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Venezia FC, the winged lion’s rebirth

From the Adda river to the Venetian Lagoon, the Lion of St. Mark has observed men and events for centuries. Football, the Game par excellence of the 20th Century, didn’t return the proper grandness to the town – something that conquered, amongst others, Friedrich Nietzsche:

When I seek another word for music, I always find only the word Venice.”

The Serenissima is just like that, she seduces people from every corner of the world. And the ball, as natural, doesn’t spin like on other common pitches on the mainland.

The complex relationship between calcio and the “Queen of the Adriatic Sea” is narrated to MondoFutbol by a special figure, Paolo Poggi. 50 goals in the Italian Serie A and more than 200 top-flight appearances: his curriculum vitae as a football player is enough to introduce him.

Anyway Poggi didn’t end his love for football on the day he hung his boots. He continued to cultivate his passion in a different manner.

As a man that loves the world and its shades, he found himself in a natural harmony with the new property of Venezia FC.

Now working as International Projects Manager of the orange-black-green club, Poggi exposes with enthusiasm the different vision of the President that gave football back to the lagoon, New Yorker lawyer Joe Tacopina. Under his guidance Venezia climbed two divisions in two consecutive years, leaping from Italian fourth division Serie D to second tier Serie B.

It’s for this reason that on Saturday 27 May the atmosphere surrounding the Sant’Elena Island is really serene. Venezia-Foggia just ended 2-4 for the guests, that just started the party as LegaPro SuperCup winners, but the match was a celebration for the home team too.
Because the new stars-and-striped era of the Winged Lion is convincing everyone, even the most conservative supporters such as the ones occupying the “Vincent Bar” before the match. An informal atmosphere hosts home, away and even Modena fans, having a beer together to honour an old friendship. Probably they didn’t know that in the 60’s, right there in the pine grove in front of the orange-black-green fan nest, the first team of Venezia usually used to have their trainings.

Day and night, the identification with the club was complete in Sant’Elena. In good or bad fate, as when the stadium was strongly damaged by a tornado. The Island and its inhabitants paid a dreadful price to nature, on the 11th of September 1970, a date still remembered in the local memories.

Falling down and bouncing back, a refrain heard too many times in the lagoon.

Year after year, the Winged Lion rose back. He did it also through the historic fusion in 1987. For whoever lives here the union between the town on the waterland, Venice, and the one on the mainland, Mestre, has a greater symbolic value. It means going beyond local rivalries for a nobler aim.

Thirty years later, Venice can’t forget the beginning of that ephemeral era that saw the side reaching the Italian top-flight, Serie A, at the iconic stadium “Pierluigi Penzo“.

A sincere mythology is born around the magic of Uruguayan wizard Álvaro Recoba and the goals scored by club legend Filippo Maniero. Since then, football left the Sant’Elena Island. Many discouraged supporters left their orange-black-green scarves behind. “Venice is sinking”, the headlines had already been written. Just in that moment, the ball started rolling again, this time under the emblems of a new club, Venezia FC, whose philosophy goes even beyond the 1987 fusion. The football aim is to “put its name on the maps of the world”, paraphrasing a famous statement by Muhammad Ali.

Therefore it happened. On the bench arrived a glorious Italian football figure like Filippo Inzaghi, who gave confidence to the team. Many positive individualities emerged, experienced footballers like Álex Geijo and Maurizio Domizzi, or winger Davide Marsura (1994), maybe the most improved player during the last season. A tenacious group, that identified and obtained their aim, Serie B, at their first attempt.

That’s the way Inzaghi immediately became a symbol of the new Venezia FC, a club with a global vision that, however, doesn’t forget its origins. The same of Paolo Poggi, who revealed MondoFutbol he just had lunch with his mother. Obviously there, in one of the gracious alleys linking the stadium with the pine forest that has been seeing the growth of many young hopes for years.

The every-day Venice, lived in the most genuine way, perfectly matches the American dream of Joe Tacopina. For once in a while, the feeling is the Lion of St. Mark could be finally able to fly.


Photos ©Bruno Bottaro –
Special thanks to Venezia Football Club, Veronica Bon, Venezia FC Press Office and Communication manager, and Paolo Poggi, Venezia FC International Projects Manager
Special thanks to Luca Grandin


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