New Dundalk FC interim head coach Filippo Giovagnoli says that he understands why supporters were “concerned” and “skeptical” about his appointment at the club, coming just days after the dismissal of Vinny Perth following the club’s exit from the Champions League.
The SSE Airtricity League champions confirmed the appointment of Giovagnoli, and assistant Giuseppe Rossi, on Tuesday evening. A press conference is scheduled to take place at Oriel Park on Wednesday afternoon where Giovagnoli will face questions from the press.
The little-known Italian played professionally in his native Italy and coached a number of non-league and youth sides in his home country, before moving to New York in 2014 to take up a position as Director of Coaching at the Metropolitan Oval Academy in New York for the past six years.
In his native Italy, he managed a number of clubs, was U19 coach at Serie C outfit AS Gubbio 1910 and was the technical director of AC Milan’s camps there and throughout the USA. Both Giovagnoli and Rossi hail from Apecchio, a small town in the east of the country.
Their appointments at Dundalk has rocked the world of Irish football and comes after reports of his name started to surface on Monday. Perth was dismissed after Dundalk’s 0-3 Champions League defeat to Slovenian side Celje last Wednesday, a result that followed a dismal restart to domestic action, in which the Lilywhites failed to win in three league outings.
Earlier on Tuesday, John Gill confirmed he had left the club. Writing on Twitter, the assistant manager said, “Today I left Dundalk FC. I felt I had no choice given recent events. I am extremely sad it has come to this. I wish the clubs staff, players & fans every success in the future.”
Gill and Alan Reynolds had taken charge ahead of the weekend’s trip to Sligo, a game they lost 1-3 – plunging the club further into crisis and leaving them nine points adrift of Shamrock Rovers in the league table, with just nine games to play.
Both Giovagnoli and Rossi took training for the first time on Tuesday. Speaking to DundalkFC.com, Giovagnoli said that he didn’t apply for the job and was surprised to get the call on Saturday.
“I didn’t get the job. They called me. It was a surprise. This is my first experience at this level. This is a big challenge. People are sceptical. I’m taking this challenge. I am not afraid,” he said.
When asked whether he appreciated that fans may be concerned at an unknown manager with no top level experience arriving at the club, Giovagnoli said they should be concerned.
“Of course I understand and they should be concerned. They are right but there are so many coaches around the world who are very good but they don’t have the opportunity. I’m so excited and I’m really confident we’re going to do a good job.”
The Lilywhites travel to Cobh to face Cobh Ramblers in the FAI Cup on Sunday while Derry City are the next league opposition on Friday week. The club also face a Europa League qualifier after their UEFA Champions League exit last week.
“On behalf of the board of the directors, I’d like to welcome Filippo and Guiseppe to Ireland,” Dundalk FC chairman Bill Hulsizer said in a club statement. “I apologise for the lack of a personal appearance but it took a pandemic and a quarantine to prevent a member of the board presenting them personally.”