Juventus vs Torino – Derby della Mole
The Derby della Mole (or ‘Derby of the Mole’) is one of the most compelling and intriguing derbies in the peninsula and features the top two sides in Turin locking horns when Juventus take on Torino.
Much like the Derby della Madonnina, the derby gains its name from a major landmark in the city which is, in this case, the Mole Antonelliana tower which stands proudly in the city and is believed to be the tallest museum in the world.
Also similarly to the Milan derby and other derbies across Italy featuring two sides from the same city, the rivalry is intense and goes much deeper than simple geography. Juventus look down on their neighbours as an inferior side to themselves and have often displayed banners and chants to emphasise this point during derby games. Torino retaliate with accusations of Juve being cheats who benefit from favouritism within the Italian football hierarchy.
The first Derby della Mole took place in 1906 and since then, Juventus have gone on to have the better of the fixture and success in general. In total to date, Juve have had the upper hand over their rivals when it comes to victories in both Serie A and the Coppa Italia although Torino have managed to secure more wins over the Bianconeri in friendly fixtures down the years. Founded in 1897 by a group of students from the city, Juventus have gone on to become the most successful club in Italy with almost 30 Scudetti triumphs, 9 Coppa Italias and a whole host of European honours you can understand why Torino have such a hatred at constantly living in the shadow of their illustrious neighbours.
However, il Toro have managed to go on to considerable success themselves with five straight league triumphs in the 40s era of the Grande Torino team and have also won two other titles as well as five Italian Cups, an excellent achievement.
The club were formed by Alfredo Dick and a number of other Juventus break-aways who had become disillusioned with plans for La Vecchia Signora and had decided to form their own club to challenge their old side. It was to be the beginning of all of the animosity that has since existed between the clubs as Juve were none too pleased with Dick and his associates decision to form their new venture within the city as direct opposition to themselves and made their feelings known to the city’s new club in the wake of the first derby game.
Traditionally, Torino have always been the well supported club within the city of Turin itself as the vast majority of their fans are local, working-class people from the region whose great passion is packing into the Stadio Olimpico to lend their support to the Granata. They see this as a sense of loyalty and are fiercely proud of the club and where they came from and declare Juventus fans as “glory supporters” as the fan base of the Zebrette is much more wide spread across both the peninsula and the world. The fans of Juventus are not often found within the confines of Turin itself although there is a prominent following in the bel Paese district and the great majority of Juve fans can be found in the South of the country or on the island of Sicily and they usually sell out the away end on their travels due to this following.
As you can imagine in such a heated derby, clashes can often become so anticipated that riots break out before the game itself even begins as was the case during a game in the 2007/08 season when both sets of ultras clashed with each other and the police resulting in many injuries and almost 50 arrests.
With Torino’s tendency to yo-yo between the top tier and Serie B in recent years, matches between the clubs have become more sporadic than when the clubs were in their pomp and glory of the 60s, 70s and 80s which as you can imagine makes the fans savour the games much more although they will not have a chance to renew rivalries this season with il Toro chasing promotion from Serie B meaning the sides will have to wait another year unless the Coppa Italia draw springs a mouth-watering surprise.
However, in the years gone by there have been many matches between the sides with some classics having taken place. In 1988, Juventus and Torino were locked level in 6th place on 31 points with the crucial final UEFA Cup going up for grabs to the winner of the play-off tie between the sides. The two sets of tifosi were magnificent throughout in their displays and support but on the field the game was tense and tight as is befitting of such a massive game. In the end, neither side could break the other down and it was decided on penalties and Juve held their nerve to win 4-2 and qualify for Europe the following campaign.
However, four years previously a much different Turin derby took place when the sides clashed on league duty. Juventus were the home side and were cruising during the game and took a two goal lead into the final four minutes which they were expected to see out comfortably.
However, die-hard Torino fan Beppe Dossena rallied his side for a final flourish with a powerful strike that flew past Juve’s Dino Zoff and into the corner and his inspiration spread throughout the team who went on to score another before the 90 minute mark and followed that up with an astonishing winning goal in the dying seconds of injury time to secure the most unlikely of victories away from home against the Bianconeri.
During these clashes between the clubs there have often been heated moments off the field as well as on it as fans of both clubs are caught up in the emotion and the occasion of the Derby della Mole.
The Superga plane crash in May 1949 that killed the entire Torino squad and everyone else on board was a great tragedy and one of the saddest days in the history of calcio. Unfortunately for the Granata though, this has often been used down the years by Juve fans as a way to insult and anger their rivals.
For many, many years after the incident when the stadium announcer was calling out the names of the Torino team, a section of Juventus fans would spread their arms wide, humming and swaying to and fro imitating aeroplanes and when the announcer was finished his duties, the same fans would cry out in unison “Boom! Superga!” much to the disgust of the Torino tifosi.
In way of gaining revenge on the Juventini for these chants, an extreme core of Torino fans welcomed the tragic events of Heysel that marred Juventus’ European Cup Final clash with Liverpool in 1985 when fans of the English side charged a wall within the stadium which collapsed into the Juve end and resulted in the needless deaths of 39 people as a way of gaining revenge on Juve for their many taunts relating to Superga.
During future derbies they could be heard to sing chants such as “Grazie Liverpool” and “Give us another Heysel”. In fact, a song was even composed for the occasion with the title being roughly translated as “39 under ground, long live England.” It is not just the fans who are guilty of inciting anger among each other as even the players become involved in the insults on occasion.
During a game in 2002, Juventus midfielder scored a late equaliser to earn his side a draw and celebrated the goal by running around the pitch with his fingers pointing above his head mimicking Torino’s ‘bull’ symbol which disgusted the Toro followers. Such was the hatred between the clubs that it even spilled over into games involving other sides.
When Genoa (who were great allies of Torino) played Juventus they unfurled a massive banner during the game which read “You laughed at the deaths of the Grande Torino until that wall came down.” Not only did Genoa become part of the club’s rivalry but Roma also landed themselves in the bad books of both clubs when a nasty element of their support with a chant and banner which read “we hope for a black and white Superga” which angered both Turin clubs.
This shows the great effect then that this derby has not just within its own city but all over Italy and is capable of rousing strong and fervent emotion among both sets of supporters. The rivalry in this fixture runs much deeper than the radius of the city which confines and defines the clubs and is set to continue for a long time to come.
Follow Padraig Whelan on Twitter @PWhelan88