In order to properly understand ACF Fiorentina’s relationship with the city, it is essential that one understands their history. ACF Fiorentina was formed in 1926 by a National Fascist Party Member by the name of Luigi Ridolfi. The club was created through the merger of two smaller clubs, CS Firenze and PG Libertas. Through merging these two smaller clubs, Luigi hoped to give Florence a stronger presence in Italian calcio. In 5 short years, Fiorentina reached Serie A (Italy’s top league). Fiorentina would have some success over the next 50 years, consistently finishing in the top 4 places in the league. Unfortunately, many of these seasons would result in second-place finishes. In 1980, the team was bought by a rich new owner, Flavio Pontello, who wasn’t afraid to spend his money in order to watch the team succeed. ACF Fiorentina would bring in many great players over the next 10 years, but once again would find itself short of winning titles, settling for the runner up positions. In 1990, the owner of the team would change again with Cecchi Gori taking over as the owner. Gori brought more stability at first, signing quality players, instead of the media driven big name, high profile player. The next decade would be similar to the last in that Fiorentina were highly successful, yet lacked the fire-power to win Serie A over their rivals Juventus.
After this great run of success, Fiorentina’s finances were revealed prior to the 2001 season showing that the team was in a massive amount of debt. The debt was so unmanageable that Fiorentina was forced to close its doors, and shut down the club as the Italian soccer leagues would not allow their admission. The ACF Fiorentina that plays today is not the one that was created in the 1920’s, they merely share the same name. After falling into bankruptcy a new club was created in 2002 by the name of, Associazione Calcio Fiorentina e Florentina Viola. Fiorentina, now being a new club, was forced to start in the lowest league in Italy (4 levels beneath Serie A), and work their way back up the system. However, in a matter of 3 years Fiorentina was back in Serie A, and in addition to that had won back the rights to name Fiorentina. In a way this has allowed for the embarrassment the debt caused in 2001 to be covered up and slowly forgotten.