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UltrasBible takes you back through the last twelve months of ultrascene, in a time which has been heavily marked by the Covid-19 outbreak. Some countries have been hit more than others, but the unity in the hottest ultras cities managed to overcome also this severe situation, with still some noteworthy ultras actions which become even more significant if related to their own time.

Despite the first little evidences of the virus later renamed as Covid-19 in both China and Europe date back to november 2019, we could point January 2020 ad the true starting point of the pandemic. China gets hit on its very bowels, mainly in the Hubei region, which has the city of Wuhan as its chief town.

Both the Chinese government and the WHO (World Health Organization) live a very busy first 10 days of the month, truing to collaborate in order to limit as much as possible the spreading of the virus, which was already confirmed to be transmissible from a person to another, and divided in few stumps. The first official hospitalization happens on the 10th of January, and in less than five days more than ten countries confirm Covid-19 cases.

In the ultras world the only relevant nation involved is France, where we could find the first infected Europeans. 23th of January becomes a significant date, as China formalizes a total lockdown in the Hubei region, after some cases involving the metropolis of Beijin and Shangai; we’re talking about the first official lockdown in history, a decision which puts to an end the preparations for the Chinese new year, a very felt and sensed celebration in the whole country. The decision causes dissent and disagreement between people, but later on it will be confirmed as the best solution to contain the virus. In few days the Chinese government enlarges the lockdown to a stunning number of 60 milions people; Hong Kong quickly becomes the second country to chose to quarantine their citizens. Before the end of the month new cases are official in USA and Germany, among many other smaller countries.

France register its first few number of hospitalizations, while WHO advise every single country to prepare an action plan to limit Covid-19 spread. The epidemic still seems to be under control, but it already has the full attention from the main health associations, confirming the big and imminent risk. New cases in Europe are still a very small number, but many videos and scattered news coming from China, from which is always very hard to have precise infos, start to advise all the citizens of what it looks to be a surreal situation, far from the western world, but still on our own planet. For what concerns the ultras world, China was the only country badly hit by the virus in January, and beyond having a narrow ultrascene, the Chinese Superleague always starts by the end of February; no actions were therefore limited by the spread of Covid-19 up to this time.

Below, our chosen five January actions, in chronological order.

Aris Salonicco vs PAOK Salonicco, Souper Ligka Ellada, 04-01-2020, Salonicco.

A true and real classic of the Greece ultrascene, a derby with many cultural, religious and traditional sides, other than the football side. Every year the city of Thessaloniki prepares itself for the clash between its factions, Aris and PAOK, in what became a globally famous match for the insane atmosphere on the stands. Few years ago some pictures of the derby were used in a number of social pages about football, attracting the attention of many passionates. This derby really has a long tradition, and during the years the main habit has become to litterally set on fire the stadium, with every kind of pyro known to mankind, creating a true hellish cauldron. As every other high-risk match in Greece, away fans are not allowed in any case, a decision which makes it easier for the home fans to create inflamed and unique scenarios. Coronavirus reached Greece only at the start of March, and in the European carnage, the Mediterrean country always appeared to be one of the less hit ones, at least with their declared numbers; this is also the result of a hard politic, which reduced to the bone their typical summer tourism, putting down to knees many activities, but yet limiting as much as possible the arrival of the virus from external people. At the start of January though, these only were far thoughts in a country suffering of a massive economical crisis since decades, and which often takes refuge in football passion in order to stay away for few hours from the daily problems. The alight stands of Stadium Kleanthis Vikelidis in this occasion, are the clear demonstration.

aris paok 1

aris paok 1

aris paok 1

CE Europa vs Sant’Andreu, Tercera Division, 11-01-2020, Barcellona

For demonstrations of the calm situation characterizing Europe circa one year ago, we decided to put in our January shortlist this Barcelona derby, played in the Spanish four division. In a country in which the ultrascene doesn’t really have solid traditions as in many others, and which finds their best presenation in some urban fights before their many derbies, a match able to give such images surely is suggestive and significant. Passion and mentality in these clubs are certainly better and more intense in factions such as CE Europa and Sant’Andreu, the ones involved in this derby, than in many others top clubs in Spanish football. However, its significant how a match played in the fourth division in a Barcelona suburb, a city mainly owned by FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, could call to the arms such a big number of people, and with such fervor! Numbers talk about 5000 attendance, with choreos and a lot of support from both fanbases. Such scenes are being deleted by Covid-19 limitations, and will hardly come back in the near future. Action plans for the next few months are planning a gradual return of fans in the main matches of each countries, a shereable decision mainly for the easier way of controls and match visibility, but at the same time a decision which hurts football belonging to the lower divisions, where in many countries we often witness the best ultras actions at national level.

ce europa andreu 1

ce europa andreu 1

Lazio vs Napoli, Serie A, 12-01-2020, Roma

Even in a month that didn’t see this nations in a big hospital crisis, we couldn’t exclude Italy from the first shortlist of this series of twelve articles, as the number of the months, pronouncing the best ultras actions of 2020. Italy has been the first European country to face this hard war against the virus, and numbers of new contagions and deaths rarely went down during all these months. Scoring the first point for Italy, Lazio ultras brings us a magnificent scenario at the half of the month. Having many groups close to influent tattoo artists of Rome, an influence also coming from the abdication of the historical group Irriducibili, with a more traditional model, Lazio ultras managed to offer a number of great choreos in their last big matches; this game against Napoli happened to be also in the weekend of SS Lazio 120th birthday. Double the reasons, double the fan, double the show! Codiv-19 and all the misery with it was only a far immagination, and mastering the scene at Olimpico during that night it wasn’t concern and desperation, but instead a glorious choreo referring to love. Various faces of Lazio history passed through the display of the capital city stadium, all framed by a massive work from all the curva boys, colouring and painting the whole sector with cardstocks and banners. Between the faces on the display, our favourite one was the one of Gabriele Sandri, ultras killed by the police violence, and quickly become an emblem of the ultras movement in Italy and in the whole world.

Lazio Napoli 002

Lazio Napoli 1

Lazio Napoli 1

Rapperswil-Jona Lakers vs ZSC Lions, Swiss National Hockey League, 17-01-2020, Rapperswil-Jona

As a reminder of the fact that each sport is suffering from Covid-19 pandemic, and the fact that each sport have its own ultras, the example brought by the guys from Rapperswil-Jona really fits. Celebrating the 75th birthday of their hockey club, all the fans organized a great choreo able to involve all the 6000 people inside the Diners Club Arena, in a medium sized town close to the chief town St. Gallen. Hockey is and will be one of the most hardly hit sports, being played exclusively in indoor stadiums, where it’s more difficult to assure social distancing and body scanners. May these scenes of celebrations become a big reminder of how each sport can give emotions, always through fans and ultras!

Rapperswil Jona 1

Rapperswil Jona 1

Olympiakos vs Panathinaikos, Souper Ligka Ellada, 11-01-2020, Atene

Greece finds its way twice in our January choices, with another legendary match. This time we’re talking about the Athens derby, taking the scende only seven days about the Thessaloniki’s one. We’re used to see fierce derbies in Athens, always violent and suggestive in the last years, but this match enters our shortlist for another reason. Other than the away fans, always prohibited in rival stadiums, also Olympiakos fans weren’t allowed to assist to this winter derby. The reasons of their absence comes from a fine received by the club after the riotting behaviour of their supporter in their match against PAOK, once again involed, and not to Covid-19 limitation, only happened since the half of March. However, it’s very rare to see a big derby taking part behind closed doors, or at least it was before Coronavirus. The Athens derby without fans was a close anticipation of many other worthy ultras clashes, which never existed due to all the limitations we’re living in now. Greece was already living what in few time became normality, without anyone aware of it. No scenes on the stands, but violent clashes and many people outside the stadium ready to fight for their colours: still, a valid alternative in the Athens derby time in January.

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olympiakos pao 1

olympiakos pao 1

Thanks for reading again and stay tuned for more!

Fellow ultras friends, this article opens up with a question. Have you ever watched a football match, before starting turning your sight towards your stand? If the answer is yes, then you’ll easily understand the dimension of what happened, and what we’ve just lost. If not, just put in mind that all the tangible passion you feel from your ultras mates, surrounded by all the socio-political reason you wish and thousands of other reasons, comes from one common thing: the poetry of football.
On November 25th 2020, we’ve lost who many consider to be the greatest poet of all time, Diego Armando Maradona.

Other websites or newspapers will give you the chance to read millions of lines about his football skills, his career and his famous yet controversial life outside the football pitch. In this article we’d like to explain and give an identity to his role and size in the life of all of you, individual fans, living inside the wide football system.

Imagine to being given the task of make an imaginary index of the must-have-features of an ultras. You may be listing all of your main traits, if you have an high consideration of yourself, or more vaguely the ones that defines a person you look up to in the ultras life, your capo for instance. We easily could decree that Maradona owned and showed a large number of this features, more than you could imagine by only thinking of his figure on a yacht, in a debatable psychophysics condition, with a cigar hanging out his lips. Everywhere he played, his memory will last forever as a legendary thought, an entity, an institution. Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newell’s OB and Boca again, because as everybody know, we always go back where we had a good time. Six different clubs, places, passions, one common thought: Maradona represents us! Don’t we all work on our own stands to represent the feel of our club, our people, our beliefs? With his unbridled celebrations, armed with blunt and outspoken way of doing, a great social commitment and fidelity, impeccable and faultless whatever are your political thoughts, Diego could have easily figured in a hypothetical rank of the best ultras of the century. Luckily he decided to live football also inside the pitch, gifting us with memorable performances and moments, and gifting the chance to fall in love with it. Someone has to do the hard job, right?

Diego singing Dale Boca together with 60.000 Boca fans

Diego educating his son the Neapolitan way 

Only a well rated scriptwriter could imagine Maradona’s career to explode in a city like Naples, Southern capital city of a passional country such Italy, in the crisp and fizzy late ‘80s. The whole globe, and in particular the “Southern world” was watching a 165cms tall man making his way through the biggest and most important social figures, only helped by two very gifted feet, and an immediate and plainspoken way of life. Billions of hungry mouths finally felt represented by someone, so close to them with both his early life and lately his social ideologies fitting in a perfect wedding. Diego was the sweetest revolution! Who better than the best footballer in the world, born and raised in an extremely poor neighborhood of Lanus, and close to the South American leftist parties (ed, Peronism in Argentina, Castro and Guevara in Cuba, Sanchez in Venezuela) could have given voice to them?

Diego widely loved and respected Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban revolution. Fidel love Maradona, symbol of an allegorical revolution, voice of many “forgotten” people around the whole world, through his football art

An indirect freekick from inside the box; lately, Juventus wall was discovered to be put around 4.5m. Who would be able to still bend it under the bar?

Roughly pointing out some reasons why we think Maradona could do a better job than most of us, ultras, as an ultra, we’re pretty sure to have the support of the ones with those beliefs. To the ones still lulling a doubt, here’s something that could smooth your heavy judgment over his rock ‘n roll life, between drugs and controversial behavior. Would you throw away a redemption opportunity to save a legendary career, only to cover our hated FIFA with mud? Diego did it, in 1994, inside one of the darkest and gloomiest pages of modern football, catching an opportunity, and putting his reputation on the line.
Clearly close to the cocaine and drugs “world” for at least ten years, Maradona had some troubles participating in the 1994 World Cup, held in the USA. His drug problems, alongside some doping controversies, forced him out a number of countries which made it difficult for him to be a stable component of Argentina national team. Despite not being reported in any book to dates, his participation to 1994 WC only happened through a tacit agreement between his agents and FIFA, willing to hide his doping results at the cost of having him in the biggest football competition. His absence in fact would have been too big, and FIFA was already attacked by millions of fans saying the federation wasn’t defending the show and beauty of football.
A long and silent procedure allowed Maradona to the World Cup, joining a really strong Argentina, looking forward to the final. However, Diego hot temper and nature didn’t slow him during the competition. Knowing the risk he was running, he made a big voice complaining about the crazy FIFA decisions of playing in the maximum heat, and in the hottest time slots, only to allow televisions to transmit the competition in westerners countries. A futile controversy that brought FIFA to reveal the positive results of his doping tests, right before the second Argentina match, giving birth to the memorable picture of D10S, calmly brought outside the pitch by a nurse. His attitude and posture really seem to say: “I’m guilty, but you’re guiltier”; the sacrifice of a son that could have still brought joys to football, in particular to Argentinian people. Would you put yourself in line, your identity, only to screw up one of the federation that we regularly insult in our ultras chants, stickers, arguments? Diego did, and without even wearing specific colors, but only to defend an idea, and attack an already rotten system, twenty-five years ago.

Maradona leaves USA 1994, holding hands with a nurse after the antidoping results were revealed

Someone says that we only discover the dimension of someone, when we don’t have him anymore. Will anyone miss the pub version of Maradona? Probably not, unless we’re looking for a goliardic laugh.
Will someone miss Maradona as in idea, as a conviction, as an entity? We’d better ask the ones crying his memory on the streets, in a moment where human contact is our worst enemy. We’d better ask Argentines, a country which went through dozens of economic collapses and social crisis, but always had faith in fùtbol. We’d better ask the ones renouncing to a historical saint, in order to rename a stadium after his figure (ed, Stadio San Paolo, which will newly become Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples).

 

A chapel inside the city centre of Naples. Warm, loud and faithful, Neapolitan people easily fell in love with the legendary figure of Maradona, in and off the pitch. Nowadays he’s compared to various saints, and will overtake San Paolo for the new name of Napoli stadium!

On November 25th 2020, a man died. Still, a myth was born, and an identity finally found his space, intangible.

Diego Maradona, D10S, louder than us, as ultras as us.

Italy always represented a rampart inside the economy of the ultras world, and it’s still nowadays a landmark for a numbers of nations with smaller and latest cultures and traditions, compared to the Belpaese. In such a fizzy ambient both on the past and in these days, the numbers of derbies and rivalries are extremely high, and there are very few countries that could offer a similar scene. Inside the several contentions, one of the most felt and with a lot of history is the one between Atalanta, the biggest club in Bergamo, and Brescia; in this occasion the fan bases don’t hate each other just for conventions or simple geographical proximity, but there are accurate historical reasons behind the contrasts between the two Northern Italian cities.

Bergamo

Brescia

La Dea (the Goddess) against La Leonessa (the Lioness): pills of actual football

Despite Atalanta built a bright future in these last years compared to their rivals of Brescia, with a presence in the European cups which is slowly becoming a habit, historical stats crown the Leonessa as the best team of the two in direct clashes. In all the competitions, Brescia won 23 matches, with 22 draws and 18 Atalanta wins. The same trend could be found analyzing individually only derbies played in Serie A, and the same with derbies played in Serie B. However, at the moment the Bergamo club is qualified for the UEFA Champions League quarter finals, and owns a 4th place in this current Serie A, with a media attention that the city never had football wise. We doubt that the tifosi bergamaschi would change those hard earned privileges with the current situation at Brescia, newly promoted in Serie A after a long time in the second division, and already struggling at the bottom of the league. The first derby took place in 1920, but became a regular clash between the ‘60s and the ‘70s, in either Serie A or Serie B, with the two clubs that always used to seesaw through the two divisions. This season’s derby, in the first leg of Serie A, has been the first derby in the top division in 15 years of time, and has been clearly won by Atalanta, 0-3 away from home. We don’t even think that it’s necessary to state that the away fans weren’t allowed to attend the match, with the event being one of the hottest in recent history of Italian ultras scene.

The historical roots

As said before, the rivalry between Atalanta and Brescia is not only a simple automatism, but there are precise motivations on which this grudge is put. Both the cities are nowadays strongly industrial, with citizens grown with the work culture, so in a way we can find some similarities between the two regions. However, tons of provocations and insults are easy to be found on the streets of the cities, also outside the football world, with the bergamaschi renamed as conigli (=rabbits) and the bresciani as suini (=pigs). The first news we could find through history come from the twelfth century, precisely in 1126 with the figure of Giovanni Brusati, a noble citizens of Brescia, with some possessions in the region; in order to finance a Crusade in the holy land of Israel, he decided to make some money out of those possession by selling it. In those years, the Brescia curia (a sort of regional administration) was in a deep economical crisis, and it was easy for the neighbor of Bergamo to buy the lands in question. The towns and areas in matters are still existing nowadays, and each of them had a city center with also a strategical castle. Also the area itself was and still is very strategic, with the presence of a main river dividing the two regions, and a lake split in two between Bergamo and Brescia. The keystone of this matter was a clash in 1154, with the Brescia troops defeating the Bergamo ones with a sneaky operation, causing more than 2500 deaths. A numbers of small wars and battles happened in the following years, in a context of Italy always split in hundreds of regions and ownerships, until the actual conformation earned in the nineteenth century. The localism between regions still happens nowadays, with big moments of tensions between the two cities through decades and centuries. Last but not least, for istance, the assignment of val Camonica, a valley historically owned by Brescia, to the lands of Bergamo during the Napoleonic period; despite the valley is now back to Brescia ownership, there is still a reason to discuss especially in the border towns.

What remains of an old border in the mountain community between Bergamo and Brescia, location Averara

Bridge on the river Oglio connecting the two regions

On the stands

Both clubs always had more of a regional following, than national, but they’re lucky enough to be in the most populated region in Italy, as well as one of the most crowded in Europe, Lombardy. During the years Atalanta and Brescia have had a massive support from their tifosi, falling outside the poor results on the pitch, rarely exciting on either way. Atalanta’s ultras movement finds his roots in the early ’70s, when Atalanta Commandos takes control of the curva; during the first years, the main idea is the pacifist one, resembling a family with only few faithful components. The birth of Brigate Neroazzurre in the early ‘80s unsettled all the organization chart in the Bergamo scene, transforming a passional and enjoyable tifo in a proper ultras group, idea which was very appreciated by a lot of fans, and allowed the Brigate to enlarge themselves quickly. Despite always being quite distant to proper political questions, the Atalanta tifosi often had some leftist thoughts during a lot of periods in the last decades, including nowadays. The clash between the ones supporting the idea of an apolitical curva and the ones closer to leftist propaganda still go on today, but it never exploded in violent internal riots and tensions. During these decades the curva nord always was tendentiously violent towards many rival Italian fan bases, excluding few close and twinned clubs, and always very cohesive inside, also with many examples of mutual help for the components. The few friendship (to highlight the ones with Ternana and Eintracht Frankfurt), don’t even come close to the number of rivalries, both territorial (Brescia, precisely, Inter and Milan), and historical (Torino, Napoli and Roma above the others). Alongside Atalanta fans, but on the other side of Oglio river, Brescia fanbase moved its first steps in the early ‘70s, with a meltin pot of ideas that found its first true conformation in 1979, with U*BS as the main group of the curva, immediately with a violent imprint against the neighbour of Atalanta. The early ‘90s represents the golden period for the bresciani: in each season at least a massive episode of ultras movement ended up on the first pages of all the newspapers, making Brescia a famous spot for tifo in the whole country. Invasions, fights against ultras groups in the cities centres, and a number of turbulent manifestations, preceded a period where Brescia was also a good team on the pitch, creating a lovely scenario with good football, high attendance on the stands for regular fans, and a feared curva as the previous years. Despite few antiracist declarations and positions, curva nord Brescia has always been apolitical for all the years of their movement, likely reason why there haven’t been big discrepancies in more than 40 years, in spite of the presence of few small fascist groups in the last years, always put aside by the main flow.

10 Feb 2002: Atalanta fans show banners insulting Brescia coach Carlo Mazzone during the Serie A match between Atalanta and Brescia, played at the Azzurri d”Italia Stadium, Bergamo.

Curva Nord Brescia

Memorable moments

A rivarly with such big dimensions, in a big scenario such as the Italian one, offered, offers and for sure will offer a bunch of hints and ideas for the ultras chronicles. It’s enough to think that for the return of the derby in Serie A in 2019, Atalanta fans joked on the Italian FA after some unjustified rules ahead of their away day in Brescia, and totally boycotted the match, making everyone’s eyes pointing towards this topic. Probably, a similar statement and decision would have been done also by Brescia fans for the second leg of the derby, net of the current Covid-19 situation which sentences the fans to stay out of stadiums. Some ultras references could be find already in the ‘30s, when Brescia fans managed to bring and unleash hundreds of rabbit during a derby, when the Atalanta players were coming on the pitch: a clear lure to the feelings of fear and cowardice, often associated to rabbits. Apex of the decennial ultras clash between the two bases stands the episodes of 1992/93 season; crossing the pitch of Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Brescia ultras managed to reach the away end, full of Atalanta fans, stealing dozens of scarves and banners, burning most of them. Atalanta’s reaction of course didn’t fail to arrive, and consisted in the exact same treatment. All the attentions on the match moved on the ultras chronicle, with more than twenty injuries and wounded brought to the hospital, dozens of DASPOs (stadium bans) and various complaints. Also, to add to the list, the unexpected and loud resignations from both chairmains and boards of the two clubs, not understanding so much brutality and violent, and to stay away from all the events. Many other clashes and dark days also followed always through this “style”, but for the non-violent fringes of the support, light hearted irony surely is the principal element of this rivarly. Pigs brought in curvas with the rivals colours on them, historical celebration runs from old and white haired managers under the rival sector after a late draw, and many other contentions and clashes on dialect, history and tradition.

Carlo Mazzone, Brescia manager runs towards the away sector after a late draw and becoming the enemy number 1 for the upcoming years.

Smoke from the burnt material in the legendary 1993 clash

Long life and prosperity to Atalanta-Brescia, a rivarly which between devotion, history and Italian localism will always be a massive example for all the ultras world.

Last year the guys from Copa90 made a nice documentary on this rivalry.

 

Far away from theories and declaration that put football players distant from the ultras world, politics alignments, and social life inside a curva, there are examples that stretch towards the opposite direction, marrying reasons and beliefs of true ultras groups. Celebrations completely dedicated to us, ultras, symbols or sentences tattooed forever on the skin to honor the true show of football, or also proper away days head to head with historical figures in our world. Below you’ll find examples of men that dedicated part of their lives to an ideology, supporting the ultras mentality, which is too often countered from everywhere in this new and too elegant modern football.

DANIELE DE ROSSI, ROMA

A love story that lasted until last season on the pitch, the one between Daniele De Rossi and his beloved Roma. Second ever player with most apps at the club, only behind Francesco Totti, the defensive midfielder managed to stay closer to the organised tifo of Curva Sud through his whole career. Don’t get us wrong, Totti is considered by every fan as a God come down to Earth, earning nicknames such as “The Eight King of Rome”; however De Rossi, maybe because the media attention was more focussed on his historical team mate, always represented the romantic and decadent Rome that all the Italians know. In his final day with the shirt of AS Roma, just before signing with Boca Juniors towards the end of a beautiful career, his last tour of honor on the pitch was emblematic, saluting all the fans. If on one side he was “obliged” to a ceremony created “ad hoc” for him and for the media, the moments close to his ultras were much more influential. A long private speech between him and some of the historical exponents of the Curva Sud was recorded with cameras by the media, but De Rossi disappeared in a long hug inside his real fans, in particular inside the group of Fedayn, confirming bonds that already existed. An initiative created by AS Roma during the last season highlighted all of that, with De Rossi as masked actor inside the Curva Sud for a home Serie A game. The legend of the Giallorossi would then say that he already did the experience by himself, uncovered, with a beer and a sandwich on his hands.

MARCUS ROSENBERG, MALMO

In a very modern ultras scene such as the Scandinavia none, and in particular in Sweden, ultras groups now have the chance to interact head to head with the club board, and obviously with many of the most in fluent players at the club. Marcus Rosenberg is a striker that can vaunt himself with a decent career in European football, but mainly because of his 285 appearances and 110 goals with the shirt of his home club of Malmo FF. Used to clubs close to the European cups level, and always called up in the national team, many fans believe that he could have searched for more experience before going back to Sweden in 2014, but this choice made him a legend for Di Blåe. Day by day he managed to frequent more and more the ambient of the organised tifo, and now he earned a memorable choreo all dedicated to himself, just before the last match of his career, against Dinamo Kyev in this season’s Europa League. The result? Last minute goal scored by Rosenberg, 4-3 win and Malmo through to the next round after one of the most emotional European matches in these last years. Do you still really think that this is “just a game”?

ALEXY BOSETTI, OGC NICE-INTER

One of the most interesting figures for this article could be Alexy Bosetti, French striker born in 1993, right now playing in the USA second division. Until 2017 he’s been an OGC Nice player, his favorite club, despite some loans around Europe, as said by him in loads of interviews. Even though his early career was very promising (he won the U20 World Cup in a squad that included players such as Pogba, Umtiti or Thauvin), during these years Bosetti always finished on a different side of the newspaper and medias, more for this behaviors and lifestyle outside the pitch. Declared ultras, there are plenty of pictures of him leading other fans on the Brigade Sud Nice (he also has a tattoo of the group on his arm, which used to show at every goal celebration with the red and black shirt). There are also pictures and news about him on Curva Nord at Inter, with the Boys SAN; biggest group of the curva since their foundation, they have always been very convinced about controversial politics and social ideas, and they’re friends with groups from OGC Nice and Valencia. Asked this questions, the striker clearly declared to often frequenting both groups since he was a little boy, without intention of quitting! His ultras lifestyle surely didn’t help his professional career, but he earned a lot of respect and honor in our world, with a big courage to choose the difficult path, always very discussed by everyone.

PAOLO DI CANIO, LAZIO

One of the most gifted players in recent Italian football history, yet one of the most controversial and discussed profiles. Let’s be honest, Paolo Di Canio, maybe for his turbulent past, maybe for his famous tough snout, could easily be associated to the ultras world! In both Italy and Great Britain, in his divided carreer, his strong politic identity always spoke for himself, all confirmed by loads of pictures of him with fascist tatoos, or celebrating with the Roman salute, raising his right hand like in time of Nazism or Fascism. Borned in Roma and with more than 100 apps with the Aquile Biancocelesti, Di Canio obviously always declared to be a Lazio supporter. Because those scandalmongering reasons which saw him close to the far right Italian politic, the stiker has always been vague in these themes during many interviews; however, pictures of him close to big figures in the historical Lazio ultras movement, in particular some Irriducibili leaders, are the confirmation we’ve been searching for. Apparently a lover of away games, Di Canio tried his best to manage his double commitment of football player and ultras, especially at the start of his carreer.

DAME N’DOYE, COPENHAGEN

What else could an ultras desire, if not one of the most influent player in the modern history of his club with a specific tattoo of his tifo group? This is exactly the case of Dame N’Doye, 35 years old striker of FC Copenhagen, borned in Senegal and with experiences in eight different leagues. Right now at his second spell in Copenhagen, with more than 100 goals scored for the Løverne, 4 Danish league titles and 2 DBU Pokals, N’Doye indissolubly bonded his carreer to FCK. The glory won on the pitch though, wasn’t immediate: arrived in Denmark in 2009 after big experiences in Greece, the Senegalese appeared suffering for this big change, despite the high expectations of the fans. Only the continue support managed to unlock his full potential, and the warmness of Sektion 12 is still relevant nowadays, with the striker close to his retirement days. To repay the fans, in 2011 N’Doye started to go round in the surroundings of FCK’s hot tifo, in particular with the biggest group, still nowadays, Urban Crew. It was like this that with a common deal, N’Doye bring since then the logo of the glorious group, a bald man, on his left arm, often kissed by him while celebrating under the Sektion 12 in Parken.

JORDAN HENDERSON, SUNDERLAND

Jordan Henderson, born in Sunderland in 1990, bonded part of his professional carreer to his local club, the Black Cats of Northern England. One of the most influent and talented midfielder in the european football scene, also current winner as a captain of the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool, had a glorious past inside Sunderland fanscene. Even though England can’t really vaunt an ultras movement nowadays, and with the hooligans golden times already passed since decades, in his early life Jordan Henderson often declared to still having strict contacts with historical supporter of the Championship club; these bonds brought him to assist to many games in the lower popoular sectors in the Stadium of Lights, both in his Sunderland and Liverpool times, being disqualified or injured, and with special permissions from the club.

 

Paris Saint-Germain announced, in a press release full of sadness and respect , the death of James, a loyal supporter of the club, who has worked for years for the return of ultras to the Parc des Princes.

Accustomed to the Auteuil tribune, he mobilized against the plan of Robin Leproux, which temporarily canceled subscriptions to the Stadium, by participating in the foundation of “Freedom for subscribers” in 2010. He became involved in the Association of defense and legal assistance of stadium bans (ADAJIS) to defend the rights of Parisian supporters in their conflict with club management. Far from simply opposing the policies of the authorities and the club, James strives to renew the dialogue between the different parties and to make concrete proposals to allow the return of active supporters to the Park in good security conditions. This work in the shadows was materialized by the return of ultras in the Parc des Princes in the fall of 2016.

https://twitter.com/PSG_inside/status/1255426668421943296

Beyond PSG, James was a well known person in the French fan scene because he has been the voice and face of the National Supporters Association (ANS) for a long time which acts, in the same spirit as ADAJIS, to promote rights and interests of supporters in regular dialogue with sports and public authorities. Combining a passionate character and well-considered positions, he has greatly contributed to the improvement of relations between the ANS, on the one hand, and the LFP and the national anti-hooliganism division, on the other. He notably represented the ANS for more than two years in the meetings of the National Support Authority attached to the Ministry of Sports.

“James was a supporter of PSG but he was especially passionate about the cause of the supporters”, says Mohamed Bouhafsi, football editor in chief of RMC Sport. “He fought tirelessly for the ultras of all the clubs.”

For several years, he had been fighting with remarkable strength and courage against a serious and long illness that finally prevailed last night. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, may he rest in peace.

Liberté Pour Les Ultras!

Source: Sofoot.com

Two years ago, ultras groups from AC Reggiana asserted their own rights!

New investors, economic difficulties for many Italian clubs in the lower divisions, and the more and more insistent arrival of “modern football” even in a country so grounded to its tradition such as Italy, put down on their knees various historical football cities in Italian calcio. Between them stands Reggiana, club from Reggio Emilia, a city in the hearth of Emilia Romagna region.

Reggiana is one of the various historical clubs in Italy: founded in 1919, they can vaunt seven season in the first division, and nearly fourty in the second, just before being stucked from the third division and below. In the last period, the arrival of another club to Serie A level, Sassuolo, made even more bitter the present era for the Granata (Garnet Brown). Division rules, even starting from Serie B, brought Neroverdi away from their little city of Sassuolo, towards in Reggio Emilia stadium for their home matches, simultaneously with hosts of Reggiana. Lucrative sponsorships in Sassuolo world also leaded to a change to a change of the stadium name, traditionally known as “Città del Tricolore”; the new name “Mapei Stadium” comes from a famous bulding industry, property of the recently deceased president Giorgio Squinzi.

If on the one hand we could find the fairytale of Sassuolo, starting from a small town and already reaching European football in the last seasons with a stable club managment, for us is much more interesting to give voice to the other side, Reggiana one. Granata supporters, already in a descending parabola after awful corporate managements, also have to deal with a stolen historical stadium, symbol of the city that gifted the famous Tricolore to the Italian flag.

Today recurs the second anniversary of a big demonstration in the streets of Reggio Emilia city center, organized by nonother than Reggiana ultras. From more than thirty groups affiliate to the club, Teste Quadre (Squared Heads) and Gruppo Vandelli were protagounist of a pacific but very meaningful corteo: Sassuolo is not welcome in Reggio Emilia, and will never be accepted. A banner on top of the corteo really is the symbol of this protest: “One club, one city… history!”

To all the ultras group around the world suffering a negative period, our call is to keep on fighting for your own rights and tradition. Now and always, against modern football!