Perhaps not all know that there was another coach before Josè Mourinho in Nerazzurri history who came out with the phrase “I’m not an idiot.” Nicknamed the ‘Wizard of Bovisa’ after the place where he grew up and his crowning glory in winning the Scudetto with Verona in 1984, Osvaldo Bagnoli was in charge of Inter for almost two seasons between 1992 and 1994. He gave the team a typical tireless workers’ spirit stemming from the Milanese outskirts. It’s probably the case that there was no way of describing him better than that phrase which was later picked up by the Special One.
When talking about one of the biggest flops in Inter history, the Macedonian forward Darko Pančev, he said that patience was needed but then added: “But I’m from Bovisa and I’m not an idiot”. Gianni Brera would label him Schopenhauer after the great German philosopher. Polite and respectful but always genuine, he put his work first and got the most out of a compact group in the changing room to push them toward a clear objective. He did so at Inter after the team had finished eighth after a season light on satisfaction. He took his best player in the Uruguayan Ruben Sosa who was there almost by chance and built a team that pushed for the title and only finished behind Capello’s unbeatable Milan. He’d made up an 11-point deficit on the local rivals but ultimately the two derby results which both finished as draws proved decisive and Milan were the Champions of Italy.
The next season was an unfortunate one and Bagnoli left the side following a home loss to Lazio in the 22nd match of the season. Gianpiero Marini arrived as his replacement and while he didn’t win anything, he’s still remembered for his professional and personal qualities during a difficult time for Inter and a nickname that passes through the generations: The Wizard of Bovisa.