Football Club Messina Peloro are an Italian football club based in Messina, Sicily originally founded in 1900. The club has spent most of its history in the lower Italian football leagues. They last competed in Serie B in 2007–08, this following three consecutive seasons in Serie A. On July 2008 Messina were excluded from professional football due to financial issues, being later registered into amateur Serie D, where they are currently playing.
Messina have appeared in the Italy's top league Serie A, for a total of five seasons during their history. The club's first spell in the league was in the 1960s, the second began in the 2000s. The highest ever position they have finished is 7th, which happened during the 2004-05 season.
The history of Messina Football Club began when Alfredo Marangolo returned to Sicily in August 1900 from studying in London, England. In Great Britain the game of football was fast gathering popularity with the The Football League in its early stages.
At the college where Marangolo visited he had also made the acquaintance of Ignazio Majo Pagano who formed Anglo Palermitan (Palermo) on his return, only a month before Messina. Indeed the first Sicilian derby was held between Messina and Palermo on 18 April 1901, 1000 fans turned out to Via Notarbartolo in support their respective club for the match. The game ended 3-2 to the Palermitan side.
A strong bond, and healthy rivalry had built up between the two Sicilian clubs and a competition named the Whitaker Challenge Cup was arranged to be played between them. The first was held in 1905; Messina won the game (once again the result was 3-2) and in doing so captured their first trophy. Messina proved the result was no fluke the following year at San Ranieri; capturing the trophy in a 2-1 victory.
The earthquake of 1908, which killed 60,000 people in Messina, later affected the club in a large manner; deaths included Charles Bousfield Huleatt, players Frank John Carter, Walter Oates and financial backer George H. Peirce. Football resumed in Messina during the following year, thanks largely to Arthur Barret Lascelles who used money from his own pocket to ensure football activity in the city would continue. By 1910 the funds of Barret had dried up and the club was folded, Società Ginnastica Garibaldi Messina (Gymnastic Society Garibaldi Messina) briefly took its place until it too was dissolved due to the First World War.
After World War I, a club under the name U.S. Messinese was founded and entered to play in the Coppa Federale Siciliana the following year; an all Sicilian championship disputed in Messina, Catania and Palermo. Messina finished as runners-up.
The club participated in the Italian Football Championship of 1921-22 organized by the C.C.I. finishing 3rd in the Sicilian group section; this was the first Championship in which clubs from the Island were entered. The following season the FIGC and CCI were unified. This coincided with unifications in Messina, as another side Umberto Messina was incorporated into U.S. Messinese, and thus the club changed its name to U.S. Messinese Umberto in October 1922. The following month this new side was fused once again, this time with Messina Sporting Club; creating the Messina Football Club. Only two years later in December 1924 FC Messina was melted, and the players became part of the reformed U.S. Messinese.
Finally, Messinese qualified for the semi-finals of the International league, after beating Palermo 3-0 in the Sicilian championship of 1924-25. Here Messinese played against Alba Roma, Cavese and Liberty Bari, but failed to win a single match, scoring only two goals in six games. Messina would be promoted to Serie B for the 1932-33 campaign under the presidency of Francesco Lombardo and Koenig's coaching, and remained in the league for six seasons. The spell in Serie B was also notable for the local rivalry between them and Calcio Catania.
Down in Serie C, AC Messina were withdrawn and folded during 1940-41. The following season in 1941-42 a club named US Peloro 1906 changed its name and became US Mario Passamonte (named after a fallen hero of the war in Africa). The idea was to enter the club into Serie C in place of Messina, however this was unsuccessful, until the following season.
It would not be long before all activity was halted in Italian football for World War II. After several mergers in 1945, including one between US Passamonte and AP Messina, the club AS Messina subsequently emerged as a post-war representative of Messina. This was not a clean cut merger however, some players and officials formed the rival club Giostra Messina; both Giostra and AS Messina reached the finals of the Southern League but eventually finished 4th and 5th respectively. At the end of the season, the two teams reunited as one merged club Associazione Calcio Riunite Messina, abbreviated as ACR Messina.
The 1950s for Messina began in glorious fashion, they were crowned champions of Serie C under the management of Yugoslavian manager Mihaly Balacics. Messina did not falter in Serie B, during their first season in the league they avoided relegation. Giuseppe Melazzo and the Comitato Reggenza owned the club during this new period of relative success. During the following season, Messina finished in third place.
Throughout the rest of the 1950s, Messina remained in the division as a whole finishing in a respectful position. Goffredo Muglia took over as president in 1958 to begin a brand new era for the club. For the first time in their history, Messina were crowned champions of Serie B during the 1962-63 season. The race for the championship was a very close one which went down to the last day of the season, with Messina finishing above Bari and Lazio.
For their first ever season in Serie A, the football squad for Messina included; Morelli, Brambilla, Stucchi, Pagani, Dotti, Peruvian Benitez, Ghelfi, Fascetti, Morbello, Canuti and Clerici. Messina's first game in Serie A took place on 15 September 1963, it ended in a 3-1 defeat against Sampdoria at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. As a whole the first part of the season was not a success, they won only 2 games, but they managed to turn it around in the second half of the season, with 7 wins; beating Juventus (1-0), Fiorentina (1-0) and Sampdoria (4-3). The surge of wins in the latter part of the season helped them stay up, finishing 14th.
The next season for the club in Serie A would not be so fortunate, they were relegated in 17th place. Some notable high points of the season included a 1-0 victory over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. A team from Rome would also be the opposition for Messina's other most impressive result of the season, they stunned Lazio by beating them 4-0 on the last day of the season.
The Sicilian side were not able to bounce straight back up into Serie A, and in fact during their third season back down in Serie B were relegated. After several seasons finishing in and around the top 10 positions of Serie C, Messina were relegated down to Serie D in the 1972-73 season. The club managed to bounce straight back however, winning the Serie D championship and achieving promotion back into C. After a few decent seasons in the upper parts of the table, relegation struck Messina again. In the 1979 season Serie C2 was formed and Messina were placed into it.
By 1983 Messina were champions of Serie C2 and had a future star amongst their ranks in Salvatore Schillaci. The club, now back on the right tracks came close to promotion to Serie B in 1985 with a third place finish just behind Palermo, and won Serie C1 and earned themselves promotion back to Serie B the following season.
Time in Serie B during the 1980s was a pleasant one for the Sicilian side, they notched up 7th and 8th place finishes. In 1989 Schillaci was sold to Turin giants Juventus and, just three seasons after Schillaci's departure, Messina lost their position in Serie B and were relegated down to C1 and then spiraled into further trouble. The club finished 12th in Serie C1, but due to financial difficulties the FIGC canceled all professional football activity for Messina.
The decision was thought to be unjust by the club and fans, with Messina been thrown into a footballing abyss never known before. In the summer A.S. Messina was founded with the president Pietro La Malfa, beginning in the amateurs national championship (C.N.D.) with the objective to bring back the giallorossi to professional football.
They played in the Campionato Nazionale Dilettanti for four seasons, finishing high up for the first three of them, but due to more due to financial problems in 1996, they were relegated to the Sicilian Eccellenza league. Instead of going through with the relegation Messina was merged in July 1997 with a local club named Peloro, the new name of the club was Football Club Messina Peloro. In a few short seasons, the club ramped up the Italian league system, from Campionato Nazionale Dilettanti in the 1997-98 season, Messina were promoted into Serie C2 as champions. Promoted to Serie C1 in 2000, they immediately managed to fight hard for a promotion spot back to Serie B, winning promotion to Calcio Catania after play-offs. In less than a decade, under the presidency of Aliotta, Messina had climbed back up from the abyss and were back in the upper part of the Italian league system.
After two seasons in B, local entrepreneur Pietro Franza took over, and in 2003-04 the Sicilians gain promotion back into Serie A under coach Bortolo Mutti. The club had not appeared in the top Italian league since 1965, a total of forty years.
After being tipped as underdogs in Serie A for the 2004-05 season, Messina surprised doubters by producing several good results including defeating both of the Milanese clubs. They beat AC Milan first at the San Siro 2-1 then later in the season at home, they beat Internazionale for the first time in their history; the winning goal was struck by Rafael in the third minute of extra time.
Messina managed to stay clear of relegation throughout the whole season, and eventually finished in 7th place in the table, just a single place away from securing a UEFA Cup place. Also during this period, for the first time in the club's history Messina players were called up to the Italian national football team, first was Alessandro Parisi in 2004, then Carmine Coppola in 2005 who was called up twice by the azzurri.
Despite this impressive form, Messina still were in danger of being relegated from Serie A at the end of the season due to a possibility of not having enough finances available to compete in the league. Eventually, though, they successfully managed to stay in the Serie A league. In the 2005-06 season Messina were however unable to repeat their previous impressive season, leading this to the sacking of Mutti, who was replaced by Giampiero Ventura; despite all, they looked to be mathematically relegated from the top division after Day 36 losing the derby against Reggina 3-0. However, due to the Serie A scandal of 2006, Messina avoided relegation to Serie B despite finishing 18th.
Messina started the 2006-07 season with Bruno Giordano as head coach; however, he was replaced on January 30, 2007, by Alberto Cavasin because of poor results. On April 2, following a 2-0 away defeat to Cagliari Calcio, another team involved in the battle to avoid relegation, Cavasin was sacked too, and Giordano was recalled to fill the coaching position. Giordano made even worse in his second time at Messina, with four defeats in four matches; with Messina second-last placed in the table five matchdays prior to the end of the season, Giordano was sacked once again on April 23 and replaced by Bruno Bolchi.
A notable achievement for Messina so far this season, was reaching the last 16 of the Coppa Italia for only the second time in their history. Messina knocked out S.S. Lazio on the way in a thrilling show down, which went to extra time; Messina won the game 4-3 with goals from Iliev, Cordova and two from Di Napoli. They went out in the next round to eventual finalists Internazionale.
On July 2008, Messina chairman Pietro Franza announced he did not find any investor ready to take over the club, and that he was consequently giving up the club's Serie B membership, declaring also he would look forward to enter the club into an amateur league. FC Messina's future is uncertain, with all the players being consequently made redundant under Italian Football Federation rules, and the club being expected to play either Serie C2 or Serie D next season. On August 1, 2008, it was confirmed that Messina will start the new season from Serie D.
See also: F.C. Messina Peloro players
|3||Renato Ferretti I||189||87|
|4||Constantino Lo Bosco||188||3|
Messina FC have played their home matches in the new stadium San Filippo since the 2004/2005 season. Its capacity is (about) 40,200 seats. The name take place from Messina fraction where it is placed, but a couple of petitions aim to rename it after the former Messina manager Franco Scoglio or the Messina Saint Hannibal Mary Di Francia.
The old stadium, the 11,000 seater Stadio Comunale Giovanni Celeste, is now used as a training field.
Whitaker Challenge Cup