Yes it’s officially official (or so I have been told). I’ve been asking myself lately: how can so much tifosi (not only on this blog but all around the world) be so ecstatic, passionate, exuberant and in love with this one man. The man they call Zdenek Zeman.
At 65 years, the only top clubs Zeman managed were Roma and Fenerbahce (Lazio? Chi?). The rest includes the likes of Messina, Foggia, Salernitana, Lecce and Pescara. Not really steady Serie A material if you ask me, let alone contenders for a CL/EL place.
His trophy cabinet is even less flashy: nothing, niente, zero, nulla, even more empty than Greece’s national treasury. He does have some sort of fondness for Serie B. He brought back both Foggia and Pescara to A. But we all know how much the difference is between A and B. Night and day, heaven and hell, Apple and Microsoft, Scarlet Johansson and Madonna without make-up…
His record with Roma in 1997-1999: a fourth and fifth place finish. 31 wins, twenty draws and seventeen losses. Not really the second coming of Jezus Christ. But (a very big butt, like Kardashian) with dazzling football performances. With a certain young Francesco at the helm. Fast forward thirteen years: Totti’s now 35, Roma is in American hands and Zeman’s lungs are blacker than Black Sabbath and Slayer combined.
So once again, I ask myself: how can his return to Roma unlock so many emotions? To be honest, I only started supporting Roma around 2003, four years after Zemanlandia. I can only inform myself by asking biased fans or watching Youtube clips of Roma anno 1997. I haven’t been that excited (yet!) because I simply don’t know what the expect from him. But I can tell you this: I like drama. That’s why I chose Roma in the first place. I like my wins served as 3-2, 4-2 or 5-3. Therefore, I have a feeling Zeman won’t have to do much to turn this Romanista on. Let Zemanlandia commence! (see, it works already)
Fun fact of the day
The last time Roma bought a young Italian (-25) outright, so no loan or crazy co-partnership deals whatsoever, was Matteo Ferrari in 2004. We paid Parma 7m for him. Young promising Italians, who needs ‘em anyway right? Somewhere, Carlo Zotti is crying. If only he changed one goddamn letter in his last name…
• With AVB it was Rolando, Ottamendi and Fernando. With Montella it was Gomez, Spolli and Bergessio. Now it’s time for Zeman’s lovechilds: Insigne and Verratti. Two great Italian prospects but alas, no defenders. We’re pretty stocked for midfield and attack (baring no one leaves) so they are not really our primary targets. If Zeman insists however, I can see Sabatini ignoring his Argentina fetish and go for both of them. They can play a role in Roma 2012-2013 but then we’ll need to find a new home for the likes of Borriello, Osvaldo, Brighi, Simplicio and Greco. We don’t need a squad of 30+ men for only Serie A and Coppa fixtures. I didn’t mention Primavera stars like Viviani or Lopez because I want to see how they fare under Zeman during the summer ritiro. He has a knack for nurturing talents, see Totti at Roma and Nesta at Lazio. Which can only benefit this team and it’s whole rejuvenation process. Yes I’m looking at all of you Borini, Lamela, Kjaer, Bojan and Pjanic.
• I feel bad for Stekelenburg. He’ll have a buckload of work to do next season when Zeman’s 4-3-3 is coming to town. Clean sheets are officially out of the window now. Somewhere, Lobont is smiling.
So yes, these are exciting times and there will be plenty ahead of us. And finally, with Zeman official, the REAL silly season can begin. Oh lord…
"I knew I’d lose him to Roma. Over the last month he kept me up to date with all of the offers which he received and which he rejected, but when Roma called I knew that he wouldn’t give the same response." - Pescara President Daniele Sebastiani, 2012.