Torino FC are a club from the northern city of Turin, who were formed in 1906. The formation of the club was brought about by some former members of Juventus who left the club following plans to move them away from Turin, leading to the intense rivalry continued to this day.
They were originally titled FC Torino and their first home was Velodromo Umberto I in the La Crocetta neighbourhood. In 1926 Torino moved into a new home, Stadio Filadelfia and the following season 'Il Granata' (The Clarets) thought they had won their first Scudetto (league title), but they had it revoked following irregularities in a game against Juventus. They were not to be denied in 1928 and they then went on to win another title in 1943. After a three year gap Il Grande Torino went on to win five consecutive titles as they were considered Italy's greatest ever team. However, tragedy was about to strike.
On Wednesday 4th May 1949 the team were in a plane returning from Lisbon after taking part in a farewell game for Xico Ferreira against Benfica. The plane flew into a thunderstorm as it approached Turin and in poor visability crashed into the Basilica on top of Superga, a large hill on the outskirts of the city. All thirty one people aboard were killed, including eighteen players, many of whom were Italian internationals. The disaster devastated the country. At the time the club had four league games to play, in which they fielded their youth team. As a mark of respect so did their opponents. The Torino youngsters won all the games to lift the Scudetto.
|The Superga Memorial|
The victims were as follows:
Valentino Mazzola (captain of Torino and Italy)
Arnaldo Agnisetta (manager)
Ippolito Civalleri (manager)
Ernest Erbstein (trainer)
Leslie Lievesley (coach from Staveley, Derbyshire)
Ottavio Corina (masseur)
Renato Casalbore (founder of Tuttosport)
Luigi Cavallero (La Stampa)
Renato Tosatti (Gazzetta del Popolo)
Pierluigi Meroni (captain)
Andrea Bonaiuti, organiser
In 1992 the club reached the final of the UEFA Cup, but lost out on aggregate to Ajax. In 2005 with Torino finding themselves once again in Serie B, they finished in third place and won promotion via the play offs. However, FIGC the governing body of Italian football blocked them owing to financial irregularities. The club was reformed as Torino FC and took up a place once again in Serie B.
|Stadio delle Alpi|
The following year they returned to the Stadio Comunale, which had been completely refurbished for the Winter Olympics and given the new title of Stadio Olimpico. Juventus moved out in 2011 to go to a new stadium of their own built on the site of the demolished Del Alpi. It was hoped that the Stadio Olimpico could be renamed Stadio Grande Torino.
Promotion was secured back to the top flight following a runners up spot in 2011-12. This was followed by a season of consolidation before Torino came back to form in the 2013-14 campaign as the goals of Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci fired the side to a seventh place finish. This enabled the club to qualify for the Europa League for 2014-15 after sixth placed Parma were denied entry owing to their financial state.
Torino FC will compete in Serie A in the 2014-15 season.
Wednesday 3rd July 1990
I was at Italia 90 with my brother Nick and a few other great lads we'd befriended. We were staying on a temporary camp site in Turin which was the Stadio Primo Nebiolo in Parco Ruffini and it was the evening before England's World Cup Semi Final against West Germany.
The atmosphere was electric around the place and the police were extremely nervous as they were well aware of possible attacks from locals, particularly Juventus fans who were seeking revenge for their fellow fans in the light of the Heysel Disaster a few years previously. We were wary even going to the local shop, and a night in a bar was definitely not on the radar. There was a real siege mentality amongst us, and many of the lads who'd done the full tournament were extremely resentful of how they'd been treated.
We were going stir crazy and decided that we had to get out for a while. We agreed that the time to do it was while Italy were playing in their semi final against Argentina as the streets would be deserted.
|Stadio Comunale at the time of my visit|
The stadium was showing signs of its age, but it had a real gladitorial feel about it. I knew lads who went there ten years previously with England in the European Championships and they said it was as rough as any experience they'd had at a game. The Comunale had three layers around the running track. The lowest was a very small paddock. This is where my pals had been squashed with the nice locals throwing missiles from the tiers above. Both sides had seated areas, with only one with a roof over the top seats.
We could only imagine what it must have been like there at a big match with the hostilaty of the locals and the flares being thrown onto the track. Bloody frightening was the general concensus! Anyway, we had our own welfare to protect, so we left the stadium with a "grazie" to the caretaker as we weaved our way back to the camp site.
On the edge of the park we heard noises in English coming out of the bicycle rental shop. It was packed with members of 'Bobby's Army' who were watching the Italy game on a black and white TV. The custodians of the hire shop were fine with us, as they turned out to be Torino fans. Well that, and the fact that they were probably petrified! They had nothing to worry about. Our supporters at the tournament were superb on the whole. They wanted to mix and be friendly with our hosts, but the Caribinieri and local authorities had painted a picture of marauding hooligans. The work of Mrs Thatcher and her little puppet Colin Moynihan hardly helped matters.
The match went to extra time and then penalties. Argentina played with more freedom and the hero of Napoli, Diego Maradona had scored their equaliser. It was now down to who could hold their nerve. The Argies did, while the Italians crumbled. We were jubilant and someone suggested we all went out riding the small kids bikes ringing the bells. Instead we headed back the hundred or so metres to the camp. I never thought I'd hear it if I wasn't there, but the chant was Argentina Argentina, such was the delight of seeing our hosts fail in the event they felt they were destined to win.
When the excellent film One Night in Turin was released, it was revealed that there were more Italians arrested that evening in the city than English throughout the whole tournament. What a shame our authorities back home failed to recognise that fact!
Having said all of that, I would love to return to see both Turin clubs in action, as long as it isn't against English opposition.
The image of Superga, has been taken from the internet.