U.S. Lecce

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US Lecce
Us lecce.png
Full name Unione Sportiva Lecce SpA
Nickname(s) Giallorossi (Yellow-Reds),
Salentini (Salentians);
Lupi (Wolves)
Founded 15 March 1908
Ground Stadio Via del Mare,
Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Ground Capacity 36,285[1]
President Savino Tesoro
Head Coach Franco Lerda
League Lega Pro Prima Divisione/B
2012–13 Lega Pro Prima Divisione/A, 2nd
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

Unione Sportiva Lecce or simply U.S. Lecce is an Italian football club based in Lecce, Apulia. Currently it plays in the Italian Lega Pro Prima Divisione after the relegation from Serie A in the 2011-12 season to Serie B and the sentence of the Federal Court of Justice that excluded the team from the Serie B and relegated to the lower division, due of its involvement in Scommessopoli scandal.

The club was formed in 1908 and has spent a large part of their recent history bouncing between Italy's second division and Serie A, where the team gained its first promotion in 1985.

History[edit]

Lecce was founded as Sporting Club Lecce on 15 March 1908, initially including football, track-and-field and cycling sports. The first club president was Francesco Marangi. The first colours worn by Lecce during this time were black and white stripes, known in Italy as bianconeri.

In its formative years, Lecce played in mostly regional leagues and competitions. During the 1923/24 season the club broke up, before coming back on 16 September 1927 as Unione Sportiva Lecce. The club were still wearing black and white stripes (similar to Juventus) at this point, and the first president under the name Unione Sportiva Lecce was Luigi Lopez y Rojo.

League: Early years 1930s, 40s and 50s[edit]

Taranto Sport played Lecce in a game for promotion to Serie B from the local Southern Italian league, Lecce were victorious winning 3–2 after extra time. They were entered into Serie B for the 1929/30 season, the first game they played in the league was against Novara Calcio on 6 October 1929, which they won 2–1. They would eventually finish 13th. But for the second time in the clubs history, it ceased activity at the end of the 1931–32 season.

Four years later, Lecce came back and went into Serie C, finishing 11th in their return season. Around this time the club was in turmoil, the following season they withdrew from Serie C after four days, and then during the 1938–39 season they finished in 3rd place but were moved down to 12th after it was revealed that the club had violated the league's federal regulations.

The club finished 1st during the 1943–44 season, but club football was suspended for the Second World War. Nonetheless, when club football resumed they finished as champions of Serie C once more, gaining promotion back into Serie B. Two decent seasons followed (finishing 4th and 3rd in respective seasons), with star Silvestri scoring 20 goals in one season, before the club were relegated.

Lecce stayed down in Serie C for six seasons during this period, though this was not a particularly successful time for the club, striker Anselmo Bislenghi scored 83 goals for the club during this period, thus becoming a hero. The club slipped even lower to Serie IV where they spent three years.

Seventeen seasons of Serie C: 1960s, 70s and 80s[edit]

From 1959 to 1975, Lecce had seventeen seasons in Serie C. They came extremely close to promotion several times during that period, finishing second three seasons in a row (1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74) before gaining promotion in the 1975–76 season.

The same year as their promotion Lecce tasted cup success, winning the Coppa Italia Serie C. In 1976 Lecce took part in the Anglo-Italian Cup, notching up a 4–0 victory against Scarborough F.C.,.[2]

During 1980 a scandal occurred which rocked Italian football, including Lecce under president Franco Jurlano. However, Jurlano was able to demonstrate his innocence and the[scandal only lead to disqualification of the player Claudius Merlo. Later, the club was struck by a tragedy in 1983, players Michele Lo Russo and Ciro Pezzella died in an automotive accident. To this day, Lo Russo remains the club record holder for most number of appearances with 415.

Promotion to Serie A: mid-1980s and 90s[edit]

Lecce logo 1981-2001

Under the management of Eugenio Fascetti, Lecce would achieve promotion to Serie A for the first time in 1985. They finished bottom and were relegated after only one season, but defeated Roma 3–2 away in the penultimate game to deal a fatal blow to Roma's title hopes. Losing a promotion play-off 2–1 to Cesena the following season, they would return to Serie A in 1988.

Under Carlo Mazzone, Lecce finished a respectable 9th place in 1989. Stars of the side included striker Pedro Pasculli and midfielders Antonio Conte and Paolo Benedetti. They lasted three seasons before relegation, and returned two years later. Season 1993–94 saw Lecce finish last with a pitiful 11 points, the lowest ever of any Serie A team, and a second relegation came the following year.

Giampiero Ventura saw Lecce achieve successive promotions before leaving for Cagliari. Once more, it proved a struggle in Serie A despite the best efforts of striker Francesco Palmieri and a famous away win against Milan on 19 October 1997.

In the summer of 1998 Pantaleo Corvino was appointed new sports director, gaining a reputation for scouting new talents in the years to come. The team were good enough to return to Serie A in 1999 and begin another three-year stint in the top-flight, with yet another return to Serie A in 2003.

Three years in Serie A (2003–2006)[edit]

Lecce-Lazio 5–3, Stadio Via del Mare, 1 May 2005

In 2004, under Delio Rossi, who had been managing the club since 2002, Lecce achieved an impressive result, reaching the 9th final position after an awful first half of the season. Famous performances include two sensactional victories in a row, first against Italian giants Juventus 4–3 in Turin and then against Inter 2–1 in Lecce. This helped the club to finish in 10th position. The following season in 2004–05 Zdenek Zeman oversaw a highly attack-minded team which scored plenty of goals, they ended up in 10th position, putting in the spotlight talents like Valeri Bojinov and Mirko Vucinic. Lecce had the second best attack with 66 goals (Juventus came first with 67 goals) and the worst defence with 73 goal. This is a record, as for the first time the team with the worst defence managed to survive in the history of Serie A.

The 2005–06 was a continual struggle for Lecce. The club has changed its manager two times (Silvio Baldini for Angelo Adamo Gregucci, and then to youth team coach Roberto Rizzo supported by goalkeeper coach Franco Paleari). The numerous managerial moves could not turn Lecce's fortune as they were relegated in 19th place. In June Giovanni Semeraro returned at the helm of the club after 9 months. The club re-appointed Zdenek Zeman as manager, just one year after he had left the club.

Lecce were unable to avoid relegation from Serie A despite some initial hope due to the Serie A match-fixing scandal.

Two-year stint in Serie B and promotion[edit]

The club had a mixed start to the 2006–07 season in Serie B, winning three home games (including a win against early league leaders, Genoa), though they have suffered poor away form. After a large drop in form, recording 10 losses in 18 matches, Zdenek Zeman was sacked as manager and replaced by Giuseppe Papadopulo. On 10 March 2007 Lecce clinched a historical victory over Frosinone, beaten 5–0 at Stadio Via del Mare. Having gained 36 points in the second-leg part of the season, Lecce ended the season in the middle of the table (9th place).

The 2007–08 season saw Lecce fight for a place in the Italian Serie A for the next season. Despite earning 83 points (12 more than sixth-placed Pisa) and boasting the best defence in the tournament, the giallorossi were forced to face play-offs for promotion in the top flight. In the semi final they beat Pisa in both legs (1–0 away and 2–1 at home) to secure a place in the final against AlbinoLeffe. Then they won the first leg 1–0 away, before securing a 1–1 draw in the second leg at the Via del Mare to gain promotion.

Between Serie A and Serie B[edit]

Fans celebrating the club's eighth promotion to Serie A in May 2010

After persistent rumours, Papadopulo quit due to a difference of opinion with the general manager of the club and was replaced by Mario Beretta, who had a quite satisfactory start in the 2008–09 Serie A season. He remained in charge for twenty-seven games, but, due to four defeats in the last five matches, with the team one point below the survival zone, he was sacked and Luigi De Canio was appointed new manager. Seven points earned in ten matches were not enough to secure Lecce a spot in the next Serie A season. Relegation was official with a game to spare, after a 1–1 home draw against Fiorentina.

Lecce had a mixed start in the 2009–10 Serie B campaign, but clinched first place in November 2009 and kept it for the rest of the season. In May the team were on the verge of promotion, but wasted opportunities in their last two matches, meant they had to wait till the last match to celebrate their eighth elevation to the top flight in the last 25 years. A goalless home draw with Sassuolo proved enough to clinch the Serie B title with 75 points and win the Coppa Ali della Vittoria.

Lecce ended a satisfactory 2010–11 Serie A season successfully avoiding relegation with a game to spare, after beating arch-rival and already relegated AS Bari 2-0 away on 15 May 2011. In the last few matches the team managed to win a tough battle against other underdogs and some glorious teams such as UC Sampdoria, that ended the season in despair. Manager Luigi De Canio left the team in June.

In the 2011–12 Serie A season Lecce was relegated to Serie B. The start of the season was bad and the new manager Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked in December, after 9 losses in 13 games. Serse Cosmi was appointed new manager. Lecce refused to crumble as Cosmi's arrival instilled battling qualities into the relegation strugglers, who managed to gain a considerable amount of points in the following months, but eventually failed to avoid relegation, due to 4 losses in the last 5 matches. Lecce managed to struggle until the very last game.

2012–13 Lega Pro Prima Divisione[edit]

On 10 August 2012 Lecce was provisionally, not yet enforceable, by the Disciplinary Commission set up for Scommessopoli scandal investigations, condemned to relegation to 2012–13 Lega Pro Prima Divisione because of their involvement in Scommessopoli scandal. Furthermore, the former president of Lecce Semeraro has been suspended from all football activities for five years.[3] On 22 August 2012 the Lecce's relegation was confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice.[4]

Colors and badge[edit]

The team plays in red and yellow stripes. Lecce players and fans are referred to as salentini.

Stadium[edit]

Lecce's home games are played in the 36,285-seater Stadio Via del Mare.

Current squad[edit]

As of 14 September 2013[5]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Italy GK Filippo Perucchini
Italy GK Marco Bleve
Italy GK Massimiliano Benassi
Italy GK Davide Petrachi
Italy DF Simone Sales
Italy DF Roberto Di Maio
France DF Kevin Vinetot
Brazil DF Marcus Diniz (on loan from Milan)
Italy DF Angelo Bencivenga
Italy DF Erminio Rullo
Italy DF Matteo Legittimo
Italy DF Leonardo Nunzella
Italy DF Dario D'Ambrosio
Uruguay MF Mariano Bogliacino
No. Position Player
Brazil MF Adriano Ferreira Pinto
Italy MF Edoardo Tundo
Italy MF Stefano Salvi
Italy MF Daniele Casiraghi
Italy MF Marco Rosafio
Italy MF Tommaso Bellazzini
Italy MF Filippo Falco
Italy FW Fabrizio Miccoli (captain)
Italy FW Giacomo Beretta
Italy FW Gianmarco Zigoni
Italy FW Giuseppe Bozzi

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Italy MF Daniele Casiraghi (to Pro Patria)
Italy MF Carmine Palumbo (to Cremonese)

Co-ownership[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Italy DF Gianmarco Ingrosso (with L'Aquila)
No. Position Player
Italy MF Vittorio Triarico (with L'Aquila)

Notable players[edit]

Miccoli is Lecce's n.10 and this year he realized his dream of being a player for U.S. Lecce, his heart's team. He in fact was born in San Donato di Lecce, a little town close to Lecce.

Managerial history[edit]

Lecce have had many managers and trainers throughout the history of a club, in some seasons more than one manager was in charge. Here is a chronological list of them from 1927 onwards.[6]

 
Name Nationality Years
Luigi Ferrero Italy 1927–28
Ferenc Plemich Hungary 1928–30
Pietro Piselli Italy 1930–31
Ferenc Molnár Hungary 1931
Calò Italy 1934–35
Ferenc Plemich Hungary 1936–37
Harpad Hajos Hungary 1937–38
Giobatta Rebuffo Italy 1938–39
Alferio Cubi Italy 1939–41
Ferenc Plemich Hungary 1941–42
Giovanni Degni Italy 1942–44
Luigi Indrizzi Italy 1944–45
Ferenc Hirzer Hungary 1945
Ferenc Plemich Hungary 1945–46
Giovanni Brezzi Italy 1946–47
Raffaele Anguilla Italy 1947
Ercole Dossena Italy 1947–48
Raffaele Costantino Italy 1948
Mario Magnozzi Italy 1948
Ferenc Plemich Hungary 1948–49
Raffaele Costantino Italy 1949
Cesare Migliorini Italy 1949–50
Italo Paterno Italy 1950
Giovanni Brezzi Italy 1950–51
Virgilio Levratto Italy 1951–52
Pietro Magni Italy 1952–53
Giovanni Degni Italy 1953
Gino Vianello Italy 1953–54
Raffaele Costantino Italy 1954–55
Euro Riparbelli Italy 1955
Carmelo Russo Italy 1955–56
Cesare Gallea Italy 1956
Ambrogio Alfonso Italy 1956–58
Ugo Starace Italy 1958
Gino Vianello Italy 1958–59
Ambrogio Alfonso Italy 1959–60
Dino Bovoli Italy 1960–62
Ulisse Giunchi Italy 1962
Piero Andreoli Italy 1962–64
Ambrogio Alfonso Italy 1964–65
Gino Vianello Italy 1965–66
Luigi Soffrido Italy 1966
Ambrogio Alfonso Italy 1966–67
Gianni Seghedoni Italy 1967–68
Ottorino Dugini Italy 1968
Eugenio Bersellini Italy 1968–71
 
Name Nationality Years
Giuseppe Corradi Italy 1971–73
Maino Neri Italy 1973
Giacomo Losi Italy 1973–74
Nicola Chiricallo Italy 1974–76
Antonio Renna Italy 1976–77
Lamberto Giorgis Italy 1977–78
Pietro Santin Italy 1978–79
Bruno Mazzia Italy 1979–81
Gianni Di Marzio Italy 1981–82
Mario Corso Italy 1982–83
Eugenio Fascetti Italy 1983–86
Pietro Santin Italy 1986
Carlo Mazzone Italy 1986–90
Zbigniew Boniek Poland 1990–91
Alberto Bigon Italy 1991
Aldo Sensibile Italy 1991–92
Alberto Bigon Italy 1992
Bruno Bolchi Italy 1992–93
Nedo Sonetti Italy 1993–94
Rino Marchesi Italy 1994
Piero Lenzi Italy 1994
Luciano Spinosi Italy 1994–95
Edoardo Reja Italy 1995
Giampiero Ventura Italy 1995–97
Cesare Prandelli Italy 1997
Angelo Pereni Italy 1997–98
Nedo Sonetti Italy 1998–99
Alberto Cavasin Italy 1999–02
Delio Rossi Italy 2002–04
Zdeněk Zeman Czech Republic 2004–05
Angelo Gregucci Italy 2005
Silvio Baldini Italy 2005–06
Roberto Rizzo Italy 2006
Zdeněk Zeman Czech Republic 2006
Giuseppe Papadopulo Italy 2006–08
Mario Beretta Italy 2008–09
Luigi De Canio Italy 2009–2011
Eusebio Di Francesco Italy 2011
Serse Cosmi Italy 2011-2012
Franco Lerda Italy 2012–2013
Antonio Toma Italy 2013
Elio Gustinetti Italy 2013
Francesco Moriero Italy 2013–present

Honours and Club Records[edit]

  • Coppa Ali della Vittoria (1) – 2009–10
  • Promoted – 1984–85, 1987–88, 1992–93, 1996–97, 1998–99, 2002–03, 2007–08, 2009–10
  • Serie C
    • Champions – 1945–46, 1975–76, 1995–96

Youth Team Honours[edit]

Player records[edit]

Most Serie A appearances
Player Serie A App.
Uruguay Guillermo Giacomazzi 132
Italy Luigi Piangerelli 127
Italy Lorenzo Stovini 125
Argentina Pedro Pablo Pasculli 119
Italy Alessandro Conticchio 114
Players capped for Italy national football team

Stadium Information[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Football stadiums of the world – Stadium List Europe
  2. ^ – RSSSF
  3. ^ Conte handed 10-month ban in Scommessopoli scandal - Goal.com
  4. ^ Conte, confermati 10 mesi, Grosseto salvo, Lecce giù - La Gazzetta dello Sport
  5. ^ "Prima Squadra Stagione 2011/2012" [First Team Season 2011/2012]. US Lecce (in Italian). Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Dati storici". wLecce.it. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 

External links[edit]