Reggiana went through one of its darkest periods to find joy in the end with the promotion in Serie B in 1940. While World War Two exploded...
The Thirties were dark for Ac Reggiana. It was dark like the Regime that put everyone in a military uniform. The Fascist Party took possession of the club too. In fact, several hierarchs took turns in being president of the Reggiana. Regolo Ferretti who was the club secretary in the Twenties became the single club commissioner and team manager, right after the relegation in 1930. Camillo Prampolini, one of the most distinguished sons of Reggio Emilia, died in Milano in complete solitude.
The Thirties were interesting because the club started to be followed by some specialized press. Giber, in fact, was the first journalist to cover the team regularly by being the beat writer for a local outlet called “Il Solco Fascista.” Bezzecchi was the left full back during those years, and Aroldo Corazza came directly from Castelbolognese to defend the Ac Reggiana goal in the first half of the Thirties. However, the real young star of the season was Alcide Violi who scored 11 goals in his first season as a pro. Ac Reggiana reached to the final group at the of the season, where its opponents were Comense, Pavia, and Spal. The game in Como against Comense was a total nightmare with the Granata coming off the pitch battered 7-0. Hence the draws against Pavia and Spal proved to be utterly useless for the team’s hopes of promotion. During the summer transfer, the team changed its make-up completely. From Bagnolo came the “Campary dynasty” with Milo, Socrate, and Nellusco. The Campari family just came earlier than the Benelli one, with Arturo, Gino, and Carlo. In midfield shows up Vivaldo Fornaciari, who was a born and raised in Reggio Emilia. The club played an unimpressive season, and in the end, Reggiana finished fourth.
The 1932/1933 season unfolded in the same way, more or less. One bright light was the debut of a young talent from Correggio, Quirino Montanari, called Pierino. Nevertheless, the fans did follow the team wholeheartedly: one thousand traveled to Carpi; 300 to Bologna. In the end, Reggiana was unlucky. In the year with one promotion to upper division, granata finished second.
The 1933 season opened up with great news: the comeback to Reggio of Stefano Aigotti. The former Ac Milan, Legnano, and Livorno, made his return to Reggio Emilia. While the Italian National Team won the 1934 World Cup, Reggiana qualified for the final series. He had a quick run, though, after a massive loss by five goals in Savona, it was Catania that gained the promotion to the Serie B.
Fans and pundits in town thought that the appointment with the advancement to the upper league was postponed by just one year. The team got stronger than it was the year before. In goal, the team could switch between Corazza and the local “sensation.” Piero Ferrari, who will play in Bologna in the years ahead and in the Italian National Team too. The right winger Zironi arrived from Sassuolo (He would play in Modena in Serie A in the year ahead). Everything looked good. Aigotti and Violi scored tons of goals, and there was the added value of having a coach from abroad. It was the Hungarian Mora Maurer. Reggiana finished that regular season even with Siena, and playoff was necessary to decide who would prevail and win the promotion. The venue chosen for the playoff was Pistoia, close to Siena and far from Reggio Emilia. Pistoia was invaded by hundreds of fans from Siena who made the game heated and put a lot of pressure on the referee. In the end, it was a blowout for Reggiana’s opponents. Siena, in fact, won 7-0. The 1935-1936 season started without Aigotti, Violi, Corazza and Milo Campari. Ballerini, Ballardini, Scaccini and the striker Gaddoni. The whole bunch was coming from the Romagna area. Reggiana played an interesting season, but in the end, the granata just got so close to the finals, but that “inch” was not enough. The 1936/1937 season was as anonymous as it could be for the club. In spite of the new arrivals of
The 1936/1937 season was as anonymous as it could be for the club. In spite of the new arrivals of Sumsel, Lionard, Lanzone and Fornasaris. That was the most disappointing season for Reggiana during the Thirties. The team ended up 7th that season and the club transfer policy changed in the following year. Many youngsters came in. The likes of the goalie Ferrazzi, the fullbacks Bonfanti e Bernacchi, the local talent Carlo Benelli. Casanova returned to the team, alongside more experienced players like Valenti and De Stefanis. In the third game to the finish, Zanzù Fornaciari repeatedly punched the referee. He would face a life ban that was pardoned when Italy won the 1938 World Cup. He would be back playing in 1940. The team ended third, but that wasn’t enough to reach the playoff.
While World War Two is getting closer and closer in 1938 and 1939, Reggiana has a new president: Giovanni Marzi, who thinks big. Marzi signed players like Mazzoni, midfielder from Modena, Gatti (Fullback), right winger Schaffer, and the anchor Malagoli. The sentiment was that promotion couldn’t be missed that season. Reggiana qualified for the final group, and the decisive match was against Brescia with two possible favorable outcomes over three. Mirabello stadium was packed to the rafters, but Brescia’s Gei scored the goal that kept Reggiana still in Third Division. In 1940 World War exploded in Europe. Italy’s Mussolini mulled the decision to joined the war. It was just a matter of time. Italy stroke an alliance with Germany and Japan and millions of deaths were looming. Football didn’t stop, though, and Reggiana made his team over with the new arrivals of Bernardi (Midfielder), Romanini (Midfielder), Maran (Striker), Biagini (left winger) from Livorno, Duo from Ferrara. In goal, there were two alternatives, Satiro Lusetti and Vasirani. It was a tragic year for our nation, but one to remember for football in Reggio Emilia. During Christmas Time Reggiana played against Genova in the Italian Cup. 8000 filled up the Mirabello Stadium. At the 90th minute, the game was tied 1-1 and the extra time came by. Reggiana did some heroics and gave up a goal at the end of the match. The final part of the season was huge for Reggiana. Granata defeated Taranto 3-1 at home. The party started one week later, with the win 2-0 in Savona. Reggiana eventually got promoted in Serie B. After ten long years…
(To be continued…)