With the football season just kicking off here, and without any English football to watch, I have decided that it's time to get myself an Italian team to support. Also, I've been told on more than one occasion that a man in Italy isn't fully dressed without the 'pink paper' under his arm and, at 1 euro, it represents a very affordable fashion statement.
Where I spent my first few years, in Malta (a tiny island 50 miles south of Sicily) everyone supported Juventus - I'm not sure why. Perhaps there was a certain magic or mystique or simply a natural appeal to one of the oldest clubs in Italy, set up by a bunch of English, Italian and Swiss lads who used the latin word for 'youth' to name their team and played in their, now legendary, black and white vertical stripes. I remember my brother and I collecting the stickers for our Panini football albums, always happiest when unpeeling a Juventus player. Their first Championship winning team in 1905 was, apparently, made up of a mixture of painters, poets and factory workers - wow, that's my kind of team!
However, living in Italy (but not in Turin where Juventus are based) it won't be easy to become one of the 'juventini' as all over the rest of Italy there exist a vast majority of 'anti-juventini' who have no time at all for 'la Vecchia Donna' (the old lady) of Italian football.
So, after a lot of soul-searching, I have decided to turn instead to my 'local' team, Siena, who have come good in the last few years and play in the top division. The advantage is that they are a smallish team who play in a smallish stadium near the city, less than an hour from here, and so I might be able to get a ticket to a game.
The other advantage is that they also play in black and white vertical stripes, so I can buy the shirt, wear it and yet continue to secretly still support Juventus, on the inside. You see, there is a saying in football which goes something like, '...you can change your job, your car, your name, your religion, your partner, even your sex, but you can't change your football team...'
The stupidest thing I did today;
Probably deciding to get involved in the murky world of Italian football - great players, financial corruption, violent fans, drugs, the Mafia, the World Cup. It's an opera played out every weekend and the obsession of every Italian.