Success brings a warm glow but the cold light of failure can bring clarity. The significant thing about success is that it is often boundless, but the main problem is that it can sometimes also conceal flaws. If the new owners weren't sick to their stomachs after the drubbing this team has received in the last two years, which is reminiscent of the dark ages, then I would completely believe you if you tell me they don't possibly give a f$%^ about Roma; luckily not everything is lost since the pain of their failure has made them bring about necessary changes to prevent a free fall.
More often than not, victory highlights the strengths but on the other hand failure offers better opportunities to learn, for it exposes weaknesses. The successful ones are those who learn from their failures and admit their mistakes and move on to rectify them.
The best thing that could happen to Roma was Aurelio Andreazzoli failing to qualify for Europe and losing the Coppa Italia Final. He was always a short-term fix, what that failure did was deny the management a distraction, that little glimmer of feel-good factor, something which the management badly wanted. After the 2012-2013 season ended, I wanted the management to feel that blow, I wanted them to feel the full impact of their arrogance and stupidity, I wanted them to feel the pain and look within and evaluate the upcoming season with a proper understanding of their past failures. I wanted them to realize that they didn't just fail themselves or the fans, they failed Roma on the whole.
It was one thing for the new management to believe it can fight its way out of the worst adversity, another to frequently put itself in adversity. Roma ticked every box last year for how not to prepare for the 2012-2013 season.
For all their flaws, the Sensi's didn't make their way to the top by accident, neither did Luciano Spalletti & Claudio Ranieri; indeed, they fought for every inch, digging into their deepest reserves and drawing on the extraordinary skills of a core group of footballers. They challenged for top honors despite the thinness of their squads. They pegged the gaping holes and they understood the needs, not the wants of Roma.
As soon as the 2012-2013 season ended, the onus was on the new owners to back their words up with deeds, to provide enough incentives to keep the fans interested in their project, which requires far greater effort and vision, not merely off the field but also on the field. The appraisal was to re-think their strategy and do that with utmost honesty and they had to tackle the real problems, they would have done themselves no favors by wishing the 2012-2013 season was just an aberration.
The need of the hour was not to just buy young inexperienced players and expect the team to win games as it is not as simple as they have made it out to be in the past, to have a decent season and to achieve certain targets Roma needed a proper squad - a good mix of experience and potential - right players in the right areas who are capable of maintaining their intensity for an entire season and not just few games, and above all else they needed a manager who they believed in, someone who is a long term candidate, not another short-term fix.
Have they managed to address everything that was wrong in the past two years?
Maybe not everything but they have taken decisive steps to fix an important part of the problem.
So what should we expect from Rudi Garcia and how can he be successful?
Rudi Garcia is no stranger to building a team, he's done a marvelous job at Lille, but for him to succeed in Roma he must demand and be given the powers he needs, and the space to help shape a team not merely capable of winning games and fighting for important objectives but of holding on to it and scaling new heights and doing it consistently.
For Rudi to be successful and be accepted as one of our own, he has to be willing to embrace Roma's culture; not just loan himself to it but marry into it. For if he is not willing to do that then he will not understand Rome, the media that covers it incessantly, and the people of Rome who smile and cry, who deep within live and die with the club. He needs to quickly realize that Rome can befuddle and confront but can love without limits, being the manager of Roma is not just a job; it is a relationship.
Personally, the role of the captain and vice-captain will be vital in the upcoming season, way more important than it has ever been. It is a test of character not only for Francesco Totti but also Daniele DeRossi and other seniors in the squad, they will be required now to extend themselves not only on the field but beyond the field as well, as the young and new players will need to be nurtured and managed, they will need every help possible, to understand what it is to play for Roma. Sacrifices will have to be made.
What is required ?
Sustenance & reclamation is what every team needs or it will disappear. That is exactly what has happened with Roma over the last two seasons. Recovery comes in many forms such as: results, individual or collective pride, a team's "conscience", which creates a core group with the same common cause. Then it starts all over again. That's what Roma needs.
Patience as well.
Expectations for 2013-2014 ?
Everyone at the club, including the fans have to realize one simple thing that they aren't going to reach the summit by stepping off a helicopter; they have to get there by establishing several base camps and making steady progress. Any attempt to think otherwise would be shortsighted.
On Sunday we will get a sign whether they are on the road to recovery or not.