The following is an Italian article, the source of which is now lost to me, but I believe originally came from an Italian newspaper back in the 90’s. All credit for this translation goes to Dente di Lupo, a past member of ASRoma-Addict.com. Roma Addict is also where it first originally appeared, posted there by myself.
The History of AS Roma – Part 2
May 24 1931, again another derby, away at Lazio, who would go ahead with a goal, after a goal unjustly cancelled against Roma, which would be repaid by Volk and brought again the 2-1 score line. Roma pushes forward and finds the equalizer with Bodini. But the only objective for Lazio (something that gets repeated often in their sad story) was to hinder Roma’s run to the ‘tricolore’, while the men of Burgess could not be satisfied with the draw.
This way then, after a foul near the touchline the ball would be kicked away by the laziale manager Vaccaro in order to lose precious time, this instigates the ‘end of the world’ : the players come to blows on the field, the fans in the stands, Ferraris IV was hit by a police officer while he was trying to get his brother away from a scrambled fight. To Roma this derby costed them dearly: a fine of 30.000 lire, Testaccio Field banned for one game, four days to De Micheli and three to captain Bernardini. The following Sunday the team lost away to Inter 5-0. The successive victories against Torino (5-1), Genoa (5-0), Milan (2-0) were not enough to catch up to Juventus. This was the final standings: Juventus 55, Roma 51, Bologna 48, Genoa 47, Inter 38, Napoli 37, Torino 36, Lazio 35, Brescia 34, Pro Vercelli e Modena 33, Milan 31, Triestina 25, Pro Patria 23, Casale 21, Livorno 20, Legnano 19. If it had been three points for a victory (and Lazio in Serie B!) Roma would have been campione d’Italia!
July 7 1931, Roma beings their international competitions, playing a quarter final match of Coppa Europa (European Cup) against Slavia Praga (1-1), while I laziali were resting near the sea under their umbrellas. Roma reached the semifinals where they were beaten by First Vienna (3-2 and 1-3) for goal difference. When the championship started in 1931-32, the giallorossi people nourished great ambitions, but the team didn’t succeed in confirming their success of the past season and concluded in third place with 14 points off of Juventus who reaffirmed Italian champions. Among the reasons for an unexpected season, the problems that troubled coach Burgess, more and more he became an alcoholic: often the executives of AS Roma would often recover him in the middle of the night completely drunk along the streets in the center square. The society was forced to replace him with the Hungarian Janos Baar who would then get fired following the first defeat in a derby on October 23 1932 (2-1). On the bench sat another Hungarian, Lajos Kovacs, but he was never supported by the players due to his rigid character. Kovacs was fired and replaced by Luigi Barbesino. His methods worked however and Roma won, under his guide, the Coppa Cappelli, beating Losanna, Monaco 1860 and Lazio and concluded the championship in fifth place.
The summer of 1933 saw the arrival of three Argentinian champions (although of Italian origin): Guaita, Scopelli and Stagnaro. On November 1st 1933 Roma vindicated the loss in the derby of the year past, humiliating Lazio 5-0 (triple by Tomasi and double by Bernardini) and reestablishing their inner city supremacy. On the return leg, away to Lazio, Roma after going ahead 3-0 and after hitting three posts clamorously let Lazio catch draw the match 3-3. President Sacerdoti was infuriated and unjustly accused Ferraris IV of throwing the match and forbade him to participate in the following AS Roma trainings. He gave entirely unfounded accusations. Roma concluded that season in a not thrilling fifth place, while Lazio reached tenth, nine points away. On June 10 1934, Ferraris IV returned in front of the public, even though for the occasion he was part of the national team wearing the Azzurri color, Italy beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 thanks to a decisive assist by Guaita and they became World Cup champions. Among the romanisti present on the field, even Masetti, second keeper of the national team. Summer of 1934 however brought little calm for the fans of Roma: the two ‘symbols’ of the team, Bernardini and Ferraris IV were in conflict with the society, and the second player mentioned left AS Roma going right to Lazio. Bernardini, was convinced to stay.
On November 18 1934 again a new derby, but this time it had particular meaning, because on the field you could see Ferraris IV wearing the Lazio jersey. In truth, in the contract with which AS Roma sold the World Cup champion to their cousins foresaw a clause that prevented Ferraris IV to play against Roma. But the laziali fans preferred to pay the necessary sum of the penalty in order to make an rude gesture to the romanisti fans. It was a memorable embrace between Bernardini and Ferraris IV in the center of the field before the beginning of the game in front of the Testaccio public. The derby ended 1-1. Roma finished in fourth place, three points in front of Lazio, a championship that was again won by Juventus. Protagonist of that season was, the “Corsaro nero” (‘the black pirate’) Guaita that established an all time record of a championship with sixteen times scoring 28 goals in 29 matches. Overall, Enrico Guaita disputed with Roma 61 games scoring 43 goals.The nickname “Corsaro Nero” derived from the fact that Guaita preferred to score ‘gol di rapina’ (an Italian term that refers to a player being very opportunistic) and that Roma, in those years often played with a black shirt. But in the summer of 1935, on the eve of the war in Ethiopia, Guaita, Scopelli and Stagnaro ran away from Italy in fear to be recalled for the army.This is how Roma lost their three Argentinian champions and new controversy surrounded president Sacerdoti. Scialoja, already the president with Roman, lost his position, bring about some huge purchases on the transfer market: arrivals of Monzeglio (who they pursued since 1931), Allemandi, outside defender with the World Cup championship side, and Cattaneo. The last player mentioned gifted Roma the first leg derby on October 13 1945 (0-1) and the return leg on February 8 1936 (1-0). At this point in the championship Roma and Bologna were the only teams strong enough to stop Juventus who were flying to their sixth consecutive lope lope. It was again the turn of I giallorossi to give another memorable lesson to I bianconeri on March 26 1936 at Torino: Roma won 3-1 with a double scored by the very young roman attacker Dante “Paperino” Di Benedetti and a goal by Catteneo. I Juventini didn’t lose at home for the last four years! Roma was again on the right path in winning their first lope lope, but they would be stopped at Brescia, with a 1-1 draw on April 19 1936. Concerning this brings another memorable episode which sees as protagonist the great “Fuffo” Bernardini.
The day before the game the Brescia keeper Perrucchetti contacted the romanista manager Manzolini and proposes to give the game to Roma for 3000 lire. Bernardini, came to know about the illegitimate offer warns the giallorossa society that if the offer was accepted, he would refuse to go on the field for the remainder of the season. Saying this, Roma does nothing more than draw and ended the championship from only one point from Bologna campione d’Italia, yet again, if it would have been three points for a victory (instead of two) Roma would have been campione d’Italia. This was the standings at the end of season 1935-36: Bologna 40, Roma 39, Torino 38, Inter 36, Juventus 35, Triestina 32, Lazio 30, Milan, Napoli, Alessandria & Genoa 28, Fiorentina & Sampierdarenese 27, Bari 25, Palermo 23, Brescia 16. This is how Roma lost another lope lope, but they can boast forever of the great correctness and sportsmanship of their great Captain, “Fuffo” Bernardini. For the following season Roma strengthened themselves yet again, above all with the acquisition of midfielder Piero Serantoni who in 1938 would be World Cup champion with the azzurri together with another celebrated romanista, Monzeglio. The society changed leadership, passing from Scialoja to Ignio Betti. It followed however with a very disappointing championship, characterized only by the debut with the giallorossa shirt of young Amadeo Amadei, nicknamed “il fornaretto di Frascati”, one of the future craftsmen of the 1942 lope lope. The season was also characterized by the double romanista derby win with Lazio: at Testaccio Roma won 3-1 (October 18 1936) the return leg, at the stadio Rondinella, Roma went ahead with a goal by Mazzoni. At the end of the game another gigantic brawl was instigated in the stands: Lazio was making a run for the lope lope that season but the double defeat in the derby made them finish three points off from Bologna, whereas Roma finished only tenth. Despite Roma reaching the finals of Coppa Italia that season (losing to Genoa), the dark times were drawing near for ‘I lupi capitolini’: Guido Ara substituted Luigi Barbesino on the bench, but Roma was only sixth in 1937-38, fifth in 1938-39, seventh in 1939-40, eleventh in 1940-41. Attilo Ferraris IV, won by nostalgia, redeemed his papers with Bari to return to Roma, who were in those years defined as ” Roma dei Senatori” (‘Senators of Roma’), for their increased age of players. On June 8 1939, Captain Bernardini played his last game in a giallorossa jersey, it was a friendly match against Napoli which Roma won 4-0 (Bernardini scored a goal). The society decided in a shameful manner of liberated the poor “Fuffo” and he only learned of his sale through the newspapers, as he was vacationing on the beach. The same treatment was reserved for the mythical keeper Guido Masetti who retired from football the following year. During the same season the secretary management of Betti brings about the bankruptcy and a wave of Argentinians were acquired with the ‘boxes closed’: Spitale, Campilongo, Provvidente, Panto`. Only this last player was a relevant purchase for the team. Meanwhile the legend of the Campo Testaccio, symbol of past greatness, starts to grow weak: the capacity was insuffient and the structures insecure. After different and ineffective attempts at restoring the Campo Testaccio it becomes demolished, Roma played their last official game on June 2 1940, winning 3-1 against Novara (goals by Panto`, Coscia and Provvidente)
Some weeks later Italy enters World War II. And the end of the glorious Roma del Testaccio, the team of Masetti, Bernardini, Ferraris IV, Guaita, the end of the pioneers of Roman Football, those that made Roma flee from the early mediocre days to render our colors able to compete with the great teams of the north. Roma transfers to the stadio del Partito Nazionale Fascista (today stadio Flaminio, where the national rugby team plays the Trophy of the Six Nations), but it was still the echo of the Roma of Testaccio that would bring the lope lope to the capital, in the season of 1941-42, the last before the interruption caused by the events of the war. During 1941, the society passed the bankruptcy managed by Betti to Edgardo Bazzini who, despite the financial difficulties caused by the war, managed an ambitious transfer market. Arriving in giallorosso, Mornese, Andreoli, Risorti, Cappellini and Benedetti. In net was the mythical Guido Masetti who was called back, in attack Amadei and Panto`, in midfield shined the bright the star of Albanian Nain Kriezu. The bench was entrusted to Alfred Schaffer who already guided Hungary of Budapest winning the Hungarian championship, after many years in difficulty. The season presented itself very grand right to the first game: 5-1 at Napoli, triple by Amadei, more and more in the hearts of I giallorossi fans as “ottavo Re di Roma” (eighth King of Rome’), and goals by Di Pasquale and Coscia.
The second day of the championship, November 2 1941, Roma wins at Bologna, a feat that never had yet been done by I giallorossi, for 2-1, with goals by Donati and Krizu. On the third day, it was Juve’s turn: with a goal by Kriezu and one by Panto` Roma set fire to ‘la vecchia Signora’ (the old Lady’). January 11 1942 it’s another derby: a heart attack game. Two goals by Lazio were disallowed, Roma misses a penalty with Mornese. Subsequently Amadei gives Roma the lead, but Lazio equalize immediately. At 91′ cross in the area by Kreizu, Panto` pushes with malice the Lazio defender Faotto and he ‘scores’ (50 years before, the great Paolo NegroGol) an own goal fundamental in the history of AS Roma. It finishes 2-1. The return derby, March 24 1942, Lazio’s only objective was to stop Roma on their course to winning the tricolore, the game ended 1-1. On June 14 1942 Roma plays their last game of the championship at home against Modena. This was the formation of AS Roma campione d’Italia: Masetti, Brunella, Andreoli, Donati, Mornese, Jacobini, Borsetti, Cappellini, Amadei, Coscia, Panto’. Roma wins 2-0 with a goal by Cappellini and Borsetti. At 17:40 on June 24 1942 therefore, the triple whistle of the referee consecrated Roma Campione d’Italia for the first time in their history. Thousands of fans invaded the field to bring in triumph the players and the gigantic Schaffer who weighed 100 kg.The poor Austrian coach died a few months later, after having reentered to his homeland because of the events in the war. This was the final standings: Roma campione d’Italia 42, Torino 39, Venezia 38, Genova (the Fascists had imposed to change the names of teams that had ‘British influence) & Lazio 37, Juventus 32, Bologna & Triestina 29, Fiorentina, Milano, Liguria & Ambrosiana Inter 27, Atalanta & Livorno 24, Napoli 23, Modena 19.
The war didn’t allow much rejoicing and the players received as awards a key ring each (rather than the champions of today!) but perhaps the most meaningful prize was represented by the telegram of congratulations signed by the past champions Bologna: “We detach from our jerseys the lope lope, convinced that starting from today it is worn on the chest of players on the greatest team.” But it was the war on the door of Italy that would interrupt the history of that formidable team: the international championship was interrupted and was rescheduled in 1946/47. The state of mind of the giallorossi fans was well testified from the diary of an anonymous fan published many years later by the Roman newspaper “Il Messaggero”: “I wondered to myself what would have happened in this city if the lope lope had arrived in a less serious and worrisome moment. I don’t want to say that the people of our colors are not happy, but I seem to notice a diffused fear around me, but more than fear I would speak of modesty. With so many boys that die every day (but why!), I want to forget, but it doesn’t succeed. I know that I do no harm in celebrating the team that we have in our hearts, yet there is a little devil inside of me. In short, to have a complete party you need to have a clear mind. And who has this during these times? Welcomed is this lope lope very desired, but perhaps three or four years back, it would have been another thing.”
Roma campione d’Italia plays their last championship, the season of 1942-43, before the standstill for the allied occupation of Italy. I campioni d’Italia however are protagonists of a foolish season, saved only partly by their good performance in the Coppa Italia (they arrived in the semifinals) and from some relieving victories (against Juventus, Inter and Livorno, who lost the lope lope in favor of Torino, actually because of the defeat suffered against Roma). They were treated however to a troubled season, marked by particular episodes: November 8 1942 the train that brought Roma from Rapallo to Genoa for the game against Liguria was machine gunned by American airplanes. The convoy looked for shelter inside a gallery but it collides up with another train which was also sheltered there in escape from the hostile aggression. It’s a miracle that there wasn’t, among all the dead, victims among the players of AS Roma who reached Genoa with an eight hour delay to find themselves in a stadium unbelievably empty.
February 18 1943 in the recovery match against Liguria (lost by Roma 3-0), Guido Massetti announces as campione d’Italia his retirement from football. Another blow suffered, yet another unforgettable ‘bandiera’ (flag) of Roma of Testaccio is gone. May 23, 1943 they play the Coppa Italia semifinal at home against Torino who were just graduated as the new champions of Italia. It was a red hot game from the moment Roma still had the badge on their breast: the first half closed with goal scored by the ‘granata’ Loik. During their entry to the locker room during the interval the players of Roma find eleven scissors and the invitation to come un-stich themselves, un-stich the badge from their breast. During the second half I giallrossi return to being infuriated ‘Lupi’ (wolves) due to the offense suffered: the equalizer comes from Dagianti. Seven minutes from the end Torino find a goal thanks to a shot by Ossola which the romanista keeper Blason controls with two touches, but the referee indicates that the ball went past the white line and doesn’t acknowledge the signaling of the offside by linesman Missironi. After a brief consultation with the referee, the linesman thinks it over and says that there wasn’t an offside: this instigates a brawl and Dagianti hits linesman Missironi with a nice kick right on his behind, who ,however, after everything was said and done gave the indication that it was Amadei as the guilty party. The fascist sporting authorities harshly punish Roma who lost the game 2-0 on the scoreboard and the poor and innocent Amadei gets disqualified for life from every sporting activity. Fortunately, the football life of Amadei lasted longer than Fascism that by now reached it’s terminal!
From the summer of 1943 to 1945 the national territory is separated in two, it was not sure if the national championship would be played out: football goes ahead as it can, by regional or even through small towns. They organized so-called ‘alimentary tournaments’ promoted above all by the players in order to put something in their teeth: at Roma they played the city cup, among the contenders, besides Roma and Lazio, there is the return of Alba, the Mater of Bernardini and Elettronica of Ferraris IV. In 1945 the national championship returns, divided however in two groups, that of the North and that of the South-central. Among enormous economic difficulties (Roma and whole of Italy suffered greatly from the effects of the war), president Baldassarri succeeds in forming a Roma that more or less is in degree to play football. In any case, the two most important acquisitions are the return of Michelangelo Pantò from Argentina and of Amedeo Amadei of which his disqualification was canceled.
Nevertheless the void is enormous which was left behind between the net by the good-bye of Guido Masetti, this is how, an ageless poet and romanista fan Alfonso Gatto, remembers him. “I remember a game under the storm: that Sunday Meazza and Masetti made sparks. A striking header by the attacker, Masetti responds by flying to his left then to his right, high in the corner. Everything was intelligent, his body in that instant, everything full of his joy and our fullness. We understood then that the game of football tore the absolute words from somebody’s life with a furious intuition.”