Vittorio Staccione was an Italian football player, and all his career took place during the fascist regime.
A start in Torino
Born in Turin in 1904, in a proud working-class family, he grew up surrounded by socialist ideas, which were largely diffused in that industrial city at the beginning of 20th century. As a footballer he was discovered by FC Torino’s captain Heinrich (Enrico, as he was called in a country becoming allergic to foreign words and names) Bachmann, who saw him playing in football pitches of the city center. He made his debut in Italian Serie A (at the time it was called Prima Divisione), as an interdiction midfielder, just in 1924, against Hellas Verona.
In the summer of 1924, just when Mussolini was consolidating his power, he was transferred to US Cremonese, in the city of the radical fascist leader Roberto Farinacci, who quickly identified Staccione as a “dangerous subversive”. This meant that his name was often erased from the starting list of the matches, by putting an “X” in its place. He nonetheless kept playing well, so FC Torino took him back. On 17th October 1926 the new Filadelfia stadium was inaugurated with the match between Torino FC and Fortitudo Rome, but Staccione couldn’t play: fascist henchmen just beat him, breaking two of his ribs.
Fighting with fate too
After winning a Scudetto with the garnet team, he went to play for Fiorentina, where he had the best part of his career. He also went on to play for Cosenza and Savoia, but a big family tragedy (the loss of his newborn child and of his wife at the same time) took a huge toll on him and his football career.
Staccione came back to Turin, this time as a worker for the FIAT car factory. Life’s misfortunes didn’t kill his fighting spirit. Still a fervent socialist, during nazi occupation he was reported by the OVRA (the fascist secret service) to the SS command, for having participated in partisan activities. He was sent to Mauthausen lager, where he died in 1945 of septicemia.
Vittorio Staccione spent a life fighting against a regime he hated, before as a football player, then as a worker. and also fate wasn’t benevolent with him. Can you imagine living in opposition to your home country dictatorship, without surrendering, till the very end of your life?