faith in Rocco.
P.S. Rocco/Joe if you are reading this and ever on Long Island, we’d love to have you over for Sunday Sauce. It would be my great honor!