History of A.S. Roma
A.S. Roma was founded in the summer of 1927 when Italo Foschi initiated the merger of three older Italian Football Championship clubs from the city of Rome: Roman FC, SS Alba-Audace and Fortitudo-Pro Roma SGS. The purpose of the merger was to give the Italian capital a strong club to rival that of the more dominant Northern Italian clubs of the time. The only major Roman club to resist the merger was Lazio because of the intervention of the army General Vaccaro, a member of the club and executive of Italian Football Federation. The club played its earliest seasons at the Motovelodromo Appio stadium, before settling in the working-class streets of Testaccio, where it built an all-wooden ground Campo Testaccio; this was opened in November 1929. An early season in which Roma made a large mark was the 1930–31 championship, where the club finished as runners-up behind Juventus. Captain Attilio Ferraris, along with Guido Masetti, Fulvio Bernardini and Rodolfo Volk, were highly important players during this period.
First title victory and decline
After a slump in league form and the departure of high key players, Roma eventually rebuilt their squad adding goalscorers such as the Argentine Enrique Guaita. Under the management of Luigi Barbesino, the Roman club came close to their first title in 1935–36, finishing just one point behind champions Bologna.
Roma returned to form after being inconsistent for much of the late 1930s. Roma recorded an unexpected title triumph in the 1941–42 season by winning their first ever Scudetto title. The 18 goals scored by local player Amedeo Amadei were essential to the Alfréd Schaffer-coached Roma side winning the title. At the time, Italy was involved in World War II and Roma were playing at the Stadio del Partito Nazionale Fascista.
In the years just after the war, Roma were unable to recapture their league stature from the early 1940s. Roma finished in the lower half of Serie A for five seasons in a row, before eventually succumbing to their only ever relegation to Serie B at the end of the 1950–51 season, around a decade after their championship victory. Under future Italy national team manager Giuseppe Viani, promotion straight back up was achieved.
After returning to the Serie A, Roma managed to stabilise themselves as a top half club again with players such as Egisto Pandolfini, Dino Da Costa and Dane Helge Bronée. Their best finish of this period was under the management of Englishman Jesse Carver, when in 1954–55, they finished as runners-up after Udinese, who originally finished second were relegated for corruption. Although Roma were unable to break into the top four during the following decade, they did achieve some measure of cup success. Their first honour outside of Italy was recorded in 1960–61 when Roma won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup by defeating Birmingham City 4–2 in the finals. A few years later, Roma won their first Coppa Italia trophy in 1963–64 after defeating Torino 1–0.
Their lowest point came during the 1964–65 season, when manager Juan Carlos Lorenzo announced the club could not pay its players and was unlikely to be able to afford to travel to Vicenza to fulfil its next fixture. Supporters kept the club going with a fundraiser at the Sistine Theatre and bankruptcy was avoided with the election of a new club president Franco Evangelisti.
Their second Coppa Italia trophy was won in 1968–69, when it competed in a small, league-like system. Giacomo Losi set a Roma appearance record in 1969 with 450 appearances in all competitions, a record that would last 38 years.
Time of mixed fortunes
Club captain Giacomo Losi with the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1960–61
Roma were able to add another cup to their collection in 1972, with a 3–1 victory over Blackpool in the Anglo-Italian Cup. During much of the 1970s, Roma’s appearance in the top half of Serie A was sporadic. The best place the club were able to achieve during the decade was third in 1974–75. Notable players who turned out for the club during this period included midfielders Giancarlo De Sisti and Francesco Rocca.
The dawning of a newly successful era in Roma’s footballing history was brought in with another Coppa Italia victory, they defeated Torino on penalties to win the 1979–80 edition. Roma would reach heights in the league which they had not touched since the 1940s by narrowly and controversially finishing as runners-up to Juventus in 1980–81. Former Milan player Nils Liedholm was the manager at the time, with players such as Bruno Conti, Agostino Di Bartolomei, Roberto Pruzzo and Falcão.
The Roma of the second Scudetto in 1983
The second Scudetto did not elude Roma for much longer. In 1982–83, the Roman club won the title for the first time in 41 years, amidst celebrations in the capital. The following season, Roma finished as runners-up in Italy and collected a Coppa Italia title, they also finished as runners-up in the European Cup final of 1984. The European Cup final with Liverpool ended in a 1–1 draw with a goal from Pruzzo, but Roma eventually lost in the penalty shoot-out. Roma’s successful run in the 1980s would finish with a runners-up spot in 1985–86 and a Coppa Italia victory, beating out Sampdoria 3–2.
After, a comparative decline began in the league, one of the few league highs from the following period being a third-place finish in 1987–88. At the start of the 1990s, the club was involved in an all-Italian UEFA Cup final, where they lost 2–1 to Internazionale in 1991. The same season, the club won its seventh Coppa Italia and ended runners-up to Sampdoria in the Supercoppa Italiana. Aside from finishing runners-up to Torino in a Coppa Italia final, the rest of the decade was largely sub-par in the history of Roma, particularly in the league, where the highest they could manage was fourth in 1997–98. The early 1990s also saw the emergence of homegrown striker Francesco Totti, who would go on to be an important member of the team and the club’s iconic captain.
In the new millennium
Roma returned to form in the 2000s, beginning the decade in great style by winning their third ever Serie A title in 2000–01. The Scudetto was won on the last day of the season after defeating Parma 3–1, edging Juventus by two points. The club’s captain, Francesco Totti, was a large reason for the title victory and he would become one of the main heroes in the club’s history, going on to break several club records. Other important players during this period included Aldair, Cafu, Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella.
The club attempted to defend the title in the following season but ended as runners-up to Juventus by one point. This would be the start of Roma finishing as runners-up several times in both Serie A and Coppa Italia during the 2000s – they lost out 4–2 to Milan in the Coppa Italia final of 2003 and lost to Milan again by finishing second in Serie A for the 2003–04 season. The club also re-capitalized several time in 2003–04 season. In November 2003, €37.5 million was injected by “Roma 2000” to cover the half-year loss and loss carried from previous year. and again on 30 June for €44.57 million. Through stock market, a further €19.850 million of new shares issued, and at the year end, the share capital was €19.878 million, which was unchanged as of 2011. The following season also saw the departure of Walter Samuel for €25 million and Emerson for €28 million, which decreased the strength of the squad. The Giallorossi therefore finished in eighth place, one of the worst of recent seasons.
On 9 July 2006, Roma’s Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Simone Perrotta were part of the Italy national team which defeated France in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. A Serie A scandal was revealed during 2006; Roma were not one of the teams involved. After punishments were issued, Roma was re-classified as runners-up for 2005–06, the same season they finished second in the Coppa Italia losing to Internazionale. In the two following seasons, 2006–07 and 2007–08, Roma finished as Serie A runners-up, meaning that in the 2000s, Roma have finished in the top two positions more than any other decade in their history. Meanwhile, in the UEFA Champions League during both of these seasons, they reached the quarter-finals before going out to Manchester United. Despite the sloppy start in the 2008–09 Champions League, Roma managed to reach the knockout stage ahead of Chelsea in their group, thus finishing for the first time in their history as winners of the group stage. However, the Giallorossi, would lose to Arsenal in the knockout stage on penalty kicks, ending their Champions League campaign.
After a disappointing start to the 2009–10 season, Claudio Ranieri replaced Luciano Spalletti as head coach. At the time of the switch, Roma lay bottom of the Serie A table after losses to Juventus and Genoa. Despite this setback, Roma would later embark on an incredible unbeaten streak of 24 matches in the league – with the last of the 24 being a 2–1 win over rivals Lazio, whereby Roma came from 1–0 down at half-time to defeat their city rivals after Ranieri courageously substituted both Totti and De Rossi at the interval. The Giallorossi were on top of the table at one point, before a loss to Sampdoria later in the season. Roma would finish runners-up to Internazionale yet again in both Serie A and the Coppa Italia. This rounded out a highly successful decade in Roma’s history, following somewhat mediocre results of the 1990s. During the 2000s, Roma had finally recaptured the Scudetto, two Coppa Italia trophies, and their first two Supercoppa Italiana titles. Other notable contributions to the club’s history have included a return to the Champions League quarter-finals (in the 2006–07 and 2007–08 editions) since 1984, six runners up positions in the league, four Coppa Italia finals and three Supercoppa finals – marking Roma’s greatest ever decade.
The “AS Roma SPV LLC” era
In the summer of 2010, the Sensi family agreed to relinquish their control of Roma as part of a debt-settlement agreement. This brought an end to the presidential reign of the Sensi family, who had presided over the club since 1993. Until a new owner was appointed, Rosella Sensi would continue her directorial role of the club. The 2010–11 season had once again seen Roma start off with mixed fortunes on both a domestic and European level. These included losses against Cagliari, Brescia and a 2–0 defeat against Bayern Munich in the group stages of the Champions League, a match which saw manager Claudio Ranieri openly criticised by his players. However, these were accompanied by victories against Inter and a sensational victory against Bayern Munich in the return fixture, which saw Roma fight back from 0–2 down at half-time to emerge as 3–2 winners. Following a series of poor results which saw Roma engage in a winless-streak of five consecutive matches, Ranieri resigned as head coach in February 2011, and former striker Vincenzo Montella was appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season. It was also during this season that Roma icon Francesco Totti scored his 200th Serie A goal against Fiorentina in March 2011, becoming only the sixth ever player to achieve such a feat.
On 16 April 2011, the takeover contract was closed with an American investment group led by Thomas R. DiBenedetto, with James Pallotta, Michael Ruane and Richard D’Amore as partners. DiBenedetto became the 22nd president of the club, serving from 27 September 2011 to 27 August 2012 and was succeeded by Pallotta. The new intermediate holding company, NEEP Roma Holding, was 60% owned by American’s “AS Roma SPV, LLC” and the rest (40%) was retained by the creditor of Sensi, UniCredit. In turn, NEEP owned all shares held previously by Sensi (about 67%) with the rest free float in the stock market. UniCredit later disinvested NEEP Roma Holding to sell to “AS Roma SPV, LLC” and Pallotta.
The new ownership immediately went into effect by making significant changes in the club, hiring Walter Sabatini as director of football and former Spanish international and Barcelona B coach Luis Enrique as manager. The first high-profile player signings from the duo were attacking midfielder Érik Lamela from River Plate, forward Bojan from Barcelona, goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg from Ajax and unattached defender Gabriel Heinze. The club also sold and released defender John Arne Riise, goalkeeper Doni and forwards Jérémy Ménez and Mirko Vučinić. At the financial level, the company had recapitalised for more than €100 million, the last recapitalisation occurring in the early 2000s.
Roma, however, was eliminated from 2011–12 UEFA Europa League play-off round. After the formal takeover on 18 August, Roma bought forward Dani Osvaldo, midfielders Miralem Pjanić and Fernando Gago and defender Simon Kjær, as well as youngster Fabio Borini, which cost the club more than €40 million. In 2012, Pallotta became the new president.
The 2012–13 pre-season started with the June hiring of former manager Zdeněk Zeman. Zeman replaced Luis Enrique who resigned at the end of the 2011–12 season. Luis Enrique’s lone season reign had seen the disappointing loss to Slovan Bratislava in the UEFA Europa League, as well as the inability to qualify for international competitions for the 2012–13 season. Roma eventually finished seventh, losing the Europa League chase to rivals Lazio, Napoli and Internazionale. Zeman brought back his high-scoring 4–3–3 formation and his hard working ethic which successfully guided former team Pescara to the Serie A. However, he was sacked on 2 February 2013. He was replaced by caretaker manager Aurelio Andreazzoli, whose reign saw the continuation of a disappointing season, with the team ending up in sixth place in Serie A, while also losing 1–0 to rivals Lazio in the Coppa Italia final. As a result, Roma missed out on European competition for the second-straight season.
On 12 June 2013, Pallotta announced that Rudi García had been appointed the new manager of Roma. He enjoyed a fantastic start to his Roma career, winning his first ten matches (an all-time Serie A record) including a 2–0 derby win against Lazio, a 0–3 victory away to Internazionale and a 2–0 home win over title rivals Napoli. During this run, Roma scored 24 times while conceding just once, away to Parma. The 2013–14 season saw one of Roma’s best ever in Serie A, the club tallying an impressive 85 points and finishing second to Juventus, who won the league with a record-breaking 102 points. Roma’s defence was significantly better than in previous seasons, with only 25 goals conceded and a total of 21 clean sheets, including nine in their first ten matches.
In 2014–15, Roma finished second behind Juventus for the second consecutive season after a poor run of form in 2015. At the end of season the club was sanctioned for loss making and breaking UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations.
On 13 January 2016, García was sacked after a run of one win in seven Serie A matches. Luciano Spalletti was subsequently appointed manager of Roma for his second spell. On 21 February, Totti publicly criticised Spalletti due to his own lack of playing-time since returning from injury. Consequently, Totti was subsequently dropped by Spalletti for Roma’s 5–0 win over Palermo, with the decision causing an uproar among the fans and in the media. After their initial disagreements, Spalletti began to use Totti as an immediate impact substitute, which proved to be an effective decision, as the Roma number 10 rediscovered his form and contributed with four goals and one assist after coming off the bench in five consecutive Serie A matches. As a result, Spalletti was able to lead Roma from a mid-table spot to a third-place finish in Serie A, clinching the UEFA Champions League play-off spot.
During the summer of 2016, Roma lost star midfielder Miralem Pjanić to rivals Juventus to improve its financial position.
On 13 June 2017, Eusebio Di Francesco was appointed as Roma manager, replacing Spalletti, who left for Internazionale.