We Do Live in Interesting Times

What looked to be a spring-long coronation for Ancelotti turned out to be nothing like it at all. Not that the speculation and assumptions were silly: perfect storms only comes around every so often, after all. He was about to be out of a job; he had re-affirmed his desire to coach Roma with more frequency than usual; and finally, Roma's new ownership finally seemed to lend the entire affair a sense of credibility. If no one expected Ancelotti to come under the tight financial (as well as visionary) restraints of Rosella's leadership, the takeover offered the perfect opportunity to create a project matching Ancelotti's own ambitions. That part is still valid, and the takeover offers yet the club the chance to start anew on a winning project. Ancelotti was just cut out of it, never seen as a part of it from inside the club.
          This is bold. A conscious choice to get a coach on good terms with young players is riskier than going with the name brand coach which 90% of your fan base would also love to see appointed. There was no risk in choosing Ancelotti, except for this one: what if he's not right for what Roma should be during the coming three years? Franco Baldini, and to a lesser extent Walter Sabatini, are working to fulfill a vision for Roma which seems to stand at odds with hiring a big name coach never known for his interest in nursing in young talent. Any time that leads to making less than obvious choices in order to adhere to a set out path, we owe it to sit up and pay attention while the rest of Italian football hires short term fixes to replace the short term predecessors now moved on.

Luis Enrique wasn't the first choice. It's no secret that Roma practically stalked Villas-Boas for a couple of weeks, and would have taken him if available. This, too, can be said to strengthen Luis Enrique's credibility as Roma coach: he is seen as someone from the same mold as Villas-Boas, the second best option in the original plan. Not a plan B, more like a plan A2. It would be more troubling if after failing to get Villas-Boas, the club had turned around completely and taken a coach sharing more fame than views on football with the Portuguese.


The common denominators between Luis Enrique and Villas-Boas are more important to me than the ones between Luis Enrique and Pep and his old club, and while there are similarities to be found Luis Enrique is his own man. Even if a second Pep would make the football world a better place, pushing to make Luis Enrique into his predecessor and friend threatens to constrain him. Considering instead the profiles of Luis Enrique and Villas-Boas, they match up relatively well (until you factor in achievements, which can be both misleading and irrelevant in this case): they're charismatic leaders who connect well with their players, and sets them free to play football that's fun and proactive. That's what Baldini went out looking for, and I dare say with complete confidence he holds no illusions of copying Barcelona's club structure and approach to the sport upon Roma. To suggest that taking Barcelona B's coach is a naive attempt to find a short-cut to an alternative to the world's best team is in itself a naive view of Franco Baldini and his understanding of the game. That said, there are plenty of things to learn from Barcelona even if you don't crudely copy everything they do. The details aren't as vital as instilling the same mentality of offering a proactive kind of football and having young talents hold a constant fire to the feet of the veterans. That overarching mentality can then be tweaked in a myriad of ways in order to suit Roma and her needs. Nothing wrong with having that ambition.

So this intrigues me. A hard-working coach who's a proponent for proactive football in the shape of a 4-3-3. And he's co-signed by both Baldini and Pep? I wonder if there's any way I could be anything but incredibly interested in this.