Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Owen Neilson On March - 12 - 2012

No Dreams for Novara in Serie A

It was supposed to be the most heart-warming of sport stories. The triumph of life over illness borne from a self-determination forged in the fires of football, and all done with a quaint moustache. Yet it turned out to be just another calculated chapter of misadventure in calcio.

After recovering from the stomach cancer that curtailed his time as coach of Albinoleffe in 2011, Emiliano Mondonico reappeared on the pages of La Stampa in early January, proclaiming, “I defeated the tumor, now I’m ready for the desperate teams.” He went on to explain, “They usually come searching for me when things are hopeless…I don’t wish anyone to be so desperate.”

While hardly a glowing appraisal of oneself or a future employer, football will always have its heroes and villains, its successful and desperate, and within three weeks, a bruised Novara came forward to treat the peninsula and its media, to a real, bonafide fairytale.

Mondonico declared to La Gazzetta dello Sport the day of his unveiling, “I return to life” however, as resurrections go it was a short one, lasting just 37 days and 6 games, and though only 3 shy of Moses’ record, and almost halfway to Noah and his boat, attempts to lead the Piedmontese to safety predictably failed.

Despite achieving Novara’s first away win in 56 years at Inter, sandwiched between draws with Cagliari and Atalanta, five points and a boorish five-man defence paired with defeat at Bologna on Sunday proved the final act in his brief return to Serie A. His daughter cried “infamy” on Facebook following the news of his sacking, later changing the post to, “who doesn’t love us, doesn’t deserve us.”

Mondonico was the 14th managerial casualty of the season, and has made way for his predecessor Attilio Tesser to kick start another story of redemption, but the man who guided Novara from Lega Pro into Serie A in two seasons has history against him.

The tradition of relegation embattled sides or promotion hopefuls firing, hiring, firing and re-hiring has a 100% failure rate in recent years, with Torino, Vicenza, Empoli, Brescia, Livorno and now Novara choosing to save money in the final stretch only to miss out on the ultimate goal.

With Tesser’s contract still being paid it makes financial sense to bring him back, but Mondonico’s appointment in the first place proved just how desperate Novara were. His plan from thestart against Chievo was to protect the point the team started with, “Winning 1-0 is better than winning 4-3” he told the Gazzetta, and though logical. a decade away from the top flight found his method wanting.

However, the errors go back to a summer transfer policy that saw the sale of the top goal scorers, Cristian Bertani, and Pablo Gonzalez in favour of Riccardo Meggiorini who had scored six goals in sixty Serie A appearances, Brazilian Jeda from relegated Brescia, young attacking midfielder Andrea Mazzarani on loan from Udinese, and Takayuki Morimoto from Catania.

After a combined contribution of seven goals in sixteen games, Andrea Caracciolo and Giuseppe Mascara arrived in January following unrewarding spells with Genoa and Napoli. Their addition, despite Caracciolo’s winner against Inter, has failed to change Novara’s fortunes, and the club can be grateful that the Nerazzurri have been in such chaos preceding both their meetings this season.

The other two promoted sides, Atalanta and Siena have fared better, but last year’s Serie B trip came after they both had lengthy stays in Serie A, and as such have a better average player in the respective squads and a larger budget to attract quality.

The task was always going to be difficult, needing replacements in every department to have any hope of survival, but the club stuck with the midfield that won the dramatic promotion last June, with Ivan Radovanovic the only success alongside Filippo Porcari and the aging pair of Francesco Marianini and Luca Rigoni.

Tesser has been shouting “salvation” from the rooftops since his return, but a record of zero clean sheets in his first twenty games suggests Novara will struggle to close the twelve point gap to Siena. However, after waiting 55 years to return to Serie A, the tentative pragmatism of Mondonico, and no certainty to when they’ll return, it would be nice to see Novara go down with a fight beginning at home against Udinese on Sunday.

Comments are closed.

Featured Skills Video

    Write for Serie A Weekly!

    contribute Send us a timely, compelling post and we'll consider it for publishing on the site with mention of your name and social-media link.

    Click here to contact us.


Serie A Weekly recognises all copyrights contained. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. If you own copyright to an image and object to its presence, contact the blog immediately using the "contact us" link at the top of this page. This blog is not responsible for the content of third party sites.