Crawley’s Gabriele Cioffi: ‘If you go the dictatorial way you will be a loser’

first_img Pinterest “Where do I see the club or the football players that we have? Wherever we want to be. Wherever we want to be is how much we believe, how much we trust what we are doing, how much we are getting on together, we respect each other. I upset Bruce [the media officer]. I upset the players. But being a family, we have to accept. Do I argue with my wife? Almost every day. I love her, of course, that’s why I’m coming back. I say: ‘OK, sorry.’ She says to me: ‘Sorry.’ This is what’s happening now.“Everyone is not perfect. Everyone knows that at the end we are getting on and we try to do something different. [It] looks like a big word, but we love. Because when you love and respect the people around you, the passion is fired up. Before, we were complaining: ‘Ah, but it’s raining.’ Now, it’s raining? We have an umbrella!” Richie Wellens driven by Alex Ferguson’s influence as Swindon soar Share on Pinterest Facebook Crawley Town Read more Carabao Cup “Probably, it’s funny looking at a manager who’s running and everyone can say: ‘Come on, he went through to the fourth round of the Carabao [Cup]. What is the big deal? Why is he showing off?’ That run was to thank the players because I’m on top of them every time and that was the perfect game where they’ve done everything perfectly I asked. It was a run of love because I love my players. I love my staff.”Being a foreign manager in League Two comes with some obstacles. His wife and two children remain at home near Florence. Cioffi usually flies back every couple of weeks to see them, but the irony of Crawley’s cup success is that their relentless schedule has recently made that impossible. The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Share on WhatsApp ‘I think if you win as a human being, you can win on the pitch,’ says Gabriele Cioffi. Photograph: Shane Healey/ProSports/Shutterstock Share on Facebook Read morecenter_img Twitter “I was 19, I broke my ACL [anterior cruciate ligament]. I was 22, I broke my CL. I was 23, I broke my CL. Out of contract.” Gabriele Cioffi sighs. The Crawley Town manager is describing part of the long journey of his career and how he has arrived at this critical juncture, where he will lead his team into the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history on Tuesday.So far, Crawley have overcome Premier League Norwich City 1-0 before seeing off Championship Stoke 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Their fourth-round tie against League Two rivals Colchester United – who dumped out Tottenham in the last round – is the biggest game of most of his players’ lives. They want more.Cioffi’s story began in Italy during a playing career that forged his mental toughness and his ability to dream. Now 44, he made his debut aged 17 for the amateur Tuscan club Sestese and spent the next decade gradually climbing to reach the top. It would take him 14 years of injuries and perseverance to scale his personal mountain and arrive in Serie A with Torino in 2006. Today, Cioffi sits at the foot of the managerial ladder in the English Football League. He has been here before as a player and he continues to dream of rising with his team. His positivity is relentless. A win against Colchester would be a start, a place in the quarter-finals of a cup competition and the possibility of meeting a Premier League powerhouse.“We are far from where we want to be but we are fighting everything and I know that when we will be there, it will be great,” he says. “I know that I have to earn and sweat everything. When you achieve something, you feel the tests: I felt before the blood, before that the sweat, and now I’m feeling the wine.” interviews Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Share on Twitter The standout young players in League One and League Two this season Topics “From non-league to reaching the top league at 30 years old, you have to believe in the dream,” he says. “You have to believe that everything is possible. You have to be resilient, you have to be a hard worker, you have to be humble and you never stop dreaming. And this is what I’m giving to them [his Crawley players] every day.“When Cioffi was close to ending his playing days, his grandfather sat him down and asked of his post-football plans. “I want to die on the pitch!” he responded. As a manager, his dream was always to experience the directness of English football and his sense of adventure would take him around the world in pursuit of it. He was a youth coach in Australia and then in Italy, then he became Henk ten Cate’s assistant coach at Al Jazira Club in the United Arab Emirates. Finally, he arrived on British shores as part of Gianfranco Zola’s coaching staff at Birmingham City in 2016. He joined Crawley in September 2018.“It gave me passion. Passion to understand that every human being is different and beautiful because it’s different. Even in the approach of learning, every culture has a different way to learn and if you go in the dictatorial way … I think you start to be a loser. I think if you win as a human being, you can win on the pitch.”Resilience has defined this Crawley team. Last season, with no permanent training base, they would travel from facility to facility and they finished Cioffi’s first season in 19th. After an encouraging start this year, they are 17th but have gained a reputation for constantly fighting back, never knowing when they are beaten. They are burdened with the typical struggles of a League Two team; trying to fill their 6,000-seater stadium when they can and just trying to survive. Their struggles make the victories sweeter. As they completed their upset of Stoke, Cioffi sprinted on to the pitch in joy. Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more