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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Manager Series: Roberto Copernico

Source Lazio Wiki

Roberto Copernico was born in Malalbergo (Bologna) on December 11, 1904.


He did not have a career as a player. In the 1940's he owned a sports shop that was frequented by important football players. He thus got involved and interested in the football world.


He then became an adviser to Torino president Ferruccio Novo. Copernico was a believer in the new style of play, "Il Sistema" (a 3-4-3 or better 3-2-2-3, the WM shape) as opposed to "Catenaccio".


In 1947-48 Copernico became technical director of Torino with Mario Sperone as manager. The Granata won the league, sixteen points clear of second-placed Milan, scoring 125 goals and conceding 33. Their 10-0 home win against Alessandria is still the biggest ever in Serie A.


On May 4 1949 the Superga tragedy occurred. The Torino team's plane crashed killing all 31 on board. There were four games to go in the league and Copernico was called alongside Oberdan Ussello to take over on the bench. Torino were champions anyway but they won the last games with the youth team against clubs who out of respect fielded their youth teams too.


In 1949-50 as technical director he brought Swedes Pär Bengtsson and Åke Hjalmarsson to Turin and although they disappointed, the Granata finished a decent 6th under manager Giuseppe Bigogno.


In 1949-50 he was also part of the Federal Technical Commission which took over the running of the Italian national team after Vittorio Pozzo's resignation. He was in charge alongside Ferruccio Novo, Aldo Bardelli and Vincenzo Biancone, from 27 February 1949 to July 2 1950.


The following season, 1950-51, at Torino things did not go as well and after eighteen games he resigned with Torino in 16th place and Felice Borel took over while Bigogno stayed on as manager.


He returned to Torino as sporting director during the 1951-52 season with Ussello as manager. The Granata were struggling but the duo managed to pick them up and avoid relegation.


He stayed on in the 1952-53 season but resigned after six games. The manager was Ussello and Toro were in 8th place.


In October 1954, after seven matches, Copernico arrived at Lazio as technical director with George Raynor as manager. The Biancocelesti finished 12th. The best results were wins against Inter 3-2, Juventus 2-1 and Roma 3-1. Top scorer was Dane John Hansen with 15 league goals.


In 1955-56 he stayed on but the manager was Luigi Ferrero who was then replaced by Jesse Carver after fourteen games so he left too. Lazio had a good season and finished joint 3rd. The highlights were beating Inter 3-2 and Milan 3-1 away, Juventus 2-0 at home plus a derby 1-0 (the other was 0-0).


Roberto Copernico died in Turin on September 15, 1988.



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