Way back in June of 2015, Serie B club Modena made the bold choice to appoint former Argentinian great Hernan Crespo as the sides manager. Modena had only survived by the skin of their teeth the season before having beaten Virtus Entella in a relegation play-out.
To make matters worse for the club their position of being the bigwigs or kings of their province had been circumvented first by Sassuolo and then more recently by Carpi. The appointment of Crespo as already mentioned was a gamble, his only previous experience was being in charge of the Parma Primavera side in the year the club went bankrupt, but it was seen as the first step in getting the club back where it wanted.
Nine months later it would end with the club’s ultras storming a post-match press conference and Crespo’s wife calling the club shits and not paying him for months. In the end Crespo’s sacking was inevitable, the club were/are in great danger of going down to Lega Pro, what’s more no side had lost more matches in the league this season. Perhaps most surprisingly for a club managed by such a legendary striker it was a serious inability to put the ball in the back of the net that has cost Modena dearest.
The long term injury to prolific striker Pablo Granoche was a huge set back but 29 goals in Crespo’s 34 matches was nowhere near good enough. The question must be asked now, where next for Crespo?
At the beginning of the season I wrote an article for this site on how both Milan clubs should keep an eye on Crespo and his adventures in Serie B. Now that he has been sacked for nearly relegating a club into the third tier should Milan and Inter continue to monitor his progress or cast him into the scrapheap.
The answer to this question may strangely lie with the two best managers in the Italian game at the moment, Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri. Between the two of them they have won five Scudetti, with Allegri odds on to make it six in a matter of weeks. This success however is a far cry from both men’s early days in management. Early days that are sure to give Crespo a deal of confidence for the future.
Indeed, Conte’s first job in management at Lega Pro club Arezzo saw him get sacked twice in a single season. As for Allegri his early days on the bench saw him given the booth by another Lega Pro club in the shape of Grosseto. As future evidence would show these sackings have proved far from deferential to their management careers.
Of course this cannot be taken as a guarantee that Crespo is going to have just as fantastic a career in the hot seat as the other two, but again it shows that one poor job does not mean Crespo will not have a long and successful career in management.
What is noteworthy about Conte and Allegri though is that their next jobs proved to be highly successful and you imagine the same will have to apply for Crespo if he wants to reach the same levels he did as a player.
So where next for Crespo, again the answer may lie with another manager who seems to be rebuilding his reputation further down the Italian football pyramid, Gennaro Gattuso. Gattuso has found out the hard way that management is a ruthless business having already been sacked by Fc Sion and Palermo. This season however Rino took over the reins at Pisa.
The Neroazzurro have been languishing in Lega Pro for a number of years now but their attendances remain some of the most impressive around. With their average being almost 2000 more than the nearest side in Girone B this season. While this is not all down to Gattuso, he can certainly be credited with bringing a real feel good factor back to the club as they look to return to Serie B.
So if Crespo is intent on making it at the highest level of management he may first have to take a step back before he can go forward. Lega Pro is not a level that someone like Crespo will probably relish working at and it remains to be seen if he is able to work with players that have considerably less talent than he had.
As for Milan and Inter should they continue to keep an eye on Crespo? The answer remains very much in the affirmative. As the saying goes everyone deserves a second chance and Crespo still has enough goodwill in the bank to deserve one. No matter where he turns up though, be it back in Serie B or lower down a good job is paramount.
What next for Crespo? Simple regroup and go again the adventure is just beginning.