Thursday, 6 February 2014

Match 8: Atalanta

Atalanta supporters have a reputation for being a little, let’s say, prickly. They had one of the most respected Ultras groups in Italy called the Brigate Neroazzurre (BNA), which itself branched off from another organised fan-group, the Atalanta Commandos. The BNA wasn’t averse to clashes with rival teams’ supporters, which found a great deal of popularity with the younger members of the group, but which also caused friction between themselves and other groups in the Curva. This mentality led to confrontations with supporters’ groups of Genoa, Torino and both the Milanese teams, and over the years their reputation as being somewhat calda was exacerbated and spread across the nation. 

Not content with the way things were going, in the eighties another group splintered off from the BNA: Wild Kaos. This new group’s reasoning was much the same as the BNA’s reason for separating from the Commandos: troppo poco casino (not enough trouble).

Most football teams and/or their fans bear a grudge against one or two other teams, but check this out for a roll call of enmity: Brescia, Juventus, Milan, Inter, Napoli, Roma, Genoa, Lazio, Fiorentina, Perugia, Torino, Verona, Reggina, Como and Vicenza can all expect a feisty reception at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia. Of these, one episode well worth noting happened in the summer of 2013. During a celebration for the club in the centre of town organised by the fans’ groups, a player, Giulio Migliaccio, rode a tank over two cars, crushing themone in the colours of Brescia, and the other in Roma’s. Pow! Take that! A tank! A bloody tank! Those guys know how to effectively get across their message, as long as it doesn’t require any subtlety.

I got first hand experience of their supporters’ prickishness prickliness in the days before this match when I was trying to get in contact with people for interviews. Using my normal method of signing up for their forums and then writing a wee introductory note explaining who I was and what I was doing, I got almost nothing but abuse in return. I’d written my little message, then settled down to watch a film, and barely fifteen minutes in, my phone pinged to tell me that someone had replied. Excited by their efficiency, imagine my disappointment when said message instructed me where to go and what to do to myself in somewhat colourful language. There followed a string of other messages questioning whether I was genuine or a troll, with most people apparently deciding that I was the latter despite my protestations that I don’t now and indeed have never lived under a bridge. That evening, the discussion topic I’d started was taken down, and the next day my membership was deleted. Thanks! 
There are only two reasons that I can think of that would explain why this happened: 

  1. Someone said something really inappropriate and against the rules in the discussion, but as that wouldn’t affect my membership, what I reckon is more likely was that: 
  2. Someone reported me as being a ne’er-do-well and I was booted out. As I said, I had replied to someone who’d accused me of the same thing in order to deny it, but they didn’t believe me for the most laughable of reasons: they said my Italian was too good. Almost suspiciously good. 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the court, I’d like to counter this point in two parts: First, I have been living here for more than five years, but thanks, that’s kind of you to say that my Italian is good, however with particular regard to my written Italian which certainly isn’t the best, please don’t piss in my pocket and tell me it’s raining. 

Secondly, what?! Only Italians are allowed to learn the language?! They say that there isn’t  a wall that a Bergamascan can’t build (they’re famed for their building skills), however this particular muppet seemingly found the language barrier too great an obstacle, thinking as he/she did that a foreigner couldn’t learn their language to a passable level. 


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