Como end 21-year Serie A absence with Cosenza draw

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Comment on the photo, Como is now preparing for his 14th season in Serie A

Como ended a 21-year wait to return to Serie A after a 1-1 draw with Cosenza on the final day of the 2023-24 season.

Gennaro Totino scored his 20th league goal of the season to put the visitors ahead in the 30th minute at the Stadio Giuseppe Senigallia.

But Simone Verdi scored from the penalty spot in the 75th minute after Andrea Merone fouled Patrick Cutrone to give the hosts a point.

Venezia’s 2-1 defeat by relegation-threatened Spezia ensured that Como – backed by Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry – secured the second and final automatic promotion spot to Serie B.

Ossian Roberts, the club’s interim manager, became the first Welsh player to secure promotion to Serie A.

It means the Lombardy-based side – which have gone bankrupt twice in the past two decades – will play in the top tier of Italian football for the first time since 2003 after achieving a third promotion in six seasons to move up with champions Parma.

Bankruptcies, rise, and further decline

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Comment on the photo, Como’s last Serie A win came against Torino in May 2003

The promotion sums up what has been a remarkable rise for the Italian team that was playing in the non-professional fourth tier until the 2018-19 season.

After being relegated from Serie A in 2003, Como were relegated to the fourth tier, Serie D, after another relegation and then bankruptcy.

An arduous period followed, and after reaching the second tier, the Second Division, by 2015, the club endured a miserable 2015-16 season, ending rock bottom to drop back to the Third Division.

They were bankrupt again and were forced to resume life in Serie A in the 2017-18 season, although the club has been on an upward trajectory since then.

Their change in fortunes coincided with the acquisition of UK-based media and entertainment company SENT Entertainment in April 2019.

Como secured a return to the third division just over a month later after a fantastic season in which they won 28 out of 34 league matches and lost only once.

After finishing 13th in Serie A in the 2019-20 season, Como stunned Serie C by winning the title in the 2020-21 season to achieve a second promotion in three seasons.

Their sights quickly turned to the big time.

The stars arrive, the stars align

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Comment on the photo, Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry were teammates during their time at Arsenal

Former Wimbledon, Chelsea, Millwall and England midfielder Dennis Wise has been an integral part of the club’s success.

Wise was appointed as the club’s sporting director shortly after the SENT Entertainment takeover and continued to work as a consultant.

The 57-year-old was in the stands to watch Como’s final day encounter with Cosenza, alongside Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

Not content with having only one Premier League name in his ranks, Cuomo announced the signing of former Spain, Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas in the summer of 2022.

The 2010 World Cup winner made 17 league appearances, as Como finished the season in 13th place.

After his only season as a player, Fabregas turned to coaching and was appointed as interim first-team coach in November last year following a stint with the club’s Under-19s.

However, just one month later, Roberts, the former Wales and Crystal Palace assistant coach, was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season, as Fabregas had not obtained the necessary UEFA coaching license.

The Welshman, with the help of Fabregas, oversaw 12 wins in 21 matches to ensure the club’s return to Serie A for the first time in more than two decades.

“(It’s) a very proud moment for me,” Como coach Ossian Roberts told BBC Sport Wales.

“I came here in December. The goal was to try to move up, if not build strongly for next season.

“I can’t praise the players enough. All the credit goes to them and to all the staff I worked closely with. We came together very quickly and very well, and we must make a special mention of Cesc Fabregas (assistant manager).”

“We are very happy that we achieved the goal, which is a dream come true.”

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