Derby County fans will likely have good memories of Arturo Lupoli, given the good season the club had with him.
Lupoli joined in 2006, and Derby got to the play-off final, beating West Brom 1-0 at Wembley and going back to the top flight. He ended up signing a pre-contract agreement with Fiorentina, but now regrets that move given he never made his debut for the Tuscany side.
A varied career has followed, with spells at Norwich City, Sheffield United, lower division Italian clubs, and even a period in Hungary with Budapest Honved.
Now 32 years of age and with Virtus Verona in Italy’s Serie C, Lupoli has sat down with TGGialloblu for an interview.
Asked about his period with Derby County, the forward made clear it’s one he looks back on very fondly: “The experience I had in the Championship was perhaps the most important for me. We won an extraordinary season, I was confident both with my teammates and with the coach.
“At the end of the year I closed the season with 11 goals and 7 assists. The Championship, for an attacker, it was perfect. There were fewer tactical speeches, I had a lot of freedom and I could vary a lot in attack. If I went back I would have stayed longer in England, even if I had good years also in Italy with Ascoli and Varese in B.”
Maybe Lupoli’s career would have been better had he stayed with Derby, rather than being tempted by the glamour move to Fiorentina, and he certainly seems to believe so himself.
Asked whether his biggest regret is never playing in Serie A, he said: “I really think so. After the victory with Derby County, I switched to Fiorentina. After many years, it was certainly the most wrong choice of my career. When I arrived I was just 19 years old and there were players like Toni in attack, Mutu, Pazzini, Vieri and Osvaldo. Finding space would have been difficult for anyone.
“In that market window Napoli and Torino also looked for me, they were still in Serie B, but shortly thereafter they would have gone back to A. If if I had gone to one of these two I could then have made my debut in A with them, but I remember the period in Florence anyway as a positive experience.”