A half-century wait for SPAL has ended


One of the 2016-17 season promotion stories comes from Italy,from the region of Emilia-Romagna.Besides the region is represented in the Serie A with Bologna and Sassuolo,next season it will be richer for another club,a blast from the past from the 1960s-SPAL.It is a historical promotion for the club from Ferrara which last time played in the the Serie A in the 1967-68 season and for nearly a half-century was in the football wilderness.The story of the Biancazzurri starts in 1907 when salesian priest Pietro Acerbis founded the club as Societa Polisportiva Ars et Labor with the football section founded in 1913 and until the end of WWII,the Biancazzurri were spending their existence in lower divisions of Italian football.But in 1946 Paolo Mazza came back to the club who in the 1936-37 season coached the Biancazzurri,this time as the role as a chiarman and with him began the rise of SPAL in the Serie A.In 1951 under coach Antonio Janni,the Biancazzurri were promoted to the Serie A for the first time and from that point began the era of the Biancazzurri in the Serie A where they will stay for 13 years until 1964 when they were relegated to the Serie B.During the 1950s and 1960s the Biancazzurri produced some of the most famous names of Italian fooball which some of them became also became some of Italy’s famous coaching names from Luigi Delneri (who currently is the coach of Udinese),Edoardo Reja(who coached clubs like Napoli,Lazio and Atalanta) and most notably Fabio Capello who began his playing career in the Biancazzurri before he swtiched to Roma and also played for Juventus and Milan,while as a coach he won trophies and titles with Milan,Juventus and Real Madrid.Thanks to its youth academy SPAL went to preserve its Serie A status,but was forced to sell its best players to bigger clubs like Armando Picchi who switched to Hellenio Herrera’s Inter and Saul Malatrasi who played for both Milan clubs.In the 1959-60 season the Biancazzurri made their highest finish in the Serie A where they clinched the 5th place which to date that is their best result ever in the Serie A,while in 1962 they made it to the final of the Coppa Italia which they lost to Napoli and it all came an end in 1964 when the Biancazzurri were relegated to the Serie B after 13 of presence in the Serie A,but climbed to the Serie A again in the following season and stayed there until 1968 when on the last matchday Juventus midfielder Gianfranco Zigoni scored the fateful goal which sent the Biancazzurri to the Serie B and to a journey through a football wilderness which will last for the next half-century and with the club’s youth academy no longer producing good players which would sold to bigger clubs,finances also began to dry up,the situation began to turn from bad to worse in 1981 when Paolo Mazza died and the club when from crisis to crisis with no end in sight,with the club twice refounded in the last decade the last time just four years ago when the club began to play in the Serie D besides current Juventus coach Massimilliano Allegri began his coaching career 13 years ago.But the rise of Biancazzurri which started four years ago in the Serie D,culminated this year in a historical promotion which no one couldn’t imagine.With the Colombarini family owning the club and making wise investments together with the hiring of Leonardo Semplici which was hired to the bench in December 2014 he has led the club to back-to-back promotions,for the club happy days were back again.Their start of the promotion to the Serie A this season wasn’t good since they won one of their first six matches,but from the beginning of November the Biancazzurri lost only four matches and ended in 1st place of the Serie B with 78 points,four points more than 2nd placed Hellas Verona.Truly a well deserving return of the Biancazzurri from Ferrara which after wandering half-century through the football wilderness and two bankrupcies in the last decade they made it back to the Serie A which brought back the golden era of the 1960s of Italian football and gave us another beautiful underdog story of the season and hopefully they will stay in the Serie A for a period of time.


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