Bruno Bolchi, much more than a Panini icon / Italy / Inter Milan /

Winner 1963 a Sign With Helenio Herrera’s Inter Milan, Bruno Bolchi died on Tuesday 27 September. The 82-year-old man, who coached 20 different Italian clubs, became the first player in history to wear his Panini sticker.

If Panini sticker addicts have to pay at least 1000 euros to purchase the 617 sticker figures of the 2022 World Cup, today there is one that is worth its weight in gold. That of Bruno Bolchi, the first player in history to have his ganache on a sticker distributed by the Italian company. 61 years ago, in 1945, Olga Panini opened a kiosk in the streets of Modena. They sold newspapers, toys, postcards and even clothes there. A pop-up store ahead of its time that will become famous thanks to two of Panini’s four sons, Giuseppe and Benito, who had a brilliant idea: to put a photo of a soccer player in every newspaper sold.

“You’d think someone would come up and say, ‘Listen, shall we make a thumbnail with your picture on it?’ But I didn’t realize for a long time how important this sticker had become. » Bruno Bolchi

However, if we know how the Panini albums came about, history does not explain why Bruno Bolchi was the first muse and neither was he. “You’d think someone would come and ask me: ‘Listen, can we make a sticker with your photo on it? » But for a long time I didn’t realize how important this sticker had become.” he confided to the Genoese daily newspaper in February 2021 Il Secolo XIX. It was only later, when one of the Panini brothers invited him to a celebration in honor of the family business, that he found out about the existence of this sticker. “She came into my life, but I never had her. Two years ago, at an event in Bergamo, they promised to send me at least one copy. But nothing… No problem, I put them in the WhatsApp profile picture. »

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He Macist

Bruno Bolchi was born in Milan in 1940 and started in Serie A at the age of just 18 under the colors of Inter Milan. Three years later, while the usual captain is absent, the legendary Helenio Herrera presents him with the armband during a trip to Juventus, Serie A leaders by four points Nerazzurri. A historic game because the referee was interrupted because of the 5000 tifosi who rushed onto the athletics track due to lack of space in the stands. “I was just 21 years old, I found myself in the middle of the field, surrounded by people, with Italo Allodi saying to me: « Bruno, don’t worry, we win by giving up » » repeated Bolchi at the correct in August 2021. No, because on the eve of the final day, when Inter were declared the winners, Juventus president Umberto Agnelli (also at the head of the Italian federation) won the appeal he started, forcing Inter to play that play again. Blessed Bread for the Old Lady who will become Master even before to repeat which Bruno Bolchi will not attend as President Angelo Moratti will send the Primavera to a 9-1 win over Juve in protest.

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Luckily, two years later, Bolchi retaliated by winning his first and only one Sign, a year before Inter’s coronation in C1. A coronation he has not participated in since signing for Hellas Verona in November 1963 before returning to Serie A with Atalanta and Torino, with whom he won the 1968 Italian CupSquadra Azzurra and earned the nickname He Macist, in relation to his great physical strength. Despite this, he will end his playing career at the age of 30 at Club Pro Patria in Lombardy. Although he will be player-coach there, after eight games and a home defeat by Lecce, he was thrown off the bench when he equalized minutes after coming on. for the second part of the season he will step out again a few weeks later. A shaky start that didn’t stop him building a solid reputation as a coach.

The King of Promotion

After his first mixed experiences, Bruno Bolchi moved to the province of Pistoia, not far from Florence, where he died on Tuesday. There he took over the team from Pistoiese, taking it from Serie C to Serie B. A tour de force he repeated with Bari in 1984, the year he also clinched the title Galletti into the semi-finals of the Italian Cup after eliminating Michel Platini’s Juve and Daniel Passarella’s Fiorentina. He achieved a historic double promotion the following season by allowing Bari immediate promotion to Serie A. Three more promotions from Serie B to Serie A with three different clubs followed, not to mention a new Coppa semi-final, lost to Pisa in 1989 against Diego Maradona’s Napoli. Performances that allowed him to make a name for himself as a coach, even though he was never benched at the top of Serie A. Instead he traveled all over the boot coaching 20 different Italian clubs and so many names that smell good of 1990s football: Dario Hübner, Massimo Ambrosini, Fabrizio Miccoli, Mark Iuliano, Vincent Candela.

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As a talent scout, Bruno Bolchi was also an old-fashioned coach, according to Stéphane Coquin: “As a young player, he was not an easy coach to convince because he already had his players, his ideas and his game plan. And above all, he was someone who was quiet, very strict and who didn’t talk much. » Arriving in Genoa at the age of 17, Coquin was spotted in the Primavera of the grifone through He Macist, which led him to train with the pros. The Frenchman, for his part, will become one on October 9, 2000, but not on the orders of Bolchi, who was sacked five days earlier. Yes, with so many clubs in training, the ex-Inter player has inevitably had a lot of short-term experience and, with it, a lot of divorces. Despite this, the one who stopped coaching in 2007 was always able to bounce back and left behind an image of a gentleman. When he left this Tuesday after an illness he had been contracting for some time, he was much more than just in ItalyMachist or a panini sticker.

By Maxime Renaudet
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