If anyone was expecting to learn anything new from today’s ‘press conference’ with Rocco Commisso, they would have been sadly disappointed. There was, as expected, no word on a new manager, player’s contract extensions or the future of members of his staff such as Daniele Pradè. These subjects, we were told, would all be addressed once the season has finished.
Why then, did Rocco Commisso decide to call a press conference for today? It does seem as if he will soon be heading back to America, and he wished to publicly thank Giuseppe Iachini for the work he has done in saving the club, yet again, from relegation. Rocco even went so far as to suggest that the people of Florence should erect a statue to Beppe, maybe even in Piazzale Michelangelo.
He spoke of how the players morale was so low, they were terrorized, after Cesare Prandelli resigned and from all the criticism they had received from the press. It was interesting to note that there wasn’t one word of thanks for Prandelli. Commisso did mention how the points per game average of Iachini was better than those of both Vincenzo Montella and Prandelli. It would seem, they may not have parted on the best of terms, or maybe Rocco just didn’t want to bring in Cesare in the first place. He did admit to one mistake, which was that of listening to and bowing to the pressure of the critics and sacking Beppe.
After this high praise for Beppe Iachini, what followed was a Rocco Commisso monologue where he decided, once again, to attack journalists, the media, the press, newspapers, radio stations, anyone basically who, in doing their job, may have dared to criticize Fiorentina, and Rocco Commisso’s work. Nobody was spared, every journalist who asked a question was then quizzed by Rocco on whether they had been for or against Iachini earlier in the season. Any attempt at a question was turned into another chance for Rocco to have a go at the press. Some were even told that he wouldn’t answer their questions because of the newspaper they worked for.
I would love to know who are the journalists who have insulted Rocco Commisso. Who has ever called him ‘terrone’ or stupid, or who has insulted his family, these were all part of Rocco’s speech. It was the same old story, it’s Rocco’s money, Rocco’s club, and nobody has the right to question how that money is spent or how his club is run. If Rocco is so worried about his money, then why is he allowing his staff to go out and buy players such as Aleksandr Kokorin, in January when we needed players ready to assist the squad in their battle to escape relegation?
These are questions that cannot be asked, and definitely won’t be answered. Rocco Commisso then decided to provoke the journalists, saying that he would put the club up for sale, as long as somebody, from Florence, came forward with a 10% deposit within ten days.
It was more of the same, comparing himself to other owners of clubs, how he has put so much money in than others, how he makes his money in America but then brings it to Italy to invest in the club. Nobody in Florence cares what is happening at Roma or Parma, so his obsession with other American owners is just getting embarrassing at this stage.
Again we were forced to hear about his yellow cards and red cards, how certain people won’t be allowed enter the Centro Sportivo. When the president of the AST (Associazione Stampa Toscana) Sandro Bennucci attempted to intervene and defend the journalists, Rocco refused to speak to him and he was cut off. Journalists were accused of making money off of their criticism of Fiorentina.
Commisso continued his rant against the press at every opportunity, telling them that they only know how to criticize. I listened as he attacked people like Mario Tenerani of Lady Radio, one of the fairest journalists you will probably find in Florence. I’m a regular listener to the radio station, and have never heard Mario Tenerani insult Rocco Commisso, in fact most of the time he defends the club owner.
There were plenty of names mentioned by Rocco, including Leonardo Petri, Luca Calamai and Enzo Bucchioni. Corriere Fiorentino and La Gazzetta dello Sport, along with Urbano Cairo were also strongly attacked by Rocco Commisso.
The most embarrassing part for me, is how important Rocco Commisso seems to believe he is. He spoke of how he has exported the brand of Florence to America, speaking so well of the city. He then threatened that maybe one day in the future this could change. Yes Rocco, Florence, one of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world will now tremble in fear that you may one day speak negatively about it, causing their tourism industry to fall apart.
It really is time that Rocco Commisso realizes just what owning a football club in Italy, in a city like Florence, means. Nobody forced him to buy the club, he didn’t save us from bankruptcy, and just because it’s Rocco’s money, this doesn’t mean that nobody should dare ask questions or criticize what is happening.
Recently we’ve only heard Rocco speak after a Fiorentina victory, a rare event, or when he was happy with the performance. Today he called a press conference, but it was pointless asking the press to be involved, when it was just a chance for Rocco to speak out, and not answer any actual questions about the club.
So if any of you are in doubt as to why Fiorentina are in the position they are right now, according to Rocco Commisso, it would be because of the journalists. This is a club which in the two seasons since Commisso took over, is struggling in the bottom half of the table. For that reason, Rocco needs to expect and learn to accept the fact, that the club will be criticized. This is football, this is what happens, and there are plenty of places, even in Italy, where he would be under much more pressure, from both the fans and the press.
One piece of information we did learn, is that Rocco will today meet with Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence, to discuss the stadium issue.
For now, we have two more games to play, and after that, we can only hope that Rocco and his staff will make the right decisions to take Fiorentina out of the mess they are in right now. They have a lot of work to do, a new manager, players contracts to extend, or not, new players needed. We will wait to see if Rocco Commisso will eventually answer any questions or give us some information on his future plans for the club, today was clearly not the day for that.
There are of course, parts of the media which thrive on gossip and will put out any sort of rumour to attract attention, but a lot of the people that Rocco Commisso attacked today are decent people, decent journalists, and Fiorentina fans. Turning even those who are on your side against you, does not seem to be the smartest plan.
If this article brings me a red card, I would urge Rocco to have a look at VAR. This is the time for Rocco to decide exactly where he wants to take Fiorentina, our club, and how he wants to get there. I would suggest it might be time to spend more time on this and a little less time on writing a list of enemies, and wasting so much energy on making sure we all know what he thinks of them. We, as Fiorentina fans, care about our club, our team, and the future of Fiorentina, these personal quarrels with journalists are of no interest, and they are not the reason for the team under performing.