x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Coach-changing Palermo must show faith first to get a Wenger

Ian Hawkey: Under Zamparini, Palermo will always lack long-term faith in coaches, which is why his mid-table club will struggle to penetrate the elite tier of Serie A.

Perhaps the biggest clue that Devis Mangia, the latest Serie A coach to be fired, was a little naive for the job was the moment when he entered the media room at Palermo with a panetonne, the cake traditionally served at Christmas.

Mangia has a nice sense of humour, and he knew that when he had been appointed coach at Palermo, promoted from the youth team, most had predicted he would not still be in the job for the panetonne season.

Early this week, Mangia was removed. Palermo had lost the Sicily derby to Catania and that counted for more than the fact he had just had his contract extended, that he was no long a caretaker but the 39th coach hired under the presidency of Maurizio Zamparini, who had five years in charge of Venezia before taking over Palermo. Yes, 39, some of whom have been sacked and then re-employed by the most notoriously intemperate club chief in Italy.

It sometimes seems Zamparini is intent on building up his own caricature. There have been so many different coaches taken on by him – Palermo have had five changes of manager already in 2011 – that it is impossible to identify his preferred type.

Mangia, little-known when he was promoted to replace Stefano Poli, was initially hailed by his employer as "our Arsene Wenger".

To be a Wenger, long-term faith is required. Under Zamparini, Palermo will always lack that, which is why his mid-table club will struggle to penetrate the elite tier of Serie A.