Head above water

Roma works different from its sporting (and moral) rivals in Italy. There is no multi billionaire, ready to cover the club's deficits with a quick stroke of the pen, like there is in Milano (sic: this blog shall use the Italian name for the city, to avoid confusion with its lesser evil, Milan). To use last season as a telling and illustrious example; Moratti shelled out €148mln to cover losses, according to Il Mondo. Nor is there an Agnelli family bankrolling the entire operation. There is Rosella Sensi, offspring to the much loved Franco, and...yeah, that's about it. For Roma to be able to make moves in calciomercato turmoil that actually adds value to the team, the club first have to put itself in a position to do so.
This is done, lately, by successful Champions League campaigns. In 2007 and 2008 Roma knocked off Lyon and Real Madrid respectively, in the 2nd round games, before losing two years on the fly to Man United. That extra little step, as insignificant as it may seem, represents a lot more spending power for Roma come summertime. And that's how it works, you play good, you can get even better in the summer. Don't play good, you're likely to get worse.
Which is what Roma are fighting for now; keeping head above water. Losing out on Champions League qualification next season can't ever mean a simple year on hold, not for a club like Roma. For Roma, it's the difference between adding another starter to an already (on its day) formidable team, and between selling a starter to make up for losses. With Genoa refusing to cave in, it looks to be a relatively wide open three way race between the genovesi, Fiorentina, and Roma for that last spot (Milan's spot is to be considered safe, for now anyway.).

Criticism directed at the way Roma is being run (more often than not this criticism comes from frustrated Roma fans) is the perception of AS Roma as a family company. Father Franco Sensi owned it and ran it, his daughter Rosella inherited it as it were, and so forth. This is a red herring, though. As much as there is about the club that can no doubt be improved beyond measure (the official website), it's doing remarkably well with remarkably little. Far be it from me to assume the role of a constant underdog, more in love with the notion and idea of being small than the harsh reality that if I truly wanted the life of an underdog, I'd have gone for Lodigiani (yeah, that's a lazio burn). But relative to the clubs Roma strives to compete with, it's turned Trigoria into the world's greatest lemonade stand, making something good out of those sour lemons. Roma spends €65mln on net wages this season; Inter and Milan both spend 120, while Juve spends 115. And, as Deloitte released their annual Football Money League report, we see that Roma outperforms all other Italian teams in revenue (and lately, on European pitches as well; best European performer two years in a row).

Puts a rather large dent into the 'family company' theory. At least out of the four biggest clubs, Roma is arguable the best run club, which hurts (but doesn't nullify) the entire basis of that argument, which would be that Roma is run unprofessionally.


Il Mondo link

Deloitte Football Money League link (registration required)