This is a brief history of PRO PATRIA football club from Busto Arsizio town

For our long and glorious history, the white and blue shirt has been playing 16 times in to Serie A, the first four times during the 20's before the Italian League was reformed, and then 12 times after the season 1929-30; many important football players moved their first steps for Pro Patria as Carlo Reguzzoni (he won 4 Scudetti with Bologna) a real star, symbol of the team and one of the best Italian strikers of each age, Enrico Candiani (after his stay at Pro Patria he played for Juventus, Milan and Inter), Stefano Tacconi (goalkeeper of Juventus and Italian National team during the 80's ), Lello Antoniotti, Luciano Re Cecconi, Emidio Cavigioli and Angelo Turconi both playing at London Olimpic Games in 1948 with Italian football team; one among the best international players like Ladislav Kubala (Barcelona big star) for some months, two coaches like Giuseppe Meazza and Rangone (national team's boss in the 20's)...and many others.


Busto Arsizio town's football roots date back to 1881, that is the date of the foundation of the club "Ginnastica Pro Patria et Libertate"; (literal translation "for the motherland and for freedom") one of the oldest and famous Italian sport clubs for gymnastic, also famousm for its historical white and blue horizontal stripped shirt.

For some years, Football is only in the challenges among high school students and clients of the local various pubs and restaurants to keep high the honour of the respective group or town's suburbs. 

The first real impact with official matches took place in the years 1906-07, when the first real football club called Aurora was born at Busto Arsizio.

Guido Albinola was the founder, while the 18 aged Roberto Della Torre became the chairman, boss and skipper.

The main place of the club was in the Hotel "Tre Re", whose owner was Attilio Tre Re, one of the best players of that age, he made also part of the first Italian national team for long time as a midfielder, he was a player of A.C. Milan and after also of Aurora Busto, becoming boss of this team too.

Following the example of Aurora, team that was even able to have an its own football ground, other clubs were founded, but they had all a brief existence.

The first real official football match took place at Busto Arsizio on May 1st 1907, the pitch was obviously the Aurora's one in Via Venti Settembre.

The old Pro Patria stadium

In 1912 the team got very close to the promotion to serie A, in fact at the end of the tournament Aurora F.C and the Milan's team A.C. Lombardia played against for the promotion, but the referee, Marchese Giadina created several troubles and damages against The "Bustocchi" so that they were defeated.

In the season 1913-14 the team is beaten again by a Milan's team.

The football league was suspended because of the first world war from 1915 to 1918.

At the end of the fightings, the former Aurora's skipper Piero Giudali gathered on February 26th 1919, at Busto Arsizio's Caffe Brugioli all the staff and players of the different football clubs of the town that had survived after the war, in order to create an only club to be named Pro Patria et Libertate, section football, Busto's sport activities united, with the white and blue horizontal stripped shirt, following the glorious history began in the far away 1881, and from that moment football at Busto Arsizio would have been forever Pro Patria, "PRO" for the more faithful fans.

In the season 1919-20 the team plays in the 2nd "categoria" league and for the first match of the season on october 19th 1919 the new ground in Via Valle Olona was inaugurated, with the athletics track, and it remained the official pitch of Pro since July 1927. In this season the team gets the 1st place and for this is admitted to the final tournament, there gets the 5th place and it is promoted to the "Prima Categoria" (actually serie B).

Season 1924-25, the club made big efforts to reach the serie A, Kutik from 33 F.C Budapest ( Hungary ) was signed and he was the first foreign player of the history of Pro Patria ( in the future he will be also the coach ), but the team gets once again only the second spot.

Anyway this was a season marked by very important debuts, as the one of the outstanding Carletto Reguzzoni, who was judged by the critics of that time as" the best left handed football player all over the Europe". Several player captured the interest of the most important teams like Inter, Milan and Juventus and in particular many will go to play at Inter making a sort of colony during the time.

The season 1926-27 is one of the most important in the Pro Patria history, in fact the club is at last promoted in the Divisione nazionale A ( actually serie A), reaching the top of the Italian football. This was a very disputed season expecially against Atalanta, and was decided only in the last match, but already the direct match that Pro won 7-0 showed the superiority of the white and blues.

Pro Patria 1926-27

Chairman Marcora prized the players with three days of holidays at Venice, and when the team came back, they found a big waiting crowd with also the musical band.

First Championship in Divisione Nazionale A 1927-28: The new football ground inaugurated on july 1927 and nowadays "theatre" of Pro games arrives, the team had the first division championship winner line up but some new details were added to the squad. 

Carletto Reguzzoni, the top scorer and no doubtful outstanding player got the definitive affermation.

On September 23th 1927, Pro Patria made its first game in serie A, but match by match the team felt the lack of a real coach, so the Hungarian boss Bekey was called.

Under his guide, the team made a great second part of the season, beating at home Juventus, playing in a way that made the fans upset as the victory against Roma (1-0) in the capital town showed, and surviving at the end in the top league.

In this first season in the Top world of Italian Football, the legend of Pro arise as the nickname "Tigrotti" thanks to Bruno Roghi, a real star among Italian sport journalism, whom on the "Gazzetta dello Sport" newspaper used to describe Pro as "a typical assalting team, born to fight, with great team spirit, proud, no fearing the power of the enemy and fighting with all its energies till the end…

Also Juventus, the mighty and proud team found a defeat at Busto Arsizio…That's normal !!! Bustesi's pitch is like the tiger's den: who tries to enter inside, finds the death…"

In the second season in the top division (1928-29) Pro Patria gets the fifth place, comfirming itself as a team deserving great respect and becoming a true reality of Italian football. 

Some "Tigrotti" players, get the definitive national aknowledge as the striker Reguzzoni (29 goals) and Bonivento. On October 28th 1928, there is to underline the first derby against Legnano in serie A, it was a defeat 1-0 but in the return match Pro gets its revenge winning 2-1 with Reguzzoni and Bonivento as scorers.

In the championship 1929-30 the team's coach is always Bekey to whom Rangone becomes partner as techical director. He was one of the most famous characters of the time as he used to be the national team boss too. A brilliant 6-1 home win against Roma must be underlined and at the end the club gets a middle table spot.

1930-31, Pro missing a lot its great bomber Carletto Reguzzoni, passed to Bologna for the record fee of 80.000 Liras (at the time), and also for another excellent departure as Bocchi was sold to A.C. Milan, got ready to dispute the season in Serie A between various doubts. Rangone is confirmed again to the technical guide , while they succeed in making to wear the white and blue to Natale Masera from the youth team. 


The beginning is not one of the best, in fact at the end of the season, after having straight the fates of Pro Patria for 10 years, the Cavalier Carlo Marcora is discharged from the loads of being the main Chairman.

He was a very important personality of the bustocco sport scene, and even if another famous figure as the industrial Pino Cozzi arrives, but the financial problems begin to press a lot.

The derby game against Legnano came back with a victory at Busto and a return match played at San Siro stadium in Milan, for the strong rivality between the fans.

1931-32: The dynamic and passionate chairman Cozzi stays alone at the control of the club and the economical troubles arrrived quite soon. Rangone was confiremed as a boss, but during the season he will be replaced by the former national team player Leopoldo Conti.

Among the new white and blue players there were Agosteo (a back who will go in the future to Inter and then to Genoa ) and Monza. The League is ended at the 10th spot.

Championship 1932-33 A very important row is closed, the financial troubles are deep and for this the team can't be improved, so the relegation to serie B arrived; in the following season there was another relegation and after only two years Pro went to Serie C ( third division ).

Years of Serie C followed, then the second world war (1940-45) with the championships played under the bombings.

We arrive at the 1946-47 season in to serie B, Rigotti sits in the bench as the new coach and the thin but very techical player Lello Antoniotti (he was very similar to Roberto Baggio) is the new main player.

Also Carletto Reguzzoni came back from Bologna after having won everything and these two players made a great up-front line in partnership with Caviglioli, Turconi and Molina.

Pro Patria won the serie B League and come back to Serie A, 7 points clear the second, scoring 84 goals (24 Antoniotti, 22 Turconi, 14 Cavigloli) and just 10 in an only home match against Vogherese. "Pro" won all the 21 games played in the home friendly pitch.

Lello Antoniotti

Since this moment the Golden era with eight consecutive Serie A League presences starts for Pro Patria.

In the first year, the team reached a wonderful 8th place with famous wins as against Inter at home by 2-0 and a 4-0 victory at Turin against Juventus and with Antoniotti's great talent over all, but this is also the year marking the farewell from football by 40 years old player Carletto Reguzzoni whom after a brilliant career stopped playing just with his Pro's shirt.

There was also the great satisfaction of seeing Turioni and Cavigioli, two Tigers' players called for the National team for the London 1948 Olympic Games where they scored several goals too.

During the following season a suffered salvation arrived, owing to the serious and very long Antoniotti and Cavigioli's absences.

The Serie A's staying was practically got in the last but one match of the season: Pro - Milan 2-1, a match that remains in the legend of the white and blue fans.

With only four minutes to play and under a very big storm, the team reached the equalizer goal on 87th minute thanks to the supporters' help, then on 89th minute Toros scored the winner's goal with a big shoot from the distance and this meant Pro Patria's salvation.

In the year 1949 Pro Patria lived a real dream but this would have had a very bitter wake up: in April Ladislav Kubala, one of the best talented players of the European football of each age, arrived at Busto.

Torino, Juventus and Inter followed him also but he was stopped by a FIFA's life ban that was given him because of his escape to Western Europe to go away from Hungary's communist regime that made him to break his contract with Vasas Budapest, his former team.

He stayed at Busto till November 1949, training himself with Pro Patria waiting for the regulating of his position that could have taken place in each moment, to play in serie A league but unfortunately this would have never happened.

Then he went to Spain, where thanks to the Barcelona's secretary very strong influences, his ban was revoked and he could therefore become of the main stars of Catalan's team and a player of the Spanish national team.


Season 1949 - 50:

The main chairman Cerana wanted a more ambitious Pro that wouldn't have to struggle only for a middle table's position and for this he gave the club to Peppino Meazza, a very experienced and able man former outclass player of Inter and Italian national team; besides this in the Kubala's affair he signed two more Hungarian players Viney and Turkeby to complete a squad formed all by players from Busto's area but the final position was only the middle table's one.

Season 1950 -51:

Again Meazza was the boss and again in the middle of the table, Pro showed itself very strong in the home games with 13 wins on 19, beating among the others Inter 2-0, Fiorentina 2-1, Roma 3-2 and Genoa 5-2.

Season 1951-52:

In spite a change in the technical guide the club got again a 9th final place with Jo Santos from Argentina being the team's headlight.
Pro lost only one match at home against Juventus that at the end would have been the champions, but beat lightly Nyers and Skoglund's Inter by 5-1.
It was the Serie A's derby game against Legnano's neighbours, Pro won the away game 2-1 and drew the return game 1-1.

Season 1952 - 53:

The chairman Cerana moved away and an unexpected relegation to serie B following a sensational play-off match against Novara played in a neutral pitch.
A home 3-3 draw after a very disputed game is the only fact to remember.

Season 1953 -54:

The team went rapidly up to serie A, Pro started badly but in the final of the season reached the top and won the serie B league after a play off match played at Roma against Cagliari, playing practically against all the stadium full of Roma's Sardinia's team supporters, hating a Northern Italy's club: but at the end of the match, Pro Patria won 2-0 thanks a couple of goals by Muzzio.

Season 1954 - 55:

Pro Patria got only the last place of the table, but avoided the relegation as Udinese was relegated into serie B because of a sport illicit misconduct made just against the white and blue's team.

The last season of serie A: 1955 - 56:

Busto's directors got the news about the survival in the top league only before the League's beginning.
The very young team was already built to make a middle class serie B league, so they tried to make up for this situation signing at the last minute Vidal, a midfielder World Champion with Uruguay in 1950, from Fiorentina but he got injured in the first match e he was not able to return to play.
A lot of players were too old while others were too young and for this the relegation arrived in spite of a battling and pride team's spirit that made to lose a lot of matches only with a goal difference.

Season 1956 - 57:

The last Serie A league had been too expensive financially and the club had several troubles for this, so Pro Patria after an only season found itself from serie A relegated again to serie C.
In the season 1958 - 59 Pro names the former Juve's player Piero Magni as new boss and he was able to build up a team composed all by Busto's area players, getting a middle table's position but with good expectations for the future.

Season 1959 - 60:

Pro Patria guided by Magni came back to Serie B winning the league after having beat Bolzano playing against them a sort of playoff in the last games of the season.
More than 1000 Pro supporters went to Bolzano by bus and by train for the decisive match that ending 0-0 presented the return to serie B after some seasons in the third league.

In the season 1962 - 63 Pro grazed the sensational return to serie A but it vanished just in the last match of the league against Messina that was already mathematically promoted in the top league.
This period is marked by Pro Patria' seasons in serie B, with a team composed most of all by Busto's and Olona's Valley players that is still remembered with great pride by the fans that felt this team as a their one.
Also this team was good at making the home stadium an unbeaten pitch…but all of this lasted till the season 1965 - 66 when the club slid again into serie C.

At the end of the 60's the club was hit by a very deep financial crisis but discovered also Carletto Regalia, born near Busto and former white and blue striker, he stopped to play at 32 and became immediately Pro Patria's new boss.

The team again is founded on the local players, showing interesting ones like Viviani, Cazzaniga, Turrini, De Bernardi, Rimoldi, Calloni who will play in Serie A and Serie B or like Re Cecconi who will become League champion with Lazio and will reach the National team.

Re Cecconi

The club reach in this period also the 5th place.

On September 1969 the first organized fans club called Pro Patria club was founded together with the publication of a free fanzine gifted to the fans during the home games.

At the end of the season 1969-70, Regalia abandoned Pro after several controversies even with a part of the supporters and then he became Lazio and Bari's general manager discovering great talented players like Zambrotta, Cassano, Ventola, Joao Paulo, Di Biagio, Di Canio and many others.

In the first 70's a fast decline caused by a very deep financial crisis began, and this compelled the club in the season 1971-72 to renounce to sign a young skill player called Giancarlo Antognoni who will become the Fiorentina's main star and World Champion with the Italian team shirt in 1982.

Consequentially the relegation in the Serie D hell ( Italian Div.4 ) arrived.

On September 1973 the first white and blue ultras group was created and called Commandos Tigri that will settle in the central part of the "Popolari" terrace.

The tigers' team took its revenge only in the 1974-75 championship coming back in to serie C.

The Italian leagues' renewal caused a declass for Pro Patria in to Serie C2 at the end of the season 1977-78, when in the squad Stefano Tacconi who will win in the future everything with Juventus's shirt, was the very young goalkeeper.

In 1977 Pro Patria and its fans had a very big prominence on the Italian national newspapers because of the deep friendship with Triestina, another noble team of the Italian football that was in a bad moment too.

In the year 1981-82 Pro won the C2 championship reaching for the first time the Serie C1 league, but stayed there only for a season as the result of an incredible relegation happened in the last matches after having been almost always in the middle of the table.

Among various financial troubles, Pro could only touch on the return to Serie C1 in the season 1985-86, disappeared in the home defeat in the last but one match, but in this period a lot of players whom would have played in to Serie A and B were launched.

Season 1987-88: another serious financial crisis and a disastrous league ended with the death of the player Andrea Cecotti on Treviso's pitch on November 14th 1987 owing to a heart illness when he was only 24 years old.

Since this moment a real decline starts that will bring the club at first in to Serie D and then even in the Eccellenza's league (Italian Div.6th) also because of a wicked leadership of the club.

But the fans never abandoned the club not even in Eccellenza's league and they followed with love and pride in a big number despite the so bad championship, after two seasons there in the League 1993-94 Pro won the championship bringing a lot of supporters in the away terraces, even one thousand fans for the most important games.

Pro Patria came back in to Serie C2 professional football on July 1995 as for the merging with Gallaratese, the team of the very close town to Busto Arsizio called Gallarate, that after having reached the promotion on the pitch, found itself without directors and couldn't get the OK from the Italian Football Association because of the lack of a regular football ground. 

The new club started with strong ambitions, the very young team was entrust to Mario Beretta, a 36 years old boss who was able thanks to his ravishing way of playing to bring back both to the Speroni's stadium terraces and in the away matches a lot of supporters, with the biggest attendance of 1200 fans at home and even 200 following the team in to Sardinia where Pro Patria got the home pitch's ban for 5 games as for the fans troubles owing to a outrageous referee.

The team reached the 5th place reaching the play-off matches to be promoted in to Serie C1 but was eliminated by Lumezzane (0-0 at home and 1-0 defeat in the return away game).

Season 1996-97:

The target is again the promotion but there were troubles among the directors; the team reached again the play-off matches as for the third final place, but also this time Pro, having been beaten by Pro Sesto (1-0 win away but 2-0 defeat at home) was eliminated.

Season 1997-98:

Another top class league with a final 4th place and again play-off games this time against Triestina: Pro lost 1-0 the first away match at Trieste and so to reach the final should have won 2-0 the return game, at a certain point thanks to a superb match Pro was able to get the double lead, but the daily referee, Mr. Tiziano Pieri from Genoa whistled everything against Pro sending off a white and blue player, extending the injury time for 8 minutes and conceding a lightly irregular goal on 98th minute to the away team.
For this reason a pitch invasion followed and started a real hunt towards Mr. Pieri who was saved by Carabinieri.

Pro Patria - Triestina (Play off) 1997/98

Pro Patria's fans see once again the chance of a play off final to depart, but will get their revenge in a civil trial against the referee where they could show the deep link of the referee with the away team general manager with whom he had reached the stadium.

The turbulent defeat against Triestina caused deep consequences, the main one was the breaking of the merging with Gallaratese and its members.

A new club crisis began again and the team could get the salvation only thanks to the play-out games.

On November 1999, the Vender family, the actual owners of the club, got the control of the club that in the season 2001-02 reached the 2nd place at the end of the regular season and found once again Triestina in the play-off matches and once again was eliminated (1-0 away defeat away and 3-2 home win).

Through the play-off games, Pro Patria at last went up in to Serie C1 after 20 years beating Novara (1-1 at home and 2-1 away win) and Sangiovannese (1-0 wins both away and at home), with an all ticket match for the final after only two days of anticipate sale.

At the end of the season 2002-03, Pro gets two important targets: the Serie C Italian Cup final against Brindisi who will win the title, with 130 fans following the club on the Adriatic Coast travelling for more than 2000 kilometres in a single day, but most of all the salvation in the serie C1 league without having to make the play-out.

The Cup final will let Pro Patria to take part to the main Italian Cup with the serie A and serie B clubs and will bring back again the club in the top Italian football after 35 years. 


Others pages in english language: