Torino Soccer Club's Devastating Tragedy Killed 22 Members of the Team — Here's What Happened
The golden age of the Torino soccer club was brought to an end in 1949 following a tragic air crash that killed 22 members of the team and closed the curtain on a remarkable generation of players.
Torino enjoyed the tag of being the Italian giant, having won the Italian league for four consecutive years, setting incredible records that still stand in the league.
Their 10-0 defeat of Alessandria remains the biggest victory in Seria A to date. But the good fortune of the club was devastatingly halted in 1949.
Referred to as the 1949 Superga air disaster, Torino Football Club lost its best players and coaches to a crash that has painfully stung the hearts of Italian fans for decades.
Founded in 1906, Torino had dazzled and dominated the scene of Italian football for years, having won their first scudetto in 1928, and they ruled Italy in the 40s.
The club cruised its way to five successive league titles from 1943 to 1949 except for the two years it was suspended because of the war.
Their terrifying line up consisted of Bacigalupo, Ballarin, Moroso, Grezar, Rigamonti, Castigliano, Menti, Loik, Gabetto, Mazzola, and Ossola, a squad that left opposing teams gripped with fear.
The world mourned the sad loss, and most retired players offered to play for the grieving team.
ON THIS DAY: In 1949 the entire Torino team we're sadly killed in the Superga air crash.— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) May 4, 2017
Rest In Peace😥🌹 pic.twitter.com/LDmB9Ezzd1
But all came crumbling down on May 4, 1949, when the team returning from a testimonial match for Benfica player Jose Ferreira, tragically crashed into a 2,200ft-high peak called Superga on the outskirts of Turin.
The crash was attributed to technical problems and poor weather conditions. It claimed the lives of club officials, coaches, players, and journalists. The club would never be the same after the sad event.
On this day in 1949, the Superga air disaster claimed the lives of 31 people, including the Grande Torino football team, five-time champions of Italy.— Goal (@goal) May 4, 2020
Gone, but never forgotten. RIP 🌹 pic.twitter.com/Fl2qxJxZrg
Half a million grieving fans of Italian football lined the streets, mourning the demise of a golden era of a team that constituted the best legs of Italian soccer.
The 1949 league season title was awarded to Torino following each club's decision to hand the league to them, seeing that they were already ahead with only four games left to play.
The bull in Torino's third kit is made by the names of players who had lost their lives in the Superga air disaster! pic.twitter.com/zR6kOFeM9a— Sportskeeda (@Sportskeeda) July 17, 2015
At the beginning of the next season, each Italian team contributed a player to the suffering Torino in a bid to help them recover, but it would take almost thirty years for the team to win another league title.
Fluctuating between relegation and financial woes, Torino has become a shadow of its former self, and their fans have had to endure the humiliation of seeing their rival, Juventus, take their place as the big fish of Italian football.
Today marks the anniversary of the tragic @TorinoFC1906_En Superga air disaster. It was an honour for us to pay tribute to them at the Egri Erbstein Tournament in Budapest last year. pic.twitter.com/uGqbYOHEUn— Corinthian-Casuals (@CorinthianCas) May 4, 2020
Torino is not the only football team to have had its glory shut down by a plane crash. Unlike other victims like Manchester United, they were unable to revive and regain their strength.
In 1958, Manchester United lost their players and other team members to a horrific crash at the Munich airport. 23 people on board the plane died, including eight players and eight journalists.
There’s not a day goes by that I take this shirt for granted. The Flowers of Manchester ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cL6idk1tgm— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) February 6, 2020
English football was rocked by this sad event as the club lost some of its best players. The event would go on to push Manchester to become one of the most successful English clubs.
In recent times, Brazilian first division team Chapecoense lost most of its squad and team members to a terrifying plane crash that occurred near Medellin, Colombia.
One year ago today, 71 people tragically lost their lives in the Chapecoense air disaster. RIP pic.twitter.com/FlZqsyPGm5— Goal (@goal) November 28, 2017
The world mourned the sad loss, and most retired players offered to play for the grieving team. Although football had been struck by tragedy, fans of the beautiful game continue their love for the sport but never forget the sacrifices of their fallen heroes.