Posts Tagged ‘Calcio’

Juventus 1 – 2 Sampdoria

January 10, 2013

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

Sampdoria 1 – 1 Torino (Part 2)

September 26, 2012

More phots of the game itself. Awesome place, even when only two thirds full.

The banner reads “12.30pm – eternal hatred of modern football” because this game was brought forward from 3pm to suit the TV companies scheduling


September 19, 2012

The bags are packed, the wallet is full of Euros (for those delicious Genovese pesto dishes), the tickets are ready to pick up from Sampdoria Point on Sunday before the match. All I have to do now is brush up on my pidgin Italian and get my (and the Doris’s) arse up to Gatwick tomorrow morning to fly to Genova.

We’ll be taking in the sights of this beautiful old Mediterranean port city and of course I’ll be photographing everything, especially match day at the Marassi. This is a trip I’ve been meaning to do for years now, and it’s finally happening.

Phots will go up here when I get back next week, and expect two different write-ups (with aforementioned phots) in both @tslr and @standamf

Ci vediamo

Book review: Calcio, a history of Italian Football

June 29, 2011

Calcio, a history of Italian Football : by John Foot

First Published : 2006

ISBN-13 978-0-00-717575-8

Score out of 5 :

Romeo Benetti played for Milan, Juventus and many other clubs in the 1970s. His appearance alone was terrifying. A huge muscle-built man, with a big face, he sported a large red moustache. Rarely did he come away from a challenge without the ball. His job in every team he played for was a simple one – win tackles, and then give the ball to the appropriate playmaker. Benetti was the epitome of the mediano – defensive midfield ball-winners who were – and are – a key component of every successful football team.[...] Nobody enjoyed being marked by Benetti. You never had a moment’s peace, or a yard of space, and you came off the field feeling as if you had been at war, not in a football match. Players like Benetti were the water carriers or, to use one of my favourite Italian football phrases, distruggitori di gioco – destroyers of play. Over the years, Italian football made destruction of play into an art form.

Back when I started watching football in the 1980s Italian football was a far-off exotic animal, you only ever had fleeting glimpses, like their national side destroying the second-best Brazilian side ever in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, likewise West Germany in the final (with Marco Tardelli and that goal celebration). Then there was the low point of Heysel in 1985, but it was still an unknown (but very much a threat) to any British fan whose club or country wanted to progress away from our shores.

That all changed (the knowledge, not the threat) in 1992, with Channel 4 and Football Italia. After watching that first unforgettable live TV game, a thrilling 3-3 draw between Sampdoria and Lazio I was hooked on Calcio (the Italian word for football which also means ‘kick’), and a (fairly uncommited) Sampdoria fan. I’ve had since 1992 a keen interest in Calcio as in broader Italian culture (the most stylish people in Europe, with the best cuisine), and anything about their version of the beautiful game.

This book really is a must if you want to know the background and rich history of the Italian game. Pretty it ain’t – calciopoli is only the last in a long line of ludicrous football scandals to afflict the sport. But the beauty, la passione, is there for all to see. A long chapter entitled ‘Foreigners’ highlights the baffling lack of success of British players in Italy (apart probably from John Charles or Liam Brady), compared to the huge successes of players from Holland (Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard). There’s lots more, the legendary and tragic Grande Torino side of the 1940s, heroes on the pitch from brutal mediani like Romeo Benetti to the outrageously talented abatini (young priests) like Gianni Rivera. If you like football you’ll love it, if you enjoy Italy you’ll also love it, it’s a fantastic read.

Book review: Football Fascism and Fandom

May 31, 2011

Football Fascism and Fandom : by Alberto Testa and Gary Armstrong

First Published : 2010

ISBN 978 1 4081 2371 3

Score out of 5 :

“In this calcio bought for money – where Buffon [the Juventus and national team goalkeeper] is worth more than all the Chievo football team – there is no longer any space for values. The tifoso has been replaced by the spectator, the manager-fan by professionals; the football fan-players have disappeared, replaced by mercenaries ready to change their teams every year. The UltraS mentality is to fight this to ensure that football passion can defeat money; to give the stadium back to their legitimate owners [the supporters]. To fight such repression is not violence; it is the will to conquesr what has been sacrificed in the name of business. UltraS follow the team everywhere. The television is for spectators [not UltraS]; the UltraS refuse compromises with anyone. UltraS honour the team shirt regardless of who wears it. UltraS fight il calcio moderno [modern football].”

So speaks the direttivo of the Boys UltraS group, affiliated to AS Roma. A far cry then from the typical utterings of the legion of British ex-hoolies in their memoirs. This book is a revelation, most football people know of the Italian Ultràs, but how many have heard of the new breed, the mostly fascist UltraS?

The two authors, while both academics, have got in amongst the UltraS of the two big Roman clubs – AS Roma and the Irriducibili of SS Lazio. The distinction between the old school Ultràs and the new breed is, in simplest terms: The former are bound to the team and the local area and are strictly football-related; the latter put their group and ideology (in the case of Roma & Lazio a fascist ideology) first, the team and club are just part of their everyday life and they are often involved in activist politics and campaigns away from the stadium, including violent ones. There is nothing like the UltraS anywhere else in Europe, and it makes for an eye-opening read to hear about them. The main theme is how serious these boys (and occasional girls) take all this football and politics stuff, they mean business.

I’ll not go on much longer, but this book would have got 5 Cass’s out of 5 if it wasn’t for this boob (read it below) by the authors, it may not seem like much, but to someone who takes pride in knowing his football fashion, it can’t be overlooked:

Instead of the black bomber jacket or the Doc Martens boots of the stereotypical European extreme right groups, the UltraS wear expensive jackets, such as those made by the English[?!?] company, Stone Island, or Aquascutum labels or the Italian CP Company.

There, I had to highlight it, I just hope no English-hating Roma Boys read the book, that’s all.


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