Fired and rehired: Why are Serie A coaches often sacked and brought back?

Davide Nicola being sacked and rehired within 48 hours by Salernitana raised eyebrows this season, and then dismissed again a month later, but it's nothing new in Serie A. Here's the complete list of Serie A coaches hired and fired in the Italian top flight.

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Atalanta‘s 8-2 hammering of Salernitana in Matchday 18 of the 2022/23 Serie A season prompted the Campania side to sack coach Davide Nicola. While many Italian football fans had suggested that he would be reappointed before the end of the season, few could have predicted his return to come within 48 hours and without another game being played.

Although the concept of reinstating a coach during the year is not an alien concept in Italy, the latest situation in Salerno is baffling, even by Italian standards. There have been situations in which coaches have returned after a few matchdays but not a matter of days.

In this unique set of circumstances, Salernitana president Danilo Iervolino was persuaded by Nicola himself to reinstate him as coach. Fitting with the whole fiasco, Nicola was again sacked around a month later and this time Iervolino would not change his mind.

Throughout the history of Italian football, there have been club presidents who have sacked a coach and then bring him back in the same season, and the results have been rather amusing at times.

Absurd sackings and bizarre reinstatements

Nicola is no stranger to these kind of circumstances. When he was at Livorno in 2013/14, he was relieved of his duties after 19 matchdays and was replaced by Attilio Perotti, who lasted just one match. Domenico Di Carlo was in charge for 14 games before Nicola was brought back to complete the season.

One of the most famous scenarios was in the 2013/14 Serie A season when Sassuolo sacked Eusebio Di Francesco after 21 league matches and appointed Alberto Malesani. After five defeats in as many matches, Di Francesco was reinstated and he remained with the Neroverdi until the end of the 2015/16 campaign.

An amusing one from before the turn of the century was Nils Liedholm getting sacked by AS Roma during the 1988/89 Serie A season. He was replaced by Luciano Lupi, who could only register two draws and two defeats before the Swedish tactician was brought back.

Giuseppe Iachini has been in this situation multiple times throughout his coaching career. He was sacked and reinstated at Brescia in 2010/11 and history repeated itself when it happened again at Fiorentina in 2020/21.

However, nothing compares to when he was at Palermo throughout the 2015/16 season. Iachini was sacked, reinstated and sacked again while Davide Ballardini had two stints and finished the campaign, securing Serie A safety for the Rosanero in the process. Meanwhile, Giovanni Bosi had two stints in a caretaker role and Fabio Viviani and Walter Novellino had a stint each.

Why does this happen in Italy?

There is a rule in Italian football that a coach cannot be employed by two clubs in one season and club presidents have been notorious for being trigger-happy. Instead of having several coaches under contract at the club, this forces presidents to turn back to one of the coaches that they employed previously as their contracts are still being paid.

Club presidents will also bring a coach back if the successor in the role turns out to be worse than the tactician the preceded him, and with the benefit of hindsight, the owners decide to stick with one they had previously.

Coaches fired and rehired in the same Serie A season

1947/48 season

  • BariAndras Kuttik coached from Matchday 1 to 6 and again from Matchday 19 to 42
  • VicenzaGiovanni Vecchina coached from Matchday 1 to 3 and from Matchday 27 to 42

1950/51 season

  • LuccheseGyorgi Sarosi coached from Matchday 1 to 11 and again from Matchday 24 to 38

1956/57 season

  • Inter Annibale Frossi coached with Luigi Ferrero from Matchday 1 to 19 and by himself from Matchday 25 to 30

1965/66 season

  • AC Milan Nils Liedholm coached from Matchday 1 to 17 and again from Matchday 19 to 24; Giovanni Catozzo was in charge on Matchday 18 and again from Matchday 25 to 30

1968/69 season

  • NapoliGiuseppe Chiapella coached from Matchday 1 to 16 and again from Matchday 26 to 30

1976/77 season

  • CesenaPaolo Ferrario and Aldo Neri coached on Matchdays 4 and 5, and again from Matchday 10 to 30

1980/81 season

  • UdineseEnzo Ferrari coached on Matchday 4 and again from Matchday 17 to 30

1983/84 season

  • PisaBruno Pace coached from Matchday 1 to 5 and from Matchday 21 to 30

1988/89 season

  • RomaNils Liedholm coached from Matchday 1 to 18 and again from Matchday 23 to 34

1998/99 season

  • SampdoriaLuciano Spalletti coached from Matchday 1 to 13 and again from Matchday 20 to 34

1999/2000 season

  • VeneziaLuciano Spalletti coached from Matchday 1 to 8 and again from Matchday 12 to 20

2001/02 season

  • FiorentinaLuciano Chiarugi coached on Matchday 18 and again from Matchday 30 to 34
  • Parma Pietro Carmignani coached on Matchday 10 and again from Matchday 16 to 34 as well as a rescheduled game from Matchday 6

2002/03 season

  • TorinoRenato Zaccarelli coached on Matchday 7 and again from Matchday 23 to 28

2006/07 season

  • CagliariMarco Giampaolo coached from Matchday 1 to 16, and again from Matchday 26 to 38 including a rescheduled Matchday 22 match
  • Messina Bruno Giordano coached from Matchday 1 to 22 and again from Matchday 30 to 33
  • PalermoFrancesco Guidolin coached from Matchday 1 to 33 and from Matchday 37 to 38

2007/08 season

  • EmpoliLuigi Cagni coached from Matchday 1 to 13 and again from Matchday 32 to 38
  • LivornoFernando Orsi coached from Matchday 1 to 7 and again from Matchday 36 to 38
  • PalermoStefano Colantuono coached from Matchday 1 to 13 and again from Matchday 31 to 38

2008/09 season

  • RegginaNevio Orlandi coached from Matchday 1 to 16 and again from Matchday 21 to 38

2009/10 season

  • LivornoGennaro Ruotolo coached from Matchday 1 to 8 alongside Vittorio Russo and was solely in charge from Matchday 33 to 38
  • Udinese Pasquale Marino coached from Matchday 1 to 17 and again from Matchday 26 to 38

2010/11 season

  • BresciaGiuseppe Iachini coached from Matchday 1 to 15 and again from Matchday 23 to 38
  • PalermoDelio Rossi coached from Matchday 1 to 27 and again from Matchday 32 to 38

2011/12 season

  • CagliariMassimo Ficcadenti coached from Matchday 2 to 11 and again from Matchday 28 to 38
  • GenoaAlberto Malesani coached from Matchday 1 to 16 and again from Matchday 31 to 32

2012/13 season

  • PalermoGiuseppe Sannino coached from Matchday 1 to 3 and again from Matchday 29 to 38; Gian Piero Gasperini coached from Matchday 4 to 23 and again from Matchday 27 to 28

2013/14 season

  • CataniaRolando Maran coached from Matchday 1 to 8 and again from Matchday 20 to 32
  • LivornoDavide Nicola coached from Matchday 1 to 19 and again from Matchday 35 to 38
  • SassuoloEusebio Di Francesco coached from Matchday 1 to 21 and again from Matchday 27 to 38

2014/15 season

  • CagliariZdenek Zeman coached from Matchday 1 to 16 and again from Matchday 27 to 31

2015/16 season

  • CarpiFabrizio Castori coached from Matchday 1 to 6 and again from Matchday 12 to 38
  • PalermoGiuseppe Iachini coached from Matchday 1 to 12 and again from Matchday 26 to 28; Davide Ballardini coached from Matchday 13 to 19 and again from Matchday 33 to 38; and Giovanni Bosi was in charge for Matchdays 21 and 25

2016/17 season

  • InterStefano Vecchi took charge temporarily on Matchday 12 and again from Matchday 36 to 38

2018/19 season

  • EmpoliAurelio Andreazzoli coached from Matchday 1 to 11 and again from Matchday 28 to 38

2019/20 season

  • BresciaEugenio Corini coached from Matchday 1 to 11 and again from Matchday 15 to 22

2020/21 season

  • FiorentinaGiuseppe Iachini coached from Matchday 1 to 7 and again from Matchday 29 to 38

2022/23 season

  • SalernitanaDavide Nicola coached from Matchday 1 to 18. He was then sacked and reappointed before the next game, and was in charge again from Matchday 19 to 23 before being dismissed once more.

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