Virtus Imola, history and passion: the Santerno – Sport – Basketball derby returns

Imola, June 14, 2022 – The Chronicler take thescrapbook and flipping through the pages of a sport that is also a bit of religion, illness, devotion. Novel of a city, angiography of a passion. Imola and basketball, always together. Imola and basketball, together again. In the white and red declension of Andrea Costa and in the yellow and black version of Virtus (added to Spes Vis, other glorious clubs). As a sign of a more platonic than real rivalry, because the two main teams have chased each other, followed each other, hugged each other, but have collided very little. A relay of heroes and failures that began under the sky of Savonarola, passed through the PalaRuggi, the PalaTenda and then Faenza, during the years of the diaspora.

Until you come back on the floor near the pool, the epicenter of a passion that next year will give an alternation that will no longer have Basket City, or the next Bologna.

Paradox: under the Virtus and Fortitudo Towers will be divided by a series as often happened in the Santerno, in Imola instead Virtus joined Andrea Costa in the Serie B. And let the show begin.


We could be wrong, but there have only been two derbies over the years, in official format: the 1985/6 season ran (2-0 for the white-reds). Then three more open matches: twice in the 1994/5 vintage (balanced budget) and another in 2002 (Andrea Costa also won here, with 27 from Enzino Esposito and 21 from Romboli, but also Maurino Bonaiuti in put 27 for the coached team). by Stefano Salieri at the time: it was very tight). In 2022/3 ping-pong will be real, presumably already from the preseason.


It all started in 1936, when the Virtus Imola Sportiva was born in the Savonarola gym: playing field on the ground and asphalt, outdoors, students, sky hooks, shoes with damaged toes. A constant pitcher between B and C, when there were far fewer series, Virtus is Imola’s basketball. Forty years ago, the national B was the third Italian series. At the head of the team was Augusto Brusa and the public, accustomed to the legendary gym on Sunday morning in front of Valverde, had recently been transferred to the PalaRuggi. Years of mixed fortunes followed, the rebirth with Littorio Galassi (again in B) and the failure in 2004/5, then the restart thanks to Luigi Dall’Alpi with the current trigeminal structure (Virtus Spes Vis). Forty years ago, Andrea Costa had just turned sixteen and was trying to recover from the C2 series, which she had won just two seasons earlier. But the turning point was just around the corner and came, in fact, three years later with a win that made the white-and-red team present at the Domenica Sportiva: Bob Ravaglia and his associates managed to win the championship without losing a single game. . And on the impulse, once she reached her cousins ​​Virtus, the young Andrea Costa also managed to reverse the hierarchies.


So we go back to the late 80’s and early 90’s, a stagnation that anticipated the double jump: from B1 to A1 in four years (94/95 and 97/98). At the start of Zero the arrival in Imola of NBA star Vincenzo Esposito, participation in the Korac Cup and Saporta Cup and, unfortunately, the beginning of the descent, with the descent to Legadue and the problems of company. But survival is a specialty of the house and so, despite a world full of economic crises, Andrea Costa is still here, happy to B.


The players and coaches are the halls of the Basket City of Santerno. Gianni Zappi, coach of both teams. And Carletto Marchi, player of both and now a virtuoso pillar. Then we come to the present, with Daniele Casadei playing in both houses (and the other night in Medicine she did her ‘last dance’, without excluding a priori the ‘I’m back’ from the Jordanian memory), Nunzio Corcelli, Marco Morara. Imola in the fate of Imola (and not to mention the adoptive Imolese, from Caiti to Bortolon to Foiera). The history of basketball is also the history of the city, it was said. With his ‘father’ Andrea Costa, needless to say. But also with some symbolic players of the sport of Imola: Chicco Ravaglia, the best player of Imola in history, taken from life by a car accident a few days after Christmas 1999, but also two more athletes than Luca Bandini and Marco Marchetti died prematurely. while wearing Virtus and Castel Guelfo jackets. And then the Carlino, which over the years has had two extraordinary columns: ‘Le bombe del Diablo’ by Enzino Esposito and ‘Gianni Zappi calls time-out’.

The derby is back, it’s no coincidence that Formula 1 and the big concerts are back too. Isn’t Imola from Series A instead of Series B?

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