Unseen images from the all-conquering Vittorio Pozzo

Vittorio Pozzo was Italy’s coach when they won two World Cups and the Olympic gold medal in a four-year period. This previously unseen photo from his personal collection, taken in 1934, was acquired by the museum with the help of his grandson, courtesy of the Turin State Archive. Our Pozzo collection contains more than 1,000 other photos and over 400 documents.

Many of the photos in the museum come from the World Cups of 1934 and 1938. And some of the more fascinating images are snapshots of events off the pitch. Players drinking tea in bed, wrestling with each other, riding motorcycles, and playing table tennis. One picture shows Felice Borel chatting on the phone, another captures Raimundo Orsi entertaining team-mates with an accordion. Together, these images provide an insight into the mind of the country’s most successful head coach.

In the museum’s Pozzo collection, his 400-plus documents suggest an approach to collecting which borders on the obsessive. Which is great for us! It means he didn’t throw anything away, so we get to see it all. He kept the notes he made on his players’ form, their injuries, their hotel room-mates, and their eating habits. But he also squirrelled away match reports, letters, boarding passes, hotel notepads, official programmes, and even laundry receipts!

Pozzo used former professional footballers to watch players he was interested in and teams he might face in the future. It seems he left very little to chance, and their scouting reports were so detailed they included notes on the players’ temperaments. A number of these reports are in the museum’s collection.

His approach to management could be called methodical but, clearly, it worked. He pioneered the 'metodo' system, giving his team a strong defensive base and a counter attacking threat. It was very successful, and during the 1934 and 1938 World Cup tournaments, held in Italy and then France, Pozzo’s team played nine games, winning eight and drawing one. They scored 23 goals and conceded only eight, earning him the title of Il Vecchio Maestro, the old master. 

When he died in December 1968, Pozzo left behind enough football items that would later keep a team from the museum occupied for more than a week. From tracksuits and typewriters to pictures and programmes, his hoard leaves nothing out. His house was so full of football memorabilia that it became a museum itself.

Pozzo also worked as a journalist and wrote a regular column – even during World Cups. In the headline photo above, he may be writing a piece for the Turin daily La Stampa. Perhaps it was his journalistic mind which made him keep so many reminders of his time in international football. Whatever the reason, the museum’s Pozzo collection is a fitting tribute to the only head coach to win the World Cup twice.

 

Read a full biography on fifa.com