“We want to make Roma the biggest club in the world.” That was the mission statement for the American owners and they remain focused on brand recognition, attracting investors and securing marketing deals. What they seem to have forgotten is that in order to be a big club, you have to be a good team. Every day there is a new marquee name associated with the Olimpico job, whether it’s Massimiliano Allegri, Walter Mazzarri or Luciano Spalletti. They even approached Pep Guardiola before he opted for Bayern Munich, clearly not learning anything from the Luis Enrique disaster. I fear they are about to make the same mistake all over again.
Zdenek Zeman was hired for the fans and a certain sub-section of the players, as he guaranteed entertainment and therefore ticket sales. However, his style also guaranteed wildly inconsistent results. Fired in February, Aurelio Andreazzoli was promoted from the coaching staff as what Rafa Benitez would call an Interim Manager. His job was to lead them to the end of the season without doing too much damage, but instead he has won over the squad with his man-management skills, taken the side into the Coppa Italia Final and astonishingly into the race for a Champions League spot. Is it enough to keep him on the bench? Of course not. This is Roma.
It’s looking increasingly as if Andreazzoli will be banished back to the backroom staff after the season is over, but can someone who has proven himself to be a talented Coach just return to the shadows? AA will be on a bench next term, if not at Roma then with another club ready to give him a chance. It’s a familiar tale, as we saw Vincenzo Montella take the same path. Promoted from the youth team to shore up the post-Claudio Ranieri ship, Montella surpassed expectations, balanced the notoriously chaotic Giallorossi locker room and hit his targets. Who knows what might’ve happened had Roma kept faith with Montella then? They will regret letting him go forever and Andreazzoli may well turn into a similar scenario.
Roma is not like other clubs. This is a permanent powder keg just waiting to go off, where their top scorer Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is being hounded out by angry fans and media. Francesco Totti practically picks the team and every few months we must go through the traditional ‘Daniele De Rossi will leave’ transfer saga. The slightest bump is turned into a mountain and stress levels have broken many men. Andreazzoli has been there for eight years working with Luciano Spalletti, Ranieri, Montella, Enrique and Zeman.
Once you find a Coach who can handle all of these things, even if he’s not a glamorous figure, you don’t want to just let him go.