4 May 1949 – The Superga Tragedy – Grande Torino died, the Myth born.
The Glory of Grande Torino Suddenly Stop
The years of glory for the “Grande Torino” were interrupted the 4 May 1949 at 5,05 pm. The players of Torino are coming back from a friendly in Lisbona against Benfica, the match was arranged by the two captains.
Ferreira asked Mazzola, during Italy-Portugal played in Genoa, to arrange the match for his farewell to football.
The match was played on 3 May 1949 and the friendly was won by Benfica 4-3 in a happy stadium full of 40,000 people that celebrate Ferreira.
The day after, Torino went on the plane I-Elce to come back home. The weather was awful, with fog and rain. After the last contact with the radio station, the plane crashed against the Basilica of Superga. It’s 5.05pm of the 4 May 1949.
All People inside the plane died
In the crash, all the 31 people inside the plane died, full of Torino’s players, managers of the team, journalists and the plane’s crew.
The player were: Valerio Bacigalupo, Aldo Ballarin, Dino Ballarin, Emile Bongiorni, Eusebio Castigliano, Rubens Fadini, Guglielmo Gabetto, Ruggero Grava, Giuseppe Grezar, Ezio Loik, Virgilio Maroso, Danilo Martelli, Valentino Mazzola, Romeo Menti, Piero Operto, Franco Ossola, Mario Rigamonti, Giulio Schubert, the trainers Egri Erbstein, Leslie Levesley, the masseur Ottavio Cortina and the managers Arnaldo Agnisetta, Andrea Bonaiuti and Ippolito Civalleri.
The journalist were: Renato Casalbore (founder of Tuttosport), Renato Tosatti (Gazzetta del Popolo) and Luigi Cavallero (La Stampa) and the crews member Pierluigi Meroni, Celeste D’Inca, Celeste Biancardi and Antonio Pangrazi.
All Italy cried for this tragedy
The coffins were showed to the city and the fans in Piazza Madama and over 500,000 people participated at the funeral.
All the other Italians teams, some foreign teams, the government, the President of the Italian Football Federation were presented too.
The great Italians journalist Indro Montanelli wrote: “The heroes are immortal to the eyes who believe in them. So the guys will believe that Torino is not death: is playing away”.
Of one of the most important Italian team of all time only 3 players survived: the second goalkeeper Renato Gandolfi, Sauro Tomà, injured and Luigi Gandolfi, a young player from the cantera.
The season 1948/49 was finished by the young team of Torino, that play against the other young teams the last 4 matches of the season.
Torino won all four matches, and finished the Serie A with 60 points, 5 more than Inter, in the second place.
The 26 May 1949 a match was organised in the Stadium Comunale.
Against the Great River Plate played the Symbolic Torino, 11 champions loaned by other Italians teams. For Torino played Sentimenti IV, Manente, Furiassi, Annovazzi, Giovannini, Achilli, Nyers, Boniperti, Nordhal, Hansen, Ferrari II, Lorenzi, for the Argentinian the star was Di Stefano.
In a Stadium without a free seat, the match finished 2-2.