Gianfranco Perla

Gianfranco Perla is a pillar of the Talent Academy: every now and then he puts on his tracksuit and goes to the bench, usually he is sitting behind his desk with his mobile phone in his hand, “even if when I go back on the pitch to train I always enjoy it, the smell of the grass gives me strong, beautiful sensations that I had almost forgotten”.

Aside from the ‘romanticism’, Perla is the general manager and is in charge of relations with other clubs, like a sort of foreign minister for president Franco Melotti. “I work with all clubs,’ explains Perla, ‘both amateur and professional clubs. We have very good relations with Juventus and Turin, especially with the Granata team, and we manage to organise friendly matches and tryouts on a regular basis. But we also work very closely with Pro Vercelli, Alessandria, Chieri, Cuneo, Bra, Pro Dronero and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. There are also frequent contacts outside the region, for example in Liguria we often go to Sampdoria, Genoa and Virtus Entella.

Not only the professionals: ‘No, of course. We send players from the Talent Academy who are not yet ready to make the big leap. Playing in the amateur teams in the area near None, where our sports centre is located, can be an important stage in the growth process for some, because there are those who are already ready for professionalism, and those who have yet to reach the right level. Professional training is the basis of preparation, but the response from the field is just as important to assess the quality of the work done.

Always with the phone glued to his ear, “I organise friendlies and try-outs – explains Perla – I talk to the proxy clubs, I take our youngsters to where the professional teams are trained and I sponsor them with the insiders, in short I act as an intermediary between the Talent Academy and the professional world”.

The key word is credibility: “Everyone knows Franco Melotti, but our technicians are also highly regarded at all levels. We have privileged relations with many professional clubs, just look at how many friendly matches we have every year. Usually the football academies have to look for clubs, coaches and players. But we have a queue, we have to make a selection, we have to say no to some. The facilities are state-of-the-art, we have the best coaches on the market, and the level of the players we select is also very high. The professional clubs know that, that’s why they look for us. And my job is easier…’ laughs Perla, with gusto.