The Story of ChievoVerona
Chievo was founded in 1929 by a group of sports fans from the Chievo neighbourhood of Verona. The team, established with few resources but great enthusiasm, participated not in any Italian federation official championships but in amateur tournaments and friendly matches against other teams of men from the province who played after work.
The players wore white and sky blue: the yellow and blue colours were adopted in the 1957-58 season. For many years the fame of "Cardi Chievo" (from the name of their sponsor) was limited to the local region, until their 1975 promotion to Serie D. The turning point came with the close involvement of Luigi Campedelli, already a team sponsor through the confectionery company Paluani, whose name still emblazons the Chievo shirt today. With Campedelli, Chievo earned promotion to Serie C2 in 1987 managed by De Angelis, and then to Serie C1 in 1989, managed by Gianni Bui.
Luigi Campedelli, who in 1990 took over the club, adding Verona after the name Chievo - so that the club would be more easily identified with the city - died suddenly in 1992. The club was taken over by his son Luca, current chairman of ChievoVerona. Luca Campedelli promoted Giovanni Sartori to the post of Sports Director and entrusted the club to the assistant coach Alberto Malesani.
In Carrara on the 29th May 1994, the last day of the championship, the dream came true: Chievo Verona reached Serie B. In the 1997-98 season, under the management of Baldini, the team finished tenth. Luigi Del Neri arrived at the start of what was to be an exhilirating 2000-01 season, in terms of play and results, which ended with the team's historic promotion to Serie A.
ChievoVerona became the fairy tale of football: journalists and television reporters arrived from all over the world in order to find out about the "Chievo phenomenon." There were the historic first Serie A derbies against Verona: ChievoVerona was unlucky the first time but got their revenge on the second. Del Neri's team ended the season on 54 points, in fifth place behind Juventus, Rome, Inter Milan and AC Milan, gaining a place in the UEFA cup and coming close to the Champions League.
After the first resounding season in Serie A, ChievoVerona reconfirmed itself at this high level, finishing seventh in the league and almost qualifying for the UEFA cup. Chievo continued to gain fans and sympathisers in Italy and all over the world and deserved the constant interested and admiring national and international media attention.
In the 2003-04 season, the Gialloblù ended their third Serie A experience on 44 points and bade farewell to Del Neri, who was replaced by Mario Beretta. In the final stages of the championship the good performances by Chievo were not reflected by their results and three matches from the end of the season Beretta was replaced by his assistant, Maurizio D'Angelo, the former Gialloblù captain. Chievo were saved from relegation on the last day ot the season, playing against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, and remained in Serie A.
D'Angelo was replaced by "Bepi" Pillon before the start of the fifth consecutive season in Serie A. It was an extraordinary year: after saving themselves from relegation with eleven matches to spare, the Gialloblù aimed to qualify for the UEFA cup, which they succeeded in doing for the second time.
Following the Calciopoli scandal, the Gialloblù found themselves in contention for a Champions League place, but the Veronese team was eliminated by Lewski Sofia in the preliminary stages. Equally bitter was the two-leg UEFA Cup match against Sporting Braga, which saw them eliminated after extra time. That left the championship, and the Gialloblù got off to a poor start: five defeats and one draw in the first six matches led to the sacking of Pillon, who was replaced by Del Neri. Highs and lows were central to the season and the Gialloblù unexpectedly found themselves playing for Serie A survival in the latter part of the championship. Chievo met Catania on the neutral Bologna ground, and were defeated 2-0, sending Chievo back to the lower division after six unforgettable seasons.
The 2007-08 season started in Serie B. It was a difficult championship, a long marathon which for Chievo was composed of resounding successes alternating with bad results like the defeats against major adversaries such as AlbinoLeffe and Bologna. The first major win against a direct competitor was against Brescia. Against Mantova, Chievo had their fourth defeat in the first half of the season, which came after a magnificent run of victories. Chievo ended this first half second in the table. After twenty matches unbeaten, the Gialloblù were halted once again by Mantova, but the success against Vicenza, which saw captain Pellissier's twenty-second goal of the season, let it be seen that promotion was not far off, but would be certain only after the match against Grosseto: this ended in a draw. With smiles, tears and great celebration, Chievo returned to Serie A. A 2-2 draw with Bari at home, in front of their supporters, guaranteed first place and the joy of raising the cup under a shower of yellow and blue confetti. ChievoVerona returned to where they deserved to be and were ready to write another story, thanking those who had never stopped believing in them.
The 2008-09 championship. If the unforgettable promotion to Serie A turned ChievoVerona from a fairy tale into a reality of Italian football, their seventh Serie A season demonstrated once again that they were capable of achieving real results. Against all initial forecasts, after a far from encouraging start to the championship which led to the sacking of Iachini as manager, the team, led by Di Carlo, picked themselves up and deservedly escaped relegation, thanks to the dedication and passion of the manager and his staff, his men, the club and all those who had always believed in them.
After a summer spent with one eye of the World Cup in South Africa and the other on San Zeno di Montagna, Serie A restarted in August, and for ChievoVerona the 2010-11 season is their ninth in the top division. The most striking change, after a rather calm championship which was embellished by other historical events such as the first victory over Juventus and escaping relegation on Florence's difficult pitch, was the arrival of Stefano Pioli as the new Gialloblù manager. As well as on him and his staff, the spotlight will be on the new team arrivals, all of them ready to promise the greatest of effort for another adventure.