Rome is crumbling - Part I (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Jul 12, 2002
Editorial: Managers And Internazionale
12/2/2004 3:15:00 PM
Some of the fondest memories of my childhood were spent waking up for Gazzetta football Italia on a Saturday morning to watch the highlights of the previous week’s matches and a round up of all the news. Then on the Sunday I’d rise out my bed around midday to watch the live Italian match. Italian football from around the 1994/1995 season onwards was watched by me and despite me changing both physically and mentally in this time one thing has not changed, Inter still can’t win Lo Scudetto.
A while back i wrote about the effect of managers on winning football teams. I have long came to the conclusion that the best way to get success with your side is not necessarily to buy the best player but to buy the best manager. The best players tend to come as a consequence of having one of the best managers in place anyway so for a club like Inter you’d have thought with all their wealth they’d have bought the best managers, right? Wrong.

In the past 10 seasons Inter have spent enormous sums of money on players, I’m not aware of the figures and I’ll make no attempt to work it out as I know that for certain it reaches towards hundreds of millions. The great players in this 10 season span reads a whose who of great football talent, Goalkeepers like Pagliuca and Toldo, defenders like Blanc and Bergomi, midfielders like Djorkaeff and Simeone and forwards like Baggio and Ronaldo. The problem seems to be that that in this time they never hired a great manager, the only one that would be considered great was Marcello Lippi but he was only given a season and a bit with the club.

The highest Inter have finished in the league in this 10 season spell is second and that was done on two occasions. The first was in the 1997/1998 season in the same season that Inter won their one and only Trophy in this period when they defeated Lazio to win the UEFA cup. The manager who achieved this was Luigi Simoni who currently manages Siena. What was Simoni’s fate after a season finishing 5 points behind Lippi’s highly impressive Juventus side and claiming a European trophy? The sack after 11 matches into the 1998/1999 season on the same day as being named manager of the year! The other second place finish was achieved by Hector Cuper in 2003 finishing 7 points behind winners Juventus. Funnily enough Cuper’s side racked up 4 fewer points than the season before in which they finished third. That was the season where Inter lost it on the final day and ended up in third place. Then president Massimo Moratti to his credit stuck with the coach for a change although I do think ironically he stuck for too long but more on that later.

The worst seasons in this time were the 98/99 season in which they finished 8th using no fewer than 4 coaches (Simoni, Ludescu, Castellini, Hodgson) and the 95/96 season where they used 3 coaches (Bianchi, Suarez, Hodgson). Bianchi was sacked after 4 matches into the 95/96 season after finishing a poor 6th place the season before. One has to wonder why they didn’t just sack him there and then and give a new manager the summer to prepare for the new season but then such wonderment about the decisions on management are rife in regards to about every managerial appointment in this period.

Roy Hodgson’s name has been mentioned twice thus far but he also managed the club in the 96/97 season. He was appointed in the 95/96 season after the subsequent sackings of Bianchi and Suarez. His record of 13 wins, 7 draws and 8 defeats for the remainder of the season is hardly impressive but Inter let Hodgson take the reins for the start of the next season anyway. 14 wins, 13 draws and 5 defeats later and he was sacked. Despite not sounding like that impressive a record Inter actually finished in 3rd place with 59 points (Castellini picked up 4 points in his 2 matches in charge) as Juventus yet again came away with Lo Scudetto 6 points in front.

In came Simoni after that for the good season mentioned earlier only to be followed by the dismal 98/99 season. The 1999/2000 season must have been the season Inter fans, journalists and all round football lovers alike were expecting some Inter success or at least the setting of foundations for it to be subsequently achieved thereafter. Marcello Lippi, the man who had won 3 scudetti with Juventus only managed to get Inter to 4th place. The finish looked all the more poor with the fact that they ended up 14 points behind winners Lazio. Lippi was sacked in October the next season. His spell at the club was spent feuding with players and giving Roberto Baggio only 18 Seria A games. Baggio ended up scoring the goal that got Inter into Europe such was the irony. Lippi’s sacking came after he had transferred Baggio to Brescia leaving Moratti to give the managerial position to Marco Tardelli.

The man who is known by all for that celebration as he scored one of the Azzurri’s 3 goals in the 1982 world cup final to give Italy their third world cup success only became a stop gap as he lead Inter to a poor 5th place. Not even finishing above rivals AC Milan could keep him in a job. Who was to be the 9th manager in 8 years? Enter the fray Hector Cuper.

Cuper’s first two seasons saw Inter finish 3rd and 2nd as pointed out earlier. His third season saw his sacking in October to be replaced by Alberto Zaccheroni. Cuper’s spell was largely good especially statistically but they did play some horrendously bad football. Cuper’s counter attacking style usually revolved around sitting deep and just long balling it forward. I don’t think Inter would have finished anywhere near as high if they hadn’t had Christian Vieri in such prolific form in that period. The thing about Cuper was that he laid solid foundations for success. He built a formidable squad with tremendous depth but he himself was not the man to bring the glory. Hector Cuper has long been and no doubt will long continue as a nearly man, a man who gets teams to a certain level without actually winning anything. To use an analogy he lays the perfect foundations but is not the man to build the actual house. That was certainly clear for me to see but Moratti gave Cuper a third season anyway which lasted a couple of months. If Moratti had been competent enough he’d have seen this and thanked Cuper (after all its generally accepted that he is a very nice man despite what Ronaldo may think) for his work and brought in a new manager for the next season, a manager to built the house.

Alberto Zaccheroni lasted less than a season; one wonders whether he was only considered a stopgap albeit a largely expensive one or whether Moratti actually thought Zacc was the man for the job. Whichever it is it doesn’t matter as Inter may well have just hired an extremely good coach this time. Roberto Mancini is still an inexperienced coach but he does look an extremely good one. His start has been a funny one, the Nerazzuri can claim to be the only undefeated side in Seria A but I have long suggested that undefeated runs do not signal a good side if the basis of them being good is simply that they are undefeated (you can go a whole season undefeated and still be relegated if you draw 38 games!). Inter this season has proven my point as they have won only 2 games and drawn unbelievably 11of their 13 Seria A fixtures. They are the leagues joint top scorers with 25 goals scored but have conceded 22 goals, more than anyone in the league including those in the relegation zone! They are though playing some fantastic football, something not seen at the San Siro in black and blue consistently for a number of seasons. The defence is bound to be sorted with time and the finances are there for Mancini to use so he has the means to purchase some new defenders if need be.

Lo Scudetto won’t be won this season by Inter but this season will be used as a season for Mancini to get the first team and squad looking like he wants it to be. Next season will be the second season of another decade of my awareness of Italian calcio so here is hoping for Internazionale fans that the next 10 years will be more successful than the last. The lesson to be learnt from the previous decade of seasons is that getting a good manager is vital and once you get one you should give them sufficient time to work their magic.

Buy on


Senior Member
Sep 16, 2004
You'd think Moretti would have figured it out, he should he give someone like Ancelotti a deal of like 10m a season and get him to leave Milan, if he does then they'll win something, but no Moretti is a fool, and thus the Inter circus continues!

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