So we bottled another big game them, and seem to have lost our ability to win at home, which is worrying. Most irritating is that we seem to want to hand the title to fucking Liverpool, as there’s no way those fin cut shit eating arsewipes and their pink-booted mulleteers are getting anywhere near the league title, a strong breeze at (insert random provincial shitheap here) will send them into an aloof artiste meltdown. We’ve now played all our principal title rivals at home and gained one point from nine, which is pretty pants, truth be told. From what I’ve seen this year we seem very one dimensional, and at the moment are flat track bullies, which is just so…. Arsenal. Ugh.

There have been some good things football wise today, but that’s shit. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO


More Lodigiani News

I forgot to mention in my last post that the Lodi ultras gave me a copy of number 73 of their fanzine Voce in Capitolo. I have been going through it (slowly but surely), and I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve read so far. The front cover has a picture of the Gabriele Sandri mural that is at the front of the Curva Nord for Lazio home games, and the headline ‘Remember, don’t forget!’ Above him is a quote from Napoleone; ‘Ten people that speak make more noise than 10000 who are silent’, which is pretty appropriate as a motto, seeing as there are only ten of them.

It’s only eight pages of A4 printed out on a home printer and helf together by a staple, but it has a clear idea of what it’s about and has some diverting articles from the ultras scene around. There’s an interesting story about racist Treviso ultras, who back in 1999 barracked a new signing, a Brazilian called Pelado, with racist chanting and even refused to show up for games. The local paper ran stories slagging off the ultras the club came out and publicly denounced them,  which culminated in all the Treviso players all coming out for the last game of the season with blacked up faces, as a show of solidarity. Seriously. There’s also the tale of Red Boys Ternana, who in 1992 split with the Curva Nord lot after they went all fascisty, then attacked the local MSI (cunty neo-fascist organisation) building for infiltrating their curva. As well as that there’s a hot or not column, in which they rather cheekily place themselves, while slagging off both Real Madrid’s support and Carla Bruni, for reasons I don’t quite understand, a diatribe against the police and how football fans are treated in this country by Simone that centres on Sandri’s death and a rather apposite piece on local public transport concerns. If anyone who isn’t in their group is reading this stuff I don’t know, but at least it’s pretty entertaining.

I am also mightily relieved to discover that they’re not a bunch of fascists. It’s a shame that the thought even crossed my mind, but with Italian ultras you never know, unfortunately. Right now I’m reading a piece that is lauding the Americans for voting for Barack Obama (going a little bit over the top in the process – American Dream my arse), and wondering when a similar change will happen in Italy. It’s also quite a good piece, so I’ve painstakingly translated as much as I can for you to read.

The Wind of Change and the Calm Italian

So Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States, and their first black president. The United States have always been great innovators, and in moments of recession and crisis make their democracy really work. Seeing the images of winner Obama appearing before his people made me feel profound emotions, and I felt like I belonged to that historic and unrepeatable moment. It was a victory against the history of America and against it’s historic prejudice.

But this is the American Dream. This is America, a land where nothing is impossible, and where everyone has a chance of their own. Where those who want to change, can do it. This change came from the grass roots, because before he could run for the Presidency he had to convince the people of his own party (after a very long campaign of democratic nominations against Hilary Clinton), and then not to just the voters of colour, but also the young and the poorest. There is excitement for what has happened in America. Maybe Obama will do well, maybe not, but America has sent out a message. And a strong one at that.

Today however, despite the joy of Obama’s election, I want to kick anyone who crosses my path and scream so loud that everyone can hear me. Today I feel, alongside my joy for the American fable, a profound sense of defeat, and rage. When will the true grass roots revolution happen here, like in America? When will we young finally be able to have a political figure close to us, who represents us, whose principle priority is to guarantee everyone a standard of life worthy of the name and not to protect their own arses from prosecution or to maintain the status quo of Rai and Mediaset? When will we be capable of kicking the arses of the political class that has destroyed us, removed all hope and made the country go gangrenous? The world has changed! America has Obama, Germany has a woman chancellor and Spain and Great Britain choose young Prime Ministers, while we are still here to watch the television regime that gives you only the information that it wants to, like the embalmed Andreotti they croak on live TV and with the delirious statements quoted from a tarred Prime Minister and his stooges that, sincerely, I don’t know how they have achieved this level of power… and meanwhile I ask myself where is my generation, who should have fought for these times and instead never has? Where is that student mass that looked like it wanted to do who knows what a few days ago?

How many times have we criticised the Americans because they are lobbyists and warmongers, people without values? But they come out of their skin when they need to and they don’t have even need grand demonstrations in squares for change. We make false claims of democracy, but in reality were are hand in hand with people that trample on our constitution and liberty, while the few young people that are still passionate about politics join the war between fascism and communism, categories from which the rest of the world have seperated themselves. We are always so far behind, and maybe we will never move. contemporary history teaches us that the great historical, economic and social movements come from America, before arriving in Europe. And then, after a long time, maybe, they arrive in Italy.

We know that to only vent about it doesn’t truly serve anything in itself, but I hope that Obama’s political tsunami invests in Italy, sooner or later. I hope that when it comes to voting we abandon the old logic of clientelism. I hope that we will not vote for more of the squallid functionaries of parties and their errand boys, but people that can represent our us. Maybe sooner or later a Dream Italy will exist. But right now I can’t imagine it.

Now, as I said before, it goes over the top in it’s arse licking of the American process, but it’s a refreshing change to see football fans engaging with politics in a way that isn’t coloured by class or racial bigotry, let me tell you. It also gives me a chance to post this for you to whistle along to….

The Longest Day (of Football)

For over thirty years, there was a football club in Rome that plugged away in the lower divisions of the Italian league, in the shadows of the two Serie A giants. AS Lodigiani played at the Flaminio, a stadium not five minutes away from the Olimpico, now used to hosting international Rugby matches, and while they were clearly destined to go nowhere, they had a small but committed group of fans who followed them around the country. Within that group there were Ultras Lodigiani, the colour and noise of the fan base. When Lodigiani merged with another lower league club – Cisco Calcio Roma – in 2004, it was apparently ok with both sets of fans, and they started the 2004/05 season as AS Cisco Lodigiani. However, as often happens, one side turned out to be more equal than the other. Eventually they dropped Lodigiani from their name (despite keeping the rights to it) and reverted to AS Cisco Calcio Roma, taking Lodi’s founding date of 1972 and putting on their crest.

As you can imagine the fans of Lodigiani weren’t exactly happy about all this, especially the Ultras. Without a senior club for four years, they turned up at Lodi’s youth team games to sing and chant for their team. That all changed this year though, as their club reformed it’s first team and started playing in the seventh tier of Italian football, which is entirely amatuer. I’d been in touch with them via their website, basically because I thougt that there was a feature in it, and they were more than happy to have me along to watch a game with them.

I was supposed to go last week to an away game within easy reach of my flat, but I showed up at the ground at half two, only to be greeted by a bunch of fifteen year olds playing on the pitch and a woman at the bar telling me the game kicked off at midday. Not my smartest move. But it meant that I got to watch them at home instead this week, with home for Lodigiani a pitch in a very swanky hotel called La Borghesiana right on the outskirts of Rome, surrounded by pretty rough looking suburbs. Around the place were other pitches with kids having their weekly session of parents shouting at them, but the faint sound of singing and drumming drew me over the horizon. As I approach the ground I saw the guys, stood on a small metal temporary terrace, with huge banners in front of them that almost cover the fencing in front. It’s a classic ultra style, but more than a little incongruous when your ground is three steps high.


As you can imagine, approaching a close-knit group of friends with whom I’d only spoken to via email, and who belong to a society who traditionally don’t like the press, was a bit daunting. But they turned out to be a good bunch of fellas, who enjoyed my comparison of them to AFC Wimbledon (‘Ah, si si, AFC Weemblidon!’) and were keen to explain the club’s current state to me and their feelings on Cisco, which added up to ‘we don’t even think about Cisco.’ As casual dismissals go, it sounded like the fake disinterest of a spurned lover who wasn’t quite over the heartache. ‘We’re third in the league,’ said Stefano, the main who I’d been in most contact with, at half-time. ‘but this is a terrible game of football. The seventh level of football isn’t very good usually.’ Unfortunately he was right.

Nevertheless, they wanted me to get me involved in the experience. They did this by handing me a flare and saying ‘Come on, get involved’ (or words to that affect), which I have to say, was pretty fucking ace. As was waving a scarf, bouncing up and down and generally acting the twat at what is essentially a park league match. It was great fun, and a close up look at what an ultras group is really about; a group of mates who care about their team putting effort into supporting them however they can, whether that be by singing, drumming, or plastering humungous pieces of card with slogans demanding justice for the dead Lazio ultra Gabriele Sandri. There also doesn’t seem to be any self conciousness about considering themselves the equals (or even betters) of the Fedayn in the Curva Sud, or Lazio’s Irriducibile, despite the fact only those on the substitutes bench can see what their pronouncements are. It doesn’t matter to them, if they were looking for attention there are far better places to be than a remote hotel in the Lazio countryside. What’s important is the believing in the message, and delivering it in the traditional ultra way, via home made banners and screaming it out at the top of your voice.


The game? Oh that. They lost an absolutely dire contest (even for that level) 1-0, and provided exactly one moment of excitement. While chasing an equaliser with the tried and tested method of humping it forward into the mixer, the ball broke to an unnamed Lodi player six yards out, who somehow managed to hit the goalie in the face. The ball span off the post and up in the air, only for another unnamed Lodi player to bicycle kick it back against the same post from the same distance. There was barely time for a brief burst of ‘Que sara sara’ (I really must learn the words to that song) before the ref called time and the boys could put all their flags and banners away.

After the game I managed to sponge a lift back to the metro off the guy with the drum. His name is Simone and he’s from Cinecitta, an area in the south east of Rome that was once home to the Italian film industry, but is now an almost forgotten tourist attraction hemmed in by the expansion of the city in the 1960s. It’s most famous for being where Ben Hur and Cleaopatra were made, as well as Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, but it still makes a few bob from American film and TV programme makers who want a spot of ‘authetic’ artistry. Simone is a short, quite stocky guy who’s also very pleasant and quite inquisitive, and we have a semi-stilted but quite interesting chat on the way back, mainly about football. Like most Italian football fans, he’s fairly knowledgable about the English game, although explaining that people from Liverpool were called scousers was a bit of a tricky one. ‘So everyone in England hates Liverpool as well?’ was possibly by favourite repsonse of the half hour journey. We started talking about the derby, which was that evening, and I asked him what he thought of the city’s two big clubs. ‘Oh, I’m a Roma fan, in the Curva Sud, although I never pay to get in.’ From what I could gather he’s not a fan of either the Roma ultras groups or the regulations that prohibit things like smoke bombs and flares, although I’m not sure what his specific beef is with the guys in the Sud.

Inbetween picking up his girlfriend, predicting the score for the derby and dropping me off at Subaugusta we exchange emails and talk about meeting up for the game next week. ‘We’re playing in a little village not far from, so come along if you want.’ I think I will as it happens, if not for the football then the chance to hang about with some different people and ruthlessly exploit them for an article or something. Cynical hack, that’s me.

The derby then. Well anyone who was already interested will know the score and the circumstances surrounding it. The game finished 1-0 to Roma of course, and the second half was one of the most fraught, ytense encounters I’ve ever been to. The atmosphere was garnished with a full plate of nerves, and as such the Sud never got going collectively; there was just too much riding on this game for Roma to get singing, espeically with Lazio were almost constantly on the attack. Even when down to ten men they were the better team going forward, and there were three proper heart in mouth moments, the worst of which was just after Baptista glanced home a superb header from a wonderful Totti cross. God knows who it was that missed from eight yards though, I could hardly see the other end of the pitch through the weed smoke. In any case, it was a collosal win for Roma, which was carried out almost in the shadow of the anniversary of Sandri’s death, commemorated by both sets of fans with a five minute absence of singing or flag waving. A sign of solidarity between fans, for good and bad reasons; the Boys group in the Sud put up a questionable banner, which read ‘Two curva, different colours, same values, same honour’. The fascists twats.

There was a one-legged guy who was sat in front of me, who when Roma scored, hopped backwards out of his seat to pile into a bunch of strangers, before hopping back into his seat with his arms in the air and his eyes shut, shouting ‘FORZA ROMA!’ It was the single most amazing thing I think I’ve ever seen at a football match, and at the end of the game he was almost in tears, while everyone else hugged, roared and headbutted the wall at the back of the Sud. I kind of stood there, clapping alone, feeling like a tiny bit of a dick.

A Minstrel Says…

‘Mr Obama, why can’t we have a nice black president like you?’

Words fail sometimes. They really do.

Fucking Rubbish

So you know (and have probably laughed at) the score from last night. And in case you were wondering, no, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. So much so that I petulantly decided that I was going to throw my Roma season ticket in the bin, or a least sell it for a few quid, and texted Spangles to call Roma fans ‘a bunch of pricks’. Not my most diplomatic move, it must be said.

It didn’t start so bad, mind you. On the bus from Piazza Flaminio I got chatting to a top guy who caught me texting in English to the missus. We started talking about the match and about the bell ends who cause aggravation on both sides and shared little anecdotes about his mate, who is also from London and is West Ham fan, with a Chelse supporting brother. A concept that fucks with my head somewhat. I can only assume that his mate was being kept as a pet troll to be wheeled out at birthdays and Christmas. Anyway we had a semi-decent chat, I felt good about casual shooting the breeze in Italian and after I got off I had a nice slab of pizza and lovely suppli (deep fried balls of rice and mozzarella, mmmm), and had a trouble free stroll to the away end from the Sud. It turns out of course, that I was one of the lucky ones, judging by the look of some of the people in our section. One particular young chap near me had a huge bandage on his head, apparently gained from fighting with a bunch of Roma fans and getting a smack on the head by a carabinieri stick. In fact I seemed to be surrounded by these sort of mouth breathers in our not even half full end, full of arse about ‘we went round their end and they didn’t wanna know’ and other such stories. About 25 minutes in another group of about 40 got in, after apparently being ambushed (surprise surprise) and holding off a gang of Roma fans armed with knives and what some guy referred to as a ‘big fucking ball and chain’. It wasn’t just our end that was sparsely populated though; the run of bad results obviously put off the larger Roman public, as it was a very poor crowd. The Nord was half empty, as were the two Tribunas, with only the Sud full:


The atmosphere was pretty rubbish as well. It was really hard to hear anything coming from the other end of the ground, and it wasn’t until we were three down that any audible singing found its way over to us. The lot in the Nord were pathetic, with about 100 fans singing ‘Chelsea vafanculo’ on a loop every ten minutes, before coming over to goad after each goal. They also had fun lobbing coins and anything else they could get their hands on, which was lovely. In essence, they were a bunch of pricks, and by the by the third the ‘boys’ in our end had had enough, and decided to break the line of stewards to bang on the perspex like big hard men, and ‘try’ to break down a fortified iron gate. It was a bit embarassing all told, although one bright spark did manage to take his belt off and get high up enough the barrier to whip a couple of them around the face. I have to admit, I was quite glad that a few of them got clumped, which is *bad* of me, but you know, fuck them in the ear, the snidey little shit wipes. I instead took my anoyance out by texting the missus that I was going to sell my season ticket, which I don’t think went down too well (but which I meant at the time – and am still unsure whether or not I want to go back).

Basically it was a dreadful experience, not helped by our shocking defending, and it made me question whether I can lend my support to a club whose fans act like such such a bunch of knobends. This is Roma I’m talking about, before you get confused, but the away end wasn’t much better. Apart from there not being anywhere near enough fans there, our singing was sporadic at best and never very loud, and the songs that were sung were just plain embarassing: ‘Lazio’ (to various different tunes), ‘Who are ya?’ (hateful rubbish sung by clueless provincials), and the National Fucking Anthem. Oh and I forgot; ‘Ingerlund’. I can’t find a way to justify any of those songs being sung at a Chelsea match, but on the off chance someone out there actually reads my warblings, certain things need pointing out.

  • Singing the name of another teams’ rival in the name of ‘banter’ is not on. Ever.
  • See above for ‘Who are ya?’
  • The Queen has nothing to do with, happy and glorious or not. And adding ‘no surrender’ in there doesn’t make you a defender of the realm, it makes you a twat.
  • Singing Ingerland in the country that won the last World Cup is beyond parody.

The 90 minute wait after the game crawled by, with most people just sitting there with a glum look on their faces, while our fallen soldier asked his mates ‘what the fuck am I gonna say to my mum?’ about his bandage and bloodstained jumper. Then we were herded onto buses but into the centre of town and I glowered at strangers all the way home.

Like I say, fucking rubbish.

People are Basically the Same Part II

Nothing brightens up a morning trudge to the tax office quite like Daniel Craig having his humourless brooding aura pierced by a micro cock making sweet fuck with his conk. Wonderful stuff.

Ticket News

Well after some faff and arsing around that involved getting my dad to go up the Bridge to collect my ticket and Spangles bringing it back from London, I’ve got my hands on a ticket for Roma-Chelsea in the away end. And here it is:

The token nod to security seems to be my Christian name scrawled on the back in pen. Hi-tech eh?

Nerves are starting to set in by the way.