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September 19, 2016

2016-17 Serie A (Italy/1st division) location-map, with: 15/16 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed./ Plus illustrations for the 3 promoted clubs (Cagliari, Crotone, Pescara).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Italy — admin @ 3:24 pm

italy_2016-17_serie-a_map_w-attendances_titles_seasons-in-1st-div_post_b_.gif
2016-17 Serie A (Italy/1st division) location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed




By Bill Turianski on 19 September 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links
-Teams, etc…2016-17 Serie A (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Serie A/summary (soccerway.com).
-English-speaking coverage of Italian football…Forza Italian football.com.
-Here is the archive-page of Serie A-focused Guardian.com/football writer Paolo Bandini, {archive page, Paolo Bandini (theguardian.com/profile/paolobandini).}
-16/17 Serie A jerseys…2016/17 SERIE A HOME SOCCER JERSEYS (soccer365.com).

From Forza Italian Football site, here is the Season Preview: Serie A 2016-17 (by Kevin Pogorzelski at forzaitalianfootball.com).

    The 3 promoted clubs in the 2016-17 Serie A (Cagliari, Crotone, Pescara)

Cagliari won the 2015-16 Serie B. Crotone finished in 2nd place in the 15/16 Serie B. Pescara won the 15/16 Serie B play-offs.

    Cagliari

Manager: Massimo Rastelli (age 47, born in Torre de Greico [12 mi SE of Naples]).

(Note: Cagliari is pronounced kaay AA ree [the G and the L are silent]; see/hear this.)
Cagliari Calcio are from the island of Sardinia (which is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, about 240 miles off the Italian mainland). Cagliari, who play in a 16-K-capacity stadium (Stadio Sant’Elia), are the only club from Sardinia to have played in the Italian 1st division. The club is located in Cagliari (the largest city of Sardinia), which is on the southern coast of the island. Cagliari has a city population of around 154,000, and a metro-area population of around 451,000 {2015 figures}. The city of Cagliari is, by air, 413 km (257 mi) SW of Rome.

Cagliari won the 2015-16 Serie B by a point (and finished in the automatic places by a solid ten points over the 3rd place finishers). So Cagliari returns in strong form straight back up to the 1st division. Here is an article on the 16/17 Cagliari squad, Reasons To Believe Cagliari Can Defend Their Serie A Status (by Louis Gibberd-Thomas at forzaitalianfootball.com).

Counting the 2016-17 season, Cagliari have played 37 seasons in the Italian 1st division, which is the 13th-most, by club, in Italy. {See this, Serie A/Seasons in Serie A.} Cagliari’s previous stint in Serie A was for 11 seasons (from 2004-05 to 2014-15). The Rossoblu (the Red-Blue), as Calgiari are sometimes known, have been in existence since 1920.

Cagliari: the improbable title-winners of 1969-70…
Cagliari were historically a third-division club – or at best a second-division club…until the mid-1960s. Cagliari first won promotion to Serie A in June 1964. Then, 6 seasons later, led by goal-scoring powerhouse Luigi Riva, the side from the isolated island of Sardinia won the 1969-70 Italian title, in a very convincing fashion.

Luigi Riva was born in Leggiuno (near Lake Maggiore) in north-west Lombardy, near the Swiss border. In 1962 Riva got his start with nearby 3rd-division club Legnano. In the following season of 1963-64, Riva was signed by then-second-division Cagliari, and he was converted from a winger to a striker. Riva ended up playing 9 seasons for Cagliari, scoring 164 goals in 315 league appearances (1963 to 1976). (Riva was sold to Juventus in 1973, but had such loyalty to Cagliari that he famously refused to board the airplane for Turin, and the deal was nullified.) Riva was a natural left-footer and was very effective in the air {check out this brilliant horizontal header Riva scored for Italy versus East Germany in 1969, here}. (Luigi Riva ended up with some pretty impressive international stats…he scored 35 goals in 45 appearances for Italy.) Owing to his powerfully struck shots, Riva was nicknamed the Thunder-Clap (Rombo di Tuono). In 1969-70, Riva scored a league-best 21 goals in 30 games in Cagliari’s title-winning season (back then, Serie A had 16 teams in it).

The year before (1967-68), the Serie A title was a three-horse-race between Milan, Fiorentina, and Cagliari, with Cagliari losing out to Fiorentina by 4 points. In 1969-70, the title-race developed into three-way fight between Juventus, Internazionale, and Cagliari. Cagliari’s manager was the wily Manilo Scopigno, who was a native of far-north-eastern Italy in Friuli. Scopigno had Cagliari play in a variation of the newfangled Dutch total football, with a then-novel use of the sweeper position (the libero) in front of the defensive line (that role was performed by Pierluigi Cera; see photo below). Cagliari’s defense was led by starting Italy goalkeeper Enrico “Ricky” Albertosi, who had been lured over from Fiorentina in 1968. With Albertosi, the Cagliari defense was so impregnable that they only let in 11 goals in 30 games in 1969-70. That made for an astounding average of just 0.36 goals allowed per game, an all-time Italian 1st division record. Another key player for Cagliari was the Brazilian defensive midfielder Nene, who had played with Pele at Santos, and then came over to Italy first with Juventus, and then with Cagliari. Nene played for over a decade for Cagliari (1964-76) (you can see Nene below in the squad-photo, below, at the far upper-left). With the addition of right-winger/playmaker Albero Domenghini (who also can be seen in a photo below), it all came together for Cagliari in 1969-70. By March of 1970, Cagliari began to pull away from the pack, and in the end, the Rossoblu managed to clinch the title with two games to spare, on 12 April 1970 with a 2-0 win over Bari. Below you can see photos from that game. Then the inhabitants of the island of Sardinia celebrated and partied on, for days. Cagliari finished four points ahead of Inter and 7 ahead of Juventus.

The late 1960s was a time when many Sardinians did not have televisions or even radios. Many Sardinians in fact did purchase their first transistor radios in order to follow Cagliari’s title-run that season. It is said that Sardinia first united as an island and truly joined the modern age – and truly joined Italy, for that matter – when Cagliari won the Scudetto in 1970. Here is a great article on Cagliari’s amazing title-winning season, Cagliari 1969-70 (by Jon Spurling, from August 2007, at wsc.co.uk). {Here is a highly recommended book about Italian football which touches on the Cagliari title-win, Calcio: A History of Italian Football, by John Foot (amazon.com).}

Below: 1969-70 Cagliari – the improbable champions of Italy…
http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cagliari_1969-70_italian-champions_luigi-riva_enrico-albertosi_pierluigi-cera_alberto-domenghini_manlio-scopigno_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo of 69/70 Cagliari home jersey, photo by retrofootballclub.com/cagliari-1969-70. Photo of Luigi Riva and coach Manlio Scopigno at Cagliari training pitch (circa 1968), photo’s author is unknown, posted at File:Cagliari – Gigi Riva e Manlio Scopigno.jpg (it.wikipedia.org). Photo of GK Enrico “Ricky” Albertosi, photo (circa 1969) unattibuted at magliarossonera.it/Albertosi. Photo of Pierluigi Cera, photo unattributed at repubblica.it. Photo of Angelo Domenghini, photo unattributed at sport.sky.it. Photo of Luigi “Sound of Thunder” Riva, photo’s author is unknown, posted at File:Serie A 1969-70 – Cagliari vs Bari – Pasquale Loseto e Gigi Riva.jpg (it.wikipedia.org). Black-and-white photo of Riva climbing riot fence and saluting Cagliari fans, photo unattributed at s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com. Color photo of Riva climbing riot fence and saluting Cagliari fans (as Carabineiri laugh), photo unattributed at s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com. Close-up shot of Riva saluting Cagliari fans, photo unattributed at gazzettaworld.com. Photo of Cagliari 1969-70 squad (taken before a game at San Siro in Milan), photo unattributed at gazzettaworld.com/leicesters-success-cagliari-memory.

Below: Cagliari Calcio, Stadio Sat’Elia (opened 1970)…
cagliari_stadio-sant-elia_promoted2016_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo of Cagliari 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at 2.bp.blogspot.com. Photo of Cagliari, by azamaraclubcruises.com/cagliari-sardinia-italy-cruises. c
Aerial shot of Stadio Sant’Elia, photo unattributed at sardiniapost.it. c. Interior wide-angle sot of stadium, photo by Ansgar Speitz at soccerway.com/teams/italy/cagliari-calcio. Interior shot of main stand, photo by Gigidelneri at File:Trib centrale sant elia.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Cagliari supporters at Stadio Sant’Elia, photo by Enrico Nocci at afr-photos.com.

• Crotone
Manager: Davide Nicola (age 43, born in Luserna San Giovanni [45 kn (21 mi) SW of Turin), Piedmont). Nicola replaces Croatian ex-Genoa and ex-Crotone player Ivan Jurić, who had gotten Crotone promoted in May 2016 (Jurić is now manager of Genoa).

Here is a preview of the 2016-17 FC Crotone, Crotone ultimate underdogs (by Colin Millar at football-italia.net).

FC Crotone have never been in the top flight previous to 2016-17. The club is from Calabria, near the toe of the boot in the far south of the Italian Peninsula. They have a rather small stadium (former capacity, 9.5 K), which is being expanded to 16.5 K. It is called Stadio Enzo Scida. FC Crotone wear Bologna-style kits (red-and-dark-blue vertically striped jerseys). {Here is an interesting article on Crotone from 1 June 2016, An Underdog's Triumph: Fabulous FC Crotone's promotion highlights Italy's north-south divide (by Franco Ficetola at just-football.com).)

The small city of Crotone has a population of around 62,000 {2016 figure}. Two thousand seven hundred years ago, in 710 BC, as part of Magna Graecia, Crotone was settled, as Croton, by the Peloponnese Greeks (in pre-Roman times). And so one of the nicknames of FC Crotone is Pitagorici (the Pythagoreans), a reference to the great philosopher-and-mathematician Pythagorus, who founded his school (the Pythagoreans), in Croton circa 530 BC. Another nickname of FC Crotone is Squali (the Sharks), and on FC Crotone's crest you can see two sharks swimming around a giant flaming torch (which is physically impossible but makes for a nice image) {crest of FC Crotone}. Crotone are also known as the Rosso-blu.

The deck is seriously stacked against a small club like Crotone surviving in Serie A, and I hope Crotone don't go straight back down - like two other recently-promoted clubs. That would be Frosinone and Carpi, both of whom made their Serie A debuts in 2015-16, and both of whom went straight back down to the 2nd division ten months later.

It certainly is not helping that Crotone have had to play their first 3 home matches 279 miles away - in Pescara - because their stadium expansion has not been finished in time. Crotone have drawn less than one thousand for these games, and in their latest loss, 1-3 to Atalanta on 23 September, there were just 521 in attendance.

crotone_promoted2016_stadio-enzo-scida_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of 16/17 FC Crotone jersey unattributed at 2016/17 SERIE A HOME SOCCER JERSEYS (soccer365.com). Aerial photo of Crotone, photo by Geotag Aeroview at tripinview.com. Exterior view of Stadio Enzo Scida, photo unattributed at quicosenza.it/sport/crotone-calcio-oliverio-festeggia-la-serie-a-regalando-un-nuovo-stadio. Photo of the re-build, showing the installation of one of the new stands at Crotone, photo unattributed at calcioweb.eu.

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• Pescara
Manager: Massimo Oddo (age 40, born in Città Sant'Angelo, 14 km (9 mi) NW of Pescara). Oddo was a right-back with a long first-division career at Verona, Lazio, Milan, and Bayern Munich. Oddo retired from the pitch in 2012 with Lecce, then went into coaching as Genoa youth team coach. He was hired as an assistant coach at his home-town Pescara in 2014, and stepped in as caretaker in May 2015, when Pescara had failed to make the 14/15 Serie B play-offs. The following season (2015-16), Oddo got Pescara promoted back to Serie A with a 3-1 aggregate win over Trapani in the 15/16 Serie B play-off Finals. {See this, Pescara promoted to Serie A after beating Trapani in playoff final (espnfc.com).}

Delfino Pescara 1936 wear sky-blue-and-white vertically-striped jerseys, and as their moniker suggests, are nicknamed Delfini (the Dolphins). Counting 2016-17, Pescara have spent 7 seasons in Serie A; their previous spell was for a single season in 2012-13. Their Stadio Adriatico, which has a 20.5 K-capacity, unfortunately has an atmosphere-destroyng running track.

Here is a preview of the 2016-17 Pescara...Sink or swim for Delfini (by Rossella Marrai-Ricco at football-italia.net).

Pescara is on the Adriadtic Sea in the region of Abruzzo. Pescara has a city-population of around 123,000 and a metro-population of around 450,000 {2009 figures}. Pescara has 30 kilometres of beaches, and is a tourist destination. The coastal part of Abruzzo is sort of similar to Los Angeles/southern California - not for the lifestyle, but for the fact that much like in LA, in Abruzzo you could lay on the beach in the morning and in the afternoon you could be skiing the nearby slopes. Except in Abruzzo, the distance from the beautiful beaches to the snowy high mountains is only a distance of about 32 km (20 mi). As it says in Pescara's wikipedia page, "The city is very close to the mountains, and you can reach the ski slopes of Passo Lanciano in just 30 minutes." (See photo below, which shows Pescara's marina with the one-and-a-half-mile-high peaks of the Central Apennines in the distance.)

delfino-pescara_promoted2016_pescara-abruzzo_stadio-adriatico-giovanni-cornacchia_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of Pescara 16/17 jersey, photo unattributed at soccerstyle24.it/pescara-home-16-17.jpg Photo of dwellings in old town in Pescara, photo unattributed at italiancook.ca/Abruzzo. Photo of beach at Pescara, photo by Luca Aless at File:Pescara - Spiaggia vista dal ponte del mare.JPG. Photo of marina at Pescara with snow-covered mountains in the background, photo unattributed at madeinsouthitalytoday.com. Photo of Pescara with stadium in background, photo unattributed at kukly-bratc.ru/[Pescara]. Aerial shot of Stadio Adriatico, photo unattributed at calcioefinanza.it/2015/11/09/stadio-pescara-nuovo-impianto-entro-la-stagione-2018-2019.

Extra feature…
The ongoing upgrades in Italian first division stadiums…

First it was Juventus who lead the way to a re-think in Italian stadium design, with their magnificent Juventus Stadium (which opened in 2011). Not only does Juventus Stadium have all the modern conveniences, but it also features steep-graded stands for better sight-lines and no accursed running track. And unlike every other top flight stadium at the time, Juventus Stadium is owned by the club (and not the municipality). Like in England and Germany and Spain and France (among other places).
juventus-stadium_turin_b.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
juvepoland.com.
Interior photo of Juventus Stadium by Maurice Moerland, at stadiumguide.com/juventusstadium.

Then clubs like Roma and Sampdoria made plans of their own for self-funded new stadiums. {See this, Roma stadium three years away (football-italia.net). See this, Sampdoria Present New Stadium Plans (viva-news.com).} Milan and Fiorentina also have ambitions to build and own their own stadiums {see this, 7 Stadiums Which Could Rejuvenate Serie A (football-tripper.com from July 2015)}. And up in Friuli in north-east Italy, Udinese got the municiplity of Udine to work with them to totally re-design the Stadio Friuli, which you can see further below. Hopefully the trend for new and better stadiums in Serie A will bear more fruit. It also must be pointed out that Sassuolo now own their own stadium – Mapei Stadium-Città del Tricolore, and you can see that stadium below.

Below, Mapei Stadium (opened 1995) – owned by first division club US Sassuolo…
Mapei Stadium. Home of Sassuolo (1st division club) and AC Reggiana (3rd division club).
Capacity 29,380/current reduced capacity of 21,700. Located in Reggio Emilia, which is 21 km (13 miles) NW of Sassuolo. Built by Reggiana FC in 1995, the stadium was well ahead of its time for Italy – being the first stadium in Italy in the modern age to be funded and built by the club (and not built and owned by the local municipality, as with virtually all other pro clubs in Italy). But Reggiana FC went bankrupt in 2005 (the club was re-formed as AC Reggiana that same year). The stadium sat under-utilized for a few years until nearby club Sassuolo began advancing up the divisional ladder in Italian football. Sassuolo began playing at the stadium in 2013 and bought the stadium outright in 2015.
sassuolo_ac-reggiana_mapei-stadium-citta-del-tricolore_owned-by-sassuolo_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Aerial shot of stadium, photo unattributed at en.ecoprogram.net. Exterior shot of stadium, photo unattributed at footballtripper.com/jpg. Exterior shot of stadium (street-level/side-view), photo by Groundhopping (Sweden) site groundhopping.se/Sassuolo. Interior shot of stadium (during pre-match), photo unattributed at en.ecoprogram.net.

Udinese: the massive re-build at Stadio Friuli in Udine, Friuli-Venezia Guilia…
The stadium originally had poor sight-lines due to the vast gap created by the running track, as well as the shallow incline of the seating in the bowl of the stands. So, everything except the Main Stand’s arced roof was torn out. Emulating Juventus’ recently-built stadium, the new stands at Stadio Friuli were built at a much steeper angle, for better sight-lines. A roof over all the re-built parts completes the stunning new look of Stadio Friuli (now officially called the Dacia Arena).
udinese_stadio-friuli_renovation_dacia-arena_2015_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Stadium before renovation, photo unattributed at skyscrapercity.com. Aerial shot of re-built Stadio Friuli, photo by Elio Meroi at sporteconomy.it. Interior photo of Stadio Friuli (aka Daci Arena), photo by Matteo.favi at File:DaciArena.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Opening match at re-built Stadio Friuli, photo unattributed at voazzurro.it.

___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Italy by TUBS, at File:Italy provincial location map.svg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2015-16 stadium capacities (for league matches) from osservatoriosport.interno.gov.it/allegati/stadi_italiani_3.pdf.
-General info, crests, kit illustrations, from 2016-17 Serie A (en.wikipedia.org).

September 28, 2015

Italy: 2015-16 Serie A location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed. / Plus a map showing the locations of the 3 Emilia-Romagna-based clubs (and their venues), now in Serie A (Sassuolo, Bologna, Carpi)./ Plus a few words on, and illustrations for, the 3 promoted clubs (Carpi, Frosinone, Bologna).

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Italy — admin @ 7:51 pm

(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)
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italy_serie-a_2015-16_map_clubs-2014-15-attendance_clubs-1st-div-seasons_titles_post_c_.gif
Italy: 2015-16 Serie A location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed



Links…
-Teams, etc…2015–16 Serie A (en.wikipedia.org).
-English-speaking coverage of Italian football…Forza Italian football.com.
-Here is the archive-page of Serie A-focused Guardian.com/football writer Paolo Bandini, {archive page, Paolo Bandini (theguardian.com/profile/paolobandini).}
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Serie A/summary (soccerway.com).


By Bill Turianski on 28 September 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

    Italy: 2015-16 Serie A location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed

Template…
I am using the same template I have used with my recent maps of the 2015-16 1st divisions of England, Germany, and Spain. I still have France to do, and I plan on posting Ligue Un 2015-16 map-and-post on Saturday 10 October. Anyway, listed at the chart at the right-hand-side of the map page are the following 6 things…Average home attendance (league matches) the past 2 seasons, including 14/15 Percent-Capacity and Crowd-size change. League finish the last 2 seasons. Seasons-in-1st-division (and consecutive seasons noted). Italian titles (with last title listed). Coppa Italia titles (with last title listed). Major international titles (with last titles listed) [Anglo-Italian Cup? Sorry, never a major title.]
Features on map…
The map includes the listing of the 20 Regions of Italy (which is the first political division in Italy). The map also features the 6 largest cities in Italy (in order of largest-to-smaller, here are the most-current city population figures [as opposed to the (much-larger) metro-area-population-figures]…Rome/2.8 million, Milan/1.3 million, Naples/.98 million, Turin/.89 million, Palermo/.67 million, Genoa/.52 million). {Source: 2014 & 2015 figures at List of largest cities in the European Union by population within city limits (en.wikipedia.org).}
4 stadium-shares in the 2015-16 Serie A…
There are 4 stadium-shares in the 2015-16 Serie A (in Genoa, Milan, Rome, and Verona), and they are all noted on the map. The map also shows the two clubs in Emilia-Romagna who have been forced by the Italian football authorities to play in larger nearby stadiums. Those 2 clubs are third-year-top-flight club Sassuolo; and the white-and-red-clad Carpi, who are making their top flight debut in 2015-16. Both had been originally playing in very tiny 4-K-capacity stadiums.

Below, venue-locations and home-locations of Bologna, Sassuolo & Carpi…
sassuolo_carpi_bologna_2015-16-serie-a_locations_f_.gif
Image credit above – segment of Blank map of Italy by TUBS, at File:Italy provincial location map.svg.

For Sassuolo, playing about 15 miles (21 km) away, in the city of Reggio-Emilia, has worked out OK for the turtle-green-&-black-striped side. Sassuolo are not drawing bad at all for a club that pretty much sprang up out of nowhere three-or-four years ago. Sassuolo have been drawing between 12 to 13 K the past 2 seasons, and actually seem to be establishing themselves as a viable top tier club, with a 12th-place finish last season. And Sassuolo have started strong in 15/16, in 4th place after 6 matches.

Carpi are not playing in their stadium because it is pretty inadequate…
But it really remains to be seen if the back-to-back-promoted Carpi can weather such a venue-shift as well. Because there are other factors with respect to Carpi…namely, that many supporters did not want their Cinderella-club’s historic first-division debut season to be played down the road, at the five-times-larger stadium of hated local rivals, Modena. One of the larger supporter-groups of Carpi – a group named Guidati dal Lambrusco – have actually announced they will boycott home matches. {For more on that, see the following article. Here is Gentleman Ultra’s excellent August 2015 post, at Guardian.com/football, on Carpi’s Serie A debut season, Carpi: Serie A alternative club guide (by Richard Hall and Luca Hodges-Ramon at theguardian.com/football)}.}.

Below – Stadio Sandro Cabassi, home of Carpi FC when they play in the lower divisions; and Carpi’s home-venue for Serie A, Stadio Alberto Braglia in Modena
carpi_stadio-santa-cabassi_stadio-alberto-braglia_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Entrance to stadium, photo by Stefano Romagnoli at stadiumjourney.com. Rooftop-view of stadium, photo by Stefano Romagnoli at stadiumjourney.com. Interior photo of “stadium”, photo unattributed at footballtrip.com. Shot of Carpi squad with fans in background, photo from facebook.com/Carpi FC 1909. Larger photo of venue, photo by Antti’s Football Scarves blog (saturday3.com) via snipview.com. Modena stadium, photo unattributed at calcioland.forumfree.it [Serie B stadiums thread].

So one of the largest Carpi supporter-groups is boycotting their own home games. This does not bode well for Carpi. Their stadium, as you can see further above, is the 4.1-capacity Stadio Sandro Cabassi. Look at the rust on the gates of the main entrance, and look at the black mold-scum festering at the tops of the granite walls. You call that inviting? I call it scary. Look at those tiny isolated-and-fenced-off bleacher-stands there behind the goals, then look at the slanted concrete moat (is this police-state-type concrete moat/riot-wall actually necessary?), and then look at the barbed-wire-topped riot-fence ringing the pitch. What is this, a convict-holding-pen or a football stadium? That faction who is boycotting Carpi’s home matches because they now have to play home matches at the hated Modena, well, they should not be casting stones at someone else’s house, so to speak. Because their club’s home ground is pretty dire. And besides, Carpi is averaging 10.6 K right now, whereas they could only average 4.1 K in their own stadium (see this/from 22 Sept. 2015). Hey boycotting Carpi fans, where do you think the extra 6 K each game of ticket-revenue goes to, which your club is now getting (at Modena)? It goes straight to your club, you boycotters. This is not rocket science. Carpi is literally profiting from their move to Modena. But meanwhile, a fan-group of Carpi boycotts their home matches – out of misplaced spite. Where is the logic in that? Hey fan-group…your boycott might mean ‘we hate Modena’ to you, but it also NOW means ‘we don’t want our club to earn more ticket-revenue’. Well, those boycotters will probably be able to watch Carpi at their home ground in 2016-17. Because it is starting to look like Carpi are going straight back down to Serie B. Carpi sit last on 2 points after 6 matches. And they sacked their manager on Sunday 28 September after the 6th game – a 5-1 shellacking by Roma.

Frosinone – also with a Serie A debut in 2015-16, and their ground, Stadio Matusa…
frosinone_stadio-matusa_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – aerial shot of stadium, photo unattributed at football-trip.com. File:Panorama Frosinone edit.jpg, photo by Moongateclimber at commons.wikimedia.org.
Roofed main stand, photos from stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/stadio-comunale [Frosinone]. Aerial image of stadium , screenshot of bird’s-eye satellite view at bing.com/maps.

Frosinone are from the city of Frosinone, which is located 75 km (47 mi) SE of Rome. Frosinone is connected to the capital by the A1 motorway (both are in the region of Lazio). The town serves somewhat as a bedroom community for commuters who work in Rome. The city of Frosinone has a population of around 46,000 {2014 estimate}. Frosinone Calcio wear all-yellow with royal blue trim. Frosinone Calcio, like Carpi FC 1909, are making their first division debut in 2015-16. Also like Carpi, Frosinone have a small ground. But Frosinone is a club that is about twice as big as Carpi as measured by gates – Carpi drew 3.0 K last year, while Frosinone drew 5.2 K. And Frosinone’s ground is not nearly as small or decrepit as Carpi’s ground. And Frosinone’s ground – the 9.6-K-capacity Stadio Matusa – passed muster by FIGC, and the club will be hosting their 2015-16 Serie A home matches there.

Frosinone’s stadium looks pretty nice (no running track!), and the worst I can see is a bit of rust at the welding joints on their nicely archaic cantilever roof (see it above), which covers part of the main stand on the west side of the stadium (there is minimal roof-coverage at the ground, because there is not much rain there in that part of south-central Italy).

The then-struggling Frosinone got their first point in Serie A in the 5th round on 23 Sept. 2015, with a 1-1 result against reigning champions Juventus in Turin. It was a last-minute 94th-minute goal (the goal was a dramatic header from a corner-kick, by actual Juve-supporter Leonardo Blanchard). Juventus might also be really struggling, but what a way for Frosinone to record their first point in the top flight. From reddit.com/r/soccer, thread: reddit.com/r/soccer/comments/blanchard_last_minute_goal_vs_juventus [23 Sept. 2015]/. From Guardian/football, Frosinone’s Leonardo Blanchard savours historic goal against Juventus (by Paolo Bandini on 24 Sept. 2015 at theguardian.com/football).

Then Frosinone beat fellow minnows Empoli 2-0 on Monday the 28th of September, to move out of the relegation zone. Go Frosinone! It is starting to look like a decent start for Frosinone, but, like Carpi, it will be an uphill battle for Frosinone to stay up.

Bologna are back in the top flight after winning the 2014-15 Serie B play-offs…
Bologna are one of the nine or ten biggest yo-yo clubs in Europe (“up there” with Hertha Berlin, FC Köln, FC Nürnberg, Sunderland, FC Kaiserslautern, RC Lens, Norwich City, Wolverhampton, and Sporting Gijón). Bologna has suffered two relegations in the last 10 years (in 2005-06 and in 2013-14), and otherwise have been perennial lower-table/relegation-battlers in the top tier (with 17th-place finishes in 2008-09 and in 2009-10, a 16th-place finish in 2010-11, and a 13th-place finish in 2012-13, one year before getting the drop in 2013-14 as 19th-place finisher). And wouldn’t you know it? After 6 games into the 2015-16 Serie A, Bologna is right back in a relegation-battle already, with 1 win and 5 losses, and sitting second-from-bottom in the table.

The Italian 2nd division play-off system – complicated but fair…
Last season, Bologna won the complicated-but-equitable Serie B play-offs. I say equitable because the Italian football authorities have sensibly figured out a way to have a play-off system which rewards final league placement…by giving the higher-placed club the tiebreaker in aggregate score. And 4th-place Bologna utilized that rule to beat Avellino 3-3 aggregate and then in the 2014-15 Serie B play-offs finals, Bologna beat Pescara 1-1 aggregate. Both times Bologna got the nod with a better 4th place finish than 8th-place Avellino and 7th-place Pescara. Hey England, this play-offs aggregate tiebreaker rule is a brilliant idea, which needs to be adopted in the Football League. Hats off to the Italian football authorities (FIGC) for the progressive tweak in the lower-divisions play-offs rules…a rule that benefits those promotion-candidates who finish higher. Which is only fair.

Bologna’s stadium has a stupid running track…
Bologna play at the 32-K-capacity Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, which (sigh) has a stupid running track. Oh Italy, when will you learn? Your stupid running-track-infested municipal stadiums are ruining your game. Get the memo, Italy. ALL football fans detest stadiums with running tracks. Italy, please, I beg of you. Build some new 1st-divison-worthy football stadiums without running tracks, already. If Bordeaux, France can do it, than I am pretty sure Bologna, Italy could too.

Why are there running tracks in most 1st division municipal stadiums in Brazil or Italy or other quasi-Third-World nations?
Seriously…WHY? Is it stupid urban planners there, or is it the fear of goons running onto the field there? Either way, it is ruining their product.
I mean come on, Italy. It’s embarrassing. Serie A regularly features some of the highest-calibre and watchable pro football anywhere on the planet…but it is so often being played in dumps of stadiums with (or formerly-with) those stupid running tracks. Stadiums that should have seen the wrecking ball years ago. All over the Italian peninsula. Currently 35% of all 2015-16 Serie A matches are being played in lame-ass venues afflicted with the accursed running tracks. Such as in Rome (2 teams). And such as in Naples. And such as in Verona (2 teams). And such as in Empoli. And such as in Bologna (see photo in illustration below). And the filled-in running-track stadiums in Serie A are pretty lame too (Palermo, Fiorentina, Torino, Atalanta [Bergamo]). At least, besides Juventus’ recently-new stadium (Juventus Stadium, opened Sept. 2011), there is one other recent ray-of-hope on the stadia front in Italy – and that of course is the massive re-build going on the past 2-and-a-half years up in far north-east Italy at Stadio Friuli, in Udine, home of Udinese Calcio…from Stadium DB site, from 13 Sept. 2015, update on the re-build at: Stadio Friuli (stadiumdb.com).

Bologna FC, and their home, Stadio Renato Dall’Ara…
http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/bologna_stadio-renato-dall-ara_d_.gif
Photo credits above – Aerial view of Bologna, photo by Bamshad Houshyani at flickr.com via happytellus.com. View of stadium from curva, photo unattributed at tumblr.com/search/stadio (scroll down at the bottom of that post for plenty of photos of the renovation at Stadio Friuli).
___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Italy by TUBS, at File:Italy provincial location map.svg.
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from 2014–15 Serie A (en.wikipedia.org); Serie A (it.wikipedia.org).

September 29, 2014

Italy: 2014 football attendance map, all Italian clubs [42 clubs] drawing over 4 K per game [from 2013-14 home league matches].

italy_2014_highest-drawing-clubs_all-italian-clubs-drawing-over-4k_42-clubs_post_h_.gif
Italy: 2014 football attendance map [all Italian clubs drawing over 4 K per game]




(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)

This continues my new category of European football leagues attendance maps. This map for Italy shows all football clubs in the Italian football leagues system which drew over 4,000 per game in the 2013-14 season (from home domestic league matches). The larger the club-crest, the higher the club’s attendance. I have added an extra detail on the map of showing all the Regions of Italy [the Regions are the first level of political subdivision in Italy].

The chart at the right-hand side of the map page shows 2013-14 average attendance, stadium capacity, and percent capacity. Also shown at the far right of the chart are: each club’s Italian titles (with year of last title), seasons spent in the Italian first division (with last season in the first division noted, if applicable), and Italian Cup titles (with year of last title).

You might have noticed the large red-white-green shield and the large red-white-green circular device above the chart – those are the badges which the winner of the Italian league and Italian Cup wear the following season. Of course, the winners of the Italian national title, or Serie A title, are known as the winners of the Scudetto. Since Bologna (the title-winners in 1925) instituted the ritual for the following season (the 1925-26 season), the title-winner gets to show the Scudetto shield on their jersey the following season. Likewise, the winner of the Italian Cup [or, the Coppa Italia] is allowed to sport the Coccorda on their jersey the following season. I know Turkey does a similar thing on their league and cup winners’ jerseys, but very few other countries do this. Which is a pity, because the Scudetto shield and the Coccorda device look so cool on the reigning champions’ kit. It is a bit of a boast, but not too much of a boast. And the Scudetto and the Coccorda look great on the winners’ jersey, pretty much no matter what that title-winning club’s color scheme is. {Here is reigning Italian champions Juventus’ 2014-15 home jersey with Scudetto shield on it, juvestore.com/juventus-home-jersey-2014-15. Here is Coppa Italia reigning champions Napoli’s 2014-15 home jersey with Coccorda on it, macron.com/shop/napoli/2014-15/home.}
___
Thanks to Eric Gaba for the blank topographic/political map of Italy at ‘File:Italy map-blank.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).

Thanks to European-football-statistics.co.uk, for Italian attendance figures, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.

Thanks to the contributors at Serie A, at Serie B, and at Lega Pro [Italian 3rd division] (en.wikipedia.org).

April 18, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Italy (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Italy, with 11 other player-options listed).

Filed under: Italy — admin @ 11:56 am




Italy national team. UEFA (Europe). Gli Azzurri (the Blues). Home jersey: House of Savoy Blue, with red-white-green trim. {‘Coat of arms of the House of Savoy, Vittorio Emanuelle II‘ (pbase.com)}.
Question: why does Italy play in blue?. Answer (from BBC.co.uk): ‘Italy play in blue shirts rather than the colours of their national flag in a custom dating back to the country’s pre-republican days. Blue was the official colour of the Royal House of Savoy and the Azzurri tribute to the Italian monarchy survives today.’ (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/specials/html/linekers_verdict/italy.stm).

-Italy is in 2014 FIFA World Cup Group D (with Costa Rica, England, and Uruguay), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group D‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is Italy’s 18th qualification out of 19 tries (1930: did not enter; 1958: did not qualify).
Italy has qualified for the World Cup in: 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish: 2010, Group Stage (0-2-1).
Highest WC finish:
1934, Champions (4-1-0).
1938: Champions (4-0-0).
1982: Champions (4-3-0).
2006: Champions (5-2-0).

Italy have won the FIFA World Cup 4 times, which is second only to Brazil’s 5 World Cup titles {en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FIFA_World_Cup_finals#Results_by_nation}.

Population of Italy: 59.9 million {2013 estimate}. Capital & largest city: Rome, city pop. 2.6 million {2013 estimate}; metro area pop. 4.3 million {2012 estimate}. Largest metro area: Milan, city pop.1.3 million {2013 estimate}; metro area pop. 7.6 million {2012 estimate}.

Italy’s 8 largest metro areas can be seen in the following link, ‘Metropolitan cities of Italy/Sizing, Economic Performance‘ (en.wikipedia.org). (The largest 8 metro areas in Italy are also shown on the map below.)

-Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli. Cesare Prandelli. -Italy squad captain, GK Gianluigi ‘Gigi’ Buffon (Juventus). Gianluigi Buffon.

[Note: the chart below is updated to reflect final roster selection for 2014 WC/ 'Italy national football team/Current Squad' (en.wikipedia.org).]
Below: Theoretical Best XI for Italy (with 11 other player-options further below) -
italy_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_c-prandelli_z4_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Italy 2013-14 home jersey, photo from footballkitnews.com/talia-home-kit-2013-2014.
Italy/EU map, by NuclearVacuum at ‘File:EU-Italy.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Italy map by Eric Gaba & NordNordWest at ‘File:Italy relief location map-blank.jpg‘ (commons.wikipedia.org).
Coach,
Cesare Prandelli, photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images via sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news.
Goalkeeper,
Gigi Buffon (Juventus), photo unattributed at funscrape.com/gianluigi+buffon.
Defenders,
Ignazio Abate (Milan), photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), photo by Nigel French/EMPICS via london24.com/sport.
Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), photo unattributed at juventusfans.forumcommunity.net.
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), photo unattributed at zastavki.com.
Midfielders,
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), photo unattributed at forzaitalianfootball.com.
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), photo unattributed at planetf1.com.
Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Daniele De Rossi (Roma), photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Forwards,
Mario Balotelli (Milan), photo unattributed at 1.skysports.com/football.
Antonio Cassano (Parma), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Other player-options,
Thiago Motta MF/CMF/DMF (PSG), photo by L’Equipe at lequipe.fr/Football.
Alberto Aquilani CM (Fiorentina), photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Alessio Cerci (Torino), photo unattributed at futura.unito.it/blog.
Lorenzo Insigne AMF/LW (Napoli), photo unattributed at calciomalato.blogosfere.it.
Mattia De Sciglio DF/RB (Milan), photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Antonio Candreva RW/RM/AM (Lazio), photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Gabriel Paletta CB (Parma), photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Marco Verratti CM (PSG), photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Matteo Darmian RB/CB (Torino), photo from media2.ftbpro.com.
Salvatore Sirigu GK (PSG), photo from uefa.com.
Ciro Immobile FW (Torino), photo from m.goal.com/jp.
___

Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Italy national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at int.soccerway.com/international/europe/wc-qualifying-europe/2014-brazil/1st-round/r15653/.

September 18, 2013

Italy: 2013-14 Serie A Location-map, with 2012-13 attendance data. / With an article on Cagliari’s stadium controversy of 2012-13.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Italy — admin @ 9:08 pm

2013-14_italy_serie-a_location-map_2012-13attendance_post_.gif
Italy: 2013-14 Serie A Location-map, with 2012-13 attendance data




(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)

There was a 3.4% increase in overall Serie A attendance in 2012-13, but before you start thinking this is a sign of a revival of the Italian game, the fact is that the 3.4% attendance increase (from 23,234 per game in 12/13, versus 22,466 per game in 11/12) can be explained by 2 factors. Factor 1: 10% to 19% crowd increases at Roma, Bologna and Chievo Verona – the 3 clubs’ crowd increases, added together, put 8,043 per game extra toward the overall Serie A average attendance last season. Factor 2: the return of a couple of large-ish clubs back from Serie B last season – Sampdoria and Torino – and the relegation of three small-ish clubs following the 11/12 season – Cesena, Novara and Lecce. Here’s how I back up that assertion…Samp.+Torino avg. crowds =19,144 per game in 12/13, versus Cesena+Novara+Lecce avg. crowds=12,442 per game in 12/13, meaning a 53% increase to the overall 2012-13 Serie A average attendance via the departure of the 3 relegated clubs from 11/12 and the inclusion of the two promoted clubs for 12/13.

Nevertheless, despite not really having great, standout seasons last year, Roma, Bologna and Chievo Verona had modest-to-pretty-good crowd increases. So maybe we can see the light-at-the-end-of-the tunnel for Serie A and its near-decade-long slump. Maybe that can be seen in the 3,960 per game extra who attended AS Roma matches, and in the 2,179 per game extra who attended Bologna FC matches, and in the 1,904 per game extra who attended the home matches of the Flying Donkeys of Chievo Verona last season.

    Stadia News in Italy

In one way, Italian football really has turned a corner – in beginning to produce well-designed new venues with all the expected modern amenities and with proper, steep-pitched stands and no atmosphere-destroying running track. Juventus FC led the way, with their club-owned Juventus Stadium, which opened in August 2011 (see illustration below). Juventus are the only club in Serie A to own their own stadium. Which, when you compare to the situations in most every other highly-ranked Western European league, is odd, because in England (and in Scotland), in Germany, in the Netherlands, in Spain, and in Portugal, most of the big clubs and many of the mid-sized or small clubs own their own stadiums.

Although this is not the case in France, there are many nice municipal stadiums in Ligue Un and Ligue Deux…the venues of Lille, Saint-Étienne, Lens, Rennes, and Bastia – to name a few – are all nice municipal stadiums with some good stands and no running tracks. Many if not most French municipalities who have built venues to house their first division football clubs had long ago dispensed with the misbegotten notion that it made any sense to put a little-used and superfluous running track into a facility that would be primarily used for football matches. With the exception of Milan and Genoa, Italian municipalities never got this memo. Italy may be one of the world leaders in design, but in public planning, not so much. This needs to change if Serie A ever hopes to reclaim its place as the most well-attended association football league in the world. Best-drawing league in the world was a distinction the Italian top flight held for over two decades during the mid-1970s (overtaking England’s First Division in 1972-73 [at 32,176 per game]), all through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, peaking at 38,872 per game in 1984-85, and still drawing best overall for another 9 years until Germany’s Bundesliga overtook Serie A as the top-drawing league in 1994-95 {figures here, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm}.
juventus-stadium_turin_b.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
juvepoland.com.
Interior photo of Juventus Stadium by Maurice Moerland, at stadiumguide.com/juventusstadium.

In Genoa, there is a very nice municipal stadium, Stadio Luigi Ferraris {‘Stadio Luigi Ferraris‘ (stadiumguide.com)}, which, unlike almost all large top-flight municipal stadiums in Italy (besides San Siro in Milan), has never had a running track. Sampdoria share it with local rivals Genoa C&FC. Despite the excellent venue, and perhaps in part because they wish to literally distance themselves from their rival, Sampdoria have long wished to build and own their own stadium. Now they have preliminary plans in place – see the following. From Stadium Guide.com, from 14 April 2013, ‘Sampdoria take step closer to seafront stadium‘.

Meanwhile. Udinese, a club that has been trailblazing in a different way (with satellite-clubs in England and Spain/ see caption in illustration below), have taken the cue from Juventus. Working with the owners of their home-stadium, the city of Udine, Udinese have totally re-designed and renovated the Stadio Friuli. To say the people involved in Udinese’s stadium re-design were influenced by the design of Juventus Stadium would be an understatement. Here is an article on that from TheScore.com, ‘Udinese Hope To Provide a model For Serie A in Stadio Fruli Revolution‘ (by Paolo Bandini on 8 April 2013 at thescore.com/counterattack-blog).

More stadium news in Serie A for 2013-14 can be found at the next link. From the excellent site ForzaItalianoFootball.com, ‘Serie A Summer Stadium Changes’ (by Marco Jackson on 6 July 2013 at forzaitalianfootball.com).

Below: Udinese Calcio (owned by the Pozzo family), and Stadio Friuli (owned by the municipality of Udine, Friuli, Italy).
udinese_stadio-friuli_renovation2013_pozzo-3-clubs-owned_udinese_granada_watford_h.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
13/14 Udinese kits from ‘Udinese Calcio‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Photo of former configuration of Stadio Friuli unattributed from udin-e.it.
Udinese crest/flags from banner at udinese.it.
Image of Stadio Friuli redevelpment plan uploaded by Franz85 at skyscrapercity.com.

    12/13: The Twilight Zone season of Cagliari Calcio – 3 home venues (one of which was 800 km. away), 2 matches played behind closed doors, one match abandoned and lost, one president under house arrest, an improvised dual-manager partnership – and a strong 11th place finish for the Isolani of Sardinia

Speaking of attendance problems (and of ongoing dysfunction in the calcio world), Sardinia-based Cagliari Calcio ended up playing (so far) 2 more matches in Trieste – where Cagliari have now played some of their ‘home’ matches for the third consecutive season – and they will play another on Sunday 29 September 2013 (v. Inter). Cagliari will have ended up playing [so far] 11 ‘home’ matches there. From ForzaItalianFootball.com, from 25 Sept. 2013, by Marco Jackson, ‘Cagliari Stadium Return Delayed Again‘ (forzaitalianfootball.com).

This does not sound so bad if you are not familiar with the geography of Italy. But Trieste, in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is the furthest north-eastern location in Italy, and is basically not on the Italian peninsula but on the Balkan peninsula, and is a whopping 810 km. or 530 mlles NE of Cagliari (as the crow flies). But that doesn’t even begin to describe how difficult for Caglliari fans it was to get from Cagliari to Trieste, because if you don’t take a plane flight there, and if you tried to drive there, you would first have to take a ferry from Sardinia to the Italian mainland, then drive north up the spine of Italy, then make your way east all the way to the Italian/Slovenian border. There, on a narrow strip of Italian territory lying between the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia, is the 205,000 population city of Trieste. [Trieste is just 72 km. or 45 miles SW of the Slovenian capital of Lubljana.]. To travel by car-ferry-car from Caglari to Trieste would end up being an expensive, arduous, and headache-inducing journey of about 1,061 km. or 659 miles. One note – the venue there in Trieste, the Stadio Nereo Rocco, is actually quite nice (as you can see in the satellite image below). It is just a shame that a club and its supporters, clear across the other side of Italy, were forced to call it home for a while.
stadio-nereo-rocco_trieste_cagliari-venue_udinese-venue_in-13-14_d.gif
Image credit above – aerial satellite image from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye view.

The reason for all this was because the venue (the 23,00-capacity Stadio Sant’Elia) that Cagliari Calcio had called home from 1970-71 to 2011-12 was in such state of disrepair. But the municipal authorities in Cagliari refused to work with the club to improve the venue. So just prior to the 2012-13 season the club president, Massimo Cellino, tried to build a quasi-new stadium in the adjacent municipality of Quartu Sant’Elena – the Is Arenas (capacity 16,500). That venue in the eastern suburbs of Cagliari was once the stadium of a 3rd division club, but had not been in use since the mid-1980s. It ended up having a re-build, but it was a slapped-together rush-job. 3 new stands were hastily installed in the summer of 2012 – stands made of steel and pre-fab materials held up by a maze of what was essentially scaffolding and that looked anything but safe (see 3rd photo below).

The authorities on the island of Sardinia stepped in, in late August 2012, and banned spectators from attending matches there until the venue could get a proper safety clearance. Cagliari’s first home match in the 12/13 season, a 1-1 draw versus Atalanta on 2 Sept. 2012, was played behind closed doors and without spectators. Then the Cagliari front office ignored this ongoing spectator-ban and started selling tickets on the official club website for their second home match. As you might imagine, the authorities were not pleased with this development…so the club’s second home match last season, on 23 Sept. 2012, was abandoned, and the result was given to the visitors, Roma, by a 0-3 score. Cagliari finally got a safety clearance for the Is Arenas for their third home match, and the club ended up playing 12 matches with spectators there (15 total).

So then, through the fall of 2012 and early 2013, six home matches – with spectators allowed to attend – were played at the Is Arenas there in the eastern suburbs of Cagliari, including a 16,000 sell-out versus Napoli on Friday the 26th of November (Napoli won that match, 0-1). Those 6 home matches in the early part of the 12/13 season also included a 1-1 draw v. Catania where the main stand at the Is Arenas was closed, and the match drew only about 4,000.

In 2011-12, Cagliari had been in a relegation battle and finished 16th. After 6 games into 2012-13, Cagliari were dead last in the table, with 4 losses and 2 draws. Their manager Massimo Ficcadenti was sacked, and on 2 October 2013, former Cagliari player Ivo Pulga was named as new manager, alongside newly-appointed assistant Diego López, in a surprise move. Former Cagliari DF López played 12 seasons for the Isolani (from 1998 to 2010), making over 400 appearances for the team, and retiring after 2009-10. López would have been named manager, but the veteran (with 32 caps for Uruguay) did not have his UEFA coaching badges at that point in time (currently [2013-14], the two have switched roles, with the now-39-year-old López in the manager’s role for Cagliari, and with Pulga now as first team coach). Pulga, who had played as a MF for Cagliari from 1985 to 1991, had been coaching the youth set-up at Modena, and had never managed a pro squad. But he (and his assistant Diego López) brought in a good passing style of football to the Isolani squad, and they brought results. The Rossoblu finally won their first game the next match, away to Torino. And then Cagliari won their next 3 (v. Bologna, away to Sampdoria, and v. Siena). By January, Cagliari was long gone from the basement and starting to look like they could actually avoid relegation that season, in spite of it all.

Then out of the blue, the stadium issue arose again, and the authorities ruled that Cagliari had to play one of their mid-season home matches, on 12 February 2013 versus Juventus, on the Italian mainland, in Parma, in the central-Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Wow, how convenient for convicted-match-riggers and reigning champions Juventus [see Calciopoli scandal of 2006], who suddenly didn’t have to fly out to Sardinia, and who, of course, went on to win the match 1-3. The distance from Juventus’ home-city of Turin, to Parma, is only about 244 km. or 151 miles via roadway. So this match effectively became more of a home match for Juventus than it was for Cagliari. Also in February 2013, being charged with embezzelement and false representation in the rebuilding of the stadium, the president of Cagliari Calcio, Massimo Cellino, along with the mayor of Quartu Sant’Elena, was arrested and jailed, on accusation of diverting a substantial sum, see this ‘Cagliari President Massimo Cellino ‘arrested in stadium investigation’‘ (independent.co.uk from 14 Feb.2013 by Brian Homewood). Then the authorities put Cellino under house arrest, not at the president’s home, because Cellino’s official residence is in Miami, Florida, USA, but – wait for it – in the Cagliari training facilities. And Cagliari’s training facillities are quite posh (unlike their stadiums). With this development, the Cagliari stadium controversy was starting to sound like the plot-line to a sitcom.

But back to the Cagliari v. Juventus match in Parma – why were Cagliari suddenly forced to play Juventus on the mainland, close to Turin? One cannot help but be suspicious of this, and see Juventus’ hand in this abrupt, unexplained, and convenient-for-them change in venue for this match. After Juve were so nicely accommodated with their extra de-facto home game, Cagliari then were allowed to play 5 consecutive home matches at the Is Arenas through the late winter and early spring of 2013. But then for the 30 March 2013 match of Cagliari v. Fiorentina, authorities re-instated the ban on spectators at the Is Arenas [I could not find any explanation for this re-instatement of the ban on spectators there, other than explanations like this one...'fans were barred because of ongoing safety concerns' (theflorentine.net from 11 April 2013 by Sam Lawley)].

Despite the empty stadium (some Cagliari fans were able to watch the match outside the ground through a narrow gap in the gates to the stadium), Cagliari beat la Viola 2-1, and so, despite their Twilight-Zone season, the Cagliari squad continued to play well and get results. The Isolani had gelled despite being faced with an almost unparalleled set of circumstances, and with the Pulga/López dual-manager arrangement, the Cagliari squad was producing result after result.
From The Guardian, from 11 March 2013, by Paolo Bandini, ‘Cagliari’s fans get a win to cheer – it’s just a pity they can’t see it A siege mentality has taken hold of a club with an uninhabitable stadium, a president under arrest and a board that has resigned‘ (theguardian.com/football).

Below, Cagliari’s stadium controversy of 2012-13.
cagliari_2012-13_stadio-sant-elia_is-arenas_stadium-problems_marco-sau_victor-ibarbo_radja-nainggolan_f.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Photo of Stadio Sant’Elena in Cagliari from sardegnasport.com.
Photo of the exterior of the hastily-built Is Arenas, from corrieredellosport.it.
Photo of Cagliari fans at the short-lived Is Arenas, from foxsportsasia.com.
Photo of makeshift infrastructure of the stands at Is Arenas, from efectofutbol.net/la-crisis-estructural-del-calcio-cagliari-el-club-huerfano/stadio-is-arenas.
Photo of Victor Ibaraba by Roberto Tronci/EPA, via theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/mar/11/cagliari-sampdoria-behind-closed-doors-seriea.
Screenshot of video image of Marco Sau goal celebration from video uploaded by Love Football Italia at youtube.com, ‘Marco Sau Goal (71′) Napoli vs Cagliari (3-2) Official HD Highlight‘ (youtube.com).
Photo of Radja Nainggolan, from palembang.tribunnews.com.
Photo of Cagiari players in celebration, from thegentlemanultra.tumblr.com.
Photo of 12/13 Cagliari manager Ivo Pulga from, terzapaginaonline.it/cagliari___________________campionato_2012-013.html .
Photo of 13/14 Cagliari manager Diego López from cagliaricalcio.net via futbol.com.uy

This abilty of the Isolani squad to get results in the face of the ongoing stadium imbroglio was again evident in their next home match, when yet again the ban on spectators at the Is Arenas was lifted. This was their 15th home date, in the 32nd week of the 12/13 season, versus Internazionale. Cagliari won 2-0 over the Milanese giants. But that was the last time the authorities allowed Cagliari to play at their makeshift venue. So just like in 2011-12, Cagliari ended up playing their final home matches clear across the other side of Italy in Trieste [Cagliari had played their final 4 home matches in Trieste in 2011-12, and they played their last 3 home matches there in 12/13.]. As The Gentleman Ultra said in the article linked to below, Cagliari playing home matches in Trieste is like ‘the equivalent of Shamrock Rovers playing their home games at Watford’. Attendance was around 9K to 10K for those 3 matches. Cagliari ended their 2012-13 Serie A campaign-from-hell by beating Lazio 1-0 in Trieste, and the Isolani finished a very credible 11th place. The fate of the makeshift Is Arenas is in limbo now (it might be demolished), and Cagliari have moved back into their old venue in Cagliari, the Stadio Sant’Elia, now that a truce has been reached between the club and the city, and hasty renovations there have been completed.

I’ll leave the final word on this whole affair to the Gentleman Ultra, but before that article below, I thought I’d re-print AC Milan’s official statement on the whole Cagliari stadium controversy of 2012-13…

[Official announcement from AC Milan:] ‘The league has announced that the Cagliari-Fiorentina match will be played behind closed doors. On February 10, 2013, Milan played before a full stadium, like six other teams. Three teams played in front of only season-ticket holders, three behind closed doors. Only one, Juventus, [played] at a neutral ground. In one instance, a 0-3 was awarded (to Roma), and nobody knows what will happen in the next few days…
In light of decisions that any person of good sense would judge incomprehensible on account of the different rulings in essentially identical cases, it’s clear that the normal course of the Serie A championship has been altered.”…{end of statement from AC Milan on 29 March, 2013 (via this article by Mark Doyle, ‘AC Milan: Cagliari stadium controversy has ‘altered’ championship‘ at sports.yahoo.com)}.

From The Gentleman Ultra, ‘The Isolani’s Season in Review‘ (thegentlemanultra.tumblr.com, from 25 May 2013, by Richard Hall).

___

Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2013–14 Serie A‘.
Thanks to the following Wikipedia contributor…base map by TUBS at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Italy provincial location map.svg‘.

Thanks to E-F-S site for attendance figures, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
Thanks to Soccerway.com for Serie A match details from 2012-13, http://int.soccerway.com/national/italy/serie-a/20132014/regular-season/r21388/.

Thanks to the Gentleman Ultra.

August 24, 2012

Italy: 2012-13 Serie A – Top of the Table chart, featuring 2011-12 Serie A champion Juventus / Plus 2012-13 Serie A Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Italy — admin @ 3:01 pm
    Juventus – champions of Italy (for the 28th time)…

juventus_2011-12_serie-a_champions_segment_e.gif
Juventus – 2011-12 Serie A champions.




(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)

Juventus Football Club won their 28th Italian title last season. Or their 30th Italian title, according to Juventus – ‘Juventus defiant in match-fix controversy‘ (edition.cnn.com, by Alex Thomas and Paul Gittings, from 22 May 2012). Juventus and some of their supporters still think that their club did nothing wrong in the Calciopoli scandal of 2006, and that they never should have been stripped of their 2005 and 2006 titles, and that their then-general manager Luciano Moggi never did anything wrong by virtually having every Serie A referee on his speed-dial and by being able to control which referees officiated which games {see this, ‘2006 Italian football scandal‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

And last year, the fallout from 2006 had barely subsided when a new scandal unfolded – ‘Italian football rocked by fresh match-fixing scandal‘ (guardian.co.uk/football, from 2 June 2011, by James Callow). If you want to know more about how this latest scandal affects the clubs in Serie A, see the last link, at the bottom of this post (an article by Amy Lawrence at guardian.co.uk/football). As far as the reigning champions are concerned, a 10-month touch-line ban for Juventus manager Antonio Conte has been imposed (for when Conte was manager of then-Serie-B-club Siena). But the evidence for that thread of the scandal rests with just one former Siena player, and appeals might change this ban. If not, Conte, sitting in the stands there in Turin, will probably just find some way to tell the coaches who to sub for – the way Jose Mourinho did. Italian society will probably never change – organized crime rules society there to such an extent that there often is the mind-set in Italy that you are not trying to succeed if you are not trying to get something by the authorities. From “The Camorra Never Sleeps”, an article by William Langieweische, “…{excerpt}…”In a place like Italy—where the recent prime minister condones tax evasion as a natural right and publicly impugns the courts—it becomes hard to believe that police actions are sincerely about law and order, or that officials still believe that law and order matter.”…{end of excerpt from page 6, paragraph 7 of vanityfair.com/culture/2012/05/naples-mob-paolo-di-lauro-italy. In business, this means finding extra-legal ways to avoid onerous taxes and regulations that would kill off a 100% legitimate enterprise. In sports, this means actively trying to fool the refs, or at the very least, actively trying to coerce the refs. So the act of players diving, in Serie A matches, is not only tolerated by some, it is expected. Because the logic here is that if you are not trying to fool the ref, that means you are not using every tool at your disposal, and therefore by not diving in the penalty box and trying to win a penalty kick for your team by faking the act of being fouled, you are actually working against your own team’s best interests. And so in this context football club general managers, like Moggi was for Juventus, are expected to try to exert control over referees. This fluid moral code is a theme that runs throughout the book ‘Calcio: A History of Italian Football’ by John Foot {at amazon.com, here}. Here is an excerpt from the book’s preface…
[excerpt]…’A better way way to see calcio is as a kind of fanatical civic religion – where loyalty is total and obsession the norm. Fair play seemed to me to be a concept absent from Italian football discourse. Diving was common and not particularly frowned upon – as long as it worked. In fact, commentators often praised the ‘craftiness’ of non-sportsmanship. There was no moral code here. Winners were always ‘right’, losers always wrong. ‘…[end of excerpt].

What, hopefully, might change in Italy is Italian football clubs’ reliance on lame, dreary, soul-less running-track-scarred municipal stadiums. You can say what you want about Juventus (and I just did), but, as with regards to the future of stadium construction in Italy, Juventus has now shown the way. The completion of Juventus Stadium (opened in August 2011) makes Juventus the only Serie A club to build and own their own stadium. It’s about time. And Juventus Stadium is stunning, and beautiful, and the steep angles of the stands {see this} affords spectators great views and comfortable seating. And there is no ridiculous, atmosphere-deadening running track, so the spectators are about as close to the field of play as is possible, the way football matches should be staged.

There are 20 clubs in the 2012-13 Serie A. 5% of them own their own stadium. 95% of them play in stadiums that were built by, are owned by, and are maintained by state institutions – in either municipal stadiums (85% of the clubs) or in a venue built and owned by the Italian National Olympic Committee (Stadio Olimpico in Rome, home of Lazio and Roma). Of the 17 stadiums that will be hosting Serie A matches in the 2012-13 Serie A season, 7 of them have running tracks which make the closest seats in some sections of the stadiums 15 or 20 meters away from the field. And almost every one of these municipal stadiums with running tracks feature seats that are set in stands that are at a very shallow incline, so by the 20th row or so, the football match you are trying to watch is pretty hard to see.

Here are the 8 clubs playing in the 2012-13 Serie A that play in venues that have a running track – Bologna, Catania, Lazio, Napoli, Pescara, Roma, Siena, and Udinese. Plus in several instances, in the stadiums of Fiorentina, Palermo, Torino, and Atalanta, the municipalities in each case either filled in the running-track-sections of the stadiums with new sections of stands (like at Fiorentina’s stadium, Stadio Artemio Franchi {see photos here at fussballtempel.net}, or they just planted grass there and left a bit of the track (like at Palermo’s Stadio Renzo Barberasee this photo by frakorea at flickr.com). That sort of re-build yields unsatisfactory results, and even in the nicest re-build, Torino FC’s stadium, Stadio Olimpico di Torino, the ghost of the running track and the divide it created between stands and playing field is still there, as you can see here. In all of Serie A there are only 3 top claiber stadiums – San Siro in Milan (the venue of Inter and Milan – here is Stadium Guide.com’s page on San Siro with some photos at the bottom of the page]; Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa (the venue of Sampdoria and Genoa – a couple of photos here {worldstadiums.com), and now Juventus Stadium. Special mention must go to the municipality of Parma and home of Parma FC – Stadio Ennio Tardini, which is a stadium with some charm (despite being a utilitarian bowl-shape), with some nicley-angled stands {see bing.com/Bird’s Eye view of Parma FC’s home, here [to enlarge, multiple-click on magnify sign (plus-sign) at top right], and could be seen to be on par with some of the nicer French municipal stadiums (like at RC Lens and at Saint-Étienne).

How is it that big, and even medium-sized football clubs in England, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, and Portugal can build and maintain their own stadiums, but in places in Europe like Italy and in places in South America like Brazil, almost every club, even the big clubs, must rely on municipalities to build and maintain their stadiums? Municipalities that end up doing a ham-handed job of building insipid multi-purpose stadiums which are almost always devoid of any charm or character and which inevitably feature a running track. Who the heck cares about track and field outside of the Olympics? No one. Sure, governments, or municipalities themselves, should build running tracks, just like they should build libraries. But they don’t put libraries in buildings the size of aircraft hangers, so why do municipalities in Europe and in South America put running tracks in venues that are way too big for the demand? Why do they have to put them in 40,000-seat municipal stadiums? When was the last time, say, Naples really needed that running track in their Stadio San Paolo, because 60,000 Neopolitans were going to attend a track-and-field event? I am willing to wager that the answer is never. Just look at that soul-destroying vast yawning gap there between the fans in the stands and the playing field {here}. You see, Stadio San Paolo was built as a venue for the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics. So you’re thinking…Hey Bill, that just disproves your whole argument. Well, it would if the Olympic event that the Naples stadium was hosting in the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics was track and field. But it wasn’t. Stadio San Paolo in Naples hosted football in the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics. The city planners built the stadium specifically for football – in the Olympics that Italy was hosting – but those clueless city planners still built it with that STUPID USELESS RUNNING TRACK that ruins it for football and is fundamentally useless for anything else… because no one gives a flying fuck about stupid boring pointless track-and-field.

Those running tracks serve no purpose, situated as they are within stadiums that are also home to a football club that draws 20K or 30 K or 40K or more, twenty times a year. Tell me the last time a track and field event outside of the Olympics drew 40,000 people? 30,000 people? 20,000 people? OK, not counting the runners’ Mecca of the state of Oregon, where they recently had 20,000 at a US Track and Field event. But there are no pro soccer stadiums or college gridiron football stadiums in Oregon that have a running track in the stadium. So the place in the world with probably the highest percentage of runners (Oregon) doesn’t even see the need to put running tracks in large multi-purpose municipal stadiums that house their biggest sports teams. The idea of putting a running track into a sports stadium does exist in the USA, but it almost always is with regards to lower-division college sports programs or high school sports stadiums. I am pretty sure there is not one single example in the United States of an NCAA Division I FBS college football stadium that has a running track, out of a total 120 teams in Division I FBS [It turns out I was wrong - 5 of the 120 teams in NCAA Division I FBS play in stadiums with a running track - the Buffalo Bulls, the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Nevada Wolf Pack, the SMU Mustangs, and the Texas State Bobcats - see comments #1 and #2 below. But that percentage - 4.1% - is still less than any Western European football league with the exception of England and Netherlands (who currently have zero top-flight clubs that play in stadiums with running tracks). And those 5 college gridiron football teams in the top level in America are mostly part of small but growing programs that will in all likelihood eventually move into a new, running-track-free stadium in the near future (except for Eastern Michigan)].

Here is an article I found when I Googled ‘attendance at track and field events’, ‘Empty Bleachers: Getting Fans To Attend Our Best Meets‘ (flotrack.org/blog). And in the interest of full disclosure, I actually did find the mention of recent (2009) attendances of track events in Rabat, Morocco and in Belém, Brazil which drew in the 30 to 35,000 range {http://mb.trackandfieldnews.com/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=35496/ first poster at top of page}

But regardless, those anomalies aside, there is basically no public demand for track and field events outside the Olympics. However, there is plenty of public demand for top flight football, almost everywhere in the world – even, to a lesser extent in the USA and Canada {forget about Australia, though). Which is why English and Spanish and German and Dutch and Portuguese football clubs are able to build and own their own stadiums. These clubs had the means to build and own their own stadiums because the ticket-paying demand was there. You know, there has always been a huge demand for professional top flight football in Italy. And there have been millions of tickets bought to top flight football matches through the years in Italy. So why did over 95% of Italian football clubs, even the biggest clubs with hundreds of thousands of paying customers each season, never have the means (or the desire) to build their own stadiums?

From BBC.co.uk/Football, from 6 May 2012, ‘Juventus wrap up Italian Serie A championship in style‘.

From UEFA.com, ‘Season review: Italy‘.

From guardian.co.uk, from 15 Aug. 2012, by Amy Lawrence, ‘Juventus turmoil leaves Roma and Napoli ready to pounce –
Coach Antonio Conte’s 10-month ban could derail the Serie A champions, but Milan and Internazionale have problems too
‘.

    Italian clubs playing in Europe for 2012-13 – Juventus FC, AC Milan, Udinese Calcio, SS Lazio, SSC Napoli, FC Internazionale -

2012-13_serie-a_clubs-in-europe_.segment_c.gif

    2012-13 Serie A Location-map, with attendance data -

2012-13_serie-a_location-map_attendance_segment_.gif
Note:
Cagliari playing in Trieste (April 2012 article), football.thestar.com.my/2012/04/21/cagliari-to-play-three-more-games-in-trieste.
Attendance data from european-football-statistics.co.uk.
Map by TUBS at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Italy provincial location map.svg‘.

Juventus photos on the chart page -
Celebration, todayheads.com.
Manager,both photos of Antonio Conte by Massimo Pinca/AP via article.wn.com.
Players -
Alessandro Matri – Photo unattributed at forzaitalianfootball.com/2011/04/player-profile-alessandro-matri.
Claudio Matri – Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
– Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe) via zimbio.com.
Andrea Pirlo – Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images via sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
Stadium -
Aerial photo of Juventus Stadium [unattributed] from stadiumporn.com
Exterior photos of Juventus Stadium with crowd in foreground [unattributed], segment of outside shell of stadium [unattributed], and segment of exterior with Juventus Football Club sign [unattributed] from AP via newshopper.sulekha.com.
Large exterior photo of Juventus Stadium [unattributed] from stadiumporn.com.
Interior photo of Juventus Stadium [at the far right on the page] by Massimo Pinca/AP via goal.blogs.nytimes.com
Photo of 2011-12 Juventus home kit badge from mykitshop.com.

Other clubs on the chart page -
AC Milan/Stadio Giusseppe Meazza (aka San Siro) – Photo of Milan ultras from Fossa dei Leoni site via vb.acmilanclub.com . Photo of interior of San Siro by Alessandro Mogliani at en.wikipedia.org. Exterior photo of San Siro by Sotutto at en.wikipedia.org.

Udinese/Stadio Friuli – Photo of Udinese fans [unattributed], Getty Images via IndiaTimes.com. Interior photo of Stadio Friuli by, Martaudine at it.wikipedia.org. Aerial image of Stadio Friuli from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.

Lazio/Stadio Olimpico – Photo of Lazio’s eagle mascot being released for it’s regular flight around Stadio Olympico [unattributed] from imageshack.us. Photo of Lazio fans in Curva Nord by Andrea Buratti at en.wikipedia.org. Night-time aerial photo of Stadio Olimpico by Maori19 at it.wikipedia.org.

Napoli/Stadio San Paolo – Photo of traveling Napoli fans at Siena (Jan. 2012) by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Photo of upper tier at Stadio San Paolo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda-Photo.com. Aerial image of Stadio San Paolo from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.

Internazionale/San Siro – Photo of Inter fans with giant banner in Curva Nord of San Siro by batrax at Flickr.com, here. Interior photo of San Siro from SanSiro.net. Exterior photo of San Siro by Sotutto at en.wikipedia.org.

August 16, 2011

Italy: the 3 clubs promoted from Serie B to Serie A, for the 2011-12 season / Plus, Italian Baseball League – location map of the 8-team league, with Scudetto and Coppa Italia [Baseball] titles of each club.

Filed under: Italy,Italy: Baseball — admin @ 10:01 pm

promoted_italy_june2011_post_b.gif
The 3 promoted clubs in Serie A


From wsc.co.uk, on 1 Aug. 2011, by Geoff Bradford, ‘Italy’s match-fixing investigation will run and run‘.
Note: as the above articles points out, most observers of the Italian game don’t think the implicated club Atalanta will get relegated back down to Serie B as punishment for their part in the betting and match fixing scandal from last season (which took place mostly in Serie B and Serie C). Atalanta will probably get a points deduction for this season.

Two of the 3 clubs promoted from Serie B in June will be immediately returning to the Italian top flight – Atalanta and AC Siena. The other promoted club, Novara, has not been in the first division since 1956.

Atalanta are from Bergamo, which is in the Region of Lombardy, 45 km. (29 miles) north-east of Milan. Bergamo has a population of around 120,000 {2010 figure}. Such close proximity to Milan and the 2 Milanese footballing giants (Milan and Internazionale) has certainly prevented Atalanta from building a larger fan base. Atalanta drew 18, 737 per game last season, but that number is much higher than recent attendance figures because the club had slashed ticket prices following relegation from Serie A in 2009-10, and that helped increase the crowds. In fact, Atalanta was drawing in the 12,000 per game range in their last 2 seasons in Serie A (08/09 and 09/10). Atalanta have played 50 seasons in Serie A, the 2011-12 Serie A season will be their 51st. The club has no national titles, but Atalanta did win the 1963 Coppa Italia title, defeating Torino 3-1. Their highest finish in Serie A was in 1947-48, when they finished 5th (in the first Serie A season following World War II). The club was formed in 1907, and played with black and white vertically-striped jerseys. The club took their name from the character in Greek mythology named Atalanta, who was a female athlete. In 1924 a merger between Atalanta and Bergamasca created Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio S.p.A. Bergamasca had played in blue jerseys, so the new club began wearing black and blue vertically-striped jerseys. Atalanta joined the Italian league system in 1929, and first reached Serie A in 1937-38, but were relegated back to Serie B immediately. Their next spell in the top flight was much longer, a 16-season spell from 1940-41 to 1958-59. They won promotion back to Serie A one season later, for the 1960-61 season, and this time Atalanta stayed in the top tier for a decade, before relegation in 1972-73. After that, Atalanta morphed into a yo-yo club. Promoted in 1977/relegated back to Serie B two seasons later in 1979. Promoted in 1985/relegated two seasons later in 1987. Promoted in 1988/relegated six seasons later in 1994. Promoted in 1995/relegated three seasons later in 1998. Promoted in 2000/relegated three seasons later in 2003. Promoted in 2004/relegated one season later in 2005. Promoted in 2006/relegated four seasons later in 2010. Atalanta plays in the 24,642-capacity Stadio Atleti Azzuri d’Italia.

AC Siena are from Siena, in the region of Tuscany. The city of Siena has a long history and a prominence and is quite a tourist magnet. But it is a tiny city – Siena’s population is only around 54,000 {2010 figure}. AC Siena drew 7,281 per game last season, and drew between 8 and 11,000 per game when they were in the top flight (for the first time) for a 7-season spell from 2003-04 to 2009-10. Società Sportiva Robur was formed in 1904. In 1933, the club’s name was changed to Associazione Calcio Siena SpA. The club still maintains the odd Robur reference in their crest, and around town the football team is called Robur to differentiate them from the club’s basketball team. Siena never managed to reach the second division, let alone the first division, in the nineteen-hundreds, and were finally promoted to Serie B in 2000. Siena then won promotion to Serie A three seasons later, in 2003. The club has played 7 seasons in the Italian top flight, never reaching higher than 13th place (which they did in 03/04 and in 08/09). 2011-12 will be Siena’s 8th season in Serie A. Siena have a loose affiliation with Juventus in that Juve often loans out players to Siena for experience, and the two clubs co-own some players (which is a common practice in Italy). Siena play at the Stadio Artemio Franchi – Montepaschi Arena, which has a capacity of just 15,373. A recent renovation got rid of the running track behind one goal. Further renovations are not planned, because in March 2011, Siena announced plans for a new stadium, to be built just south of the city, {see this article, with architect’s renderings, ‘Siena’s new stadium will be below ground level‘, from the brilliant Dirty Tackle site}.

Novara are from Novara, in the Region of Piedmont, 44 km. (27 miles) west of MIlan, and 88 km. (55 miles) north-east of Turin. Novara has a population of around 105,000 {2010 figure}. Because the club is from that historical region, Novara wear jerseys in the shade of blue (a grayish light royal blue) of the nation-of-Italy’s-founder-ruling-entity, the House of Savoy {as does the Italian national football team, see this ‘Why do Italian national sporting teams play in blue colours?‘, from Guardian.co.uk}. Novara has now won back-to-back promotions. Novara drew drew 2,241 per game in Serie C in 2009-10, and 5,449 per game in Serie B in 2010-11 . [I couldn't find attendance figures for Novara's last season in Serie A, 56 years ago.] Novara Calcio S.p.A were formed in 1908, and made their debut in the Italian league system in 1912. The club comes from the area in the eastern part of the Piedmont that was home to a very successful club in the early days of Italian football – Pro Vercelli, who won 7 Italian titles, their last in 1922, but are now a third division club [Novara is 22 km/14 mi. NE of Vercelli]. Novara first won promotion to Serie A in 1936, but went straight back down. Their next spell in the top flight lasted 3 seasons, from 1938-39 to 1940-41. Novara’s third spell in the top tier lasted 8 seasons, from 1948-49 to 1955-56, and included the club’s highest placement, at 8th place in 1951-52. It was during this era that Silvio Piola played for Novara. Piola racked up over 300 goals for Novara, and their stadium is named after him. Novara have spent much of their last 50 years in Serie C and Serie C2 [which are the third and fourth divisions, and now (since 2008) have the name of Legia Pro Prima Divisione and Legia Pro Seconda Divisione]. After 33 years below the second division, Novara won promotion back to Serie B in 2009-10. They finished in 3rd place in Serie B in 2010-11, and entered the promotion play-offs. In the first round, their 2-2 aggregate versus Reggina was good enough for them to advance, because in Italy, an aggregate tie in this case is not decided by away goals or overtime but by league finish, and Novara finished higher than Reggina. In the finals, Novara defeated Padova 2-0 in aggregate. On the map page you can see the Novara players celebrating their promotion with a victory lap around their Stadio Silvio Piola, which has a capacity of only 10,106. This season will be Novara’s 13th season in Serie A.

By the way, that baseball park next to Novara’s stadium (as seen in the satellite image on the map page) is the home of Italian Baseball League ball club Novara United. Novara United are a new member of the IBL {see this from BaseballItalia.com site from Feb.2011, here}. The Italian Baseball League is an 8-team league that was formed in 1948 {‘Italian Baseball League‘, page at en.wikipedia.org.}

So here is a map of the 2011 Italian Baseball League -
Click on the image below for map of Italian Baseball League 2011 season…
italian-baseball-league2011_ball-clubs_w-titles_segment_b.gif

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Photo credits -
Atalanta… Photo of roofed stand at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia from fussballtempel.net. Interior photo of Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia by albe at Panoramio.com, here. Aerial photo from Skyscrapercity.com thread, here [and from a source that included a tag of 'Skypictures', which was from a site I could not find following a Google search]. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Novara…Photo of Novara players taking victory lap after winning the promotion play-off two-legged final versus Padova, on 12 June 2011, from AP/La Presse via CalcioPro.com, here. Photo of Stadio Silvio Piola at dusk from PESstatsdatabase.com, here. Photo of Stadio Silvio Piola main stand by aldo.maccone at Panoramio.com, here. Aerial image from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Siena…Photo of Photo of Stadio Artemio Franch in sunlight from SienaFree.it, here. Photo of new curva stand at Stadio Artemio Franch by Amras Carnesîr at pt.wikipedia.org, here. Stadio Artemio Franchi with running track in foreground by magro_kr at Flickr.com, here. Aerial image of Stadio Artemio Franchi from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Thanks to E-F-S site for attendance figures.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en and it.wikipedia.org, ’2011-12 Serie A‘.

July 14, 2011

Italy: final table of 2010-11 Serie A, with clubs playing in Europe in UEFA competitions for 2011-12 / Plus, map with location of clubs in 2011-12 Serie A, with attendance data.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Italy — admin @ 7:31 pm

2011-12_serie-a_clubs-in-europe_milan-segment_c.gif
Italian clubs playing in Europe in 2011-12




(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)

From wsc.co.uk, on 1 Aug. 2011, by Geoff Bradford, ‘Italy’s match-fixing investigation will run and run‘.

Milan won their first Scudetto in 7 seasons under their first-year manager Masimilliano Allegri. Allegri was hired after two successful seasons at the small provincial club Cagliari Calcio. Under Allegri, the Sardinia-based Cagliari finished in 9th place twice despite minimal resources, earning Allegri 2 straight Panchina d’Oro (Golden bench) awards, which are voted on by Serie A managers. Milan hired Allegri in June 2011. Allegri shored up Milan’s defense, and a solid back four built around Centre Back Thiago Silva, plus a very good year for Zlatan Ibrahimović (who scored 14 goals and recorded 11 assists), helped Milan secure the title after 5 consecutive seasons in which the Scudetto was in the hands of their local rivals Internazionale.

The first chart (click on image above) shows the 7 Italian clubs who have qualified for Europe in 2011-12, including the 3 that have automatically qualified for the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Group Stage – Milan, Internazionale, and Napoli. Milan won the European title most recently in 2007 (Milan have won 6 European titles). Internazionale won the European title two seasons ago in 2010 (Inter have won 3 European titles). Napoli have no European titles, although they did win the 1989 UEFA Cup. Napoli return to the Champions League-level of the European format for the first time since 1990-91, when the Maradona-less squad exited in the 2nd round of the European Cup to Spartak Moscow.

Udinese beat out Lazio for 4th place on goal difference, and now have shot at making their second appearance in the Champions League Group Stage (their first appearance was in 2005-06, when they finished 3rd in their group). But they are an unseeded team in the draw, so Udinese might end up playing a huge club like Arsenal or Bayern Munich. The draw is set for 5th August, see this ‘2011-12 UEFA Champions League/Play-off round‘, from en.wikipedia.org.

The three Italian clubs who have qualified for 2011-12 UEFA Europa League qualifiers are: 5th place finisher Lazio, 6th place finisher Roma, and 8th place finisher Palermo, who, as Coppa Italia finalists, inherited the Coppa Italia winner’s spot (from Internazionale).

Palermo play the first leg of their Europa League 3rd qualifying round on Thursday, 28 July. The draw is on 15 July, with Palermo being in the category of seeded teams {see this}.

For Lazio and Roma, they will play in the Europa League Play-off round – to see the teams qualified so far {click here}. Draw for the Europa League Play-off round is 5 August.

One note: Juventus opens their new, 42,500-capacity stadium, temporarily being called Juventus Arena on 8 September, {see this, from Serie A official site [in Italian]}

Below is the second chart, which shows the locations of the 20 clubs in the 2011-12 season of Serie A. Listed are average attendances (home league matches), along with percent-change and percent-capacity data, from last season (2010-11).

2011-12_serie-a_attendance-data_location-map_segment_b.gif

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Photo credits -
Milan
Photo of Milan supporters’ giant banners at San Siro originally from UltrasMilan.it, via European Ultras.com, here. Photo of interior of San Siro by Alessandro Mogliani at en.wikipedia.org, here. Photo of Massimiliano Allegri by Giusseppe Cacaace/AFP via Sports.Yahoo.com, here.
Photo of Zlatan Ibrahimović by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here. Photo of Alexandre Pato from OleOle.com, here.
Photo of Robinho by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via Zimbio.com, here. Photo of Thiago Silva by AP via DailyMail.co.uk, here.
Photo of 2011-12 Milan home jersey from forums.hardwarezone.sg, here. Exterior photo of San Siro from Kvitters.com, here.

Internazionale
Photo of Inter fans with giant banner in Curva Nord of San Siro by batrax at Flickr.com, here. Interior photo of San Siro from SanSiro.net. Exterior photo of San Siro from Kvitters.com, here.

Napoli
Photo of stands at Stadio San Paolo from StadiumVibe.com, here. Interior photo of Stadio San Paolo by Inviaggiocommons at en.wikipedia.org, here. Aerial image of Stadio San Paolo from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Udinese
Photo of Udinese fans from Getty Images via IndiaTimes.com, here. Interior photo of Stadio Friuli by Martaudine at it.wikipedia.org, here. Aerial image of Stadio Friuli from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Lazio
Photo of Lazio fans in Curva Nord by Andrea Buratti at en.wikipedia.org, here. Second photo of Lazio fans from EuropeanUltras.com, here. Aerial image of Stadio Olimpico from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Roma
Photo of Roma fans in Curva Sud of Stadio Olimpico from ASRomaLive.com, here. Interior photo of Stadio Olimpico during an AS Roma match by Gaúcho at de.wikipedia.org, here. Aerial image of Stadio Olimpico from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s eye satellite view, here.

Palermo
Photo of Palermo fans from Getty Images via IndiaTimes.com, here. Interior photo of Stadio Renzo Barbera from StadionWelt.de via FussballTempel.net, here. Aerial image of Stadio Renzo Barbera by Vito Ruggiero at Panoramio.com, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2011-12 Serie A‘.
Thanks to European-Football-Statistics site for attendance figures.
Thanks to Eric Gaba for the base map of Italy, ‘Italy topographic map-blank.svg‘.

October 11, 2010

Italy: Serie A, 2010-11 season – Stadia map.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Italy — admin @ 4:50 pm

serie-a2010-11_stadia_post_i.gif
Serie A 2010-11 Stadia map



(Note: to see my latest map-and-post on Italian football, click on the following, category: Italy.)
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Thanks to Eric Gaba (aka Sting), for the base map…Eric Gaba’s page -User: Sting, at Wikimedia Commons.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2010-11Serie A‘ .

Photo credits -
Inter, Stadio Giusseppe Meazza [aka San Siro]: unattrributed at stretfordender.info.
Milan, Stadio Giusseppe Meazza [aka San Siro]: unattributed at zerozerofootbasll.com [incl. 30-photo gallery].

Brescia, Stadio Mario Rigamonti: unattributed at breciaoggo.it [enlarged here, in Fotogallery].

Udinese, Stadio Friuli: Bing.com/maps/bird’s eye satellite view: here.

Juventus, Stadio Olimpico di Torino: unattributed at jcf.fi.
Chievo Verona, Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi: Bing.com/Bird’s Eye satellite view [view to the west], here.

Parma, Stadio Ennio Tardini: bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Fiorentina, Stadio Artemio Franchi: Bing.com/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Bologna, Stadio Renato Dal’Ara: Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye View [view to the west], here.

Cesena, Stadio Dino Manuzzi: Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view [view to the west], here.

Bari, Stadio Via del Mare: Bing.com/Bird’s Eye view [facing west], here.

Lecce, Stadio Via del Mare: Bing.com/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Genoa, Stadio Luigi Ferraris: camallo65 at Panoramio.com, here.
Sampdoria, Stadio Luigi Ferraris, unattributed at bigsocer.com via xiongdudu.com, here photo I used is halfway down page; on this multiple-page thread at xiongdudu.com there are lots of photos of Stadio Luigi Ferraris [which I feel is one of the few truly great stadiums which hosts top flight football in Italy].

Cagliari, Stadio Sant’ Elia, aerial photo by Cristiano Cani at Flickr.com, here.

Roma, Stadio Olimpico: asromalive.com.
Lazio, Stadio Olimpico: Bing.com/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Napoli, Stadio San Paolo: Bing.com/Bird’s Eye satellite view [view to the west], here.

Palermo, Stadio Renzo Barbera: photo by daniele chiovaro at Panoramio.com, here.

Catania, Stadio Angelo Massimino: footballpictures.net.

July 23, 2010

Italy: the 3 clubs promoted from Serie B to Serie A for the 2010-11 season.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Italy — admin @ 6:46 pm

2010-promoted_italy_post_.gif


The map page shows the 3 clubs in Italy that won promotion from Serie B to Serie A, in May, 2010. Three photos of each club’s stadium are shown.

Yo-yo club Lecce are back, once again, in the Italian top flight, after having won the 2009-10 Serie B title. US Lecce are from Lecce, Apulia (population 94,000 {2009 figure}), which is near the Italian peninsula’s boot-heel tip, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Lecce first gained promotion to Serie A in 1985, but were relegated the following season, setting a pattern that stubbornly persists. Lecce got promoted back to the top tier 2 seasons later, in 1988. A 9th place finish, in 1988-89, is to this day Lecce’s highest placement. But after a three-season spell in the first division they were relegated again, in 1991. They won promotion again in 1994, but finished dead last with only 11 points in 1993-94. Back-to-back relegations saw Lecce in Serie C by 1996. Then back-to-back promotions put Lecce back in Serie A in 1997, for their fourh spell in a 13-year period. Lecce were relegated once again the following season (in 1998). Lecce bounced right back to Serie A the next year, and had another 3-year stint in the top level. That takes us to 2002. 2003 saw Lecce back in Serie A (their sixth spell in the top flight). For the third time, Lecce had a 3-season run in Serie A, and were relegated in 2006. A two-year stint in Serie B ensued, with promotion to Serie A in 2008. Relegation in 2009. Promotion in 2010. So in August, 2010, Lecce will thus begin their 8th spell in Serie A in just 25 years.

Lecce’s kit {US Lecce 10/11 kits, here (Football Shirt Culture.com)} features their retina-searing red-and-yellow-vertical-striped jerseys, which are subtly balanced off by dark royal blue pants, and a classy wolf-and-fruit-tree-in-gold-on-a-navy-shield as their crest. Only Italians could pull off red and yellow stripes and not look clownish (Ghana national team away kit notwithstanding).

Lecce dew only 12,171 per game for their last season in Serie A, in 2008-09. But during their previous 3-season spell before that, from 2003-04 to 2005-06, Lecce were drawing in the low 16,000 to high 15,000 range. So it looks like Lecce supporters are tiring of the club’s perpetual comings and goings to and from the top flight. Lecce’s stadium, the Stadio Via del Mare, capacity 33,876, has a running track. Ugh. On the map page, take a look at the middle photo of Lecce’s stadium, and that yawning gap between the stands and the pitch.

Second place in the 2009-10 Serie B was Cesena. This makes back-to-back promotions for Cesena. AC Cesena are from the small city of Cesena (population, 95,000 [2009 figure}), which is in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, 15 km. (9 miles) from the Adriatic Sea coast. Which makes me wonder why they have a seahorse in their crest, seeing as how Cesena is not actually a coastal city. Cesena drew 11,272 per game last season, which was second best in Serie B [Torino drew highest in the Italian second division. 2009-10 Italian attendance figures here (E-F-S site)]. Here is an article on Cesena’s promotion, from SoccerLens.com, ‘Cesena’s Fairytale’, by GT (2nd June, 2010).

Cesena play in the 23,860-capacity Stadio Dino Manuzzi, which is unusual for a municipal stadium in Italy in that it has no unsightly and atmosphere-deadening running track. I find it ironic that this part of Emilia-Romagna (the eastern, Romagna half), which has very little history of top-flight football, has built a municipal stadium that is pretty decent and has no running track. After all, Italy is the land of the running track stadium (rivaled only by Brazil for that dubious distinction). In Italy, it is often the case that the city, not the football club, owns the stadium. Fine. [16 of the 17 stadiums in Serie A this coming season are municipally-owned, with the exception being Rome's Stadio Ilimpico, and that is owned by the Italian National Olympic Committee.] But that is no excuse for all the god-awful running tracks ruining the atmosphere at top-flight Italian football matches. Why on earth are running tracks so necessary ? Where is the mass audience for track and field ? And it’s not like Italy has a great track-and field tradition. I mean how often do you ever see an Italian win a medal in the Summer Olympics in track and field, for crying out loud ? How on earth can the capital, Rome, allow a situation where it’s two first division clubs, AS Roma and SS Lazio, play on stadium with a running track ?

OK, digression here…here are the track and field medals from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics {click here (ESPN)}. As you can see, I am totally wrong on this, because Italy won a gold medal in race walking. So you see, it was all worth it to ruin the atmosphere in virtually half the Italian top flight football matches, for about 70 years, by having facilities with running tracks. Because there is nothing more prestigious than winning an Olympic gold medal in race walking. They don’t call race walking the Beautiful Stroll for nothing.

Third place in the 2009-10 Serie B went to Brescia. Brescia Calcio are from Brescia, Lombardy, a city of around 190,000, 82 km. (51 miles) east of Milan. Brescia are back in the top tier for the first time since 2005, which was one year after legendary Italian international Roberto Baggio retired. He had turned his back on the limelight and pressures of Milan club football (with stints at AC Milan and at Inter), to happily play out the tail end of his career for Brescia, a small and up to that point unfashionable club in the foothills of the Alps.

Here is a nice Youtube video, by iiFAZZA10 – ’10 piu bei gol di (10 beautiful goals of) Roberto BAGGIO’ [note: numbers 10, 8, 5, 3 and 2 are from Baggio's Brescia days] {click here}].

Circa 2000 to 2004, Baggio basically kept Brescia up in Serie A (Baggio scored 45 goals in 95 games for Brescia), to the point where they became popularly known as “Baggio’s Brescia”, and when he exited, the modestly supported club went straight back to Serie B the following season. Brescia were averaging in the 7,000s, in Serie B, a decade ago, and were drawing in the 15-17,000 per game range when Baggio was there, from 2000 to 2004. The club has an even smaller fan base now, averaging only 3,937 per game last season (and drew only 2,996 in 2008-09), but, like Bari and Parma last year, Brescia will probably see a large increase in attendance for their return to Serie A.

Bescia’s stadium. Stadio Mario Rigamonti has an actual capacity of 27,592, but it’s current capacity has been restricted to 16,308 (that will probably change to a higher capacity now that Brescia are back in Serie A). The stadium originally had a running track, but it was removed and grass was planted there. However, seats still remain very far away from the pitch.

For the 2010-11 Serie A season, there are 8 stadiums with running tracks, and 9 clubs playing on pitches poisoned by running tracks… Roma, Lazio, Catania, Lecce, Bari, Napoli, Bologna, Chievo Verona, and Udinese. And although the putrid orange track itself is gone at Brescia’s stadium, the huge gap between seats and pitch remains, so you would have to lump Brescia in with the other 9 running-track-afflicted clubs. By way of comparison, for the 2010-11 La Liga season in Spain, there are 3 clubs who must play on pitches ringed by running tracks, UD Alméria, RCD Mallorca, and Real Sociedad. In England, not a single Premier League stadium has a running track, and this has been the case for years. In fact, you would have to go all the way down to the Conference National, which is the 5th Level in the English football league system, to find a club playing on a pitch with a running track (the Welsh club Newport County) [note: Rotherham United and Brighton & Hove Albion play at stadiums with running tracks, but in both cases these clubs (from League Two and League One, respectively) are playing there because of stadium problems, and next season Brighton will move into a new, running track-free stadium].

Hats off to the people running things in Palermo, Cagliari and Florence (Fiorentina), because these three clubs play in stadia where the local authorities had the good sense to remove the the running tracks and build stands closer to the pitch. Heck, the folks in Palermo figured this out way back in the late 1940s, because the Stadio Renzo Barbera there had it’s running track removed and stands built closer to the pitch in 1948. Why the people who run the other Italian municipalities which have top flight representation have never seen fit to do the same for their stadiums is beyond me. Italian calcio fans deserve better than this.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org and it.wikipedia.org, 2010-11 Serie A. Thanks to Eric Gaba. aka Sting, for the brilliant blank topographic map of Italy, ‘Sting’- location maps at Wikimedia.
Thanks to European-Football-Statistics.co.uk, for the attendance figures, E-F-S site. Thanks to Soccerway.com, for the final table.

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