Eddie Firmani

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Eddie Firmani
Personal information
Full name Edwin Ronald Firmani
Date of birth (1933-08-07) 7 August 1933 (age 80)
Place of birth Cape Town, South Africa
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1949–1950 Clyde F.C. (Cape Town)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1955 Charlton Athletic 112 (51)
1955–1958 Sampdoria 63 (52)
1958–1961 Internazionale 82 (48)
1961–1963 Genoa 62 (25)
1963–1965 Charlton Athletic 55 (32)
1965–1967 Southend United 55 (24)
1967–1968 Charlton Athletic 10 (6)
1975 Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 (0)
Total 440 (238)
National team
1956–1958 Italy 3 (2)
Teams managed
1967–1970 Charlton Athletic
1975–1977 Tampa Bay Rowdies
1977–1979 New York Cosmos
1980 Philadelphia Fury
1981–1982 Montreal Manic
1984 New York Cosmos
1985–1990 Kazma SC
1990 Talaba SC
1991–1992 FC Montreal Supra
1992–1993 Sur FC
1993 Montreal Impact
1996 New York/New Jersey MetroStars
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Edwin Ronald "Eddie" Firmani (born 7 August 1933) is a retired footballer and manager. He was born in South Africa, but represented Italy internationally.

Playing career[edit]

Firmani played as a centre or inside forward. He joined English team Charlton Athletic in 1950 and became a regular goal scorer, including scoring five goals in a 6–1 win against Aston Villa in 1955. At the time the Charlton team included several South Africans, John Hewie, Stuart Leary and Sid O'Linn. During his first spell with Charlton he married Pat Robinson, daughter of the club's assistant manager. Later in 1955 he moved to Italian team Sampdoria for £35,000, which at the time was a record transfer fee involving a British club, beginning an eight-year spell in Italy when he gained three caps for the Italian national team, qualifying for the national team because his grandfather was Italian. He also played for Internazionale and Genoa.

In 1960 Firmani wrote a volume of autobiography "Football with the Millionaires", which provides an interesting contrast between the lifestyle of Italian footballers and their English counterparts in the era of the maximum wage.

He returned to England in 1963, linking up again with Charlton. After two years he moved to Southend United but returned to The Valley for a third spell with Charlton two seasons later. In total, he made 177 appearances for the Addicks, scoring 89 goals. In recognition of his talents, he was named as Charlton's greatest overseas player in 2005. Firmani is the only man ever to have scored 100 League goals in both England and Italy. In 1975, he played one game for the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League.[1]

Managerial career[edit]

Charlton Athletic[edit]

In 1967 Firmani was appointed Charlton manager and retired as a player. Firmani thus became the first Italian international to manage an English club.[2] In his second season in charge, Charlton finished third in the Second Division just missing out on promotion. He was fired in March 1970 with the Addicks battling against relegation to the Third Division.

North America[edit]

Firmani moved to North America and managed several North American Soccer League sides: Tampa Bay Rowdies, New York Cosmos and Philadelphia Fury which turned into Montreal Manic. He managed the Rowdies to the NASL championship in 1975 in his first year in charge and was named the NASL coach of the year in 1976, when he guided Tampa Bay to the best regular season record. He also led the Rowdies to the finals of the NASL's indoor tournament in both 1975 and 1976, winning the latter.

In 1977 Firmani was signed by the Cosmos mid-season, after having resigned from the Rowdies for personal reasons. At the time the Cosmos had a team featuring Pele, Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia et al. Firmani added Carlos Alberto, Brazil's World Cup-winning captain of 1970, and the Cosmos won back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978. For the second time in three years his squad had the best record at the end of the 1978 season. After being fired by the Cosmos in June, 1979, he was quickly hired to coach the New Jersey Americans of the American Soccer League. The following season he returned to coach in the NASL as coach of the Fury.

He later managed Canadian side Montreal Impact in 1993 of the American Professional Soccer League and lastly the Major League Soccer side New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1996.

The Middle East[edit]

Firmani coached in the Middle East during the mid-to-late 1980s, and in the early 1990s. He worked as a manager in both Kuwait and later in Oman. He mentioned in an interview how he and his wife had "liked it in Oman", and then described how he had led Sur to the first division for the first time in the club's history.[3] After Sur was promoted to first division, Mohammed Bahwan, son of famous Omani car-dealership owner, Saud Bahwan, gave Firmani and members of the club large bounuses.[4]

He was also held captive during the First Gulf War, but was released unharmed.[5]

Career statistics[edit]

International[edit]

Updated to games played 23 March 1958.[6]
Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
1956 1 1
1957 1 0
1958 1 1
Total 3 2

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.[6]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 11 November 1956 Wankdorfstadion, Bern   Switzerland 1–1 1–1 1956 Dr. Gerö Cup
2. 23 March 1958 Praterstadion, Vienna  Austria 2–1 2–3 1958 Dr. Gerö Cup

References[edit]

External links[edit]