Monday, September 24, 2007

History of S.S.C. Napoli

Naples Foot-Ball Club: the early years
Football was first brought to the city of Naples by English sailors during the early 1900s. The origins of a football club can be traced back to William Poths, an Englishman employed by maritime agency named Cunard Lines, he was an avid amateur footballer in his spare time and decided to found a club while in Italy. A meeting was called at via San Severino 43 in Naples, with the intentions of creating one; Poths along with fellow Englishman Mr. Bayon and three Neapolitans called Conforti, Catterina and Amedeo Salsi formed the club as Naples Foot-Ball & Cricket Club; Salsi was nominated as the first ever president.

Their first kit comprised of a sky blue and navy blue striped shirt, with black shorts. Naples played their debut match against British sailors from a ship named Arabik, they competed for a trophy named in honour of Naples first president "Coppa Salsi". Naples were victorious winning the game 3-2, a feat made all the more impressive when considering Arabik had beaten the famed Genoa CFC 3-0 just days earlier. The Naples team that day was;

* Kock - Goalkeeper
* Garozzo - Defender
* Del Pezzo - Defender
* Littie - Defender

* Steinecaer - Defender
* Marin - Midfielder
* Scarfoglio - Midfielder
* McPherson - Midfielder

* Chaudorir - Midfielder
* Poths - Forward
* Ostermann - Forward

Two years after its foundation, the "Cricket" part of the name was dropped leaving the club's name as simply Naples Foot-Ball Club. During 1909, Sir Thomas Lipton of the famous Lipton tea brand, was visiting Sicily while travelling with his ship; he set-up a competition called the Lipton Challenge Cup. In this competition Neapolitan and Sicilian teams would face off against each other annually; the majority of the finals saw Naples playing Palermo Foot-Ball Club. Naples won the competition in the opening season, with a 4-2 result. The trophy was disputed six times in total, with Naples also winning it in 1911 and 1914.

Rivalry with US Internazionale Napoli
During 1912 the foreign part of Naples FBC broke off, under Bayon and Steinnegger a second Naples club was formed under the name of US Internazionale Napoli. Meanwhile Emilio Anatra remained president of Naples FBC, this started off a footballing rivalry in the city during the following years. They competed against each other in the Campania section of the 1912-13 Italian Championship with Naples coming out on top, before losing to Lazio in the next round.

The following season, the situation was reversed with Internazionale Napoli knocking out Naples, before losing to Lazio in the next round. This rivalry continued into its third season in the Campania section of the Championship during 1915, but after the first leg (won by Internazionale 3-0), the competition was called off because of World War I. It resumed after the war as both clubs survived, however clubs such as Puteolana, Bagnolese and Savoia were also now competative in the region. In 1922 the two rival clubs, under financial pressure, merged as the Foot-Ball Club Internazionale-Naples abbreviated as FBC Internaples.

Associazione Calcio Napoli: 1926
On 23 August 1926 the members of Internaples resolved to adopt a new name for their club and Giorgio Ascarelli was appointed as the first president of the Associazione Calcio Napoli. By the time the next season started, the top league system of Italy was split into two groups consisting of 10 teams. Napoli finished bottom of their group with a dreadful 1 point earned from 18 games.

This is what got them the nickname I ciucciarelli which means "the little donkeys", previously the football club had carried with them the emblem of the city of Naples, which was a horse. But after the aforementioned season, some in the city derided them as donkeys, the club however adopted O Ciuccio as it was called, making it their mascot and displaying it with pride. The following two seasons they did gradually better, finishing higher with this system each time.

At Napoli the fans’ great pre-war hero was Attila Sallustro, whose family had moved to Naples from Paraguay when he was a child. Sallustro, on account of his well-to-do background, took no salary from the club; but he was rewarded with a luxury motor car. His talent for scoring goals was evident in the 1928-29 season, when he scored 22 goals in 28 games for the club.

Serie A: 1930s
As Italian football moved into the 1930s, the league was formatted into a way in which it remains today. The 1929-30 season showed what Napoli could do on a larger scale, they finished 5th in a season which saw them defeat the likes of Torino, Lazio and Milan. Notably, Sallustro along with Marcello Mihalic became the first Napoli players to be called up to the Italian national football team around this period.

The next six seasons Napoli consistently finished in the top 10, including two third place spots in 1932-33 and 1933-34 under legendary English coach William Garbutt. Another notable club hero from this period was Antonio Vojak; signed from Juventus in 1929 the Italian scored 102 goals in 190 games over a six year period for Napoli. Top scorer of the first World Cup, Argentine forward Guillermo Stábile, also played at Napoli during the 1935–36 season.

The Neapolitan club was set to go into a decline in the years leading up to World War II, with up and down results in Serie A. They flirted with relegation in 1937 and again in 1940, where they stayed up on a goal difference of four over Liguria. Just one season before this they had finished in 5th. 1942 saw Napoli finally going down to Serie B, just four points separating them from the next six teams. Down in Serie B, during 1943 Napoli missed out on a promotion straight back up, by two points, finishing in third place just behind Brescia. At the end of the season, left their Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli stadium and moved into the Campo Vomero.

Post-War Napoli
When the championship was contested on a regional basis for the 1946 season, Napoli proved themselves the best team in the Centro-Sud region losing just three matches en route to a narrow league victory, finishing level on points with Bari, but with a better goal difference. They only finished mid-table in the final group, but it was enough to ensure the Neapolitans a place in Serie A the following year.

Napoli only managed to survive one season in the newly formed Serie A before in 1948, they were relegated again, until becoming champions of Serie B in 1949-50. They managed to step straight back into the groove of Serie A in the following five seasons, finising in the top six. Interestingly along with Fiorentina, Napoli would be the subject of the first ever RAI television transmission of a Serie A football match in 1956. During the rest of the fifties their league finishes were up and down, two lower key seasons were followed by a 4th place in 1957-58, above both of the Milanese teams and Roma.

The 1960s were a mixed time for Napoli, they were relegated in 1961, but finished runners-up in Serie B the following season, regaining promotion. 1962 was also notable for its cup success, Napoli lifted the Coppa Italia by beating Spal 2-1 in the final with goals from Corelli, and Ronzon; this was the first time a club competing in Serie B had won the competition. Unfortunately for Napoli, they were unable to follow up their cup success with top league stability, as they were relegated once again.

Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli: on the rise
The mid-sixties saw the club rise up again, their name was changed to Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli on June 25, 1964 and they were promoted as runners-up from Serie B during the 1964-65 season. During their first season back in Serie A, the Neapolitan side managed to finished an impressive 3rd place in the league with Argentine manager Bruno Pesaola at the helm. They also won the Coppa delle Alpi trophy in the same year, beating out Juventus.

Napoli came very close to winning the league in 1967-68, finishing just behind AC Milan in second place. During this spell for the club, their squad boasted several players who achieved wide-spread recognition in the game, including future World Cup winner Dino Zoff, the record breaking striker José Altafini and Naples born defender Antonio Juliano. The club managed to keep their name amongst the elite of Italian football in the early 70s, with two third place finishes in 1970-1971 and 1973-74.

The 1974-75 season under coach and former Napoli player Luís Vinício, would prove to be the closest Napoli had ever come to capturing the scudetto at this point in history. They ended the season just two points behind champions Juventus and the goal difference between the clubs was also only two. Although their efforts did not gain them the scudetto, it did gain the club access into Europe for the UEFA Cup 1974-75. Here Napoli would reach the third round of the competition, knocking out Portuguese club FC Porto 2-0 on the way.

Their second ever Coppa Italia trophy was won the same season, knocking out AC Milan and Fiorentina en route to the success, they beat Hellas Verona 4-0 in the final, with goals from Ginulfi, Braglia, and two from Giuseppe Savoldi. In the Anglo-Italian League Cup, Napoli beat English side Southampton 4-1 aggregate; which included a resounding 4-0 victory at home in Naples, to win the competition.

Because the club had won the Coppa Italia the previous season, they gained access to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1976-77, giving them their second shot at European football; Napoli managed to reach the semi-finals of the competition. The last two seasons of the 70s, Napoli came in at 6th.

The Maradona era: League and European success
The 1980s for the club started in relatively good fashion with 3rd and 4th place league positions early in the decade. But it wouldn't be until Argentine Diego Maradona joined the club from FC Barcelona, in 1984 that Napoli were truly put on the world football map.

Success with Maradona was not instant. The club had to work hard, first with an 8th position in 1984-85, then the following season they stepped up further, with a 3rd place. 1986-87 proved to be Napoli's year, with Diego; Napoli won the scudetto for the first time in their history. In doing so, they also became the first and only mainland Southern Italian team (not including Sardinian club Cagliari) to win the league, this record still stands today. It wasn't just Serie A that the club won that season either, they also beat Atalanta B.C. 4-0 in the Coppa Italia final to complete the double.

In the successive year the team were knocked out in the first round of the European Cup by Real Madrid but a runners-up spot in Serie A meant qualification for the UEFA Cup. Juventus and Bayern Munich were among Napoli's victims en route to the final where Maradona and Careca scored a goal apiece late in the second half to beat VfB Stuttgart two-one in the first leg. In the second leg, played in Stuttgart, the match ended in draw (3-3): so Napoli won their first European trophy. Napoli also reached the final of the Italian Cup that year, only to be beaten by Sampdoria.

In 1990, Napoli were champions again, although in rather less auspicious circumstances than their previous Serie A title. They were awarded 2 points after the Brazilian Alemão was struck by a coin away at Atalanta's Stadio Comunale. If this was not bad enough, Napoli's physio was caught on TV cameras exhorting the player to stay on the ground. Anyway, these 2 points weren't crucial, as AC Milan lost a match with Hellas Verona, so Napoli would've won the championship anyway. Worse was to come. Maradona made inflammatory remarks during the 1990 World Cup, appealing to Neapolitans to cheer on his Argentina team over the northern dominated Italy.

The Napoli "tifosi" responded by displaying a banner in their "curva" that read: "Maradona, You are our love, but Italy is our blood". It was touching for Maradona as Napoli was the only stadium during that World Cup in which the Argentinian national anthem wasn't jeered. Apparently, Napoli fans were the "black sheep" of Italy because they rooted for Maradona. He departed after testing positive for cocaine less than a year later, the club was in financial crisis. Although he let his nightlife affect his legacy with Napoli, Maradona will still go down as the greatest Napoli player ever. He has mentioned many times that his love for Napoli is almost as much for his native team Boca Juniors.

The following year the club won the Supercoppa Italiana, the last major trophy won by Napoli, beating Juventus 5-1. The game included two goals from Careca, two from Andrea Silenzi and the 5th from Massimo Crippa, Roberto Baggio grabbed the consolation goal for the old lady. The result was a record margin victory in the competition for any club, the record still stands today.

The club started a slow decline after wining the Supercoppa Italiana. One by one, players such as Gianfranco Zola, Daniel Fonseca and Careca departed. During the earliest part of the 1990s, the club were still holding their own in the league, although lower than the Maradona era. Since a fourth place finish was achieved in 1991-92 the club's league form diminished.

In 1997 Napoli reached the final of the Italian Cup only to be beaten by Vicenza (1-0/0-3 aet). By this time their league form was less successful, from 1996 onwards their league finishes were significantly lower, and a first relegation to Serie B came in 1998 when they recorded only two wins all season.

Napoli had to wait until the 1999-00 season to achieve promotion as runners-up in Serie B back to the Italian top division. During their season back in Serie A, Napoli were relegated straight back down; although the relegation battle was quite close, U.S. Lecce and Hellas Verona had only 1 more point than the azzurri but stayed up.

In 2001-02 Napoli failed to gain promotion, missing out by one place. This set off a spiral effect which saw the club slip further; the next season they finished a lowly 16th. Worse was to come for the club however, with a debt estimated up to €70 million, the club was declared bankrupt in August 2004.

Rebirth under De Laurentiis
Under the name Napoli Soccer a new club was born, thanks to film producer Aurelio De Laurentiis; the intention was to ensure the city of Naples would not be left without a football team. During the first season down in Serie C1, Napoli narrowly missed out on promotion to U.S. Avellino after losing 2-1 in the play-offs.

In the 2005-06 season, they went one better and won the Serie C1 championship. They secured promotion on April 15, 2006, after a 2-0 win at home to Perugia. Despite the fact that Napoli were playing in such a low division, they remained among clubs with the largest fan base in Italy. With higher average attendances than most of the Serie A clubs, (breaking the Serie C attendance record with 51,000 at one game) and six million fans worldwide. The club's name was restored back to S.S.C. Napoli in May 2006 by chairman De Laurentiis.

Return to Serie A
The team proved itself to be one of the top clubs in the Italian Serie B division. For a significant part of the season Napoli was in second place, fighting for direct promotion to Serie A with Genoa CFC. After temporarily slipping to third, they moved one point ahead of Genoa on the second-last game of the season. It would be on the final matchday that each team's fate would be decided when Napoli played 3rd placed Genoa in Genova. A win for either team would see that team promoted. A draw would see either Napoli or both teams promoted. But this latter scenario was not entirely in their hands. Fourth placed Piacenza Calcio, fighting to reduce the gap on 3rd place to less than 10 points to obtain a play-off, was hosting US Triestina who themselves were fighting to escape relegation to Serie C1. In order to do this, only a victory would do for Piacenza.

On June 10th 2007, Napoli obtained direct promotion to Serie A. The match finished in a 0-0 draw, but Piacenza were held to a 1-1 draw by Triestina after taking the lead, meaning both Napoli and Genoa were directly promoted to Serie A. When news came to Genova's Stadio Luigi Ferraris of Piacenza's final result, players and fans from both teams began to celebrate in euphoria raiding the pitch, unaware that the referee still hadn't called full time. The referee ordered that a minute of injury time was to be played. Once this finished, the celebrations officially began for two of Italy's sleeping giants. The 2007-08 campaign will be the first for Napoli in Serie A since its last relegation in 2001, and the first time in Serie A under the reformed club following their subsequent bankruptcy.

History of ACF Fiorentina

The club was founded on August 26, 1926 by the merger of Libertas and Club Sportivo Firenze. The club won its first trophy in 1939-40 with the Coppa Italia and its first scudetto (Italian championship) in 1955-56, the club were runners-up in the four following seasons. In the 1960-61 season the club won the Coppa Italia again and was also successful in Europe, winning the first Cup Winners' Cup against Rangers.

In the 1960s the club won the Coppa Italia and the Mitropa Cup in 1966 and were league champions again in the 1968-69 season. In 1974 the Viola won the Anglo-Italian League Cup. Success in the Coppa Italia was repeated in 1975, but from then until the late 1990s the club found itself in the doldrums, culminating in a season in Serie B (second division) in 1993-1994. Upon return to Serie A the club again proved able in the cup competitions, winning the Coppa Italia again in 1996 and 2000 and the Italian SuperCoppa.

2001 heralded major changes for Fiorentina, as the terrible state of the club's finances was revealed; they were unable to pay wages and had debts of around USD 50 million. The club owner, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, was able to raise some more money, but even this soon proved to be insufficient resources to sustain the club. Then, Fiorentina were relegated at the end of the 2001-02 season and went into judicially controlled administration in June 2002. This form of bankruptcy (sports companies cannot exactly fail in this way in Italy, but they can suffer a similar procedure) meant that the club was refused a place in Serie B for the 2002-03 season, and as a result, effectively ceased to exist.

The club was promptly re-established in August 2002 as Florentia Viola with a new owner, Diego Della Valle, and was admitted into Serie C2, the fourth tier of Italian football. The only player to remain at the club as they began their new life was Angelo Di Livio, whose commitment to the cause of resurrecting the club further endeared him to the fans. Helped by Di Livio, the club won its regional section in Serie C2 with considerable ease at the end of the 2002-03 season, which would normally have led to a promotion to Serie C1. However, due to the bizarre Caso Catania (Catania Case) the club skipped Serie C1 and was admitted into Serie B. This was only possible because the Italian Football Federation chose to resolve the Catania situation by increasing the number of teams in Serie B from 20 to 24. In the 2003 off-season, the club also bought back the right to use the Fiorentina name and the famous shirt design, and re-incorporated itself as ACF Fiorentina. Matches were still being played at the Artemio Franchi stadium.

The club's unusual double promotion was not without controversy, with some suggesting that Fiorentina did not deserve it; however, the club remained in Serie B and managed to finish the 2003-04 season in sixth place. This achievement placed the Viola in a two-legged playoff against Perugia (the 15th-place finisher in Serie A) for a position in Serie A. Fiorentina completed their remarkable comeback by winning the match 2-1 on aggregate, with both goals scored by Enrico Fantini, to gain promotion back to Serie A. In their first season back in Italian football's top flight, the club struggled to avoid relegation, securing survival only on the last day of the season, and avoiding a relegation playoff only on head-to-head record against Bologna and Parma.

In 2005-06, their form greatly improved, and they had qualified for the 3rd Qualifying round of the Champions League by earning the 4th place in the Serie A with 74 points. The combination of defence by captain Dario Dainelli and Czech international regular Tomáš Ujfaluši, midfield by Cristian Brocchi, wing by Martin Jorgensen, playmaking by Stefano Fiore and key marksman Luca Toni with Sebastian Frey as goalkeeper proved to be an outstanding force in Serie A. Fiorentina officially regained their status as an Italian elite, especially with Toni himself having scored an amazing 31 goals in just 34 appearances, the first player to pass the 30 goal mark since Antonio Valentin Angelillo in the 1958-59 season - which has seen him claim the European Golden Boot.

However, on July 14, 2006 Fiorentina were relegated to Serie B due to their involvement in the 2006 Serie A match fixing scandal and given a 12 point penalty. However, on appeal, the team was reinstated to the Serie A, albeit with a 19 point penalty for the 2006-07 season. The team also lost their UEFA Champions League 2006-07 place.[1] After the start of the season, upon appealing to the Italian courts, Fiorentina's penalization was reduced to 15 points from 19, which was still far heavier than club officials had hoped for. Despite starting the 2006-2007 season with the 15 point penalty, Fiorentina managed to secure a place in the 2007-2008 edition of the UEFA Cup.

History of Atalanta B.C.

The club was founded in 1907. A football club had existed in Bergamo since 1904. Founded by Swiss emigrants, it was known as FC Bergamo. The rival Atalanta club grew out of a division between different sporting societies in the town. The name is taken from the female athlete of Greek mythology. The FIGC was unimpressed with the new club and did not officially recognize them until 1914. The current club is the result of a merger between Atalanta and a third team called Bergamasca. The first, black and white coloured and the second wearing a blue and white shirt, merged in 1924 as Atalanta Bergamasca di Ginnastica e Scherma 1907. The team moved to the site of the current ground, on the Viale Giulio Cesare, in 1928.

Atalanta joined the Italian league in 1929. The club first reached Serie A in 1937, but was relegated immediately. The club returned in 1940 and remained in A until 1959; after a single season in Serie B the club was promoted and lasted a further decade in A, before relegation in 1973 led to an uncertain period of promotion and relegation between the two levels.

The club achieved its highest position in 1948, finishing in 5th place. In 1981 the club fell into Serie C1, a blow which revitalised the club. The team returned to B the next season and made it back to A in 1985. The club's form in Serie A remains uncertain, as it was relegated in 1988, 1995, 1998 and 2005.

In terms of titles the club has won little, their sole silverware is the 1963 Coppa Italia. The club has had very few good runs in Europe, the best spell ending in a Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1988; in 1991 Atalanta reached UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

The club has had very few famous players. However, Atalanta has been proven to run a successful youth system, producing footballers like Roberto Donadoni (Italy national team coach from July 2006), Alessio Tacchinardi, Domenico Morfeo, Giampaolo Pazzini, Riccardo Montolivo, Ivan Pelizzoli, and Samuele Dalla Bona who have quickly been grabbed by the bigger clubs. Other players who have graced the Atleti Azzurri d'Italia include Claudio Caniggia, Glenn Strömberg, Alemao, Paolo Montero, Christian Vieri, Filippo Inzaghi, Gianluigi Lentini, Cristiano Lucarelli, Cristiano Doni, and, in the past, Stefano Angeleri, Adriano Bassetto, Antonio Cabrini, Angelo Domenghini, Humberto Maschio, Giuseppe Savoldi and Gaetano Scirea.

History of F.C. Internazionale Milano

The club was founded on March 9, 1908 as Internazionale FBC Milano, following a "schism" from the Milan Cricket and Football Club. A group of Italians and Swiss (Giorgio Muggiani, a painter who also designed the club's logo, Bossard, Lana, Bertoloni, De Olma, Enrico Hintermann, Arturo Hintermann, Carlo Hintermann, Pietro Dell'Oro, Ugo and Hans Rietmann, Voelkel, Maner, Wipf, and Carlo Ardussi) were unhappy about the domination of Italians in the AC Milan team, and broke away from them, leading to the creation of Internazionale. From the beginning, the club was open to foreign players and thus lived up to her founding name.

The club won its very first Scudetto (championship) in 1910 and its second in 1920. The captain and coach of the first Scudetto was Virgilio Fossati, who was killed in World War I. In 1928, during the Fascist era, the club was forced to merge with the Milanese Unione Sportiva and was renamed Ambrosiana SS Milano two years later it was altered to AS Ambrosiana Milano. They wore white shirts around this time with a red cross emblazoned on it. This shirt design was inspired by the flag and coat of arms of the city of Milan (which is derived from the flag of the patron saint of Milan, St. Ambrose and dates back to the 4th century AD). By 1933 the name was changed again, this time to AS Ambrosiana Inter Milano.

Their first Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) was won in 1938-39, led by the great legend Giuseppe Meazza, for whom the San Siro stadium is officially named, and a fifth league championship followed in 1940, despite an injury to Meazza. After the end of World War II, the club re-emmerged under a name close to their original one; Internazionale FC Milano, they have kept this ever since.

La Grande Inter
Following the war, Inter won its sixth championship in 1953 and the seventh in 1954. Following these titles, Inter was to enter the best years of its history, affectionately known as the era of La Grande Inter (The Great Inter). During this magnificent period, with Helenio Herrera as head coach, the club won 3 league championships in 1963, 1965 and 1966. The most famous moments during this decade also include Inter's 2 back-to-back European Cup wins. In 1964, Inter won the first of those tournaments, playing against the famous Spanish club Real Madrid. The next season, playing in their home stadium, the San Siro, they defeated two-time former champion, Benfica.

Following the golden era of the 1960s, Inter managed to win their eleventh league title in 1971 and their twelfth in 1980. Inter were defeated for the second time in five years in the final of the European Cup, going down 0-2 to Johan Cruijff's Ajax Amsterdam in 1972. During the 1970s and the 1980s, Inter also added two to its Coppa Italia tally, in 1977-78 and 1981-82.

Led by the German trio of Andreas Brehme, Jürgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthäus, Inter captured the 1989 Serie A championship and the Italian Supercup to open the following season.

Dark times
The 1990s was a period of disappointment. Whilst their great rivals AC Milan and Juventus were achieving success both domestically and in Europe, Inter were left behind, with some mediocre positions in the standings, their worst coming in 1994 when they finished just 1 point from relegation. Inter's fortunes started to improve in the 1990s. Inter achieved some European success with 3 UEFA Cup victories in 1991, 1994 and 1998.

With Massimo Moratti's takeover from Ernesto Pellegrini in 1995 Inter were promised more success with many high profile signings like Ronaldo, Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo, with Inter twice breaking the world's record transfer fee in this period. However the 1990s remained a decade of disappointment and is the only decade in Inter's history in which they did not win a single Italian Serie A Championship. They were only 45 minutes away from capturing the Scudetto on May 5, 2002 when they needed to maintain a one goal advantage over Lazio at Rome's Olimpico stadium when Inter collapsed and let in three second-half Lazio goals that enabled Juventus to pip their bitter rivals to the championship. The 2003 Champions League was met with more disappointment. Being tied 1-1 with AC Milan, only for AC Milan to advance on the away goals rule.

On June 15, 2005, Inter won the Coppa Italia, defeating AS Roma in the two-legged final 3-0 on aggregate (1-0 win in Milan and 2-0 win in Rome) and followed that up on 20 August 2005, by winning the Supercoppa Italiana after an extra-time 1-0 victory against original 04-05 Serie A champions Juventus (before being stripped of this title). This Super Cup win was Inter's first since 1989, coincidentally the same year since Inter last won the Scudetto before 2006. On 11 May 2006, Inter retained their Coppa Italia trophy by once again, defeating AS Roma with a 4-1 aggregate victory (A 1-1 scoreline in Rome and a 3-1 win at the Giuseppe Meazza, San Siro).

Inter were awarded the 2005-06 Serie A championship as they were the highest placed side in the season's final league table after points were stripped from Juventus and AC Milan - both sides involved in the match fixing scandal that year. On 14 July 2006, The Italian Federal Appeal Commission found Serie A clubs Juventus, Lazio, Fiorentina, Reggina and AC Milan guilty of match-fixing and charged the 5 clubs with their respective punishments, (although all charges were later reduced in some capacity). So with the confirmed relegation of Juventus to Serie B (for the first ever time in their history) and the 8-point deduction for city rivals AC Milan, Inter became favorites to retain their Serie A title for the upcoming 2006-07 Serie A season.

During the season, Inter went on a record-breaking run of 17 consecutive victories in Serie A, starting on September 25 2006 with a 4-1 home victory over Livorno, and ending on February 28, 2007, after a 1-1 draw at home to Udinese. The 5-2 away win at Catania on February 25 2007 broke the original record of 15 matches held by both Bayern Munich & Real Madrid from the "Big 5" (the top flight leagues in England, Italy, Spain, France & Germany). The run lasted for almost 5 months and holds among the best in European league football, with just Benfica (29 wins), Celtic (25 wins) and PSV Eindhoven (22 wins) bettering the run. Inter's form dipped a little as they scored 0-0 and 2-2 draws against relegation-battlers Reggina and slumping Palermo (respectively), the latter game featuring a second-half comeback after Palermo went up 2-0 at halftime. They could not keep their invincible form near the end of the season as well, as they lost their first game of the domestic season to Roma in the San Siro 3-1 thanks to two late Roma goals. Inter had enjoyed an unbeaten Serie A run for just under a year. This was a feat that was never accomplished by any other club.

On April 22, 2007 Inter were crowned Serie A champions for the 2nd consecutive season after defeating Siena 2-1 at Stadio Artemio Franchi. Italian World Cup winning defender Marco Materazzi scored both goals in the 18th and 60th minute, with the latter being a penalty. This is the first time Inter have won the Scudetto, on merit alone, since 1989. In addition, within hours after clinching their 2nd consecutive league title, the club confirmed head coach Roberto Mancini had signed a 4-year extension to his current contract, with an option to extend it for a further 12 months, which, if extended, would expire at the end of the 2011-12 campaign. Inter president Massimo Moratti claimed that this contractual agreement was made "some time ago"

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.