In the late 1920s, with the popularity of football exploding across Italy, the government of the day faced a problem. Divisione Nazionale, the forerunner of Serie A created in 1926, was wholly dominated by clubs from northern Italy. Sensing that challengers from other areas of the country were needed to make the league more competitive, the Fascist government took a radical decision.
A decision was taken to merge three clubs from the city of Rome – Roman FC, SS Alba-Audace, and Fortitudo Pro Roma SGS – into one. All of the three had suffered relegation the previous season, so to convince their owners to agree to the proposal, the Italian government gave them a golden option: join their clubs, and the new team would kick-start its first season in the top tier of Italian football.
Once those clubs accepted the proposal, AS Roma came into being on June 7, 1929. The club made its mark on Italian football within the first few years of its existence by finishing runners up behind champions Juventus in the 1930/31 season. Five years later, Roma once again missed out on the title as they finished one point behind champions Bologna this time around.
The 1930s was a period of inconsistency for the club as despite coming close to winning the title a couple of times, AS Roma were unable to break the glass ceiling. Their fortunes turned in the 1941/42 season when the club became the first non-Northern Italian side to lift the Scudetto. With star striker and Rome-born Armedeo Amadei scoring 18 goals, Roma saw off Genoa to claim its first major trophy.
Since then, the club’s fans have seen mixed fortunes surrounding AS Roma, both on and off the pitch. The Giallorossi suffered its only relegation in the 1950/51 season, and while it did return to the top flight in the following season, it would take Roma a decade to win its next trophy, the 1963/64 Coppa Italia. On the whole, Roma has won 3 Serie A, 9 Coppa Italia, and 2 Supercoppa Italiana in its history.
Although it was at the start of the 21st century that Roma won their last Scudetto title, the club hasn’t stopped producing quality players over the years. Some of the big names came through the club’s ranks whereas most were imported from abroad. One thing that was common between the best among them is that they were sold for huge profits, earning AS Roma the reputation of a selling club.
One such player whom the club signed for an inexpensive transfer fee and later-on sold for a huge profit is current Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson. The Brazilian joined the I Giallorossi for a meager transfer fee of €7.5m in the summer of 2016. Two years later, when Roma sold Alisson to Liverpool, the money they ended up getting for the Brazilian (€72.5m) made him the most expensive goalkeeper of all time.
Mohamed Salah is yet whose arrival and departure from the club allowed Roma to make huge money. The Stadio Olimpico residents snapped up the Egyptian from Swiss side FC Basel for a reported €15m transfer fee in 2015. The former Chelsea winger helped the Italians make a €27m profit on him when he joined Liverpool in the 2017/18 summer transfer window.
Yet another player whom Roma sold on a profit is central midfielder Radja Nainggolan. Unlike the two footballers mentioned above, the Belgium international didn’t leave the Stadio Olimpico on his peak. Still, while he joined fellow rivals Inter Milan at the age of 30, the i Lupi were still able to make a €21m profit on the combative central midfielder.
Undoubtedly, buying players on the cheap before selling them on a profit has helped balance the club’s books, though it hasn’t made a positive impact on Roma’s trophy cabinet. Roma last won a major trophy in the 2007/08 season (Coppa Italia) and since then it has been unable to challenge either the two Milan sides or the Old Lady from Turin for domestic titles.
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Source: Silly Season
Worst placement in the final table:
AS Roma finished the 1950/51 season at 19th place and were duly relegated from the top tier of Italian football.
Least goals in a season:
AS Roma were able to score only 23 goals in the whole of the 1973/73 season. To this day, it remains the worst tally of goals the Giallorossi has managed in a full Serie A season.
Most goals conceded:
During the 1949/50 season, AS Roma conceded a whopping 70 goals in their 38 Serie A fixtures.
Worst goal difference:
Roma finished both the 1949/50 and 1965/66 seasons with an abnormal goal difference of -18.
Least points scored:
Surprisingly, it wasn’t during the season Roma were relegated that the club recorded its worst points tally. It was instead in the 1972/73 season – the year Roma finished () in the table – that the side managed to put a meager 24 points on the board.
During both the 1975/76 Serie A campaign, Roma managed to win only six games all season.
Renaissance painter Giotto once called Rome ‘’the city of illusions, the city of echoes and the city of yearning”. When his team entered the pitch on the last matchday of the 2000/01 Serie A season, AS Roma manager Fabio Capello felt the gravity of these words.
Three months earlier, a straightforward 3-1 swatting of Verona had given the Giallorossi a nine-point lead at the top of the table. With less than a quarter of a season remaining, betters placed Roma as the odds-on favorite to lift only the third Scudetto in their history. Yet, despite cruising on that particular day, Roma came to know that there were many a slip between the cup and the lip.
After losing their very next game to Fiorentina, Roma went on to draw five of their next eight games. Their poor form allowed Juventus, who were chasing the Romans all campaign, to cut the gap between both sides to only two points before the final day of the season. With the Old Lady hosting Atlanta, it was clear to Fabio Capello that his team needed to win the first Scudetto of the 21st century.
Not for the first or the last time, it was Francesco Totti who came to Roma’s rescue. The 24-year-old delightfully converted a Vincent Candela cut back to give his team the lead at the 19th-minute mark. His goal calmed the nerves of everyone inside the stadium and was followed by two more goals. Roma, despite their best efforts to gift Juventus the title, were champions of Italy.
Ironically, the club’s biggest ever defeat was handed to it in front of its own fans.
After performing admirably through that whole season in Europe, Roma earned a berth in the 1983/84 European Champions Cup Final. Standing in the club’s way to what would have been its first European title were heavyweights Liverpool. And if the match wasn’t interesting enough already, its venue – Roma’s Stadio Olimpico – raised the stakes even higher for the home side.
The Italians went into this fixture as clear underdogs. The Liverpool side which they welcomed for that game was, unlike them, giants in Europe. It had won three European titles in the previous 7 years and had players of the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Graeme Souness in their line-up. To these players, playing in a European final was a hobby. For Roma, it was a once-in-a-lifetime scenario.
Still, Roma weren’t overly fazed by their opponents on the day. Even after the Reds took an early lead courtesy of a Phil Neal goal, the home side leveled the game before half-time and forced the tie to penalties, where the Italians looked favorites to lift the trophy once Rob Steve Nicol missed the opening penalty for the away side, with the Giallorossi converting theirs.
From that moment onwards, Roma’s fortunes went south. With Bruno Conti missing the Italian’s 2nd penalty, Liverpool went on to score all four of the remaining penalties to win their 4th European Cup 4-2 on penalties. The crowd which was chanting ‘Forza Roma’ relentlessly for the past 120 odd minutes had gone silent. Roma’s dream of lifting the European Cup on home soil was dead.
Just because it came on the heels of the club’s 1964 Coppa Italia triumph, the club’s inability to play weekly salaries to its players during the 1964/65 season can rightly be described as one of the lowest moments in the history of AS Roma.
Only four years ago, the Giallorossi had won its first (and only) European title in the shape of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the predecessor of the UEFA Cup. There was hope among the club’s fans that Roma would build on this success and achieve what few other clubs in Italy had done by that stage: winning the mighty European Cup Winners’ Cup.
However, as the 1964/65 season dawned, the fans’ expectations nosedived when they came to know of the financial straitjacket restricting the club. The lowest point came when, ahead of a match against Vicenza, manager Juan Carlos Lorenzo told the supporters that the club wasn’t only unable to play its players but it also couldn’t afford to organize the trip to play the game.
Matters reached a head when rumors circulated that AS Roma was about to go bankrupt. To save their beloved club, Roma fans organized a fundraiser at the Sistine Theatre. All the earnings which resulted from that directly went into the club’s finances, allowing the club to pay salaries to its players and meet matchday expenditures.
Although this week-to-week arrangement was canceled after the club elected its new president Franco Evangelisti, who saved Roma from bankruptcy by injecting new money into the club, that episode was a reminder for all the teams that no matter how great your history might be, poor financial decisions taken off the pitch have the potential to have disastrous ramifications for those playing on it.
Here are some of the fun facts you might not know about AS Roma:
“Two brothers and a she-wolf”: Roma’s badge illustrates the myth of the founding of Rome by showing twin infant brothers, Romulus and Remus, suckling a she-wolf. The myth further claims that when they grew up, Romulus killed his brother, and thus Rome began with a fratricide.
“De Rossi’s famous leg tattoo”: Serie A watchers know that AS Roma legend De Rossi loved to dive his way into tackles. To celebrate his combative style of play, the Italian had a tattoo on his lower-calf which showed him breaking his opponent’s leg during a tackle with the ball nowhere near.
“One season, four managers”: The 2004/05 season was a forgettable one for Roma fans as the club lurched perilously close to relegation. Their poor form forced the club’s owners to try four different managers during the ten-month campaign.
“Stadio Olimpico is always busy”: In addition to being the home stadium for both Roma and Lazio, Stadio Olimpico is the venue for the Coppa Italia final every year. It has also hosted one World Cup final, four European Cup finals, and one Champions League final. On top of that, the Italian national rugby team also uses the stadium and it occasionally hosts events and concerts as well.
“Story behind Roma-Lazio rivalry”: While three Rome-based clubs agreed to merge themselves to form AS Roma in 1927, Lazio declined the invitation. That set into motion a chain of events that led to today’s vicious rivalry between Roma and Lazio.
“Banter kings of Twitter”: Due to the amazing tweets sent out by the club’s English account on Twitter, AS Roma are known as the banter kings of the social media platform.
“10 wins, 10 draws, 10 defeats”: The 1968/69 season was an interesting one for the Romans as they won 10, lost 10 and drew 10 games during that campaign.
“Will Smith is a fan”: During his 2016 tour of Roma to promote Suicide Squad, iconic Hollywood actor Will Smith told the audience that he supports AS Roma.
Details are provided on the age of players, games played, minutes played, goals conceded, games conceded with no goals, yellow cards, red cards, yellow cards.
Silly Season, International Champions Cup, Wikipedia,
Official website of AS Roma
Wikipedia profile of AS Roma
AS Roma Twitter profile