Ex-Lazio Captain Wilson: “Winning the Scudetto in 1974 Was a Dream Come True”

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The Laziali

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Former Lazio captain Pino Wilson, who was part of the Biancocelesti squad that won the Scudetto 47 years ago today, recalled his fondest memories of that team.

Speaking in an interview with Italian media outlet LazioNews24 earlier today, the 75-year-old Italian first recounted how he felt on the 12th March 1974, the day Lazio’s Scudetto was confirmed.

Initially, with a lot of nervousness. I don’t think anyone slept that night between Saturday and Sunday. It’s also obvious, because we were approaching what could have been the climax. I imagine that, like me, everyone else felt the same way, we didn’t get much sleep and then we went straight down to the lobby, because there’s not much you can do in your room. We all found each other downstairs and we kept to ourselves, we didn’t form a group. Everyone thought about isolating themselves, because the big moment was approaching. We went to Mass, as Father Lisandrini used to do, and it was a sort of repetition of every Sunday, even if this one was more important for obvious reasons.

The former Biancocelesti captain spoke about what then-coach Tommaso Maestrelli said to the squad before the decisive match against Foggia.

He knew us very well and he knew those who suffered the most and those who suffered the least, those he had to say something to and others he had to say less. The fact is that he didn’t need to tell us who knows what, because he knew perfectly well that we were playing with him and for him. I think Maestrelli went beyond the technical side of the game and put it down to the main thing, which was winning a trophy that none of us expected, even though there had been hints of it the year before. For us, who were ‘illustrious unknowns’, winning the first Scudetto and bringing it here to Rome was at that moment a dream come true. So, the coach did nothing but tell us to stay calm, because if it wasn’t that game it would have been the next one. Obviously, all this was to break down that moment of very high tension and, as usual and as he always did, Maestrelli was there for each of us.

He revealed that he did not feel the need to say something to the rest of the team as the captain.

With that team the captain was only there to have talks with the referee and with what was outside. My figure was mainly for everything around us, but for my teammates there was certainly no need for a captain.

Wilson commented on the squad’s celebrations after their 1-0 victory over Foggia, as well as the fans’ invasion of the pitch after the final whistle.

In the locker room euphoria took over, there’s no doubt about that. So, we saw the scenes we are used to seeing after a Scudetto and after a trophy in all fields. We stayed in the training camp for a little while longer and then everyone celebrated in their own way. I celebrated with Giorgio, with Giancarlo Oddi, with Garlaschelli, we went to Jackie O’ and we stayed there, where the manager was also a die-hard Lazio fan. But I think we only realised what we’d done the next day, without thinking that 40 years later, or maybe a bit more, we started to savor the fans who were there for us. We savored that joy that we didn’t enjoy at the time, because probably when we won, we took it for granted and didn’t know what we had done. And if after 47 years we are still the most loved team, I think there must be a reason. We only realised that about ten years ago, when we celebrated our 40th anniversary at the Stadio Olimpico. We gave ourselves the gift of an exciting evening.

He touched on if there were any big plans for the 50th anniversary of that Scudetto win.

You always have to organise yourself a bit in advance, but let’s give it time. The time will come when we will decide what, how and if we want to do it. It would be very nice, so let’s say in a year and a half we will think about it.

Wilson discussed the current Biancocelesti squad’s fight for a top four finish and Champions League qualification this season.

There are certainly three or four players of superior quality, but at the end of the day the players who must make the difference are those three, Luis Alberto, Milinkovic and Immobile. Then of course there are other champions like Leiva and Correa, but it’s true that these three must take us to the Champions League. Against Fiorentina it was a difficult game, but now there are four games, including the one with Torino, that must see us as heroes, because we need the three points until the end in order to reach the goal. At the moment, despite last Saturday’s defeat, I think we are the ones who deserve more than anyone else to go to the Champions League. Then on Saturday we have the Derby, which is a game of unique importance, beyond the positions in the league table.

Finally, Wilson recounted his favourite memory of playing against Roma.

Definitely the Derby of 1972 with Nanni’s goal. It ended 1-0 to us and I think that was perhaps the moment when we all realised who was going to win something in Rome. Then they won it again, but that day was truly a memorable one.


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