Thursday, 17 January 2013

Maratona and Elsewhere #4 : 'Siamo sempre con voi, Alé! Con Cairo, no. Bastardo!'

Torino 3-2 Siena 13.01.13

As kick-off time approached, our view of the pitch was obscured by an enormous banner depicting the Torino bull emblem. Being versatile, I could stand and simultaneously scream abuse at the stupid individual ten rows of seats in front of me who lit a flare underneath it. My first thought was 'if this thing catches fire…' and my mind went back to Valley Parade. I was at Old Trafford on the day of the Hillsborough disaster and still occasionally think 'in different circumstances, that could have been me'. Perhaps a touch melodramatic but, as Frank Zappa said, stupidity is more plentiful than hydrogen, and stupidity in a football stadium disturbs me. Stupidity inside a football stadium can lead to injury and death.

However, football and stupidity go hand-in-hand. Somewhere farther along the Football Stupidity Spectrum one can find people who sing songs mocking other clubs’ tragedies; stadium collapses, plane crashes, and so on. For example, I find it distasteful when our Ultras sing a song celebrating Liverpool for what happened at Heysel. I am all in favour of football being tribal, but not inhumane.

The final word on football stupidity and Liverpool, however, must go to Bill Shankly, whose famous quote  ('Football is not a matter of life and death: it’s more important than that') remains the one of the most stupid things I’ve ever read.

Rant over. What about the game?

Not a particularly big crowd, and with the still-divided Maratona unable to find its true voice the atmosphere was a bit flat to begin with. Brighi’s early goal gave us a shot in the arm, though. It appeared almost clinical in its execution without the benefit of an action replay - “clinical” is not a word to be used often with this team - but I don’t recall the Siena defence being particularly tigerish in the build-up.

As for the second goal, the Siena defence went completely AWOL. Some will tell you that Rolando Bianchi is the best header of the ball in Serie A. This may be true, though his goal was of the sort Harry Redknapp tells us his wife could score if she was unmarked and six yards out. But the sheer simplicity of Birsa’s cross and Bianchi’s header was a pleasure to behold, and not simply because it flew in the face of Ventura’s preferred style of play. Wingers crossing the ball? Whatever next!

The chest-beating “I am the Captain! Give me that new contract!” celebration under the Curva was all well and good, but unless we change our style of play and cross the ball to Bianchi on a regular basis, a new contract is of no use to club nor player: without service his overall contribution to the team diminishes.

While we’re on the subject of diminishing contributions, I received a text message at some point during the match telling me Cerci was (and I quote) 'playing in a fantastic way'. Well, he did manage to stop being a big girl’s blouse long enough to score the third goal, but aside from that he fiddled with his Alice band, wimped out of tackles and give the ball away all afternoon (a total of 15 - yes, FIFTEEN times). I spoke with a friend after the game, saying I wasn’t sure about Cerci. His response didn’t pull any punches: 'I’m sure about him. He’s a pussy, and we’d have 10 more points this season if we had Rosina - who has NO HAIR, by the way.'

Which brings us to Siena’s Alessandro Rosina, formerly known as “Torino’s Alessandro Rosina”. Loved for his speed, skill, flair, and penalty-taking technique (I have read 'slow and surgical') and subsequent selection for the Italian national team, he was a Granata folk hero. He was made captain, and then… And then, I’m told, the pressure began to tell. His form deserted him. He began to divide fan opinion (and still does). The folk hero was betraying the hopes of the tifosi!! Rosina is the only Torino captain to be jeered at Superga.

When Toro were relegated in 2009, he was sold to Zenit St. Petersburg, where he spent two-and-a-bit years, mostly on the bench. He hasn’t yet added to his one international cap (2007). A case of 'what might have been?'

So the script was written: this was the day that Alessandro Rosina would return to haunt Torino. And sure enough, at 3-2 down in the 89th minute Siena were awarded a penalty under the Curva Maratona. Alessandro Rosina stepped up to score the equalising goal and snatch two precious points away from Toro, under the very noses of the fans who once sang his name.

But the player himself hadn’t read the script! The penalty was slow indeed, but far from surgical.

The ball passed wide of Gillet’s right-hand post, and, to the tune of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer”, the Maratona once again sang his name ('Alessandro Rosina, olé!). Was the singing malicious, or was it a tribute from those who still love the guy? Or a bit of both? I don’t know. As for the penalty itself, was it the aforementioned pressure, or was it that (as Piero Vietti suggested on, recalling his former hero status, he neglected to leave his heart in the dressing room and simply could not score that goal?

So where does this leave us, other than in 12th place on 23 points (six points above the relegation places)? Well, in descending order:

1) We are by-and-large solidly behind the team, and we should be happy that we won this game with ten players either injured or suspended;

2) We’re merely tolerating Ventura these days. The aforementioned injuries and suspensions forced his hand in terms of selection this time, but his system is unpopular with the fans (and Bianchi, no doubt); all he need do is check any Toro forum to confirm that. This win hasn’t done him any harm, though;

3) We’re definitely not with Cairo, as the title of this piece suggests, and probably never will be. Where has all the TV money gone, Urbano? I understand it’s somewhere in the region of €35 - 40 million, Urbano. It’s not been spent on improving the squad, has it, Urbano?

Don’t get me wrong; I am happy that Emanuele Gatto and Davide Cinaglia have been promoted from the Primavera to the first team, provided it’s part of a plan to nurture and develop our young players. I am not so happy if it’s simply an exercise in not spending any money. Think I’ll leave it at that.

Congratulations to Alfred Gomis for his call-up to the Italy Under-20 side, by the way, and to Il Gattone and his good lady on the birth of baby Gianluca.
  * “We are always with you! With Cairo, no. Bastard!” (sung to the tune of “Rivers Of Babylon”, if you were wondering.)

 Steve is a season ticket holder who moved to Torino in 2009 after meeting a Torinese lady called Raffaella on Facebook - you can follow Steve on Twitter here.

1 comment:

  1. HI their as a celtic supporter traveling to turin march the 5th for 2nights for the UCL game with Juve, I have been looking into football in the city and at torino FC was looking for info on any torino supports clubs and bars? as the juve fans dont have a great reputation i would like to have a welcome feeling and i think we would have that with your clubs supporters. thanks scott