Serie A Story tells you everything and anything about your favourite club and their record in one of Europe’s toughest leagues.
On 1 November 1897, on a bench in Corso Re Umberto a group of friends engineered the idea of starting up a sports club, primarily so they could hang out with something to do and have fun doing it. Their focus was on football and within two years their brainchild was given the official name it still holds today – Football Club Juventus.
The club founded as a hobby would go on to become the most successful team in Italy and one of the dominating forces in European and World competition. After winning the League title a record 27 times, the Coppa Italia a record nine times and all major European and World tournaments recognised by FIFA, Juventus are regarded as the third most successful club in Europe and the sixth most successful in the World.
The early games were played in pink and black strips at the Piazza D’Armi, but the side were pitted against much stronger opposition and subsequently suffered heavy defeats. The players worked on their ball skills and gradually improved. In 1903 the team disposed of the pink kit in favour of the famous black and white stripes they still wear today, adopting the colours from Notts County, one of the founding members of the football league in England. In 1905 the Bianconeri won their first league title – which in those days was a plate.
It was in 1923 when the foundations were laid on which Juventus would build it‘s illustrious history. Edoardo Agnelli, the son of FIAT founder, Giovanni Agnelli was elected president and took control of the club. His investment helped the club secure a second championship win in 1926 and under the guidance of Coach Carlo Carcano five consecutive titles were to follow between 1931 and 1935, a feat that has never been repeated. Due to the increasing number of fans a new ground was built and opened in 1922, named the Corso Marsiglia. The club played here for eleven years before moving to the Benito Mussolini Stadium in 1933, which was later to become the Stadio Comunale after the Second World War and more recently renamed as the Stadio Olimpico.
There followed a lean period until after the Second World War when a two further league titles were added and the form continued throughout the 1950’s collecting four more Scudetti including a first league and cup double in the 1959/60 season. They would have probably won the Coppa Italia previous to this alongside the previous league titles, but the competition was abandoned during the war and not re-instated again until the 1957/58 season. It was also during this period that Juve legend, Giampiero Boniperti set a club record of 179 goals in 444 Serie A appearances, a feat that stood for almost fifty years until surpassed by present day idol, Alessandro Del Piero in 2006. After securing their tenth title in 1961, Juventus became the first team in Italy to be awarded the gold star for sporting excellence. Their 20th title was completed in 1982 and they are still the only team in Italy to have been honoured with two stars.
Giampiero Boniperti brought much success to Juventus as a player, but his time as chairman proved to be even more successful. During his reign between 1971 and 1990 Juve won no fewer than nine Scudetto titles, three Coppa Italia and every European trophy there was to play for. The 1976/77 season saw Giovanni Trapattoni’s team lift the Scudetto with a record 51 points four days after lifting the UEFA Cup against Atletico Bilboa. Trapattoni went on to become the most successful Coach of Juve, collecting 13 trophies between 1976 and 1986 and the UEFA Cup in 1993 in his second spell with the Turin club. During this illustrious period Juventus fielded some of the world’s finest players with the likes of, Dino Zoff, Paulo Rossi, Claudio Gentile, Liam Brady and arguably the best of them all, Michel Platini.
The enigmatic Frenchman, now chairman of UEFA, was regarded the best player of his era and whilst playing for Juve was named European Footballer of the Year on three consecutive occasions and World Player of the Year twice. In five glorious seasons he was leading goalscorer in Serie A three times and helped Juve win two Scudetto titles, the European Cup (now known as Champions League), the Cup Winners Cup, two UEFA Cups, the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, beating Argentinos Juniors 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out.
The 1984/85 season was bittersweet, with the club winning the European Cup in tragic circumstances. Juventus reached the final where they faced Liverpool in Brussels’ Heysel Stadium. The ground was not sufficient to hold a match of such magnitude and 39 Juve fans were fatally crushed when a wall collapsed. Without knowing the severity of the situation in the crumpled terraces, the game went ahead and was settled through a Michel Platini penalty. The victory meant the Bianconeri were the first team to win all three UEFA club competitions.
After adding another Scudetto title to the ever growing trophy cabinet in the 1985/86 season the Bianconeri suffered three trophy-less years before collecting the UEFA Cup in 1990 overcoming Fiorentina 3-1 in an all-Italian final. Another UEFA Cup victory followed in 1993, but Juventus were losing their dominance on the domestic scene to Milan.
In 1994 the board realised it was time to make some changes and embarked on the project that is still thriving today. Their first step was to install Marcello Lippi as Coach and in his first season at the helm he delivered another league and cup double together with the only cup missing from their trophy cabinet – the Italian Super Cup.
Lippi followed up his success in the 1995/96 season, winning the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo and the European Super Cup against Paris St. Germain. It was during this period that the Old Lady fielding one of their most convincingly destructive teams, boasting talents such as Roberto Baggio, Gianluca Vialli and a young Alessandro Del Piero, the latter going on to become Juve’s all time greatest scorer with 249 goals and counting in all competitions. The team also went on to win the Champions League beating Dutch side Ajax on penalties and although they missed out on domestic trophies that year, the following season saw them claim yet another double with the league and Italian Cup victories.
Lippi left after the 1997/98 season after securing Juve’s 25th Scudetto title, making way for Carlo Ancelotti. In his two years at the helm though and despite having the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Gianluca Zambrotta and David Trezeguet at his disposal, the former Milan and Roma midfielder was only able to deliver the Intertoto Cup to the Stadio delle Alpi. This failing signalled the return of Marcello Lippi who once again brought immediate success, winning back-to-back Scudetti and Italian Super Cups.
Two more titles were won between 2004 and 2006 under the guidance of former Juve midfielder Fabio Capello. However, the club was stripped of these titles and relegated to Serie B for match fixing irregularities. In the biggest scandal in the history of Italian football, former Juve executives Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo were subsequently banned and cannot return to the game until 2011. Didier Deschamps took the reigns as Coach to steer the team through a season in the lower division. Fortunately for the former midfield dynamo, some of the Old Lady’s superstars, including Del Piero and the Bianconeri’s eighth star to be named European Player of the Year, Pavel Nedved, opted to stay with the club and overcome a 17-point deficit to win promotion as champions.
After securing promotion back to Serie A, Deschamps resigned his position as Coach by mutual consent and was replaced in the summer by current Tactician Claudio Ranieri. Nicknamed the ‘Tinker Man,’ for his habit of rotating his teams, Ranieri guided Juventus to third place in Serie A, securing a Champions League spot for the first time since their exclusion from European competition. With a strong team, a dedicated backroom staff and an ambitious President in Giovanni Cobolli Gigli, Juventus have put the recent turmoil behind them and are focusing on a return to the glory days of their illustrious past.