Mad Max banished to the wastelands


The End of the road for Max had become more clear on the horizon as the weeks wore on. An impressive unbeaten record that had us surprisingly positioned to seemingly challenge for the title abruptly gave way to a remarkably appalling run after our focus was derailed. The turning point appeared the Empoli game.

Since that disappointment, not so few points had been collected since I believe a comprably torrid time in the 80s. We all knew that a divorce between the club and coach would surely come. It was no longer If, but When and How.

Not just the results were the problem, but the performances. Heartless, lacking ideas, no team wide hunger with Max bang out of solutions and also rigidly refusing to try anything new. However, despite this impressively severe slump which dragged us from beaming in 2nd spot to seriously concerned of remaining in the top 4, Max steered the listing ship to CL qualification and also the coppa italia victory. It was what happened during and after the fateful coppa final against Atalanta that answered our questions of When and How Max would be kicked out of Continessa…In fairly bizarre circumstances.

It must be noted that Max came into the club during a period of major tumult on and off the field. He has been mightily well paid, and whilst his ignominous departure and the form of the side which precipitated the End leave a sour taste in the mouth, it is right and proper to state that he achieved two top 4 finishes (absent of the penalty deductions) and met his apparent sporting goals.

Yet I must address his regrettable antics from mid-week. Some of which we know with some certainty, some of which remain shrouded in the shadows of conjecture where they will long, perhaps always remain.

What appears to have happened>

Max got angry with the officials during the game. Delivered some choice phrases to a few of them. Was suitably admonished, then leaned towards his trademark routine of ragefully escaping his own jacket, loosening his tie, perhaps throwing that for good measure, then storming off when the inevitable red card was shown.

Nothing particularly controversial. Just silly

Max then flew into the tunnel, possibly abused another FIGC representative and cruelly assaulted some light fittings.

Hardly a capital offence, yet rare and awful nonetheless.

After having some time to calm down, Max joined the team on the field to celebrate the victory. We had won the cup after all. A brief flickering light in the stale bleakness. And Max certainly did seem to celebrate, albeit in a demented, stamping, wild eyed manner. Part of this segment of his berserker performance involved waving away Sporting Director Claudio Giuntoli, very publically, very obviously.

Clear signs of unease between them, and not a great look for the club. Still, not enough for me to consider dismissal, given he was going to be dismissed in two games time regardless.

Unfortunately, Max was nowhere near yet done…Perhaps he had been listening to Cypress Hill???

(For these incidents outlined above were relegated to mere footnotes in comparison to his coup de grace!)

Max then decided to pick a vicious, rather one sided argument with Guido Vaciago, the editor of Tuttosport. Curiously, one of a few quite outspoken supporters of Allegri…

Sh** editor, write the truth in your newspaper, not what the clubs tells you.” Max is alleged to have ranted at poor Guido. Who asked him to calm down and explain himself…This was a red flag to a bull…as Max responded by pushing the journalist, stabbing a finger into/under his snout and squealing  “I know where to find you. I’ll come, and I’ll rip both your ears out. I’ll come and hit you in the face, write the truth in your newspaper.”

I believe the earlier episodes – especially if taken in isolation – could not lead to dismissal. This last one alone however, as is proven to have happened, would result in many others losing their job if in the same position. He could even have faced an assault or threatening behaviour criminal charge in many countries.

Yes, Max is only human, and the pressure has been appalling. This is a perfectly fine stance to take. And yet, this does not detract in the slightest from the reputational damage done to the club, the apparent code of ethics clearly broken and the logical consequences he then has to face. We all make mistakes. Most of us have to pay a price for many of these mistakes. Max is no different.

There are plentiful loose threads involved in this regrettable soap opera. Rather than try piece together any chronological narrative, I will assume you are already aware of the gaps to fill in between, allowing me to focus on the main perspectives I can glean and consider of any value to investigate beyond fleeting and vague.

Max’s behaviour needed to be dealt with.

He is far from an imbecile, has form for the wretched strip tease routine and I believe he has used this before more for threatre than out of pure instinct. There is a chance all, if not some of this grisly pantomime was somehow planned by Max. Add in the recent support of a section of the fanbase, and ponder the idea that perhaps he wanted to go out in style, rather than via a lame press conference wherein he was expected to play along with management he has come to deeply despise. His antics have cast him as a hero in the eyes of some, a villain in the eyes of far fewer, earned the sympathy of many in between. There is also another group, where I am to be found, who are briefly roused by the madness, yet not roaring a war cry and charging in any direction.

His comments to Vicagio, and on field dismissive attitude towards Giuntoli both confirm a deep rooted chasm between our sporting director and coach. Despite my inkling of Max as somewhat prone to thespian he has always seemed at core a company man who loves the club deeply. For him to publically go after the club management – certainly Giuntoli, perhaps others – is very out of character. This is instructive of his treatment by them as unseemly, if not disgusting. Both for him to react like this out of losing control of his pent up angst and also if I consider he had any vague plan to self destruct in such carnival bizarre routine.

The club has been badly managed since the Summer of 2018. This was when Agnelli decided to kick Beppe out, buy all in with Paratici’s plan for spending mega money on Ronaldo and embarking on a different path entirely to what had brought us a return to mega success. Not only the EU340m investment in the portuguese old timer, but it got worse and worse and worse thereafter.

Yes of course, the ‘plague’ struck, yet before, during and after, schoolboy errors were made at the highest levels. Some more prominent and well publicised, such as the Super League launch, which demonstrated a level of due diligence and marketing research I suspect my young nieces at 10 and 13 years old could have improved upon. Add to the list of awful and very widely known glaring mistakes, the Plusavenza scandal, then Pogba signing (his injury record was very clear, the witch doctor, brother and his machine gun chums and Paul’s dietary choices less well known), even bringing back Max on such huge money, when our accounts were becoming hideous.

There were other matters. Swept under the carpet…such as Sarri openly ranting to the media in Italy of how such wretched disconnect existed between himself and Paratici (SD) that he had no idea which of his players he woud have available to plan for the first game of the season a few days in advance. And then, this debacle>>>

Juventus apologise over deleted 'slant-eyed' social media post following online outrage | South China Morning Post

How many checks did the marketing team have in place which were passed before this went live? What kind of moron even suggested such a social media post to send to millions around the world? It beggars belief that these imbeciles were employed and able to hold down the position at any well run organisation.

I am aware of the perceived, perhaps valid to assume injustice of the plusavenza scandal. It was ridiculous to sanction the club on the basis of apparently making more profit on player sales than suggested was correct. Surreal and ridiculous. Especially with other clubs, such as Napoli, openly flaunting the same apparently applied to Juve, yet unwritten rules, in a glaring far more suspicious manner. Yet there was more to this story, there were the wiretaps of Cherubini, Agnelli, even Max I believe, maybe Neved also…

Yes, only Juve were wiretapped. No other clubs. Regardless, there were no appalling sporting rules broken, but there was a clear picture of upper  management aware of the accounting figures as in the very least worthy of criticisms, more likely dangerously creative…and a sense of arrogance prevailing between a hierarchy of high ranking officials at the club who believed they were maybe doing wrong, but went along with it anyway. This goes back – to my thinking – all the way to Beppe Marotta. Who evidently did not approve of the plan proposed by his underling, Paratici, to invest mega money in Ronaldo. This seems to have presented him as an obstacle to Andrea Agnelli, so keen to grasp at his idea of modernising and progressing, that he didn’t take enough stock of Beppe’s value nor of the ‘yes men’ ghouls he then gave the keys to the kingdom and carte blanche to do as they please.

Some now point to John Elkann. Yet how many of them were mentioning him during our lengthy period of domestic dominance and superb performance on and off the field? He was and remains, not a potential president of the club, but the CEO of Exor, a business enterprise which dwarfs the plucky value and financial standing of Juventus as an instituti0n. His work is there as an overseer of a multi billion $ empire, safekeeping the Agnelli (then mixed with Elkann) family fortune which has long underpinned our beloved club.

John Elkann has far too much responsibility to be focused solely, even mainly on Juventus. He sanctioned everything that helped us recover from calciopoli. Has sanctioned everything that has helped us stay afloat since our progress took many turns for the worse. Some suggest he could have done more to protect the club during the most recent of scandals involving point deductions, yet I look at both how his focus is on a empire far bigger than our club and also how well Agnelli fared in his mission to go against UEFA and their very high level corporate state connections.

My own inkling of John Elkan is that he has appreciation of Juve as a part of the living family legacy, hence why he has demonstrated for well beyond a decade and more that he will support the club through thick and thin whether to sanction refinancing packages to keep us solvent and afloat, attend the special occasions with dignity and respect or keep to the shadows when not needed. In short, I consider Elkann understands and respects our history, and has done much to ensure we survive during periods of hardship, for if he didnt have this value I perceive he would have sought to sell off the club and likely we would now have a Sheikh as the president and owner…I believe John has always done right by Juve.

One aspect of our current hades saga which few seem to mention is the lack of clear leadership…The Scanavino/Ferrero tandem feel an interim measure. Parachuted in as trusted money and professional standards experts to rescue the club, clean house from the inside out, to lead the recovery from an administrative standing. This, we can but hope, is well underway. And clearly Giuntoli was a major coup of sorts who is perhaps now tasked with both greater autonomy and responsiblity to truly guide the sporting side of our revival.

With Motta soon to appear in the fold, a new dawn seems close on the field. Yet beyond there, beyond the management, we lack a figurehead. A President who represents our shared cause in his zeal, a man whose heart beats with our own.

I would like to believe Elkann is aware of this, as is Giuntoli and others at the club of any understanding of how successful we were in the first 8 years of Andrea’s reign. Regardless of how disastrously he blundered after 2018, Agnelli’s fierce passion and dedication shone brightly and he was a major reason behind that golden period which brought incredible success. We need not a new messiah, but a man at the top we can all look up and feel like he is Uno di Noi...

Con Te Patiro, Max and hopefully sometime very soon…Benvenuto Thiago!

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