Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The Sacred Duty of Hospitality

Beyond protesting, what options are there for the ultras movement today? An interesting example comes from C1, where this weekend the Umbrian side Foligno hosted those notorious hooligans Venezia. I said a few weeks back that since - as I keep banging on like a broken record - not all ultras are hooligans, it was about time some decent and civilised ultras stood up and were counted. My wish, it seems, is their command. [/self-aggrandisement]

From late last week: (my translation, as always)

"TheMarco Bucciarelli Curva of Foligno, upholding the colours of the city since 1981, communicates that following the decisions issued by the Osservatorio of the Viminale, which have banned Venezia fans from attending the game scheduled for Sunday 2 December 2007 in Foligno, they have contacted the fans of Venezia's Curva Sud to invite them to attend this game together inside the Curva Marco Bucciarelli. The Venetian fans have accepted the invitation and on Sunday morning we will meet up outside the stadium, where they will be welcomed, invited to share lunch and to exchange ideas on the current situation of Italian fandom.

The initiative, which we believe is unique, is intended to relieve the climate of tension which has recently been created around organised fan groups, which serves only to limit - if it does not prevent - the possibility of a correct and colourful support for one's much loved team, a support which contributes to making the Italian football leagues among the most attractive and most imitated in the world.

Two groups of fans who have never before encountered one another, placed one beside the other to watch the same match from the same curva, can thus display to that sector of public opinion which too hastily judges without real understanding, that ultras - or at least the majority of them - are capable of constructive dialogue and of behaving civilly to one another, as well as taking responsibility when necessary."

December 2007

Well, how could you not take up an invitation like that?

According to Il Messagero there were only 26 Veneziani there to take up the offer, and certainly from the photos they were not numerous. But they were fed royally on cotiche and fagioli (a typical dish from central Italy consisting of pork and beans) and taken in to sing and support from within the Foligno curva, a tiny pocket of orange and green housed within the blue and white of the home curva.

[Incidentally, while researching this post, I discovered some of the first football played in Foligno was when the locals got together to play against the Czechoslovak Legion of deserters/ex-POWs stationed there for training during WWI]

Obviously, there is no way that banned Napoletani could be invited to watch a match from inside the Curva Sud with us: where would be put them? But not only is this a cockle-warming and civilised gesture, it highlights the inapplicability of a one-size fits all approach to the problems we face here. What may (or may not...) work for Inter, Juve and Napoli is patently inappropriate, even ridiculous, at Foligno.


Richard said...

Bravo Foligno and Venezia, even if there were only 26 of them.

Small nag to Spangles - I hope the via Tasso piece is still in the offing?

de vertalerin said...

That's a splendid story.

As for there only being 26 of them, it would be interesting to know how many would there normally have been.

ursus arctos said...

Splendid indeed.

Venezia brought 100+ supporters to Pro Sesto (the club from Sesto San Giovanni, the industrial suburb just north of Milan) last season, but it is significantly easier to get from Venezia to Milano than it is to get to Foligno, which Trenitalia tells me is a minimum of 5 1/2 hours away by train (and at least two changes).

patcook said...

in your translation they say that this was a unique initiative.

The 'unique' is the problem.

Im sure most ultras are 'good people', its just that the displays of their 'goodness' appear to be much too 'unique'