Becali’s improvising: Ilie Dumitrescu, who was initially asked to be the club’s president, is the new coach!
Humiliated by Victor Piturca and facing the fans’ anger, Gigi Becali had to move quickly and try to please the masses. The initial plan was to convince Anghel Iordanescu, Ilie Dumitrescu (president) and Gheorghe Hagi (coach) to take charge, but Hagi’s refusal to abandon the excellent project at his football academy and return to work for the man that had insulted him beyond excuse forced Iordanescu to retire from the project. Dumitrescu, who had announced his intention to give up coaching earlier this year, becoming a football pundit, didn’t. After a formal attempt to convince Hagi – his former colleague from Steaua and the national team - to take up the coaching position, the former Tottenham man accepted Becali’s proposal to occupy this role, asking for a symbolic one year long deal of just 1 Ron (around 25 eurocents), hoping to prove that his decision was determined by the love for the club and having more or less the same dream as Victor Piturca: to be Becali’s partner, rather than his always-exposed-to-public-humiliation-employee. Dumitrescu, who’s most notable experience as a coach was a short spell at AEK Athens, was presented today in a press conference by the Steaua’s new president, the legendary Helmuth Duckadam, the keeper who kept out four penalties out of five in the 1986 European Champions Cup final versus Barcelona. Below are the most interesting comments released today:
Ilie Dumitrescu: “I respect Piturca, Iordanescu and Hagi, but life goes on without them. Becali asked me on the phone, if I want this job, but I told him that I cannot accept his offer before I talk to Hagi. I’m not here for the money and I’ll leave if Becali insults me or the players or if Steaua loses any chance to win the title this season. I ask the fans to support me and the team, as I’m not working under Becali, I’m like a partner, and I came because I love the club. I am pleased with the quality of the team, Steaua can and should win the league, I will continue Piturca’s excellent work. The only problem is that there’s just one <Number 9> in the team, Kapetanos (who is yet to feature this season!), hopefully he can stay fit throughout this campaign.”
Helmuth Duckadam: “I could not refuse Mr. Becali, after what he did for me. I have been waiting for such an opportunity for 15 years, I was willing to work for Steaua, no matter the position. I hope the fans will stay close to the team and that we’ll be back where we belong – in the Champions League”.
Gigi Becali: “I want to appologize for all the mistakes done until now – this is not a step back, it’s just me admitting that I was often wrong. I forgive all the fans that have attacked me, but I see that a few of them continue to do so. To those I say that I do not like it and they should mind their own business. I ask everyone to start over, for Steaua’s sake. Steaua had great support even when the club was ran by the Ceausescu family and Ceausescu wasn’t popular either!”
Laszlo Boloni (former Steaua player): “I regret to see Piturca leave and that two guys I care about are being used as a shield in Becali’s war with the fans. It’s absurd that a coach should think how to protect the team from the club’s ownership. It’s like protecting the children from their alcoholic father, who comes home drunk and stops abusing everyone, destroying what’s inside.”
Right after Dumitrescu’s presentations, Steaua’s fans released a press statement announcing that they will refuse to attend the team’s match versus Victoria Branesti (scheduled next Monday), asking the club’s living legends not to give Gigi Becali opportunities to humiliate them anymore.