Today marks the 92nd anniversary of Napoli’s official founding.
The city’s first club was founded in 1904 by English sailor William Poths, and was named Naples Foot-Ball & Cricket Club.
Divisions in the ranks led to the formation of a splinter club, Unione Sportiva Internazionale Napoli in 1912.
Initially both clubs competed against each other in the Campania section of the first Italian top flight, but thanks to the mediation of Emilio Reale the two halves came together again in 1926.
On August 1 of that year, Giorgio Ascarelli officially founded Associazione Calcio Napoli, and the club was affiliated with the Direttorio Divisioni Superiori two days later.
Both of the club’s first two seasons would have resulted in relegation to the second tier, but the FIGC opted to keep them in the top flight, in view of the experience and financial gap with the northern clubs.
Napoli competed in the first-ever unified Serie A, beating Milan in their first game.
Stadio San Paolo, where the Partenopei still play to this day, was opened in 1959 and a first major trophy followed three years later with a win over SPAL in the Coppa Italia final.
In 1964 the club changed its name to Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli, the moniker it bears to this day, and they fell just short of winning the Scudetto in 1968, finishing second behind Milan.
While the Vesuviani were performing well in Serie A and carried a passionate fanbase, it wasn’t until the arrival of Diego Armando Maradona in 1984.
The Argentine arrived for a record €12m, and inspired his side to the Scudetto in 1987.
El Diego came to define the most successful period in the club’s history, with Napoli also winning the 1987 Coppa Italia, the 1989 UEFA Cup and repeating their Scudetto feat in 1990.
To this day Maradona is revered in the city, his face adoring countless murals on the Neapolitan streets.
After his departure, however, the Partenopei fell into financial peril and they were relegated in 1998 having won just three games all season.
While they won promotion in the 1999-2000 season, Napoli were immediately relegated and a failed attempt to reach the top flight again added €28m to their losses.
By 2004 the club had been declared bankrupt, with film producer Aurelio De Laurentiis refounding them as Napoli Soccer in Serie C1.
The fans stuck with the club though, with Napoli regularly drawing over 40,000 people to San Paolo.
Following promotion to Serie B in 2006, De Laurentiis bought back the rights to the club’s history, and they were promoted back to Serie A alongside Genoa and Juventus.
Napoli have competed in European competition in every season since then, qualifying for the Intertoto Cup in their first season back in the top division.
A fourth Coppa Italia was won in 2012, with the fifth following two years later under Rafa Benitez.
Recent seasons have seen Napoli competing for the Scudetto, and while they haven’t manage to repeat the feat Maradona inspired them to, Maurizio Sarri’s side set a record points total last season.
Carlo Ancelotti has replaced Sarri on the bench for this season, with the Partenopei once again dreaming of a first title since the heady days of El Diego.
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