Walter Zenga took over as Catania coach in April of the 2007/08 campaign and proceeded to stave off relegation by the skin of his teeth, retaining Serie A status in the final minutes of the very last match of the season.
Indeed, it was Javi Martinez’s 85th-minute equaliser in an unlikely 1-1 draw against Roma that delivered Catania from Serie B in dramatic, cathartic fashion.
By way of reward, Zenga was handed an improved contract, and the former Italy goalkeeper went on to enjoy an impressive full debut season with the Rossazzurri, guiding them to a mid-ish table finish, a club record top-flight points haul and gaining a reputation for his innovative set-piece choreography.
This was perhaps best exemplified during a game against Torino in November, when three Catania players – on Zenga’s instruction – lined up for an attacking free-kick and, at the crucial moment, promptly dropped their shorts, allowing taker Giuseppe Mascara to fire a shot past flummoxed goalkeeper Matteo Sereni…
Zenga then departed Catania at the end of their highly successful 2008/09 season, continuing on his merry fly-by-night managerial career.
His last known sighting came at Wolverhampton Wanderers last year, where he Italian lasted a full 87 days before being sacked for basically being rubbish at everything.
The Italian coach has lasted less than a year in 10 of his 16 managerial role and, as of the termination of his tenure at Molineux, all of his last four jobs have come to premature conclusions in under seven months.
Still, at least he’ll always have the arse freekick.
Other instalments in the Set-Piece Pioneers series…
Man Utd Duo David Beckham And Ryan Giggs Attempt Tandem Freekick, 2001
Austrian Trailblazers SC Weiz Manage To Decimate Their Own Wall, 2013
Japanese High School Team Deploy Ingenious ‘Walking Wall’ Freekick Ruse, 2016