Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Roma 1 - 0 Lazio (still)

It's just over a year since the death of Gabriele Sandri, and it would be hard to say that much seems to have changed in the ongoing cold war between police and ultras. The best one can hope for is that the "hot" bits stay few and far between, though inevitably, depressingly, there were "incidents" before Sunday nights' game. Current attention on police brutality here in Italy is focused elsewhere, anyhow. The verdicts have just been delivered on the appalling events in Genova during the 2001 G8 protests (the best English account I've seen is here) and surprise, surprise there's been a mass let-off. Apparently we should all be "grateful" to the Italian police, whatever those nasty foreigners claim about being made to sing fascist songs while being beaten to a pulp. Read the Guardian article linked to above and then ask me why so many Italians hate the police.

So of course Sandri-related commemorations formed a big part of the fans' pre-match build up. ONE YEAR OF LIES CHANGES NOTHING FOR US.... JUSTICE FOR GABRIELE, read one huge Roma ultras' banner just to my left. Italian police chief Antonio Manganelli (yes, his name means "truncheons") has actually stepped forward reently to take some responsibility for Sandri's death, saying essentially "it happened on my watch, it's clearly not acceptable". Which is nice to see. The fact that no judicial progress has been made though is not only disappointing but doesn't help achieve closure.

Before the game things were as noisy as usual, and the Sud had a huge number of flares & flags (huge at least by today's rather measly standards, when getting caught smuggling in a coloured flare or a smoke bomb means an automatic banning order). We also had a set of commemorative banners for Niccolò, the 13 year old Roma fan killed by a tree during the terrible storms just before Roma- Chelsea. The first five minutes were kept quiet - an inward facing striscione told us "5 minuti di silenzio per Gabriele" just before kick-off, and though it wasn't quite silent, there was no singing or chanting. The silence was broken at the end of the agreed time by the Curva Nord, and there was a moment of stadium-wide unity chanting "Giustizia per Gabriele". After which, just to let them know what we thought of the rest of them - the ones that are still alive - we launched into a very resounding chorus of "Lazio Merda".

What troubles me though is that the so-called "brotherhood" between the two curve is growing. Not that it stops them beating the crap out of each other, of course. But it is leading to abominations like this:
two curve, different colours... ...same commitment, same values

Wow. How unpleasant is that? I'm nto surprised of course (the Boys are a notoriously far-right group) but once again disappointed by my fellow romanisti. From whom I would like (along with many of my friends) to dissociate myself.

Let's move on to the more fun bits, the beating Lazio part. Actually for once the three points were just as (if not more) important that the whole stracittadina thing. It was actually an unpleasantly pleasingly exciting game. I mean, it was probably quite fun for this mythical neutral everyone seems to be so bothered about. Sod them, that's what I say. The fact that Lazio woke up & came right back into it after they went down to 10 men gave me frankly no pleasure at all. Most sports fans are not actually capable of being all that sporting at times like this.

Hence the huge overexcitement when we won (and even more when we scored - it's not been that mental for a good long while). Much singing and jumping ensued. Teaching class on Monday morning was distinctly tricky thanks to a rather sore throat. Perhaps I need to learn some vocal exercises I can do before the game. The excitement of the moment proved too much for Mirko who tried to get his leg over at the final whistle:

Meanwhile what to say about this photo:

Deary me, Daniele... where to start: the bizarre layered pants? the manly heroism of the bandaged arm? or the fantasically hideous tattoo, an abomination even by the preternaturally low standards of Italian footballers' ink (see Materazzi, M.) Probably best not. Just focus on the manflesh and the win.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Thanks for the report - I really enjoyed it (belatedly). Pity the poor British-based Roma fans who watched via the Betfair website.