Posts Tagged ‘Siena’

I was always going to give Enrico Chiesa some props this week. Sure, Gianfranco Zola and Hernan Crespo were probably better players, but I had too much fun watching Enrico when I was younger to pick either of them over him. Besides, I mostly know Zola from his time with Chelsea and there’s only so much I can say about his Parma career. Crespo? A great goalscorer, no doubt, but nowhere near as eye-catching or exciting to watch.

I’m going to try and keep this as concise as possible. Over-analysing Chiesa would only dilute the pure, unbridled joy I still get from watching old footage of him playing, and I really don’t want to do that. For me, watching Chiesa playing (and scoring) was pure entertainment. It was all about great moves and great goals. Some of the goals this guy scored were just perfect. Long-range drives, delicate chips, volleys, headers, toe pokes: Enrico scored them all. He was a great goalscorer and a scorer of great goals, and there aren’t many other strikers who can say that.

One goal that I always remember is Chiesa’s wonderstrike in the 1999 UEFA Cup final. Parma were already 2-0 up against French giants Marseille after goals from Crespo and Paolo Vanoli. Juan Sebastian Veron took the ball up the right flank in the 55th minute. 30 yards from goal, Veron chipped the ball towards the box. Crespo’s dummy foxed Laurent Blanc and the ball fell perfectly for Chiesa to rifle a perfect volley into the top corner from 15 yards.

The above video encapsulates everything that Enrico Chiesa was about for me. Those great, great goals. Those astonishing moments of beauty that draw us to the sport in the first place. Chiesa’s goals for Parma, Fiorentina and Sampdoria played a huge role in getting me interested in calcio in the first place, and he didn’t score many better (or more significant) than the above.

Once described as playing like “a cross between Paolo Rossi and Gigi Riva,” Chiesa was an incredibly well-rounded striker. Capable of playing advanced and dropping deep, he moved quickly and had a cannon of a right foot. When the ball landed at Chiesa’s feet you knew something exciting was going to happen. He was a game-changing forward who could turn a game’s tide in a split second, and that’s what made him so special. Enrico wasn’t a perfect player, but few could light a stadium up like him in his prime.

He played for the Gialloblu for a total of three seasons, scoring 33 goals in 92 Serie A appearances and countless more in Europe (he scored 8 in Parma’s 1998-99 UEFA Cup run alone) and domestic cups. During his time at the Stadio Tardini he broke into the Italy squad, scoring a credible 7 goals in 17 Azzurri appearances. He left Parma for Fiorentina in 1999, and had further spells with Lazio, Siena and Figline before retiring last year at the ripe old age of 40.

Chiesa is currently enrolled in a coaching course at Coverciano, the famed Italian football education centre. I can only hope that the teams Chiesa goes on to manager play with the same zest and exuberance as Enrico in his pomp.

I could waste another 500 words rambling about Enrico and his career but I’d rather not. Instead lets just sit back, relax and watch the great man doing what he did best: score goals.


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Firstly, I apologise for the disintegration of “Siena Week”. I really had intended on spending more time with the Robur and I didn’t mean to abandon them, but I simply ran out of time last week. Social events pulled me away from the computer and I barely had time to even get online (let alone research and post). Although I got a decent amount of Siena work done it was nowhere near as much as I’d wanted, so I’ll probably make them the first club I revisit when the fixtures repeat. Anyway…

This week’s feature club are Parma. I’ve been looking forward to writing about the Gialloblu since I started the blog and I thought I’d treat myself after two tough research weeks. I’ve always had a fondness for Parma since first getting into Italian football in the ’90’s. They were one of the first teams to catch my imagination on Football Italia and I have lots of great memories of some of the fantastic players they had back in the day. Really looking forward to revisiting these sides and taking a closer look at Zola, Chiesa, Cannavaro & co.

More from me tomorrow.

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Societá Studio e Divertimento (“Society for Sports and Entertainment”), a multi-sport club known for their black and white uniforms, were formed in 1904. It wasn’t until 1908 that they opened their football section Societa Sportiva Robur, the club we now know as A.C. Siena. Siena, like many other European clubs, have a number of teams playing different sports, and so the football section have retained the nickname Robur (“strength”) to differentiate between Siena’s two basketball teams (Mens Sana and Virtus).

Siena didn’t officially become a Serie A team until 2003, but their top flight history stretches as far back as 1945. Though Torino’s Scudetto remains official, statistics from the 1945-46 “Serie A” season have been discarded. This is due to the competition’s composition. In the midst of the Second World War several Italian teams were understandably unable to fulfil their calcio obligations.

Because so many teams had to withdraw, the competition officially became “Serie A-B,” with several southern Serie B teams (including Siena) filling the gaps left by the withdrawn Serie A sides. Siena won just twice from twenty games and finished 10th out of 11 teams, but that was probably to be expected given the elevated level of competition.

The Robur went back to Serie B after this brief flirtation with top flight but only lasted two seasons before being relegated to Serie C for the 1948-49 season. The next few decades worth of Robur history are pretty unremarkable. They flip-flopped between Serie C/Serie C1 and Serie D for half a century and didn’t return to Serie B until 2000.

This is where their fortunes start to improve dramatically. Siena finished 13th and 15th in their first two Serie B seasons before a massive upturn saw them win the league in 2002-03. Manager Giuseppe Papadopolu led a squad featuring the likes of current Roma winger Rodrigo Taddei into Serie A for the first time in the Robur’s history, and Siena finished a credible 13th.

Several seasons bottom-half finishes and relegation battles followed. The Robur never finished above 13th in seven seasons before a 19th-place finished in 2009-10 saw them relegated. As unspectacular is this record looks, staying in Serie A for such a long period was a huge achievement. The vast majority of Siena’s history has seen the club competing below Italian football’s second tier, and the 2000-01 seasons was the first time they’d been above Serie C1 in over 50 years. That they were able to maintain a lengthy Serie A run after years in the wilderness is very impressive.

Former Juventus midfielder Antonio Conte joined as manager for Siena’s first season back in Serie B. Conte was coming off a disastrous spell as Atalanta manager the year before, but he’d achieved Serie A promotion with Bari in 2008-09 and was charged with repeating the feat with the Robur. Conte enjoyed a productive season with Siena: the Robur were a constant threat to Atalanta’s title charge and a second-place finish saw them promoted.

Such was the strength of Conte’s contribution that he was offered (and accepted) the Juventus job at the end of the season. Current Siena manager Giuseppe Sannino isn’t as big a name as Conte but he’s a lower league veteran. This is the first time Sannino has ever managed in Serie B, but his record with Varese (his previous club) is incredible. Sannino performed minor miracles in guiding the Leopardi to two successive promotions and a 4th-place Serie B finish in his three years in-charge, and the Robur will be hoping his obvious skills can guide them to Serie A safety.

I’m not going to talk about the season ahead too much as I’ve already covered this in my Serie A Weekly article. I will, however, be taking a look summer signing Gaetano D’Agostino later in the week and I hope to be able to find out a little bit more about the 1945-46 Serie A-B season too.

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Just a quick update to let you all know that I have a new article up on Serie A Weekly that just so happens to focus on this week’s featured team, Siena. In it I take a look back at an excellent week for the Robur that saw them take a point from Roma and three from Lecce. There’s a little bit on their squad, manager and long-term prospects, so click here to check out my take on Siena’s current situation.

Tomorrow I should have a little ditty on Siena’s history posted. Stay tuned.

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This Week on ATP

Associazione Calcio Siena currently sit 9th in Serie A having collected 5 points from their first 4 games. They are a newly-promoted side who finished 2nd in Serie B last year after just a single season away from the top flight. Siena play at the 15,373 capacity Stadio Artemio Franchi and are nicknamed the Bianconeri (“white-black”) or Robur (“strength”).

I don’t know much about Siena. I know they enjoyed a decent spell in Serie A before their relegation in 2009-10 and that Antonio Conte managed them last season, but that’s about it. I’m a bit more familiar with their name because they’re not complete Serie A newbies but I draw a blank on their history, squad and… well, just about everything else.

They’ve had a couple of decent results this season with last Sunday’s 3-0 win over Lecce and a 0-0 draw with Luis Enrique’s new-look Roma sticking-out. They play Palermo this weekend: hopefully I’ll get an opportunity the watch the full ninety minutes and not just highlights.

This should be another fun week of reading-up on another club I’m completely unfamiliar with. I’ll be documenting their condensed history in a post this evening before presenting my thoughts on their win over Lecce on Wednesday. After that I’ve no idea what I’m going to write about. I’ll just trawl their history until I find something particularly interesting to write about, as I’ve already done for Milan and Novara.

Check back later for more on Siena.

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