I VIOLA GIVEN NEW LIFE (AGAIN)
AFC Fiorentina has been through so many ups and downs over it’s long history that it could double as a plot for a Game Of Thrones spinoff. The team has done just about everything from winning the UEFA Cup to briefly being shuttered to just about everything in between. They have the honor of being the first Italian team to reach the Champions League final (1956-57) and the shame of being punished for a match fixing scandal. Fascist roots, bankruptcy, domestic triumph, all in the shadow of Filippo Brunelleschi’s Duomo de Firenze.
The Fiorentina Ultras have seen it all, but those days are long gone and team has yet another chance to rebuild. The past decade has been rough on I Viola, finishing as high as 4th and as low as 16th was made even more painful when club captain Davide Astori suddenly died near the end of the 2017-18 season. A 16th place finish last year was the sour end to a disheartening era as the team was sold to Italian-American billionaire Rocco Commisso. Changing hands is much better than winking out of existence, but this time they don’t need to be reincorporated in order to rebuild.
Commisso would start his rebuild by hiring a former manager, Vincenzo Montella, who has gone through his own series of ups and downs since his playing career ended in 2009. Montella played most of his career for Roma and Sampdoria before his coaching career started as the Roma U-15 manager in 2009. He spent a year at Catania before moving to Fiorentina from 2012-2015 and then a single season at Sampdoria, AC Milan, and Sevilla before sitting out the 2018-2019 season. It’s hard to say he’s had much success aside from his first run at Fiorentina where he finished 4th each season, the best run the club has had in the past decade. New ownership appears to have faith in him, and with the current state of Serie A there is no reason Fiorentina can’t compete for at least a Champions League slot.
Can Montella rehab his career along with Fiorentina?
Montella generally has it easy in terms of expectations, but things will likely get much harder if he succeeds. Most of the pressure will come financially as the club seeks to be worth Commisso’s investment, and a top half finish will be required for Montella to keep his job.