What is the cause of Inter’s crisis? and my vision for the future
A few years ago the thought of Inter being in crisis with their league position being just above the regulation zone was laughable but that is the situation we find ourselves in today. There’s been a lot of talk since Rafa Benitez replaced Jose Mourinho at the helm of Inter that we are suffering some sort of hangover from losing Mourinho, who was the greatest coach we’ve had since the days of the last ‘La Grande Inter’ when Helenio Herrera was in charge, and of course this is a subject that has been discussed over and over recently so I’m not even going to go into that. Instead I’m going to discuss my thoughts on why we find ourselves where we are today and what is, in my humble opinion, the right direction for FC Internazionale to be taking from now on.
So how have we fallen so far?
I honestly think this has been coming since the dark days of the mid 90’s and where there is no single cause that is to blame the one consistent factor throughout it all is our president Massimo Moratti and the buck must stop with him. When he took over as president of Inter in 1995 he made no secret of the fact that he wanted to return ‘La Beneamata’ to the glory days of his father in the 60’s and as much as I thank him for everything he’s done since to achieve that goal it is also that obsession that has brought us to the point where we find ourselves in the situation we are in.
As we all know apart from the 1998 UEFA cup final win it took over a decade for Inter to shake the underachievers tag and return to being the crowning jewel of Serie A under the guidance of Moratti and here is one of the main problems, since he took over he has spent a reported €600 million on players buying some of the biggest superstars in world football breaking the transfer fee record on several occasions including the massive purchase of Cristian Vieri for a reported €48 million in 1999. Huge spending on this scale has resulted in a staggering accumulated loss of €1.3 billion in the past 16 years with Moratti himself pumping €750 million of his own money in to the club.
You may argue that buying world-class players is a necessity for a club like Inter and I’d agree you do need one or two of them but when you think that a large proportion of that money was spent on players like Vieri and Ronaldo that didn’t even win a Scudetto with us it does seem a bit of a waste of money, especially when you consider the same superstars are then sold on usually a couple of seasons later to try to eleviate our spiralling debt. This of course is only half of the financial problem we face the other half is that minimal effort has been put in over these years to increase revenues and build the Inter brand around the world, I’m not saying that nothing has been done but compared to the likes of Manchester United we have done little. The point here being that in the 80’s MUFC were the underachievers of English football but by putting in place a great business plan and employing the right staff they are now one of the biggest brands in the world.
Which brings me to my next cause, the staff! Moratti’s impatience to bring glory to the Nerazzurri has resulted in us having 17 head coaches in the 16 years since he took over and despite some lasting a few seasons it still equates to over one per season! Of course each one of these brings their own team of staff with them meaning there is no continuity in tactics and training methods which in turn makes life not just difficult for the players but also very confusing. Again I’ll use MUFC as an example when they brought in Sir Alex Ferguson in the 80’s before their long run of success he was given time to implement his methods, bring in players that fitted with his formations and as history has shown it paid off for them. Since then he constantly works on bringing in suitable young players that he feels can replace the older players when the time comes and unlike most Inter managers he shows trust in the youngsters to gain experience in competitive matches. Of course Sir Alex is one of a kind and there is little chance of us ever finding a coach like him but the point is that Moratti needs to find the right coach with a workable plan and then give him the time and backing to actually implement them.
It’s not only the coaching staff that is causing problems for the Nerazzurri as I believe that Moratti has over the years put in place a team of directors/ higher management that like Massimo himself only seem to focus on the short-term future of the club and quick fixes to any problems that arise. In short he has surrounded himself with yes men who just go along with his ideas and don’t really add any value to the organisation in general. So for the future stability of Inter I think Moratti has to rebuild not only the playing side of the club but also the higher management needs a revolution too with the focus shifting to long-term goals like increasing revenues and making Inter in to a desirable worldwide brand to rival the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, you may read this and think that it’s impossible for Inter to rival their popularity worldwide but it’s this attitude of us being the underdogs that is holding us back, for us to move forward everyone involved with the Nerazzurri needs to have the belief that we are capable of being as big as the other elite clubs in the world. I truly believe it’s possible and so should the club.
So how do we solve the problems at Inter? (My vision of the future)
To answer this question I asked myself what would I do if I was in Moratti’s shoes? After much deliberation I came up with the following plan of action that may not ever happen but it is what I believe to be a solution to our current problems. Firstly we have to accept that our recent run of glory is now over and we must look at the bigger picture, to rebuild our club in a way that will bring stability and ultimately a return to being ‘La Grande Inter’ is going to take years and there is no short cut that we can take.
The first thing we need to ask is has Moratti got the desire and drive to achieve the goals that need to be met? To be honest I don’t think he has, since we won the treble in 2010 it seems to me that most of the passion and drive that he had to revive Inter to European glory has vanished, I’m not doubting his love or commitment to the club it just seems to me that he is lost in terms of what to do next. So my advice is that he needs to remove these yes men of his club hierarchy and replace them with a simplified Management team that understands the modern world of football and how to turn Inter in to a profitable brand, of course to do this is going to cost money so as part of this step he should do the thing he really doesn’t want to do and that is to sell a good proportion of the club either to the Russian Billionaire Angie Karimov as recent rumours have suggested or alternatively as we have built great relationships in Dubai maybe we could tempt a Sheikh to invest. I’m not suggesting that he should totally sell out the way other certain clubs have, Manchester City for example, but if he retains the majority share I think his love for ‘il Biscione’ will be enough to keep the soul of our great club intact.
The next step is something that must be started as soon as possible, finding the right coach to take the squad in the right direction, someone who will stay loyal to the club, has European competition experience, knows how to nurture the youngsters and also believes in the overall project we are committing to. This decision shouldn’t be jumped in to too quick like Moratti usually does, he should take his time and make sure we get the right man for the job whoever that may be, because with this coach he will have to trust and have patience with and importantly he will have to work with to make it work. As to who this coach will be I had no idea but when I thought about it I remembered a comment made by @Rodrigo_joe on a previous article that Arsene Wenger could be a great choice of coach to rebuild our squad with the younger players, and the more I thought about it the more I realised that he fits the profile of what we need perfectly so for the purposes of this article he’s the coach we should push for 🙂
Now with new investors and a new more productive management hierarchy it’s time for Inter to take the first step in making FC Internazionale a profitable brand by getting the ball rolling on the long rumoured ‘Stadio Giacinto Facchetti’ named after a true symbol of Inter’s history, which if the rumours are correct will be a modern masterpiece of sporting architecture with a capacity of around 60 -65 thousand and will be multifunctional so as well as bringing in ticket sales revenue we will also be able to host events and concerts that will further increase cashflow. The new stadium will also house the flagship Interstore and museum dedicated to our proud history and will house the Inter headquarters in an effort to have all the business side of the club under one roof. The overall cost of this is a reported €400 million and is why investment is so crucial to the future of Inter, even though this sounds a lot of money it will bring the potential to increase Inter’s profits by a massive amount including potential for sponsorship deals and corporate events but most importantly it will give us our own base of operations to run every aspect of the global Inter brand.
The final important part of the equation is the squad, which should be drastically changed over the next couple of seasons, we should be implementing a policy of phasing out any player over 30 and replacing with youngsters from around the world and also our Primavera squad which also will require some major investment as in my vision for the future of Inter our academy will become the main provider of players for the senior squad and to make this work we must rely on our extensive scouting network across the globe to sign the best young talent available at a young age so they can be moulded in to the players they need to be to gain promotion first into the primavera team and then ultimately to the senior squad. To ensure consistency across all age ranges our coaches must work closely with each other to standardize training methods and to help with the youngsters breaking in to the senior squad the primavera squad will spend half of the weeks training schedule working with the senior players.
The key to this project’s success will be setting out practices across the entire club that are consistent and communication across all departments from President Moratti himself to the newest youth player must be maintained so that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and also what the various plans of action for the future are. You could almost say that my Inter of the future is run with military precision.
The last factor that needs attention in my opinion is the club’s interaction with the fans, as it is the fans that will be providing the revenue and support that is crucial for the future of our great club. As it stands at the moment from what I have heard Inter themselves have very little contact with the official Inter clubs and even less with fans like me that aren’t members of the Inter clubs, so I would like to see what would almost be like a council of Interisti set up by Inter to give their views on our concerns about the club and any pressing topics that need discussing, I feel that if Inter as a club involved the fans more and listened to our opinions it would give them a valuable insight that they may not see otherwise and ultimately make them stronger. In the long run it would also increase their fan base and therefore their revenues if they had more involvement with both the worldwide Inter clubs and the fans in general as we all want to feel like we can make a difference to our beloved club.
So that’s my view on how Inter can improve its situation and it all boils down to all aspects of the club being more organised and constantly looking at the bigger picture not just the here and now. The chances of this happening are slim I realise but if just part of my vision happens then we are making that important step in the right direction. Please feel free to let me know what you think or if you have suggestions of your own in the comments box below.