The aggression, intensity, and general bearded shoutyness that made ex-AC Milan star Gennaro Gattuso one of the best defensive midfielders in the world during the 2000s aren’t serving him quite as well now he’s gone from tackler to tactician.
First there was a 2013 spell as player-coach of Swiss club Sion, which lasted less than three months. To be fair, that’s actually a long time at Sion. Gattuso was their fifth manager of the season, because the club’s president is a testicle-kicking architect who’s incapable of designing solid foundations.
Later that year, Gattuso moved on to another club where managers have shorter lifespans than mayflies – then Serie B’s Palermo. The Sicilians axed him after he steered them to only seven points in the first six games.
Was the 36-year-old deterred by this inauspicious first year in the dug-out? Ready to give up and enjoy retirement? Of course not. This is a man’s sport. For men.
He rebounded this summer as coach of Greek Super League club OFI Crete, his third job in 18 months. Has it been going well? It has not been going well.
Last month brought this memorable contribution to the pantheon of Crazy Coach Conferences, in which he told the press to “fuck off” and terrified the translator sitting next to him as he ranted in broken English: “I want my players play with balls, with heart … is too easy for me, leave.”
But on Sunday he did indeed leave after picking up nine points in his first seven games, saying “the players don’t believe in me.” But today brought a dramatic U-turn, as Gattuso decided to stay on and continue to bring the fire to one of the Mediterranean’s most idyllic islands.
We give it a week.