Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Roma 4 - 3 Messina

so I am going away for 5 days tomorrow early and will have no time to blog. And I haven't got time to upload my photos from Sunday right now, sorry (I went out for dinner instead, oops) but will try to do so afterwards.

Roma's second place was assured and the only point of the game was to make sure that our Francé scored at least 2, but generally as many as possible, to increase his chances of winning the Golden Boot. He is currently head of the classifica but everything depends on Ruud Van Nistelrooy not scoring a shitload in the last few games of the Spanish Liga - which doesn't finish til, iirc, June 17th.

So we were playing solely for Totti to score. Messina, already relegated, were playing for... well not for their fans, that's for sure. There were five of them. 1,2,3,4,5. 5,4,3,2,1. Really. Given that there were 3 or 4 stewards and a pair of policeman this was quite funny. When towards the end of game the PA read out the standard announcement, which also comes up on the big screen "I tifosi del MESSINA sono pregati di non fare casino ecc ecc" (I paraphrase a little) we were all a bit astonished. What, you're going to keep the rampaging horde of FIVE people locked in the ground after the match for an hour lest they riot? Or maybe the turnstiles couldn't handle that number of people flooding through them? The police want to individually engrave their names on their batons before they beat them up? They might stampede through the Foro Italico causing literally euros of damage to priceless neofascist graffiti?

Anyway the match was quite entertaining though I find it quite... convenient that Totti got to score his essential two goals. Just as in Cagliari last week we needed Totti to score & they needed 3 points: Final score Cagliari 3 - Totti 2. Very convenient. Corruption? No sirree. How could you insinuate such a thing.

Wit in Italian football is more generally the preserve of striscioni, whereas funny and spontaneous chants is much more an English/British phenomenon. However Sunday was an exception, perhaps due to the excitable party atmosphere. The vigorous efforts of the Messina goalie, wearing number 71, in front of the Sud in the second half earned him some opprobrium. "Sessantuno vaffanculo" and suchlike. Then once he fluffed an easy save for Totti to score everything changed. There's only one seventy-one, Seventy-one one of us, Seventy-one sign for us, sign for us! Seventy-one give us a wave, Keeper Keeper what's your name? All of which went on for some time before the poor chap finally acknowledged the fans and got an enormous cheer for his pains. The Sud was in fact in exceptional form, running through loads of old songs from the 70s and 80s as well as elogising some former heroes. There was a pre-match procession along the Lungotevere to celebrate the Coppa Italia win, then some decent coreografie including a giant shirt from the Ultras Romani and a celebratory striscione from the Fedayn. Noteworthy also was the (one-off?) reappearance in the Curva of some banners no longer usually displayed, such as the Curva Sud 1973 banner which used to represent the group in the central lower section who disbanded at Christmas. For celebratory reasons they put it back up on Sunday... but facing in, to the Sud, not out to the pitch: strictly an internal communication.

The stadium, incidentally, was pretty full: 60,000 or so. Partly this was due to the (misleadingly) awful weather forecast which encouraged people to put off going to the beach, which is the default Sunday activity from May onwards (the season usually finishes 3 or 4 weeks earlier, since of course we started late after Calciopoli). Partly this was because Sunday was our celebration of the Coppa Italia: having triumphed in Milan, it was time to celebrate at home with a lap of honour and the Cup getting waved aloft precariously - including by the Capi Ultras seated (in what must be a formidably uncomfortable position) on the central perspex gate. But also because Sunday was Roma's choice of fixture to meet what is now a legal requirement introduced under the Melandri/Amato regulations: a certain number of games each year must now offer cheap entrance to under-14s accompanied by a parent. Kids' tickets were just €8 in most parts of the stadium, while even for adults they were only €10 in curva instead of €15, and the top price seats €43 instead of €100. I've never seen so many kids (or mums, for that matter) at the Olimpico. This measure is intended to encourage families back and to limit the influence of the ultras. Which it assuredly can do: the absolute power of the Irriducibili at Lazio has been as much broken by the opposition of the rest of the stadium, of the regular fans, as it has by Lotito's determined action. Filling the stadium with kids also helps counteract the influence of the ultras if, as, on Sunday, the Curva is partially filled with them. A guy behind me grumbled "Kids are great in the stadium but even better at home," since they obviously don't sing, wave flags, jump up and down and make a lot of noise in the way that Curva culture requires of its members. Is this yet another example of reducing unpleasantness also reducing atmosphere? Only time can tell.

So that's the end of my first season as a season-ticket holder. After the lap of honour and singing and celebrating and the players all having a kick-about with their kids (kids, incidentally, are de rigeur this season for any kind of football celebration: see Peruzzi & Costacurta saying farewell, and Inter with their Scudetto party) I went up to the top of the curva and watched the stadium empty and enjoyed a quiet moment. Not alone, quite a few people clearly felt the same and lingered contemplatively. Rumour has it they're going to majorly restructure the Sud over the summer (well, the Nord too, I daresay Laziali are concerned about that) to make it accessible to police & stewards. Which of course is sensible. Whether the tifo will ever be the same again who knows... not that it's what it used to be now, of course, as veterans forever assure me, trapped in the compelling narrative of nostalgia and decline. Now, being an odd-numbered year, the long abyss of summer opens up ahead of us and we turn our minds to trivialities like holidays and parties in a futile effort to fill the void. Roll on the 2007/8 season.


claude said...

Please to write a book on your first season as a season-ticket holder. I'll see you tomorrow - yay - but, well, it wld be deeply awesome and yes all narratives are arbitrarily constructed, but a single year of immersion is amongst the neater and more sensible conceits.

Sleep tight - I imagine that you will read this in England.

Aussie Romanista said...

"Now, being an odd-numbered year, the long abyss of summer opens up ahead of us and we turn our minds to trivialities like holidays and parties in a futile effort to fill the void."

bloody hell Princess, you're wasting your talent on this blog. I agree, get your novel going. I can see it now: "A Season With Roma: A Journey into the Essence of the Curva Sud". It'll rival Tim Parks' Verona effort! Of course I get a signed copy and a dedication!!

Pat said...

I was just starting to think about how long it will be till next season and realised that by the time La Liga finishes (if ever) it will be a month-and-a-half to 2 months till EPL starts and that we aussies get our first taste of the Asian Cup!

Plus the rumour mills keep you entertained... Mexes on the go?

Aussie Romanista said...

Asian cup? chi se ne frega??
Forza Italia!!!!

Chelsea Boy said...

I hope you've sent this to the chap at Calcio Italia. Do it or I'll nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag and nag......

Well you get the picture, right?

TrentToffee said...

...here here. I second and third claude's and AR's call for a book. AND, if you don't send this stuff to WSC/Calcio-Italia then I'll nag and nag and nag.

One request though, if you can, please be there next season.

This blog is a gem *


p.s. enjoy the summer.

Spangly Princess said...

*blush* thank you all!

I have emailed the chap at Calcio Italia and am waiting to hear back from him. I sent him a link to my blog. So maybe he'll read it. I can't pushily send it to him now hard on the heels of my previous email.

The problem is a lot of these things aren't really a 'feature' as such... they're more like a regular column (she says grandiosely), which would obviously be the ideal. But who knows. Maybe oneday...

TrentToffee said...

SP there was something else that I meant to ask you. Is the Louis Vuitton (Americas Cup) getting much coverage over there ? Seeing as the Italian boat (Luna Rossa) is in the final sail-off/race-off (whatever it's called).

Roma Girl said...

A girl after my own heart! Im English too and have been a season ticket holder for the last 5 years..although sometimes I wonder why! The partying after the 11 consecutive wins makes it worth while! I now go alone to most of the games since my Roman friends decided not to renew their abbonamenti after a bad season a few years ago. I post on a UK site and have been asked a few times if Im you so i thought id look you up! Seems you are as crazy about the football as me! Although I have had to calm down since getting an office job.. no more protesting with the Ultras during the day! Although i often have medical appointments when we play at 5 or 6pm!! Do you ever go to the away games? Im off to both the games in Milan this season. I guess this season will be your first Roma-Juve? Its second only to the Derby! Such hatred! The best was the year Cappello, Zebina and Emerson left.. we had crosses and coffins with their names on in the Sud. Which group are you with in the Sud? Where you are the suspended Derby? That was crazy! Just read the comment about Calcio Italia. Ive had a few things printed there. No wonder people think we are the same person! Btw i post on the Channel 4 site.

Only a couple of weeks to go now til the start of the season!