CDT is reporting to you today LIVE from Tuscany, Italy!
After personally observing the desolation of the Roma tifosi and the scandalous second half performance during the Milan match I have decided to bring the (breathtakingly uneducated) thoughts and opinions of the CDT Church to the gates of Rome.
After beavering away on a first person perspective of the Roma v Milan match on Saturday night, events have overtaken this Romanistass, putting me on a bus to Tuscany in a half-hearted attempt to provide you with the latest Roma reports.
What I can comfortably confirm is that all reports in Italy are hands down pointing towards the Grand Imperial Poobah, Luciano Spalletti, usurping the unloved incumbent, Rudi Garcia.
But what I didn’t know, as we go to press (or internet, or whatever the hell the kids call it these days) the bald beauty isn’t actually in Tuscany anymore. Roma’s anointed saviour is on a plane bound for Miami to meet with the suits where he will dot the I’s and cross the T’s on a new contract. Guess I’ll just have to console myself with a couple of litres of chianti.
All tongue in cheek jokes aside; the conclusion of the Garcia reign has been a catastrophic farce. Rudi, armed with the most obscene contract since Marco Borriello, has fought threw the last few months like the knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail.
"I’ll fight you, tis only a flesh wound!" shouts the Frenchmen, as one by one his limbs are lopped off leaving only a torso attached to a foul mouth insulting his enemy combatant walking away in bewilderment.
The latest reports indicate once the paperwork is done, Mr Spalletti will fly to Rome on Thursday morning and immediately supervise training at Trigoria. Whether his contract will be for six months or an additional two years is not known at this stage.
Meanwhile Rudi, for the time being, will continue to be the metaphorical dead man walking at Trigoria. Unbelievably not only did he fly to Switzerland to attend the Ballon d’Or ceremony last night, he actually came back to Trigoria to take training!
The fact that the grand war room meeting occurred in Miami Beach of all places encapsulates the enormous disconnect from Rome that Pallotta has struggled with since assuming command. The last six months has provided a litany of ammunition to the critics of the American regime as they have tiptoed around the elephant in the room at Trigoria that has been stomping on the fine china for the last twelve months.
At last, Pallotta has taken a firm grip of the Roma reigns and by giving Garcia his marching orders is in a better position to dictate the club’s narrative from here on.
Faced with choices including Spalletti, Sampaoli, Lippi and Conte, the suits have settled on the bald beauty from Tuscany who was in charge of Roma from 2005 – 2009.
The appointment of Luciano Spalletti is a masterstroke as not only does it address the tactical deficits that have been plaguing Roma on the field, it also provides a grand dose of romance and optimism that the fans have been yearning for.
Whilst the head clearly identified Conte as a safer choice due to his impressive record as both a leader and disciplinarian, he was very much lacking in the qualities sought by the heart. And it is the heart that is the keystone to the AS Roma riddle.
Grinding out boring 1-0 victories is not enough for the giallorossi faithful who demand fire and passion in their teams. Spalletti boasts a proud record of providing entertaining football on a shoe-string budget and tends to increase and warm the fan base rather than alienating it. In short, he is a good fit for this dour Roma and the (currently) sparsely populated Stadio Olimpico.
Any reunion with an Ex always has its complications and the most striking of these will be how Spalletti plans to answer the Francesco Totti question. Furthermore, how he decides to build his team to patch the frailties and accentuate the qualities will hinge greatly on his relationship with the DS.
Whether this will be Walter Sabatini or another remains a point of contention while Pallotta still grips his newly christened axe. It is no coincidence that Saba was fighting tooth and nail to hold onto Rudi at the helm. Saba and Spalletti are unlikely to be a compatible fit as the Tuscan is sure to request more control over the mercato in addition to appointing his own staff. Furthermore, Sabatini’s long list of South American wunderkinds are unlikely to hold much currency in his Pros column whilst the Cons features Iturbe and Ibarbo.
At the match last Saturday night it was as clear as the night’s air that immediate change was needed. On what would have been a marquee night of calcio during any other year, the crowd was small yet vocal in it’s disapproval.
There were several striking (non football) features that made this match stand out to me compared to the handful of Roma games I had previously witnessed at the Olimpico.
The first was obviously the empty Curva Sud. The lack of sound and activity while the players warmed up (except for a few whistles when Gervinho mucked up an attempted back-heel flick over the keeper) was both unsettling and sad. Whilst both sides of the Distinti Sud made themselves heard particularly during the opening fifteen minutes, the atmosphere was several notches below impressive.
On the way to both the stadium and my seat I couldn’t help but notice that not only was there way fewer people attending the match than what I recalled, but that a striking portion of them appeared to be tourists. I was asked for directions a couple of times in both English and broken Italian from randoms that were attending their first Roma match. This may be due to Pallotta’s AC Roma publicity campaign and certainly suggests the brand is in fact being expanded, but the fact that the city is one of the world’s major tourist attractions is a more likely answer. Either way, it certainly gave me pause that the already poor 2015-16 crowd numbers would look damn near catastrophic if you took away the overseas Romanistasses (your humble scribe included) or curious tourists.
At the conclusion of the woeful second half the crowd was united in condemning what it had witnessed. Whistles and jeers carried on as the players departed the field and the dejected looking public began to file out.
As I stood up to leave I noticed one bloke ranting and raving to no one in particular, gesticulating with wild arms as he unleashed a tirade of expletive lade Italian. Naturally, I assumed this guy was Dhaw.
What was most striking about this guy’s rant was that no one was giggling or looking at him like he was a crazy person, most were nodding sadly in agreement.
The tifosi of Rome are not happy with AS Roma.
From his fortress in Miami Beach, it appears that Emperor Jimmy has begun the tough task of winning back his subjects. For all of Rudi’s faults, it is rather unbecoming that his dismissal has been drawn out in this way. Whilst the conclusion of his reign has been less than stellar, many will remember fondly the ten wins in a row that began his Roma career. But football is a tough old business, calcio particularly so. As this fraught chapter of Roma’s history crawls to it’s end, we are staring into an exciting era headed by a beloved adopted Roman.
* We at CDT will obviously provide you with all the official information of the coaching change as it drips in. Also, the powers that be might even have a special surprise for everyone, depending how Jimmy’s negotiations in Miami go.