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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Manager Series: Roberto Clagluna

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Roberto Clagluna was manager in the 1981-82 season, taking Ilario Castagner's place in the second half of the season, and for most of the 1982-83 season.

Roberto Clagluna is the first person on the right standing. Source Wikipedia

He did not have a football career as a player. In his youth his sport was athletics and he also obtained a university degree in Political Sciences.

In 1967 he attended the coaching courses at the Federation headquarters in Coverciano and obtained the qualifications needed to be a football manager.

His first coaching job was with Urbetevere at regional level in Rome.

In 1970 he started working in the Lazio youth sector. He was greatly respected for his professional and human qualities. At Lazio he coached all the various age groups. In 1976 - ‘77 with the "Allievi" (U17's) he won the Italian Championship. In 1977 he started with the "Primavera" (U19's). In 1977- ‘78 Clagluna was awarded the "Seminatore d'oro" (a prestigious prize for standout coaches at youth level). In 1978-‘79 the Lazio Primavera won the Coppa Italia.

In 1978 he also had a spell as first team assistant manager under Bob Lovati for the last five games of the season.

In 1981-82, with Lazio struggling under Ilario Castagner, he was nominated first team coach from February 7 onwards. On his debut Lazio drew 1-1 at home against Sambenedettese and then won 4, drew 8 and lost 6. They narrowly avoided relegation with a Vincenzo D'Amico hat-trick against Varese.

Source Wikipedia

Clagluna was kept on for the 1982-83 season. Lazio had renewed optimism and promotion hopes due to the return of Bruno Giordano and Lionello Manfredonia, after their ban following the 1980 betting scandal. Lazio also added keeper Fernando Orsi, defenders Renato Miele and Gabriele Podavini, plus midfielders Roberto Tavola and Enrico Vella. All was in place for the Serie A battle.

In the Coppa Italia in August and early September Lazio did not get through the first round after 2 wins (Perugia 3-2 and Salernitana 3-2), a draw (Atalanta 0-0) and 2 defeats (Avellino 2-1 and Napoli 2-1).

Lazio started off tentatively in the league with three draws but then started winning games. Between the 7th and 13th fixtures the Biancocelesti won all 7 without conceding a goal. They then slowed down but after the first half of the season were well on course for promotion.

The return matches started off with a defeat at Campobasso. That game for me personally was a reminder of how far we had fallen as afterwards the streets were lined with little old women dressed in black waving their sticks and making rude gestures at our supporters bus, you would not get that sort of treatment at the Bernabeu…

Anyway Lazio started to struggle and promotion no longer seemed a done deal. After a 1-0 home win against Bari on March 27, Lazio went 6 games without a win (4 draws and 2 defeats). After a 3-3 home draw against Reggiana the directors panicked and sacked Clagluna. There were only 5 games remaining but they felt the Serie A dream was possibly slipping away.

Lazio brought in former player Juan Carlos Morrone and despite a 5-1 defeat away to Milan in his first game, he then led Lazio to two decisive home victories (Atalanta, Catania) and two away draws (Arezzo, Cavese) and won promotion.

Would Clagluna have got Lazio up too? Probably, but we will never know, he was however an integral part of it anyway.

Clagluna then went to Sambenedettese in 1983-84 in serie B. The Rossoblu finished 13th.

In 1984-85 he was back in the capital but with the Wolves not the Eagles. He worked with Sven-Goran Eriksson who was Technical Director for bureaucratic reasons, so officially Clagluna was manager. The "Lupi" finished 7th and drew both derbies. The Giallorossi reached the quarterfinals of the Cup Winners Cup but were eliminated by Bayern Munich 1-4 on aggregate. In the Last 16 Roma had eliminated Wrexham, before documentaries and Hollywood owners.

Back to Clagluna he then joined Como in Serie A. He only lasted 10 matches (1W, 3D, 6L). He was sacked on November 10, after a defeat against his hometown team Pisa. The "Lariani", under former Lazio player Rino Marchesi, then had a good season and finished 9th (beating Roma too) and reaching the Coppa Italia semi-final after knocking out Juventus (then lost to Sampdoria 1-3 on aggregate).

In 1986-87 he was back with Sambenedettese in serie B. "La Samb" finished 14th.

In 1988 he moved south to Salerno in Serie C and took over at Salernitana during the season. The Granata finished 10th.

In 1989-90 he moved further south to Apulia and became manager of Taranto in Serie. He led the "Ionici" to promotion to Serie B with first place.

Despite this success the next season he moved to the coast to Barletta. On March 16, 1991 he took over with the "Furie Rosse" in deep trouble in Serie B. He did not manage to save them and the "Biancorossi" were relegated in 20th place.

In 1991-92 he joined Ternana in Serie C. It was a great year for the "Fere" and they finished 1st, winning promotion to Serie B. The following year Clagluna stayed with the Neroverdi but was replaced after 8 games (only 3 points) by Franco Liguori, only to return from the 20th game onwards. It was all in vain and Ternana were relegated in 20th place.

In 1993 he moved back to Tuscany, to Pistoiese in Serie C. In his first year the "Arancioni" finished 9th but in his second the "Orange" were promoted to Serie B. In his third year they struggled and Clagluna was replaced after 24 matches (W4, D8, L12) by Gianpiero Vitali, the "Olandesina" was relegated in 20th place.

In 1996 he joined Cagliari, sharing the managerial job with Uruguayan Gregorio Pérez. The duo however was replaced by Carlo Mazzone after only 6 matches (W1, D1, L4). Their final defeat was against Lazio 2-1 in Rome. Cagliari were relegated at the end of the season.

In 1997 he returned home to Pisa in Serie C2. The Nerazzurri finished 10th.

His last job was with Ancona in 1998. He started with the" Dorici" but was replaced during the season by his former Lazio player Bruno Giordano. A sign of the times for Clagluna who then retired.

After finishing as a manager he worked for the FIGC, the Italian Football Federation, as an instructor for future coaches. He also worked as a tactical consultant helping referees.

Clagluna had a long career. After a gratifying youth sector spell, he won two promotions to Serie B with Taranto and Ternana. His biggest achievement, promotion with Lazio, was taken away from him but when Laziali think of that achievement they certainly all remember Clagluna's important contribution.

He is remembered as a gentleman, mild mannered and extremely knowledgeable about his football.

Roberto Clagluna died suddenly ten years ago today, on July 11, 2013 at 64 years of age.



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