ITWM looks at Beppe Sannino’s managerial career to date…
After an unheralded career as a central midfielder that took him to nine Serie C and D (the regional 3rd-5th tiers of Italian football) clubs in thirteen years, Beppe retired and took up work as a janitor for two years before returning to football as a youth coach at AC Voghera. After eight years spent coaching Primavera teams with a year in charge at amateur side Oltrepo in between, Sannino was given his first professional head coaching gig at Piedmontese club Biellese FC, a fourth tier side whose ground was named for Italian World Cup winning coach Vittorio Pozzo (no relation).
That job didn’t last too long – Sannino was sacked within his first season – but his next one at Sudtirol brought him the first of his five career promotions. He took the Biancorossa into Serie C2 (4th tier) in his first season and kept them there before moving onto pastures new.
Sannino has many clubs in his little black book of coaching, but this seems to suggest a lack of sentiment rather than a lack of skill. He has never been out of work for long, and many of his moves have come after periods of success for another team. After leaving Sudtirol, he managed four more clubs with varying success before taking control of Lecco in 2005. This appointment kickstarted his best run of managerial form.
After taking the Lombardy-based minnows into C1, Sannino immediately jumped to Pergocrema where he experienced similar success in his first year.
The next season he could be found at Varese – his second stint at the club – whom he turned into C2 champions. One year later, I Leopardi were promoted once more, finishing second and winning the playoffs to take the club into Serie B for the first time since 1985. In the final year of his three year stay, Sannino almost made it a hattrick of promotions as the side finished fourth in the second tier, but lost to Stephan El Shaarawy’s Padova in the playoffs.
Varese’s rise under Sannino was meteoric. Graham Taylor-esque. His reputation as a coach was, belatedly, made. Serie A side Siena came knocking despite his one year of Serie B experience, and he managed to keep the relegation favourites in the top flight whilst also taking them to the semi-finals of the Copa Italia.
If Siena was where Italy started to take notice of Sannino, it was also where he became of interest to the Pozzos. Zeljko Brkic, now the error-prone first choice of Udinese spent the season in Tuscany under Sannino’s rule, making 18 appearances in the process. Also part of the squad that season, at least briefly, was Gabriele Angella; though the 21 year-old’s loan was cut short in January after only making two appearances in that successful cup run.
Sannino was now a hot commodity, and was picked up the following year by Palermo, serial mentalists, in an effort to keep them up as he had done with Siena. The men in pink scored 53 goals in pre-season friendlies that year, but after one point from their first three league games – a schedule that included Napoli and Lazio – Sannino was sacked.
He was brought back in March after his successor hadn’t done much better, by which point Diego Fabbrini had joined on loan. The “enigmatic” forward only played 19 minutes of league football under Sannino as the side battled but ultimately failed to stay in Serie A, finishing third bottom.
Last season he was appointed Head Coach for Chievo Verona, where he was sacked after 3 wins in 12 games.