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Immortal Torino: How the Superga Air Crash Robbed Italian Football of its Champions

Roberto Pennino

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From the publisher:

It was just after five o’clock on 4 May 1949 as the Avio Linee Italiane Fiat G.212, carrying 18 players of AC Torino and 13 other passengers, was preparing to land at Turin’s Aeritalia airport. ?Thick fog meant visibility was poor, and strong winds had blown the plane off course. Disorientated, the plane was around ten miles from the runway and flying in excess of 100mph, when suddenly, out of the fog emerged the Basilica of Superga.

With no time for the pilot to react, the plane crashed into the Basilica, killing all 31 passengers instantly – including manager Erno Egri Erbstein, English coach Leslie Lievesley, and three well-known Italian sports journalists: Renato Casalbore, the founder of Tuttosport, Renato Tosatti, Gazzetta del Popolo, and Luigi Cavallero, La Stampa. Known as Grande Torino, in honour of their achievements, AC Torino had dominated their domestic league, and on the international stage their players were the backbone of the national team. They were on the verge of winning their fifth successive championship, when they flew to Lisbon to face Benfica in a friendly on 1 May, before flying home via Barcelona three days later.

Two days after the crash AC Torino were declared Italian champions, before the club’s reserve and youth team players completed the club’s fixtures and topped the table by five points. Published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of one of Italian football’s most heartbreaking tragedies, and drawing on testimonies from colleagues and team-mates who survived, Immortal Torino is the emotional story of the rise and tragic fall of one of Italian football’s greatest ever teams.

The author:

Roberto Pennino is a Dutch lawyer and writer with Italian roots. Immortal Torino was first published in Dutch in 2018 before being translated into Italian in 2019. In 2019 he published Forza Olandesi, a history of Dutch players in the Italian Serie A. He has also written the biography of Dutch striker Pierre Vermeulen and Italie 1982, an in-depth, behind-the-scenes account of Italy's World Cup title in Spain.

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Pitch Publishing
22 x 15 cm
Paperback
240 pages
April 2024
English
9781801507707