by Michael Pearson
Just a few short months ago, even the most avid Internazionale fanatics barely knew who Andrea Stramaccioni was. He was so unfamiliar that he didn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.
“A week is a long time in politics.” (Former British Prime Minister) Harold Wilson once said and Stramaccioni’s life changed forever inside of a single week last March.
The 36 year old had been Inter’s youth coach for less than a year, when he guided his exciting Primavera to the “Next Gen European Championship” (Youth Football’s Champion’s League equivalent).
Stramaccioni had enhanced his glowing reputation, as a bright, innovative youth coach, but he barely had time to bask in the euphoria.
That very same evening, Inter lost shambolically at Juve signalling the end for Claudio Ranieri.
Immediately, President Moratti appointed ‘Strama’ as ‘Caretaker Manager’ until the end of the season. He became the third manager of a doomed campaign.
In the space of a few hours, the Roman, went from being anonymous to instantly recognisable.
Strama also made an instant impression on the pitch.
In his first game, Inter recorded a thrilling 5-4 win over Genoa, and… in truth… never looked back.
A merciless demolition of city rivals Milan capped a wonderful revival and Inter finished a credible 6th.
Unsurprisingly, Stramaccioni was awarded with a 3 year contract within days of the win.
If a sudden rise to fame has affected him, he doesn’t show it.
His own playing career was devastatingly cut short by a knee injury at the age of 18. It has undoubtedly helped mould the man he is today. In interviews he is charming, whilst remaining unshakably authoritative. He shows rare poise, but isn’t afraid to show his sense of humour.
All Strama’s teams play to entertain. Exuding a joyful attacking swagger, they are wonderfully exciting to watch.
2012/13 will see a very different ‘Nerazzurri Squadra’ to those of recent seasons. Inter are beginning to discard their Champions League winning side.
Goran Pandev (Napoli) and ‘Capitano’ Lucio (Juve) have moved on this summer.
Last season’s flops Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate have also been binned.
Fading Brazilian’s Maicon and Julio Cesar have been isolated and dropped from the Europa Squad.
A re-build of real ambition is underway.
In a deal with enemies Milan, Inter have swapped ‘Poacher’ Pazzini for ‘Temperamental Talismanic Forward’ Cassano.
Elsewhere, ‘Ponytailed Goal Machine’ Rodrigo Palacio has signed from Genoa (€10.5M) while goalkeeper Samir Handanovic from Udinese (€11M) and Fredy Guarin (€11 million) has arrived permanently from Porto.
The loan signings of Matias Silvestre and Gaby Mudingayi -along with the return of ‘loanees’ Coutinho, McDonald Mariga and Jonathan Moreira -will further strengthen.
More signings are predicted to follow.
Primavera youngsters have also been training with the first team and Football Manager obsessives may soon get the chance to see ‘Wonder kids’; Lorenzo Crisetig, Joseph Alfred Duncan, ‘Skipper’ Andrea Romano and ‘Playmaker’ Daniel Bessa brought to life.
The 2012/13 Calcio season is dawning and there’s a renewed buzz of excitement amongst the ‘Interistas.’
Andrea Stramaccioni is now a Serie ‘A Coach with a brilliant, burgeoning reputation.
Opportunity stands waiting.