15

A group of friends, united by a passion for football, a special game that had recently been “imported” from England, met on a bench on Corso Re Umberto, one of the major boulevards in the centre of Turin. They had an intriguing idea: to create a sports club just for football. The boys attended Massimo D’Azeglio high school which specialised in Classical studies, they were well-educated and none of them was over age 17. For this reason they chose the name Juventus, which means “youth” in Latin. It was 1 November 1897. They didn’t realise it, but they had just given birth to a legend.

14

And so, almost by chance, Italy’s greatest football team got its start. The Club’s first chairman was Enrico Canfari, its first pitch was in Piazza d’Armi and its first jersey was pink. Juventus made its début, in 1900, in the National Championship wearing the same jersey. Three years later, the Bianconero (black and white jersey) appeared, imported from Nottingham. And five years later, in 1905, the first Italian title arrived, after a difficult three way competition with Genoa and Milanese. The president was the Swiss Alfredo Dick who left the Club shortly afterwards following locker-room arguments and various complaints. He went on to establish Torino and took the best foreign players with him. Juventus witnessed hard times in subsequent years lasting until the beginning of WWI due to being unable to compete with the new football powerhouses of the time, Pro Vercelli and Casale.

13

The Bianconeri made a great comeback after the end of the war: goalkeeper Giacone and fullbacks Novo and Bruna were the first Juventus players to wear the National Team’s jersey. The President was the poet and man of words Corradino Corradini, who also penned the Juventus anthem used until the 60s. 1923 was a special year: Giampiero Combi made his début with the first team, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all times, and even more importantly the Club’s leadership changed hands. On 24 July the Shareholders’ Meeting elected the new president by acclamation: Edoardo Agnelli, the son of the founder of FIAT. The club also had its own pitch now, in Corso Marsiglia. The stands were in masonry and the number of supporters increased day by day. All of the foundations had been laid to progress through the ranks of Italian football and strengthen a team that already boasted players like Combi, Rosetta, Munerati, Bigatto and Grabbi, and its rst team manager, the Hungarian Jeno Karoly, and rst foreign champion, also from Hungary, left-winger Hirzer.

 

In 1925/1926 Juventus won their second national championship, following a gripping final with Bologna, beaten only in a play-off and a grand final against Alba Roma.

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