Forget working for Florentino Pérez, forget having to please Roman Abramovich or even Massimo Moratti, the most dangerous appointment in football is in Sicily. This is where managers are disposed of with mafia style ease by the infamous ‘Don Maurizio Zamparini.’
Zamparini took over at the then Serie B club in Palermo in 2002 and automatically made his mark. Sacking his first coach Ezio Glerean in the same year he went on to dismiss another 17 and witness two resignations in a ten year period. This phenomenal managerial killing spree was continued yesterday when former youth team Coach Devis Mangia was relieved of his duties and Bortolo Mutti appointed in his place. This was Zamparini’s third (but unlikely last) Coach of the 2011/12 season.
Mutti is no stranger to the Stadio Renzo Barbera, the 57 year old had been in charge when Zamparini took over from Palermo in 2002. The mad-cap President chose not to renew his contract and opted for a new Coach instead, arguably making Mutti his first ever victim. Whatever the technicalities of the first casualty Zamparini’s ten year spree has seen many coaches fall on his sword.
His most notable and eccentric dismissals must start with the tale of poor old Stefano Pioli whose reign lasted a mere two games, whilst Francesco Guidolin was sacked, resigned and sacked again in a bizarre three time appointment. Delio Rossi also came, went and came back to Sicily before being thrown out 2011 for good (we think).
Devis Mangia, the last man to feel Zamparini’s wrath was sacked after only four months. The 2-0 defeat to Catania this weekend was too much for the angry President to take and despite being only 10th in the division, his time was up. Mangia lamented: “I’m disappointed about the decision, I have nothing more to add. I don’t feel betrayed, it’s a sentiment that doesn’t belong.” Despite the rumors that the 37 year old’s dismissal was a knee-jerk reaction to the weekend’s derby loss Zamparini moved quickly to dismiss this: “Mangia was a gamble, he gave so much but is still in his apprenticeship. He committed, like all young people, some mistakes. I’m sure he will become an excellent Coach. He lost the pulse of the situation with a team that did not follow him anymore. He was under great pressure, perhaps greater than himself.” This was an interesting explanation about a coach who had only recently been given a two year contract extension.
The sword of Damocles now swings over Bortolo Mutti’s head and comes with the CV winning attribute that Zamparini looks for in a coach: “I chose Mutti as he is a Coach that brings peace of mind.” Mutti has had experience at Atalanta, Napoli and at Bari but what that counts for in Palermo is questionable.
It seems as though Zamparini is satisfied with his fifth coach of the calendar year and the irony may be that this is the man? Could it be? Could the man who the eccentric President kicked out in 2002 really be the man he needed all along? It is doubtful, and the reality of the situation for the poor Palermo tifosti is that there is still one more game to play this year and should Mutti lose against Novara then they could be looking for a new coach. Not possible? Go and speak to Stefano Pioli.
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