The greatest football managers are often interesting characters bordering on the eccentric and have great self-belief which is no great surprise as you must need skin like elephant hide to survive the barrage of criticism and abuse that football bosses inevitably suffer.
Mancini may have thought that working in England would be less pressurised than his life in the cauldron that is Italian football but if he did he will be changing his mind now. The pressure is on and despite his excellent track record and what he has achieved at Manchester City, Mancini is now the target of much criticism and his job is under threat.
Mancini was a player of some distinction making 566 appearances for Sampdoria and winning the Serie A title, four Coppa Italias, the Cup Winners Cup and 36 caps for Italy before managing Fiorentina and Lazio to Coppa Italia victory. He then moved on to manage the mighty Inter Milan to three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia victories before being fired and replaced by that ultimate football ego José Mourinho.
You would think that the success he achieved at Inter would have made Mancini’s position secure but the club’s chairman clearly had a lack of loyalty and gratitude to rival Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich and that is really saying something!
Mancini was clearly destined to be a manager as even when a player at Sampdoria he regularly gave the team talks and was part of the selection committee that chose Sven Goren Eriksson as manager. David Platt, now his assistant at Manchester City, recalls that when he was playing for Bari against Sampdoria he was blatantly asked by Mancini if he would leave Bari to join Sampdoria even though Mancini was only a player himself at the time.
Mancini was no stranger to throwing his weight around either and did not like his position being threatened. He allegedly picked fights with both Trevor Francis and Liam Brady when they played at Sampdoria and was described by Argentinian legend Juan Sebastian Veron as “not an easy person”. Mancini is clearly a tough cookie and he needed to be to take on the managerial position at Manchester City.
After spending some years in the lower leagues Manchester City had been purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 and become one of the richest clubs on the planet. With a huge financial investment the new owners were looking for success and in 2009 turned to Roberto Mancini to get it for them.
It must have seemed like a dream opportunity to join a club with such riches and huge support and in 2012 Mancini led them to the glory of the Premiership title with the season culminating in one of the most dramatic final games imaginable. City needed to win to secure the title and were losing 2-1 with just 2 minutes of added time left. Two goals in those two minutes secured the most incredible and unlikely victory.
You would think that this achievement would have installed Mancini as a hero and secured his position for some time to come but less than one season later there is talk of him being fired as City have failed to match the heights of 2012. You have to wonder what a man has to do to keep his job but with Roberto Di Matteo being fired by Chelsea after winning the holy grail of the Champions League it would appear that no manager is ever safe.
Roberto Mancini is certainly a unique character with his own way of doing things and a great deal of personal style. He is renowned for sporting a scarf in his club’s colours on match days and is always dressed to perfection. Often see in the Hugo Boss shop in Manchester he must be delighted that the club are now in partnership with the fashion brand and providing City’s official club suits.
He is probably not so delighted about the fact that the media and some of the fans are now firmly on his back and his job clearly under threat.
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Sally Stacey is a life-long football fan who follows the fortunes of players and managers closely. Read more on Sally’s Google+ page.
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