Saturday June 27 2015
Introduction to Carpi

About to embark on their first ever Serie A campaign, Colin Millar tells you what to expect from new boys Carpi.

Another summer and another bankruptcy – the high-profile demise of Parma follows a year on from Siena’s money crisis which saw the Tuscans drop down into Serie D. Those clubs may take inspiration from Carpi, an outfit whose collapse saw them reform in 2000 and 15 years on achieve their first promotion to Serie A.

Originally founded in 1909, the Biancorossi’s first 91 years of existence were relatively mundane. A brief spell in the Italian Football Championship (the top tier prior to Serie A’s formation) between 1919 and 1922 was the only highlight of a period when the norm was floating between the third and fourth levels of Italian football.

Calcio Carpi were formed in the aftermath of the initial bankruptcy in 2000, and two years later they won promotion to Serie D from the non-professional category of Eccellenza Emilia–Romagna. They subsequently merged with Dorando Pietri Carpi, the town’s second team, with the club rebranded as Carpi FC 1909.

Carpi itself only houses 70,000 people and its sporting ambitions are modest, so it comes as no surprise that four promotions in six years to catapult the rejuvenated club up to Italy’s top flight has left locals reeling. This is reflected in their Stadio Sandro Cabassi home, whose capacity doesn’t even reach 4,500, not being passed fit to stage Serie A games. Instead they will play in Modena’s Stadio Alberto Braglia, which lies 20km south.

Their old home has perhaps reflected the club’s outlook. They only mustered an average attendance of 3,020 last season despite arguably possessing the finest side in their history. That following ranked 18th of Serie B’s 22 clubs, and their financial position also defies the fact that they have stormed through the divisions in recent years with such apparent ease.

Not everyone is revelling in Carpi’s meteoric rise. A recent leaked phone conversation involving Lazio President Claudio Lotito claimed that their place in the top flight would damage the division’s television deals and marketing capacity.

However, despite regional giants Bologna securing promotion via the play-offs, the real story of the campaign is the Biancorossi.

Carpi’s 22-year-old Nigerian striker Jerry Mbakogu netted 15 goals and, alongside fellow promising attackers Kevin Lasagna and Roberto Inglese, they should be able to give Serie A defences a headache next season.

Gabriel, capped by Brazil and on loan from AC Milan, was a formidable presence in goal and set a new all-time Serie B record of 23 clean sheets in a single season. Attacking midfielder Antonio Di Gaudio is in his sixth term at the club, taking them all the way to the top flight.

In recent years it has been Carpi’s regional rivals Sassuolo who have upset the applecart in the top flight, humbling more illustrious opposition as they made a name for themselves. The Neroverdi are the perfect trendsetter for Carpi to aspire to, and Serie A might just have another cat set amongst the pigeons. After all, they have nothing to lose. 

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Have your say...
You would have to be incredibly shallow or short sighted to say capri denigrates the quality of serie a. What is killing serie a is the big teams wasting money on prestige players rather than developing young Italian players. In it heyday serie a was built on the back of players like baggio vialli maldini del piero and co. The league needs to refined these values/players to become great again, with clubs like sassuolo offering berardi and sansone regular football they will always be welcome.
on the 30th June, 2015 at 7:38am
Serie A is much improved this year and there is little chance of being overtaken anytime soon by even Portugal and France, let alone Ukraine, a country sliding backwards due to domestic turmoil. The size of Serie A is an issue flirted with now and again as some kind of fix. It won't do a thing. In the future the likes of Parma, Catania, Perugia, Bari and others will return to the top flight with bigger crowds than Carpi, who will be relegated within 2 years, and having 20 teams will be welcome.
on the 29th June, 2015 at 9:41pm
You can happily watch Carpi vs Sassuolo all you want, and you can continue to happily watch it when Serie A is overtaken by the Ukranian league. We need to reduce Serie A to 18 teams now and get rid of those garbage teams like Carpi which belong in Serie D.
on the 29th June, 2015 at 7:38pm
Carpi might not help Serie A reclaim its prestige but it's not a disaster either. Not even top 20 in terms of problems facing the Italian game - and in any case there's some room for hope there.

And I'd happily watch Carpi vs Sassuolo!
on the 29th June, 2015 at 7:05pm
Lazio's president is right, this is the end of Serie A. Garbage teams like Carpi with their entire 5000 supporters. This doesn't help Serie A reclaim its relevancy and prestige. Nobody is gonna watch Carpi vs Sassuolo or something, so TV money deals outside Italy will be nonexistent.
on the 29th June, 2015 at 2:26pm
Their story is one to be told. As a Nigerian I'll keep tabs on them, as Mbakogu might just be a revelation. I hear they want to sign Obi. Hmm... Nigerians might have found a new team in the peninsula.
on the 27th June, 2015 at 8:49pm

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