Sunday, 18 July 2010

Ascoli Calcio 1898 (Italy)

Ascoli come from the town of Ascoli Piceno, in the Marche region of Central Italy. Formed in 1898, they've been perpetual Serie B contenders, although once in every while they nip up to the top flight for  short stint among the big boys. Their last run can between 2005-2007, but they've had four more decent stints since they first attained the lofty heights back in 1974.

They are a club with a colourful history, and have had a good few names to go along with it. Founded as Candido Augusto Vecchi, they changed their name to Ascoli Vigor in 1905, US Ascolana in 1921 and AS Ascoli in 1945. They were saved from bankruptcy in 1955 by the local publishing magnate Cino Del Duca, who renamed them, in his own image, Del Duca Ascoli. That they remained, until 1978, when the chairman Costantino Rozzi renamed them for one last time and gave them the name by which they still go to this day. Although don't bank on them not changing again.

Their best season came when they stunned all of Italy and came fifth in Serie A in 1980 - a feat they almost repeated when they came a respectable sixth in 1982. Their biggest rivalry is surprisingly not with their similarly sized near-neighbours Ancona, but with the Serie D club Sambenedettese from the Marche town of San Benedetto del Tronto. Although they haven't played since 1986, anyone who finds themselves wandering into the wrong part of town in the wrong colours is likely to face a fate similar to that of any Turin, Rome or Milan fan who did a similar foolish thing.

Their Stadio Cino e Lillo Del Duca ground - named after a brother of their former owner - was first built in 1962, and can hold a round number of 20,000.

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