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Andy Golding On January - 21 - 2010

The Death Of Juventus

Following another disastrous defeat in the hands of Chievo, Andy Golding investigates the short comings of Juventus post calciopoli.

It is of no secret that Juventus are facing their toughest period in club’s history, not only are they losing matches, but also their identity. With manager Ciro Ferrara facing the sack, the responsibility lies solely with the Club’s management. It has been evident from the start that (Jean) Blanc, (Alessio) Secco and former president (Giovanni Cobolli) Gigli lack any footballing knowledge. Having spent in excess of £200 million on big names signings such as Tiago, (Jorge) Andrade, Amauri, (Sergio) Almiron, have failed to live up to expectations.

The sad truth is that Juventus are crumbling faster than a house built on quicksand and shows no sign of the damage stopping any time soon. Despite this, the board remain adamant that their five year plan will succeed and their intentions to complete it, if this is the case there is no hope for Juventus fans any time soon unless massive changes are made. Firstly replacing Ciro Ferrara is not adequate enough to secure long term success, whilst it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Blanc will bring a manager of Guus Hiddink’s calibre, not because of his huge wage demands, but simply because Blanc wants a manager who will comply to his ‘plan’, hence the resignation of former manager Didier Deschamps, whom despite his success in taking Juventus back to Serie A, his vision did not match those of the incompetent board.

Since then the board have insisted on adopting a similar approach to Arsenal’s youth policy, Gigli once stating “We don’t buy the Messi’s, we will produce them” clearly referring to the talent of (Sebastian) Giovinco currently rotting on the bench, and their intentions in utilising the wealth of Juventus’ successful youth system, which is creating more talent than Italians able to produce pasta. However they are clearly not being utilised properly, having so far only exploited the talents of Claudio Marchisio are instead being released to other clubs, with the likes of (Domenico) Criscito returning to Genoa, along with Raffaele Palladino, both of whom are proving their worth at a time when both are needed at Juventus, who clearly lack a competent left back, which Criscito would have fitted the bill more so than summer signing Fabio Grosso, who is increasingly proving that he should have joined Stuttgart instead of Cristian Molinaro, whilst Palladino would provide more depth and dimension, and the recent loan move of Lorenzo Ariaudo to Cagliari is nothing short of baffling, especially since he has shown more confidence and ability than those of (Fabio) Cannavaro and (Nicola) Legrottaglie, and lastly the imminent acquisition of Livorno’s (Antonio) Candreva who currently has been struggling to break into their first team when similar alternatives include Juve owned Albin Ekdal, currently impressing on loan at Siena or promoting the promising Luca Marrone into the first team, would be a more sensible and cost effective option.

However despite the board’s claim in adopting a similar model to Arsenal’s structure, it is evident that if they can’t even keep to their own strategy, then surely the five year plan that the board are insistent on sticking too has no foundations, which is fundamental to the success and the security of any football club, and for a president who has a degree from Harvard business school, has failed to construct a viable strategic plan, or even put in safe guards in case of certain scenarios, is very worrying indeed, as quoted in the Spiderman movie “With great power, comes great responsibility”

It is clear the board do not understand the paradigms and the culture of this club, as a consequence it is affecting the results and the performances on the pitch, the board were naïve into believing that Ferrara would do a better job than the experienced (Claudio) Ranieri and thus basing their strategy similar to Barcelona with Guardiola into believing that Ferrara would bring immediate success without realising that Barcelona have always remained faithful to their identity. Instead Juve’s campaign ended before Christmas in which Ferrara has constantly demonstrated short comings in both results and his tactical ability, for this the board clearly has no back up plan in place, instead putting all their eggs into one basket in the hope that the objectives are met. Which is a stark contrast to Ferrara’s predecessor, Ranieri, who was considered by many as a “Loser” however remained competitive up till April last season.

The truth is Juventus will never be like Barcelona or any other club for that matter, simply because it is impossible to change the culture and the paradigms that many identify with Juventus, a club that has always hired proven coaches in order to maintain their ‘Never say die’ attitude and their ability to always compete in all competitions, this is no longer the case unfortunately, the new Juventus is fast becoming more of a provincial side that lacks any core competency rather than successful giants.

It is staggering to believe that the board continue to have faith in a manager that has clearly lost the trust in the dressing room and has nothing else to offer in terms of repairing the situation, what do the board see in him? Even Stevie Wonder could see that it is essential that Ferrara has to be sacked immediately in order to safe guard Juve’s objective of entering next year’s Champions League, anything less will prove fatal both financially and in the bid to strengthen the squad, with likely sales of some of the club’s big name players in order to stay afloat.

Despite the recent re-appointment of (Roberto) Bettega who was brought in for his footballing expertise, Bettega is a mere pawn of Blanc’s power hungry regime, appointing him second to current and under fire General Manager (Alessio) Secco, Bettega alone is not enough to change the situation and is clearly being undermined by Blanc, it is of no surprise as to why former board member (Marco) Tardelli resigned soon after his appointment, whilst former General Manager (Luciano) Moggi has constantly stressed his desires against re-joining the club, so long the current regime are at the helm.

Although the board are largely responsible for the club’s failure, both John and Lapo Elkann must take action now before it really is too late, the time for talk has to come to an end, actions must be taken, only they can oust the current board and start over. First and foremost Blanc must be removed from his current position and handed over to Andrea Agnelli, son of former president Umberto Agnelli, thus paving way for the return of Luciano Moggi who recently stated that he would only be interested in returning should Andrea take charge and replacing the inept Alessio Secco. Whilst in terms of managers, (Giovanni) Trapatoni would provide answers in the short run, Guus Hiddink still provides the best option, however the current management seem to have Marcello Lippi in mind after the World Cup despite all the denials in the claim. Although Lippi is far more proven than Ferrara as a manager, re-heating soup again for a third time could leave horrible taste in the mouth, however so long the current management are at the helm, the club will remain to be a team of lions lead by donkeys.

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