From 1969 to 1992

From 1969 to 1992

The era of Corrado Ferlaino, ‘the engineer’

Corrado Ferlaino, known as ‘the engineer’, kept a low profile for about a year, contenting himself with staying in the background and studying moves and opponents. Then, when the Venezuelan Antonio Concione, who had been at the helm, died prematurely, he took over.  In order to secure a majority of the stock, he bought out Concione’s shares from his widow, on a suggestion of the ever-present Achille Lauro.

Ferlaino was elected President on 18th January 1969 at the age of 37, and thus began a new era of glory.  He particularly disliked accounts that did not balance and saw to it that this was taken care of first thing, earning him the CONI gold star for sports merit. Apart from a few brief interruptions (he once resigned for eight days), he led Napoli to what would become its golden years.

Napoli lost the 1970-71 Scudetto by a hair’s breadth, but in 1973-74 it won its second Coppa Italia and the Italian-English League Cup.  In 1974-75, under Coach Luis De Menezes Vinicio, another of Napoli’s greats – it nearly won the Scudetto for the second time.

Ferlaino’s first hunch paid off in the summer of 1975 in the person of Beppe Savoldi. There was an uproar over the price (the equivalent of a million euros),  but ‘Beppe-goal’ was to make history. ‘Mister million’, as some moralists nicknamed him, scored 14 goals in the championship and earned the Azzurri the Coppa Italia – the second in Neapolitan history.

At the beginning of the 1980s Ferlaino had another brilliant hunch.  Acting in tandem with his close collaborator, Antonio Juliano (pivotal player for the Azzurri in the 1960s, who became General Manager), he decided to sign Ruud Krol, mainstay and mentor of the fabled Dutch team. Rudy nearly earned Napoli the Scudetto, but the dream was shattered on 26th April 1981 in a match against Perugia – already relegated to Serie B – when Ferrario scored an own goal, losing the game for Napoli 0-1.

Time heals all wounds, however, and Napoli was to go on to a period of glory that Neapolitans still refer to as ‘the miracle’. General Manager Antonio Juliano, unforgettable Captain of the Azzurri for seventeen years, brought in Diego Armando Maradona from Barcelona, hired two ace managers (Italo Allodi and Pier Paolo Marino) and won Napoli its first Scudetto and third Coppa Italia (1986-87).  Then, having hired Luciano Moggi, together with Ottavio Bianchi (who had played for the Azzurri in the 1960s) they proceeded to win the UEFA Cup in 1988-89, their second Scudetto in 1989-90 and the Supercoppa against Juventus in 1990-91, with Albertino Bigon coaching.