Worn By: Simone Perrotta, Bernardo Corradi, Christian Manfredini, Eriberto & Massimo Marazzina
This eye-catching shirt was the home kit of Serie A new boys Chievo Verona in 2001-02. Designed and manufactured by Spanish sportswear company Joma, they went for a simple but effective design.
Joma stuck to the traditional ‘Gialloblu’ (Yellow & Blue), the colours that represent the city of Verona. They also added the unique image of Cangrande I della Scala, (a medieval lord of Verona) on the bottom left of the shirt, the same iconic image that appears on the club’s badge. This stylish addition made it one of Serie A’s most attractive strips. But it wouldn’t be a Chievo kit if it didn’t have their main sponsor, ‘Paluani’, emblazoned across the chest. The company – who specialise in Italy’s famous seasonal cakes Panettone, Pandoro and Colombo – have been Chievo’s patrons since 1964 and the dark blue text complemented the bright yellow shirt beautifully.
Above all, however, this kit will always be remembered for the Gialloblu’s exploits on the field. This was the season the ‘The Flying Donkeys’ were born. The nickname actually owes its roots to Chievo’s cross-town rivals, Hellas Verona. When the two clubs met in a Serie B derby in 1995, Hellas fans unveiled a banner that read: ‘When donkeys fly, we will play this derby in Serie A’. The Veronesi would later rue their words when Chievo were promoted to Serie A in 2001. Chievo thus adopted their new moniker; I Mussi Volanti (The Flying Donkeys).
To this day, they embrace the nickname and during their debut Serie A season, it was their supporters who had the last laugh. Chievo took Serie A by storm, losing just one of their opening ten games, that defeat coming in round three as Luigi Del Neri’s men narrowly lost 3-2 to Juventus in Turin.
Chievo continued this fine form as their dream debut season continued, finishing an impressive fifth, thus qualifying for the 2002-03 UEFA Cup. Despite being heavily tipped to return straight back to Serie B, Del Neri’s side more than held their own. Indeed, the Italian tactician set his side out to attack and entertain in an offensive 4-4-2 shape. Chievo were a revelation. The performances of their attacking wingers were particularly impressive, with Eriberto and Manfredini proving constant service to forward Massimo Marazzina, who struck 13 times throughout the 2001-02 season. Hellas, meanwhile, struggled throughout and were eventually relegated to Serie B.
In this Classic Calcio Kit, the Chievo miracle was performed. These donkeys didn’t just fly, they soared.
Words by Giovanni Dougall: @giovannid86