The lingering memory of Luis Enrique's informal resignation on Thursday won't be Lucho sitting on a ball surrounded by squad and staff, finally achieving 100% ball possession as the joke went. The lingering memory should rather be the image of Walter Sabatini and Franco Baldini standing by, watching in the distance.
What they're watching isn't a normal training session, nor is their motivation for doing so fueled by the same curiosity which quickly engulfed us fans. They knew what was happening, and they still chose to show their faces and watch it. Morbid fascination? It doesn't matter. The mere fact that they did is the spirit of the club I want to support, to invest my time and mental wellbeing in. Lotito—the perfect incarnation of the pompous, highfalutin, self-entitled type of person all too often attracted to the sport—tried to dismiss Franco Baldini a few weeks ago with the argument that "only presidents have a right to speak". Yet in witnessing firsthand a setback to the vision he set out to bring forth, his vision, he demonstrated to be precisely what I like to think of him as: the real president of AS Roma.
He isn't, of course, neither legally nor by self-appointment. But he lives the desire to use Roma to change football for the better, and all failures while getting there, at least as intense and real as the blow-hards like Lotito. Blow-hards, like Preziosi, who for what it's worth wouldn't have showed their presence yesterday in that way, instead probably choosing to blast the departing coach in the media (salutations to Rosella Sensi and her comment to Spalletti about abandoning ship) and never stop to reflect on their own role in the development.
While I maintain that Luis Enrique was a non-vital part of the process of this new Roma (in the sense that while a good person, un hombre vertical and potentially a very good coach, he brings nothing exclusive to him which is otherwise unattainable), there is no room for misinterpretation: this is a setback Baldini would have liked very much to do without. I don't doubt for a second he's absolutely candid when saying that if he had the choice, Luis Enrique would have continued for a long time. But Baldini's honesty and integrity is not a bad start to pick things up from.