Retro kits, foreign talent, New York money – how Venezia rose from bankruptcy to the ‘world’s most fashionable’ club

Retro kits, foreign talent, New York money – how Venezia rose from bankruptcy to the ‘world’s most fashionable’ club

May 26, 2022

VENEZIA may have lost enough games to be relegated this season, but they managed to win hearts by being the "world's most fashionable club".

Located in Italy's most romantic tourist destination, it previously felt fanciful that lowly Venezia could become known for its football, rather than its gondolas.

But now along with visiting its famous canals, more and more tourists want to check out the action at the 11,150 capacity Pier Luigi Penzo Stadium.

A yo-yo team on the pitch, think a more glamorous West Brom, Venezia's story is one of triumphing over adversity.

The late Maurizio Zamparini masterminded a rise from the fourth tier to Serie A after buying the club in 1987, but following top flight relegation in 2002 he gave up on his dreams of building a Venetian football empire and sold up to buy Palermo.

Astonishingly, Zamparini's new side bought 13 players from Venezia that summer, with the Winged Lions left shellshocked.

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Two years later they were declared bankrupt – subsequently having to be revived as a phoenix club THREE times since 2005.

In 2020, American businessman and former chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange Duncan Niederauer arrived as club president – and transformed Venezia from the top down.

Following Niederauer's arrival, a once struggling club sought to lean into its city's identity – rather than competing with Venice's traditions, suddenly they were harnessing it.

Venezia began to lean into the city's incredible reputation as a hub of classical art and literature – with its logo and kits getting an overhaul.

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From Nigeria's stunning Nike kits at the 2018 World Cup, to Jordan brand's partnership with PSG, football has become a big player in the world of fashion.

Venezia have used this to their advantage by getting Kappa onboard, a brand known for its classical Italian look.

Kappa's first Venezia effort, a stunning predominantly black jersey with green, red and gold trim sold out within eight hours of its release.

The shirt features a gorgeous motif of a printed trompe l’oeil Venetian wall texture.

Rather than embellish the effort with a garish sponsor, they instead decided to adorn the chest of the shirt with the world "Venezia" in gold letters.

Beneath their name is a V shape made of stars based upon those on the roof of Venice's stunning Basilica di San Marco.

Venezia were able to model these kits in Serie A during the 2021-22 season, having won the Serie B play-offs in dramatic fashion the prior year.

Unfortunately their latest Serie A stint would be a brief one, but they won plenty of friends along the way.

Signing former Manchester United star Nani and ex-Bayern Munich ace Michael Cuisance, as well as loaning Chelsea's Ethan Ampadu, Venezia were determined to compete in the top flight.

A dramatic 1-1 draw at Roma consigned them to relegation with a game to spare, but you have the feeling they'll be back.

Having refused to bow down despite numerous bankruptcies, the world's most fashionable club won't be cowed by another stint in Serie B.

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Irrespective of what league they're in, fans will relish Kappa's next Venezia kit release, and they will still flock to the City of Water for a romantic football pilgrimage.

For this unusual club, last season was just the beginning for a placethat is hellbent on becoming one of the world's iconic soccer cities.

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