I used to play in a pickup soccer game with a bunch of older Persian guys, who were good players and nice humans. They had a set of pop-up goals that they passed around, with the rule that whoever ended up with them had to bring them to the field behind the one dude’s office on Monday night. It was a simple enough system and should have worked fine.
The problem, of course, was that sometimes the person tasked with bringing them wouldn’t come out due to an injury or eating a late dinner or a family commitment or because he’d gotten in an argument with one of the other regulars and was being really passive aggressive. Then we’d have to use backpacks or shoes, which naturally meant more time spent litigating whether the ball was too high or rolled over rather than between someone’s Nikes than we actually spent playing.
Since that was as irritating as it sounds, one hero finally went to Home Depot, bought some two-by-fours and netting, and built his own goals. He took them out to the field we played on, set them up, and that’s what we used afterwards. The pop-up goals were no longer necessary, and everyone got along much better (not really, but at least the goals weren’t such a problem).
I imagine that’s how Rocco Commisso, Daniele Pradè, and Joe Barone feel right now about finding someone to manage Fiorentina. The right candidate doesn’t always show up due to reasons beyond their control. The replacements are cobbled together from whatever’s lying around and don’t work nearly as well. It might be time for the Viola brain trust to go ahead and build its own manager from the parts lying around the Viola technical area.
Vincenzo Guerini is one of two Fiorentina managers to never lose a game (the other was Sergio Santarini, who stepped in for Eugenio Bersellini in a 1-0 win over AS Roma in 1988). He led a demoralized team to a win at Lecce and a draw against Cagliari to close out the 2011-2012 season and did a heck of a job. He switched formations between the games, made guys like Ruben Olivera, Felipe, and Houssine Kharja look like decent players, and kept two clean sheets. He’s currently the technical director at Catania, too, so you know he’s got a good brain for the game. Oh, and look at him. Tell me that’s not the charisma any good manager needs.
Cesare Prandelli is one of the kindest people in calcio. Besides being Fiorentina’s all-time winningest manager, he’s always carried himself with a dignity and a warmth that nobody on the peninsula can match. Even in his brief stint with the Viola last season, Dušan Vlahović cited San Cesare’s support as the reason for his goal scoring explosion. Add that to his history with Florence and faultless moral compass (he’s openly supported queer players and spoken out against racism for years) and you really can’t lose.
While he’s not exactly a brilliant tactician, nobody’s ever questioned Giuseppe Iachini’s commitment. He mines for grinta, then distills it down, drinking it by the gallon and sharing it with his players until it burns in their bellies. Also, I include the lungs as guts, and not a lot of human beings can out-shout Beppe; pretty sure I could hear his favorite GIOCA GIOCA GIOCA from my apartment in Seattle.
Let’s face it: sometimes you need to strike a bit of fear into your players. And nobody knows more about striking than Delio Rossi.
There’s something about a tall manager that makes him look more elegant, more commanding, more authoritative. That means we’re going straight to the tallest Viola manager in recent history to add some height: Stefano Pioli is a lanky 6’1/185 cm, which helps him gain a more elevated perspective than his squattier brethren.
There’s something to be said for a manager who’s skillful enough to impress his players. Looking at the recent options, you could argue that Vincenzo Montella’s record in front of goal is most impressive, but a poacher, while impressive, doesn’t quite have the panache you need to really earn that swagger. That means Siniša Mihajlović and his free kicks are probably the best bet here.
Has to be Paulo Sousa, whose aesthetic is “suspiciously handsome and stylish man your mom started dating 3 months after the divorce and whose lifestyle seems at odds with what he says he does for a living and who is constantly taking phone calls in the other room.”
- So what if Dad didn’t own a restaurant or drive a Porsche? I just don’t trust this guy, mom. Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
- You’re never going to be my real dad. Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
- You’re never going to be my real dad. Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images
- So what if Dad didn’t own a restaurant or drive a Porsche? I just don’t trust this guy, mom. Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
- Ooooooh, Daddy. Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images