Over night, the Internets were gifted yet another shot at hope/cynicism (depending on your emotional investment in Inter), some rather amusing puns ("Stramala" is genius, and no diverting opinions thereof will be accepted), and most reassuring of all: thousands of new experts on Andrea Stramaccioni. Aren't we lucky? Now we can turn to no corner without running into a text laying out the case for why Inter have finally gotten it right. Let the great rejuvenation project begin!
Ranieri was going nowhere, it is said. So first he had go somewhere — somewhere, anywhere, far from there — in order for Inter to go somewhere. All true and well, but where can Inter go at this point? European qualification isn't impossible with nine games left to play, but it'd take a special kind of optimism to argue that it's probable. But it doesn't matter, they say. This is the great revolution, the beginning of the last goodbye for the team of 2010. With Andrea Stramaccioni, nine youth level trophies before his 37th birthday don'tchaknow, everything falls into place. This is the reset button, Moratti's Etch-a-Sketch.
Problem: it takes more than one person in a football club to change a direction. In Rome, the cultural revolution is nowhere near completion, and even despite a relative lack of success its authenticity is called into question constantly from the outside. "Too much revolution at once!" and "Not enough revolution! Luis Enrique has become Italianated, like the rest of us" ring forth at once; it's unclear whether Roma would have done better or worse under another coach than Luis Enrique, but it is an absolute guarantee that we would have had to find out, had AS Roma had a lesser management. To get that current management with enough of a mandate to withstand all sorts or pressure from all angles, Roma needed a real revolution. Our spiritual leader, Franco Baldini, not only came in from the outside of Roma, he came in from the outside of Italy altogether, having worked out of the country for a good half a decade. This is one of those things that aren't a prerequisite, but a plus if you have it. No one in Inter does: Massimo Moratti is, as Franco Baldini said a decade ago, a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, "shipwrecked on the waves of power". He has been betrayed through the decades by a fan's patience with not winning, too much money for his own good and an almost comical lack of football vision. His only path to redemption would be surrounding himself with great men and women who could guide him, and complement his deficiencies. He has not: under him sit instead a dozen or two directors who make Don Geiss's board room look capable in comparison. The same day they finally get a result worth attention at youth level, they took the man who made it possible out of the youth sector and turned attention away from it yet again.
These aren't the men and women to lead your revolution. These are the same men and women who have gone through every wrong decision possible in the past 12 months, perhaps even stretching as far back as minutes after winning the trophy that night in Madrid. Every decision taken has come as a reaction to something, never along the way has Inter acted proactively. It is therefore folly to expect this particular decision to have been taken in that spirit. Especially when it comes now; at a point where there's nothing to lose, which is surely what appealed to Moratti. He probably hasn't realized that there's almost assuredly nothing to win, either. That vacuum right there, the improbability of Stramaccioni even having the chance to win, doesn't necessarily have to be his fate consigned. But it wouldn't be surprising. Andrea Stramaccioni is a good, interesting coach — as you know, half the Internets are experts on him by now and are quick to tell you — who was always seen with favorable eyes within Roma. He's charismatic, well-liked by players and colleagues alike. At one point he made Amato Ciciretti look like a star to be, which would be enough to be grateful for, if nothing else. His problem is that he was hired by Inter for the wrong reasons, as a reaction to winning the so called Champions League of youth tournaments (a topic so ridiculous it needs space all to itself) and dissatisfaction with Ranieri.
Roma, too, had a problem last summer: Stramaccioni reasonably wanted to advance, but was blocked by Alberto De Rossi on the primavera bench. Unfortunate, but this is also one of those things: nothing could be done. It would be disloyal and short-sighted to move De Rossi around to make room for Stramaccioni, however talented and promising he is (he really is by the way, as the new Internet experts can tell you). That's the kind of move Inter would almost definitely have made, and while their lack of planning and vision now benefits Stramaccioni (at least) in the short term, it's murkier on what it means for Inter. Hopefully Stramaccioni does make it, and nothing in this text should be read as anything less than a wish for that. Wherever he ends up, be it out on his own in the summer, back to their primavera, or perhaps worst of all: given the chance to preside what will have to be a torturous transition year for FC Inter starting next season.