When In Roma
April 16, 2015 3:12 AM   Subscribe

The unveiling of a new sporting venue is, in and of itself, not terribly out of the ordinary. In fact, there have been numerous new stadium projects proposed for Rome over the years, though none have made it past the mock-up stage. There is a sense on this day, however, that something is different. It is because of the two suited figures sitting at the center of the room, businessmen known throughout Rome simply as gli Americani — the Americans.
posted by ellieBOA (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know much about Serie A, but I think the gap between American business-speak and Ultra intensity is too wide to be easily bridged. I think American's, particularly rich businessmen, have no framework to understand the cultural significance of AS Roma and so they blithely make plans that are at best misguided and at worst are considered an insult to the club's fans. This piece does a pretty good job of capturing that disconnect.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:04 AM on April 16, 2015

My god. My only exposure to football in Italy is via this article, but it makes the USA's issues with repulsive ethnic and racial mascots look positively enlightened.

I enjoy watching some sports but stay away from involvement other than passive TV watching because I find the culture of the American sports fan to be pretty gross. The picture painted of segments of the Roma and Lazio fans is unbelievably disgusting.
posted by Ickster at 8:47 AM on April 16, 2015

Put in seats. Helped in England. Reduces attendance, though.
posted by alasdair at 8:54 AM on April 16, 2015

Italian stadiums already have seats. And reducing capacity wouldn't make a difference; most games are dramatically undersold.
posted by asterix at 9:12 AM on April 16, 2015

This piece does a pretty good job of capturing that disconnect

The whole piece is pretty disconnected itself. Portraying AS Roma as the primary team of Rome is at best misinformed and at worst willfully ignoring the fact that there's a pretty even split between Roma & Lazio. The whole piece had me sort of gnashing my teeth between the grammatical errors and misrepresentation in the pursuit of story-worthy tension (like the bus driver taking a coffee break. I live by that bus stop - it's a terminus for a few lines. Drivers get a break between runs.)

There's a few issues glossed over, the one sticking most in my craw being perotta's bitching about the fans being punished for the actions of a few; that's right in lockstep with every other footie owner (see also visiting Feeynoord fans a few months ago. Club response: actions of a small minority, not our problem) Gli Americani aren't that big of a change.

Other (hopefully better organized) thoughts on this piece will have to wait until I feed and put the munchkins to sleep. But yeah, am pretty nonplussed with this piece.
posted by romakimmy at 10:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Vaguely organized thoughts:

Totti - He's matured into AS Roma's elder statesman for sure, but IMO isn't the embodiment of Italian footie in general; currently in Serie A, I'd pick Pirlo from the same generational cohort as Totti (and Canavarro or Del Piro from those who've moved on); it remains to be seen what the next generation will evolve into. The celebrational thumb sucking is an homage to his kids and wife, not a reference to one of his nicknames.

Lack of Infrastructure - the brief references to extending the metro line neglects to mention that a similar extension, the last station of which opens later this month, has taken over 6 years to complete - and I'm just referring to the actual construction from when ground was first broken, not the planning and geological surveying needed before (because digging in rome means sooner or later you will hit something of archeological interest). Without adequate public transport, the increase in motor traffic will not be pretty on the four primary roads leading to the proposed stadium. And I have serious doubts about how well Dallas style pricey event parking will be accepted here.
posted by romakimmy at 2:49 AM on April 17, 2015

Stupid fat thumbs hit post before I finished...

I've see reference to the society contributing 50million towards infrastructure improvements needed, but that is some seriously dinky bank for even just the metro extension, let alone street and surface train improvements.

The proposed stadium plan - is still changing. They only started geological surveys two days ago; considering the Tiber has been reaching new seasonal levels since around 2009, the impact of the stadium, the mini city around it and the needed infrastructure is no small potatoes. Marino's predecessor Alemanno, under investigation in the referenced mafia scandal, left Rome to rot as he and his cronies filled their pockets. So the streets and metro stations flood and our potholes have potholes, best illustrated by Daniel Craig smacking his head against the car roof while filming Spectre along the streets flanking the Tiber here in the city center last month.

There's also no mention about concern over Parnasi's possible real estate speculation, nor reference to what role Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympics might play in cutting through the red tape.

Ultras - The curve are where the Ultras reside, and the author seems to blur the line between Ultras and fans. The latter are choosing to avoid the stadium thanks to a combo of the former and tickets prices in a depressed economy. Until owners and teams all over, league and nationals, start stepping up to combat the so called small groups of idiots, families and casual fans won't shell out the cash for tickets.

There's a lot more the the Ultra and hooligan issue that the author tends to cherry pick, elide or maybe just not understand, IMO, but that is a complex issue that I don't have the time to expound on right now.

Like the author, I am from Dallas. I've lived in rome coming up on 17 years now. I honestly cannot tell how much time the author has spent in Rome or in Italy in general, but if I had to hazard a guess from just this article, I would venture towards the "Total Newb" end of the spectrum.
posted by romakimmy at 4:26 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

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