There’s no doubt about it, Italians are always good for a laugh. Take Giovanni Trapattoni, for instance. He comes back and does what he always does, tramples insensitively on players toes, confuses the journalist and threatens qualification for the World Cup through a series of 0-0 results, from now until the end of the campaign.
Giovanni’s press conferences are noted for being speckled with hints of vindictiveness, assertiveness and he struggles to contain a streak of arrogance worthy of the Borgias, being like a ruler in his own football domain. Several players have tried taking him on, in futile attempts to establish player power. They have found to their cost that Giovanni, as they say, “brooks no countenance.”
Two players , in particular, Stephen Ireland and Andy Reid, came off second best in dust-ups with Giovanni. When Stephen decided not to play for his country, there was an attempt at rapprochement by Trapattoni, to try and resolve a problem he had inherited. But when the player criticized the manager in public, the die was cast.
Andy Reid had “form” by missing Trapattoni’s initial training camp in Portugal. Then, in a hotel in Georgia, on Trapattoni’s first game in charge, a public row broke out between player and manager over a few late night ballads. That put the tin hat on it. Reliable on-lookers gave the impression that Reid primarily has himself to blame.
Anyway, the contretemps got heated enough to leave Andy with scorch marks on his ambitions, as he learnt ruefully, to his cost, that he had been dropped from the Irish squad, ever since.
Anthony Pilkington is the new Andy Reid. The international season is only beginning and already Trapattoni has reared up on Anthony for having the gall to be on honeymoon when the World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands takes place in Dublin on June 7th.
An impatient Giovanni said that Pilkington ”could be useful against the Faroes.” Rather than wish the putative bridegroom all the best, with all the charm and sensitivity of a warthog with a boil, he grunted “he doesn’t know what will happen in the future, but he will have many opportunities to go on honeymoon.”
Disregarding the fact that he is an international football manager, as a supporter of Opus Dei, Giovanni probably should not have voiced the opinion that Anthony will have many opportunities for other honeymoons. This could be misconstrued as giving sanction to multiple divorces or even polygamy, neither of which would impress his Opus Dei peers or Il Papa Salsa .
Giovanni specialises in burbling in two languages, sowing seeds of unnecessary dissention, between himself and his team, not to mention the punters, who spend their wedge following a team, which invariably looks like it has been picked by rolling the dice.
But this time, Giovanni says it will be different. He intends bringing in a new 4 5 1 system, with Pilkington out on the wing and having ridiculously ignored Wes Hoolahan’s class for the last few years, he now has him playing out of position at the apex of a diamond formation.
With a memory that is less than eidetic, I seem to remember that all his teams were built around three veterans, Shay Given, Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane and its obvious that Keane will continue as captain. But then Trapattoni wouldn’t have seen much of Keane, who once was so adept at running into exactly the right place. Now he’s a foot off the pace and you can see, from his body language, his frustration at the loss of that divine striker’s instinct that is given to few.
Given that I’m no Spring chicken myself, I have to be careful not to sound ageist, but is Trap too old at 74 to manage an international team. I know, I know, Alex Ferguson did it till he was 71 and he looked remarkably spry, as he did his lap of honour at the conclusion of his last game.
Manchester United, under Fergie, achieved the holistic effect that, despite his best efforts, eluded his arch-rival, Italian, Roberto Mancini, and led to his inglorious dismissal from Manchester City.
It was ironic that Mancini never got the chance to holistically unite the management, the players and the fans. The blue and white scarf that he wore with such insouciance, was no substitute for a goal. And yet we mustn’t overlook the disasters that befell him when he got stuck with Mario Balotelli, a fellow Italian and messer, with an ego as big as Sicily.
Balotelli believes that only Messi is above him and he told Renaldo, bluntly, that he considers himself to be the better of the two of them, without ever demonstrating his worth in the Premiership.
Roberto Mancini got the boot from Manchester City. But he also got enough of a payout to keep him in good suits for the rest of his days.
Que sera, sera.Article Written by Shay Healy First Published in The Irish Daily Mail, Saturday 8th June 2013 Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99 http://shayhealy.com/ The Kindle Reader FREE app