SPAL’s return to Serie A after 49 years away is a remarkable story of three successive promotions after the club sank to part-time status following the latest of several bankruptcies in 2012.
Former Fiorentina youth coach Leonardo Semplici has overseen SPAL’s dramatic rise through the divisions. And the recent success has been achieved with an all-Italian squad that features several players on loan from top-flight sides, including Milan’s former Italy under-20 striker Gianmarco Zigoni.
SPAL – the acronym stands for Societa Polisportiva Ars et Labor – have a rich tradition in Serie A, stretching back to the 1950s and 1960s. The team from the northern town of Ferrara were Fabio Capello’s first club, but relegation in 1968 saw them drop down the divisions, with the club restarting in the fourth tier in 2012.
The club’s Stadio Paolo Mazza, named after a former captain, holds just 8,500 spectators.
Tradition... SPAL are back