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 
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.
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.
Managerial career 
Charlton Athletic 
In 1967 Firmani was appointed Charlton manager and retired as a player. Firmani thus became the first Italian international to manage an English club. 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 American Soccer League 
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.
In 1977 Firmani was signed by the New York Cosmos. Cosmos then 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.
He later managed Canadian side Montreal Impact in 1993 and lastly the Major League Soccer side New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1996.
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.
The Middle East 
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. 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.
He was also held captive during the First Gulf War, but was released unharmed.
Career statistics 
- Updated to games played 23 March 1958.
International goals 
- Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
External links