- Empoli F.C.
Football club infobox
clubname = Empoli
fullname = Empoli Football Club
nickname = "Azzurri" (the Blues)
founded = 1920
Stadio Carlo Castellani, Empoli, Italy
capacity = 19,847
season = 2007–08
position = Serie A, 18th (relegated)
Empoli Football Club is a football club based in
Empoli, Tuscany, and formed in 1920, although its first official match was in 1921.
The club has spent a large part of recent years bouncing between Italy's two top divisions. Most recently, Empoli was relegated from
Serie Ato Serie Bin 2004, but secured promotion back to Serie A at the first opportunity, finishing first after the recoiling of Genoa at last position in Serie B. 2007–08 is the seventh Serie A season for Empoli, quite a record for a town of about 45,000 inhabitants, whose team founds its fortunes on their youth divisions, among the most renowned in Italy.
The team's colours are blue and white.
Empoli's history was relatively obscure before the 1980s when they attained Serie B status. In 1986, they managed the remarkable feat for a small-town club of promotion to Serie A. Playing their first few home games in
Florence, Empoli's Serie A debut resulted in a 1–0 win over Inter. Helped by Udinese's 9-point deduction, they managed to avoid relegation with only 23 points and 13 goals scored in 30 games. Empoli themselves would receive a 5-point penalty the following season, and were relegated despite an improved showing with another relegation in 1989.
They spent several seasons after that in Serie C1, returning to Serie B in 1996 and achieving a second successive promotion in 1997. With
Luciano Spallettiat the helm, Empoli defied the odds to avoid relegation in 12th place. Relegation the following year saw a three-year stay in Serie B in which the club became notable for nurturing outstanding young talent.
Promotions to Serie A in 2002 and 2005 have seen the club emerge as brave battlers against relegation. They ended the 2005–06 Serie A season in a respectable 10th place. As a result of the Serie A match-fixing scandal at the end of that season, they gained qualification for the
UEFA Cupfor the following season, however did not play in it because the club management never asked for a UEFA License. In the 2006–07 season, the club gained once more qualification for the UEFA Cup.
In 2007-08 season they marked their historical debut in the continental competition in a two-legged round against
FC Zurich, which Empoli lost 4–2 on aggregate. A poor showing in the initial part of the season then led chairman Fabrizio Corsi to sack Luigi Cagni, who led the Tuscans to clinch UEFA Cup qualification, and replace him with Alberto Malesani.cite news|url=http://www.channel4.com/sport/football_italia/nov26p.html|date= 2007-11-26|accessdate=2007-11-27|publisher=Football Italia|title=Empoli axe Cagni] Cagni was re-appointed on March 31, 2008 but the team faced relegation after the last match of the season. Cagni quit and Empoli hired Silvio Baldinito lead the team during the 2008-09 season.
Current first team squad
2008-09-15" [cite web|url=http://www.empolicalcio.it/interno.php?sez=5|publisher=Empoli FC|title=Squadra|accessdate=2008-08-02|language=Italian] [cite web|url=http://www.empolicalcio.it/interno.php?sez=23&id=7336|publisher=Empoli FC|title=Numerazione maglie stagione 2008-2009|accessdate=2008-08-11|language=Italian] [cite web|url=http://www.lega-calcio.it/comun/0809/cs3.pdf|publisher=Lega Nazionale Professionisti|title=Variazione numerazione maglie|accessdate=2008-08-14|language=Italian]
Notable former players
Antonio Di Natale
*See also: ""
* [http://www.empolicalcio.it Empoli's official website]
* [http://www.calciotoscano.it CalcioToscano.it - News]
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