Tuesday, October 30, 2007

History of Torino F.C.

Foot-Ball Club Torino was founded on 3 December 1906 after a meeting at the Voigt brewery in Via Pietro Micca near the center of Turin. Its foundation involved some Juventus dissidents led by Alfredo Dick, who had left the bianconeri after some at the club wanted to move Juventus out of Turin. As well as Alfredo Dick, other prominent founders included the Swiss businessman Hans Schoenbrod (first chairman), and Vittorio Pozzo (later manager of Italy).

The first ground for FBC Torino would be Velodromo Umberto I in the La Crocetta neighbourhood, for which Dick owned the lease. Torino lured some players from other clubs, including FBC Torinese who became defunct as a result. The fact that Torino's split from Juve was not amicable, saw the rise of a heated local known as the Derby della Mole.

Italian Football Championship
Torino F.C. took part in the world's first international tournament, Torneo Internazionale Stampa Sportiva 1908 which was hosted in Turin itself organised by the Italian magazine La Stampa Sportiva. Torino lost in the final 3-1 to Swiss side Servette. In 1909 it was succeeded by the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, in which a Torino XI comprised of Juve and Torino players participated but did not make it to the final.

After the early years, Torino were denied their first championship attempt by the outbreak of World War I, and their first title was revoked in 1926/27 due to an irregularity in the match against Juventus. Torino won its first Scudetto, the Italian Serie A league Championship, the following 1927/28 season and, between 1942/43 and 1948/49, the "Grande Torino" (Great Torino), widely considered the best ever team in Italian football history, won five other straight scudetti, led by its captain, Valentino Mazzola.

On May 4, 1949, all but one player (who was out for an injury) of Grande Torino were killed when their plane crashed into the hills of Superga, on the outskirts of Turin. The club never recovered, and after a decade of mediocre seasons, they were relegated to Serie B in 1958/59, although they returned to Serie A the following season.

By the early 1960s and until the late 1980s, Torino had good results in Serie A, including another Scudetto in the 1975/76 season. Since the end of the 1980s, the club went up and down between Serie A and Serie B, the top two divisions with little success, except a Coppa Italia in 1992/93 and a Mitropa Cup win in 1990/91. Among the best results ever achieved in the club's history, it reached the UEFA Cup Final in 1991/92 only to lose it in two aggregate matches to Ajax Amsterdam without being defeated.

In 2004/05, Torino finished 3rd in Serie B and, after winning the playoffs, was promoted back in Serie A. However, the FIGC, the governing body of Italian football, expelled both Torino Calcio and F.C. Messina from Serie A, due to both clubs' financial problems. However, while Messina was re-admitted by a civil court of appeal, Torino was not and it was cancelled from the Italian sport panorama.

Thanks to the 'Lodo Petrucci' (Italian law which allows a sport club that is the direct heir of a cancelled one to be re-admitted one division below the previous one), a new club was founded under the current name Torino F.C. and was admitted to play the next season, again in Serie B. Bought by entrepreneur Urbano Cairo, Torino FC ended its 2005/2006 Serie B campaign in third place, being therefore qualified for the promotion play-offs. Torino subsequently defeated Mantova in the final to earn promotion to Serie A.

Even in its worst seasons, Torino has often achieved good results in epic matches (the so-called "derbies") against the other Turin team, Juventus. Since 1990 the club has played in the 69,040 capacity Stadio Delle Alpi, shared with Juventus. Prior to 1990 the clubs shared the Stadio Comunale for thirty years, Torino moving there from the glorious Stadio Filadelfia, home of Grande Torino. Starting with the 2006/07 season Torino will move into a new, smaller ground of its own, the Stadio Grande Torino (which is the renewed former stadio comunale).
Actually the Stadio delle Alpi (that is of Juventus Turin propriety) is closed for a future rebuilt: after that maybe Torino will still use it for a number of high profile matches. When playing at home Torino wears a maroon top and white shorts (sometimes is full maroon) but when playing else where the team wears all white. When practicing Torino wears red and white or red and black.

History of Calcio Catania

The origins of football being played by representatives of the Province of Catania can be traced back to English cargo ships, thanks to the workers who brought the game to Sicily. Specifically the earliest Catania team can be traced to match which took place on 2 May 1901 at San Raineri di Messina against Messina, the team was named Royal Yacht Catania; an English ship with a local Catanian crew.

The ship workers team was just a pastime however, Catania's first professional and most stable football club was founded on 19 June 1908, by Italian film director Gaetano Ventimiglia and Francesco Sturzo d'Aldobrando, who founded the club under the name A.S. Educazione Fisica Pro Patria. Early on they would always play against sailors visiting the port of Catania, particularly foreign ships. Though their first ever match was against Regina Margherita an Italian battleship, the game ended in a 1-1 draw and the Catania line-up that day consisted of; Vassallo, Gismondo, Bianchi, Messina, Slaiter, Caccamo, Stellario, Binning, Cocuzza, Ventimiglia and Pappalardo. Just two years later they changed the name to Unione Sportiva Catanese.

In the North of Italy, football was more organised and those clubs competed in the early Italian Football Championships, while Catania and other Southern clubs competed in competitions such as the Lipton, Sant' Agata and Agordad cups. U.S. Catanese surived the First World War and just after it played in the local Coppa Federale Siciliana. Seven seasons later in 1927 they were entered into the Campionato Catanese, which was won in the 1928-29 season. As they gained promotion the club were entered into the Second Division, and changed their name first to Società Sportiva Catania. They first competed in Serie B in the 1934-35 season where they finished 4th; that season Genoa won the Serie B title.

Catania played in the league for three seasons during this period, before being relegated. Down in Serie C, Catania were crowned champions in the 1938-39 season, finishing above Sicilian rivals Siracusa and Messina (who came in 2nd and 3rd respectively). Their return to Serie B was not a pleasant one, the club finished bottom of the league and won only three games that season. The club's name was briefly changed to Associazione Calcio Fascista Catania during the 1942-43 season in Serie C, which ended prematurely because of the 2nd World War.

After World War II ended, a local competition was organised, the Campionato Siciliano. US Catanese were back; at the end of that season a local team named Elefante Catania[5] were merged into the club. The merged club kept the Catanese name and competed in Serie C during the 1945-46 season, but finished last. In the same league that season a team called Virtus Catania were also present and finished 8th.

At the end of the season, Catanese and Virtus merged together to form Club Calcio Catania, with the first president as Santi Manganaro-Passanisi (who had been president of Catanese). They were entered into Serie C where they spent three seasons, after an epic duel with Reggina for first place Catania prevailed with stars such as Goffi, Messora, Ardesi and Prevosti, gaining promotion to Serie B during 1948-49.

Calcio Catania's Golden years
The late 1950s through 1960s are considered the golden years for the Catanian club, as they managed to achieve promotion to Serie A on two separate occasions during this time. Their first promotion from Serie B came, when in the 1953-54 season Catania feat out Cagliari and Lombardy side Pro Patria to be crowned champions of the division. Their first season in Serie A, saw Catania achieve a respectable 12th place finish, but the club were forcibly relegated due to financial scandal (as were Udinese).

Under the management of Carmelo Di Bella (who had played for the club in the late '30s) Catania gained promotion from Serie B in the 1959-60 season. The race for promotion in third spot went down to the last day of the season and was very tense. Catania had lost their final game 4-2 to Brescia and needed Parma to get a good result against Triestina for the Sicilian club to secure promotion. That is exactly what happened and Catania had thus gained promotion once more. .

Catania returned into Serie A for the 1960-61 season, to begin what would be a six-year stay in the league. Their return season was emphatic as the newly promoted club finished in 8th above top Italian clubs such as Lazio and Napoli. This season produced several notable wins; they beat Napoli and Bologna twice, Sampdoria 3-0 at home and most notably they beat AC Milan 4-3 in Sicily and then on the final day of the season they beat Internazionale 2-0, with goals from Castellazzi and Calvanese. This rubbed the salt into the wounds of Inter who lost the closely contested title that year to Juventus.

Four years later in 1965 they would also finish 8th in the league, this time above Roma and Sicilian rivals Messina. Many of the club's most notable stars played around this time, such as; midfielders Alvaro Biagini and the Brazilian Cinesinho, along with wingers Carlo Facchin and Giancarlo Danova in the side. Catania more than held their own amongst the giants of Italian football, with wins against Juventus (2-0), Fiorentina (2-0) and Lazio (1-0).

Mixed fortunes in the 70s and 80s
After their relegation in 1966 Carmelo Di Bella left and Catania stayed in Serie B; clashing with Palermo in the Sicilian derby before the Palermitan club were promoted. Catania followed in 1970-71 with a third place finish; though their stay in Serie A this time was very brief and they were relegated back down after one season. Their most impressive results that season was 3-1 win against Lazio and a draw at home against AC Milan, Catania lacked goalscorers at the time as they only scored 18 goals all-together in 30 games.

Worse was to come for the club, who in 1973-74 were relegated down to Serie C, but fortunetly for the club they were able to bounce straight back with a promotion into Serie B as champions. A similar situation happened in 1976-77, where they were relegated down to Serie C. This time however, they were not able to bounce right back; they finished 2nd and then 3rd before finally being crowned champions of what was now known as Serie C1 in 1979-80.

After three short seasons, Catania were promoted in 3rd place behind AC Milan and Lazio, into Serie A. They played the 1983-84 season in Italy's top league, but it proved to be an especially dismal season, with only one win (which came against Pisa) and 12 points despite the presence of Claudio Ranieri and Brazilian imports Luvanor and Pedrinho.

Decline and revival
The decline of Catania started most evidently after its last relegation to Serie B. The team was no longer able to reach the top division of Italian fooball, and instead continued to decline, being relegated for a while into Serie C1 for the latter part of the 1980s. The lowest point of the club's history, however, was reached in 1993, when the team was cancelled by the FIGC because of financial irregularities.

However, after a long judicial battle, the magistrature declared the Italian Federation decision as invalid, and forced it to include the team back into the footballing fold. Catania was thus included in the Sicilian Eccellenza (the sixth level of Italian football), but in the meantime another Sicilian football team, Atletico Leonzio from Lentini (in the Province of Syracuse), had been relocated in the city and renamed Atletico Catania. Despite all of this, the "real" Catania was able to rise back to Serie C in a relatively small number of years, and even back to Serie B in 2002.

During 2003, Catania was at the centre of a controversy that led to the enlargement of Serie B from 20 to 24 teams, known as Caso Catania. The club claimed that Siena fielded an ineligible player in a 1-1 tie, a result which saw Catania relegated, whereas the two extra points from a victory would have kept them safe. They were awarded a 2-0 victory, before the result being reverted, and then re-awarded again. In August, the FIGC decided to let Catania, along with Genoa and Salernitana stay in Serie B, the newly-reborn Fiorentina were also added for the 2003-04 season. The ruling led to protests and boycotts by the other Serie B clubs that delayed the start of the season.

The league went down to 22 teams for 2004-05, while at the same time Serie A expanded from 18 to 20 teams. During the start of that season, Antonino Pulvirenti, chairman of the flight company Windjet and owner of Acireale, a Sicilian Serie C1 team, bought the club. Catania's new ownership let the team enjoy a revival, and in 2005-06 Catania ended in second position, earning promotion to Serie A.

Return to Serie A
The 2006-07 season saw Catania in Serie A for its first appearance in 22 years. In their first season back Catania began well, though they recorded a couple of heavy defeats, their home form saw them peak as high as 4th after 20 games.

Their return season changed drastically on 2 February 2007, due to the 2007 Catania football violence incident. It happened during the Sicilian derby with Palermo, policeman Filippo Raciti was killed during football-related violence caused by Catania ultras outside the Massimino stadium. The event led FIGC commissioner Luca Pancalli to cancel all football-related events in the country for a period of time; including league and national team matches. Catania chairman and owner Antonino Pulvirenti announced his willingness to leave the football world, stating it was not possible to go on producing football in Catania.

After the Italian football league restarted, Catania continued on but dropped in form largely. In truth their slump in form had started just before the derby incident and all together they failed to win for twelve games in a row, before beating Udinese 1-0 in late April 2007, they eventually finished 13th.