A.S. BARI FOOTBALL CLUB
Associazione Sportiva Bari (as Bari calcio) is an Italian football club founded in 1908, they are based in Bari, Apulia. The club have spent many seasons bouncing between the top two divisions in Italian football, Serie A and Serie B, and they currently play in the top tier.
During 1927, the original football club representing the city was merged with a team named Liberty Bari, a year following this the new club was merged too, this time with US Ideale; hence the sometimes given foundation date of 1928.
Statistically Bari are the most successful club from the Apulia region, in terms of the all-time Serie A records. They are amongst the elite in Southern Italian football and are ranked 17th in the all-time Serie A records for all of Italy. Notably they won the Mitropa Cup in 1990. Bari also held the British football transfer record, when it paid £ 5,500,000 for David Platt in 1991. It was the most expensive fee paid by a foreign club for a British player for four years.
One of the most notable achievements in the club's history was in the 1996 season, when their forward Igor Protti became the top scorer in the Serie A with 24 goals. The club are known in the wider footballing world for producing Antonio Cassano who was born in Bari, he shone at the club as a youngster.
Foot-Ball Club Bari was founded in the city on 15 January 1908. Like the majority of early Italian football clubs, foreign people were involved in the foundation of the club. Amongst the main founders were; German Floriano Ludwig, Swiss Gustavo Kuhn and a native trader of Bari called Giovanni Tiberini.
The first players included many non-Italians, the FBC Bari originals included; founder Ludwig, along with Barther (English), Bach (Swiss), Attoma, Roth (Swiss), Labourdette (Spanish), Jovinet (French), Giordano, Gazagne (French), Randi and Ziegler. Originally the club wore red shirts with white shorts, early on they would play against English sailors at the San Lorenzo field in the San Pasquale area of Bari.
Although the club was founded early on, clubs from the Mezzogiorno were not very well represented in the early Italian football championships and thus Bari did not take part in the early seasons. In fact only Campania had a regional section in the league from that area prior to the First World War. The war would see the original club becoming defunct, before being reorganised under the same name.
By this time other clubs from the city had begun playing too, including; Foot-Ball Club Liberty who originally wore blue and white stripes, they were founded as a dissident club from the original Bari in 1909 and their rivals Unione Sportiva Ideale who wore green and black stripes. In fact it was FBC Liberty who became the first ever side from the Province of Bari to take part in the Italian Football Championship, this was during the 1921–22 CCI season, when the main clubs in the country had a falling out with FIGC.
The following season Ideale became the first side from Bari to progress to the Southern Italian semi-finals round, but lost out to Lazio. All three clubs featured in the championship for the first time in 1924–25 however FBC Bari were relegated, Liberty on the other hand reached the Southern semi-finals before losing out heavily to Alba Roma.
Unione Sportiva Bari
A series of club mergers took place in the city over the course of two years, which would create one united club to represent Bari. The first merger took place between FBC Bari and FBC Liberty, they opted to keep the Bari name and first used it on 6 February 1927 in a match against Audace Taranto.
The whole of Italian football was changing during this period and beginning to become more organised, similar mergers were taking place in Naples, Florence and Rome around the same time. The second part of the Bari merger was competed on 27 February 1928 when FBC Bari merged with US Ideale to create Unione Sportiva Bari. The original US Bari shirts incorporated the stripes of Ideale, with the red and white colours of FBC Bari.
After the Italian Championship of 1928–29, the league system was reorganised and Bari was placed in Serie B. One of their players was called up to the Italian national football team that season for the first time, in the form of Raffaele Costantino, this made Bari the first Serie B club to contribute a player and a scorer to the national side.
The 1930s and 1940s were Bari's golden age, spending much of that time in Serie A with a finish of 7th in 1947 being the best they achieved.
In the 1950s Bari went into a sharp decline and an equally rapid revival towards the end of the decade to spend three more years in Serie A (1958–61). Stars of the team in this period included Biagio Catalano and Raúl Conti. The club return to Serie A twice more in this period (1963–64 and 1969–70) with the latter proving especially harrowing with only 11 goals scored, the lowest of any top-flight club. In 1974 Bari descended to Serie C, finishing that season with only 12 goals scored and 26 conceded in 38 games.
By the late 1970s Bari were back in Serie A and on something of an upward swing, narrowly missing promotion in 1982. They managed promotion to Serie A in 1985 and acquired English players Gordon Cowans and Paul Rideout, but they were unable to prevent an instant return to Serie B. A return to Serie A in 1989 with stars including stalwart defender Giovanni Loseto, midfielder Pietro Maiellaro and Brazilian striker João Paulo saw a respectable 10th place finish in 1990, their last season at the Della Vittoria. The following season saw Bari move to the San Nicola stadium, built for the 1990 World Cup, but by 1992– despite the signing of David Platt- they would be relegated once more.
Promotion in 1994 saw another two-year stay in Serie A with Igor Protti a regular scorer, and another promotion in 1997 saw the emergence of promising youngsters like Nicola Ventola, Gianluca Zambrotta and Diego De Ascentis. This time they managed a four-year stay in Serie A under the guidance of Eugenio Fascetti, despite his uneasy relationship with many sections of the club's support. The club has since had a generally indifferent spell in Serie B. However, having been near the top of the Serie B table for much of the 2008–09 season they gained promotion to Serie A on 8 May 2009, under the guidance of Antonio Conte.