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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

June 24, 1928: Reggiana Lazio 1-1, Coppa Coni

Defences prevail


The strong defences of both teams meant that a draw was the logical consequence.




The season so far

 

The Serie A was still in an experimental phase and the 22 teams of the National Division (a type of Serie A) were divided into two groups of 11. The top four would continue to the national final group, the bottom three should have been relegated to the First Division, but in the end only who came last actually went down as the Federation decided to have a transitional year and divide the 32 teams into two divisions for the 1928-29 championship so that for the season after there would be Serie A and Serie B.

 

Lazio in 1926-27 had been promoted to the National Division and played in the A Group. In 1927 a bizarre decision by the fascist party had decided that Rome should have a single team. Football was becoming increasingly popular, but Rome could not compete with the financial strength of the teams from Northern Italy so something had to be done. The fascist party put Italo Foschi in charge of the project.

 

The birth of AS Roma

 

On August 2, 1926 in Viareggio a trio of three “wise men” (Paolo Graziani, Italo Foschi and Giovanni Mauro) redesigned Italian football with the Viareggio Charter. In this document professionalism was introduced to Italian soccer together with the transfer market and the total ban on signing foreign players. Furthermore, a first National Division was introduced with 20 teams, 16 from the North of Italy, Internaples and Alba (who had reached the final stage of the Italian championship), Fortitudo (Foschi was coincidently president of the Rome-based team) and finally the winner of a playoff between the 8 clubs that had been relegated the year before (Alessandria).

 

It was important for the fascist party that the Roman teams should be competitive. As a consequence, a series of mergers began to make the teams stronger. Alba, founded in 1907, merged with Audace, founded in 1901, and Fortitudo, 1908, with Pro Roma, 1911. Results however were pretty dismal. Alba arrived second from last in their 1926-27 National Division group and Fortitudo last.

 

A further step was needed, one single team for Rome that could compete with the powers of the north. Foschi ordered that Fortitudo, Alba and Lazio should merge into a new club that would be called Associazione Sportiva Roma and bear the colours of the city, red and yellow. The players would come from the first two teams while Lazio would supply the stadium (Campo della Rondinella).

 

President Olindo Bitetti understood what the real plan was. Lazio would  disappear. Bitetti asked General Giorgio Vaccaro, vice president and prominent member of the fascist party, for a hand. “Lazio has been a Moral Body by Royal Decree since 1921 and has a history, it cannot disappear. If we need to create a single club there is no problem, but it has to be called Lazio, the colours have to be white and light blue and the stadium must be that of the Rondinella”. This was obviously not going to be possible, but General Vaccaro was able to avoid Lazio being included in the new club. Roman, founded in 1901, took Lazio’s place.

 

The good thing was that Foschi was only interested in the Stadium. Alba too had no intention of joining the new club but they had the best team, so it was impossible for them to refuse.

 

In justifying the refusal, General Giorgio Vaccaro made the famous proclamation: “Lazio is different. Lazio does not come from, Lazio is. Lazio was born first and the fans came later. For the others there were already fans and a club was created for them to support”.

 

It took a long while for Roma to be competitive but since they had the best players in town, they were a lot stronger than Lazio and the merging of three groups of fans meant that the Lazio supporters were less. Vincenzo Cerracchio in his book “Controstoria della Lazio” said that it was as if all the teams of London merged into one with the exception of Fulham, London’s oldest professional football club. It is a miracle Lazio still exists.

 

The consequence of the refusal meant that there was little time to create a good team. The squad was strong in some areas and weak in others. The new manager, Austrian Franz Sedlaceck had a lot of tactical ideas but the players took a lot of time to assimilate them. Lazio lost their first four games and the only really prestigious victory was against Milan (3-1).

 

The Biancocelesti came second last in their group with just 4 wins, 3 draws and 13 defeats. At least they avoided relegation.

 

The player with most appearances had been Luigi Bodrato (20) whilst top scorer was Renato Sanero with 4 goals.

 

Coppa Coni

 

The Coppa Coni was a tournament that took place in 1926-27 and 1927-28 between the 14 teams that did not make it to the final round for the scudetto. In 1927 Alessandria beat Casale 3-2 on aggregate. Lazio were not present.

 

In 1928, there were supposed to be two groups of seven teams each, but Group B had only six due to the fact that Verona decided not to participate. Lazio were in Group B together with Modena, Pro Vercelli, Livorno, Reggiana and Padova.

 

So far Lazio were second in the company of Livorno and two points behind Modena. The top team went to the final.

 

The match: Sunday, June 24, 1928, Stadio Mirabello, Reggio Emilia

 

Both teams had very good defences but not as good attacks. The low scoring  draw was hence consequential.

 

Reggiana opened the score in the 25th minute. Leandro Codeluppi stole a ball off a Lazio defender and with a powerful low shot beat Bruno Nicolini. It did not take long for the Biancocelesti to equalise. Five minutes later Camillio Fenili crossed into the box and Carlo Cevenini V with a magnificent volley made it 1-1.

 

Both teams had chances to score from then on in an exciting match, but the strong defences prevailed and the game ended 1-1.

 

In the other games Modena beat Padova 2-1 and Pro Vercelli thrashed Livorno 4-1.

 

The table now read Modena 10 points, Livorno 8, Lazio 7, Pro Vercelli 6, Reggiana 3 and Padova 2

 

Who played for Reggiana

 

Valeriani I, Boni, Fornaciari, Valeriani II, Casanova, Bolognesi, Benatti, Codeluppi, Lombatti, Siminini, Bresciani

Manager: Zsigmond

 

Who played for Lazio

 

Nicolini, Canestri, Bottaccini, Berti, Pardini, Paganini, Cevenini V, Lamon, Sanero, Cappa, Fenili

Manager: Sedlacek

 

Referee: Malagodi

 

Goals: 25’ Codeluppi, 30’ Cevenini V

 

What happened next

 

Lazio missed out on the Coppa Coni final by just one point. The top two were Modena and Pro Vercelli and the former beat the latter in a playoff. Roma won the final in game three.


Lazio 1927-28

Competition

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals scored

National Division

20

4

3

13

17

Coppa Coni

10

6

1

3

18

Total

30

10

4

16

35

Top five appearances

Player

Total

National Division

Coppa Coni

Paganini

27

18

9

Canestri

26

17

9

Bottacini

26

17

9

Bodrato

25

20

5

Pardini

23

14

9

Top five goal scorers

Player

Total

National Division

Coppa Coni

Sanero

6

4

2

Lamon I

4

2

2

Ottier

4

3

1

Cevenini V

4

2

2

Bodrato

3

2

1

Pardini

3

-

3

Let's talk about Camillo Fenili


Source Lazio Wiki

Camillo Fenilli was born on November 11, 1904 in Bergamo. He started playing professionally at a very young age, 16, for Atalanta and stayed until 1925. He then signed for Juventus but in two years, despite winning the 1925-26 scudetto, played very little (just 3 appearances) so in 1927 he moved to Rome, to the right side of the Tiber.

 

With Lazio he made 22 appearances with one goal. The next year he was at Napoli. He did very well in a season characterised by the eighth-place battle with Lazio to qualify for the 1929-30 first Serie A. They would both qualify. He stayed in Naples until 1931 when he left for his military service and moved back to Turin. At Juve again, he never played any league games in 1931-32 and at the end of the season signed for Cosenza in First Division (third tier) where he stayed for two years before his final year as professional football player with Atalanta in 1934-35.

 

Immediately after he retired, he left for the Italo-Ethiopian War.

 

Fenili was a very good winger who could play either on the left or right, and very fast. He was unlucky at Lazio, arriving in a very mediocre year for the Biancocelesti.

 

He died on March 17, 1973 in Seriate, near Bergamo


Lazio career

Season

Total appearances (goals)

National Division

Coppa Coni

1927-28

22 (1)

13 (1)

9

Sources




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