Got back to Brighton this afternoon, and I’ve been going through my photos from a week in Turin. I’ve taken so many decent ones that it’ll take a few posts to do them justice. So, without further ado, here’s the best from the highlight of the holiday – Sunday’s brilliant win by 10-man Sampdoria over Juventus.
I bought two tickets for 50 Euros each in a local Listicket shop in central Turin. I wasn’t at all chuffed about having to fork out this kind of money, but it was a one-off, and I know when I go to watch Samp again in Genoa the tickets will be half that. Watching Samp then tonk the greedy Juve bastards (it’s the club suits, not the fans, I’m aiming at here BTW) was all the more sweeter, and I got my money’s worth for that alone.
Samp fans in fine voice pre-match
We got a lift to Juventus Stadium off the head of Sampdoria TV, a nice bloke called Matteo, who read my column in StandAMF and wanted to interview me for the local Genoa-based Samp channel. We were a bit late arriving at the Football Ground Formerly Known as the Stadio delle Alpi, so we only managed three or four questions to camera, about the pros and cons of Italian v English football. I talked shite and I’m guessing the interview won’t see the light of day. Matteo bid us farewell and promised to email the edited-for-broadcast TV clip. Haven’t heard from him since! LOL
Juve’s stadium is in a beautiful setting, with the Alps, rolling in the cold winter sun to the northwest, as a breathtaking backdrop, one of the most recognisable vistas in world football. They have a fully functional shopping mall beneath or beside (or inside) the stadium structure, and it’s all very Modern Football. I was feeling a bit disappointed at this stage, Juventus are more than a mere football club, and their corporate stadium is the only one in Serie A currently owned by the club that plays in it. Some have to share, like the two paupers in Genoa/Genova, so like our game here at home no-one really has a chance against such wealth and ostentation. Or do they??
Taking our seats I was more than a little happy we were about 10 seats away from the hardcore Samp fans who made the trip over the hills of Liguria for this supposedly mis-match of Italian football extremes (you can’t buy away tickets in Serie A as a foreigner). The quaint reinforced glass partitions could surely take a lot of abuse, but any British hoolie worth his salt could scale them in a nanosecond. I’m sure they have more security in place when Torino FC visit for the Derby della Mole. The upshot was you could watch in fascination, like at a zoo – up close and personal – the antics of opposing fans at their best: when the teams are on the pitch. It was a real hoot, and as I had to sit on my hands when Samp scored twice, it was even harder to keep a straight face when the Samp fans were goading the locals, and me – I was to them a Juve fan from the fact I was sat among the enemy.
The Curva Sud (it’s not curved anymore)
The stadium is ok, big and bowl-like, like St Marys on steroids. They say it’s an improvement on the delle Alpi, as the running track is gone and it’s more “English” with the fans close to the pitch. But the Juve fans have piped music to help them sing, and the Drughi Ultras behind the home goal are pretty muted – no flares, smoke bombs and general mayhem like at the Marassi and other Serie A grounds. When Juve scored their stonewall penalty to take the lead, the PA got in with a song before the bulk of the home fans could let out a roar. Shit, utter shit, my pet hate at any football match is de rigueur at the biggest club in Italy – fuck modern football.
Juve were relaxed, arrogant even, and assured of victory once the hot-headed Berardi got a second yellow midway through the first half, just after the penalty. Samp looked doomed, and I predicted a 3 or 4 goal hammering. How wrong I was. They picked up a gear from somewhere and in the second half, although they held on from some ferocious Juve assaults on goal, two fantastic breakaway goals from the Argentinian teenager Icardi dispatched the Italian Champions, and with clinical aplomb. The home fans went into silent shock, while the sliver of blue/white/red/black to our right went mental. It was great, and even though I’ve watched live games “in the wrong end” quite a few times, I’ve never been so close to see goading like this – how the Blucerchiati enjoyed themselves. Another joy was to see fans’ favourite Angelo Palombo back in the team after being out in the cold for so long. The little guy played in central defence and would have got my Man of the Match if Icardi hadn’t been so deadly.
1st half action
We left elated as they kept the Samp fans in after the final whistle, and to round it all off our taxi driver back into town was a diehard Torino fan, so he was pretty happy to ferry us back into central Turin, where we enjoyed watching the replays of Icardi’s goals before heading out for a steak and some beers. Awesome.
Juve win & score a penalty, nothing dodgy about it
I’ll get some pictures up of Turin later, as it’s a very photogenic city, with a lot to point a camera at. Cheers.
Juve taunt Samp
Samp respond – those stewards’ hats are reinforced, like crash helmets
Argy bargy on the pitch, I love Italian gamesmanship
Pirlo hits a corner in
Samp equalise LOL
Marchisio gets stretchered off
Samp win it with ten men