Franco Mancini Collection


It was through our mutual love of reggae music that I first met goalkeeper Franco Mancini. I was the founder / editor of a Bob Marley & The Wailers magazine, a copy of which he had bought during a record buying trip to London in 1995, while he had just joined Lazio on loan from Foggia.

Franco had started his career at hometown club Matera, deep in the south of Italy, before joining Foggia in 1987. He remained there for ten years, during which time Czech-born coach Zdenek Zeman transformed the small, provincial team from the obscurity of Serie C to the verge of UEFA Cup qualification, an achievement still known as the Miracle of Foggia. The attacking style of play was dubbed Zemanlandia, and featured the likes of Luigi di Biagio, Jose Antonio Chamot, Dan Petrescu, Igor Kolyvanov, Beppe Signori and Francesco Baiano.

Franco moved to Bari in 1997, and two years later I visited him there, staying in the team hotel, attending training sessions at the Stadio San Nicola and their home game against Juventus, before re-locating to his home in Manfredonia, where the focus shifted to music, sightseeing and sumptuous dining! He was the vice-captain of a team which included Diego di Ascentis, Simone Perrotta and Phil Masinga, plus youngsters Gianluca Zambrotta and Antonio Cassano.

Later, we met up in London on a number of occasions while he also visited me at my home, football invariably taking a back seat to reggae music. Meanwhile, he had moved to Napoli in 2000 before spending five seasons playing in the third tier of Italian football, for Pisa, Sambenedettese, Teramo, Salernitana and AC Martina. He eventually retired just short of his 40th birthday.

His coaching career began at Manfredonia in the fourth flight, before being recruited by Zdenek Zeman as goalkeeping coach at former club Foggia, then subsequently following his mentor to Serie B club Pescara. On March 30th 2012, Mancini returned home from training and suffered a massive heart attack. He was 43 years-old and left a wife, Chiara, and two young sons.

We would regularly send each other records, CDs etc, and the packages he sent me would invariably include a couple of match shirts that he had obtained from opponents, his own current shirt, signed pennants and so on. Franco really was one of the most generous, genuine and humble people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and it goes without saying that we miss tremendously. Sempre nel cuore, mio fratello...

Collector Name

Glen Lockley