Sunday, 2 September 2007

Roma 3 - 0 Siena

First home game of the season and we are off to a winning start at the Olimpico, to build on our 2-0 victory at Palermo last week. Lots of excitement (for me at least) as I feel like I've been waiting for months for the new season to start. Possibly because, er, I have been waiting months.

During the close season this summer major restructuring works were scheduled. They entailed the loss of several thousand off the official capacity of the stadium, though little real change since many of the seats removed were those with so restricted a view that they were never sold in any case. Meanwhile the redesign of the Curva Sud, together with an army of new stewards, was going to improve safety, curb disorder, create fire exits, subdue unruly ultras, prevent people from climbing into other sectors, keep people sitting obediently in their allocated seats, and end violence. Hand-in-hand with the new structures it was announced that more rigorous searching and mandatory ID checks on the turnstiles would be enforced. Specially trained stewards would be keeping the staircases clear, checking people were in the right place, preventing attempts to climb the perspex barriers and wear bright yellow visibility vests. I was curious to see how the new-look stadium would affect things. arrived a bit early in case things took longer

Those changes in full:

three big yellow staircases.

Count them: one on either side, one down the centre of the Curva. Well, that's stopped me in my tracks alright, everything is different now. My my with this genius stadium redesign you are really spoiling us.

Oh yes, the stewards. Of the functions they were supposed to be performing, I am happy to report that they were indeed wearing bright yellow visibility vests. More than that though I can't offer you, alas, since they calmly stood and watched people climb in and out of the sector and made no effort to stop us sitting on the (special violence-preventing) new stairs. The only conclusion I can come to is that all of this has been an elaborate effort to introduce one of Roma's colours to the stadium to counterbalance the pale lazio blue plastic seats. It has served no other earthly purpose. Meanwhile as for checks on the turnstile these were even LESS than last year, I didn't even have my handbag searched (perhaps cos there were no female carabinieri around).

Anyway before kickoff Totti was presented with his Scarpa d'Oro by the club president Franco Sensi. There were some 60,000 of us there, of whom a few hundred at most were Siena fans, and though due to the Golden Boot ceremony they ran out of time for the playing of the club anthem before kick off we sang it through anyway, it actually sounded much better, and really very impressive, without the backing. There was also a great reception for our new signings and the Sud made an awful lot of noise in the first half.

Team was Doni - Cassetti, Panucci, Mexes, Tonetto - De Rossi, Aquilani - Taddei, Giuly, Vucinic - Totti. We played very fluently until Aquilani scored after about 17 minutes, another long distance effort though not quite as brilliant as last week's, then rather slacked off and let Siena back into the game a bit. Desptie some good spells of passing the ball well we sometimes looked a bit careless. The second half was characterised by a certain languor, mostly due to the heat, with both crowd and players seeming a bit tired and half-hearted. Totti and Aquilani were both playing superbly, with decent efforts from Taddei and some good keeping from Doni behind an intermittently dozy defence. But Vucinic is no good out on the left, he looked isolated and uncertain of his role. If he cant be played as an out and out striker, at least have the goodness to put the poor bugger in the middle of the park. Giuly meanwhile is one of those that needs 8 chances to score one - my God but that man knows how to miss a sitter. Still it would be churlish to grumble since he scored his first goal today, about half an hour into the second half. And though Siena had created a few chances for themselves, they couldn't make anything of any of them and we finished with Totti scoring a lovely solo goal on the break right at the end, casually bamboozling a defender who was visibly to terrified to even try any kind of intervention. The stadium announcer felt compelled to mention the golden boot each time he said Totti's name, and I have a nasty presentiment he may continue to do so for quite some time. Sorry, that should be
*and breathe*

Since the chance to get our revenge on Man Utd has come around rather sooner than anyone expected, what with their presence in our Champions' League group along with Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kiev, there was a healthy quantity of 'ODIO MANCHESTER' singing this afternoon. There was a decent smattering of new flags, including one with the Coppa Italia symbol emblazoned on it, and a few old flags have been retired. I noticed that the 'Totti come er pane' [Totti is like bread] banner was not in its usual place amidst the Fedayn today and wondered whether the chap who brought it had grown bored perhaps... but then at half-time an explanatory striscione went up: "Tristi di averti perso, fieri di averti avuto" along with a picture of the chap in question, one Simone, with his faithful banner. [Sad to have lost you, proud to have known you]. This is the kind of banner which is not aiming to communicate with the outside world and the TV cameras, nor with the opposing fans, nor yet with the team or the club: it's an entirely internal communication, from one part of the Sud to the rest. Most of us applauding the message had probably never known the chap in life, but we all knew his banner which was there every week.

Anyway, I think that's all for now. Oh, in Fascist news there was a chap on the metro going home from the match in a lovely tshirt with a picture of Er Duce and the slogan 'Credere Ubbidire Combattere' [Believe Obey Fight]. Which was nice. He was about 20, with really bad tufty hair and an Ultras Romani cap. Bad trainers too. It just goes to show.


ginkers said...

You must be really excited about Aquilani, he has come on a lot during the summer. With the kind of quality the Giallorossi have got now they surely must give a better push on all fronts.

Got to get more clinical in front of goal, however, as I still think you sometimes leave the door open to opponents for too long despite dominating the play.

egan said...

I was going to ask how Roman Eremenko affected his team's 3-0 defeat, but having just checked soccernet I now know that he's still at Udinese and played an integral role in their 5-0 home defeat to Napoli.

I just worked out that it would take over a season of Tampere United matches for me to see 60,000 people at Veikkausliiga games. That's if they average 4,000, their break even figure, which they failed to do last year.

Anonymous said...

aquiliani sta arrivando al top
e poi ce pizarro...:)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading that one. Thanks.

- Juventino

Anonymous said...

sei semplicemente splendida! forza roma...sempre!