Saturday Apr 10, 2021  
  29/12/2013: Reja Deja Vu Two
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It seems SS Lazio president Claudio Lotito has gone with Edy Reja in the race for coach replacement, with an official confirmation by the club just around the corner. An emergency meeting was called just before Christmas with Vladimir Petkovic, but everything was kept in secrecy behind closed doors, with Lotito declaring he needs some time out, spending the 'Feast of Christmas' in peace to make a final decision.

Rumours have been circulating for days now with names such as Roberto Di Matteo, Paolo Di Canio, Giovanni Trapattoni, Murat Yakin and even Guus Hiddink mentioned, although two candidates withdrew themselves from the running publically announcing they would not coach Lazio. Then finally rumours were cleared with headlines today stating that yes a decision has been made, football- being the first to announce that yes Reja is back and has confirmed it himself. Sky Italia have also stated that it is so, and the official announcement will come shortly.

Is Reja the man for the job though? It is surely is a rescue mission now, with the current club crisis seemingly now at critical levels and morale at an all time low. A risk such this could either go one of two ways, to finally give fire to the team and players and the desire to actually play and win again, or the opposite, which as a Lazio fan, i would rather not think about, but lets just say Lazio are living dangerously, hovering just above the drop zone, only 6 points away with goals and wins being scarce to say the least.

Fans have experienced the full rollercoaster of emotions this season from the highs of holding the Coppa Italia high above the heads of dreaded cross-town rivals AS Roma, to the lows, the last being a 4-1 loss away to Hellas Verona.

Edy has performed a miracle before not so long ago, rescuing the Biancoceleste from relegation fears back when he first signed in 2010. He is also fairly familiar with the current crop of players and the internal team politics having a lot of experience dealing with the president before and on a number of occasions not afraid to voice his opinion or even threaten to walk if his demands are not met.

This was something Vladimir Petkovic seemed unwilling to do, rather than putting in requests for player purchases and communicate what he needed, he seemed to just try to work with what he was given, which as many fans have expressed was not enough. The Laziali feel like the last transfer season was a failure, with promise of a bigger name signing that never came.

Or is this just a somewhat cheaper, quicker 'stopgap' solution to finding a proper long term coach, someone who could actually rebuild the club from within and with a vision for the future. With rumors that the president would have to pay a large sum (€ 600 thousand) to mutually end the contract of Petkovic as it is not set to expire until June 2014, maybe investing a little more by choosing someone who could entirely devote their future to the club would have been more feasible. Also there are rumors from Rome circulating of a lengthy court case that seems to loom as Lotito tries to get out of this with claims that Petkovic refused to re-sign, betraying the club by secretly working a deal with the Swiss and then lying about it.

Petkovic describing himself as a 'Swiss and Croatian-Bosnian' has expressed a lot of pride in representing Switzerland nationally when the public announcement finally came by the Swiss FA giving the impression he has been thinking of this for a long time, many describing him as being distracted this season.

Can Reja can pull off the 'rescue' again and salvage what's left of the season remains to be seen. He also will have to win over the Lazio faithful again as he did not part on best term's even refering to the fans, describing the situation himself as ""They do nothing but criticise. I'm tired of it and the president knows it", summing up his previous two years with the club as "It seems as if we have not done anything these past two years, even though we twice qualified for the Europa League." This would help in his quest as qualifying for Europe is the main objective.

As to whether Petkovic will still be coach in the upcoming next big game against Inter Milan on January 6th is another thing, it could very well be his last in charge.

Until the results are in, we can only really speculate then determine Lazio's future and the prospects of the rest of the season, but until then let's try to remain calm and positive, get behind the team 1900% and NON MOLLARE MAI.

The Lazio fans have also expressed a sincere thank you to Vladimir for his hard work last season, the memorable derby wins and of course the Coppa Italia, wishing him all the best with his future endevours coaching Switzerland.
Author: Michael D Bailey
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