For the past two days, fans and onlookers have been wriggling in anticipation of a big announcement from the Fiorentina brass, who intimated after the gobsmackingly awful loss against Frosinone that they were holding meetings about the team’s future. There were whispers that manager Stefano Pioli would be sacked. There were rumors that the team would go on a training retreat to get its mentality right before the critical Coppa Italia showdown at Atalanta. There were murmurs that, ultimately, nothing would happen. Want to guess which of those three options turned out to be correct?
This morning, the club released a statement through its official media channels. I’ve translated it below (keep in mind that my Italian isn’t flawless, so there could be a few minor mistakes here, but I think I’ve gotten the gist).
“Today, patron Andrea Della Valle, president Mario Cognini, sporting director Pantaleo Corvino, club manager Giancarlo Antognoni, and, from abroad, Diego Della Valle gathered together.
“The organization is absolutely not willing to accept what has been happening for several months now. The team must return to what it was: competitive, courageous, and proud of the jersey it wears. What we’re seeing now is not the Fiorentina we saw in the first half of the season.
“The company asks of everyone the great respect for the jersey and for the goals which can still be attained at the season’s end. The company also asks the manager Pioli to manage this moment with the competence and seriousness that he demonstrated in the first part of the season. What’s needed now is the conviction and the pride of all those who take the pitch to try to bring home the results that are absolutely possible to achieve.
“The company remains convinced that it has a team that’s strong and composed of top-quality professionals who respect the shirt they wear. It’s now necessary for for all this to be confirmed by the positive results we expect, and everyone will have to take responsibility for their own work.”
Okay. Let me take a deep breath here before we dive into this absurdity.
Right. This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. It is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Basically, upper management at Fiorentina want us to know that the team hasn’t been good recently—which anyone who’s watched a minute of play since the 7-1 win over AS Roma could have told you—and that everyone is Taking This Very Seriously.
Nowhere, though, is there any mention of a concrete plan of action. Nowhere are there penalties or incentives for failure or success. Nowhere in the entire statement is there any attempt to take responsibility; in fact, it seems like the big dogs are passing the buck and refusing to acknowledge their failure to build a decent, sustainable side around the brightest young attacker in Italy. It is, in short, a mess of a press release. It spends a lot of time huffing and puffing self-importantly without every actually doing anything. And in that, it perfectly capture the essence of the Fiorentina it purports to criticize.