Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, Venice — all are world renowned cities, but one is not like the others.
Every major European city is also represented by an internationally famous soccer club too; that is, every city except Venice, Italy.
But that might soon change. Just last week, Venezia FC secured promotion to Serie B, Italy’s second division. That may not sound like much, but given the club’s history, combined with its newfound ambition and financial backing, Italians are now paying attention to the team from the Venetian Lagoon.
Aside from winning the Coppa Italia back in 1941, Venezia have played a pretty insignificant part in Italian football history. The city itself has showed little interest in its own club.
Since the early 2000s, the club have filed for bankruptcy several times. With environmental concerns, specifically rising sea levels, making Venice a difficult and expensive city to call home in modern times, football has not been a priority for the locals.
Enter Joe Tacopina.
A New York lawyer by trade, Tacopina has long been interested in Italian football. He’s been involved in different ownership plans at AS Roma and Bologna FC but neither amounted to much. Then he purchased Venezia FC outright in 2015 with the goal of bringing the club to Serie A and challenging the likes of Juventus, Milan and Inter. No one paid him much attention, and no one thought his venture with the “Winged Lions” would actually be a worthwhile one.
But after two straight promotions, maybe Tacopina is onto something. Much of that has to do with his manager: Filippo Inzaghi. Yes, former AC Milan and Italy legend Filippo Inzaghi. That’s the 70 Champions League goals, World Cup winning Filippo Inzaghi.
Tacopina sold Inzaghi on his project and vision for the club and it has been one smooth Venetian gondola ride ever since.
With the wins and resulting promotions, fans have been turning up at the Stadio Pierluigi Penzo, by foot or, more commonly, by boat, to support Venezia.
Only time will tell just how far Tacopina and Inzaghi can take the club.