The Bonetti era at Dundee didn’t throw up many dull moments – and Kilmarnock fans will certainly remember the night assistant Dario entertained them in the stands at Rugby Park.
A combination of a car accident, a paperwork error and Bonetti missing a Killie goal saw Ayrshire fans that night experience both sides of the charismatic and, at times, volatile Italian.
With no place on the bench for Dark Blues assistant manager, Dario watched the game from the press box behind the home supporters in the main stand.
The Evening Telegraph’s former senior football writer, Tom Duthie, had a front-row seat to the spectacle.
He said: “Most of the squad had travelled the night before the game, but Dario Bonetti was heading west on the Saturday.
“Unfortunately an accident blocked the main road between Glasgow and Kilmarnock and along with most fans, and press, Dario did not arrive at Rugby Park in time for kick off.
“When he got there he found his name had not been included on the official list of those in the Dundee technical area and, for once, the assistant manager had to head for the stand to observe the action.
“Along with full-back Marcello Marrocco, who was injured, he decided to join us in the press box at the back of the main stand.
“Given that the stand is for home fans, it crossed my mind this could lead to problems because I knew there was no way the passionate Italian would stay quiet. He didn’t.
“But as well as kicking every ball for his team, big Dario also engaged with the punters sitting nearby and gave them what must have been one of their most entertaining match experiences ever.
“Unfortunately for Dario his late arrival meant he missed an opening goal for Killie and although Dundee equalised before the break he was still unaware of it as he headed for the dressing-room at half-time.
“There were some confused players in there as he blasted them and told them they were lucky to be ahead.
“When he repeated that opinion on retaking his seat for the second-half I can remember a couple of awkward minutes as Marrocco, Dundee’s press officer Niall Scott and I discussed who should be the one to tell him the correct score.
“I escaped that dangerous task by pointing out I was not a club employee and they were.
“If memory serves me, it was Marrocco who broke the news, to be met with an eruption from his assistant gaffer.
“I should add that outside of game time, Dario was as charming as his brother.
“In their first season together the pair steered Dundee to a top six finish and produced a team capable of playing football that was as pleasing on the eye as anything the length of the country.
“As their second season progressed, however, Ivano was making increasingly frequent trips back to Italy and it was clear all was not well behind the scenes.
“It came as no surprise when he was replaced by Jim Duffy in the summer of 2002 and in just over another year the extent of the club’s spending during the Bonetti experiment became clear as it plunged into administration and was on the brink of extinction.
“For all that, Dundee fans understandably remember those two years with great fondness, as do press men like myself who experienced a time the like of which is highly unlikely to be seen again.”