SPALPresident Tacopina's press conference

MONDAY, MAY 15, 2023

President Tacopina's press conference

At the press room of the "G.B. Fabbri" Sports Center, biancazzurro President Joe Tacopina met with the press to make some statements and answer their questions.

"I am here to summarize what happened on Saturday," began the spallino number one, "but first I want to say a few things. Everything is still very fresh, I am really sorry for the season and the final result, a relegation that weighs heaviest on me and my partners. I reiterate that the responsibility for this failure is mine, I chose the people deputed to govern the club, the managers and the sporting director, and I do not intend to shirk my responsibilities."

"I also reiterate what I said about the team, this is a team lacking character, heart and pride despite the fact that at the beginning of the season we all had quite different expectations: La Mantia, Moncini, Proia, Varnier are important players in January we inserted Nainggolan, and SPAL has never had such an emblazoned player, but even his arrival was not enough to straighten the trend. We found ourselves in a perfect storm that led us to this bitter result."

"We have to look forward and one mantra I believe in says that tough times are meant to end, while tough people endure and overcome problems, and another teaching I believe in says that hitting bottom teaches more than standing on the highest peaks. I firmly believe in the power of positivity, my way of thinking I know differs from that of many, and starting over from the Serie C can be an opportunity. Starting over from the bottom is an occasion to build the culture that we want to be characteristic of the first team. I am sure that my group can take SPAL back to where it deserves: in my career I have always won, this is the first negative episode, the first relegation but together we can be reborn."

"In the previous weeks I had many meetings to talk about the future of SPAL," President Tacopina continued, "and to make myself ready for any eventuality, I was planning important structural changes, new inputs to build a new mentality, I was very enthusiastic to start again despite the negativity of the situation, but after Saturday things changed."

"It is normal indeed proper that everyone is sorry for this relegation, the offices, the locker room, the city, the fans, but being sorry is one thing while insulting me and my partners is another, for me it is unacceptable and now I explain why. After Saturday the fans threw smoke bombs and firecrackers on the field endangering Pomini and interrupting the game for several minutes at a time when we had to recover the result, for me it is not acceptable."

"I understand the booing and anger at what happened, but turning anger into verbal aggression toward me and my children who were watching the game from home is unacceptable after all we have done for this city. Choruses were made by a minority, but it is a noisy minority nonetheless: my first reaction was sarcastic but when they continued I showed my middle finger, I know that this is an incorrect gesture and not something I can share, it is something I wish I had not done but it was a human reaction. Where I come from if someone insults you, you respond. If I say something negative I expect a reaction, I am a human being and I reacted because I did not expect something like that, I am very bitter."

"After Saturday I tried to figure out what had happened," added the number one from Via Copparo "I heard from the mayor who expressed solidarity and a willingness to put it all behind us, but on Sunday I went to the gym with the goal of clearing my mind and someone from the corner caught up with me and insulted me, and when I left the gym there were other people waiting for me who continued to insult me and threaten me physically. These are not people who love SPAL, these are bad people who do not even enter the stadium because of their past conduct and they did something that is again unacceptable. Episode that caused me to think and question everything that I outlined to you just now for the future of this club. I am aware that this is a small group and, even in the incident that happened in the gym, other people intervened by isolating them and thanking me for what they did, but it seems clear to me that what they did is not appreciated and my partners are also very sorry for what happened."

"I think it is useful to recall briefly what has happened in the last two years, because there is probably too short a memory. We took a club two years ago that did not have a future, which had a big debt due to very heavy sports contracts resulting from seasons in Serie A; we invested 25 million euros, we built a new boarding school for the youth sector that represents excellence at the national level, and we built new fields in Malborghetto destined for the youth sector. In addition to this, the project "La Scuola Biancazzurra" was launched, which engaged me personally, our managers and our players and proved to be fundamental in order to effectively connect with the city and we developed an integrated soccer project. I also remember that we have supported the women's sector from the very beginning and just yesterday our women's first team won the regional championship, returning to the national categories and last season we won the Scudetto in the Under 18 category, an unprecedented achievement for this club. Finally, I have always guaranteed great participation in all the events to which the fans in town have invited me and asked me to participate: I really don't know what I could have done more than that, I have given all my heart and soul to this project and the facts prove it."

"Obviously I don't need to be told how great I am for this," Joe Tacopina concluded, "but I have summarized our investments to give you all perspective. I am not complaining about the fans or the city, I have had so many demonstrations of affection in these two days that have invited me to continue: Mayor Fabbri, the Colombarini family who as a former patron knows what it means to invest in a soccer team and the sacrifices behind it. The only ones who don't seem to understand are just this minority of fans, they don't understand that if my partners and I don't register SPAL in Serie C, there probably won't be a SPAL next year, unless someone wants to start again from Serie D. I can't understand what goes through the heads of these fans who threw smoke bombs and firecrackers on the field, disrupting the game, putting the players' safety at risk and interrupting a game that still had something to say. I don't understand how they can think that this is more important than the continuation of the SPAL project. I cannot accept living in a reality where there is a minority that directs verbal and physical attacks at me, and these incidents have also happened in the past against the previous management and it is something I really do not understand."