Pro Vercelli:A story of a forgotten Italian football giant


In the early years before the beginning of the Serie A in 1929,some of the most famous Italian football clubs were formed and won the Italian Football Championship which was structured in regional groups and later clubs like Juventus,Inter Milan,AC Milan and Lazio became powerhouses in Italian football,however there is a club from the early era which was among the most successful but with the Serie A it vanished and only in recent years appeared in Serie B.Located on the river Sesia in the plain of the river Po between Milan and Turin in Northern Italy lies the city of Vercelli,home to the forgotten giant of Italian football FC Pro Vercelli.In fact Pro Vercelli from the late 1900s to the early 1920s was one of Italy’s most successful clubs with seven championships they won and during that time established itself as one of Italy’s biggest clubs which went head to head with the likes of Inter Milan,AC Milan and its neighbor to the north of Piedmont Juventus.It all began in 1892 when the Societa Gimnastica Pro Vercelli was founded,but it wasn’t under 1903 that the football division itself was founded and four years later they managed to get promoted to the Italian Football Championship and a year later in they managed to win their first title,they repeated the success in the following year where in the final they beat US Milanese (later they merged with Inter Milan) 4-2 in two matches,however in the 1909-10 season the Lions couldn’t defend their title since in the championship playoff final (both Inter and Pro Vercelli had the same number of points so a championship playoff final had to be played) Inter trounced them 3-10 in front of their own crowd and ended the two year reign of the Lions,but they came back in the following season where they smashed Venezia 13-0.In the early period the Italian league wasn’t like the Serie A today it was constituted of regional championships based mainly in Northern Italy and Pro Vercelli took the advantage of the regional system until the 1912-13 when clubs from Southern Italy were admitted and the championship was expanded which gave clubs from the south their first taste of football in highest divisions.That season Pro Vercelli conquered northern rounds for the qualifications to the National final in Genoa where they faced the champion of the southern rounds which was Lazio,in Genoa the Lions would triumph 6-0 against the Biancocelesti and win their 5th title in total.Under player-coach Giuseppe Milano the club dominated Italian football like no other side did in that era,but WWI ended Pro Vercelli’s successul era which gave them 5 titles from 1908 to 1913 only Inter briefly stopped their domination,but WWI hit the club badly since it is based in Northern Italy and the region itself was hit hard by the war itself.After the war the Lions tried to restablish themselves as one of Italy’s biggest clubs and they managed partially to do that.After long and exhausting qualification rounds for the National final which saw the Italian Football Championship to expand to even further clubs,the Lions managed to make to the 1921 National final in Torino where they defeated 2-1 Pisa.One final title the Lions won in the following season when in two matches of the National final where they defeated Fortitudo which in 1927 would merge with two other clubs in Rome to form AS Roma.As for Pro Vercelli that was their seventh and final title and with the rise of professionallism in Italian football combined with the rise of clubs from bigger industrial cities saw the club going into a state of decline besides it played in the first years of the Serie A but eventually they were relegated in 1935 and never returned to the Serie A to this date.Instead Pro Vercelli suffered the fate of small town clubs bouncing between lower divisions in the following decades and it became a forgotten giant,but in 2012 the Lions returned to prominence when under Maurizio Braghin were promoted to the Serie B after 64 long years of absence and they have been there ever since,playing in the Serie B and with the success of small clubs like SPAL,Frosinone,Crotone,Benevento,Carpi and others could it be that in the near future we would see the return of a forgotten giant to the Serie A.


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