Cursed Granata (1 Viewer)

jamaliano

Junior Member
Dec 7, 2002
221
#1
The Manchester City of Italy

by Roberto Gotta

If Manchester United ruined writer Colin Shindler's life, just imagine what Juventus must have done to the lives of the thousands of Turin residents who do not support the Bianconeri but the city's other great club, Torino.

Juventus have won the Serie A twenty-six times, plus a couple of European Cups, while Torino's cupboard boasts seven Scudettos, though their latest one dates all the way back to 1976. Since then the Granata (Burgundy, from their colours) have struggled to stay among the elite: in fact, they have gone down to the Serie B four times since, the first after the 1988-89 season when their 30-year stay in the top division was finally brought to an end, then again in 1995-96, 1997-98 and 1999-2000.


All this happened as Juventus, after a few lean years in the early Nineties, were back as a force in Italian and European football. It was perhaps the defining moment in the recent history of both clubs: while Torino have never been able to establish themselves as Serie A regulars, Juventus have now become a permanent Champions League fixture and title contenders, and there does not seem to be a reverse of trends in sight.

When the Serie A resumes its fixtures on January 11 after the winter break, Torino will find themselves third from bottom at best: earlier in the week they will host Atalanta, a game which was postponed last month when the visitors' long-time trainer died suddenly, and a win - which would be only their third this season - will see Torino jump over their opponents by one point and still trail the safety zone by two, with a string of crucial matches coming up in the next few weeks.

The constant yo-yoing between the top two divisions and the failure to establish a presence in Serie A have been the by-product of a catastrophic and chaotic boardroom situation, which dates back to the late 80s. This has often made Torino the laughing stock of Italian football and, more crucially for those involved, of crosstown rivals Juventus.

Early 90s owner Gianmauro Borsano became involved in a series of scandals and had to hand the reins over to a local lawyer, Roberto Goveani, who could not rescue the club from deepening financial troubles and almost brought it to its knees before Gianmarco Calleri stepped in in 1994 and saved Torino from bankruptcy.

The task of bringing the Granata back to a respectable status was never going to be easy, though there were some bright moments: even before Borsano had resigned, nearly 70,000 filled the Stadio Delle Alpi in April 1992 to inspire Torino to a 2-0 win over Real Madrid in the Uefa Cup semi-final, second leg, and a few weeks later only the away-goal rule prevented Torino from winning the Cup in the final against Ajax, who drew 2-2 at the Delle Alpi then held on (despite the Granata hitting the woodwork three times) for a scoreless home draw.

Torino managed to win the Italian Cup in 1993, but that remains their last trophy and the current team would settle for avoiding another relegation to Serie B.

Traditionally, Torino fans have always prided themselves on their team's fighting spirit, the 'Cuore Granata' (cuore being heart, grit, determination), and this has become a cliche in Italian football, but too often this has been their only weapon against better teams who invariably come out on top.

The current squad is simply not enough to cope with the competition: Torino have both the Serie A's worst attacking and defensive record, with seven goals scored and twenty-eight conceded in fourteen games.

Manager Renzo Ulivieri, who took over when Giancarlo Camolese was sacked three months ago, has not been able to steer the Granata in a new direction and his latest tactical ploy has seen fan favourite Marco Ferrante, a diminutive forward who's been Torino's only consistent goalscorer in the last few years (109 goals), moved back in a withdrawn role or to the bench, to the dismay of supporters who now fear he may even be sold to another team before the end of the month.

Fans, after all, have always been suspicious of owner Francesco Cimminelli, a 67-year old former pilot and entrepreneur, whose factory assembles plastic parts which are used by FIAT (main shareholder of Juventus) which has therefore made him a 'Juventus' man in the eyes of many.

After purchasing the club in April 2000, Cimminelli, who has recently termed Torino as the 'sports department of my company', named his now twenty-year-old son Simone as vice-president, while Attilio Romero, a businessman, was named president.

Astonishingly, in a 'you-couldn't-make-it-up' scenario, Romero, a longtime fan, had been in the car which had run over and killed budding Torino star and extrovert talent Gigi Meroni in 1967, a tragedy which further confirmed the Granata's image as a doomed club.



Italy's biggest football shock also involved the Granata, as on May 4, 1949 the whole 'Grande Torino', the great Turin side which had won five Serie A titles since 1942, was destroyed when the plane carrying them home from a friendly in Lisbon crashed into the Basilica of Superga, on the hills surrounding the city.

Half-a-million people lined the streets of Turin for the funerals, and older people still remember that tragic day as the most emotional in their lives, as Torino had not only been a fabulously talented team but had also given Italians, just out of World War II and going through difficult times, a sparkle of hope.

But those distant tragedies can have no effect whatsoever on the team's current plight, apart from the shocking Romero-Meroni connection. Cimminelli is viewed as a cheap owner more interested in developing the site of former historic Stadio Filadelfia - which will house the club offices and shops in a few years' time - than investing in the team, and the players were jeered during a recent warm up match against a lower division side.

New faces may be brought in in January, but most of them could be young players on loan, hardly the types needed to steer the club away from the relegation path, especially if some of the current squad (Ferrante, defender Galante) are let go.

Cimminelli says his goal is to make Torino financially stable, with the development of the Filadelfia and the rebuilding work on the Stadio Comunale which will become the Granata's home stadium, but in the meantime he needs Torino to stay up in order to fulfil those requirements and avoid being stuck with an empty bowl. Unless help, real help is on the way, further trouble lies ahead.

This is a club, after all, whose first chairman, Alfred Dick (no pun here), missed most of his side's first-ever match when he accidentally locked himself into a toilet at half time. Some of the current fans feel like locking themselves into a closet and swallowing the key, each time Torino misses another goal and lets in a soft one. And you can't fault them.
 

Slagathor

Bedpan racing champion
Jul 25, 2001
22,708
#3
++ [ originally posted by jamaliano ] ++a few weeks later only the away-goal rule prevented Torino from winning the Cup in the final against Ajax, who drew 2-2 at the Delle Alpi then held on (despite the Granata hitting the woodwork three times) for a scoreless home draw.
.

Good memories... :cool:
 

dpforever

Prediction Game Champ 2003 & 2005
Jan 12, 2002
3,794
#4
Nice article ..

++ [ originally posted by jamaliano ] ++

Fans, after all, have always been suspicious of owner Francesco Cimminelli, a 67-year old former pilot and entrepreneur, whose factory assembles plastic parts which are used by FIAT (main shareholder of Juventus) which has therefore made him a 'Juventus' man in the eyes of many.
Heh .. Juve man !!

++ [ originally posted by jamaliano ] ++

This is a club, after all, whose first chairman, Alfred Dick (no pun here), missed most of his side's first-ever match when he accidentally locked himself into a toilet at half time.
:LOL:
 

Ahmed_

Bench Warmer
Dec 23, 2002
770
#5
++ [ originally posted by jamaliano ] ++
The Manchester City of Italy

This is a club, after all, whose first chairman, Alfred Dick (no pun here), missed most of his side's first-ever match when he accidentally locked himself into a toilet at half time. Some of the current fans feel like locking themselves into a closet and swallowing the key, each time Torino misses another goal and lets in a soft one. And you can't fault them.
nice article :LOL:
 

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