Officially Official: Ventura Out, Mutti InBy: agiamba | February 10th, 2011
With this weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Brescia, Bari now look certain to be doomed back to the calcio purgatory that is Serie B. Seven losses in a row have put Bari seven points behind 2nd-to-last Cesena, and after seven coaching changes in Serie A, Giampiero Ventura becomes the 8th. Let’s hope the other records don’t tally one more this coming weekend.
At this point, there was probably no other choice, as much as I cannot stand the Matarrese family and their incompetence and lack of ambition, the decision had to be made. That doesn’t mean they are faultless, far from it- the seeds of Bari’s relegation and Ventura’s resignation were planted long ago. Alas, when the calcio world was fawning over Bari’s Barca-lite playing last season and hailing the club’s 10th place finish, we knew that all was not right at the Stadio San Nicola. The Matarrese’s shrugged when Giorgio Perinetti left for Siena, and then shrugged as an extremely half-assed mercato failed to improve the team. Forget improve, it didn’t even attempt to keep it at the same level. While it was always going to be impossible to keep ahold of young defensive starlets Andrea Ranocchia and Leo Bonucci, it was a pathetic job of repairing the whole. Other teams might go for a “proven” central defender like Manfredini, or a promising young gun, Palermo have done well to get Matteo Darmian, Bari secured the illustrious name of Andrea Raggi.
We all knew Barreto wouldn’t have the same year he did last year (hopefully one in which he missed fewer penalties) and yet, no bomber was signed to partner him. Ghezzal is a talented player in flashes, but he is not a goalscorer, and never will be. The January mercato was a perfect time to go out and refresh the squad, but again, Bari did an incredible job of doing nothing of substance. Though I love him for his debut goal against Lecce, Okaka is not a proven goalscorer this team needs, nor do I really rate his potential. Going Hail Mary on a random Norwegian guy isn’t a terribly proven option, and in central defense, we went out and again picked up Palermo’s trash, in Kamil Glik, who couldn’t get a single Serie A start at a club playing Munoz or a 24-year old Slovenian import in central defense.
None of this is to pile individual blame on these players, some of which don’t deserve it. Most do, however, but the overarching strategy of Bari the last 9 months has been quite indicative of the Matarrese’s general feelings about the club- meh. A half-assed mercato in June was followed by the same in January, and it’s no surprise to anyone that this club, dismantled of several of its stars in the summer, is teetering on the brink of Serie B. That doesn’t absolve Giampiero Ventura entirely, though. Injuries and a poor mercato have hurt this team immensely, but surely i Galletti could have picked up a few more points here and there? Is the squad that much worse than Cesena or Bologna? No, cazzo! The situation has been rather extreme, however, and ultimately it’d be extremely unfair to fault Ventura for the team’s impending relegation.
But as I said, it had to be done. Ventura tendered his resignation a few weeks ago, it was rejected. While I applaud the Matarrese’s decision to stick behind Ventura through such difficulty, should I? It’s easy to say that similar clubs would have unceremoniously sacked him months ago, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Matarrese’s just kind of stood their silently, there was little verbal backing of the coach. They don’t care, so why should they sack anyone? It might be a bit of a curse for some of our southern neighbors with their trigger-happy Presidents, but hell, at least you know Zamparini gives a damn. He fires out of love, as irrational or idiotic as it might be.
Today, the club officially accepted Ventura’s offer of resignation and ended their working relationship. They have decided to bring in Bertolo Mutti, who is just a terrible decision in every way, shape or form, but that rant is for another day. For today, there are only two more words I’d like to say for the man who brought us to our best ever finish in Serie A, the man who made everyone fear the Biancorossi, for the man who made us dream: