The Neroverdi had a much better 2014–15 Serie A season, finishing comfortably beyond relegation in 12th place. Berardi was once more the club's top goalscorer with 15 league goals.

For the majority of the late 1980’s and 1990’s the Neroverdi oscillated between Serie C2 and Serie D. Despite a period of relative stagnation on the field, their Ultra movement continued to evolve. New groups appeared, most notably Gioventù and Alkatraz. In 2002, Giorgio Squinzi – owner of the multinational MAPEI company – sponsored the club and a year later he acquired ownership. This proved to be the harbinger of a new era and Sassuolo’s subsequent success has beggared belief.

Sassuolo have beaten both Milan clubs. They have also frightened Juventus and Roma, going in front before being held to a draw. "Chievo are our role models," Di Francesco modestly suggests. "We aim to make ourselves credible and stay in the league." More than credible, what Sassuolo have done is incredible.

At the time, Eusebio Di Francesco, the coach who had gotten Sassuolo into the top flight for the first time in their history, was close to the sack. Renting an ex-convent, he confided he wouldn't trouble God over a game of football. But Sassuolo had lost four in a row and were in the relegation zone. Di Francesco could be forgiven for seeking divine intervention. Without asking for it, he did behold a revelation.

A seguito della prima storica promozione dei neroverdi in Serie A, nel 2013 il Sassuolo trasferisce il suo campo casalingo allo stadio di Reggio nell'Emilia[28], che in quell'anno viene acquistato dalla Mapei del patron Giorgio Squinzi e rinominato Mapei Stadium-Città del Tricolore.[29]

Sassuolo successively qualified to the Serie B promotion playoffs in 2009–10 by placing fourth, and 2011–12 in third, being eliminated at the semi-finals in both seasons.

Later that month, for the first 15 minutes of Sassuolo’s game against Chievo, 500 Reggiana supporters sat with the Sassolesi in the Curva Nord expressing their indignation. “Per Squinzi: Un Affare Perfetto, Per Sassuolo: Nessun Rispetto” ‘For Squinzi: a perfect deal, for

In their latest Italian football guide, Gentleman Ultra profile Sassuolo, a small but revolutionary Serie A club whose story owes a debt to Lancaster Rovers FC

Francesco Magnanelli may not be a household name in Italy and he may not sell newspapers but he is loved by Sassuolo fans. Their short history does not give them many star names and it does not leave them speaking over late-night glasses of wine about that great player in 1934, who was part of Vittorio Pozzo’s World Cup-winning squad. Sassuolo have no Paolo Maldini; they have no Giuseppe Meazza; they have no Dino Zoff; and they have never had a Diego Maradona.

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Following Sassuolo's promotion to the Italian second tier, Allegri left Sassuolo to fill the head coaching position at Serie A team Cagliari. On July 2008, the club appointed former Atalanta and Siena boss Andrea Mandorlini for the 2008–09 season.

As Milan unveiled plans for a new 48,000-seater ground to be opened in 2018 at an expense of 320 million euros, Sassuolo have been owners of the nearby Mapei stadium in Reggio Emilia since a year after Squinzi bought it at auction for 3.7 million euros in 2013. This is a smartly run club and a well-assembled, well-coached team.

With thanks to season ticket holders, Silvia Mezzadri and Giulio Mucci, for their knowledge and expertise. In the two years they have been following Sassuolo home and away they have missed just one match! Grazie e in bocca al lupo per il campionato.

In the 2012–13 season, however, under the guidance of new head coach Eusebio Di Francesco, Sassuolo won the Serie B title, thus achieving direct promotion to Serie A and ensuring a first top-flight campaign ever for the 2013–14 season.

Their story is similar to that of Chievo’s, a footballing parvenu whose extraordinary rise to prominence has left supporters incredulous. The Sassolesi are minnows in the landscape of Italy’s ultras. They don’t have strength in numbers. Nor are they renowned for their braggart choreographies or tumultuous atmospheres. But whether it is home or away, in Modena or Reggio Calabria, a small contingent is always present to support the Neroverdi.

Teenager Domenico Berardi, a player they had spotted in a students' five-a-side game after he came to visit his brother at the nearby University of Modena, became the second-youngest person ever, after Silvio Piola, the league's most prolific goal scorer of all time, to score four in a match. "Of all the teams you had to do it against, it had to be Milan," Squinzi joked in the dressing room afterward. It sealed a famous 4-3 win.

The club are somewhat revolutionary. They sell various levels of tickets and have 32 executive boxes, which is far from standard for an Italian club, especially at this level. The match-day experience on the Peninsula needs to improve while keeping a place for the ultras and this is something Sassuolo do well, despite having a ground that is not based in their home town.

Under the tenure of coach Eusebio di Francesco, the Emilians scaled the mountain top in 2013, winning the Serie B title. 15,157 watched the Neroverdi secure their historic promotion to Serie A with a 1-0 over Livorno, Simone Missiroli’s last gasp strike sparking scenes of jubilation as the Sassolesi flooded the pitch to celebrate with their heroes.

After years of anonymity, in 1974 Sassuolo’s fortunes began to turn after they merged with the cities other football club, Giofil San Giorgio. Ten years later the Neroverdi earned a much awaited promotion to Serie C2. It was the first time the town had a team competing in a professional league. This success on the field inspired movement off it. The ‘Ultras Saxolum 1988’ established themselves as a clique of fanatics whose Campanilismo (local pride and identity) was their raison d’etre.

Sassuolo are now thriving in Serie A. Unsurprisingly the clubs achievements have seen the Ultras ranks swell. A group named Clan Curva Nord, formerly Saxolum proclaim to be Sassuolo’s only ‘real’ ultras. They are joined by two supporter groups known as Sasol and gli Antenati. They ensure the Mapei Stadium is not without atmosphere and spectacle, indulging in the customary flag waving and relentless chanting.

Then-Milan manager Max Allegri, who had established his reputation in coaching by guiding Sassuolo up into Serie B, was made to rue his first encounter with his former employer. He was dismissed that night. Di Francesco, meanwhile, was granted a reprieve, even if Sassuolo's victory had left their Milan-supporting patron with mixed emotions. Alas, it didn't last long. Consecutive defeats to Torino and Livorno got Di Francesco fired. That was a year ago last week.

That said the movement remains small and their following away from home modest, especially given that the Clan Curva Nord refuse to accept the controversial Tessera del Tifoso (supports ID card), thus making them unable to attend away games. According to Silvia and Giulio, around 100 supporters usually follow the team on the road.

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Their paucity in numbers is unsurprising. Sassuolo is the smallest town to boast a team in Serie A, with a population of around 41,000. The club have spent much of their history toiling in the doldrums of the amateur leagues, a slab of brick plastered firmly at the base of the calcio pyramid. The more established teams in the region (Bologna, Modena and Reggiana) have traditionally attracted the support of the town’s football fans.

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Costituita nel 1920,[2] dalla stagione sportiva 2013-14 milita in Serie A. I suoi colori sociali sono il nero e il verde, da cui il soprannome di neroverdi;[1] altro soprannome noto del club è Sasòl ("Sassuolo" in dialetto emiliano). Dopo aver usufruito per decenni dello stadio Enzo Ricci di Sassuolo, e aver poi brevemente giocato sul manto dello stadio Alberto Braglia di Modena, dal 2013 i neroverdi disputano le loro partite casalinghe al Mapei Stadium di Reggio Emilia.

Sassuolo: no respect’ one banner proclaimed while another read ‘Never at home’. The supporters chagrin has yet to be ameliorated however the team’s performances on the pitch have provided a welcome distraction.

Sassuolo's home stadium is Stadio Enzo Ricci still used for training, but due to its tiny capacity (4,000), the club played Serie B seasons in Modena's Stadio Alberto Braglia.[19]

Sassuolo improved again in the 2015–16 Serie A season, finishing ahead of the likes of A.C. Milan and S.S. Lazio in 6th place. The season included an opening day win over S.S.C. Napoli,[14] a Round 10 1–0 victory over Juventus at Mapei Stadium[15] and a 1–0 victory over Inter at the San Siro.[16]

“How many times have we reaffirmed our sense of belonging and love for our city, and how important it is not to constantly feel like guests; but unfortunately economic interests have prevailed over the passion and attachment to our colours… One more time, we do not belong in this stadium.”

Sassuolo

Founded in 1920,[3] Sassuolo play in Serie A from the 2013–14 season, joining a select group of teams not belonging to a provincial capital city: Empoli, Legnano, Pro Patria, Carpi and Casale.[4]

On 21 May 2016, Sassuolo achieved their first ever Europa League qualification after finishing 6th in Serie A courtesy of a Juventus Coppa Italia win over Milan as Milan would have gone to Europe instead if they had won the final.[17] On 25 August 2016, Sassuolo qualified for the Europa League group stage after beating out Red Star Belgrade 4–1 on aggregate in the playoff round.[18]

Ultra groups: Clan Curva Nord Sassuolo, Sasol, Ultras Saxolum 1988, Alkatraz, Gruppo 1922, Head Out, Eagles, Gli Antenati

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“Being a supporter or player of Sassuolo is different to that of other clubs in Italy. Sassuolo is pride, simply, Sassuolo is our colours. The result is not important, we want players who fight for our shirt and who give their hearts. Here, in contrast to the rest of Italy, we enjoy a friendly and personal relationship with our players.”

Sassuolo had a surprising start to the 2008–09 campaign and held a promotion playoff place for very long time, though they earn only two points in their last five matches to eventually finish in seventh place. Despite a successful season, Mandorlini left Sassuolo by mutual consent in June 2009, whereupon the team then appointed former Piacenza coach Stefano Pioli on 11 June 2009.

Unione Sportiva Sassuolo Calcio ([u.ˈnjo.ne sporˈti.va sasˈswɔlo ˈkal.tʃo], "Sassuolo Football Sport Union") is an Italian professional football club based in Sassuolo, in the province of Modena.[2] Its colours are black and green, hence the nickname "neroverdi".[2]

That said, their new venture in Serie A did not alleviate their stadium woes. Sassuolo’s home changed once again, this time to the Stadio Citta del Tricolore, the home of Lega Pro side Reggiana. In December, 2013, Squinzi bought the stadium and renamed it after his company – Stadium Mapei. It was a deal that angered the Ultras of Sassuolo’s Curva Nord.

Under Allegri, Sassuolo quickly revived their hopes to obtain promotion to Serie B; this ultimately came on 27 April 2008, when they won the Serie C1/A title, thus ensuring a historical promotion to Serie B, the first in the club's history.[5]