Serie B may have lost giants Juventus, Genoa and Napoli to Serie A and Hellas Verona to Serie C1 but there’s still a lot of interesting clubs competing in the Italian second flight.
Four teams were promoted to Serie B replacing Hellas Verona (who finished fifth bottom and lost what the Italians call a play-out to Spezia), Arezzo, Crotone and Pescara. Replacing them from Serie C1/A are Grosetto and Pisa, with Avellino and Ravenna joining Serie B from Serie C2/B.
Here’s an overview of each team in turn and a little about each club.
This will be Grosetto’s first ever season in Serie B. Having spent the majority of their history in the amateur leagues the Tuscan club were promoted with a goal from Australian international Carl Valeri.
Grosetto are a small club by Italian standards and their ground only holds 8500. They are nicknamed “grifone” after the Griffin that is prominent on their badge (rather than a cunning marketing ploy to cash in on the popularity of the Harry Potter books).
Ravenna won the Serie C1/B title with a game to spare to secure their place in the 2007/2008
Current Atalanta and former Chievo, Palermo, Porto and Roma manager Luigi Del Neri managed the northern club during the early 90s. He’s changed jobs 11 times since his stint at Ravenna.
Pisa will be a familiar name to many English football fans. As once Chelsea footballer and now media pundit Paul “don’t mention Dean Saunders” Elliot played for them in the mid 80s alongside Brazilian World Cup winner Dunga.
They are probably the most prestigious of all of the promoted clubs having won the Mitropa Cup twice in the 80s (I think I’ll have to write a blog entry on that) and can boast the likes of Wim Kieft, Christian Vieri and eyes-bulging-best-ever-World-Cup-Final-celebrating Marco Tardelli.
Avellino had an impressive ten year stay in Serie A during the late 70s and early 80s. The “wolves” beat recent Serie A side Foggia in the playoff final to reach Serie B.