::An Infinite Agony :: source - www.lazioclubmalta.com
The new decade was only in its first months but problems at Lazio seemed to be endless. Although the season 79/80 started on a positive note with Giordano scoring six goals in the opening six matches, with the revelation of the clandestine betting scandal Lazio was sentenced to relegation at the end of the season by the Italian Federation, (in the regular season it managed salvation although playing with practically the youth team) due to the involvement of four players Wilson, Giordano, Manfredonia and Cacciatori, who were heavily suspended. To add insult to injury, the charismatic Umberto Lenzini left the presidency to his brother Aldo. In that season Lazio had also reached the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia, surrendering to Torino only after the penalty shoot-outs as both matches ended in goalless draws.
Thus, after eight years in the top flight Lazio returned in the hell of Serie B. This was a severe blow for the club that was already in a precarious financial situation. The players involved in the scandal were sentenced to long suspensions, while D'Amico, the most influential player, was transferred to Torino. Giordano's suspension stopped his imminent sale to Milan, thus denying an essential cash inflow to the club. Ilario Castagner was chosen as the new coach of a completely revolutionised squad, following the departures of D'Amico, Lopez and Tassotti, and the signings of Chiodi, Bigon, Ghreco, Nardin, Mastropasqua, Sanguin, Moscatelli and Spinozzi. Lazio surprised everyone and started marvellously the campaign staying unbeaten in the opening fifteen matches and going on top of the standings until it lost against Milan, a direct contender for promotion. In the second round, following some poor performances Lazio lost vital points and lost promotion by just two points. The most decisive moment of the season was surely the last-minute penalty missed by Chiodi, thus burying all chances of promotion, in the penultimate match draw against low-placed Vicenza. Castagner was confirmed as coach for the season 1981/82, while Gian Chiarion Casoni was the club's new president. Vincenzo D'Amico returned from Torino together with Pulici and Badiani. The season started badly as incidents occurred during the Coppa Italia match against Reggina that resulted in Lazio losing the match on table and obtaining a one-day suspension of its homeground. Thus Lazio had to play in Terni its first match of the season losing to Spal.
The "eagles" had a mediocre first round that costed the bench to Castagner, replaced by Clagluna who only managed to place Lazio in 10th position. However, some time later there was finally some good news for Lazio. Giordano,Manfredonia and Cacciatori were given amnesty by the Italian Federation following the Azzurri's success in the World cup. Thus they rejoined Lazio for the pre-season, while Wilson had terminated its career since his suspension was for eternity. There were high hopes that Lazio could be competitive to win promotion. Clagluna was confirmed as coach while the squad was revolutionised. This change had its consequence as in its first league outings Lazio drew three times and was even prematurely eliminated from the Coppa Italia. The light-blues however soon got on their feet and managed a good run that brought them at the top of the standings. However, as usual, things got complicated. The team had a series of poor outings that resulted in the dismissal of Clagluna, following a heavy defeat against Milan, with only four matches to go. On the same day city rivals AS Roma were crowned Italian champions for the second time. Morrone replaced Clagluna, and this change was fruitful as the team obtained six points in four matches ending runner up to Milan, thus winning a deserved promotion. Moreover, there was the announcement of Giorgio's Chinaglia return to Lazio as president. Finally the fans had something to celebrate for ! Following Chinaglia's return, there were high hopes of a triumphant future. "Long John" promised a great Lazio that could challenge city-rivals and reigning champions, A.S.Roma. Chinaglia brought at Lazio as club officials his ex-team mates Governato and Pulici. The club's major signings for the season 1983/84 were the Brazilian Batista and Michael Laudrup, a promising Danish on loan from Juventus. The fans dreamt of a great season, but following the team's initial outings, reality revealed that it was going to be another season of suffering. After twelve matches Morrone was sacked and replaced by Carosi. At the end of the first round Lazio was penultimate with just nine points out of fifteen matches. In the second round, it managed sixteen points and clinched salvation on the last day at the expense of Genoa. Laudrup, Giordano and D'Amico were the most influential players, each scoring eight goals. The season that followed, 1984/85, resulted as the most disappointing in the club's history. Lazio was early eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Roma and started the season with poor performance managing to win its first match only on the seventh day. Moreover, Lazio had a spell of twenty consecutive matches without registering a win. During the season four coaches sat on Lazio's bench, i.e. Carosi, Lorenzo, and the tandem Oddi-Lovati, that however did not manage to lead a squad built up for other objectives, since formed by talents as Orsi, Dell'Anno, D'Amico, Batista, Manfredonia, Giordano and Laudrup. The club was still in big financial troubles and the players were not paid their salaries. Thus, it was once again Serie B !
To obtain some inflow of money the most talented players were sold. Manfredonia and Laudrup joined Juventus, while Giordano joined Maradona at Napoli. Gigi Simoni was nominated as coach. After a promising first round with Lazio placed in promotion zone, Chinaglia (succumbed by debts) quit the club in December, selling his shares to the vice president Chimenti. However, also Chimenti was determined to leave the club. Calleri brothers, Gianmarco and Giorgio showed interest in acquiring the roman club and approached Chimenti. The players responded to all this administrative turbolence, playing disastrous second round that meant a mediocre eleventh position. Lazio's forward Garlini won the top scorer standings with eighteen goals.
In Summer 1986, the Calleri brothers bought Lazio with the help of the Roman entrepreneur Renato Bocchi. Eugenio Fascetti was chosen as coach, and a strong squad was assembled to win promotion. However, the clandestine bets scandal involved once again a Lazio player, Vinazzini, and the club was sentenced to Serie C (third division). This was unexpected and seemed the end of Lazio's existence. The fans were shocked and could not accept it. They flocked in the streets of Rome to protest heavily against this decision. The Italian Federation to avoid more protests and riots changed decision and readmitted Lazio in Serie B however inflicting a nine-point deficit. Instantly Fascetti called all his players and informed them that the nine-point handicap meant that their objective was now salvation rather than promotion. He uttered that the players were free to decided whether to leave or stay. All players decided to stay and were ready to join their forces to save Lazio. The fans welcomed this news and were ready to sustain the team in this arduous mission-