Empoli F.C.

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Empoli
Empoli FC 1920.png
Full name Empoli Football Club SpA
Nickname(s) Azzurri (The Blues)
Founded 1920; 96 years ago (1920)
Ground Stadio Carlo Castellani
Ground Capacity 16,800
Chairman Fabrizio Corsi
Manager Giovanni Martusciello
League Serie A
2015–16 Serie A, 10th
Website Club home page
Current season

Empoli Football Club is an Italian professional football club based in Empoli in the province of Florence. Founded in 1920, it is part of a select group of Italian football clubs that do not belong a provincial capital city that have participated in the top flight, which it played in the 2014–15 season.[1]

Including the current season, Empoli has participated in 79 national championships, including 50 championships in the third tier, 19 in Serie B and 10 in Serie A.[2] In Europe, the best results obtained was participation in the 2007–08 UEFA Cup.[3]

History[edit]

From the 1920s to the 1970s[edit]

In August 1920, Foot Ball Club Empoli and the football section Unione Sportiva Empoli were born. After the participation of a tournament in San Miniato, the two merged into a single local football club. The next season, the new club, after having obtained in September affiliation in the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) ratified by the Tuscan Regional Committee, was included in Group A of the Tuscan Promozione 1921–22, but did take part due to economic problems, choosing instead to join the league of Terza Categoria, where the team achieved second place in the group A.[1]

In the 1922–23 season, Empoli finished in second place in Group A of the Terza Categoria, gaining admission to the final round after winning the play-off in Florence, held on 15 April 1923 against Pontedera, 1–0. The season concluded with a third place in the group final.[1]

The following three seasons, from 1923 to 1926, Empoli continued to play in the Tuscan third division. Then, in the 1926–27 season, Empoli won the Group A division of Tuscany, and was admitted to the interregional finals; thanks to a fourth place in Group G, the Tuscans were promoted in the North Division of the Second Division 1927–28, the third Italian football tier of the era. In the following season the team was then inserted in Group C of the North Division, which concluded in fourth place, but for economic reasons refused the invitation to take part in the next championship of Prima Divisione, and therefore followed the downgrading of the Seconda Divisione from third to fourth tier. However, already the following season, in the 1928–29 Seconda Divisione, the club won promotion, winning the Tuscan championship, and returned to the North Division of Prima Divisione.[1]

Empoli was in the Prima Divisione, then Serie C, until the 1935–36 season, when the team withdrawn halfway through the season because of the call to arms for many of its players. Empoli resumed competitive activity from Prima Divisione the next season, under the name of OND Empoli, with the colours gray and blue; the team won the Tuscan Group A again gaining admission in Serie C. Until the shutdown from the causes of war, Empoli played in Serie C, obtaining a best result of sixth place in 1938–39. Meanwhile, the club was renamed OND Interaziendale Italo Gambaccioni Section Soccer from 1938 to 1941, until the name was changed again to Associazione Calcio Empol. In this period, exactly on 15 September 1935, Empoli debuted in the Coppa Italia with a 1–0 home success against Pontedera.

After World War II, Empoli took up the club name of Empoli Foot Ball Club after being called Sports Group Azelio Landi for a brief period between October and November 1944, and was admitted into Serie B thanks to a third-place finish in the 1945–46 season. In Serie B, Empoli played for four consecutive seasons, finishing in third place in the 1946–47 season. Relegation of the club – which by then had adopted the colour blue – occurred at the end of 1949–50 championship. The permanence in Serie C lasted for six seasons: in the summer of 1955, the club sold most of its players and at the end of the 1955–56 season, the Tuscan side were relegated to Serie D. After three seasons in the fourth division, in 1959–60 the Azzurri risked relegation to the regional level after finishing in 15th place, on equal points with Carrarese and Rieti. The club managed to escape relegation before drawing with Carrarese and then surpassing Lazio, in Pesaro, with a goal from Vezzosi. In 1960–61, Empoli returned to the third tier of Italian football, but for only one season, again suffering relegation.

The club returned to Serie C on 9 June 1963 after beating Tempio 2–0 in the play-off in Genoa. The club's permanence in the third tier of Italian football, then called Serie C1, lasted for 20 years until the 1982–83 season.

The 1980s and 1990s[edit]

In 1986, the small-town club was promoted to Serie A. Playing their first few home games in Florence, Empoli's Serie A debut resulted in a 1–0 win over Internazionale. Helped by a nine-point deduction from Udinese, they avoided relegation with 23 points and 13 goals in 30 games. Empoli themselves received a five-point penalty the following season, and were relegated despite an improved showing. They were relegated again to Serie C1 in 1989.

The club then spent several seasons in Serie C1 before returning to Serie B in 1996 and achieving a second successive promotion in 1997. With Luciano Spalletti at the helm, Empoli defied the odds to finish in 12th place and avoid relegation. Relegation the following year began a three-year stay in Serie B, in which time the club became renowned for nurturing its own outstanding young talent.

Promotions to Serie A in 2002 and 2005 have seen the club emerge as battlers against relegation. They ended the 2005–06 season in tenth place in the top-flight. As a result of the Serie A match-fixing scandal at the end of that season, they gained qualification for the UEFA Cup for the following season, however they did not play in it because the club management failed to apply for a UEFA license. In the 2006–07 season, the club once again qualified for the UEFA Cup.

The years 2000 and participation in the UEFA Cup[edit]

With the prospect of European football approaching, the management strengthened the squad, most notably signing a number of young players from large Serie A clubs, such as Rincón of Inter, Ignazio Abate and Lino Marzoratti of Milan and Sebastian Giovinco, Claudio Marchisio and Rej Volpato of Juventus on loan or co-ownership deals. Empoli marked their debut in the UEFA Cup with a two-legged match against Zürich, losing 4–2 on aggregate. A poor showing in the initial part of the season then led chairman Fabrizio Corsi to sack Luigi Cagni, who led the Tuscans to UEFA Cup qualification, and replace him with Alberto Malesani.[4] However, the club's fortunes did not change and Malesani was sacked after a 2–0 defeat to Sampdoria which left them at the bottom of the table. Cagni was re-appointed on 31 March 2008 but the team suffered a last-minute relegation. Cagni resigned and was replaced by Silvio Baldini ahead of the 2008–09 season. Baldini's tenure, however, did not prove to be successful, as the Tuscans ended the season only in fifth place, and were later defeated in the promotion playoffs by Brescia.

Serie B / Serie A[edit]

Despite modest results, Baldini was sacked. By December 2011, the club had gone through four coaches since the 2009–10 season. The club maintained their Serie B status dramatically in 2011–12. After a poor season, Empoli finished 18th, one point from safety, which meant a relegation play-off against Vicenza over two legs. The first game finished goalless before Vicenza led 2–0 in the second leg with 30 minutes to go. However, two goals in two minutes saw the Azzuri level the tie before Massimo Maccarone secured a 3–2 victory in the fourth minute of injury time. 2012–13 saw the club finish fourth, a dramatic improvement on the previous season, but lost the promotion play-off final to Livorno over two legs. The club secured promotion back to Serie A the following season, finishing as runners-up to Palermo and have stayed in the top flight since, finishing 15th in 2014–15 and 10th in 2015–16.

Colours and badge[edit]

The team's colours are blue and white.

Current squad[edit]

As of 13 July 2016.[5]

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

No. Position Player
1 Italy GK Maurizio Pugliesi
2 France DF Vincent Laurini
3 Italy DF Marco Zambelli
4 Italy DF Federico Dimarco (on loan from Inter)
5 Venezuela MF Franco Signorelli
6 Italy DF Giuseppe Bellusci (on loan from Leeds)
7 Italy FW Massimo Maccarone (Captain)
8 Senegal MF Assane Dioussé
9 Georgia (country) FW Levan Mchedlidze
10 Italy MF Riccardo Saponara
11 Italy MF Daniele Croce
15 Italy DF Andrea Costa
17 Italy MF Raffaele Maiello
18 Italy FW Alberto Gilardino
No. Position Player
19 Italy DF Federico Barba
20 Italy FW Manuel Pucciarelli
21 Italy DF Manuel Pasqual
22 Italy DF Luca Bittante
23 Italy GK Alberto Pelagotti
24 Serbia DF Uroš Ćosić
28 Poland GK Łukasz Skorupski (on loan from Roma)
31 Brazil MF Matheus
33 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Rade Krunić
77 Liechtenstein MF Marcel Büchel
88 Colombia MF Andrés Tello (on loan from Juventus)[6]
99 Georgia (country) FW Roman Chanturia
Albania DF Freddie Veseli

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
Italy FW Alessandro Piu (at Spezia until 30 June 2017)
Italy MF Ludovico Gargiulo (at Pistoiese until 30 June 2017)

Notable former players[edit]

Players with international caps, appearances in Olympic Games or 100 league appearances with Empoli

Former managers[edit]

See Category:Empoli F.C. managers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "1920–1929". empolicalcio.net. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Storia". empolicalcio.net. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "2000–2009". empolicalcio.net. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Empoli axe Cagni". Football Italia. 26 November 2007. Archived from the original on 28 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "Prima squadra". Empoli F.C. (in Italian). Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.empolicalcio.net/Preso-Andres-Felipe-Tello-Munoz.htm

External links[edit]