Troubled times often lead to daydreaming of better days. Fuel this with a suggestion by the media that this dream may one day become a reality and it sparks the synapses. This has been the case for me recently, following rumours in the press that ex-Inter President Massimo Moratti was interested in purchasing the Lombardy club Cremonese. This sent the mind racing back to the Cremonese sides of the past and especially those teams in the 1980s and 1990s that gave Italian Football so many great memories.
Many may remember the Grigiorossi from their last spell in Serie A, as the early 1990s resonates with so many, especially those in the UK who had it beamed to their screens every weekend. With England in conversation, one should not forget that Cremonese beat Derby County 3-1 at Wembley to win the Anglo-Italian Cup in March 1993. They returned to Serie A that season under coach Gigi Simone, finishing 10th with eight wins, 16 draws and 10 defeats, with Andrea Tentoni netting 10 times.
The squad had a plethora of players who would go on to do well in Italy’s elite league, as Francesco Colonnese played for the likes of Roma and Inter and Gustavo Dezotti was already established. The next campaign saw even more notable players join the ranks. Matjaž Florjančič would later move on to Torino and a certain Enrico Chiesa also burst onto the scene as a talented youngster. The following season however, they lost Chiesa to Sampdoria and the signing of John Aloisi as a replacement didn’t cut the mustard. Cremonese were relegated in 1996 and haven’t been back to Serie A since.
Their first ever top flight foray came in 1984-85. That was the special season for minnows, as Hellas Verona famously won their one and only Scudetto. Italy was in the cusp of entering an era where they would be the most elite league in Europe for over a decade and the likes of Diego Maradona, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Michel Platini and Zigbiew Boniek were just some of the names that stood out.
Cremonese were not shy in investing, albeit President Domenico Luzzara and Sporting Director Erminio Favalli had to operate with a different budget. For their two foreign players, they chose Polish International Wladyslaw Zmuda from New York Cosmos (formerly a Hellas player) and Brazilian Juary, who came from Ascoli and had had an unsuccessful spell at Inter.
Unfortunately for Cremonese, their first season saw immediate relegation, but it had been an historic achievement nontheless. It may have been different if they had not lost the now famous Gianluca Vialli, who scored 23 times in 105 appearances between 1980 and 1984 before transferring to Sampdoria in the same year. The team with Vialli, Fulvio Bonomi, Gianluca Finardi and Alverio Chiorri will be remembered, just like the side that saw them come back up to Serie A in 1989, which included Attilio Lombardo (who also signed for Sampdoria after promotion), Giuseppe Favalli and the legendary goalkeeper Michelangelo Rampulla.
This period from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s was a great one for the Grigiorossi, as it demonstrated that the team from Lombardy could get into what was at the time Europe’s elite division and mix it with the big boys. Perhaps all this is daydreaming and nostalgia, but there are few who would not enjoy seeing those famous grey and red stripes in Serie A, backed by Moratti with some new and entertaining talent.
We could even imagine a new Derby della Madonnina in Serie B, between Silvio Berlusconi’s Monza and Moratti at Cremonese, the ex-Milan and Inter Presidents facing off once more. Unfortunately, Moratti has already shrugged off the rumour, but we can dream, can’t we?
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