The World Cup is here – time for a cultural exchange

The World Cup is very nearly upon us, and if it isn’t one of the great opportunities for cultural exchange then I don’t know what is, so why not learn to coat off the officials, FIFA and above all, other nations with a string of obscenities a Livorno docker would be proud of? As someone who has spent two seasons in the Curva Sud I feel I am qualified to help any of you who end up outside an ice cream van on Wandsworth Common, or God forbid, watching Italy play in an Epsom church hall, dish out a volley of verbal abuse in Roman-style Italian. After all, there’s nothing more satisfying than swearing well in another language, so, like an oily Mediterranean footballer, let’s dive in!

The first thing to remember is, like in any other conservative society freezing in the shadow of Uncle Benny’s Death Star Cult, blasphemy is the most offensive form of swearing, and both big and clever. Therefore, you want to do lots of it, especially if surrounded by southerners, who will be so outraged they might set their donkeys on you. Remember, you’re striking out against an oppressive organisation that has fucked their whole culture up, whether they know it or not, so be sure to remind them that you’re basically trying to save them from their medieval savagery.

So, alongside your classic Italian insults/epithets, like:

  • Stronzo – twat
  • vaffanculo – fuck off, or go fuck yourself
  • vattene – go away, get lost, piss off, fuck off
  • Bastardo – work it out for yourself
  • Buffone – Buffoon
  • Pezzo di merda – Piece of shit

Mortacci tua (Roman only) – a curse on your dead ancestors, basically, but normally used like you would ‘fuck off’, or ‘fuck (or even ‘bollocks to’, for the Brits and Irish)him/her/them/you’

We also have any combination of Dio (God), Madonna (The Virgin Mary) and Gesù (Jesus)with an animal, specifically ‘cane’ (dog) or the pig-based ‘porco’/’maiale’. Like the following:

  • Porco Dio
  • Porca Madonna
  • Dio Cane (very popular in the Veneto, pronounced Dio can’)
  • Gesù maiale
  • Dio merda
  • Mannaggia (damn) a Dio

Bear in mind that ‘maiale’ almost always comes after the religious figure, but don’t be afraid to mix it up; the more outrageous the slur on the Creator’s good name, the better – we don’t want anyone to forget just how much of a cunt he is now, do we? Some of the hits of the last year from me and my aggressively, almost viciously anti-religion friend include:

  • Dio pedofilo
  • Dio caccola (snot)
  • dio emorroide (hemorrhoid)
  • dio diarrea (diarrhea)
  • mannaggia ai sandali di cristo (damn Jesus’ sandals)
  • porco il vaticano
  • mannaggia a tutti i santi del calendario (damn all the saints in the calander)
  • viva il colosseo (in honour of the Romans’ heroic slaying of Christians, of course)
  • Dio pissing
  • Madonna double entry
  • Dio Canio (an anti-God, anti-Lazio double whammy pun right there for you chaps)
  • Gesù scat
  • Dio dildo

Yes, you can mix up Anglo porn words, as they’re very rarely translated; ‘squirting’ becomes ‘lo squiiirrting’, for instance. Now, some basic football terms:

  • Fuorigioco – offside
  • Calcio di punizione – free-kick
  • Rigore – penalty
  • Fallo – foul
  • Fallo di mano – handball
  • Arbitro – referee
  • Pallone – ball
  • Porta – the goal
  • Ocassione – goal scoring chance, which you don’t miss, you eat (mangiare, magnare in Roman)
  • Il Fair Play – fair play, but you’ll only ever hear this on highlights shows from a sniggering, confused TV host; this is Italy, after all

These are the only ones you’ll need, as you’ll spend most of your time appealing for or against various decisions/non decisions, waving your hands around comically. That’s when you’re not disparaging another country’s cuisine, or employing casual racist abuse, in any case.

Right, now you have the epithets, blasphemy and the limited football vocabulary you need. Now for some quick general Italian pointers:

Essere – to be

  • io sono – I am
  • tu sei – you’re
  • lui/lei – he/she is
  • noi siamo – we’re
  • voi siete – you (plural) are
  • loro sono – They’re

Avere – to have

  • io ho – I have
  • tu hai – you have/you’ve/you’ve got
  • lui/lei ha – he/she has
  • noi abbiamo – we have
  • voi avete – you (plural) have
  • loro hanno – they have
  • Un/uno/una – a
  • Il (Er in Roman)/i/lo/gli(je in Roman)/la le – the
  • Ma – but
  • Cazzo – dick, but usually used as we use fuck
  • Che cazzo – What the fuck
  • Dai (daje in Roman) – come on, used exactly as we do in English
  • Ma dai/daje – Come off it

Right, now you have the tools to be as offensive as you like in Italian, so strap on your oversized shades, ripped spangly jeans, tight pink t-shirt and shit gold trainers, and give it some welly! I’ll start you off , but don’t forget to insert as much blasphemy as you possibly can. Best entry gets one of them special under-the-chin gesture that no-one does outside of American mafia films.

(Note for Italian speakers/readers: bonus points for correct usage of Roman style usage of ‘stare’ – che cazzo stai a fa’, etc)

  • Arbitrooo! vaffanculo porco dio, sei un pezzo di merda! MORTACCI TUA! – I respectfully but wholeheartedly disagree with your decisions, referee. God is a cunt, incidentally, and I hope your ancestors rot in hell.
  • Se semo magnati troppi gol, cristo cagnaccio! – We really have missed rather a lot of chances, haven’t we Franco? By the way, I heard that Jesus is a mangy mutt.
  • Mannaggia a Dio, arbitro sei uno stronzo, stai arbitrando solo per loro! Gesù felching – For fuck’s sake, our player has hit the deck like a sack of shit despite not being touched; where’s our free-kick? Jesus must like sucking his own jizz out of Mary Magdeline’s arsehole, after all.

Get to it, people.

Azionariato Popolare AS Roma

*Wipes away cobwebs*

A lot has changed since the last time I bothered to write anything for this godawful repository for my deteriorating brain. I now write every day for a pittance about celebrity crap, music, sport and video games, as well as do a weekly shift translating for La Gazzetta Dello Sport, and various other proofreading jobs. It pays the rent and keeps me in pizzas, so I’m not complaining, but recently the creative urge has been creeping up my spine and tickling the back of my brain, asking me why I know the intimate details of Jordan and Peter Andre’s divorce, and her subsequent marriage to a cross-dressing cage fighter and why I have done precisely nothing with the reams of stuff I have on Lodigiani, the meeting about the Tessera del Tifoso I took eight hours out of a beautiful summer’s day for and Azionariato Popolare AS Roma, which is the first real attempt in Italy for a football club run by the fans, for the fans, and which my own girlfriend is an important part of. Every now and again I get a metaphorical poke with a stick via a blog comment which arrives in my inbox, goading me to do something worthwhile with my time, anything that might give reason to halt the rapid disappearance of justification for the title of journalist with which I deign myself. Well you fucking win, ok?

This is why today I attended the official press conference that Azionariato Popolare AS Roma held to announce its presence to the world (well the Italian press at least), their vision for a brighter day in Italian football. It must also be said that aside from my own thoroughly selfish reasons for being there, I hold the idea and the people behind it in extremely high regard, and if in the long term they manage to organise Roma fans into playing a role in the democratic running of their club it will be one of biggest achivements in the history mankind. I say this as a man who has seen how hard it is for Italians to organise a meeting place and be there on time, so don’t take that lightly.

So a bit of background then. The Sensi family is currently finacially crippling the football club through their siphoning off of club money to service the €300million debt of their Italpetroli, as evidenced by the preposterously large €20million Liverpool paid for the summer transfer of Alberto ‘sicknote’ Aquilani. Usually a football club would be laughing all the way to the bank with that sort of money, but instead the fee magically disappeared into a huge black chasm. Anyone who has read The Beautiful Game? by David Conn will probably already be familiar with the sort of thing I’m talking about. Anyone tomorrow Roma president Rosella Sensi, Italpetroli and bank Unicredit will be meeting to discuss repayments of a debt that is nothing to do with the club. Got that? With this in mind APASR has sprung up, offering a different way of running a club in a country where local magnates ruling private fiefdoms is the common model, pumping in unsustainable millions while hiring and firing managers seemingly on a whim. It’s rallying call is partly for this sort of nonsense to end, but also for more fundamental change. As it says on their website (which has also been translated into English for the benefit of Roma’s worldwide fanbase):

Barcelona’s motto is ‘more than a club’, which helps explain their culture, and in thier own way, greatness. Maybe the moment has arrived to think of constructing our own future together for a Grande Roma, which could be an example in Italy and Europe and that could become, like Barcelona, more than a club.

As much as I am loath to praise Barca for their pompous slogan, their is little doubt that the socio model is the best way for a football club to be run if you’re interested in it being a force for social good.

The idea has certainly gained some traction, if the press conference was anything to go by. In fact not only were various Roma blogs reporting live from the scene, but big national newspapers like Il Messagero and La Repubblica were there (and have already produced stories for their respective online audiences), giving the movement a potentially huge boost. Having met Walter Campanile, the main man behind the scheme, and watched him deal confidently with Italy’s assembled hacks, I have to say he’s a very confident, convincing presence, prodding and cajoling any doubters, laying out the arguments and the structure of everything in detail. If he were less morally upright he’d do a fine job of selling you hooky clothes down the market, or encouraging pensioners to part with their savings because they had the cowboys in their bathroom. Mostly though, you can tell that he and his colleagues know they are right, and that they’re not about to give in to those who say ‘this can’t be done in Italy’.

It was standing room only today, partly due to the radical idea APASR is selling to the public, but also because of a furore kicked up by the press earlier in the month, when respected Naples-based business daily Il Sole 24 Ore claimed that the organisation was a front for a group of Italian celebrities who wanted to take the club from the Sensis without presenting any evidence, a story that was repeated also in La Repubblica. There had also been rumours doing the rounds that they were a front for medicinal drugs magnate Franco Angelini, which while raising the profile of the movement, presented them in an appalling light. Thankfully both of those were quickly swept out of the way.

Ah God it’s late, and in my head this post is already turning into bad facsimile of a Hunter S. Thompson screed, while the text remains resolutely tangent free (up until now at least). How much needs to be said about a press conference when the most important thing about today is an idea, one that needs pressing home and support from the wider fan base? All we’re looking at is a collection of suits and scruffily dressed photgraphers relaying the same quotes, when I’ve got access to better, original material at my fingertips. I’d already know whether we are looking at a new model of ownership or merely a union of fans that have the ear of the owners, loud but mostly powerless? Now that Roma are second in the league and doing well in the Coppa Italia and the Europa League, do the fans care enough to embrace radical change? In essence, is Roma doing well now a bad thing for the club long term?

Tomorrow we (Why I am writing this as though anyone is reading is anyone’s guess) will hopefully have some unique quotes from representives, as well as wonderfully translated stuff from all over the Italian press.