Carpi, like Sassuolo and Albinoleffe before them are small town clubs that have climbed the leagues to Serie B and in some cases up with the big boys in Serie A. When Carpi (population 70,000 - about the size of Lowestoft) secured promotion to Serie A for the first time in their history last season, the club had to find a stadium that met the league's minimum capacity
requirements as their Stadio Sandro Cabassi (capacity 4,144) did not. They now play at Stadio Alberto Braglia in Modena, about 12 miles south of Carpi, which has a capacity of 21,000. Sassuolo (about 12 miles) south-west of Modena have also shared the Stadio Alberto Braglia on promotion to Serie B for the same reason, their Stadio Enzo Ricci had a capacity of 4,000. Since Sassuolo were promoted to Serie A (for the first time) they have ground shared with Lega Pro Prima Divisione club Reggiana who play in
Reggio-Emilia, north-west of Modena.
Modena is a venue that Wilkie Tours visited back in February 2003 during Modena's first ever season in Serie A. The ground had a lot of temporary seating; we watched the game with the visiting Roma fans as the rest of the ground was sold out. Modena drew 1-1 with the reigning Scuddetto champions, coached by Fabio Capello. Diomansy Kamara put the home side in front only for Greek centre-back Dellas to equalise for the Romans. Kamara subsequently played in the Premier League with Portsmouth, West Brom and Fulham; Dellas had a short spell with Sheffield United prior to joining the Italian side. The Modena game was part of a double header as we watched the Bologna v Atalanta game in the evening, a thrilling 3-2 away win
on a freezing cold night!
Not surprisingly, despite holding both Napoli and Milan to goal-less draws at home, Carpi have struggled and find themselves in the bottom three with fellow promotees, Frosinone. The two stand out players are 2006 World Cup winning defender Zaccardo and veteran striker Boriello, both much travelled in top flight football. They also have the oddly named Kevin Lasagne in their
squad, hmmm lasagne.
Modena's ground has been extensively modernised since our last visit with three sides of the ground having been rebuilt. Once the lower league fixtures have been scheduled the Wilkie Tours match itinerary will be confirmed; we anticipate taking in at least a couple of games. More to follow.