When one thinks of calcio, Venice is probably the last city that comes to mind. A beautiful tourist destination fabled by its beautiful lagoons, islands, canals, and rich history. Football had never been a top priority for the city itself. However, Venezia F.C. is rising from the ashes and making a lot of noise in the Italian football world – and there is plenty good reason for it.
Joe Tacopina, an American celebrity attorney, organized the purchase of Venezia FC 2015 after being the president of Serie A club Bologna, who earned promotion to the Italian top-flight under his rule. Along with Venezia and the Rossoblu, Tacopina organized the group of investors who chose Roma, so it is fair to say the New York-born has experience in running top notch footballing organizations. Currently, Venezia sits at the top of Italy’s third division – Lega Pro – while being 7 points above fallen giants, Parma FC. After being down 2-0 against the Crociati on 29 January 2017, they scored 2 goals in the second half, one being a penalty in the last minutes of the match – a draw solidifying their point lead in league table. With only one promotion spot in Lega Pro, it looks favorable for them to be promoted into Serie B next year.
Their last Serie A appearance dates back to 2002, making a return to the first division the club’s primary objective. “The goal is to return to Serie A, and someday, win a Scudetto,” president Joe Tacopina said.
Tacopina’s ambitions for the club are quite clear and seem more than possible due to his desire and aspirations. Along with his dream, the American lawyer turned football chairman hired top level calcio talent to aid the club’s journey. Giorgio Perinetti – a storied and famed sporting director in Serie A – was hired, providing a great deal of experience to the promotion hopeful. A former sporting director for Italian powerhouses Juventus and Roma, Perinetti was even in charge at Napoli when Diego Maradona came to the club years ago.
In regards to Perinetti’s involvement with the outfit, he said in a conversation with Tacopina (via KICK):
“I agreed to do this with you. I’m staying until we see (our vision) this through… this is a legacy project.”
Along with Perinetti, Venezia FC managed to land Italian legend Pippo Inzaghi as their manager. When it came to the job, Venezia did not approach the former AC Milan boss, rather Inzaghi reached out to Tacopina, showing his commitment to the project. Just by this action, one could see the progress and prosperity of Tacopina’s vision for the club.
If you walked around Venice two years ago, you would see no sign of colors bearers. Now, the pride and support of the club has spread rapidly. Locals bought in from the beginning, waving their scarves at every corner, and wearing them proudly every match day at their hallowed football ground, Stadio Pierluigi Penzo. Walking around the city, Tacopina is surrounded by passionate and supportive fans, embracing him and demanding a picture; some even tear up at his mere existence on the cobblestone pathways. Just by this, you can see the already great progress Tacopina and his constituents made in such a short amount of time.
It won’t be long until we see Venezia FC prosper in Serie A again. And soon, the ‘Winged Lions’ will be a club everyone is conscious of.