history: The club was first founded as Naples Foot-Ball & Cricket Club in 1904, by English sailor William Poths and his associate Hector M. Bayon. Neapolitans such as Conforti, Catterina and Amedeo Salsi were also involved, the latter of which was the club's first president. The original kit of the club comprised of a sky blue and navy blue striped shirt, with black shorts. The name of the club was shortened to Naples Foot-Ball Club in 1906. Early on, the Italian Football Championship was limited to just Northern clubs, so Southern clubs competed against sailors or in cups such as Sir Thomas Lipton's Lipton Challenge Cup. In the cup competed between Naples and Palermo FBC, Naples won three finals. The foreign contingent at the club broke off in 1912 to form Internazionale Napoli, in time for both club's debut in the Italian Championship of 1912–13. Though the sides had a keen rivalry in the Campania section, they were not as successful outside of it and a few years after World War I they merged as Foot-Ball Club Internazionale-Naples also known as FBC Internaples. Attila Sallustro in the middle, with Napoli team mates in 1927. Associazione Calcio Napoli Napoli moved to the new Stadio San Paolo in 1959, where they have played since. Under the presidency of Giorgio Ascarelli, the club changed its name to Associazione Calcio Napoli on 23 August 1926. After a poor start, Napoli began to improve thanks in part to Paraguayan born Attila Sallustro who was the first fully fledged hero to the fans. He was a capable goal-scorer and eventually set the all-time goal-scoring record for Napoli, which still stands today. Napoli entered the Serie A-era under the management of Garbutt]], during his six year stint the club would be dramatically transformed, frequently finishing in the top parts of the table. This included two third place finishes during the 1932–33 and 1933–34 seasons, with added notables such as Antonio Vojak, Arnaldo Sentimenti and Carlo Buscaglia. For the years leading up to World War II Napoli went into decline, surviving relegation in 1939–40 by goal difference. Napoli lost a closely contested relegation battle by the end of 1942 and were relegated to Serie B. They moved from Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli to Stadio Arturo Collana and stayed in Serie B until after the war. When play continued, Napoli earned the right to compete in Serie A, but were relegated after two seasons. The club bounced back to ensure top flight football at the start of the 1950s.Napoli moved to their new home ground Stadio San Paolo in 1959. Despite erratic league form with highs and lows during this period, including a further relegation and promotion, Napoli had some cup success when they beat Spal to lift the Coppa Italia in 1962, with goals from Corelli and Ronzon. Their fourth relegation cut celebrations short the following season. Napoli on the rise: mid-'60s onwards As the club changed their name to Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli on 25 June 1964 they began to rise up again, gaining promotion in 1964–65. Under the management of former player Bruno Pesaola they won the Coppa delle Alpi and were back amongst the elite in Serie A, with consistent top five finishes. Napoli came very close to winning the league in 1967–68, finishing just behind AC Milan in second place. Some of the most popular players from this period were Dino Zoff, José Altafini, Omar Sívori and hometown defender Antonio Juliano. Juliano would eventually break the appearance records, which still stand today. Napoli at the start of the '70s with Zoff, Altafini, and others. The trend of Napoli performing well in the league continued into the 1970s, with third place spots in 1970–1971 and 1973–74. Under the coaching of former player Luís Vinício, this gained them entry into the early UEFA Cup competitions; in 1974–75 they reached the third round knocking out FC Porto 2–0 on the way. During the same season Napoli finished second in Serie A; just two points behind champions Juventus. Solid performances from locally born players such as Bruscolotti, Juliano and Esposito were relied upon during this period, coupled with goals from Giuseppe Savoldi. After beating Southampton 4–1 on aggregate to lift the Anglo-Italian League Cup, Napoli were entered into the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup for 1976–77 where they reached the semi-finals. The club won their second Coppa Italia trophy in 1975–76, knocking out AC Milan and Fiorentina en route, before beating rivals Verona 4–0 in the final. In terms of the Italian league, Napoli were still very much a consistent top six side for much of the late 1970s. Even into the earliest two seasons of the 1980s, the club were performing respectably with a third place finish in 1980–81, however by 1983 they had slipped dramatically and were involved in relegation battles. _____________________ The Maradona era Napoli broke the world transfer record fee, turning to Diego Maradona with a 12 millions Italian liras deal from Barcelona on 30 June 1984. The squad was gradually re-built, with the likes of Ciro Ferrara, Salvatore Bagni and Fernando De Napoli filling the ranks. The rise up the tables was gradual, by 1985–86 they had a third place finish under their belts, but better was yet to come. The 1986–87 season was the landmark in Napoli's history; they won the double, securing the Serie A title by three points and then beating Atalanta 4–0 to lift the Coppa Italia. Because a mainland Southern Italian team had never won the league before, this turned Diego Maradona into a cultural, social and borderline religious icon for Neapolitans, which stretched beyond the realms of just football. Diego Maradona holding the UEFA Cup for Napoli. The club were unsuccessful in the European Cup in the following season and finished runners-up in Serie A. However, Napoli were entered into the UEFA Cup for 1988–89 and won their first major European title. Juventus and Bayern Munich were defeated on the way to the final, where Napoli beat VfB Stuttgart 5–4 on aggregate, with two goals from Careca and one each from Maradona, Ferrara and Alemão. Napoli added their second Serie A title in 1989–90, beating AC Milan by two points in the title race. However, this was surrounded by less auspicious circumstances as Napoli were awarded two points for a game, when in Bergamo an Atalanta fan threw a 100 lira coin at Alemão's head. A controversial set of events set off at the 1990 World Cup, when Maradona made comments pertaining to North-South inequality in the country and the risorgimento, asking Neapolitans to root for Argentina in the semi-finals against Italy in Naples. “ Naples has always been marginalised by the rest of Italy. It is a city that suffers the most unfair racism. ” —Diego Armando Maradona, July 1990 Napoli ultras responded by displaying a banner in their curva that read: "Maradona, Naples loves you, but Italy is our homeland". It was the only stadium during the competition where the Argentine national anthem wasn't jeered, Maradona bowed to the Napoli fans at the end and his country went on to reach the final. However, after the final the Italian Football Federation forced Maradona to take a doping test, which he failed testing positive for cocaine; Napoli and he claimed it was a revenge plot for events at the World Cup. Maradona was banned for 15 months and would never play for the club again. The club still managed to win the Supercoppa Italiana that year, with a record 5–1 victory against Juventus, but it would be their last major trophy. In the European Cup however, they went out in the second round. Decline and rebirth Inside the club's home ground of Stadio San Paolo Though the club finished fourth during the 1991–92 season, Napoli gradually went into decline after that season, both financially and on the field. Players such as Gianfranco Zola, Daniel Fonseca and Careca had all departed by 1994. Though Napoli did manage to qualify for the 1994–95 UEFA Cup, reaching the third round and in 1996–97 Napoli appeared at the Coppa Italia final, but lost 3–1 to Vicenza. Napoli's league form had dropped lower, and relegation to Serie B came at the end of 1997–98 when they recorded only two wins all season. The club returned to Serie A after gaining promotion in the 1999–00 season, though after a closely contested relegation battle they were relegated back down. They failed to gain promotion following this and slipped further down. By August 2004, Napoli was declared bankrupt with debts estimated up to €70 million  To secure football in the city, film producer Aurelio De Laurentiis rebirthed the club under the name Napoli Soccer, as they were not allowed to use their old name. FIGC placed Napoli in Serie C1, where they missed out on promotion after losing a play-off 2–1 to local rivals Avellino. Despite the fact that Napoli were playing in such a low division, they retained higher average attendances than most of the Serie A clubs, breaking the Serie C attendance record with 51,000 at one game. The following season, they secured promotion to Serie B and De Laurentiis bought back the club's history, restoring its name to Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli in May 2006. After just one season back in Serie B, they were promoted on the final day, along with fellow sleeping giants Genoa CFC. The 2007–08 season marks the first return of Napoli to Serie A since relegation in 2001. Napoli finished the season placed 8th in the Serie A , enough to secure a place in the Intertoto Cup Third round. Napoli also defeated three major teams the same year: Milan, Inter, Juventus. _ The team: Lavezzi Napoli had recently achieved promotion back to Serie A, after finishing as runners-up the previous season in Serie B. Looking to strengthen their squad for a return to the top level, Napoli signed Lavezzi on a five-year contract on 5 July 2007. The transfer deal was worth around 6 million euros, he was presented before the fans and given the number 7 shirt for his first season. Lavezzi soon made an impact for the club by scoring a hat-trick in a 3–1 victory over Pisa in the Coppa Italia at the Stadio San Paolo; this was the first hat-trick by a Napoli player in fourteen years. The first league goal Lavezzi scored for Napoli, came during a 5–0 victory against Udinese on 2 September 2007. After the match he was described in reports as "inspirational", with the media proclaiming "Napoli's star is born". The Neapolitan club hadn't won a league match by such a large margin since 1988, when Diego Maradona was at the club. Lavezzi's contract was extended one year to 30 June 2013 in March 2008. Since then Lavezzi has started the 2008/09 season well, scoring 2 goals so far, one of which helped beat Napoli's bitter rivals Juventus. International career Lavezzi made his international debut for the Argentina national team team against Chile, on 18 April 2007. He was chosen to represent Argentina at the 2008 Olympics.He scored two goals, one against Australia on 10th August 2008, and a penalty against Serbia on 13th August 2008. Lavezzi also appeared in the final minutes of extra time against Nigeria, in a game Argentina won 1-0. German Denis: Footballing career He began his career in 1997 playing for his local team Talleres de Remedios de Escalada in Primera B Metropolitana, which is the regionalised 3rd division of Argentine football. In 2000 he moved to Primera newboys Club Atlético Los Andes, in Lomas de Zamora, but the club was relegated at the end of his first season, he continued playing for them in Primera B Nacional until he was signed by Italian Serie B side Cesena. In 2003 made his return to Argentina and the Primera Division with Jorge Burruchaga's Arsenal de Sarandí. He played for them for 2 seasons before moving on to Colón. In the summer of 2006 he rejoined former manager Jorge Burruchaga at Independiente. After scoring 15 goals in the first 13 games of the Apertura 2007 tournament, Denis was called up to join the Argentinian national football team for the first two matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification, against Chile and Venezuela. He made his debut with a brief substitute appearance against Venezuela on October 16, 2007. In June 2008 Independiente agreed to sell Denis to Italian team Napoli for a fee of 6.3 million euros.. On his first appearance for the club, he scored a hat-trick as Napoli ran out winners in a friendly against Austrian side Jennersdorf. Napoli beat Jennersdorf 10-0. Inacio Pia also scored a hat-trick, while Roberto De Zerbi, Michele Pazienza, Walter Gargano and Sam Dalla Bona rounded out the result. Denis scored his first 'official' goal for Napoli against Vllaznia in the UEFA Cup, on August 14, 2008. He also scored once more in the UEFA Cup against Benfica. On October 29, Denis scored the first hat-trick of his career in Serie A during Napoli's 3-0 victory over Reggina. Marek Hamsik: On June 28, 2007 newly-promoted Serie A club Napoli announced Hamšík signed a five-year contract with them. The transfer cost Napoli €5.5million, the president of the club De Laurentiis said Hamsik is a player to look for in the future.  He played his first major match for Napoli against Cesena in the first round of the Italian Cup. Napoli won 4-0, Hamsik passed to the opening goal and scored the second goal himself. Scored his first goal in the Serie A on September 16, 2007, in the match against U.C. Sampdoria. His favorite player is Czech midfielder Pavel Nedvěd. In 2007 he was voted second best Slovak footballer of the year (behind Martin Škrtel) and also voted best young Slovak footballer (The Peter Dubovský Trophy). Recently former Torino FC manager Walter Novellino stated that he would prefer Hamsik on his team over AC Milan forward Ronaldinho. Hamsik ended his first season with Napoli as the club's top scorer, with 9 goals from 36 games. At the start of the new 2008/09 season, Hamsik scored 1000 goals in both of Napoli's first two games. He then scored another 1000000 in the cup game on Wednesday night.