May 17, 1945
|Dead||Dec 6, 2008 (63 years old)|
Alberto Poli arrived in France from Italy in 1947, aged 2, and his first home was in the Lorraine region. Naturally, he started his footballing journey in his adopted region, with Audun-le-Tiche. He learned the ropes there, before making his professional bow with SCO Angers, from 1965 onwards. Poli was a gifted technician, plying his trade in midfield, and displayed a great ability to read the game, and had a powerful shot. He spent nine years in the Maine-et-Loire region, but in his first season, he saw little action. In the following 1966/1967 season, however, he established him as first-choice, and was even the most-used player in the squad that year. He played a large part in Angers' excellent 3rd-placed finish in the First Division. Unfortunately, they would be relegated the next season, but that was followed with a perfect season in 1968/1969, when they finished Champions of the Second Division. Usually weighing in with 4-5 goals per season, Poli would excel as a clinical attacking midfielder, netting 15 goals that season. A remarkably intelligent player, he would continue as first-choice in the subsequent seasons, but his game-time would be severely impacted in the 1973/1974 season owing to the overseas players quota, which Poli would fall foul of. He would still enjoy the experience of his two loan UEFA Cup appearances against Dynamo Berlin. Having played in less matches that season, he offered his services to Stade Rennais, but Angers refused to release him. Considered as a French player as of 1973, he would regain his spot in the starting line-up with Angers, and helped his club to finish fourth in the top flight. He would finally leave Angerss in 1974, with over 300 appearances and more than 30 goals to his name. He then joined Paris Saint-Germain, freshly promoted to the First Division for the 1974/1975, and he finally obtained the French nationality. He would play a major role at the club in helping them to stave off relegation, but decided to leave Paris at the end of the season because of a worsening atmosphere in the dressing room. Rennes came back to give him a chance to get back on track, and he signed for them in 1975, despite the club being relegated to the Second Division the previous season. As with all the clubs he played for during his career, he soon established himself as a first-choice member of the First Team, missing just one match all season. Rennes managed to obtain promotion that year, back to the First Division, but Poli preferred to move on to join FC Rouen in the second tier in 1976. Playing for the "Red Devils" of Rouen, he managed to achieve promotion after a epic play-offs campaign, but he would lose his spot in the team in the 1977/1978 season, which was to prove catastrophic for everyone at the club, Rouen finishing bottom of the First Division. He ended his professional playing days in 1978, leaving to become Player/Manager with Dignes-lès-Bains for four seasons, before taking over the sole role as First-Team Manager until 1987. Whilst there, he managed to achieve promotion to the Fourth and then Third Divisions. After that, he would return to Brittany to coach the Dinan-Léhon team, whilst being a local sports educator for the Dinan local authorities until 2003. A few years later, in December 2008, he lost his battle with cancer.