The record holder of benches, veteran technicians, adoptive ‘father’ of many players. The image of the wild ride of Charles Mazzone under the opponent’s curve after a draw in Brescia-Atalanta, to vent his anger for the insults received, chased him in spite of a straight-backed career, poor in striking results but rich in personal recognition. But with the death of Mazzone, the king of provincial coaches leaves, where by province we mean the heart of Italian football. There where passion reigns, beyond the palmares or the money spent.
Mazzone was the record holder for appearances on the Serie A benches, with 795, as well as a veteran of active coaches before retiring to be a grandfather in ‘suà Ascoli. The ‘sor Magara’ – an epithet earned by his Roman way of crippling the exclamation, multiplying it to infinity – was not only a football coach but also, for many kids who worked with him, a second father. Not surprisingly, an October 2022 film about him was titled just like that, “Like a father”. Because everyone knows the coach, but few have really known the man behind it and how important he was for the career and life of people like Totti, Baggio, Guardiola (who dedicated the 2009 Champions League victory to him), Materazzi, Toni, Pirlo and many others. Surely Mazzone won’t have won like his other illustrious colleagues, but he achieved the greatest success: having remained in everyone’s heart, ordinary people and insiders, regardless of the fan and the color of the shirt. Baggio had a clause inserted in his contract with Brescia which provided for the interruption of the agreement with the Lombards if the Roman coach was sacked. And it was his goal to make it 3-3 in the derby against Atalanta that unleashed the rush of the furious coach, he later explained, “because of the offenses done to my mother, those words are a very serious thing in Rome”.
In a school, the Italian one of coaches, which is one of the best in the world, with people like Rocco, Trapattoni, Sacchi, Lippi, Capello, Ranieri, Ancelotti, Conte and Allegri, he ‘Roman from Rome’, and from Trastevere, is the symbol of provincial technicians, a term that hasn’t made him feel lesser than others, quite the opposite because that Italy that hasn’t been on the front page has always been his strength.
Mazzone had understood this since he was a footballer and Roma sent him to Ascoli to ‘gain experience’ and he, instead, decided to stay there not only to play but also to live. And his name will remain forever linked to Ascoli, because it was he, as a coach, who gave the first historic promotion to Serie A to the team from the Marches, one of the first in Italy to play total football ‘Dutch style’, as was the case fashionable in those 70s. As president he had Costantino Rozzi, another unforgettable icon of ‘true’ football.
Among the teams coached also Catanzaro
On the bench, Mazzone was passion and grit, the symbol of a true and genuine sport, without so many schemes, restarts and tactical alchemies as ‘professors’, but based mainly on the culture of work, the desire to go on the field and to give joy and fun to fans. His coaching career lasted almost 40 years, on the benches of Ascoli, Fiorentina, Catanzaro, Bologna, Lecce, Pescara, Cagliari, Rome (coaching was a dream come true for him), Naples, Perugia, Brescia and Livorno, with whom he set the bench record in the history of Italian football, with 1,278 officials. But the numbers don’t say it all, especially in the case of Mazzone, record holder in attendance even in people’s hearts.
The condolences of Catanzaro
“Catanzaro 1929 expresses deep condolences for the death of Carlo Mazzone, coach who led the Eagles from 1978 to 1980”. Thus the Calabrian club, in a note, remembering Carlo Mazzone, who passed away today at the age of 86. “Mazzone – commented the president of Catanzaro Floriano Noto – has never forgotten his experience on the Giallorossi bench and has always had words of appreciation for our team, the city and the fans who have never forgotten him. He was the symbol of a clean football based on the true values of sport. With his death – concludes Noto – we lose a piece of the history of Italian football. The condolences of our entire society go to his family