Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Today is Republic Day in Italy – a chance to commemorate the birth of a new nation and, more importantly, a Monday off for everyone.Everyone expect those Inter minions who have to organise the press conference to finally unveil Jose Mourinho.It’s the biggest draw not only in Milan but all over the country. Like Juventus, Inter have fans the length and breath of the peninsula and they can’t wait for the Special One to take over if a straw poll of those enjoying the bank holiday weekend in the sunshine on the island of Lipari is anything to go by.Situated off the northern coast of Sicily, Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands - as far away from the hustle and pollution of Milan as you can get, but just as Nerazzurri mad.There are only about 9,000 inhabitants on this idyllic retreat but a large portion proclaim their love for the black and blues and are all for the changes afoot away up in the misty, damp north.In the bars around the pretty harbour of Marina Corta on Sunday morning the general consensus was that Roberto Mancini had been the favoured son who fell out with dad because he couldn’t grow up and dad had to find a man for a man’s job.All very macho and Sicilian but, lo and behold, didn’t Massimo Moratti come out with pretty much the same thing when he gave a quick sound bite to the press later that afternoon.“I like Mourinho because of his professionalism and his experience, and with him in charge there will be less suffering and success will be much easier,” were his exact words.However, the inference was that Mancini had not been professional: telling the world he was resigning; or experienced: all that in-fighting with the players.“Mourinho will whip them into shape,” seemed to be the party line from the die-hards. There was a time in Italy, not so long ago, when footballers were truly revered but that’s no more, especially for the old codgers who you feel wouldn’t be too dismayed if a certain Mr. Mussolini was still around.Maybe a change of demographic would yield some sympathy for Mancio and certainly for the young generation there were mixed feelings at his departure.“He’s won us the last two titles and he’s stuck it to Juventus,” was one comment on his lasting legacy. However, it was forwards and onwards and whether their new heroes would be Deco, Lampard and Eto’o.It took the female folk to get right to the heart of the matter as they gazed on those smouldering eyes and grey locks, in a Saturday edition of Gazzetta dello Sport, at the Portuguese chap on a photo op with Moratti in Paris.“He looks like someone who knows what he wants and knows how to get it,” was the gist of their longing.Maybe dear old Massimo had been thinking the very same thing.
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