Death threats, Lazio and Edy Reja
Thursday 22 September 2011
Many an Emperor of Rome has met his end at the point of an assassin’s knife, however, in modern day Rome, where ‘Cesar’ sits in a dugout it is far less common. Lazio’s Edy Reja however, has fallen foul of death threats but despite this has decided to continue his tenure.
Reja not only saved Lazio from relegation but he then lifted them to the brink of the Champions League the following season, this makes the reasoning behind the animosity shown to him even harder to believe.
Lazio had bought well in the transfer window and not sat on their loral’s. The fans seemed happy other than a select few who were disgruntled that their team had narrowly missed out on the Champions League the year before. Even so, the opening day came around with a trip to the San Siro to play the champions. Lazio had prepared for the game in style thrashing Rabotnicki Kometal 9-1 on aggregate in the Europa League qualifying round. Reja and Lazio could not have wished for a better start as after only 21 minutes new signings Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cissé had put the Romans 2-0 up. They were however, playing the champions who inevitably fought back to make it 2-2. On the final whistle you would have thought that the majority of the away fans would have been pleased, but they were more annoyed that their team could not hold the lead.
The next week proved difficult for Lazio as a 2-2 Europa League home draw with FC Vaslui was followed with a 2-1 defeat to Genoa. Few outside of Rome thought much of this other than a minor blip that was far out shadowed by the failings at Inter or Napoli’s win against Milan. It was a surprise to the see that Edy Reja had handed in his resignation only to see it turned down by Lazio President Claudio Lotito. The veteran tactician the decided to stay on and guided his team to a 2-1 win against Cesena.
In the midst of the turmoil Lotito spoke to Sky Sport Italia to explain the strange happenings of the week: “There are people who make death threats to Reja in the street. How did I convince Reja to stay? I will never allow fans or journalists to attack him in a destructive manner. Reja took them to safety, then only missed out on the Champions League because of goal difference.”
It seems that for now Reja will stay with the support of his President. He certainly has the ability to take Lazio onwards and upwards if he is supported. Only in Italy, it seems, can a manager even contemplate being axed for starting a season in an average manner, whilst only in Rome do they want to kill him for it.