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 Sante Ancherani and the first derby

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Number of posts : 734
Age : 39
Country and city : Italy, Rome
Laziale since : I was born
Registration date : 2008-05-26

PostSubject: Re: Sante Ancherani and the first derby   Sat May 31, 2008 12:07 am

Sante Ancherani and the first derby

Lazio continues to grow, attracting new members; unfortunately, with the number of people involved getting bigger and bigger, contrasts become inevitable. Is it indeed a clash among Lazio members that leads to the foundation of Virtus. The strong but always correct rivalry between the two football teams now in Rome leads to the idea of a great match. The first true football match in Rome. The first, true, derby. It is the 16th May 1902: about two hundred people gather in Piazza D’Armi to watch a game that is already in the history. Among the Lazio, a player will shine: he plays as striker, and his name is Sante Ancherani.
Born in Emilia Romagna, Ancherani can however be considered as a true Roman, since he moves to Rome at the age of four. Gifted with a exceptionally strong body, he was discovered by chance by Lazio’s members, when he run, without any previous training, hundred meters in thirteen seconds sharp. After that performance he became part of Lazio, and he was given the membership card number 6 (something he will keep with him for all his life).
In a few months, Sante Ancherani, aka Santino, is loved by everyone for his kindness, dedication and willingness to help others. He was not only very fast on short distances, but he was also gifted with great endurance. Great swimmer, he saved more than once people who tried to kill themselves in the Tiber.
His great love was football, almost unknown but extremely fascinating to Santino. On top of that, he seemed born for football. He was the manager-player, calling up players and deciding the tactics. He was, of course, the top-scorer. It was Sante Ancherani the guy who first brought from England a pair of football boots, and then asked his cobbler to make copies of them for his teammates.
At that time, he personified the roles that got lost in the modern football: the leader, the organiser, the charismatic boss, the goleador, the manager in the pitch and outside. He was also very keen on music. He played trumpet for the band directed by Alberto Vassalla. Everytime someone told him that it was not possible to conciliate football and music, Ancherani used to point to a small chariot, parked next to the pitch, which would have led Ancherani to reach his orchestra for the rehearsals right after football trainings.
Eventually, is role in the orchestra required more and more time, so, in 1912, Santino decided to leave Lazio. Lazio would lose a great athlete, but certainly not a fantastic and keen supporter. Ancherani sided with Lazio until his very last day, in 1971, sadly missing the 1974 Scudetto’s celebrations.
Let’s go back to the first derby. 15th May 1902. In Via Valadier, the supporters were ready for the chants; they were members of the other sections of Lazio, all ready to support “the footballers”, as the football players were known. The next day the first derby of the Eternal City was to be played, and they were all ready for a tough job, if something would occur during the game.
Lazio is playing with Balestrieri, Grassi, Grifoni, Pollina, D’Amico, Mariotti, Pellegrini, Ricci, Ancherani, Masini, and Golini. Sante Ancherani is the manager, captain, and striker.
In Piazza d’Armi, there were about 200 passers-by and supporters to watch the game. No terraces, or seats. They were all around the pitch. Sante Ancherani drew out eleven biancocelesti jerseys from his bag. The first official Lazio jerseys! The photographers took the first photo shot of the team: a picture that will remain in the heart of every single Laziale from that moment on. The Virtussini were waiting in the pitch. Among them, a fearful red bearded giant named Cammarota, their last recruit.
This bit about the first Roma’s derby is taken from Sante Ancherani’s diary. “That day we wear for the first time the Lazio’s jerseys we made by ourselves, with ckecks white and pale blue, sewed on by my mother and my sister. We chose the white and pale blue colours because everyone liked it: it is delicate and elegant and on top of that they are the colours of Greece, the country of the Olympic Games. On the other hand, Virtus was wearing black and white, on a chess pattern like us. They used to train in Piazza D’Armi as we did, but not really close to us. This was the first true football match in Rome. We played with Balestrieri Grifoni, Graid, D’Amico, Mariotti, Pellegrini, Ricci, Pollina, Ancherani, Tito Mastri and Colini.”
In the crowd, Romano Zangrilli, a close friend of Bigiarelli, chanted and waved his arms. He has been the first ultras of Lazio’s history. On the pitch, Lazio showed a better football, but the match was a real fight. Punching and kicking was normal in those days. Someone in the crowd chanted “alč alč Virtus”, and Zangrilli was seen to grasp the moustache of the poor man, shouting “o gridi Forza Lazio o smammi” (“chant Forza Lazio, or go away!”).
On the pitch Sante Ancherani, striker (and captain, and coach...) of Lazio, was giving Virtus a tough time, but Cammarota was always tackling and hitting him. At the end of the first half (still 0-0), Zangrilli went onto the pitch and pulled Cammarota’s beard: “se nun lasci giocŕ Santino, ‘sta barba me la porto a casa ” (“leave little Sante play, or I’ll bring this beard back home with me”).
In the second half, Mariotti and D’Amico took care of Cammarota, allowing Ancherani to score three goals. Final score: Lazio 3 – Virtus 0. That night, a procession of Laziali went back to Via Valadier chanting out loud. People on the road didn’t understand this wild bunch of young Romans, with Zangrilli at their head, shouting “semo li mejo” (“we are the best”)

Parco Dei Daini

In 1904, Lazio and Fortunato Ballerini cross their paths. Fortunato will shape Lazio’s future for many years. Fortunato Ballerini is a fifty years old distinguished manager of the Ministry of Pubblica Istruzione, with a life devoted to sports. Indeed, Ballerini is a fashinating and extravagant man, who participates to almost every marathon in Rome, wearing his inseparable hat and umbrella. His age doesn’t allow him to win, but he never fails to cross the finish line.
On 25 January 1904 Ballerini is appointed President of Societa’ Lazio. The society grows and the headquarter in via Valadier is now too small. Ballerini has great ambitions for Lazio. The head office is brought to Via Pompeo Magno 94, while the new training pitch is Parco dei Daini, at Villa Borghese. He also makes some order in Lazio’s accounts improving the economic balance of the club, and puts new efforts to the other sport sections. Lazio opens to Swimming and Water polo.
Parco dei Daini ground is located in a more central position than Piazza D’Armi. Every day, a number of people use to gather there to watch Lazio’s trainings. One day, a bunch of Irish, Scottish and Suisse priests and seminarists are among the crowd watching. Differently from the usual crowd Lazio uses to have, they do not seem to be impressed at all by Lazio; they start to share some ironic comments and funny looks among each other. Lazio players get annoyed, and invite them to play to sort out the question; the guys are ready to step onto the pitch and challenge Lazio. The final score sees Lazio losing 11-0. Shocking result, but not that much. Lazio’s players have simply met a more advanced football, where the team play is central and players’ solos are an absolute rarity.
More football lessons from that bunch of monks and priests, who were frequently seen in the green fields of Villa Borghese, followed from that day. Ancherani used to repeat the same joke to justify the disappointing results “These priests cheat because they hide the ball under their cassock!” Lazio finds new and strong motivations in these defeats and benefits from playing better-organised rivals. The number of training sessions rises sharply, while members start to look around for new players. Dos Santos, a Portuguese student in Rome, becomes the first “stranger” in Roma’s football.

Three matches in one day!

In the spring 2007 Lazio athletes participate to the marathon, going from Porta-Pia to S. Agnese and back again to Porta-Pia. Among the prizes to be awarded, there was also the one to the team with the biggest number of members crossing the finish line within the time limit. Just when the race is about to start, Lazio members realise that Virtus brought thirty athletes, while Lazio are twenty-nine. The footballer Ancherani, then, quickly gets ready and registers to the race as thirtieth Lazio’s athlete, despite Bitetti’s attempts to make him change his mind.
The race is won by Bitetti, preceding the Virtus’s member Corbellini. A fantastic Ancherani gets the third spot. With Lazio also winning the team trophy, the race is an absolute triumph. This triumph is the definitive consecration for Lazio athletes. Thanks to this big success, as well to the achievements from the football, Lazio is invited to participate at Final of the Centre-Southern Italian Tournament, to be played against Livorno, in Pisa, Tuscany.
Ancherani again takes the team on his shoulders, and calls up the following players for that match: Bompiani, Marrajeni, Federici, Pellegrini, Omodei, Dos Santos, Faccani, Saraceni, and surprisingly, the brothers Corrado and Filiberto Correlli. Both Corrado and Filiberto are Virtus’s players, but very tempted from that match in Pisa. Both Ancherani and other Lazio’s members do not actually struggle to much to convince them: the brothers Corelli are in, and since that day they will never leave Lazio. After signing the Corelli brothers, Ancherani really has the best team in Rome. Lazio is ready to leave for Pisa, still unaware about the fact that right there, at the shadow of the pending tower, Lazio will write one of the most incredible pages of its history.
The travel to Pisa is memorable. The eleven guys catch the train Saturday afternoon, and arrive to Pisa in the middle of the night. The final, against Livorno, which had previously defeated both Lucca and Pisa, is scheduled for Sunday at 16,30.
Lucca’s players, knowing that Lazio was there to play Livorno, challenge Ancherani and teammates to a knockout match, to be played at 10,00. The winner would play Livorno in the final. Lazio accept straight away, taking that match as a training for the final: Lazio - Lucca 3 : 0. While they are having lunch, Lazio is told by the organisers of the tournament that also Pisa wants to play them with the same formula as Lucca: they want a second chance, exactly the chance that Lucca was given in the morning.
With about 500 people watching, quite a big number for that time, the second match kicks off. Lazio is very democratic and reserves Pisa the same treatment gifted to Lucca in the morning: Lazio – Pisa 4 : 0. After the final whistle, the Lazio pioneers do not even have the time for a breather, since the other finalist, Livorno, is already standing in the middle of the pitch, ready to play. The final, the true one, the only game that Lazio should have played, kicks off.
Ancherani, manager-player, decides to play in a very defensive way, since all Lazio players are clearly extremely tired. Something new in football, something that will soon take the name of “catenaccio”, appears. The first half ends without goals. During the half time break Ancherani decides with his team-mates to stick to this defensive play for almost all the second half too, and to attack at the very last part of the match. This proves to be a winning strategy: after defending strenuously their goal, Lazio players attacked massively in the last 10 minutes. Lazio takes the lead thanks to Ancherani, and the final score is Lazio – Livorno 1 : 0.
The journey back, again by train, lasted more than ten hours. The guys manage to make it more bearable thanks to the coffees that Faccani prepares with the help of the train guard, who makes him use his cooker. Bringing a coffee percolator hasn’t been a bad idea, not at all.
The eleven lions reach Termini station in the afternoon. There, general manager Baccani and President Ballerini are waiting for them, with a good number of Lazio members. Ancherani doesn’t even wait to get off the train and communicates the success by waving the Lazio flag out of the window. Lazio is the Champion of Centre-Southern Italy. To get there, Lazio has beaten the entire Tuscany, not just the challengers Livorno.
The people there, hearing Ancherani’s words about the victory, are stunned and abandon themselves to crazy celebrations. Three matches in one day, three victories in eight hours. Another page in history has just been written with indelible ink: never ever a football team did and will repeat such deed. A band of eleven Laziali, a band of heroes. They, just they, made it.
More than hundred years passed by from that day. Today, despite the athletic trainers, masseurs, food integrators, turn-over, the maximum you can get from a team with at least twenty-five professional footballers, is to play three matches in one week.
The Pisa’s matches heroes: Augusto Faccani: from Trastevere, he works as greengrocer and is a very athletic midfielder; he will die in an accident in1944 when an American soldier run his truck on him. Francesco Marrajeni: full back, a soldier in the middle of his military career; he will become General. Francesco Dos Santos: the only foreign player, from Portugal; he is a sculpture student at Accademia delle belle arti; slender guy, very skilled and dynamic; his clever passes lightened up the midfield; he scored against both Pisa and Lucca. Guglielmo Bompiani: Goalkeeper, he is the brother of Valentino, the founder of the well-known “Bompiani Press”. Prospero Omodei: the midfield marathoner. He will become a brilliant Chemist. Egisto Federici: Defender, on loan from Milan. He is in Rome to fulfil his military service. Fernando Pellegrini: exactly like Ancherani, he participates to all the epic matches: the first derby, the three matches in one day, the Perugia’s and Napoli’s exploits. Filiberto Corbelli: The youngest of the Corbelli brothers “stolen” from Virtus. He will never leave Lazio since that day. Sante Ancherani: Captain, hearth, brain of that Heroic Lazio. He scores in each of the three matches, scoring the winning-goal in the very final game, after “slipping out the Livorno’s defense as a cherry-hazel pushed between the fingers”. He is the one who destroyed Virtus with a triplet in the first derby; Sante also scored against Napoli, Perugia, Firenze, Palermo. Fernando Saraceni: The emerging young champion, he will be the new Ancherani after Sante retires. Corrado Corelli: After signing for Lazio, he said to his former Virtus teammates “There is no point in you wasting time to find a sensible way to punish me, I am a Laziale now!” He will become a very appreciated artist and sculptor.
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