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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Manager Series: Maino Neri

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Maino Neri was Lazio’s manager during the 1966-67 Season.

Source Wikipedia

He was born in Carpi (Modena), on June 30, 1924. He grew up football-wise with nearby Modena. He made his debut in the 1940-41 season in Serie B. The "Canarini" were promoted to Serie A and the following year went straight down again but reached the semi-finals of Coppa Italia (Juventus 1-4). In 1942-43 the Gialloblu were promoted again in 1st place. In 1944 Modena won their regional group but then came 4th in the next regional stage.

The Second World War then interrupted all football activities until the 1945-46 season. Modena finished 6th in the Alta Italia National Division and gained access to the following year's Serie A. In 1947 they came 3rd and in 1948 finished 5th. In 1949 however the "Geminiani" were relegated to Serie B. In the second tier in 1950 they finished 5th and in 1951 3rd. In all these years Neri played 265 games with 10 goals (4 in Serie A).

His positive performances earned him a move to Inter in the summer of 1951. At Inter in his first year he was coached by Aldo Olivieri and the Nerazzurri finished 3rd. Neri played 29 league games.

In 1952-53 former Lazio player Alfredo Foni became manager and Inter won the Scudetto. Neri played 26 league games.

Maino Neri is third from left kneeling. Source Wikipedia

In 1953-54 Foni stayed on and Inter became champions again. Neri played 32 league games.

In 1954-55, still under Foni, the "Beneamata" finished 8th. Neri played less, 21 league games. This was his last season with Inter.

In 1955-56 he joined Brescia in Serie B. He stayed three years with 80 league appearances and 1 goal. The "Leonessa" finished 7th, 3rd (lost the playoff to Alessandria) and 8th.

At 34 he retired in 1958.

Neri was a solid midfielder. He played 439 professional games (251 in Serie A and 108 for Inter). He was a respected and hardworking player, a "portatore di legna" as the Italians say (literally a wood carrier, a no frills player working for the good of the team). He was rewarded with two Scudetti with Inter and a promotion to Serie A with his beloved Modena.

He also earned 8 Italy caps and took part in the 1948 Olympic games and the 1954 World Cup.

In 1959 he returned to Inter to work in their youth sector and in 1960 he became assistant manager to Helenio Herrera with the first team. Neri stayed four years and Inter came 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 2nd while in 1964 they won the European Cup (Real Madrid 3-1 in Vienna).

After these years as assistant, in 1964 he went back to Modena as head coach in Serie B. He stayed two years finishing 7th and 13th.

In 1966 he moved to the capital and joined Lazio in Serie A. He took over from Umberto Mannocci who had led Lazio to 12th place the previous year. This year Mannocci started but was replaced by Neri on November 7, after 2 draws and 5 defeats (including the derby 0-1).

Neri's first game in charge was a 1-1 home draw with SPAL. In the end he was unsuccessful in avoiding relegation after 6 wins (including Inter 1-0), 13 draws (including derby 0-0) and 7 defeats, so an honourable record but not enough. Lazio's main problem, and not a minor one, was scoring goals, 20 all season in 34 games. Lazio's top scorers were Romano Bagatti and Juan Carlos Morrone with merely 4 goals.

In 1967 he went back to Inter as assistant manager to Helenio Herrera again. He stayed two seasons with a 5th place under the "Mago" and a 4th place again under Alfredo Foni in 1968-69.

In 1969 he moved up to the lake and joined Como in Serie B as head coach. The "Lariani" finished 13th.

In 1971, after a year off, he went south and took charge of Reggina in Serie B. The "Reggini Calabresi" finished 16th.

In 1973, during the season, he replaced Giuseppe Corradi at Lecce in Serie C and finished 2nd, narrowly missing out on promotion.

This was his last managerial job, he then went to work for the Italian Football Federation at Coverciano.

At Lazio he was unlucky, taking over a team in difficulty, improving them but ultimately getting relegated through no fault of his own and then moving on. As a manager his biggest successes came as assistant to Herrera's Scudetto and European Cup winning Inter.

Maino Neri died in Modena on December 8, 1995.



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