CHAIRMAN'S DIARY: ENTRY #1
I am going to be honest with you. I didn't know how an unknown English businessman owning an Italian Football Club would go down. What would the fans of Italian Football say? What would the press say? I didn't know. When the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced the club and the fact that an English Businessman would own a brand new club, I stayed awake for hours, checking La Gazzetta dello Sport comment section. I must of checked BBC Sport millions of times as well. I was so nervous. But I am happy, in fact, very happy that the public took to it. They liked it and supported it. There were only a few bad comments on the websites that I saw, but that is to be expected. I am so pleased that I have been accepted into Italian Football.
The Club unveiling went really well. Everyone loved the logo, which looks magnificent and sums up not only the club, but the city of Venice as well. Nike did fantastically with the kits, which are plain and simple, yet so effective, just what I like. The sponsorship we secured with YOOX was great, the fact that such a big Italian company wanted to sponsor us, is great. It means we had the attention of the globe. And to have a partnership with UNICEF is great. UNICEF do such great work, and the world would be a different place without them. It shows that we want to create an image of a good club, not a bad one, like Barcelona at the moment.
When I phoned Alessandro Nesta to ask him about the job, he had literally just retired a few days ago. I knew he had been working on his badges and that wouldn't be a problem, but whether he wanted to take the jump so quickly. I was astounded by his enthusiasm and how he wanted the job. I knew that he was the one for the role, so I offered him a one year contract. When he arrived, a spoke about the plans for the club, the new stadium, and facilities, and he was impressed about how I had planned it all out so quickly and professionally. I knew we would get on well, until about a week ago, when he told the press about me not increasing the wage budget. That annoyed me. I was disappointed in him, and I was ready to sack him, but I called him to a meeting, and gave him two options, attend, or be sacked. He wisely attended and apologised straight away, and I knew it was a genuine mistake on his behalf.
But that is behind us now, and he managed the team throughout preseason. Some of the results were disappointing, but there were also some very pleasing games.
I am not expecting much this season, maybe to finish in the top half of the table. Serie B is a strong league with lots of great teams and players, and the club is new, so you can't expect success, but if anyone can bring it, it would be Alessandro.