Monday, September 24, 2007

History of A.S. Roma

A.S. Roma was founded in July 1927. At the time, the city of Rome had several teams in the Italian football league: S.S. Lazio (1900), Roman F.C. (1903), S.S. Alba-Audace Roma (founded in 1926 through the merger of Alba (1911) and Audace) and Fortitudo-Pro Roma S.G.S. (founded in 1926 through the merger of Fortitudo (1908) and Pro Roma (1912)), however most of them were weak financially and uncompetitive. Spurned on by the desire for each Italian city to be competitive in Serie A (as was done in Florence, Naples and Bari), Alba-Audace, Fortitudo-Pro Roma and Roman merged to form A.S. Roma. After a short use of the Motovelodromo Appio stadium, the yellow-red team settled in the working-class streets of Testaccio, where it built the extraordinary all-wooden homonym ground. The area still remains the club's spiritual heartland. Other grounds that have been used by A.S. Roma are the Stadio Flaminio and the Stadio Olimpico (the latter was built in 1952).

A.S. Roma took part in their first national league in the 1929-30 season and won their first Scudetto in 1941-42. However, they would have to wait a considerable 41 years for their second triumph in the 1982-83 season and 18 years for their third in 2000-01. They have been runners-up in 1930-31, 1935-36, 1980-81, 1983-84, 1985-86, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2005-06 (after the final verdict on the match-fixing scandal) and 2006-07. A.S. Roma have been relegated only once in their 80 year history: this came at the end of the 1950-51 season, though they made a swift return to Serie A the following season.

After returning to Serie A in 1952, Roma spent the remainder 1950s and early 1960s in the top half of Serie A. From 1963 to 1979 AS Roma endured a period of mediocrity with 3rd place in 1974-75 being the best they could manage, punctured by either mid-table mediocrity or flirtation with relegation. Notable players in this period include defender Giacomo Losi and midfielders Franco Cordova and Giancarlo De Sisti.

1980s-Present Day
With talented players including Bruno Conti, Agostino Di Bartolomei, Roberto Pruzzo and Falcao, Roma would begin the 1980s in its best position to challenge for the title since 1942. After narrowly (and controversially) missing out in 1981 to Juventus, they broke through in 1983 amidst joyous celebrations in the capital. They reached the European Cup final the following year, only to lose to Liverpool on penalties. In the 1990-1991 season, Roma reached the UEFA Cup final in which they lost to Inter Milan 2-1 on aggregate.

They have more or less remained in the top half of Serie A ever since, occasionally mounting a serious challenge for the title, which they won again in the 2000/2001 season by beating Parma 3-1 on the last day of the season, edging out Juventus by two points.

Francesco Totti was one of the main reasons for Roma's victory that season and has since become an icon of the club equal in status to Pruzzo and Conti before him. He is a hero to Roma supporters, even more today thanks to Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup success. Since then Totti has become Roma's top scorer beating Pruzzo's previous tally of 106 goals.

Roma came close to a successful defense of their title, but lost out as another title race with Juve went to the wire. They missed out by just one point and had to settle for second place and an automatic UEFA Champions League spot. Since they won the scudetto Roma have finished second every season in either the Serie A or the Coppa Italia. They lost out to AC Milan in the Coppa Italia final in the 2002-2003 season (losing 4-2 on aggregate), and again in the Serie A in the 2003-2004 season where they finished second.

2004-2005 was an abysmal campaign where Roma flirted with relegation before finishing in 8th place. They managed to secure a UEFA Cup spot by reaching the Coppa Italia final which they lost to Inter Milan 3-0 on aggregate. Their Champions League campaign was even worse as they only managed 1 point from 6 games before finishing last in their group. Their first game was a 3-0 victory for Dynamo Kiev as they got penalized because an object from the stands hit the referee. The match was called off, victory was given to the Ukrainian outfit, and Roma had to play 2 home games behind closed doors. Their only point came from the 1-1 draw at home with Bayer Leverkusen thanks to a late goal by Vincenzo Montella.

AS Roma also made to the final of the 2005/06 Coppa Italia to face Inter Milan. They drew the First leg 1-1 but lost the return leg 3-1, losing 4-2 on aggregate. This was the second year in a row they lost to Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia final.

AS Roma beat Olympique Lyonnais to reach the quarter finals of the Champions League in 2007, but after taking a 2-1 lead over Manchester United at home and being undefeated in 10 games in all competitions, they suffered a 7-1 defeat in the second leg at Old Trafford (8-3 on aggregate). This was their first defeat in Europe since losing 1-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage. It was also the biggest margin of victory in a quarter final match of either the European Cup or Champions League, since 1957-58, when Real Madrid beat Sevilla 8-0 (10-2 on aggregate).

The team secured second place in Serie A with three games to go, behind Inter Milan. Although the nerazzurri dominated the championship, they lost the match against Roma 1-3 in San Siro. The two clubs also faced each other in the two legs of the 2007 Coppa Italia final. Roma won the cup after an impressive 6-2 in the first leg, while lost 2-1 the second leg. It was the eighth Coppa Italia in Roma's history.

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