Despite the thrilling but fairly laboured win against Torino, it seems Napoli could do with freshening up. And with Coach Walter Mazzarri refusing to confirm or deny that he will stay next season, it’s all getting a rather tedious. He certainly hasn’t endeared himself to many fans with reports claiming he is tempted by exciting new adventures elsewhere. Certainly if that is the case, there won’t be many mourning his departure.
Meanwhile reports suggest Napoli are interested in replacing him and have shortlisted several Coaches including Mircea Lucescu, who spoke a lot of sense when he suggested Napoli need a younger man. “I don’t think I am suited to the Napoli bench any more, as that job needs a young Coach with a lot of enthusiasm, whereas I would just bring experience,” said the Shakhtar Donetsk tactician.
He is right and in particular there is one young, extremely enthusiastic and almost home-grown Coach available who hasn’t been mentioned and he might just suit Napoli down to the ground. Step forward Paolo Di Canio, one ex-player who was always controversial, tricky with the ball, stood up for himself and always got the blood racing.
Certainly his craziness on the field and his controversial political beliefs off it make him an extraordinarily contentious choice. Yet he has played for Napoli and understands the emotions of the fans while also possessing that blend of intuition, initiative and cunning that is respected in Naples.
Most Napoli fans are tired of Mazzarri shrugging off another wretched performance as if it is the last thing anyone should be worried about. After a while his excuses no longer stand up to scrutiny. No-one wants to hear tired old clichés like: “The boys put up a good show,” and “we should have had a penalty,” or his usual stand-by of luck not going their way. After the Torino match he had the nerve to say if this was last year we would only be three points behind Juventus, trying to put a positive spin on lost opportunities.
Winning sides aren’t built on the acquiescence of failure, nor are they constructed around the fact that they’re going to be second best or that luck can play a significant part.
No, they’re built in a mirror reflection of the fans wishes. No one who supports Napoli should accept the mediocrity of the last few months. You won’t find Di Canio metaphorically shrugging his shoulders like an Italian teenager after being involved in a car crash, the way Mazzarri does. No, what you will get from Paolo is rage and fury, a determination to put things right and you just know that when he gets back to the dressing room someone will pay.
As a player and lately as successful manager of Swindon, he approached every game as if it was a cup final and never even thought about the likelihood of not winning, a concept completely alien to him.
Like Di Canio, Napoli fans are unwilling to accept mediocrity and if they don’t win, it just isn’t good enough. End of story. Di Canio will have the players so fired up that they will be afraid to go in at half-time if they haven’t put in the effort.
In truth Di Canio has probably more issues than Diego Maradona, yet I really think Napoli could use a little of his explosive nature to explode some of the apathy around the club. What’s the worst that could happen? The return of Maradona? Now there is an idea for a Dream Team: Diego and Di Canio.