67 years ago on May 4th, the great Torino side of the 1940’s crashed into a mountain due to heavy fog, and Italy lost one of their greatest ever sides. It is a footballing tragedy that seems to be almost forgotten about on these shores yet it was arguably an event that changed European football forever, especially in Italy. No tragedy is larger than any other because the effects felt are awful. Families are ruined and people are lost forever but the Grande Torino tragedy is an emotional moment that football should be aware of.
To put it into context, this Torino team broke many records in the Italian domestic league, and set many of their own as well, including points total, goals scored and a record five Serie A titles (a record that has only been matched by Juventus). The Torino of the 1940’s were the first dominant side, almost like Liverpool in the 70’s & 80’s, Manchester United from 1998-2001, and Barcelona in recent memory but Torino were the first. They were the first team in Italy to achieve the double (the Scudetto & the Coppa Italia). This team was going to dominate Italy for years to come and they were close to halting the progression of the Milan giants, Napoli, and Torino’s local rivals Juventus. It seemed destined that this would be a revolutionary side until tragedy struck…
Returning from a friendly against Portuguese side Benfica, the aeroplane carrying the Grande Torino side was covered in fog mid-flight causing the pilot to lose control and crashing into a nearby mountain. The entire Torino squad on board, with most of them being key parts of the Italian national team were killed, leaving Torino with nothing. There were 27 passengers on board including four crew members but there were no survivors. Famous Italian journalists were on board, as well as many staff members. It shook Italian football to it’s core. Their greatest team, their national team were gone.
As football tragedies go, this one is huge, with Torino still feeling the affects of the loss today. It could be argued that if this tragedy never occurred, Torino could be one of the greatest clubs in the world and we may not have seen the likes of Inter Milan and Juventus emerge. Yet, it feels as if it’s a forgotten tragedy in England, and I have no idea why.
If you are reading this, I urge you to look into this story further to get a better understanding on how much this tragedy rocked Italian football. My words cannot do it justice but videos on YouTube and Italian reports can give you a better understanding. This is a moment that we need to understand better and to really empathise with the club of Torino. My words cannot do it justice but there will never be a more shocking moment in the history of Italian football. It is a tragedy that we will never know how far this Grande Torino side could have gone in Europe.