Sassuolo Calcio’s history began 17th July 1920 when the club was first affiliated to the Italian football federation F.I.G.C. The club spent many years in the emilian amateur ranks going through a series of ups and downs in terms of results.
In the 40’s the club moved up to the promotion league facing emilian, tuscan and ligurian opposition.
Born with great aspirations the club did not disappoint and, under the presidency of Antonio Giovanardi, while taking part in 1967/68 Prima divisione the team managed to gain promotion to the top division of amateur level football, the Serie D.
Apart from Sassuolo SFC another Football team from Sassuolo, Giofil San Giorgio, took part in the 1972/73 Serie D. This team later renamed A.C. Sassolese was founded by Carlo Alberto Giovanardi. The two clubs united in 1974 giving birth to the current Unione Sportiva Sassuolo Calcio.
The newly formed club finished in 8th place in its first year in Serie D only to be relegated the following year. The back end of the 70’s saw the club alternate between Serie D and Promozione.
The 80’s saw the rise of Sassuolo football. In the 1981/82 season Sassuolo took part in the Interregional league under the presidency of Gilberto Prati, facing the emilian division where they finish in sixth place. The following year ended with another positive mid-table position in the emilian-venetan division. The great leap happened in the 1983/84 season: the club gained a much awaited promotion to the Serie C2, for the first time the town would have a team in the professional leagues.
During the first season amongst the professional ranks, with Claudio Sassi as president and Aurelio Dotti as manager, the team managed an excellent sixth place. The following years were characterized by alternating results. 80’2The 1985/86 season ended with a hard fought battle to avoid relegation. In the summer of 1986 the club had to say goodbye to manager Aurelio Dotti, who had lead the club to great results in his 6 years in charge; 2 promotions in 4 years and a sixth place in Serie C2. Notwithstanding his departure the club manages to avoid relegation, however only to be relegated in the following season. The club was later readmitted to the Serie C2 and finished the season in fifth place reaching it’s record number of points in a professional league. This high point is sadly followed by another relegation to the amateur ranks.
In 1991/92 Gianni Gibellini becomes the new owner of the club and Loris Marani takes over the helm as manager. The team finished in the high end of the table for three years in a row. During the 1993/94 season striker Massimo Spezia leads the club to fifth place overall with his 16 goals.
The 1994/95 season ended with a seventh place finish followed by sixth in 1995/96.
After eight years of trying the club finally returned to the professional ranks gaining promotion in the 1998/99 season. With Rodolfo Baldelli as president the club ended its first two seasons in a safe mid-table position but had to fight bravely to avoid relegation in the 2001/2002 season.
With the start of the new millenium Sassuolo Calcio entered a new exciting era. Giorgio Squinzi owner of the multnational MAPEI company, joined the club first as a main sponsor in the 2002 season and then decided to acquire the club in 2003. This passage marked the foundation for the development of a concrete club structure that lead the way for the club to climb to the elite levels of Italian football.
In the 2002/2003 season Sassuolo faced the difficult Serie C2 B division, the young team was relegated following defeat agianst Imolese in the play-outs. The club was however re-amitted to the Serie C2 following a decision by the Italian National Football League.
In the 2003/04 season, the first under current president Carlo Rossi, the green and blacks avoided relegation by miraculously beating strong favourites Pro Vercelli in the play-outs (fourth from bottom with 41 points at the end of the regular season); the final results were a 2-1 home victory and 1-1 draw on the road. Most will say that this is where Sassuolo’s recent great history began.
The 2004/05 season saw the addition of Nereo Bonato in the role of Sporting Director: His arrival coincided with a reshuffling of the team roster at the disposal of new manager Giuseppe Brucato (new arrivals included, Piccioni, Anselmi, Masucci, Consolini, Pensalfini, Pagani and Pomini). The overall technical level of the team improved considerably as the team reached an excellent fifth position, giving them access to the play-offs for the first time. The run ended with an unlucky elimination at the hands of Pizzighettone.
Promotion to Serie C1
Building on the previous season’s strong showing, the management took aim at an important goal, promotion! There were two particularly important additions to the teams staff for the 2005/06 season: manager Gianmarco Remondina and midfielder Francesco Magnanelli. After finishing the regular season in second place Sassuolo secured promotion by winning the play-offs, seeing off Ancona in the semi-finals (3-2 at the Conero followed by a 1-0 defeat at Ricci Stadium) and Sansovino in the final with a 2-2 draw in the first leg and a 1-0 victory at the Ricci Stadium thanks to Pippo Pensalfini’s historic goal. The following year, Sassuolo confirmed to be a team with a solid and well-organized group: after an exciting championship they got second in the standings, just one point from Grosseto who were promoted directly in Serie B. The playoff lottery is incredibly unlucky this time and Sassuolo are eliminated by Monza after the victory 1-0 at Brianteo and the daring defeat 4-2 at Ricci stadium.
Promotion to Serie B
After having just missed promotion to the Serie B at the end of the previous season Massimiliano Allegri was called to manage the team for the 2007/08 season. With 63 points and a game to spare Sassuolo gained promotion to the Serie B by winning the Serie C1 A division! The dream became reality with a 1-0 victory over Manfredonia in front of a numerous home crowd; captain Piccioni’s decisive header goal will remain impressed in the minds of all those present, bringing an end to an unforgettable season.
Serie C League Cup
Promotion was not the only joy for Sassuolo during that season, the team also went on to win the Italian Serie C League Supercup beating Salernitana in the final; after having lost 1-0 at home, Sassuolo managed to force a penalty shoot-out thanks to Andy Selva’s goal in the return leg. An error by Mammarella from the spot proved fatal to Salertinata’s hopes as the Sassuolo players converted five out of five (penalty takers: Selva, Erpen, Magnanelli, Piccioni and Tarozzi).
Five years in Serie B
Following promotion to the Serie B Sassuolo made the decision to play their home matches at the Braglia Stadium in Modena. In the 2008/09 season the team was placed in the hands of Andrea Mandorlini. The arrival of players such as, Walter Bressan, Riccardo Zampagna, Emiliano Salvetti and Alessandro Noselli helped Sassuolo become a major team from the start in the Italian second division: the green and blacks started out strong and ended their campaign in seventh place just missing out on a play-off berth.
Just one season later in 2009/10 the team made the play-offs under the new management of Stefano Pioli and a squad with the right mix of new arrivals and long-standing players: the green and blacks finished fourth with 69 points only to lose in the semi-finals against power-house Torino FC. After having drawn the opening fixture at the Olimpico in Turin, the team, decimated by numerous injuries suffered a 2-1 defeat at home. Everyone involved knew that they could hold their heads high after having played a leading-role in Serie B.
The 2010/11 season turned out to be a year of suffering, one in which relegation was avoided only thanks to a home win against Reggina in the last game of the season. The managers, who rotated in the position throughout the season were Arrigoni followed by Gregucci and finally the youth team manager Mandelli for the final three games.
Following a difficult season the club directors decided to make some changes; the squad was almost completely revolutionized with the addition of many young talented players and new manager Fulvio Pea. The team ended the regular season in third place and again faced the play-offs but yet again all ended in defeat in the semi-final round against Sampdoria (a tight contest went the genovese’s way in the first leg ending in a 2-1 scoreline, while the second leg ended with an unlucky 1-1 draw after Sassuolo had dominated proceedings for most of the match).
Promotion to the Serie A
The 2012/2013 season started off with the still burning memory of yet another missed opportunity and the need to make budget cuts. The first to arrive was new manager Eusebio Di Francesco, an up and coming young manager who bases his game on attacking offensive football.
The squad remained virtually unchanged and the results were to some extent surprising: 25 victories, 10 draws and 7 defeats, 78 goals scored and 40 conceded meant that Sassuolo remained top of the table from the first to the last match of the season and reached an historic promotion to the Serie A. The 1-0 home victory in the last match against Livorno, thanks to a last minute goal by Missiroli, secured a memorable first place for the team. In a Braglia Stadium packed with green and black supporters the greatest victory in the club’s history was complete; Sassuolo was the smallest town (40.000 inhabitants) to reach the Serie A since the second world war.
FIRST TIME STAYING IN A
The black&green moved to Reggio Emilia’s stadium, the “Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore” since 2013/14 season on occasion of their debut in Serie A. The first point in the top division was obtained away, on September 25th 2013, Match Day 5, thanks to a draw 1-1 on Napoli’s ground with a goal scored by Simone Zaza. The first win in Serie A was instead obtained at home, on October 20th 2013, when Sassuolo beat Bologna 2-1 at Mapei Stadium (goals by Berardi and Floro Flores) on Match Day 8. Despite some important results, including the draws in Napoli and AS Roma’s grounds and the victory at home 4-3 against AC Milan (with Domenico Berardi’s historic poker), the black&green were at the bottom of the table after the first half of the season, a difficult situation which, at the end of January 2014, led to the sacking of manager Di Francesco and to the arrival on the bench of Alberto Malesani; such change didn’t lead to the outcome we hoped for, so that in early March, the club sacked him and asked Di Francesco to manage the team again. The latter, with one game still to be played, succeeded in avoiding relegation for the first time in the top league.
The historic debut in Europe took place on July 28th 2016 at the Swissporarena in Lucerne: the black&green earned a 1-1 draw (goal by Berardi) and thanks to a great win (3-0) in the second leg at Mapei Stadium, they qualified for the following round were they faced a prestigious opponent: Red Star from Belgrade. However, Sassuolo didn’t get intimidated, they inflicted another 3-0 at home and with the 1-1 draw in Belgrade, they reached the UEFA Europe League Group Stage. The black&green were drawn in group F together with Athletic Bilbao, Genk and Rapid Wien. The debut was exciting: another victory 3-0 at Mapei Stadium against a prominent opponent like Athletic Bilbao. However, during the rest of the Group Stage, the experience of the opponents in the European field arose and after the defeat in Genk and the double draw against Rapid Wien, the beautiful dream of Sassuolo was broken at the end of a tough match at San Mames stadium in Bilbao where the home team defeated the black&green by 3-2. For the qualification, the last game against Genk became irrelevant: Sassuolo, however, left head-high the Europe League, an experience which is currently the highest achievement in the history of the club.
The fifth season of the Black&greens in Serie A saw the farewell of coach Eusebio Di Francesco. His position was taken by Cristian Bucchi. The 2017-18 season was characterized by a slow start and at the end of November, following the defeat against Hellas Verona, Giuseppe Iachini replaced Bucchi leading the team. With three consecutive wins (against Crotone, Sampdoria and Inter) and a draw against Roma, the Black&greens earned a 6-point margin from relegation. A drop at the start of the second half of the season seemed to question their stay in the first division but a positive streak of 14 points over 8 match days canceled the risk of relegation and they ended brilliantly the championship in 11th position with 43 points.
For the 2018/19 season, Sassuolo chose up-and-coming coach Roberto De Zerbi. The path of the Black&greens in the first half of the season is positive, with the team finishing 11th with 25 points and displaying a great football. The start of the second half is not as brilliant as the first one, the distance from the relegation zone is short but in April Sassuolo resumed their path smoothly (only two defeats during the last nine games) ending the championship in 11th position with 43 points again.
MAPEI FOOTBAL CENTER
In June 2019, Giorgio and Adriana are present for the last “gift” of the Squinzi family to Sassuolo and the black&green family: the Mapei Football Center, the place where Sassuolo will be able to carry on its project and continue its history, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020.
The 2019/20 season unfortunately sees the death of Patron Giorgio Squinzi and Adriana Spazzoli, key players in the growth of the last 15 years and creators of the Sassuolo project.