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Siena: The Long Gap Between Fantasy and Reality

Several months ago, I came within inches of ordering a kit from an Italian football club 99% of the people in America have never heard of. 1)Football = soccer. Kit = jersey. The club is Associazione Calcio Siena, or A.C. Siena. The player wears the number 10, and his name is Luca Longo. He holds just about every record there is to hold in the Siena record books, including 552 league appearances and 243 league goals for Siena. For Italy, he was capped 140 times and scored 58 goals. 2)In international soccer, a “cap” is an appearance for your national team.

A.C. Siena no longer exists.

It has been a swift and painful journey down for Siena. The team was in the top division of Italian football, the Serie A, as recently as the 2012-13 season. However, a series of very unfortunate events resulted in the club being forced to go into bankruptcy just a year after that last Serie A season. Because of that bankruptcy, the club could not register for the 2014-15 Serie B season and it was forced to fold. Let’s run through the events that led up to that bankruptcy.

  • Summer 2011: Siena finishes in the runner-up spot in the 2010-11 Serie B season and earns promotion to Serie A.
  • Summer 2012: Siena’s return to the top flight is rewarded with a respectable 14th place finish, eight points clear of relegation back to Serie B.
  • BACKTRACK TO JUNE 1, 2011: This happens. To be honest, match-fixing scandals happen a whole lot in Italian football. But this one was pretty big. Siena is implicated in the scandal but not formally punished until March 2012, when they are docked six points for the 2012-13 Serie A season.
  • Summer 2013: Starting six points (or two wins) behind most of your competitors is very difficult to overcome. 3)For the record, two other clubs were docked one points, and one club was docked two points. None of these clubs were relegated. Siena finished in 19th place, eight points away from safety. Siena would have to return to Serie B for the 2013-14 season.
  • Summer 2014: Siena are forced to start that season even further back for the previous one—they are docked eight points for “financial irregularities.” 4)As were the clubs Reggina and Bari, though they were only docked three points and one point respectively. Bari was docked a further three for their role in the scandal described above. What exactly are “financial irregularities?” In other words, they weren’t paying their players on time. They had registered for this season by the skin of their teeth; relegation takes a hard financial toll on a club. Despite the eight-point penalty, Siena missed qualifying for the promotion play-offs by just one point. Had there been no penalty, they would have finished third in the league and held the top seed for the play-offs. Instead, they remained in Serie B, failed to register for the next season, and declared their bankruptcy.

Siena has reformed, and is now officially Robur Siena Società Sportiva Dilettantistica, or Robur Siena S.S.D. They will start from the bottom, so to speak, mired in the fourth tier of Italian soccer, Serie D. 5)Something similar happened to the legendary Scottish club Rangers F.C. when it was forced to go into administration due to massive debts a couple of years ago. Serie D is not a professional league and, if you know your alphabet, you can conclude that it promotes to Serie C, which then promotes to Serie B, and so on. Long story short, it will be two years at the very least before Siena can even return to the second tier.

Now, you may very well be asking yourself a very important question: Why the fuck do I care? Continue reading Siena: The Long Gap Between Fantasy and Reality

Notes   [ + ]

1. Football = soccer. Kit = jersey.
2. In international soccer, a “cap” is an appearance for your national team.
3. For the record, two other clubs were docked one points, and one club was docked two points. None of these clubs were relegated.
4. As were the clubs Reggina and Bari, though they were only docked three points and one point respectively. Bari was docked a further three for their role in the scandal described above.
5. Something similar happened to the legendary Scottish club Rangers F.C. when it was forced to go into administration due to massive debts a couple of years ago.

Which Side Are You On? A History of Winners and Losers

Though Game Losers fully launched this past April, the site itself has existed for several years in various iterations. For those of you truly in the know, you might know that the domain name is sort of an homage to the video game site GameWinners, which has been dedicated to cheat codes and hints for video games since the late 1990s. The histories of both these sites are very intertwined and I’d like to illuminate them both in a very special feature this week. Continue reading Which Side Are You On? A History of Winners and Losers