Catanzaro, a dream that started from the bottom


By John

From the darkness of Serie C to the great dream of Serie A. Catanzaro? Programming, good play, courage and personality, but also a story of collective redemption: from Vivarini to Fulignati, from Iemmello to Vandeputte, from Biasci to president Noto they could all fit into a TV series. It doesn't matter the ending, but the fact that everything is still to be written, and that seven days before the end of the championship the Eagles are still in the running for direct promotion… The plot is intriguing and keeps you glued to the screen. Parma's historic success is the fruit of a journey that began two and a half years ago, when more or less every protagonist was eating the hard bread of the third series (or attending the youth sectors). At the “Tardini” ten out of eleven starters came from the lower level with the exception of Veroli, in his first real year among the Pros.
Give me time. Vivarini also came – but it would be better to say he returned – from the bottom, defeating his most popular and successful colleague from the league leaders: Pecchia has already triumphed in Serie B with Hellas Verona and Cremonese, he will repeat it with Parma, but on Monday he collected two resounding slaps from the Abruzzo player in the Giallorossi. It wasn't the first (and it won't be the last) that Vivarini beats up his opponents even though he too had arrived in Catanzaro because he didn't have anything better: he had already moved on to Serie B through unfortunate or not so fortunate experiences (Latina, Entella, Ascoli) and from a premature departure (Empoli), in Bari he had deluded himself (lost playoff final of C) and was let go too soon.
In short, he needed time, patience and a club willing to plan everything: Avellino had taken care of it, fortunately for Catanzaro, the Irpinia's turnaround left him free when at the “Ceravolo” they were thinking about a new helmsman willing to correct the course of a depressed team. The rest is already history: a playoff semi-final lost due to a controversial episode, the subsequent record-breaking championship (points, goals, victories, mathematical promotion in winter) and this extraordinary journey in Serie B with a group that allows itself the luxury of dribbling in your face at the home of Parma, unbeaten for 13 months at the “Tardini”. This was before Monday.
What were they doing there? The game is the keystone with which Vivarini made lethal a team assembled piece by piece with people who had already performed in Serie B or who were thought not to be worthy of this category. Brighenti seemed outdated, Scognamillo had taken his chance with Trapani, Verna years before in Carpi, Ghion had not made an impact in Perugia, from where Sounas and Fulignati were practically sent away, Biasci was used little and out of role in Padua, Vandeputte in Vicenza they couldn't wait for him to pack his bags, Iemmello was out of the squad in Frosinone after a forgettable past in the Spanish Serie B and two relegations in a row. And instead each of them has demonstrated that they can fully participate, individually and above all together. Let's add Antonini who until January held the defense of Taranto (not a big one) and Petriccione who was languishing in Crotone, let's add some young prospects at their first test, or almost, among the greats (like Ambrosino, D'Andrea, Veroli)… Evidently many people made mistakes in their judgments and assessments. Without forgetting, of course, the Noto management. Among the presidents of the big names, he seemed to be the one who was going the slowest, very far from the hubbub – which turned out to be illusory – of some (former) colleagues. He was just laying the most solid foundations possible, one step at a time, with patience and foresight, because a lower profile doesn't mean he's less ambitious. And time has proved him right too.