The Resurgence of SSC Napoli: Serie C, B & bankruptcy; dark days

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Brendan Taylor

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  • The Resurgence of SSC Napoli: Serie C, B & bankruptcy; dark days

The Resurgence of SSC Napoli: Serie C, B & bankruptcy; dark days

The southern Italian football saw the major change happen in the 1986/87 season. It was a time where the underdog went onto win the Scudetto. The victory tasted even sweeter after years of suffering the Neapolitans had gone through. The club and the people of Naples hit the streets to celebrate the hard earned victory. The Azzurri were the first southern Italian club to win the Scudetto and they didn’t stop there, they continued the victories and doubled their impact by winning the Coppa Italia.

The glory came after three years of extreme hard work and patience, but turned out as the most remarkable year in the club’s history. Once the team found its running form, it was followed by the impact on the European front with the UEFA Cup. The people of Naples were more than content with the performance of their club and El Diego was no more just a footballer; he became an adopted local, a messiah and an ambassador to represent Napoli.

Over the years, the Brazilian striker Careca and Maradona formed an explosive partnership upfront, delivering goals left, right and centre. They were a delight to watch for home the side while the neutrals were left with no option but to applaud their skill and game play. With the help of this attacking combination, the Partenopei went onto win the UEFA Cup in 1988/89 and another Serie A title in 1990, with Alberto Bigon as the new coach of the Italian side.

This was the last time Napoli won a major competition. The outfit’s downfall started with Maradona’s exit in 1991. Maradona was allegedly using cocaine and ended up being addicted to the drug. The usage started in 1983 when El Diego was in Barcelona. The addiction soon became a hurdle and he missed games and practices, eventually leading to a 70,000 dollar fine impose by the club. Maradona was also a suspect of having links with Camorra, a criminal mafia organization situated in Campania, Italy. The drug addiction led to a failed drug test, ending in a 2 year ban and a disgraceful exit from Napoli.

The Azzurri were back to their mid-table finishes in the 1990’s. Financial restrictions and shortcomings saw a lack of investment in the club and resulted in an inevitable relegation down to the Serie B in 1998. Even though the club was able to regain the 1st division football position within two years, it proved to be a false dawn as the Partenopei ended up going down yet again.

The financial turmoil threatened the existence of the Azzurri, and after their inevitable bankruptcy, FIGC (Italian Football Federation) relegated the Neapolitan outfit further down to Serie C1, the 3rd division football. The team was robbed of its legacy and history; Napoli seemed to exist no more.

The players and management were just left to wonder how things would have worked out had the club not gone Bankrupt. The future of the Neapolitan’s beloved institution seemed uncertain. This wasn’t the dream club formed by Maradona and Bianchi over many years of struggle and hard work. The Partenopei were close to being dissolved in 2004 when Aurelio De Laurentiis, a resident of Naples, stepped up to help the outfit with the financial assistance it desperately needed as the club struggled to survive the monumental fall from grace. This is when SSC Napoli was given a new lease of life.


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