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Attilio Lombardo - The Premier League's youngest ever Manager

Attilio Lombardo had become the youngest Premier League manager ever at 32 years old and with no prior senior managing experience, a record he still retains to this day. More about Attilio Lombardo.

Last updated: 13.07.2021
Attilio Lombardo - Premier League youngest ever Manager

For greater good or even worse, the Premier League completely altered the trajectory of English football. The new Sky Sports television agreement enriched the best clubs, resulting in greater net spend. Brazilians settled in Middlesbrough, Colombians in Newcastle, while French and Italians scattered around the country.

In light of this, Crystal Palace, who had recently been promoted from the First Division, devised a strategy: go all out or go home.  In came, Attilio Lombardo, signed from Juventus for £1.6m. At the time, it was a stunning move, comparable to James Rodriguez joining Everton or Xherdan Shaqiri joining Stoke City. Lombardo was a highly accomplished and sophisticated athlete at the time, having been there in seven European finals. He'd just won the Champions League with the Old Lady a year before, and he'd already become a cult icon thanks to his key role in the adored Sampdoria team of the early 1990s.

He had the appearance of someone who worked in a yard, but he was a classy player on the pitch. He scored on his debut against Everton, but Palace's early run, which saw them win two of their first three games, did not persist. Following Lombardo's injury while on international duty, the squad suffered a streak of defeats, thereby ending Steve Coppel's tenure as manager and he was promoted to DoF.

If Coppell's exit from the sideline wasn't shocking enough, Lombardo's entrance was. He had become the youngest Premier League manager ever at 32 years old and with no prior senior managing experience, a record he still retains to this day. No doubt, Lombardo was shocked at the time and was given half an hour to make a decision. Moving on he was given a translator, as the playmaker’s English was still at a rudimentary level. Tomas Brolin, a Swedish striker who had previously spent 2 unpleasant years at Leeds United, was promoted to his assistant and essentially assigned the task of translating for him in the dressing room.

Palace was in a bad situation, and hard situations call for harsh methods, and Lombardo knew it. The club was attempting to secure Terry Venables, but needed a temporary solution in the interim. They were seven points off the bottom of the standings when Lombardo took over, with only ten games left to rescue their season.

Two of them were won by the Italian, who was in control for seven of them. After a tumultuous season in which they hobbled towards relegation, a 3-0 defeat to Man United in his final game in charge sealed it. They eventually found themselves in the same situation as when Lombardo took over.

He stayed there for the next season and when financial reality stepped in to end the fairy-tale, he left in January 1999. Although appearing in 49 games for the club, fans voted Lombardo into the Centenary XI. There really is no finer indication of the intensity of emotion between players and the supporters than this. This is all about love.

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