- FORZA PRO PATRIA
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Pro Patria is Busto Arsizio football team.
It is the only Italian agonistic football team whose uniform has horizontal stripes. Pro Patria competed in 16 championships at the most prestigious Soccer League (12 of them with the title A League). It counts three world’s champions that are Giuseppe Meazza (‘34-‘38), Mario Varglien (‘34) and Ernesto Vidal (Uruguay ‘50) and also an Olympic champion, Annibale Frossi (Berlin ‘36).
In 1881, the “Ginnastica Pro Patria et Libertate” was founded in Busto Arsizio. It is one of the oldest and most glorious Italian sport league, from which Pro Patria inherited the popular white and blue uniform with horizontal stripes. This organization dealt with different activities among the most popular sports at that time. Football became an important business towards the end of 1800, thanks above all to the richest boys of the Busto Arsizio families of that time. As a matter of fact, the most prestigious Italian textile district was the “Busto-Gallaratese” one. Young boys had to go in Switzerland, in Germany and in England to study and when they came back, they brought back not only managerial skills and knowledge of textile machinery, but also the features of this new sport that was becoming more and more popular towards the “Old Europe”.
Anyway, the first real soccer team was born in 1906 and its name was Aurora, whose promoter was Guido Albinola, while the chairman, football trainer and leader was the eighteen-year-old Roberto Della Torre. The league’s official location was one of the “Tre Re” hotel room.
Mr. Attilio Trerè, player of Milan Team and popular leader of the Italian Team together with his brother Alessandro, gave great support to this new league. Many young boys living in Busto Arsizio and its surroundings, who didn’t have a local team, went to play football in Milan.
At that time, the two brothers Trerè, after having won two championships with the red and black team, decided to stop cooperation with Milan Team and became to be involved in the growth of Aurora Team. The uniform chosen was the one with horizontal white and blue stripes belonging to the “Pro Patria et libertate” society, where many boys had played different sport activities. The first Aurora football match in Busto Arsizio had place only on May 1st 1907 versus the great Milan Team Ausonia on the soccer field in XX September road. At the same time, other different football teams were founded in Busto Arsizio.
The Aurora Team took part in the first FIGC championships, missing for the majority of times the promotion in the most prestigious Soccer League. In 1915, at the beginning of the First World War, every activity concerning football was stopped. Many players died during the war, other ones, such as Attilio Trerè, couldn’t play anymore due to their big injuries. The survivors of the various Busto Arsizio teams decided to meet again in order to start back football activities. On February 26th 1919, a meeting chaired by Mr. Piero Guidali, had place at “Caffè Brugioli”. So during that day the “Pro Patria et libertate Football League of the Busto Arsizio sports” was born, always featured by the uniform with horizontal white and blue stripes. The notary deed indicating the official birth of the team was signed two days later. The first chairman was Mr. Carlo Marcora, a business man of the textile industry. A new stadium in Valle Olona street was built in the liberty style made up of wooden facilities and an athletics track hosting about 10.000 viewers.
During his first championship, the Aurora Team won the “Promozione Lombarda competition” and it was promoted in the First Category; at the end of the championship 1921-22, the white and blue team was than downgraded in the Second Category. In 1927 the Aurora team obtained the promotion in the National Category, thanks to the Hungarian coach and player Andreas Kutik, the first foreigner player in the history of the white and blue team, and thanks to the goals of the left-footed eighteen year old boy Carlo Reguzzoni. With the promotion in the best category, the team went away from the stadium in Valle Olona street and moved some 100 meters near in the new plant in Cà Bianca street, at the board with Castellanza. This stadium, hosting more than 15.000 viewers, wasn’t enough for the enthusiasm and passion of the white and blue supporters. As a matter of fact, during many matches the stadium was sold out with many supporters coming from far places and forced to stay out.
The Pro Patria Team immediately stood out at a national level as a winning and never tame one, overcoming many times the great teams of that time. The team was composed almost exclusively from Busto Arsizio or Valle Olona players, except from some Istrian exiles (in Busto Arsizio there was an important community of Istrian-dalmatic refugees already after the end of the First World War) as for example Mr. Mario Bonivento, Mr. Andrea Kregar and Mr. Mario Varglien (I°), then player of the Juventus team where he won five championships, taking also part in the National Team for the World Championship in 1934.
Many players showed their talent, above all the Busto Arsizio player Carlo Reguzzoni, who at the end of the 1929-30 championship went to play in the Bologna Team, with which he won four championships and two European Cups. His moving was one of the most expensive of the Italian football business because it consisted of 80.000 Lire, which was considered a really huge amount of money at that time.
On January 19th 1930, Pro Patria Team won against the Roma Team for 6 goals to 1, 5 of them performed by Mr. Italo Rossi, a record still undefeated until today.
For Pro Patria Team, the best score of that time was the tenth position in 1931-32 championship, when the team had the possibility of staying forward other teams such as Genoa and Lazio and when it won against Milan Team for 2-0. At that time the team, always composed by players of the Busto Arsizio area, could trust a phenomenon such as Mr. Augusto Rangone, the technical manager of the team, who is one of the Italian football pioneer and responsible for the National Team. The team included Alfredo Monza (who then went to play in the Lazio team), Natale Masera (Inter team) and Leopoldo Conti, ex great leader of the Ambrosiana-Inter club. On April Monday 12th 1931 (during Easter time) at 3.00 pm Pro Patria Team played an extraordinary derby at the San Siro statium in Milan against the memorable boarders Legnano rivals, who are now absent from football.
The seat wasn’t chosen only for the huge presence of viewers, but also due to the relationships not so friendly of the two clubs of supporters and, as the "Corriere della Sera" newspaper reported in those days, "It is not excluded that although there was neutrality, there could be hard problems…this because since some years ago conflicts among the two teams became every time conflicts among clubs of viewers”.
The match in the Milan stadium ended 0-0. The first round at the Busto Arsizio stadium was won by the Busto Arsizio Team for 2-0.
Mr. Bruno Roghi, the popular journalist and Director of "La Gazzetta dello Sport" newspaper, was inspired by the scrappy and determined playing technique of the white and blue players and for this reason he gave them the nickname of “tiger cubs” in an article written on “La Domenica Sportiva”, appendix of “La Gazzetta dello Sport” newspaper, on March 12th 1931. This nickname is still used today to identify Pro Patria players.
Due to the textile firm crisis, caused also by the autarchy imposed by the Fascist government, the society lost a lot of members and the team faced a great changing with two unexpected demotions taking it in the C League and at the limit of break-up.
In 1940-41, the team was promoted in B League, arriving first at the end of the championship at the same level of Prato Team with the help of the Olympic champion (1936) player Annibale Frossi. After the war, the team obtained again the A League by winning the 1946-47 championship with 7 scores on its popular rivals. The team won above all thanks to Mr. Carlo Reguzzoni, who came back after a career with the Bologna Team. This time the team had success for six championships. During the first championship, Pro Patria scored the best outcome in its history, in final eighth position at the same score of Bologna team and forward Inter Team. Exactly from Inter Club, the left footed player Enrico Candiani came back with the tiger cubes Pro Patria players. He was born in Busto Arsizio and he grew in the white and blue youth sector. Enrico Candiani is one of the rare players in the world who has dressed the Inter, Milan and Juventus uniform. In 1948, he sent the players Emidio Cavigioli and Angelo Turconi
at the Opympic games in London. Under the management of Mr. Peppino Cerana (a textile businessman), two important projects were conceived, a property multi sports stadium and the team sponsorship. Both projects were then rejected from the CONI and from the FIGC. At the same time, another important project was rejected. For the 1949-50 championship, the Busto Arsizio management did not get the great opportunity of hiring the Hungarian ace Kubala, neither hired by the biggest teams. As a matter of fact, Kubala should have become the attack player together with Lello Antoniotti. Kubala stayed in the Pro Patria team for a season, without really playing a match due to various and insuperable bureaucratic problems. He moved then in Spain thanks to the presence of a manager that knew the Dictator Franco, making the Barcelona Team a great society. During the 1951-52 championship, Mr. Peppino Meazza, one of the most important man in the football environment, was the Pro Patria technical manager. In the same period, he chose the midfield player La Rosa for the National Team at the Olympic Games in Helsinky in 1952. During that summer, Mr. Peppino Cerana left the Pro Patria team with the majority of the members and counselors because his projects weren’t taken into consideration.
In 1952-53 the team placed eighteenth and it lost positions, but it immediately obtained success with a new property and by winning the playoff in Rome at the “Flaminio” stadium against the Cagliari Team for 2-0 with an audience which completely supported the islanders. The presence in the maximum category lasted only for one season and then the team fell into the cadet category. In the summer, Pro Patria was found again in the championship due to Udinese Team demotion after some sold matches. This was a sudden coming back in the championship because the society wasn’t prepared because it had organized a young group of players ready for the B League. For that reason, the team faced a championship with the awareness that it couldn’t win, so at the end of the season 1955-56 Pro Patria said goodbye to the maximum League and then it fell also in the C League. At the end of 1959-60 championship, Pro Patria came back in the B League, with Mr. Piero Magni and players again coming from Busto Arsizio surroundings. The chairman in that period was the textile businessman Mr. Enrico Candiani.
Then Pro Patria played in 6 midshipman championships, during which it was really near to come back in the A League. In 1961-62, it arrived sixth (with only two scores away from promotion), losing the most important match during the second to last day against Messina Team for 1-0. During 1962-63 championship, the lineman Enrico Muzzio enter the Italian football records, by making five goals in only one match, Pro Patria against Parma (5-0) equalizing Mr. Italo Rossi record. The tiger cubs left the B league at the end of 1965-66 championship. From that moment on, Pro Patria played in the C League under the coaching of Mr. Carlo Regalia, who launched various young players of the breeding ground such as Turini, Vivian, Solbiati, Cazzaniga. Above them, Luciano Re Cecconi stood out as an asset of the Lazio team of the first shield and then in the National Team. At the end of the sixties, after ten years managing the society, the great chairman Mr. Enrico Candiani left Pro Patria team, which faced a difficult crisis, going for the first time in its history in the D League, at the end of 1971-72 championship with Mr. Bruno Bolchi as both coach and player. The team improve at the end of 1974-75 championship with Mr. Peppino Mancini as chairman and Mr. Lello Crespi as coach. So the team played in championships of league C and C2. At the end of 1981-82 championship, Pro Patria got the promotion in the C1 League with Mr. Leo Siegel as coach and DT Mr. Norbert Hofling with an important audience for that league, reaching more than 10.000 viewers. The presence in the C1 League lasted only one season, because then the team demoted due to sold matches of the goalkeeper Bidese. The team then faced another crisis and it had to participate in the C2 League championships. During 1985-86 season, the team arrived really near to come back in the C1 League after an incredible recovery. The team faced again a crisis during 1987-88 championship, considering also that during a match on the Treviso soccer field the player Andrea Cecotti died for a thrombosis. Pro Patria demoted even if there were young players such as Luca Bucci (who then went to play in the Parma Ieam, then in the Torino Team and in the National Team) and Mazzantini as goalkeeper (who then went to play in the Inter Club, in Venezia and Ancona) beyond the player Giandebiaggi (who played in the Verona Team, Parma and Cremonese) as lineman. During that season, many sixteen year old players were involved in the championship as first-string. That crisis ran the team in 1992 to reach the lowest level ever, demoting in the Excellency League, with players who rebelled against the chairman of that time Mr. Danilo Filippini, who was thrown out from the changing rooms. The league reached again the league of the higher level two years later. In June 1995, Pro Patria Team joined the Gallaratese Team, with whom it had won the CND championship, but with the feature that it didn’t want to subscribe it to the championship. The Pro Patria Gallaratese G.B was then born. It was composed of the Gallarate management (Mr. Caravatti and Mr. Tosolini) and the Busto Arsizio one (Mr. Mancini, Mr. Dalla Valle and Mr. Petenà), together with the sponsor and then member Mr. Roberto Ferrario, editor of the newspaper “La Prealpina”. The team, during its first championship with Mr. Mario Beretta as coach (who was part of Siena, Parma and Torino Teams) reached the semi-final play-off, being then excluded from the Lumezzane Team. During the second season, with Mr. Garavaglia on the bench and Mr. Tommaso Rocchi (Lazio, Inter club and Nazional team) as first-string, the team reached again the semi-final play-off. In that occasion, the Pro Sesto team was excluded (Pro Patria won 1-0 in away game but it lost for 2-0 at home). In 1997-98, there was another semi-final against Triestina Team. On the first round Pro Patria was defeated for 2-0. On the second round it faced the contested referee Mr. Tiziano Pieri coming from Genoa, (who was then condemned for “Calciopoli” in 2006). Mr. Pieri took some contested decisions during the matches and he let the team realize the qualification goal in 1997 offside. He almost risked the lynching during the match. The cooperation with the Gallarate management broke down and Pro Patria faced a new financial crisis. In 1999 this cooperation definitely ended due to the coming of the Vender Family from Milan. Pro Patria team got back as a very good team only at the beginning 2000, when, after a new defeat in semifinal play-off with the Triestina Team (0-1 in away game, 2-3 at home), it then obtained a second place in the championship. Pro Patria arrived in the C1 League at the end of the 2001-02 championship: the team, after a change on the bench from Gianfranco Motta to Mr. Carletto Muraro, arrived fourth and it eliminated Novara Team in semifinal (1-1 at home, 2-1 in away game with the double goal of Stefano Dall’Acqua) and then in final game the Sangiovanni Team (1-0). The team was composed of Zaffaroni, Dato, Simone Erba, Massimiliano Caniato and Antonio Manicone (coming from Inter, Udinese and National team). Pro Patria stayed in the C2 League until the 2009/10 championship. It is important to underline the two “Coppa Italia” final matches that Pro Patria lost against Brindisi Team in 2003 (with Mr Muraro as coach) and in 2004 against Cesena Team (with Patrizio Sala on the bench). During the same season Pro Patria saved itself in the play-out against Prato Team. In 2007-08, after a failing back round, Pro Patria gained victory against Verona Team, which was defeated for 1-0 on the first round at Bentegodi stafium, with a goal at the 93’ and internal draw for 1-1 with a joking goal at the 91’ minute. During the summer 2008, due to the demotion, Family Vender left the team and at its place arrived unexpectedly Mr. Giuseppe Zoppo, who set up an important team with the help of Mr. Ceravolo (ex Moggi right-hand man), who committed the team to Franco Lerda. At the end of October, Pro Patria was already without money, while the team on the soccer field showed a great play by gaining scores, six victories during the first six matches. On November 9th 2008, by overtaking Cesena Team for 3-1 at the “Speroni” stadium, during the match of the eleventh championship day, Pro Patria scored 1000 victories in championship. In January 2009, the Brasilian player Do Prado was employed, while in March the team faced a driven failure, and the society got the new name Aurora Pro Patria, while the team fight anyway for the promotion. The team arrived second, by going to the play-off. In the meantime the big financial crisis was unlocked thanks to the takeover of the Tesoro Family. The team defeated for 5-4 the Reggiana Team during the semifinal at the “Giglio” stadium, after having undergone three goals. At the Speroni stadium, Pro Patria won 3-2, this time for having undergone 2 goals. During the final match, the team played against Padova Club at the Euganeo stadium (score 0-0) with the goalkeeper Giambruno who blocked a penalty. Pro Patria then lost in a clamorous way the final match at home for 2-0 after having played all the second time with more players.
In 2009-10, the tiger cubs arrived sixteenth in the championship, after having changed four coaches. They were then eliminated from Pergocrema Team during the play-out (2-2 and 1-1) and they demoted in the Second League. For the 2010-11 championship, the team was managed by Raffaele Novelli but at the beginning of October the Tesoro Family decided suddenly to go away from the the club, leaving the team without a salary and a reference point. Pro Patria players are anyway determined, driven by Mr. Carlo Regalia and the technician. They played a great match although various problems as they were evicted, without a salary and forced to sleep in the locker rooms. Thanks to the financial help of their fans, they played very well until the penalization of seven scores which placed the white and blue players fourth at the end of the championship. This prevented them to be in the direct promotion. Pro Patria went to the play-off and in the semifinal match it eliminated Pro Vercelli Team (5-2 at home and defeated for 0-2 in the away game). Pro Patria was then defeated in the final match from the Feralpi Salò Team (1-1 at home, with a wrong penalty made by Serafini and 1-2 at Salò, with the typical goal undergone at the last rematch minute with ten players against nine.
In the 2011-12 season, Pro Patria had a new owner, Mr. Pietro Vavassori, who concentrated on the historic group of players of the previous season, to whom he placed side by side various young boys, as for a rule but also as a precise organization choice. Some of these boys gave back a pair of years to the under categories players of the other teams. The team was committed to the historical ex technician of the Berretti Team, Mr. Giovanni Cusatis. At the beginning of the season Pro Patria was penalized for 13 scores, a “kind present” of the Tesoro management of the previous organization, then reduced to 11 eleven scores. After a difficult beginning, the team gained 17 useful results which, at the end of the season, bring it to be virtually promoted, but in reality only for one score it did not enter the play-off.
During 2012-13 season, almost all the people who played in the previous season were confirmed. Pro Patria was then managed by Aldo Firicano, ex defender of Cagliari and Fiorentina team. Pro Patria was then promoted in the First League, at the first place. It then lost the Super Cup for the category against Salerno Team.
During the 2013-14 championship, the coach is Alberto Colombo, to whom a young team is committed. In January the chairman Mr. Vavassori resigned due to some disagreement with the public opinion.
Si ringraziano per la traduzione Roberta Davoli e Samuele Toia