U.S. Lecce

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Lecce
Us lecce.svg
Full nameUnione Sportiva Lecce S.p.A.
Nickname(s)I Giallorossi (The Yellow and Reds)
I Salentini (The Salentians)
I Lupi (The Wolves)
Founded17 March 1908 (forerunner)
16 September 1927
GroundStadio Via del Mare,
Lecce, Apulia, Italy
Capacity31,533[1]
PresidentSaverio Sticchi Damiani
Head CoachFabio Liverani
LeagueSerie A
2018–19Serie B, 2nd of 19 (promoted)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Unione Sportiva Lecce, commonly referred to as Lecce (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlettʃe]), is an Italian football club based in Lecce, Apulia. It currently plays in Serie A, the highest level of the Italian football pyramid, and plays its home games at Stadio Via del Mare which has a capacity of 31,533 spectators. Lecce's current coach is Fabio Liverani who joined in September 2017 leading the giallorossi to a double promotion from Serie C to Serie B first and Serie A TIM after.

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 debuted in the 1985–86 season. Its best Serie A finish is the ninth place obtained in the 1988–89 season. The club is 27th in the Serie A all-time table and is the second club from Apulia as regards appearances in the first two tiers of Italian football, with 15 Serie A seasons and 25 Serie B seasons.

Lecce won a Coppa Ali della Vittoria as Serie B winner in 2010, a Coppa Italia Serie C in 1975 and an Anglo-Italian Cup Semiprofessionals in 1976.

Lecce players and fans are nicknamed salentini or simply giallorossi or lupi.

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 dissolved before returning on 16 September 1927 as Unione Sportiva Lecce. The club was still wearing black and white stripes (similar to Juventus' kit) at this point, and the first president under the name Unione Sportiva Lecce was Luigi López 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 match played in the league was against Novara on 6 October 1929, a 2–1 victory. Lecce would eventually finish 13th. However, for the second time in the club's history, it ceased activity at the end of the 1931–32 season.

Four years later, Lecce returned and competed 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 third place but were moved down to 12th after it was revealed the club had violated the league's federal regulations.

The club finished in first place during the 1943–44 season, but club football was then suspended due to World War II. Nonetheless, when club football resumed, Lecce finished as champions of Serie C, gaining promotion back into Serie B. Two decent seasons followed (finishing fourth and third in respective seasons), with star player Silvestri scoring 20 goals in one season, before the club was 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 played 17 seasons in Serie C. They came extremely close to promotion several times during that period, finishing in second place 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.[2]

In 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 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]

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 ninth 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. The 1993–94 season saw Lecce finish in last place 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 two successive promotions from Serie C to Serie A 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 was 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 a high-point of tenth despite a poor first half of the season. Famous performances include two sensational victories in a row, first against Italian giants Juventus 3–4 in Turin (the first ever win at the Stadio Delle Alpi for Lecce) and then against Internazionale 2–1 at the Stadio Via del Mare.

In 2004–05, coach Zdeněk Zeman oversaw a highly attack-minded team that scored plenty of goals. Lecce ended the year again finishing tenth, putting in the spotlight talents like Valeri Bojinov and Mirko Vučinić. The team had the second-best attack with 66 goals (Juventus came first with 67) and the worst defence, with 73 goals conceded. 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 season was a continual struggle for Lecce. The club changed its manager two times (Silvio Baldini for Angelo Adamo Gregucci and in January 2006 youth team coach Roberto Rizzo, supported by goalkeeper coach Franco Paleari, for Baldini). The numerous managerial moves could not turn Lecce's fortune as they were relegated with a few games to spare and ended the season in 19th place. In June 2006, Giovanni Semeraro returned at the helm of the club after nine months. The club re-appointed Zdeněk Zeman as manager, just one year after he left the club.

Lecce was 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 matches (including a win against early league leaders Genoa), though they suffered poor away form. After a large drop in form, recording 10 losses in 18 matches, 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 half of the season, Lecce ended the season in the middle of the table, in ninth place. In 2007, Lecce gained more points than any other team in Serie B.

The 2007–08 season saw Lecce fight for a place in 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 Studio 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 one match 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 was on the verge of promotion, but wasted opportunities in their last two matches meant they had to wait until 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 one match to spare after beating arch-rival and already relegated 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 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 new manager Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked in December, after 9 losses in 13 matches. 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 number of points in the following months, but eventually failed to avoid relegation, due to four losses in the last five matches. Lecce managed to struggle until the very last game.

Third division years[edit]

On 10 August 2012, Lecce was provisionally relegated by the Disciplinary Commission set up for the Scommessopoli scandal investigations 2012–13 Lega Pro Prima Divisione because of their involvement. Furthermore, the former president of Lecce, Semeraro, was suspended from all football activities for five years.[3] On 22 August 2012, Lecce's relegation was confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice.[4]

In the first season back into the third tier, Lecce ended in second place behind outsiders Trapani and was surprisingly defeated in the promotion playoffs finals by another outsider club, Carpi. The following season ended in similar fashion, with Lecce failing to win the league once again and then losing the playoffs finals, this time to Frosinone, despite a number of high-level signings such as former Palermo star, and well-known Lecce supporter, Fabrizio Miccoli. In 2014–15 Lecce ended the season in sixth place and did not enter the playoffs.

Following the departure of the Tesoro family, the club was taken over by a consortium of entrepreneurs led by Saverio Sticchi Damiani. The club ended the 2015–16 season in third place, two points behind the second-placed team, and qualified for the playoffs round. After defeating Bassano 3–0 at home, in the semi-finals Lecce lost to Foggia in both the home and the away match.

In the following season, Lecce finished in second place. The elimination came in the play-off quarterfinals against Alessandria on penalties after two draws in two matches.

Back to Serie A[edit]

Lecce finally saw the light at the end of the 2017–18 season, when the giallorossi achieved promotion to Serie B under new manager Fabio Liverani securing a top two finish with a 1–0 victory against Paganese with one game to go. The following season saw Lecce clinch the second consecutive promotion, gaining a spot in Serie A for the first time in seven years, thanks to a second-place finish in Serie B.

Colours, badge, nicknames, and symbols[edit]

The team plays in red and yellow stripes. Lecce players and fans are referred to as salentini or giallorossi. The official anthem of Lecce is Giallorossi per sempre composed by Gioy Rielli. The symbol of Lecce is a female wolf under a holm oak, three which is typical to Apulia and is also the symbol of the city of Lecce.[5]

Stadium[edit]

Lecce's home games are played in the 31,533-seater[1] Stadio Via del Mare.

Club rivalries[edit]

The main rivalry is with the other best football team from Apulia, S.S.C. Bari. The match against them is called derby di Puglia.[6] The first derby di Puglia was played on 8 December 1929 in Serie B in Lecce, with the home team winning 1-0.[7] After that occasion, the derby di Puglia was played many times in Serie C and Coppa Italia, and especially in Serie A. The first derby played in Serie A was played on 27 October 1985 in Bari, and was won by the home team.[7] The last one was also played in Bari on 15 May 2011 and saw Lecce prevailing by 2-0 and securing their stay in Serie A[8] (however that match was later object of an investigation for match-fixing).[9][10] Among the most important wins in the derby for Lecce there is a Serie B match ended 4-0 in Bari on 22 December 2007.

On the other end, Lecce has a famous and long-standing friendship with the fans of Palermo.[6]

Current squad[edit]

As of 1 July 2020.[11]

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

No. Position Player
3 Colombia DF Brayan Vera
4 Italy MF Jacopo Petriccione
5 Italy DF Fabio Lucioni
6 Argentina DF Nehuén Paz (on loan from Bologna)
7 Italy DF Giulio Donati
8 Italy MF Marco Mancosu (captain)
9 Italy FW Gianluca Lapadula (on loan from Genoa)
10 Italy FW Filippo Falco
11 Ukraine MF Yevhen Shakhov
13 Italy DF Luca Rossettini
14 Italy MF Alessandro Deiola (on loan from Cagliari)
16 Italy DF Biagio Meccariello
No. Position Player
17 Brazil FW Diego Farias (on loan from Cagliari)
18 Italy MF Riccardo Saponara (on loan from Fiorentina)
21 Brazil GK Gabriel
22 Italy GK Mauro Vigorito
27 Italy DF Marco Calderoni
29 Italy DF Andrea Rispoli
30 Senegal FW Khouma Babacar (on loan from Sassuolo)
37 Slovenia MF Žan Majer
39 Italy DF Cristian Dell'Orco (on loan from Sassuolo)
72 Czech Republic MF Antonín Barák (on loan from Udinese)
77 Greece MF Panagiotis Tachtsidis

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 GK Marco Bleve (at Catanzaro until 30 June 2020)
Italy GK Andrea Morelli (at Sanremese until 30 June 2020)[12]
Romania DF Romario Benzar (at Perugia until 30 June 2020)
Italy DF Riccardo Fiamozzi (at Empoli until 30 June 2021, with obligation to buy)[13]
Italy DF Antonino Gallo (at Virtus Francavilla until 30 June 2020)
Italy DF Roberto Pierno (at Bitonto until 30 June 2020)[14]
No. Position Player
Italy DF Davide Riccardi (at Venezia until 30 June 2020)
Bulgaria MF Radoslav Tsonev (at Monopoli until 30 June 2020)
Lithuania FW Edgaras Dubickas (at Gubbio until 30 June 2020)[15]
Italy FW Andrea La Mantia (at Empoli until 30 June 2020, with obligation to buy)[16]
Italy FW Stefano Pettinari (at Trapani until 30 June 2020)[17]

Notable players[edit]

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.[18]

Manager records[edit]

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, 2018-19

Youth Team honours[edit]

National championships[edit]

Level Category Participations Debut Last season Total
Serie A 16 1985-1986 2019-2020 16
Serie B 27 1929-1930 2018-2019 27
Second division 1 1927-1928 41
First division 1 1928-1929
Serie C 33 1936-1937 2017-2018
Serie C1 3 1995-1996 2013-2014
Lega Pro 3 2014-15 2016-2017
IV Serie 3 1955-56 1957-1958 3

Player records[edit]

Most Serie A goals
Players capped for Italy national football team
Players capped for Italy national under-21 football team
Players capped for Italy national under-23 football team
  • Simone Altobelli (3 caps)
Players capped for Italy military football team
  • Pietro De Santis (3 caps)
Other national football teams

List of foreign football players who had at least one cup in their national team while playing for Lecce

World Cup players[edit]

The following players have been selected by their country in the World Cup Finals, while playing for Lecce.

UEFA European Championship players[edit]

The following players have been selected by their country in the European Championship Finals, while playing for Lecce.

Stadium Information[edit]

In fiction[edit]

Lecce is mentioned in many famous Italian movies and TV series.[56] Among these there are the movies Al bar dello sport, Benvenuti al Nord and Eccezzziunale veramente - Capitolo secondo... me and the TV series I Cesaroni.

U.S. Lecce is also mentioned in many songs.[57]

In the game Captain Tsubasa 5: Hasha no Shōgō Campione, the main character Tsubasa Ohzora plays for this team.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c https://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/Serie-A/Lecce/12-08-2019/lecce-agibilita-tempo-record-il-via-mare-pronto-il-ritorno-ventura-3401619556954.shtml
  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. ^ Stemma Città di Lecce
  6. ^ a b Pozzoni, Stefano (2005). Dove sono gli ultrà?. Zelig. p. 134.
  7. ^ a b "I precedenti di Bari-Lecce".
  8. ^ Il derby al Lecce, Jeda firma la salvezza. Al San Nicola rabbia dei tifosi del Bari, Corriere del Mezzogiorno, 15 maggio 2011
  9. ^ Scommessopoli, la testimonianza di Masiello apre nuovi scenari. Sotto accusa 9 match in A del Bari! - Goal.com
  10. ^ CALCIOSCOMMESSE ALL'ITALIANA: ALTRI 41 INDAGATI - Sport - ilGiornale.it
  11. ^ "Prima squadra 2019-2020" (in Italian). uslecce.it.
  12. ^ https://www.tuttomercatoweb.com/serie-b/ufficiale-lecce-ceduto-andrea-morelli-alla-sanremese-1200230
  13. ^ https://www.tuttomercatoweb.com/serie-a/ufficiale-lecce-fiamozzi-ceduto-in-prestito-biennale-all-empoli-1335264
  14. ^ https://www.tuttomercatoweb.com/serie-c/ufficiale-lecce-ceduto-il-giovane-pierno-al-bitonto-1332828
  15. ^ "EDGARAS DUBICKAS È DEL GUBBIO" (Press release) (in Italian). Gubbio. 17 January 2020.
  16. ^ "UFFICIALE: Lecce, La Mantia all'Empoli: prestito con obbligo di riscatto". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  17. ^ https://www.tuttomercatoweb.com/serie-b/ufficiale-trapani-preso-il-centravanti-pettinari-dal-lecce-1284657
  18. ^ "Dati storici". wLecce.it. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
  19. ^ "Ledian Memushaj". Fifa.com.
  20. ^ "Djamel Mesbah". Fifa.com.
  21. ^ "Pedro Pasculli". Fifa.com.
  22. ^ "Mazinho". Fifa.com.
  23. ^ "Valeri Bojinov". Fifa.com.
  24. ^ "Jaime Valdés". Fifa.com.
  25. ^ "Juan Cuadrado". Fifa.com.
  26. ^ https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/round=258419/match=300170268/report.html
  27. ^ "Saša Bjelanović". Fifa.com.
  28. ^ "Davor Vugrinec". Fifa.com.
  29. ^ https://www.afrik-foot.com/can-2021-q-rdc-premiere-pour-imbula-contre-le-gabon
  30. ^ "Aleksej Erëmenko". Fifa.com.
  31. ^ "Scheda del giocatore su soccerbase.com".
  32. ^ "Kwame Ayew". Fifa.com.
  33. ^ "Mark Edusei". Fifa.com.
  34. ^ "Scheda del giocatore su national-football-teams.com".
  35. ^ "Scheda del giocatore su national-football-teams.com".
  36. ^ "Souleymane Diamoutene". Scheda del giocatore su national-football-teams.com.
  37. ^ "Mirko Vučinić". Fifa.com.
  38. ^ "Vitorino Antunes". Fifa.com.
  39. ^ "Romario Benzar". uefa.com.
  40. ^ "Gheorghe Popescu". Fifa.com.
  41. ^ "Nenad Tomović". Fifa.com.
  42. ^ "Rodney Strasser". Fifa.com.
  43. ^ "Martin Petráš". Fifa.com.
  44. ^ "Sebastjan Cimirotič". Fifa.com.
  45. ^ "Žan Majer". Fifa.com.
  46. ^ "Dejan Govedarica". Fifa.com.
  47. ^ "Scheda del giocatore su national-football-teams.com".
  48. ^ "David Sesa". Fifa.com.
  49. ^ "Karim Saidi". Fifa.com.
  50. ^ http://www.tuttocalciopuglia.com/lecce/lecce-shakhov-in-campo-per-75-con-la-nazionale-ucraina-31849
  51. ^ "Ernesto Chevantón". Fifa.com.
  52. ^ "Guillermo Giacomazzi". Fifa.com.
  53. ^ "Gabriel Cichero". Fifa.com.
  54. ^ "Scheda del giocatore su national-football-teams.com".
  55. ^ https://structurae.net/fr/ouvrages/stade-via-del-mare
  56. ^ Il Lecce nei film cult leccezionale.it
  57. ^ "La musica ed il Lecce". leccezionale.it.

External links[edit]