Fiorentina are committed on three fronts: the serie a, the Coppa and the Europa League. Montella our manager has to juggle his resources and prioritise his targets. On Monday we crashed – the Italian word is ‘ crolla’ -to Lazio 4-0 which all but ended any hopes of a top three Champions League berth. In the Europa League we drew Roma and they held us 1-1 last night in Florence at the Franchi . This was disappointing. Salah from Chelsea whilst a fast predatory striker does not have the strength of the other 3 forwards, Babacar, Gomez and Gilardino . llacic put us ahead with a fine strike,Neto restored to the side in goal made a penalty save , this was just as it was harsh decision but the the Wolves scored late on to equalise. They must now be favourites to go through.
Whislt I have thanked Ivan Conway privately I would like to do publically. Ivan is a keen collector of sports memorabilia. In the course of purchasing a photo of Shane Warne he came across two Fiorentina programmes from the website which he kindly presented to me. My father and I went to the Acqua Al Due restaurant with them and had a most enjoyable time poring over each. The first was the Cup Winners Cup final in 1963 between Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid in Hampden Park Glasgow in May 1962.
Fiorentina won the scudetto in 1956 and finished second the next four seasons. We contributed 7 players to the national side. It was our golden age. We reached the European Cup final losing to mighty Real Madrid and in 1961 beat Glasgow Rangers in the Cup Winners Cup to become the first Italian Club to win a European trophy. I was not born in 1962 but my father revered the team especially the “little bird” Kurt Hamrin, the Swedish right winger and one of the best players to wear the Viola shirt. Fiorentina drew the game which was replayed in Hamburg, the Spanish side triumphing.
Th second programme was for another final, that of the Anglo Italain Cup final in December 1975. Ironically in a long chat with Alan Tanner, he reminded me that his Fulham played a role as the other finalist West Ham qualified by beating Fulham to win the Cup seven months earlier. Alan, as ever a supplier of trivia, mentioned that Fulham played in the Anglo Italian completion, Les strong scoring two goals, and their centre half Paul Went, whose mother came from Florence, was booked for swearing in Italian at the referee. I knew this time and my boyhood hero Giancarlo Antognoni, again a Fiorentina legend bought for £500000 as a teenager. Of interest to my father and I was the defender Bruno Beatrice. He died young of leukaemia and his family alleged this was caused by the prescription of illegal stimulants by manager. This was never proved but he was not the only player to die young at that period.
Fiorentina beat West Ham to win this trophy. These historic programmes certainly provided us with much to talk about and I thank Ivan for his thoughtful generous gift.