Monday, August 3, 2015

3 August 1903 - Vercelli Goes Pro

On 3 August 1903, members of the Società Ginnastica Pro Vercelli, formed in 1892, established a separate football division, playing their first match that day against a team from Novara. Pro Vercelli went on to become one of Italy's most successful clubs before fading into obscurity.

The result of that first match is not recorded, but Pro Vercelli quickly rose to prominence, winning their first Italian Football Championship titles in 1908 and 1909. After losing the 1910 Final to Inter after a scheduling conflict forced them to field a junior side, Pro Vercelli proceeded to win the next three titles (1911, 1912, 1913). Along the way, they contributed several players to the newly-formed Italian national team.

After World War I, Pro Vercelli remained near the top of Italian football, but did not win their next title until 1921. They promptly followed it up with their seventh title in 1922, then fell into an inexplicable decline. Despite the presence of players such as Silvio Piola, one of the co-inventors of the bicycle kick, the club started a slow descent through the Italian football pyramid. They were relegated to Serie B in 1935, then to Serie C five years later.

Pro Vercelli returned to Serie B in 2014 and will play there this season.

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