AH - Italian Football - Butterflies in Milan

00 - No Inter Milan, but Unione Sportiva Milanese!
Hi, this is my first sport-related alternate history posting. Let's say that in 1908, the schism between Milan FCC and what became Inter Milan happened without much fuss. Let's find out with these first 2 wikiboxes:

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I hope to post very soon additional infos!
 
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01 - The First Team in Milan - Milan FCC, the split and what happened.
From English Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_AC_Milan

A.C. Milan was founded as Milan Foot-Ball and Cricket Club in 1899 by English expatriate Herbert Kilpin. The club claims 16 December of that year as their foundation date,[1] but historical evidence seems to suggest that the club was actually founded a few days earlier, most likely on 13 December.[2] However, with the club's charter being lost, the exact date remains open to debate. Alfred Edwards, a former British vice-consul in Milan and well-known personality of the Milanese high society, was the club's first elected president. Initially, the team included a cricket section, managed by Edward Berra, and a football section, managed by Kilpin.

The official colours chosen were red and black. Immediately the team gained relevant notability under Kilpin's guide. The first trophy to be won was the Medaglia del Re (King's Medal) in January 1900, and the team later won three national leagues, in 1901, 1906 and 1907. The triumph of 1901 was particularly relevant because it ended the consecutive series of wins of Genoa, which had been the only team to have won prior to 1901.

The club proved successful in the first decade of its existence, with several important trophies won, including, among others, two more editions of the aforementioned Medaglia del Re,[3] the Palla Dapples 23 times[4] and the FGNI tournament five times, a competition organized by the Italian Gymnastics Federation but not officially recognized by the Italian Football Federation.[5]

In 1908, issues over the signing of foreign players led to a split and the formation of F.C. Internazionale Milano which caused one of the former Milan founders Giovanni Paramithiotti to become president of Internazionale Milano instead.

And here it's what changed vs OTL. The issues on the signing of foreign players among the different associates of Milan FCC ended thanks to the sudden retreat of the charismatic futuristic painter Giorgio Muggiani, one of the foremost contrarians on the compromise policy of Giannino Camperio, Milan FCC elder counselor, towards the Italian Football Federation. Milan FCC already missed the 1907-1908 season because of its disagreement on the guideline against the signing of foreign players mandated by the Italian Football Federation and now, with the 1908 season incoming, a solution was found: Milan FCC, under Camperio's leadership, decided to keep its foreign players obliging itself in not acquiring further internationals. The Swiss component into Milan FCC, with a few Italians, like Giovanni Paramithiotti, decided anyway to split, without swaying too much support without the help of Muggiani, who indeed contributed only to draw the Club's logo.
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Internazionale Milano was born, but it was a stillborn: in the end, the majority of players, associates, and supporters rallied around Milan FCC, and Internazionale, due to the lack of charisma and personal awkwardness of Paramithiotti (its first chairman) became one of the many clubs in Milan, alike Unione Sportiva Milanese, Libertas Milano, and Ausonia.

Unione Sportiva Milanese was the one which we still listen to today when looking at Italian football for its fierce rivalry against Milan FCC.
 
02 - Unione Sportiva Milanese: the Checkers and their first Milan derby
From Italian Wikipedia - https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unione_Sportiva_Milanese (translated in English by myself):
USM was founded in Milan on 16 January 1902 in the rooms of the Caffè Verdi in Porta Nuova by a group of young and boisterous friends who met every evening to play the usual game of cards and billiards. The group of twenty or so comrades, led by the charismatic Gilberto Marley, Romolo Buni, and Ambrogio Ferrario, decided to found a sports club and give it the name of Unione Sportiva Milanese. They elected Erba, Romolo Buni, and Ambrogio Ferrario as their first president.

Erba became the first president, with Mazzucchi as deputy and Ambrogio Ferrario as secretary. Buni and Marley, who had been cycling champions, organized the cycling section, the first to compete at amateur and professional levels. By 1903, the club had grown and had increased the number of its members, requiring a new clubhouse. The new headquarters was located in Via Fiori Oscuri, in the Brera district, and included three rented premises. As the success in the sporting disciplines increased, in deference to the first article of the club's statute, which contemplated the possibility of adding others, USM set up a football section.

The affiliation to the Italian Football Federation came, therefore, only in the 1905 season with the purchase of the first pitch located in Via Comasina 6, today's Via Menabrea in the triangle between Piazzale Maciachini and Via Farini, at the time on the edge of the municipality of Milan. The jersey was black and white chequered (actually, more accurately, quarter-checked), with white shorts and black socks: for this reason, they were called "the Checkers" In away matches, in the case of opponents with similar colors, the checkers became red and white.

USM took part in its first tournament in 1905, after the incorporation of many players from the defunct Mediolanum society, and came second behind Pro Vercelli in the Federazione Ginnastica Nazionale Italiana (Italian National Gymnastics Federation) Extraordinary National Competition. In 1905, USM participated in the national championship, coming third. The formation was as follows: Francesconi, Pirovano, Lanfranchi, Ghinelli, Cremonesi, Franziosi, U. Meazza, Recalcati, Varisco, Bojocchi, Magni.

USM took part at the Lombard elimination pool, going head to head in the first official Milan Derby against Milan FCC:

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USM qualificated to the National Finals against Juventus (from Piedmont) and Genoa (from Liguria), losing against Juventus (3-0 in Turin, 1-4 in Milan) and Genoa (2-3 in Milan and 1-1 in Genoa), wth Juventus winning its first Italian Title:
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Juventus, at its first Italian Title in 1905.
Durante, Armano I, Mazzia, Goccione, Diment, Walty, Barberis, Donna, Varetti, Squair, Forlano
 
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Also, cannot wait for 90s and 00s. Wonder what the team would look like - Ronaldo and Schevchenko in attack...oh man RIP to any defence in Serie A I guess
 
03 - 1906 Championship
The course of the ninth Italian football championship was somewhat turbulent, plagued by bad weather and regulatory controversies. The first controversy occurred during the return match of the Lombardy preliminary round between USM and Milan played on January 14th and won by the Redblacks. At the end of the game, Milanese lodged two complaints against the homologation of the result: one because they believed that Milan had fielded a player, Dutchman François Menno Knoote, against the regulations; the other because the match had been interrupted 4 minutes before the 90th minute due to darkness. On January 28th, the federation decided not to homologate the game and to have it replayed on February 4th. Nevertheless, Milanese chivalrously elected to accept the verdict of the field, content to have had satisfaction from a legal point of view. Milan, who had also beaten their city rivals in the first match, was thus able to enter the final round with Genoa, the executioner of Andrea Doria, and Juventus, the only Piedmontese team that entered the tournament.

Lombard Elimination Round
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In the beginning, bad weather conditions afflicted the final phase: on February 11th the planned Milan-Genoa match didn't take place: Genoa couldn't travel to Milan due to snowfall. Milan, in an act of gallantry, did not claim victory by forfeit with the match postponed to April 8th, while Genoa-Milan took place on March 4th. The following week, for the same reason, Juventus-Milan was not played, also delayed to March. Then, a heated refereeing controversy heated the championship in the remaining matches: during the Juventus-Genoa match on March 18th, the referee Umberto Meazza of Milan was the protagonist of disputed decisions: first, he annulled a goal for Genoa for offside, then he awarded them two penalty kicks (perhaps for compensation), both blocked by the Piedmont goalkeeper Durante. Then, when Genoa's Goetzlof committed a bad foul against Juventus' Diment, an argument between a Genoa player and a spectator degenerated into a brawl involving both players and officials from both clubs. The match was suspended at 1-0 to Juventus. FIF scheduled a replay of the game for March 25th in Turin, but Genoa chose not to play due to the open hostility of the Juventus crowd. The replay was then moved to April on neutral ground in Milan, but Juventus' victory prompted Genoa, who were mathematically excluded from the Scudetto fight, not to participate in the last match against AC Milan, conceding victory to the Redblacks.

The refusal of the Ligurians, combined with Milan's victory on April 22nd against Juventus in the final match, allowed the Lombards to finish first in the group tied with the Piedmontese, which necessitated a play-off to be played on the pitch of the club with the most goals scored. In theory, this should have been AC Milan, thanks to the two goals conceded against Genoa, which brought their tally to 6 against Juventus' 5. FIF, however, established in the regulations that the penalty goals should not be counted for this purpose as they were fictitious: consequently, the reigning champions, thanks to their 5 'real' goals against the Rossoneri's 4, obtained that assignation of the pitch in Turin. The challenge ended in a draw with the need for a neutral ground, as per the regulations, for the new challenge. Since, for obvious reasons of public order, it was impossible to play in Genoa, FIF identified the US Milanese ground as the neutral ground. Juventus, in the person of President Alfred Dick, did not accept the nomination, considering the USM venue to be non-neutral, and forfeited the match, resolving the troubled tournament in Milan's favor.

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Milan FCC's team for its second Italian Championship:
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Bosshard, Attilio Colombo, Guerriero Colombo, Giger, Heuberger, Kilpin, Knoote, Malvano, Meschia, Moda, Pedroni, Rizzi, Sala, Alessandro Trerè, Attilio Trerè and Widmer
 
04 - 1907 Championship
An important change happened just before the start of 1907 champions: a new club that would become a powerhouse of Italian football appeared in Turin. The former club of Torinese, Juventus' main contender in Turin, already absorbed the previous Internazionale Torino in 1900, morphing into the glorious Torino side.

On December 3rd, 1906, at the Voigt brewery in Via Pietro Micca, on the corner of Via Botero, the former Juventus manager Alfred Dick, together with other associates at odds with the Bianconeri club, proposed to the Torinese managers and players, in financial crisis, to found a new club. Shortly before midnight, Hans Schoenbrod was proclaimed chairman of the newly formed Foot Ball Club Torino. Enrico Debernardi, Eugenio De Fernex, Fritz Bollinger, and Alfred Dick (who took over as vice chairman) also took part in the meeting.

The first match was played on December 16th, 1906, in Vercelli against Pro: Torino, donning the classic orange-black uniform of Torinese, who won 3-1. The line-up consisted of eight Torinese veterans, two ex-Juventini, and a Swiss player.

Slightly pestered by the insult suffered by Juventus in the final of the previous championship, the Milan managers faced the 1907 tournament wanting to confirm their supremacy and the goodness of the title they had just won. Milan quashed its regular opponent, USM, in the Lombard pool:
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Their opponents in the final round were two up-and-comers: in Piedmont, in fact, the newly-formed club of Torino, had managed to oust Juventus from the tournament at the first blow. However, the most surprising news arrived from Liguria: where Andrea Doria kicked out Genoa, at that moment always present in all the first nine finals of the Italian championship.

Although the matches between Milan and Torino ended in a draw in both cases, Milan defeated Andrea Doria in the first leg, while Torino obtained only a draw against Andrea Doria in Genoa. Notwithstanding the success in the return leg in Turin was of little value to Torino due to the failure of Andrea Doria, because on April 7th, Milan had already won their third national title, the second consecutive, with a 2-0 victory in Genoa.

Milan FCC: 6 points
Torino: 5 points
Andrea Doria: 1 point

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Just as in 1901 the backbone of Milan had been the English players, so in the two mid-decade successes the fundamental contribution came from a large group of Swiss athletes. Below Milan's squad for its 3rd Title

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Radice, Meschia, Moda, Bosshard, Trerè II, Piazza, Kilpin, Imhoff, Widmer, Trerè I, Maedler
 
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05 - 1908 turmoil - Federal and Italian Championship, the Football Clubs fold and first USM title
After the first decade, Italian football changed due to FIF's decision to forcibly 'Italianise' the league, excluding foreign players who had founded the game in Italy. FIF's decision hit the Football Clubs hard, opening room for the Sports and Gymnastic Unions, which, although weaker, were usually made up of Italian athletes only and until then had been more interested in the parallel championship organized by the Federginnastica (Gymnastic Federation).

At the assembly of October 20th, 1907, however, the president of Doria, Oberti, presented an agenda with which he proposed to divide the First and Second Categories (but not the Third) into two parallel competitions an Italian one (awarding the traditional title of 'Champion of Italy' and the new Romolo Buni Cup) for Belpaese players only, and a federal one (awarding the newly created title of 'Federal Champion of Italy' and the prestigious Spensley Cup) that would be open to both domestic and foreign players.

Upon the approval of this agenda, the reaction of the big clubs was extremely harsh, even resulting in their withdrawal from the tournament despite FIF's attempts at recomposition. The Football Clubs, in fact, harshly contested the de iure distinction between the two championships with the use of the new name "federale" (federal) for the mixed tournament and the classic appellation "italiano" (Italian) for the autarkic one, as it deprived foreign players of the right to compete for the title of "Champion of Italy" and relegated them to compete for the lesser recognition of "Campione Federale" and this even though FIF had publicly defined the Federal tournament as "the most important competition" than the Italian one.

The 'spurious international' teams, however, did not retrace their steps, partly out of protest at the fact that even the Federal championship had some restrictions for foreigners: only foreigners who had a fixed residence in Italy were allowed to participate in that championship, thus attempting to combat the malpractice adopted by the big clubs of recruiting foreign players from abroad for single matches, especially if they were Swiss. The reasons for the big clubs' obstructionism against FIF's new autarkic policy arrived from their fears that if they accepted it, it would only be the first step towards the complete purge of foreigners from the league. Of the twenty-one clubs that turned up at FIF's ordinary assembly on November 11th, 1907, for the customary deliberations, only Juventus was present among the big clubs (Genoa, Milan, and Torino absented themselves in protest). In 1908, therefore, two championships were disputed: a Federal one open to foreigners and an Italian one open only to Italians.

In protest against FIF's deliberations in 1908, incumbent champions Milan, Genoa, and Torino refused to participate in the Italian championship and withdrew from the Federal tournament.

Juventus then joined the protesting front, but ambiguously: the Bianconeri only joined the protest after their elimination by Pro Vercelli and without compromising their positions in the other categories.

USM instead decided to participate in the F.I.F. competitions, being the only Lombardy-based club in First Category, it immediately accessed the Final Championship Pool, together with Pro Vercelli (who quashed Juventus in the Piedmontese qualification match) and Andrea Doria (that like USM was representing Liguria with the withdrawal of Genoa).
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USM finishes as Italian Champion, besting Andrea Doria and tying Pro Vercelli's strong side on two draws. Below the Team:

GK Mario De Simoni,GK A. Meazza (II),DEF Cesare Boldorini (I),DEF Magni (II),DEF Attilio Pirovano,DEF Battista Verga (I),MID Vincenzo Alfieri,MID Armando Cremonesi,MID Giacomo Roseo,STK Paolo Besana,STK Arturo Boiocchi,STK Mario Cagliani,STK Emilio Colombo,STK Alfredo Franziosi,STK Mario Ghinelli,STK Grassi,STK Carlo Magno Magni (I),STK Umberto Meazza (I),STK Armando Morbelli (I),STK Celso Morbelli (II),STK Amilcare Pizzi (I),STK Agostino Recalcati,STK Franco Varisco
 
06 - Internazionale's debut and Pro Vercelli's first title
In the stormy 1907-1908 season, FIF's attempt to limit the presence of foreign footballers by establishing a "Federal championship" open to foreigners and parallel to the autarkic "Italian championship" resulted in the withdrawal in protest of Milan, Torino, and Genoa, who contested the institutional decision to deprive foreign athletes of the right to compete for the title of "Champion of Italy" and to force them to compete for the lesser recognition of "Federal Champion".

In September 1908, therefore, a mediation meeting was held in Milan between the clubs and the FIF, where they reached a compromise, calling the two championships the Italian National Championship and the Italian Federal Championship, to eliminate the legal differentiation between the two tournaments.

At the assembly of November 8th, 1908 - the same one in which Milan permanently received the prestigious Spensley Cup, a fact that contributed to the invalidation of the 1908 Federal Championship - the compromise on the naming fell through, with the decision to uphold the previous year organization in two tournaments.

The Football Clubs' reaction to the new affront was more tactical this time: acting oppositely to the previous year, they participated fully in the Federal championship to make it the only major tournament, continued their boycott of the Italian autarkic league, making it unreal in the eyes of public opinion, and postponed the settlement of the dispute with the federation until the following year.

Ligurian eliminations

The original first leg was played on January 10th, won by Genoa 2-1 vs Andrea Doria. Drawing 1-1 in the return leg the following week, Genoa seemed to have qualified. Instead, the FIF surprisingly canceled the match due to a technical error, making them repeat it on February 7th, ending in a draw, requiring thus a third play-off match on February 21st, with the final qualification of Genoa.

Piedmontese eliminations

Torino managed to win the first game by 1-0 vs Juventus, while in the second leg, the Bianconeri won by 3-1, requiring a playoff, won by Torino by 0-1. In the final elimination phase, Pro Vercelli, admitted at the second round due to its previous year's runner-up position, confronted Torino:

The first leg on January 31st saw Pro Vercelli prevail 2-0 with goals from Visconti and Fresia in the second half. However, Torinisti complained to FIF to have the match canceled due to a technical error by the referee, as he had whistled at the end of the game six minutes early and, FIF accepted the appeal to hold a repeat game. The repeat match in Vercelli on March 14th, still viewed the Vercelli's whites winning by 1-0 to Torino.

Lombard Eliminations
The debut of Internazionale, led by chairman Paramithiotti and a large contingent of Swiss players, didn't meet expectations, with the 0-2 defeat against the incumbent Italian champions of USM and the devastating loss by 3-2 by the rivals of Milan. Paramithiotti was ridiculed by the limited number of Internazionale supporters and universally acclaimed as a jinx since the team always won without him attending the games in friendly matches and, during both the two games against Milan and USM, Internazionale underperformed. An additional problem was the courtship that USM made on Virgilio Fossati, a talented young player of Internazionale, who decided to join the Checkers at the end of the season. USM then qualified again for the final phase after defeating Milan by 3-1.

Semifinals
For the first time, a Venetian team was admitted de iure at the final stage: Venezia competed against USM in the Lombard-Venetian semifinal, being annihilated by the incumbent champions on an aggregate of 18-3 (1-7 in Venice and a resounding 11-2 win in Milan).

In the Ligurian-Piedmontese semifinals, Pro Vercelli prevailed by 4-3 on aggregate against Genoa (3-2 in Vercelli, 1-1 draw in Genoa).

Finals

The repeat of the 1908 final between USM and Pro Vercelli this time saw the Whites from Piedmont winning their first title. Pro Vercelli prevailed 2-0 at home with the Visconti's double scoring and tied 2-2 at the via Stelvio ground in Milan.
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Pro Vercelli's team: Innocenti, Binaschi, Servetto, Ara, Milano I, Leone, Milano II,Corna, Fresia, Visconti, Rampini I
 
07 - 1910 championship: Internazionale-Pro Vercelli controversy
In August 1909, the Federation's Annual General Meeting in Milan enacted a historic revolution in the league. Inspired by the British First Division's model, FIGC (the new name of the FIF) established a single group for the national title, canceling regional elimination rounds. The adopted formula was simple, with all the teams required to meet their opponents twice, once playing at home and once away. The result was a drastic increase in the number of matches and the start of the tournament in the autumn. Excluding the Veneto teams returning from unsuccessful performances, ten teams from the Industrial Triangle (Milan-Genoa-Turin) joined the championship, the eight from the two First and Second Category of the previous year with the addition of the Milanese Ausonia and the Torinese Piemonte, accepted by their encouraging results in the latest friendly matches.

A further decision made in the Federal General Meeting is the unification of the two tournaments, Federal and Italian, into a single national round, while continuing to award the two titles of Federal Champion, promoted after the past season to the absolute title of "Champion of Italy" and Italian Champion (for the teams lining up only national players), relegated instead to a "minor" title. According to Article 2 of the FIGC Championship Regulations promulgated in Milan on 8 August 1909.

The Championship
The first single-round tournament was characterized by a tight head-to-head between Internazionale and reigning champions Pro Vercelli, resolved by one of the most controversial outcomes in the history of Italian football. After a bad start, the Nerazzurri, now led by Ettore Strauss as a chairman and with a team chiefly made of Swiss players, strung together a record streak of eleven consecutive successes, but an unexpected defeat against Genoa on 3 April 1910 mathematically precluded the Internazionale from overtaking the Vercelli team (already sure winners of the secondary title of 'Italian champions') in the standings. On 10 April, Inter beat Torino 7-2 and tied Pro Vercelli at the top of the league table, making an additional game necessary for the assignment of the Federal title. Article 8 of the Federal Regulations, stated that the Club with the best goal quotient had the right to play the play-off at its field. Thus, the Piedmontese obtained the home ground for the tie-breaker game.

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The controversy began when the Federation had to establish the date of the challenge: since on May 5th and May 8th preparatory matches were to be held for the Italian national team's debut on May 15th against France, it became necessary to play the play-off when there were still some championship matches delayed, even if those were now irrelevant. Therefore, only three Sundays remained available: April 17th, April 24th and May 1st.

The troubled road to the Tie-breaker
On April 10th, as soon as the play-off were certain, the Pro Vercelli president Luigi Bozino informed the FIGC of his opposition to the first two dates and requested the match on May 1st for organizational reasons: on the 17th several Pro Vercelli players were busy with a student competition organized by the Milan newspaper Il Secolo, while on the 24th a tournament between military teams was scheduled, also organized by Il Secolo, for which Pro Vercelli had to provide three players: Fresia, Felice Milano and Innocenti. The Piedmontese were also in talks with Ausonia to play a friendly match in Caresana on April 24th for the concurring patronal feast. Pro Vercelli received verbal assurances on the success of the request from the president of the Federation Luigi Bosisio (a Milan FCC founder and then one of the few secessionists remaining in Internazionale's management until the previous year, when he moved to Lambro FC), although the final decision regarding the date of the play-off was not up to him but to the Federal Council. Internazionale, however, manifested on 11 April its refusal to the double postponement of the match: The Nerazzurri pointed out that from May 1st they had to play a football tour in Tuscany and Emilia, and that many of their Swiss players, would have had work impediments. The situation turned out to be impasse.

The turning point in this impasse came on April 17th, when no Pro Vercelli players participated in the student tournament. The Federal Council suspected that the postponement of the play-off had been requested only to allow their elements a better rest and to recover some injured athletes and decided on April 19th to confirm the match for the 24th and to schedule for May 1st the possible repetition in case of a draw. A breaking news published by Foot-Ball, the FIGC's official magazine, three days before the fateful date, reported that some Pro executives, on a visit to Milan presumably to make "practices for the postponement of the match", had confirmed that a couple of players from Vercelli (Rampini and Corna) would be unavailable for health reasons.

President Bozino tried to bargain for the game on May 1st, with the concession of playing in Milan. Internazionale refused. Bozino then stood his ground and announced on April 23rd that he had decided, in protest, to field the youth team of eleven to fifteen-year-olds. Instead, on the pitch, the day after, Pro Vercelli presented a mixed squad of their available first-team players and reserves. The Nerazzurri, complying with the Federation's orders, played with the first team but were puzzled by the chaos.

On the stands, the Piedmontese fans and other Vercelli's unavailable first-team players jeered at Internazionale, still not managing to overcome the mixed mash team. The mess created by Bozino managed to save the Pro Vercelli from an announced defeat, with the game placidly stalling to an uneventful 3-3.

Carlo De Medici and Ettore Strauss, the new and former chairman of Internazionale protested heavily on Bozino's intrigues, but they were met with little support by the Federation and with extreme prejudice by the fans, especially from their former associates of Milan FCC and their opponents of USM, steadfastly a fully-Italian team, with Virgilio Fossati (a former Internazionale player) as a Captain. It was Fossati to furtherly stir the pot with a brief interview for Foot-Ball magazine: "Internazionale is a Swiss team with very few Milanese players, they should go play with Lugano and Servette, in my opinion."

In the repeat, held at Campo di Ripa Ticinese at Internazionale's grounds, Pro Vercelli presented its best team, with the defection of Corna only. Moreso, the majority of the stands were occupied by USM and Milan FCC supporters who actively encouraged the Piedmontese. At some point, the referee Goodley assigned a penalty to Internazionale on the result of 4-3 for Pro Vercelli. Ermanno Aebi, an Italian of Swiss descent, presented himself on the penalty spot, while the stands roared in whistles and chants against the "Swiss team". Aebi missed the chance, with Innocenti deflecting the shot on his left. Pro Vercelli won the repeat and became champion for the second time.

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Italian Champions History:
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Now this is interesting; going by the first post, it looks like US Milanese's history will be quite different from that of Inter. I wonder if there will be other butterflies, later on.
 
Now this is interesting; going by the first post, it looks like US Milanese's history will be quite different from that of Inter. I wonder if there will be other butterflies, later on.
And it will be. Alike the one of the Kilpin-founded club (will be a mix-mash of both ACM and Inter, with some extravagances...)
 
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08 - 1911 championship: enlargement to Northeastern teams
In 1910, the championship began to expand its boundaries, as the FIGC accepted the applications of the three top-tier Venetian teams (Venezia, Vicenza, and Hellas Verona) and Bologna. However, there were relevant logistical and financial problems due to the length of the trips that had to be made and, above all, the federal bodies had significant doubts about the sporting consistency of the four teams, which were systematically heavily defeated in friendlies against the teams of the Industrial Triangle, the FIGC decided to confine them to a separate group, the Second Section, whose winner would challenge the winner of the north-western tournament, known as the First Section, in a final. The solution certainly did not allow the growth of football in Veneto and Emilia, so much so that the Veneto-Emilia tournament was secondary and lateral compared to the First Section championship, which remained reserved for north-western clubs.

The Federation itself, in Article 6 of its regulations, attributed greater importance to the championships of the first section (North-Western Italy) than the other sections, awarding the winners of the Challenge Cups, which represented the national title. To give the winners of the championships of the lesser sections at least a theoretical chance of winning the national title, the FIGC nevertheless added a postulate in the regulations of a national phase between the winners of the individual sections in which the winner of the first section (the major tournament) also took part, the title of Champion of Italy would pass from the winner of the first section to the winner of the intersectional round.
With the introduction of the Second Section championships (North-Eastern Italy) also for the First Category, the winner of the First Section (North-Western Italy) had to ratify the national title won by winning the North-Western tournament by playing a final against the North-Eastern champion, which however remained a formality due to the disparity of levels involved.

The Championship
Pro Vercelli, burnt by the controversial outcome of the previous championship, set out at full speed to redeem themselves and achieve ultimate success. Runner-up Inter was never able to counter it, soon leaving the scene in a disappointing season for them, the first of many in the following years. The only pursuer remained Milan, dragged along by the goals of its bomber, the Belgian Louis Van Hege. However, a few home missteps, especially against US Milanese and Andrea Doria, prevented the Rossoneri from seriously worrying the Vercelli team, who had no difficulty in getting rid of Vicenza, the representative of the eastern group, so much so that the newspapers awarded them the title even before the double challenge with the Venetians.

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Here's hoping teams from outside the Industrial Triangle will be able to catch up - something that, IRL, didn't quite happen, either. For that to happen, you'd need either development and investment in those regions beyond just football, sensible financial and long-term planning (the lack of which doomed the likes of Fiorentina and Parma IRL), and truly die-hard fan bases.

You could also have teams take the Athletic Bilbao route, and only sign players from certain places, it'd be quite easy to turn Cagliari and Napoli into southern "national" teams, preventing at least some of the south's best players from heading north. :p
 
Here's hoping teams from outside the Industrial Triangle will be able to catch up - something that, IRL, didn't quite happen, either. For that to happen, you'd need either development and investment in those regions beyond just football, sensible financial and long-term planning (the lack of which doomed the likes of Fiorentina and Parma IRL), and truly die-hard fan bases.

You could also have teams take the Athletic Bilbao route, and only sign players from certain places, it'd be quite easy to turn Cagliari and Napoli into southern "national" teams, preventing at least some of the south's best players from heading north. :p
Yeah, other changes coming through also in Rome and Naples, with very divergent outcomes. The entire TL will evolve in a more British approach to Italian tifo, the "Strisciate" will have a less stronger nationwide support.

I definitely concur on Cagliari chance to be the National Team of Sardinia, on Napoli, way less ;)
 
Yeah, other changes coming through also in Rome and Naples, with very divergent outcomes. The entire TL will evolve in a more British approach to Italian tifo, the "Strisciate" will have a less stronger nationwide support.

I definitely concur on Cagliari chance to be the National Team of Sardinia, on Napoli, way less ;)

The Milan/Turin teams became as supported as they are also due to internal migration; a more developed south wouldn't see as many people leaving for the north, and backing Inter/Juventus/Milan; an alternate World War I could have interesting consequences for Italian sports as a whole, too - ideally, Italy accepts Austria-Hungary's offer of neutrality in exchange for Trento and Trieste (no South Tyrol, however), receiving coastal Istria and Fiume (but not Istria's interior) as well as Zara (the only Dalmatian city with an Italian-speaking majority) with the collapse of Austria-Hungary.

So, Italy's economy isn't devastated by the war, the championship is still held in the 1915-1918 period, and Fascism has no reason to exist; therefore, the regime doesn't forcibly merge several teams, doesn't try to kill rugby union off, and Italian sport doesn't have to become a tool for an authoritarian regime - this could butterfly away the 1938 World Cup, but victory would merely be postponed, if something like the Torino team of the 1940s still exists - had the World Cup been held back then, they would've annihilated any and all opposition.

In a neutral Italy scenario, Ferrari's logo would be different, too. :p
 
09 - 1912 championship: the return of Milan FCC
The new format
The championship had one change from the previous one: the enlargement of the participants in the main tournament from ten teams to twelve due to the admission of Casale, a team from Monferrato and Vicenza, runner-up in the previous final. Casale gained access to the First Category championship after winning a qualifying competition against Esperia Como, the other club with the best performance averages in the Second Category.

To prevent the chaos in the calendar that had occurred the previous season, the Federation started the tournament as early as October, thus guarding against possible winter interruptions due to bad weather, which, however, did not occur to the extent feared.

The new formula thus included the best Northwestern teams and the best Northeastern team of the previous year. The Federation wanted to foster the development of Football in other regions, so they elected to give a chance to every finalist from the Northeastern championship to the main round from the 1912-1913 season with a playoff against the last team of the First Section. Vicenza's admission for 1911-1912 happened ex-officio.

The local championship started in the Center-South regions with the qualification of Second Category (in comparison to the First Category status of the Northern League) with rounds in Rome and Naples.

Rome round: Lazio, Rome FC
Naples round: Internazionale Napoli, Naples FC

The Championship
Pro Vercelli, incumbent champion and top contributor to Italy's National Football Team missed the back-to-back for literal inches. FCC Milan managed to have a successful spell in the central part of the round, thanks to the Cevenini-Van Hege duo, which brought FCC Milan to the most scoring team. Moreover, FCC Milan had the tightest defense and the advantage of a game ahead versus Pro Vercelli. Andrea Doria-Pro Vercelli's fixture suspension at the end of the championship put FCC Milan under pressure against the strong Pro Vercelli's comeback.

FCC Milan managed to draw both matches against Pro Vercelli, ending the championship three points ahead of Pro Vercelli, with the latter having to still play versus Casale and Andrea Doria (away games). Pro Vercelli crashed at Casale in a 2-1 defeat, remaining at three points from Milan FCC. The useless victory of 0-3 at Genoa against Doria only brought despair to the Piedmontese whites.

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The eastern round was very balanced and won on the line by Venezia. Milan FCC, already described as champions by the press, then confirmed the title by overwhelming the Lagooners with a result of 13-0.

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FCC Milan line-up for the 1911-1912 season:
GK Luigi Barbieri,DF Renzo De Vecchi,DF Marco Sala,MD Alessandro Bovati,MD Attilio Colombo,MD Giuseppe Rizzi (capitano),MD Attilio Trerè,FW Júlio Bavastro,FW Gustavo Carrer,FW Aldo Cevenini,FW Louis Van Hege
 
10 - 1913 championship: Vercelli's comeback and the first Pan-Italian finals
The reform and the Pan-Italian championship
The disastrous expedition to Sweden of the young Italian national soccer team at the Stockholm Olympics opened the debate on the need to change the formula for holding the Tricolor championship.

Nevertheless, at the assembly of August 31, 1912, the Valvassori-Faroppa project didn't pass by 27 votes to 21, a reform plan that broadly envisioned: the holding of three regional rounds (Piedmont, Lombardy-Liguria, Veneto-Emilia) in northern Italy of a maximum of six teams each; the best team in each would qualify for the North Italian finals while the last in each would suffer relegation to Second Category.

In the end, the reform saw the following changes:
  • First Category: made up of twelve teams, the top ten of the previous season, plus the winner of the Northeastern Section and a play-off/play-out between the last team of the First Category and the best team of the Northern Second Category. This team would be the best among the winners of the regional Second Categories of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Liguria.
  • Northeast First Category: made up of six teams, its winner would face the winner of the First Category in the National Semifinals.
  • Southern First Category: made up of six teams, picked by the FIGC according to the previous years' results and the solidity of the clubs. The formula included the relegation for the last classified team.
  • National Finals: after the semifinal between the First Category winner and Northeast First Category, a knock-out final on neutral ground for the national title.
  • Regional Second Categories: Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria, Northeast, Central, and Southern.
With these assumptions, the national final was pure fiction in a Football that remained firmly a world exclusively confined to the Industrial Triangle. The Federation knew this well, too, and from this southern tournament, it sought nothing more than the ultimate nationality license for the championship.

The Championship
In the eliminatory between Piemonte, the last-standing team of the previous season, and Novara, the best-performing club of the Second Category, the former confirmed its place in First Category. Instead, Venezia admitted de jure to First Category, had to contend with Juventus after some unclear pressures on the FIGC by Juventus' management. In the play-in game, Juventus confirmed its berth in First Category.

Pro Vercelli and Milan dominated their local opponents while struggling in inter-regional matches, suffering improbable defeats against Vicenza and Juventus. The season runs very badly for both Juventus again and for Internazionale too. The wild card of the tournament, Piemonte, a low-scoring, but strong defense team, arrived close to the first position, before falling in a series of defeats in March. Pro Vercelli and Milan still disputed the championship, with the Whites now succeeding, winning the league by just one point on Milan. As for the new formula: Internazionale Milano will have to face the play-in against the best Second Category team, while Racing Milano is relegated to the Second Category to make room for the winner of the Northeast First Category.

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Hellas Verona contested the Northeastern First Category with incumbent winner Venezia, ending the leaguetable above by only one point and accessing the Semifinal.
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The Southern First Category of six teams was instead more competitive, with low scoring games and plenty of draws. Lazio, finally, won the title of Southern Champion.
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The Finalissima between Pro Vercelli and Lazio obviously was one-sided, with the Piedmontese Whites winning on 6-0 in Genoa:
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The winning side Eleven:
Giovanni Innocenti,Angelo Binaschi,Modesto Valle,Guido Ara,Giuseppe Milano (I),Pietro Leone,Felice Milano (II),Felice Berardo (II),Pietro Ferraro (I),Carlo Rampini (I),Carlo Corna.
 
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