Before Calcio Catania

It is 1908: the first football club is founded in Catania. Its name is Pro Patria, but two years later, the club becomes U.S. Catanese and in 1929 it changes name again in S.S. Catania. During these years, the idol of the supporters was Mustafà, a Libyan defender who used to play without boots. In 1933/34, S.S. Catania earns promotion from Prima Divisione to Serie B. The team plays for three seasons in this championship, but in 1936/37 is relegated to Prima Divisione. After that, the club changes name once again, turning into A.C. Catania. The team takes part to its first Coppa Italia in 1935, but it begins to play at the “Cibali” stadium only in 1938. In 1939, the club is promoted to Serie B, but this experience lasts just a year – after that, A.C. Catania is relegated to the serie C. During the second World War, every sports championship is suspended. After the war, the club splits in two different teams: Virtus and Catanese, both playing in Serie C.

1946: Calcio Catania is born

In the summer of 1946, Calcio Catania is founded. In 1948/49, the club wins the southern league of Serie C and is promoted to Serie B. This is the start of a golden era for football in Catania. The team gains the first promotion to Serie A on the 23rd of May 1953. Among the players of that team there were Enzo Bearzot – who would have led Italy to the World Cup in 1982 – Nicola Fusco, Antonio Seveso, Ferruccio Santamaria, Guido Klein, Michele Manenti, Francesco Bassetti, Araldo Pirola and Renato Cattaneo. The first championship in Serie A in the history of the club is still remembered for the 5-0 against Udinese which is the largest victory for the Rossazzurri in the most important Italian championship. In the same match, Vittorio Ghiandi scored a hat-trick too. After its first season in Serie A, the club arrives 12th in the final ranking, but it is relegated to Serie B after a decision of the National League.

Clamoroso al Cibali! – The international debut

From 1955 to 1960, Catania plays five seasons in a row in Serie B. The comeback to Serie A is celebrated on the 5th of June 1960. Mario Corti, Alvaro Biagini, Sebastiano Buzzin, Amilcare Ferretti, Giuseppe Gaspari, Elio Grani, Guido Macor, Giorgio Michelotti, Remo Morelli and the great Memo Prenna were among the main players of that team. From 1960 on, with Ignazio Marcoccio as chairman and Carmelo Di Bella as coach, the club becomes one of the key teams in Serie A for six seasons. During those years, Catania reaches the 8th position for three consecutive years. The team makes its debut in European cups too, playing the Cup of the Alps. In 1963/64, Catania is even the runner-up in this competition. The heroes of that era were the goalkeeper Giuseppe Vavassori, Memo Prenna, "Todo" Calvanese, Giancarlo Danova, Bruno Petroni, Renato Rambaldelli, Remo Bicchierai, Gian Paolo Lampredi, Mario Castellazzi, Luigi Milan, Giovanni Fanello, Carlo Facchin, Sidney Cunha Cinesinho and Horst Szymaniak.

The immortal spirit

Vittorio Pozzo – the only coach who managed to win the World Cup twice – once said about the Catania of the sixties: “Catania bases its game on rush, speed, strength and, in my opinion, its style of playing represents the fulfillment of the moral principle. Catania players run, fight, win, without showing they care about the money they earn – in fact, they do not receive wages the same day they play. Catania supports my flag and I admire it for that reason – I feel I am one of them , symbolically. The man who coaches them is the prototype of this moral strength: Di Bella is the example that simplicity, in critical moments, can prevail against complex powers. He is a simple boy, a golden boy. His contribution to Italian football in this complicated period is remarkable”.

Between heaven and hell in the seventies

In 1965/66, Rossazzurri are relegated to Serie B. After four years in the second division, Catania comes back to Serie A on the 14th of June 1970: this is the first season of Angelo Massimino as chairman of the club and Egizio Rubino as coach of the team. The top-scorer of the season was Aquilino Bonfanti – other key players were Giorgio Bernardis, Luciano Buzzacchera, Angelo Pereni, Rino Rado, Sergio Reggiani, Maurizio Cavazzoni, Umberto Strucchi, Mauro Vaiani and the unforgettable Luciano Limena. Catania's Serie A lasts just one year and the club falls even to Serie C in 1974. In the seventies, Catania plays mainly in Serie B and C. Claudio Ciceri, Vincenzo Spagnolo, Zeliko Petrovic, Marco Piga, Roberto Sorrentino and Damiano Morra were among the most loved players of this decade. On the 25th of June 1983 the Olympic stadium in Rome is invaded by 40.000 supporters coming from Catania to watch the team play against Cremonese. This is still a record for an away match in Italy. The club, trained by Gianni Di Marzio, comes back to Serie A after 12 years. The best players of that memorable season were Aldo Cantarutti, Angelo Crialesi, Roberto Barozzi, Roberto Sorrentino, Ennio Mastalli, Antonio Crusco, Damiano Morra, Maurizio Giovanelli, Claudio Ranieri, Giacomo Chinellato, Giorgio Mastropasqua, Pier Giuseppe Mosti and Francesco Ciampoli.

The club that never dies

The relegation to Serie B in 1984 marks the beginning of the worst 20 years of history for the Rossazzurri. Catania falls once again in Serie C1 in 1987. The same year, Angelo Massimino leaves the club and the new chairman is now Angelo Attaguile. The team plays six Serie C1 championships without being able to bring good results. In 1993, due to financial problems, Catania is relegated to Eccellenza – the sixth division of the Italian football at that time. Angelo Massimino comes back as the chairman of the club. The club is promoted to CND the same year and in 1994/95 wins the championship, coming back to professional football again. The main players of that season were Peppe Mosca, Pasquale Marino, Maurizio Pellegrino and the star of the team Vincenzo Del Vecchio.

Farewell, Angelo

May 4th, 1996: Angelo Massimino tragically dies in a road accident. Thousands of supporters attended his funeral in Piazza Duomo in Catania. To honor the club, the Massimino family kept the ownership, promising to bring Catania to third division once again. The wish comes true on the 9th of May 1999: the club of the Elephant is back to Serie C1 after a great struggle against Messina. Umberto Brutto, Ciccio Bifera, Alessandro Furlanetto, Gennaro Monaco, Sandro Cicchetti, Nino Di Dio, Igor Marziano, Pietro Tarantino, Dino Di Julio, Francesco Passiatore, Roberto Manca and Luca Lugnan were the most important players of that season.

The road to Serie B

In 2000, the Gaucci family becomes the owner of Calcio Catania. Unfortunately, the club is not able to come back to second division in 2000/01, but, thanks to Graziani and Pellegrino coaching the team, the Elephants gain the promotion to Serie B after 15 years. This success arrives after the play-off against Taranto thanks to a wonderful goal by Michele Fini and the effort of captain Baronchelli, Eddy Baggio, Massimo Cicconi, Alessandro Pane, Davide Cordone, Claudio Bonomi, Roberto Breda, Michele Zeoli, Massimo De Martis, Andrea Bussi and the goalkeeper Gennaro Iezzo. The first year in Serie B is troubled, but in 2003/04 the team shows great attitude and good playing style.

Antonino Pulvirenti: the most successful chairman of the club

On the 26th of May 2004, Antonino Pulvirenti becomes the 16th chairman of the history of the club. The aim is clear: come back to Serie A and build a modern sports center for the club. After a spectacular championship, Calcio Catania gains the second place in 2005/06 and comes back to first division after 22 years. The symbols of that wonderful season were the coach Pasquale Marino, the top-scorer Gionatha Spinesi – 23 goals in that championship, a record for a Rossazzurro –, Peppe Mascara, captain Armando Pantanelli, Davide Baiocco, Orazio Russo, Roberto De Zerbi, Fabio Caserta, Andrea Sottil, Cristian Silvestri, Paolo Bianco, Cesar, Umberto Del Core, Ezio Brevi, Giorgio Lucenti, Mattia Biso, Rocco Sabato, Giovanni Marchese and Maurizio Anastasi.

8 years in Serie A

Catania's return to Serie A is surprisingly good. The club reaches the 4th position at the end of 2006 and the team shows great performances on the pitch. However, on the 2nd of February 2007, Italian football is shocked by a tragedy: after Catania-Palermo, officer Filippo Raciti dies during the fight that the supporters of the two teams caused outside the “Massimino” stadium. After this event, the club is punished and the team coached by Pasquale Marino is forced to play the remaining home games out of Catania and without supporters. Playing in these conditions is not easy and the team falls in the bottom part of the rank. Catania plays the last match of the season against Chievo Verona in Bologna. Rossazzurri win 2-0 and are able to avoid relegation to Serie B after 42 years. Gionatha Spinesi is the top-scorer of the team with 17 goals. In 2007/08, with Walter Zenga as coach, the team is mathematically safe before the end of the championship. This season is remembered for the semifinal in Coppa Italia reached after beating Triestina, Milan and Udinese. In 2008/09, once again with Zenga training, Catania does another wonderful season reaching 43 points in Serie A. Giuseppe Mascara is the top-player of the season – he would be the first Rossazzurro to play with Italian national team too – and the victory in Palermo for 4-0 is one of the best moments in the club's history. The 2009/10 season is quite troubled at the beginning, but when Sinisa Mihajlovic becomes the coach of the team, Catania is able to catch up and set a new record in Serie A reaching 45 points. The most beautiful victories of the season are the ones against Juventus, Inter and Lazio. Maxi Lopez, Giuseppe Mascara and Jorge “Malaka” Martinez were among the best players of that team. Diego Pablo Simeone, in 2010/11 manages to lead the team off the relegation zone for the fifth consecutive year accruing 46 points. In 2011, Antonino Pulvirenti inaugurates Torre del Grifo Village, the most beautiful and modern sports center in Europe. In 2011/12, the coach is Vincenzo Montella. The team places 11th and the record in Serie A is broken once again: 47 points. After this season, Mariano Izco becomes the Rossazzurro who played more matches in Serie A.

2012/13, Best Catania ever

The season 2012/13 is the best one in the history of the club. Coach Rolando Maran leads the team to 8th position, the best result in Serie A for the Elephants, previously reached only in the sixties. The points are now 56, gained scoring 50 goals and winning 12 home matches. The most memorable match of this stellar year is the 4-0 against Lazio. Gonzalo Bergessio is the top-scorer of the team with 13 goals – the hat-trick against Siena is the cherry on top of his season.

2012/13, Best Catania ever

The season 2012/13 is the best one in the history of the club. Coach Rolando Maran leads the team to 8th position, the best result in Serie A for the Elephants, previously reached only in the sixties. The points are now 56, gained scoring 50 goals and winning 12 home matches. The most memorable match of this stellar year is the 4-0 against Lazio. Gonzalo Bergessio is the top-scorer of the team with 13 goals – the hat-trick against Siena is the cherry on top of his season.


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