For Fiorentina, the 2011-2012 season represented one to forget. The club found themselves languishing in 13th place much to the annoyance of the Viola faithful. The fans clearly grew tired of their team’s absence in European Competition. It was a terrible season which saw Fiorentina sack two managers and get rid of their Sporting Director as well. Sinisa Mihajlovic was the first victim when he was given the boot in the early weeks of November following the club’s 1-0 away loss to Chievo. Viola occupied 13th spot at the time, a position they wouldn’t improve upon come the end of the season.
Delio Rossi was hired and there was new found optimism at the club that was certainly merited. Indeed Delio Rossi achieved relative success with spells at Lazio and Palermo and was a rather under-rated coach in Serie A. But his tenure at the helm was to be short-lived as in May, he too headed towards the exit door after an embarrassing incident with Adem Ljajic. Fiorentina fans were put through turmoil again and feared the worst as their team was involved in the relegation dogfight towards the climax of the season.
But in between the departures of the two managers came the announcement that Sporting Director Pantaleo Corvino’s contract would not be renewed. This claim came soon after the most insulting moment of the season for Fiorentina. La Viola were humiliated by bitter rivals Juventus 5-0 in front of their home fans. Enough was enough, action had to be taken and was swiftly done so with Corvino relieved of his duties at the club.
The start of a new season though, brings with itself new hope and renewed optimism and perhaps for the first time since Cesare Prandelli left to take over the reigns as coach of Italy, Fiorentina fans are rubbing their hands in excitement about the upcoming season. It paves the way for a fresh start and offers the oppurtunity to put behind the undesired and distasteful memories of the past season, especially for a club of Fiorentina’s stature that struggled the way they did.
Vincenzo Montella was revealed as coach of the club after a highly successful 2011-2012 campaign, where he drove Catania to an 11th place finish which was an impressive feat for a club that normally finds itself perpetually amongst the relegation contenders. Not only did he steer them towards a position that surpassed all expectations but he did so in style as Catania were the talk of the town with their brand of football and the reputation of the engineer behind their success grew until a bigger team came calling.
L’Aeroplanino had landed in Florence and his arrival was greeted with warranted positivity. A new project was about to kick-off for Fiorentina and step one was to appoint the right manager, a choice which managed to satisfy the Viola supporters. Former Roma Sporting Director Daniele Prade stepped in to replace Pantaleo Corvino. The owners Diego and Andrea Della Valle promised the fans a change in results and by all means Fiorentina have already made progress towards a better and brighter future for the club.
While the club has lost inspirational players in the form of Alessandro Gamberini, Riccardo Montolivo and Valon Behrami, measures were taken to replace them. Fiorentina have managed to entice a number of quality players to Florence. Borja Valero, Matias Fernandez, Alberto Aquilani, David Pizarro, Emiliano Viviano, Juan Cuadrado are just some of the names that have jumped on to the Viola ship and have created for a more enthusiastic environment.
The fact that their prized jewel Stevan Jovetic looks set to stay on at Fiorentina for at least another season is a sign that the club is heading in the right direction for now and is serious about setting things right and getting back to European football where they believe they rightfully belong. Young talented players in Michel Camporese and Matija Nastasic have proven themselves to be amongst the most promising young defenders in the league while players with buckets of experience in Juan Vargas, Mattia Cassani and Andrea Lazzari contribute towards a well balanced side.
With plans of a new stadium being circulating around, Fiorentina have every reason to be optimistic about the future. With Montella in charge of ushering in a new era at a club of whom expectations are always high, Fiorentina may well have taken the first initial steps towards getting rid of the fire-slewing demons of the past couple of seasons and possibly initialize the start of a new cycle that may just mirror that of the Prandelli era.