Bologna – From ragu to riches?

Bologna will be very happy to wave goodbye to a horrendous February, as I Rossoblu registered just one point from five games.

Admittedly, Bologna did lose to the likes of Napoli, AC and Inter Milan, but the manner of their defeats will raise serious questions about the team and manager Robert Donadoni.

At the start of the month, they were stuffed 7-1 by Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli side at home. Four days later they somehow contrived to lose to nine man AC Milan, again at home.

Away from home, Bologna were 1-0 up after 82 minutes against Sampdoria before conceding a penalty and losing the plot, and the game, 3-1.

For the third time in the month they lost at home, this time 1-0 to Inter Milan, thanks to a goal from €30 million mystery man Gabriel Barbosa aka Gabigol.

Finally, this weekend they drew 1-1 against fellow strugglers Genoa, undone by a 94th minute wonder goal by Olivier Ntcham.  A difficult month then, with the Napoli and AC Milan results being particularly humiliating.

Fortunately, despite this recent slide, Bologna have no fear of relegation, due to the bottom three clubs being so far adrift.

This is comforting, but it also means they, like a number of other teams, have nothing to play for, which probably explains their recent struggles on the pitch.

Amidst a terrible February, there is cause for optimism for Bologna. Having suffered, like so many other Italian clubs, from financial troubles; they are now under the control of Joey Saputo.

Saputo, a Canadian of Italian heritage, already has experience in owning a football club through his control of Montreal Impact. His father, Emanuele is Canada’s eighth richest man with a net worth of $5.6 billion USD.

Saputo has shown his willingness to spend in the transfer market, forking out £45 million in the past two seasons.

Bologna’s squad does have talent, with young players like Godfred Donsah (20) and Adam Nagy (21), alongside experience in Blerim Dzemaili (30) Antonio Mirante (33) and Mattia Destro (who, I’m shocked to learn, is only 25).

This is a solid platform on which to build, there are other aspects that make Bologna a potentially attractive club.

They have the seventh highest attendance in the league this season, with an average of 21,615, although with three successive home defeats, may be playing at home is a negative for Bologna.

Their stadium, The Stadio Renato dall’Ara, is perhaps the best looking of Italy’s many concrete bowl stadiums, a fascist building in Italy’s left wing heartland.

Bologna have been looking to modernise the old ground. Pictures of a proposed design were released in the local press, but the club have since stated that these pictures are ‘not relevant to their plans’, but they are working on other plans that are in more advanced stages.

As seen by Roma’s long wait for approval on their proposed Stadio della Roma, Bologna may be waiting some time for its stadium to get a facelift.

Despite their recent slump in form, things are looking bright for Bologna. They are about to complete a second successive year in Serie A, with a squad more talented than its recent performances, alongside a forward thinking, wealthy ownership.

The Saputo family earned their money in the dairy industry, something which has a strong recent history in Serie A, just ask Parma, wait…

Author Details

Jack Unwin
Jack Unwin

I'm a history graduate who is currently teaching English in Ulsan, South Korea. Nostalgia for Italian football in the 1990s had led me to try and write about Serie A.

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