A surprise appointment resulted in an all too familiar conclusion only a month later – such is the tale of Christian Panucci and his role at Palermo. The team manager handed in his resignation this morning after falling out with Zamparini over comments the president made to the press on Monday.
The point of contention seems to be Zamparini’s specific statements on the future role of Giorgio Perinetti, currently under contract with Siena. Speaking to the media, the Palermo patron claimed Perinetti would assume a job as Executive Vice President at Palermo, once he relieved himself of his duties with La Robur. Panucci believed those comments delegitimatized him. Whether that was because Panucci felt he wasn’t consulted or whether he didn’t approve of the role is something that is not yet known.
A conversation between the two did nothing but exacerbate the situation. When Panucci let Zamparini know that he felt belittled, Maurizio responded in typical fashion, saying, “It doesn’t seem to be delegitimatizing you seeing that I give you 400,000 Euro a year.” To which, Panucci retorted, “I don’t give a damn about money.” At that point, Panucci seemed to have made up his mind. He left Sicily altogether and flew back to his home located in Rome.
Who is at fault in this scenario? While most would quickly point the blame at Zamparini given his track record, the blame does not rest entirely on his shoulders. Panucci joined the club with enthusiasm and commitment. He was young and ambitious but should have known what he was getting into when he agreed to work in Sicily. Zamparini was well within his right as club president to make the statements he made. Looking back, they hardly seemed to be divisive. The fact that Panucci didn’t agree and took personal offence was unfortunate. Where Zamparini was wrong was in his reaction to Christian. Arguing his contention by pointing out the stipend Panucci earns was not the right response.
So, Panucci leaves after only a month on the job. It’s a scene that’s all too familiar with those who follow Palermo in any sort of fashion. Sadly, it was always going to end this way, considering two strong-willed, hot-headed figures agreed to strike a working partnership. In many ways, the appointment of Panucci was reminiscent of the Zenga appointment – similar characters who would quickly butt heads with the fiery Palermo president.
Zamparini had been making great strides lately in setting up an organization that would put Palermo on the path to success. First, the deal with the Arab investors was struck (and negotiations are still ongoing). Then, the society signed a sponsorship deal with a global reach in Puma – while the deal isn’t lucrative in financial terms, it’s good to see a global brand strike an agreement with Palermo. Finally, Zamparini has been building a strong organization, at least on paper. The additions of Giorgio Perinetti (VP), Patricio Teubal (Marketing/Admin Director) and possibly even the return of Rino Foschi have been positive moves. It looked like Zamparini finally realized that in order to have success, a strong group is needed, something that does not always refer to players.
The Panucci era looks like it was short-lived. Zamparini ended his comments by saying, “Who knows, a few hours pass by, even if at this point he needs to see if I’ll take him back. He has a unique character, but also great qualities that I learned to appreciate in these past few days.” It’s a quote that could refer to either Panucci or Zamparini, to be honest. Nevertheless, the club moves on, with or without Panucci. Today’s resignation was just another bump in an entirely forgettable season.