For years the side has been down in the doldrums but could this be a drastically distinct year of good results?

Paddy Agnew’s Notes From Italy: Could This Be A Excellent Season For Torino?

Could this be a season when Torino earn themselves some deserved sunshine, in the wake of a lifetime spent in the heavy shadows cast by their richer, a lot more effective city cousins, namely Old Lady Juventus?

Named into the Europa League at the final moment, following UEFA’s disqualification of AC Milan for Economic Fair Play motives, Torino could but meet Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final play-off round of qualifying subsequent week.

Italian clubs seldom shine in European competitors at this pre-season time of year. September, let alone August, comes as well early for them.

Therefore, it has been refreshing to note the vim and vigour with which Torino have as a result far disposed of their (admittedly moderate) Europa League opposition. In their initial tie, Torino saw off Hungarian side Debrecen 7-1 on aggregate, while in their third qualifying round, they are at present five- up on Bielarus side, FC Shakhtyor, ahead of the return leg in Minsk on Thursday.

If, as appears probable, Torino finish off the job in Minsk, then their subsequent opponents will virtually surely be Premier League side, Wolves, at present four- up against Armenian side Pyunik, ahead of their property return leg, also on Thursday. It is 39 years due to the fact Wolves final played in European competitors but even if Torino’s absence has not been so lengthy, this is nonetheless a vitally essential competitors for them as well.

To qualify for the autumn group stages of the Europa League would represent not only some welcome coffers at the box-workplace but also a psychological enhance for a club whose fans invest a lot of time seeking on at their city cousins’ Champions League progress, not with no a tiny envy.

The point about Torino, of course, is that as any person even vaguely familiar with football history knows, la “Grande Torino” was when the powerhouse of Italian soccer.     That glorious previous, admittedly, came 70 years ago at a time when Torino won 5 consecutive Serie A league titles in between 1943 and 1949.

That Torino side was so all dominant that in May possibly 1947, the then Italian national coach, the legendary Vittorio Pozzo, picked 10 Torino players for a three-two friendly win in Turin against Hungary. The only non-Torino player was the Juventus goalkeeper of the day, Sentimenti IV.

The Torino dream group having said that was cruelly reduce down in its prime in May possibly 1949 in a horrendous plane crash, while returning to Turin following playing a testimonial match for a Benfica player in Lisbon. 31 men and women, which includes players, club officials, journalists and crew lost their lives when the plane crashed head on into the Basilica, possibly due to a faulty altimeter in the cockpit.

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Even if the record books record that Torino won the Italian title some 27 years later in 1976, the club has by no means genuinely recovered from that traumatic tragedy. Beaten in the old UEFA Cup final by Ajax in 1992, Torino’s fortunes subsequently took a extreme downturn, with the club relegated to Serie B for 11 of the final 24 seasons.

Back in Serie A due to the fact 2012, the club has progressed quietly, finishing seventh in 2014 and final season, on each occasions qualifying for the Europa League. Featuring such as Italian internationals Simone Zaza and Andrea Belotti as properly as Spaniard Alex Berenguer in attack, not to mention Venezuelan Tomas Rincon, Italian international Daniele Baselli and Argentine Cristian Ansaldi in midfield with the skilled Salvatore Sirigu in aim, the existing Torino squad is nothing at all if not combative.

Which sits properly with the very best traditions of a club typically admired for its underdog battling qualities. Torino owner, the media tycoon Urban Cairo, final week pointed out that he has rejected provides for a number of of his players, adding that such is his squad’s strength, he feels below no stress to go out seeking for a massive transfer coup.

Cairo told “Gazzetta Dello Sport” that the notion of not promoting his very best players came to him final May possibly when he was up on the Superga hill outdoors Turin, to mark the 70th anniversary of the clubs’s good tragedy. Cairo explained:

“Looking at the graves of all the players and seeing how young they have been, I looked up the lineouts of the Grande Torino and I noticed that typically the club created no squad adjustments at all, limiting itself to possibly just adding one particular player…”

So, the club’s history is by no means far away.

As for Wolves?

“We’ve got to method this the proper way, totally concentrated”, says owner Cairo, adding: “But hang on, initially we have got to go and win in Minsk.”

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