Mattioli is rather diplomatic on revealing ambitions for the new season, most probably due to the high unpredictability and competitive nature of Serie B. However, spirits are high in Ferrara and SPAL could build on that to pull out some surprises this upcoming season as their enchanting fairytale journey continues.

The club had 21 different spells in Serie A, finishing fifth in 1959-60, but haven’t been in the top flight since 1968.

He has pointed out during off-season interviews that the club’s strategy doesn’t involve big spending, but rather developing certain ideas and programs to make a competitive team with a humble identity that relies on, above all, teamwork.

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Two important additions were made during the summer to reinforce the midfield as Pasquale Schiattarella and Mariano Arini will add the necessary quality and experience to the team.

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The club, based in Ferrara, was able to top the table in Lega Pro with today’s draw against Arezzo.

SPAL enjoyed 16 seasons in Serie A between 1951 and 1968, with renowned players like Oscar Massei, Carlo Novelli, Armando Picchi, Egidio Morbello, and of course, Fabio Capello.

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The people of Ferrara still recall with pride the 1959-60 season when SPAL ended the season in a respectable fifth place, as they do their near success in 1962 Coppa Italia. Having crushed Juventus 4-1 in the semi-final, they would go on only to lose in the final to Napoli.

The President is full of praise for the current group of players who bought SPAL the Lega Pro title, among others Nicolas Giani, Daniele Gasparetto, Manuel Lazzari, Luca Mora, Mattia Finotto and Michele Castagnetti.

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Mattioli moved quickly to replace Cellini by capturing Mirco Antenucci on a free transfer from Leeds United. The 31-year-old striker is considered a major coup as he joins with a vast Serie B experience and a good scoring record from his past spell at Torino, Ternana, Spezia, and Ascoli.

This summer, after relegation into Italy’s fourth tier and with current president Cesare Butelli unable to make any headway into the three million euro debt which was suffocating the club, the inevitable happened and Spal 1907 was wound up after failing to meet the 600,000 euro inscription fee to be able to take part in next season’s championship. 105 years of glorious history had finally reached its sad conclusion.

Ex-Crotone defender, Michele Cremonesi, will form the backline trio with team captain Giani and Gasparetto.

First choice keeper from last season, Paolo Branduani will be challenged by the highly rated Alex Meret who joined on loan from Udinese.

The club was founded in 1907 as Circolo Ars et Labor by the salesian priest Pietro Acerbis, then was renamed in 1913 as Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor. Team has played in Serie A from 1920 to 1925, then from 1951 to 1968: their best finish was fifth in the 1959–60 league season. It was refounded in 2005 after the bankruptcy as Spal 1907.

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Under the new management, the Biancazurri quickly found their feet and, with two promotions in three seasons, they restored the football pride in the city of Ferrara as new ambitions arise with fans already dreaming big.

S.P.A.L. 2013, better known as Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor (or simply SPAL) is a professional Italian football club, based in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna. The club currently plays in the Serie B, second level of the Italian football league system, having last been in Serie A in 1968. SPAL plays its home matches at Stadio Paolo Mazza since 1928, named after Paolo Mazza (chairman of the society from 1946 to 1977).

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But out of despair comes hope for one of Italy’s oldest clubs with a new team, Real Spal, under the guidance of new president Roberto Ranzani, about to commence the new season in the amateur ranks of Serie D. The club has managed to claim a “wild card” entry into Italy’s fifth tier thanks to their contribution to the game in the peninsula.

In the summer of 2012, after suffering a second successive bankruptcy, the club was refounded for the third time as Società Sportiva Dilettantistica Real S.P.A.L. and would begin life in Serie D[1] thanks to Article 52 NOIF of FIGC.[2]

The savior came in the shape of businessman Gianfranco Tomasi and the club was renamed Spal  1907. By the time of their centenary in 2007, the club’s very existence was again in jeopardy and as former players returned to Ferrara to mark the special occasion, it served as a harsh reminder to their loyal followers of just how much the club had given to the game in Italy and just how bad things had become.

First founded in 1907, Spal went bankrupt in 2005 and again in 2012.

For calcio lovers, it should also be interesting to keep an eye on the development of Gianmarco Zigoni as he is eager to continue with good performances hoping to walk in footsteps of many previous Italian late bloomer prima puntas.

The new team, born from the merger, was named S.P.A.L 2013, with the Colombarini’s transferring the structure of Giacomense to SPAL with Walter Mattioli stepping in as the new club president.

The new club completed the 2013–14 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione season in sixth place, thus qualifying to the inaugural unified 2014–15 Lega Pro season.

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In July 2013, SPAL merged with the other local club in Ferrara, Giacomense, owned by the Colombarini family.


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There is a question that should be posed, however, and that is do this club have the qualities to embark on a Serie B journey? Coach Leonardo Semplici enjoys an attacking brand of football with his 3-5-2 formation. This resulted in 59 goals in 34 matches last season, the highest number of goals scored and the best goal-difference from all the other clubs in Lega Pro.

On Saturday 23 April 2016, the squad secured promotion to Serie B for the first time since 1992–93 season.

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Founded initially as a cultural-religious society by a Salesian priest in 1907 under the name Circolo Ars et Labor, the sporting branch of the society went on its separate way in 1913 under a new name.

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