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Palermo manager chaos reaches peak ahead of Napoli match

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Napoli might get the benefit of facing an extremely distracted Palermo side this weekend.

"That's it! **** it! I'm done!"
"That's it! **** it! I'm done!"
Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Palermo is never really what you would call a stable environment -- with the ever-volatile Maurizio Zamparini running the show, no one from managers to players to random back room staffers can ever really feel secure in their place there. That came to a head this week, as a long-simmering dispute between Zamparini and manager Beppe Iachini exploded again, ending with Iachini quitting the team for a second time this season right before they're set to play Napoli this weekend.

Their relationship had been on the verge of collapsing already, but was sent over the edge when Zamparini called Iachini an "idiot" and accused his players of only being there for the money, under the bizarre guise of trying to get the manager to see out the season. Of course, that only scratches the surface of what looks like had become a very toxic relationship between Iachini and Crazy Uncle Zamp -- if you're curious, there's a litany of articles and stories about them out there.

The crux, though, is that Palermo are changing managers suddenly and contentiously right before an important match against Napoli as they try to avoid dropping into the relegation zone. They're trying to move quickly to replace Iachini, and at the moment it looks like the nod is being given to Walter Novellino, last seen managing Modena last season.

Novellino was actually once a Napoli manager, leading them to promotion from Serie B in the 1999/2000 season before being replaced by Emiliano Mondonico -- a decision that proved disastrous thanks to a 17th placed finish and relegation the very next season. Outside of that success in Napoles, Novellino's record is pretty mixed -- he's mostly managed in Serie B, though he was most recently in Serie A in a half-season stint with Torino in the 2008/09 season that saw them end the year in relegation. He was last sighted managing Modena in Serie B, a multi-year tenure that went well up until last season, which saw him fired in February en route to Modena finishing 18th.

Suffice it to say that once Novellino is confirmed, he'll have very little time to work with his new team, which is battered by injury, in poor form, in worse confidence, and is mightily distracted by the managerial drama as well as growing fan protests against Zamparini.

That's not a great recipe for success against a Napoli side that might be starting to get rolling again, and who have routinely battered sides with less-than-perfect focus this year. This could be a chance for Napoli to really put on a show against a team that's almost certainly not ready for the occasion, and that would be something the partenopei faithful would be more than happy to see.