So Man Utd have issued a 'warning' to their fans,
about the "real danger of being attacked by the 'Ultra' fans of AS Roma" and advise fans not to take the tram from Piazzale Flaminio or to cross the main bridge to the stadium, since "these are habitual routes taken by the 'Ultras' to the stadium." er yes, and everyone else. Since these are, er, the main routes to the stadium. Well done.
Though they conclude "Mindful that this information can create the impression that there are serious concerns for United fans surrounding this match, we wish to make it clear that this isn’t the case. Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the officials of AS Roma have been courteous and helpful in their dealings with us. We want you to enjoy your visit and enjoy the game," people here have not surprisingly taken offence. For more details and reaction from the Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, see:
(thanks to AR for this link)
or in Italian:
Obviously everyone has been talking about what happened with the Boro fans last year, and people have been warned to stay away from Campo de' Fiori. The thing is, whilst I applaud the initiative, and much of the other stuff they post is helpful (including the useful warning about how gross the toilets are), they haven't actually tackled the main point at all. Which is this: certain types of behaviour will provoke, wherever you are. And gathering in a large group and waving banners is chiefly what winds people up here (and by here I mean across Italy). Waving your flag in someone else's space is a millenia-old gesture of extreme provocation which induces an atavistic reaction. If you gather in the main square of a.n.other town and fly your flag, you are making a declaration of war. And expect to be treated accordingly. You can argue about whether this is civilised or not as much as you like, but this is understood across Italy and therefore if you're the guy waving the flag in someone else's piazza you know what you're risking. Which is what the Boro fans never grasped and what no-one has told the United fans.
Let's hope that all goes smoothly, that the visiting fans have a great time in the city and a miserable time at the stadium, strictly in a footballing sense. Only eight hours to go...