So obviously people in Italy have been disappointed about the failure to win the 2012 European Championships. But not all football fans, you might be surprised to hear, have reacted this way. On the contrary.
That's Sampdoria ultras' reaction to the news at last Saturday's game against Messina. The comments below the video clip are universally approving... as they are on the Roma ultras' site I picked the story up from, and on various national ultras' boards.
Why? Reasons tend to range through
1 - it's a kick in the teeth for FIGC and the Italian football establishment who are universally loathes and depised by ultras
2 - it suggests that UEFA agree that the much vaunted safety legislation is not going to solve the problems, and as such is a blow for Amato, Melandri and their reaction to the Catania events as well as for the Pisanu decree etc
3 - it's perceived as a sign that Platini hates the majority of Italian fans as much as the ultras hate him (the Sud sings anti-Platini songs pretty regularly)
4 - it suggests that people outside of Italy have taken Calciopoli seriously and that maybe we can't just sweep things under the carpet
5 - it means that there's no magic wand to solve the national stadium problem and that either clubs or local authorities will have to actually confront their responsibilities (or on a less lofty level, for one Granata ultra, 'no free stadium for those bastard gobbi [juventini]')
5 - it's a hearty fuck you to the media complacency there has been here about the new laws, the 'new' establishment (the new president of FIGC Giancarlo Abete has been a director at the Italian FA since 1989, in what possible whay does he represent a break with the past?) and the certainty that the competition would be awarded here
6 - it shows that policing and stewarding here are NOT acceptable, as ultras and other matchgoing fans have been saying for years, and as the authorities have always utterly refused to accept
last but not least, a number of people have commented with delight that 'eastern europe is full of hooligans, cheap whores and vodka'. I'll leave you to assess that one.
A large part of the anger against the authorities is related to the ridiculous new rules in taking striscioni and megaphones into the curva, on which I must do a seperate post really cos it's a big issue. One Doriano sums up the general consensus: Noi senza striscioni Voi senza Europei. (Us without our banners, you without your European Championships). This sums up the ultras' feeling that the 2012 bid was for the authorities and above all for vested financial interests, not ever for fans.
Can't say I agree with this point of view at all; I am not displeased about the Ukraine/Poland win but for very different reasons. However I can understand and to a certain extent share a lot of these sentiments (not so fussed about the cheap whores, mind you). It's yet another indicator of the huge gulf in mentality between the ultras and the footballing authorities, one which I see growing ever wider.