Sports is a conservative world. Reputations are so fragile that one misstep out of a hundred brilliant ones becomes defining. That fragility makes many scared to do much more than what everyone else does, that way if failure rears its ugly head at least one can claim that the blueprint was sound but that for whatever reason it just didn’t pan out – this time.
But paradoxically, perhaps, successful innovators can achieve near godhood. An innovative coach can, if successful, become the name of his school of thought. Catenaccio wasn’t invented by Herrerra for example, but his name will forever be, along with Rocco, associated with the term. Sacchi will always be associated with Dutch football melding with Italian. Bearzot will always be associated with National team success.
In a Serie A of sheep following and copying a safe theoretical shepherd, there should be something to prey on with all that mutton on the hoof. Finding that cunning, smart, innovative, stubborn, driven man is the challenge. And Moratti, for better or worse, is willing to take the chances to find those types of people. And considering that he actually hit on the perfect manager, after wading through dozens, you can’t really in good conscience blame him.
And he tried to do it again, with Stramaccioni. You know, in all the talk about Inter and what a terrible season it was and how the coach was this or that… I never once heard anyone in the football profession say that he wasn’t good or wasn’t going to be good, just not _fill in your adjective here_. Even now, as I read all the rumors, hindsight reporting and evaluations I still haven’t seen anything that said that the man wasn’t competent. Just the opposite, I keep reading that a large number of people are saying that one day; he’s going to be one of the great ones.
Now I am usually skeptical of people forecasting the future as fact, especially if the odds are leaning heavily the other way, but I gotta tell you, I really see this guy being one of the good ones – after he’s managed a smaller team first.
I have read that he’s going to have to console himself with the U21s after he officially gets sacked from Inter, and that might be for the best to give him time to lick his wounds. But if it were me, I would want to get back into the saddle and manage any team I could find that would have me – in this case a Serie B team. But that’s just me. I don’t have the humility or intelligence to do what I wish late at night would actually happen.
In my perfect world, Strama – who would have to show an astounding amount of self belief, humility and iron conviction - would stay on at Inter as (the man who is most likely to take his place) Mazzarri’s Aide-de-Camp, translator, shoe polisher, stats guy, quality control, or anything. Chauffer even. Anything he could do to stay at the club, learn from a guy who came up the ranks so that he wouldn’t have to. Mazzarri’s a short term guy, like Mourinho. Assuming he doesn’t piss off Moratti – which seems likely considering what I perceive as his personality – and achieves all the success that Moratti wants, he should be gone by the end of year 3 at the latest.
Three years as a crash course to a demanding workaholic like that would be the crucible for Strama to learn from – not just tactics or leadership but self worth and grim determination.
But that won’t happen. Strama will go else where and I think he’ll be very successful. Moratti, if he’s still the President, will want him to come back and because Moratti has a great relationship with everyone there will be a real chance. Even so, I thought that Strama given time and a freer hand could seriously change some of the bad habits of the fat and content at the club. I hate to think that the fat and content actively tried to submarine him at the expense of the club. But that change that I long for doesn’t seem to be on its way any time soon. I hope I’m wrong and farewell Strama. By all accounts we will be hoping for your return someday.