The historical promotion of the Witches of Benevento

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If SPAL’s promotion was historical which has given the club from Ferrara located in Emilia-Romagna its first presence in the Serie A for the first time in a half-century of waiting then the following promotion story to the Serie A is a masterpiece of its own.Campania is a region located in Southern Italy which is famous for the city of Napoli which its club is among the top clubs of the Serie A and next season for the first time in 30 years since the relegation of Avellino from the Serie A,there will be a regional derby played in Campania between Napoli and the sensation which is Benevento,another surprise promotion story of this season.In fact the Stregoni have never played in the Serie A and just two seasons ago they were playing in Italy’s third division,the Lega Pro just like SPAL.Founded in 1929 the Stregoni or the Witches how are they known since in the club’s emblem they have a witch but also since the city of Benevento was known as a center of pagan rituals in ancient times,the club itself spent most of its existence in the lower divisions of Italian football until 2005 when the club went bankrupt and was saved by local businessmen the Vigorito brothers Ciro and Oreste who heavily invested (especially in the club’s youth system and infrastructure) in the club itself which marked the start of Benevento’s rise through the ranks of Italian football.Just three years later the club was promoted to the Lega Pro Prima Divisione at the time the third division,however the death of Ciro Vigorito has hit the club hard,but the fans demanded to change the name of the stadium to honor his name.Last year the Stregoni made history when for the first time in their history they were promoted to the Serie B after defeating 3-0 Lecce in the final match which gave them the Girone C crown,the same year when SPAL won the Girone B crown and like the Stregoni was promoted to the Serie B.However when it came before the beginning this year’s Serie B season,the club lost Gaetano Autera who guided the Stregoni to promotion who cited diferences with owner Oreste Vigorito,with Autera’s departure from the bench came former Novara and Pescara coach Marco Baroni who grew up in Florence like SPAL coach Leonardo Semplici and Baroni was appointed by the club as the new coach of the season and no one would ever even the most optimistic fans that Benevento would gain a historical promotion to the Serie A.Ironically their walk towards the Serie A started with a 2-0 victory over SPAL in the first matchday of the season and the club had a good started in the first month of the season where they collected 15 out of possible 21 points,the two worst months of the season came between mid-February and mid-April where the Stregoni won only two of their matches but the Stregoni made a strong season ending where they collected 13 out of 15 points where they finished fifth and sent SPAL to the Serie A after they beat Frosinone 2-1 in matchday 40 where they forced the promotion playoffs to be held.Between Spezia,Carpi,Perugia,Frosinone and Cittadella,the Stregoni were the ultimate underdogs and very few of them gave them a chance to live the Serie A dream,but they beat the odds and made it to the promised land of Serie A.First they beat Spezia 2-1 at home in a single elimination match,after that came Perugia which participated in the Serie A in the late 1990s and early 2000s and the Stregoni beat them 2-1 on aggregate score in two matches.The victory against Perugia gave the Stregoni a right to be in the history books by being the first club to achieve back-to-back promotions from the Lega Pro to the Serie A within a year and the Stregoni made it thanks to Romanian striker which was on loan from Inter Milan George Puscas who scored the goal in the second match of the playoff finals which sent the Stregoni to the Serie A for the first time in history where they will join Hellas Verona and SPAL,a club which they shared too many twist of fates this season which included that both clubs were promoted the same years both in the Serie B and the Serie A with Benevento helping the Biancazzurri with a 2-1 over Frosinone which sent the Biancazzurri to the Serie A after a half-century of wait as well that both of the clubs coaches came from the same city which is Florence,but Benevento’s promotion story is an act of sorcery itself and it is a trend of small clubs resurging from the relative obscurity to prominence.For next season one thing is for sure Benevento’s stadium the Ciro Vigorito will be full at every match and we can’t wait to see the return of the Campania derby with Napoli which will be a sellout.

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