Reggio, Juventus and Audax merged together to give birth to Reggiana Calcio. It was 1919, the year where it all begun
World War One left on the ground 6000 young people from Reggio Emilia and several of them were players from Reggio and Juventus. The two teams that were “fighting” for the city supremacy in footballing terms. Reggio was playing at the Badia grounds, in Viale Risorgimento, while Juventus’ home was at Mirabello. Once WWI ended, it was the time for unity and march together. That is why Reggio and Juventus, with the addition of Audax, merged and gave birth to Reggiana thanks to the positive impulse of Mr. Severino Taddei.
The exact name of the club was Associazione Calcio Reggiana, and it enrolled in the Promozione (The Third League of today). It was September 1919 when this happened, and the club headquarters were placed where today lies the Caffè Europa, in the heart and soul of Reggio Emilia. The first Club President was Giuseppe Cassoli. Reggiana played against Parma, Piacenza, Spal, Audax Bologna during that season and finished third in the table. The team played with two fullbacks and one anchor midfielder: his name was Boiardi, Franco’s dad who has been an Italian MP from Reggio Emilia. In spite of its final third place, Reggiana was admitted to the upper league (The today Serie B). The manager came directly from Austria: Karl Sturmer. They say that Sturmer used to take off a shoe to a player to force him to play and shoot with his weaker foot. Unfortunately, Reggiana wasn’t the “news” in town. “Officine Reggiane,” was. The biggest factory in Reggio Emilia at that time was occupied by its workers, and the atmosphere in Reggio Emilia as well as in other cities of North Italy was of an imminent civil war. Reggiana finished that season second from the bottom behind Modena, Parma, Piacenza and only in front of Carpi. In the summer there was the new arrival of Felice Romano, an Italian-Argentinian, straight from Torino, who will be the only player in the history of the club to play for the Italian National Team. Reggiana avoids relegation thanks to the play out against Mantovana. Romano scored the decisive goal in the 146th minutes in the overtime.
The following season, the 1922-23, opens up with Benito Mussolini at the Government of Italy. Reggio Emilia was no different with the Fascist party to lead the city. Reggiana played a solid season. Romano was still on offense. Agazzani was in the Army in Rome and signed for Lazio and Tarabusi came into his place. The new club president, Vittorino Palazzi, thinks big and… does big. The newcomers are the right wing Sereno, the defensive midfielder Bezzecchi, the striker Michelin and the left wing Rasia. In 1924, a train full of Reggiana’s Tifosi left town towards Mantova (it was the first time in the club history). The match ended 1-1, but there were riots and fights between the fans. In the end, Reggiana had to face another play out against Olimpia Fiume in Padova on the 27th of July of 1924. The granata prevailed 2-0 (goals by Romano and Rasia). In August two players from Austria arrived in Reggio. The duo was recommended by Mr. Sturmer who, in the meantime, became manager of Torino. The newcomers were Anton Powolny (forward) and Jacob Huber (left winger). Reggiana lost the derby with Modena at home. In a Mirabello filled by 6000 people the Granat lost 1-4 with the Modena fans who were “launching” homing pigeons at every Modena goal. Sereno, a Reggiana player, was banned until the 1st of January of the following year because he had bitten an opponent ear. The team, in the end, avoided relegation and kept being part of the Italian First Division. The following year the outcome was disastrous. Reggiana, as a matter of fact, got indeed relegated in spite of the arrivals in Reggio Emilia of players like Milos Hajos (Hungarian) and the left winger, Povero. Reggiana went back in Serie B, but, with Stefano Aigotti as the team’s primary goal scorer and the goalkeeping and team coach Vilmos Zsigsmond, the team steamrolls to another promotion in First Division. The problem? Reggiana was in Serie A with no money at all. Aigotti signed with Ac Milan, Zsigsmond left and was replaced by the Spal goalkeeper, Valeriani. The season ended with another relegation for the club, but the Italian Federation blocks it. Club’s way down to Serie B was postponed by just one year. It was the year 1929, a blunt year for the entire world. Wall Street cracked down bringing with it the whole world (The Great Depression, it was) Reggiana fell to the Third Division. In three years from Serie A to Serie C. A Highway to Hell, introducing a dark decade (the ’30ies) for the club history. The Granata, in fact, would be back to the top only in 1940, when World War Two exploded.
The problem? Reggiana was in Serie A with no money at all. Aigotti signed with Ac Milan, Zsigsmond left and was replaced by the Spal goalkeeper, Valeriani. The season ended with another relegation for the club, but the Italian Federation blocks it. Club’s way down to Serie B was postponed by just one year. It was the year 1929, a blunt year for the entire world. Wall Street cracked down bringing with it the whole world (The Great Depression, it was) and Reggiana fell to the Third Division. In three years from Serie A to Serie C. A Highway to Hell, introducing a dark decade (the ’30 ies) for the club history. The Granata, in fact, would be back to the top only in 1940, when World War Two exploded.
(To be continued)