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LONDRA (INGHILTERRA) - Cari Amici di "Napoli Magazine",
vi inoltro il pensiero del nostro caro amico Pete durante la sua recente visita a Napoli per la partita con la Lazio. Vi inoltro anche il video realizzato da lui.
Sono sicuro che i vostri lettori avranno piacere di leggere (in inglese) e vedere un video di un tifosissimo del Napoli inglese.
Napoli Fans Club London
It's Sunday and we arrive at Mostra the train station right outside Napoli's San Paolo stadium. It's 10.45 and we can already hear loud chanting from the Curvas. Napoli has 2 Curvas full of ultras simply named Curva A and Curva B. We have seats for the Distinti. I'm with Francesco a Napoli fan who went to San Paolo during the Maradona era, and Ian my friend, a Stoke City Fan. I am a Pompey fan. We are not the only English at the stadium. For old school fans San Paolo gives you a football fix that you just cannot get in England.
Stamford Bridge, The Emirates, and Old Trafford are morgues compared to this place. It somehow reminds you of football as the people games. Naples is a city of incredible beauty and also incredible social problems....it is edgy and dangerous, yet it has an unparalelled beauty, and the generosity of the people are boundless. We watch as the Napoli Ultras queue to enter the Curvas...These guys look very menacing and and display a fanaticism that strikes fear through all visiting fans.
Lazio is just up the road in Rome, and they are fighting hard for a Champions League position, but we already know that less than 100 Laziale will be in the stadium....it's just not a good venue for visiting fans!!!!!
I go through my usual routine, buying a couple of Borghetti's. It's coffee stored in a brown platic tube with a red cap, and its laced with liqueuer..a wonderful drink at 11AM in the morning for me, normally a teetotaller!!! Delicious stuff at 1 Euro a shot.
Tickets were sold out last Monday...for some reason they will only sell 65,000 seats in spite of the fact the stadium holds 78,000. I can only think it is for health and safety reasons. The queues to the turnstiles are of staggering lengths. Ours is 150 meters long at least 4 people abreast. You are funnellled to a security checking area to present your ticket and passport, they are on high alert to keep out fans with banning orders. Once through the checkpoint it's into the turnstiles and the modern electronic swipe ticket entry system.
Up endless flights of stairs to the Distinti Superiore, we arrive to find our stand is packed. It's a full hour before kick off and the Distinti and Curvas are heaving with people. Why do people get there early? Well you have to understand the the Neapolitan psyche. For him football is a social moment..he wants to be with his friends, so he simply ignores the seat number on his ticket and groups up with his pals (oh for those days again).
Instantly I notice that Curva A has no banners on the parapet wall, and the 100's of flags you normally see are abscent. The only flag flying in Curva A is the famous '#31#' flag. This means 'I want to be anonymous'. Try this on your mobile, put #31# before the number of a pal, then ring...you will then understand the meaning of this flag. I'm told the protest is against the Tesserra (fan card) without which you will not be able to buy a season ticket or go to away games. The Ultras and normal fans are against this card as it contains a chip with personal information on it. Our Parliament would never allow this because of civil liberties issues.
Although Curva A looks bland they put 1 banner up for a few minutes complaining about the ridiculous kick off time, but their singing is deafening as usual. Curva B is a bit more old school but always puts on a great show. In Naples every area of the ground sings, they are not reserved like us English. Francesco is well used to his stadium..but for me and Ian the scene is mezmerising, our eyes are everywhere, reading messages on banners, looking at flags, looking at the excited attitudes of the Neapolitans. These people wear their hearts on their sleeves, totally unafraid to show their emotions. The gentrification of football has not yet arrived in Naples...but how much longer they can hold out I do not know.
Champions League maybe on the menu next season and the corruption of football's core values start there. The supporters around us are intrigued that we are English wearing Napoli colours. They always expect football tourists to head north to Milan or Turin, but who wants to go there, this is as near to South American passion that you can find in Europe.
The Neapolitan is fiercely proud of his heritage, he has his own language (much spanish,norman, influence). Maradona is still a god here, a visit 5 years ago packed San Paolo to the rafters. An argentian flag flaps effortlessly from Curva B and young men proudly wear T shirts with a Maradona picture and emblazoned with 'we love you and will never forget you'. There is even a Maradona shrine in the historic centre of the city!!!
The game turns out to be an absolute classic. after an hour Lazio are cruising 0-2 and look to have crushed Napoli's slim chance of a Scudetto. Napoli have done all of the attacking but have failed to score. Lazio's sporadic raids have opened Napolis defence up with consumate ease. This defence is strange and inconsistent. One week it is tight the next it is generous. Dossena and Cavani strike back for Napoli and it's game on at 2-2. However, within a short period Lazio snatch another goal to lead 2-3.
Napoli manager Mazzari must be applauded. He has 3 class players: The inconsistent Lavezzi, the prolific Cavani, and the classy Hamsik (Il Tridente). The rest of the team are good but not exceptional...yet this team has spirit. They do not lie down easily, and in the 82' Cavani slots a penalty. At 3-3 the game is set for a grandstand finish. The stadium erupts like Vesuvius in the 88' as Cavani coolly lobs the keeper for his 25th Serie A goal of the season. As the game ends the Napoli anthem 'O Surdato 'NNammurato (a soldier in love) echoes around with every man, woman and child singing at full belt. Only football can produce moments like this. A game I will never forget, can Napoli win the Scudetto? They don't have the stars but they have a unique spirit so it could happen!!!!
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