If Como Calcio had had a child during his descent in Serie B, he would have reached the second section of kindergarten before seeing his father find the antechamber of the elite. Thanks to solid investors and a coach with a well-known but unrelated surname, the Lombard team is back in a division it has already won three times.
Rich like Croesus
Fortunately, there is no contest for who has the largest wad of tickets in the calcio. Otherwise Zhang Jindong, Silvio Berlusconi or even the Friedkins would be surprised to see that it is the owners of a Serie C club who would beat them flatly, the Hartono brothers.
Because if palm oil and tobacco cause deforestation and cancer, for Robert and Michael – or Budi and Bambang in Indonesian – they bring them respectively 20.5 and 19.7 billion dollars. A colossal fortune that not even Balthazar Scrooge’s safe could contain.
However, it was not out of idleness that the Hartonos bought the Lariani in 2019. At the time, the journalist Marco Bellinazzo predicted that the notoriety of the lake and the city would be a serious asset to launch a new brand in their financial empire.
Two years later, his hypothesis is verified since the two billionaires have just bought the TV rights to the qualifying matches in the CONMEBOL zone for the 2022 World Cup. And where will they be broadcast exclusively? On the OTT Como TV platform, the team’s official channel.
Giacomo Gattuso, no family relationship
But the two brothers do not consider the Lariani like a simple toy. Without promising mountains and wonders, they have done everything to allow their club to grow little by little. First of all by placing Dennis Wise, former Chelsea legend, as CEO. This debauchery the sports director of Novara, Carlalberto Ludi, who takes in his suitcases the new assistant coach Giacomo Gattuso.
This former captain of Como – who enjoyed promotion to Serie B when he officiated there – then preferred to take care of the Primavera or act as interim when the head coach was fired. Once is not custom, when in December Mister Marco Bianchini takes the door after a half-fig, half-grape start to the season, Gattuso recovers his post.
He then sets up a resolutely offensive 3-4-3, strings together ten victories in thirteen games and places Como at the top of his Serie C group. The final sprint can begin.
No longer hide
However, the pressure is felt and the taste for victory slips away with only 4 successes in the ten following meetings. This decline in form does not prevent the club from retaining the first place but to be sure to avoid any disappointment, Gattuso summons these players to prepare them for the decisive match against Alessandria. Don’t flinch is the key word.
The message is received five out of five by Alessandro Gabrielloni. The attacker plants a brace in the first half and allows his teammates to lead 2-1. The other 45 minutes are unbearable. Attacks from both sides of the field, and the impression that the two teams can crack at any time. Fortunately for the Lariani, the score will not evolve any more and everyone rejoices on the lawn.
This promotion – the second in as many years – has consequences for the Hartono. Sober since their arrival, the two brothers will have to take out the checkbook. First to bring the Sinigaglia stadium up to the standards required by Serie B. Then, improve a workforce that was mainly in Serie D two years ago. The coming months will be decisive and will thus reveal the true designs of Budi and Bambang.