Zamparini fails to realise the irony of his mad-cap reign with the Rosanero
Since Maurizio Zamparini assumed the presidency of Palermo back in 2002, there have been 27 different managerial changes at a club that is becoming the poster child for short-termism. The latest man to step up to the job is Giuseppe Sannino, the coach with whom Palermo started the season.
Since his sacking in September, Gian Piero Gasperini has had two stints either side of Alberto Malesani’s 19 days at the club as Zamparini has gone full circle back to Sannino, the man who he sacked after just 3 games.
Take a second to get your head around that, if you can. You can’t even find a club in England, where the season’s sack toll hit 40 on Monday with Brian McDermott’s exit at Reading, that can rival Palermo for such a revolving door approach to management. This season, they have had more managers, 4, than wins, 3. In 24 years in control of Venezia and now Palermo, Zamparini has announced a sacking on a grand total of 51 occasions.
With any sense of stability booted through the back door as anarchy rules at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, the Rosanero look set to return to Serie B nine years after returning to Serie A after a 30 year absence, achieving Zamparini’s aim just two years into his reign.
League positions haven’t been bad, they have finished in the top half six times and reached the UEFA Cup on three occasions. They even finished runners-up in the Coppa Italia of 2011, yet none of this seemed to quell the owner’s enthusiasm for rash over-reaction and devotion to madness.
To best summarise the lunacy, after finishing 16th last year, Zamparini ushered in a staff revolution. Giorgio Parinetti was made Director of Sport while Patricio Tuebal was appointed Marketing Director to supplement Sannino’s arrival from Siena. By September, both Sannino and his sporting director had gone.
Gasperini was promised a squad upheaval together with his new chief Pietro La Monaco but four days after the January transfer window, they were both fired. Incredibly, back came Parinetti, but his favourite players had already departed, desperate to find a lifeboat out of a sinking ship.
It was Zamparini who once declared the “people of Palermo love me” moments after stepping out of a police escort through a baying crowd of angry, disillusioned fans on his way to yet another manager presentation. The spitting and the shouting then seeming not to register with the sheer stubbornness of the owner just as now does the realisation that he is slowly running out of people to blame for the club’s demise.
A series of empty threats have previously stemmed from a president who has often claimed to be tired of the arguments over the stadium, Palermo have constantly targeted a move to their own ground, the fines and poor officiating enough to want to sell the club. Now is surely the time to do it as there is surely nothing else to do but point the finger of responsibility at himself, all other avenues have been exhausted.
He will point to the investment he has attracted, the players he has seen pass through the club to a profit, Antonio Nocerino, Javier Pastore, Simon Kjaer, Salvatore Sirigu and Edinson Cavani to name a few, and the long-awaited return to Serie A to indicate the positive influence he has had on the Rosanero.
Yet now, it has become perfectly obvious that Zamperini’s stubbornness and his irresistibly itchy trigger finger have become the primary source of Palermo’s implosion.
One can only hazard a guess at how many more managers Zamparini will skim through before he finally realises that they will not progress until they find stability. At the moment, the very person blocking any chance of finding that elusive quality is the man blaming everybody else but himself.
It is time for Zamparini to be the one to be sacked, however, he won’t, so brace yourselves for more madness from the island of Sicily.