SSC Napoli (in full Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli), known commonly as just Napoli, are Italian football giants and without doubt the most successful football club to originate from Southern Italy. Napoli have a long and rich history, which starts way back in 1904 to the 80’s and 90’s when it played host to one of the most brilliant footballers ever, Diego Maradona.
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli (1925-1932)
Stadio Arturo Collana (1933-1958)
Stadio San Paolo (1959-)
La Liga: 2
Coppa Italia: 5
UEFA Cup: 1
Diego Maradona, Attila Sallustro, Antonio Juliano, Careca, Gianfranco Zola, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani
Most games played: Giuseppe Bruscolotti (511)
Top goalscorer: Diego Armando Maradona (115)
SSC Napoli was formed in early 1900s following the arrival of English sailors notably William Poths. Poths had come from England where the game had really caught up, and he teamed up with Ernesto Bruschini, a Neapolitan, to form Napoli.
At the time of formation, the team colors were chosen to be dark and pale blue stripes. Engineer Amedeo Salsi was the club’s first ever president, and he was assisted by William Poths and Bayon as well as Catterina and Conforti, two amateur footballers.
You can’t talk of Napoli history without mentioning William Poths. He deserves a special mention. Poths was employed by Cunard Shipping Line at the time he helped form Napoli. He had just emigrated from England in 1903 and he came with his deep passion for football. At that time, there were many football teams in the city of Naples. These included Open Air Team which had been founded by the Costa brothers, Marquis Ruffo and Alfonso Parise among others. In their first match, Napoli played against Arabik, an English ship crew team members. They defeated the English team 3-2.
Rivalry and Merger with US Internazionale Napoli
In the year 1912, the foreign side of the team broke apart, and led by Steinnegger and Bayon, a second club from Napoli was formed. It was called US Internazionale Napoli. The original Napoli, called Naples FBC, was in the meantime led by Emilio Anatra as its president. These two teams became great rivals in the city and played against each other in the 1912-13 Italian Championship. The competition saw Naples emerge tops before it went on to lose to Lazio in the next stage of the competition.
Internazionale got their revenge the following season when they knocked out Naples but also lost to Lazio in the next stage. The rivalry between the two local football clubs continued during the 1915 season but the championship was abandoned because of World War I after Internazionale had won the first leg 3-0.
In 1922, the two clubs merged because of financial constraints, and the resultant club was called FBC Internazionale-naples (abbreviated as FBC Internaples).
Associazione Calcio Napoli
In 1926, Internaples members decided to give a new name to the team. They decided on the name Associazione Calcio Napoli and the first president for the club was Giorgo Ascareli. The following season, the top Italian Championship was divided into two groups that consisted of 10 teams each. It was a complete disaster for Napoli as the club finished bottom of the championship with just 1 point earned in 18 league outings.
This led the team to be nicknamed I ciucciarelli, meaning “the little donkeys.” But the club improved the following season, recording better league performances each time.
Stadio San Paolo in Naples was built in 1959 and become the new home for the Napoli football team. Stadio San Paolo is today the third largest football stadium in Italy with a capacity for 60,240. The original capacity was however 109,824.
Name change to SSC Napoli
The club changes its name to Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli in 1964. They were promoted to Serie A in the same year after they finished second in Serie B. They went straight into the business after getting promoted, finishing 3rd in Serie A. They were coached by Bruno Pesaola, an Argentinean.
The same year saw Napoli also win Coppa delle Alpi Cup, beating Juventus in the process. During the 67-68 season, the club came closest to lifting the Serie title, finishing in second place behind Milan. During this period, the club had several great players like Dino Zoff, Jose Altafin and Antonio Juliano. They continued this fine run in early 70’s, finishing third on two occasions in the 70-71 and 73-74 seasons.
Diego Maradona, the savior
It was on May 10 1987 when a deathly quiet descended over Naples. The streets were basically empty, prompting Amalia Sgnorelli, an Italian anthropologist, to write: “The world hand changed. The most chaotic, noisiest and most crowded city in the whole of Europe was deserted.”
Napoli were on the verge of making history. A first Serie A title was beckoning. They secured it with a 1-1 draw against Fiorentina. The city of Naples erupted. Exultant Napoli fans thronged the streets. They partied for days as fans danced on the rooftops. There were fireworks as cars buildings and cars were all draped in the team’s colors, sky blue.
At the heart of all the celebration, one man stood out: Diego Armando Maradona. The diminutive Argentine had been pivotal in the success, and he would guide the club to another title in 1990 and European success.
The savior Diego Maradona would leave the club 1992 after a cocaine scandal. In the following years Napoli would lose other important star players such as Careca and Gianfranco Zola. The team would face relegation to Serie B after the 1997-1998 season. The fans had to wait many years until Napoli would rank as a top team in Serie A again.
The logo of Napoli includes few design elements. In the center of the round shaped logo the letter ”N” (obviously standing for Napoli) is positioned. In some earlier versions, additional text could be seen around the N and slight differently design overall.