Thursday, September 24, 2009

Addio Andrea

I admit, at first, I had some trepidation. I felt a bit like somebody on the rebound from a bad relationship not wanting to get hurt again. How could I know if their intentions were good?

Over time, of course, Andrea and Diego Della Valle have won me over. Yet, at the outset, even their names caused me concern. I had just watched another set of double-barreled names almost kill the club I love. It seemed like a short step from Cecchi Gori to Della Valle. OK, this time they were brothers but it was not such a big difference from the previous father and son team.

In truth, they could not have been more different. While Cecchi Gori Snr was a figure of some substance, his son was more concerned about appearance. The Della Valles are no slouches in that department either - as befits shoe-making millionaires - but that is where the similarities end. They helped to rebuild Fiorentina without the smoke and mirrors of the last regime.

It has taken time, however, to warm to ADV as president. He comes across as a slightly cold character and a little bit timid under the harsh stare of the television cameras. But, if you listened to what he had to say, it always seemed to make plenty of sense. In a cauldron like Florence post-collapse and Serie C2, he was just what was needed.

No doubt, the club's involvement in Calciopoli tarnished his reign. Nonetheless, he seemed to emerge from it stronger and more determined to learn the lessons which it had taught. Eventually, he gave us a Fiorentina worthy of the Champions League once again.

I await an open letter to fans which is apparently in the offing. It is unclear whether Andrea's decision to step down as president is a question of reorganisation or an actual distancing from the club. The former would be perfectly acceptable but the latter could prove highly harmful.

These things have a habit of having repercussions for a team, no matter how much people protest they should not. On the one hand, the owners seem committed to building their new Cittadella training ground. On the other hand, they may have got sick of a rump of fans for whom even getting to fourth place in Serie A was not enough.

I signed up this afternoon to the Facebook group saying thanks to Andrea Della Valle. My memory is not so short that I don't recall where Fiorentina have come from in the last few years. He can't take all the credit but he at least deserves his share. It's the end of an era, that's for sure. But, as one fan wrote in a typical piece of dark Tuscan humour, "Come on now, he's not actually dead or anything!". We owe the Della Valle a debt of thanks but if it's time to move on then so be it. Comunque e per sempre, Forza Viola!


IlFiorentino said...

You are right Forza Magica Viola e viva Fiorenza.

Anonymous said...

What about Diego - the Hon. President and owner. Is he staying on?

ginkers said...

I think he remains in that post for the time being.

They have invited anyone else who thinks they can take the club forward to make an offer. I don't think there will be anyone who does so which might mean they take back the key roles in future.

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