Spezia’s new logo.
Spezia’s new logo.

Anchored to the past?

Fans refuse Spezia’s new logo: “It looks Nazi”

Enrico Cavalieri
Enrico Cavalieri Istituto Comprensivo Porretta Terme. FMH contributor

When the new logo was presented on 6th July the reaction of Spezia Calcio fans wasn’t so warm. “It looks like a Nazi symbol” was the most common commentary, some fans launched a petition on change.org to force the black-and-white historical society to rebrand itself, more than a thousand people signed it in three days. Under accuse are the eagle (the Spezia symbol) put on a top of an S and a C (the initials of Spezia Calcio) that cross each other, taking a shape that can remind the swastika symbol.

Also the mayor of La Spezia, right-wing liberal Pierluigi Peracchini, expressed a sort of soft opposition, saying that it’s not quite a matter of politics, but “he doesn’t like it”. The day after the unveiling, Curva Ferrovia, the core of Spezia fans, hung a banner against the new logo.

A new American ownership

Spezia Calcio has just been relegated in Serie B (the Italian second league) after having conquered its first serie A ever in the Covid year (2019-2020) and having spent the last three years in the top Italian championship. Two years ago the team was bought by the US financial entrepreneur Robert Platek, who also owns Danish Sonderjyske and Portuguese Casa Pia, and this property decided to relaunch the company image with a rebrand, but the result so far doesn’t look so good. The slogan chosen is “Anchored to the past, sailing into the future”, the S and C crossed should give the idea of an anchor, while the whole logo wants to have the shape of a boat’s bow.

An apolitical fan base

Spezia fan base is considered historically a warm one, since the 1920s, when the team’s pitch was disqualified for one year after some fans clashed with Genoa FC supporters. The organized support took life in the 1970s, as for many Italian groups, and remained fervent, in spite of the team gasping between third and fourth league. No political symbol is reported to be seen among Spezia supporters in all their history, even if some of their historical friendships were with left-wing fan groups, such as Livorno and Modena. Nonetheless, during the last championship some of its supporters were accused of racist chores against some players of Juventus, Napoli and Torino. The city of La Spezia, on the northwestern Italian shore, lives on its important port and after World War II received the silver medal for participation in the Italian Resistance movement.

Victory and deportation during nazi occupation

The history of Spezia Calcio during the twenty months of Nazi occupation of Italy is both glorious and painful. The glory derives from the victory in the “Northern Italy Championship”, organized by fascist federation and involving only the regions of the centre.north of Italy, where nazi forces ruled. Spezia Calcio players were co-opted as firemen, to have the possibility to escape the call-at-arms of the fascist Social Republic of Salò. After a regional tournament, and a national round, played among many difficulties of wartime, such as interrupted roads, scarcity of goods etc, beating the team that will soon be known as the Great Torino, Spezia firemen-footballers conquered their first national victory. Even if this title has never been recognized as a real scudetto by the Italian federation, a sort of honorific title was acknowledged to Spezia in recent years. 

But the joy for the victory shouldn’t have been that rampant, because some months before the tournament, Spezia’s president and owner Coriolano Perioli had been arrested by the Gestapo for political activity. He was deported into Mauthausen-Gusen lager, where he died in early 1944. 

Thinking points

Many of the protests uttered by fans against the new logo had the corollary of “the community was not involved in the choice”. Do you think the rebranding of a football team should be just its owner’s business, or supporters should in some way say what they think? And if the latter is your opinion, which could be a way to involve the fan base in a broader way?

Some of the protests were originated by the resemblance of the new logo with a swastika, while the authors claim that’s the shape of an anchor in a boat’s bow, which are both connected with the sea and the city’s history. Do you think a football team’s logo shouldn’t concern about political ideas at all, or some attention should be paid by graphic authors, so as not to risk being misunderstood?

Find out more

About the Northern Italy tournament of 1944 here is English wikipedia article. Articles about Spezia’s new logo issue: in English, in Spanish, in French and in German. For Italian readers, some articles from a Spezia fans’ site: Supporters against new logo, The mayor of La Spezia against the new logo, Core of fans Curva Ferrovia against the new logo.

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