Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fiorentina V Liverpool – Dr. Joel Rookwood

For the unsuspecting football supporter, the prospect of a European away trip to Italy is usually accompanied by a detailed health warning. As Mirror columnist Brian Reade noted recently: “Spend a night as a football fan in Italy and there’s a good chance you’ll end up eating hospital food. Usually after being stabbed in the buttocks by a youth wearing a crash helmet who does you from behind and then scarpers.” Given their history with Italian clubs, the threat is particularly evident for Liverpool supporters.

AS Roma’s only appearance in a European Cup final resulted in defeat at the hands of Liverpool. In Rome. On penalties. In excess of forty Liverpool fans were subjected to serious knife wounds before and after the match, and the event did little for Anglo-Italian relations. Twelve months later the pinnacle of club football was once again dominated by the men from Merseyside. Although the 1985 final saw Juventus crowned continental champions, the result was rendered insignificant by the events that unfolded in the stands of Brussels’ Heysel stadium. The dilapidated ground was more than sixty years old and proved unable to withstand the fatal stampede by Liverpool supporters towards their Juventus counterparts in the ‘neutral’ section before the game. A wall collapsed under the pressure of fleeing fans and many were crushed, resulting in thirty-nine deaths. It remains the worst hooligan-related tragedy in the history of European football.

The spectre of disorder overshadowed the reality of inadequate, dangerous terraces, ineffective policing and flawed crowd management, as throughout the continent (and particularly in Italy) the supporters of all-conquering Liverpool became synonyms for ‘murderers’. A resultant legacy of antagonism has since developed between many Italian and Scouse supporters. Two decades later in Liverpool’s first post-Heysel European Cup final appearance, the opposition were predictably once again Italian. This time it was the turn of AC Milan to face Liverpool, with the latter miraculously overturning a three-goal deficit, securing the club its fifth trophy in the process. As a consequence supporters of Italy’s most influential clubs typically share strong feelings (with varying degrees of intensity and direction) towards everything connected with Liverpool Football Club.

This argument was validated during recent trips to Roma, Juventus and Milan, experiences which led many Liverpool fans to wonder whether or not their latest European tie in Italy would represent a similar threat to collective safety. However, contrary to previous episodes on Italian soil the venture into the largely unknown territory of Florence proved anything but intimidating for the supporters. The Fiorentina fans seemed to almost hold the Merseyside club in higher regard than they do their own. So keen were they so impress a sense of friendship that they erected a fan zone outside the Stadio Artemio Franchi to mark the official twinning of two Anglo-Italian supporters organisations. A spokesman for the Collettivo Autonomo Viola fan group issued a statement for their Liverpudlian counterparts saying: ‘Florence has always had a strong admiration for Liverpool and their fans. This is our opportunity to create a beginning of a friendship that will last and grow stronger over time.’ Call me cynical, but I was more than a little suspicious as to why.

On the pitch Liverpool’s defence proved similarly accommodating, allowing the hosts to dominate first half possession. A double strike from Jovetic before the interval provided Fiorentina with a well deserved and ultimately significant two-goal advantage. More intriguing than the build up play to the goals however was the response of the home supporters to taking and then doubling their lead. The noise was loud, the flares atmospheric, but the attitude attached to the celebrations was not in the least confrontational. Throat slicing gestures and invitations to engage in sexual encounters with one’s immediate family usually accompany such a reaction from Italian fans. On close inspection the only supporter I saw illustrating a loathing of Liverpool was immediately, forcibly and publicly humiliated by a commanding ultra in the most notable case of self-policing I have ever seen at a football match. The away end just stood and stared in disbelief. No interpretation was required.

With an ostracized American ownership and a growing marginalisation of local support dampening the Anfield mood, increasingly the working class subcultural rump of Liverpool supporters nostalgically wish for the return of a participatory democracy, where fans sensed an ownership or belonging to the club. Conversely Italian ultras continue to demonstrate their influence over their own clubs and those who follow them. The most compelling evidence to substantiate this argument last night presented itself immediately after the players had vacated the Florentine turf following the conclusion of a disappointing night for Liverpool. In an act that would have earned a lifetime stadium ban in England, a huge banner was unveiled at the far end of the ground. Not content at its initial position dominating an entire row of advertisement boards, the ultras holding the banner then proceeded to ignore the ‘advice’ of the stewards and march onto the pitch.

They stopped only when they reached the Liverpool supporters, where they took an almost regal bow and received a bemused applause by an away end clearly adopting a variety of interpretations of the text. The ultras then presented the banner to a Kopite. It read: ‘WELCOME REDS - YOUR STORY IS FOR US A LEGEND’. It may well have said: ‘thank you for killing 39 Juventus fans. The enemy of our enemy is our friend.’ Conversations with a number of Fiorentina fans before the game, including one I exchanged scarves with, concluded with their personal expression of gratitude for Liverpool’s behaviour at Heysel. My memory of a disaster that unfolded when I was barely four-years old is far from clear, yet I know enough to realise it is a source of nothing but regret and shame for any Liverpool fan worth his salt.

The ritual exchange of pleasantries that follows most European ties Liverpool are involved with, singing one another’s team names in a regular show of sportsmanship rarely exposed by journalists, is something I am usually the first to join in with. But with La Viola I was far less enthusiastic, given their rigid and bitter representation of Scouse footballing culture. Using the Scouse trademarks of songs and banners to do it only served to heighten my sense of disapproval. Liverpool’s collection of both are among the most famous in world football, and yet during a strange night in Florence, among the catalogue of carefully considered and crafted Liverpool banners on show, the winner has to be: ‘YER MA’. Only a Scouser could represent the collective attitude towards Fiorentina and get a laugh at the same time, using only five letters. Sound.


alessandro said...

sorry my friend ...I'm not according with your position..Liverpool legend it's for us other thing that Heysel's not true..I don't know with whom you discussed after the match...but we admirate the Kop's legend and we respect one of the most important winner in football minimaze us as simple littles uglies friends of hools mentality and behavior is not right and incorrect...maybe you deserve more the bad receveing as in Rome or in the rest of Italy...maybe you deserve the ideas who is in the juventus fans hearts...the same who were happy after the Sheffield tragedy...we're sorry of having shown our admiration to whom didn't understand our trues feelings...thanks a lot...

Joel Rookwood said...

I guess the problem with forming an opinion on such a short trip is that you may misrepresent the majority by reflecting on the minority. I am sorry if this has been the case. I could only comment on what I saw and the conversations I had. You are in a better position to comment on what your general fanbase thinks and I respect that and apperciate you taking the time to let me know. Most of the Liverpool fans enjoyed the trip and spoke highly of Florence and the Viola support. The Heysel tag sometimes preoccupies us, as you can imagine... Rest assured however that we do not deserve mistreatment in Rome or Hillsborough celebrations in Turin, and following the trip to Florence (and in preparation for your visit) we do consider La Viola to be good fans, good football people and good friends.

alessandro said...

thanks Joel...forgive me for my very bad english but I forgot a lot of words, gramatic and expression I was used to know in the past...thanks for your kind reply...what I'd mean was that we too we have a lot of us who weren't the past the hools culture had a lot of fans...even in Florence. Likely Brussels is the past, even if anybody is able to give back to their family the victims of that bloody day. I wanted only underline that for us Liverpool and the Kop are a legend...despite of Heysel...the Kop's chants are the most famous in the world. Your "You'll never walk alone" it's simply the best football song I've ever hard! Which team could be proud of having its fans recorded in a Pink Floyd album? Liverpool fans was for us a honour! More than meet Real and barcelona or Man utd! Believe me...the ones who told you that we love you because of Heysel they are only poor guys! Good luck and come on Reds and Violets!

annamaria said...

I'm a Juventus female fan.
I'm not thrilled at the idea of writing you, because Because I was at Heysel and still feel angry after 24 years, still what the viola fans did is more important than my personal feelings.
I speak on behalf of thousands of people, the ones that joined the Facebook group I created against the 'twinning' you made and the others that show their rage all over the internet.
The Heysel is an open wound for us, even after so many years and the Fiorentina fans use it every time against us, they rejoice for the deaths you caused. They deny it, but every time we ask them to prove that they aren't happy for our tragedy, that they respect the dead, they always find excuses to avoid doing any gesture of respect.
They hate us, they know that we resent you and that everything related to you is for us like waving a red flag before a bull. That's why they asked you to make the twinning, that's why they were willing to do everything to have you accept their offer. That's why they humbled themselves so much and virtually licked your ass to show “respect”. They desperately wanted to make this twinning before the Juve-viola match, to use it against us.
It was all an act. They have started showing “respect” for Liverpool only after the Heysel massacre, and only to enrage us. Before that, they ignored you and without that, they would have kept being indifferent to you.
They played you for fools and you fell for their act, so immediately they used it against us in the match. Many of them (not one or two, as I read somewhere) wore a Liverpool shirt with Meno 39 -39 less- on the back. They even waved it among their banners

Now the leaders of the viola supporters say that those weren't part of the organized fans, that it's impossible to control everyone in a stadium. Well, when you're in another town and there is few of you, how can you say you can't control them? What kind of leader are you if you can't control your people? No, as usual they lie, the truth is that they did NOTHING to stop them.
They were there to provoke us and the Liverpool flags, hats, shirts and assorted gadgets were so many that we wondered if we were playing against Fiorentina or you! I'm certain that in matches against other teams they will wear virtually nothing Liverpool related.
They used you, they used you against us, that's the only reason they came to you.
So, do what you want. We don't want to teach you what's good and what's wrong, I hope you are old and wise enough to judge for yourselves.
But I wrote this letter to make things clear. If there ever was a hope to heal the wound between you and us, this twinning makes it impossible: you accepted to become a weapon to be used against us.
So have a good time with your “ultras friends”, play a nice game against them and drink your pint. But beware, you're keeping asps in your shirts
Milano Italia

alessandro said...

Cara Annamaria,
il sottoscritto non ha mai cantato contro di voi inneggiando all'Heysel, non ha mai insultato la memoria di nessuno...mi spiace che l'abbiate presa male, forse era comprensibile ma io che ho frequentato per anni il nostro stadio so bene cosa anima la mia tifoseria...gli imbecilli si trovano ovunque, anche tra chi inneggia Superga, alla morte di Baretti, a Sheffield e magari festeggia con caroselli e feste la Coppa dei Campioni di Bruxelles...un po' più di onestà e meno animosità da parte di tutti sarebbe la soluzione più facile, non per questo la più realizzabile. Grazie per le tue opinioni, comunque sia ho apprezzato il tuo intervento. Almeno è sincero e onesto.

Joel Rookwood said...

I hope that my original article made our position clear - we should not entertain an invitation of friendship from any club that is based on a celebration of disaster. We have had our own tragedies in this country, particularly Hillsborough where we lost 96 of our own - the worst disaster European football will ever see.

That said, any Viola fan who respects the legacy of The Kop is welcome to join us for a pint, just as any Juve fan would be next time we play them (and I was at Juve in '05). This is not an act of naivety. We understand the mentality of Italian supporters better than some may suggest.

We will not be used as a vehicle in the bitter struggle between Juve and Fiorentina. (We are sorry about Heysel and are ashamed to have not done more to show it). Yet neither will we reject an offer of friendship that is based on the positive cultural charcteristics that overlap between our clubs. Please do not think of us as too naive to make this distinction ourselves.

RIP 39.

annamaria said...

Alessandro, io dico che cercare di coprire e giustificare quanto successo a torino, negando l'innegabile, solo perche' 24 anni fa, qualche nostro tifosi imbecille ha fatto cortei per una vittoria sporca di sangue..
(tra l'altro la stragrande maggioranza del nostro tifo ha preso le distanze all'epoca da quella gente che fu da noi isolata, non e' corretto ed e' troppo comodo.
Tutto cio', non puo' coprire, la vera natura di questo gemellaggio che ha di base la morte di 39 persone..
Quello che alcuni di noi fecero 24 anni fa.. non giustifica quello che 2000 persone hanno fatto a torino u mese fa..
E' facile far passare un gemellaggio agli occhi della massa, con una motivazione diversa dall'Heysel e muovere cosi' il tifo.. (io sto in curva da vent'anni e so come funziona)
Poi pero' non vi potete presentare a torino con centinaia di sciarpe del liverpool, con le maglie del liverpool con scritto meno 39 e ineggiando ai nostri morti..
Mi spieghi che senso ha, venire alla partita a torino con i gadget del liverpool? Ne ha solo uno, quello di provocare noi e insultare i nostri morti. Non ci vedo altro motivo. Mi spieghi il significato del coro GRAZIE LIVERPOOL cantanto da quasi tutto il settore ospiti.. (2000 persone) alla partita con noi a torino?
io dico che quel grazie era riferito a quella maledetta sera di 24 anni fa..
Concordo che nemmeno noi siamo dei santi ma un conto e' fare dei cori (beceri ) mettendoci la faccia e assumendocene la responsabilita',
e un conto e' fare un gemellaggio di questo tipo, facendolo passare come una forma di stima verso il tifo del liverpool, ingannando tanti tifosi, in buona fede. Cosi da poter poi, venire a torino da noi e rinfacciarcelo, in tutte le forme possibile. Fermo restando che poi negate davanti a quegli italiani e inglesi che ve ne stanno chiedendo conto.
Abbiate almeno il coraggio delle vostre azioni molte tifoserie italiane vi hanno condannato per questo gesto infame.. e ve ne accorgerete presto.
Nel frattempo, noi diciamo solo di non essere ipocriti e di ammettere la vera reale natura del vostro gemellaggio..
Noi andiamo in trasferta e sappiamo controllare i nostri tifosi. Comodo dire che non si possono controllare gli imbeccilli.. Non e' vero.. si possono e si devono controllare i propri tifosi.. e comunque quando sono in 2000 che cantano GRAZIE LIVERPOOL.. e centinaia che ti mostrano le sciarpe rosse, non e' qualche imbecille scappato al controllo, ma una volonta' reale di offendere.
ti giro questo video, che fara' capire meglio quello che sto scrivendo.Mi scuso per le bestemmie ma il tipo non si e' negato nulla.. e come lui, tanti, quel sabato a torino.
Io dico solo di avere il coraggio di assumervi la vostra responsabilita'.. comunque mi risulta che anceh all'interno della curva fiesole e del tifo vostro, piu in generale, questa storia del gemellaggio ha fatto storcere piu di un naso, sapendo a prescindere come sarebbe stato usato.
e non dire di no, perche' conosciamo gente della tua curva.. che in privato ha ammesso certe cose.
Noi non vogliamo passare per il tifo migliore del mondo, perche' conosciamo i nostri limiti e i nostri errori, a differenza vostra che andate in giro a fare i moralizzatori del tifo in italia e poi andate in giro con quelle magliette vergognose e stringete gemellaggi basati sul sangue, solo per colpire noi, juventini.
Un po' piu' di onesta sarebbe meglio,tanto in italia, l'hanno capita tutti e a Liverpool,mi risulta che piu di una persona, come questo blog, lo dimostra, e anche su altri forum, ha capito bene, il doppio gioco ceh ci sta dietro a questa amicizia strana..
A noi basta che la gente intelligente abbia capito, e abbiate fatto una vergognosa figura. A Radio Deejay c'e' un blog di condanna apposito.. e Radio Deejay e' la radio piu ascoltata d'Italia.
Chiedo solo Onesta' intellettuale e la capacita' di assunzione della propria responsabilita', ma e' impossibile averla da voi.

grazie per lo spazio..

annamaria said...

Forget the link about video match JUVENTUS FIORENTINA.

annamaria said...

Dear Joel,

I'm sorry but facts are facts. Many of us have appreciated your blog for the brutal honesty. But this does not change the fact that you will have a beer together, but we are coming with your shirt that said, less 39 with 2,000 people singing songs and showing how GRAZIE LIVERPOOL your scarves. Explain to me what was it, sing a chorus in Turin that? you know better than me, what it meant that chorus, as the banner that we have exhibited in Florence.
We do not demand anything, you're just saying that we have seen and understood, the real reason for this twinning and this helps to not close the gap between us and you, so that one day, the anger that divides us will fade.
that's all!

thanks for your time.

eire said...

My name's Guido, i was a Juve ultras at Heysel's times.
I'd like to state in advance that what I'm going to write here is only my personal point of view, I don't represent no group or everybody else than myself.

In his last post, Alessandro says that he never abused the 39 Heysel victmins' memory, and also that idiots are everywere; well, I could also trust him for first point, and agree on second one, but I think there are individual and collective behaviours, and we must distinguish them carefully.

Individually, most condemned what happened 24 years ago, some also among Fiorentina's fans, but I think it's very important to remark that 'viola' ultras NEVER took an official and definite position to stop the idiots whose, among their rows, keep to injure the Victims' memory still today.

As Annamaria remarks here above, during last Juventus-Fiorentina match few weeks ago, some idiots were wearing Liverpool shirts with "-39" no. on the back - I think that all the others viola fans who stayed with those guys - and crew leaders fist of all - should must imediately stop this shame, but nothing is happened. These are facts, all others are only words, unfortunely.

Joel, I am sure you are able to distinguish yourselves. I've been in Liverpool for work two years ago, and many and many people I met changed my idea upon your elaboration of that terrible day.

In your first post you wrote all your doubts and your feelings during your trip in Florence, and you realized that something didn't go right. We can only share all our doubts about the real reasons of this friendship offering, almost among a substantial part of viola fans.
You know them from a short time, but know them from decades, and just some days after Heysel night, on Florence walls many graffiti said: "39 are too less - you shoud kill them all" - this is not football rivalry anymore.
It should be a limit. And respect for lost innocent lives, wichever are their colours.

We don't suggest you anything, obviously, but only give you a confirm to your firs impressions.
Use this contribute as you think is right.

Thanks for have granted us the possibility to express, in a civilized way, so different opinions.

alessandro said...

sorry for speaking italian...Annamaria io l'onestà intellettuale ce l' ti assicuro che a Firenze tanta gente simpatizzava Liverpool molto prima della tragica notte dell'Heysel...e comunque è assurdo che ve la prendiate più con noi che con loro...noi le nostre porcherie le abbiam sempre pagate. Io non ho mai cantato canzoncine ignobili nè esposto strisiconi deprecabili...anche se a Torino ci son sempre venuto e non sempre son state rose e fiori, anche prima della tragedia. Mi ricordo di una vostra entrata in curva con armi bianche, stelle ninja e addirittura il bitume spalmato sugli spalti dove ci saremmo dovuti accomodare. Io la finirei qui...magari se vuoi ne discutiamo serenamente per via mail senza ingolfare il blog di questo amico del Liverpool. Ma il mondo delle curve lo conosco bene e da nessuna parte esistono santi e una cosa hai ragione, maggiore onestà intellettuale da parte di tutti sarebbe auspicabile. Con stima.
ps: a Torino quest'anno non c'ero...da tanto tempo sono all'estero...

alessandro said...

Annamaria rileggendo meglio il tuo post noto rancore, astio e rabbia che comprendo visto quello che è successo. Io dal mio punto di vista non mi vergogno di niente e dell'opinione delle altre tifoserie moralizzatrici e NON infami che dici ci aspettano al varco sinceramente mi interessa il giusto. Ti ripeto che non ero a Torino e l'idiota che bestemmia e dice stupidaggini dle genere forse non era nemmeno nato all'epoca. Io voi juventini, nonostante la rivalità accesa, vi ho sempre rispettato e giuro che, come tanti altri, NON ho mai inneggiato a cose per me oscene e ignobili. Ma ti assicuro, per quel che può valere, che tanti la pensano e l'hanno pensata come me. Se poi l'Italia continua a schifarci, come credi, e su Radio DeeJ hanno pure aperto un blog dove le stesse ignobili cose che ci vengono rinfacciate ci vengono augurate con linguaggi ancora più le soddisfazioni son resto piccolo piccolo legato al mio mondo di un tempo dove certe rivalità erano comunque vissute con dignità maggiore e non esisteva internet che amplificava e deformava certe cose...e allora ci dovevamo per forza vedere faccia a faccia...un tempo! Rinnovo la stima nonostante tu, come tanti altri, continuate ad odiarci senza fine...

annamaria said...

Alessandro.. se a torino non c'eri non puoi giudicare.. a maggior ragione dovresti ascoltare chi c'era.
Comunque.. per quanto mi riguarda parlano i fatti.. Sono arrabbiata, e' vero.. perche' dopo 24 anni vedere quella maglia infame con scritto meno 39 esposta da piu persone.. vedere gente come il ragazzino del video insultare i nostri morti.. credimi.. toglie tutti i buoni propositi.
Lo so anchìio come funzionano le curve.. ma non andare indietro di anni e anni. Ora certe cose non succedono piu. Quello che dico io e' che nessuno e' santo. Ma noi non pretendiamo di essere la miglior tifoseria del mondo, soprattutto, quando ancora si insultano dei morti solo perche' juventini.
Io non parlo di te. Io parlo di tutta la tifoseria vostra.
2000 persone si sono comportate in modo vergognoso a torino contro di noi. Ergo non puoi pretendere che mostriamo simpatia nei vostri confronti. Avete usato questo gemellaggio nel modo peggiore.. e piu meschino possibile.
Allora se siete seri.. dovreste ammettere i veri motivi, come alcuni tifosi vostri hanno fatto dissociandosi.
A noi interessa il rispetto dei nostri morti. E non ci fermeremo finche' gente come voi non avra' imparato ad averne.
Non vedo perche' a sto giro ci dobbiamo arrabbiare con i tifosi del liverpool. Siete voi che state usando loro, per uno scopo tutt'altro che degno. Ed e'con voi che ce la prendiamo.
I tifosi del liverpool decideranno da se cosa fare.. noi osserviamo..
ma non dimentichiamo.
Non attaccarti a cose passate.. ogni tifoseria ha i suoi cadaveri. Ma noi non siamo mai arrivati a usare un'altra tifoseria per motivi poco nobili come insultare dei morti che cercano pace da 24 anni.
Io non continuo in privato. Non mi interessa di convincere te.
Abbiamo aperto anche un gruppo su FB in inglese diretto ai tifosi del liverpool.. a noi interessa solo che tutti sappiano e che poi ognuno si assuma la responsabilita' dei propri gesti.
Noi la faccia ce l'abbiamo sempre messa.. e se abbiamo sbagliato , abbiamo anche pagato.. senza rinnegare i nostri gesti, nel bene e nel male. Voi no. Vi nascondete dietro ad un gemellaggio.. che in realta' vi e' servito per venire a torino ad insultare 39 persone che non hanno piu' modo di difendersi.
Perche' invece di attaccarti a scuse inutili, perche' non chiedi scusa a nome dei tuoi tifosi per gli insulti diretti ai morti dell'Heysel?
Questo blog credo sia fatto per discutere..con tutti.. e soprattutto serve a rivolgersi agli inglesi.. e a chi vuole capire come davvero sono andate le cose.
Non e' giusto nascondere.. e' giusto che ognuno abbia modo di valutare i fatti.. le foto e i video.
Ti ringrazio per il tempo che mi hai dedicato, ma ora torno a rivolgermi ai tifosi del liverpool se permetti.
perdonami Io non vi odio.. ma no vi rispetto. Non lo meritate.
Niente di personale.

annamaria said...

I lay it up here, a link about Facebook group in english, where everyone can read a our statement, that we will run in various forums and sites of Liverpool fans.
Thanks again for the opportunity for dialogue, despite 24 years of silence between us and you, and unfortunately, the anger that still divides us.

39 angels want peace and respect.

annamaria said...

yesterday i had send a PUBBLIC LETTER TO LIVERPOOL FANS.
There was a little error... and I forgot to sign the letter.
There was a site with 35.000 juventus fans.. another forum with 1000 juventus fans and ultras, The Group by FB with 2000 juventus fans and ultras.
Thank you very much if you want to publish the letter
is the first time that so many Juventus fans, writing to the Liverpool fans. I think that is important.
Amyway.. I hope soon to read your thoughts about the writing.
Annamaria - Milano -Italia
I send you in other post the letter 'cause is too long for one post.

annamaria said...



Hello, I'm writing to you on behalf of thousands of Juve fans; this is the first time we contact you after 24 years. Distance between us remains massive since we never talked after the Heysel tragedy despite more than 24 years have now gone by. Maybe without this perverse "twinning" we'd have not contacted you but in life nothing is still therefore we take the opportunity to let you know our opinion on this "twinning" and how the viola fans had used it against us during the match we played against fiorentina three weeks ago, and, above all, how they will always use it in the future. Of course you are free to befriend whoever you want, and we are definitely not asking you to give up this friendship, but we want you to be aware that since the first day that we aknowledged the intention of the viola ultras (because the idea came from them, not from shirters) to set up this "twinning" with you guys, it has been clear to us that the main reason, I'm not saying the only one - even if it's very likely, was the Heysel night. Since that awful night in 1985 every match we played against fiorentina was the time for chants and banners cheering that night. We are used to it and I personally don't even care, they do that as some of us do the same with the death of their former President or with the Arno flooding and the Superga tragedy. This is the way ultras behave and I'm not in the position to change some of my people's morality. However no juventus fan could ever deny the from our terraces these songs are sung, even if by a minority.
Viola ultras are clearly lying to you, all fiorentina ultras sing those songs. It's not a minority, as some of you said before, it is a majority, the same that arrived three weeks ago in Torino wearing liverpool jerseys with MENO (MINUS) 39 on the back and singing the usual array of songs cheering the deaths of 39 innocent people. Those shirts were made and those songs were sung by the same ultras that now are saying that the reasons for this "twinning" are pure and sincere. It’s a fucking blatant lie. Now that the real reasons for this "twinning" are coming out of the shell here in Italy they are trying to deny what it's been so clear to all ultras in Italy, not only to us. For once, only once, the viola should be brave and admit what was really behind it.
As I mentioned earlier it's obvious that there still is a huge distance between us mainly because your hools, the real responsible for what happened, never looked for forgiveness, if not few of them in private and only 20 years later (forgiveness that was by the way refused by Otello Lorentini - president of the association of the victims of Heysel - just before our encounter in 2005). Not only, the majority of them still say that they were attacked by Juve fans and that they only defended themselves. With these people there could not be any dialogue, only hate, forever and ever.

to be continue....

annamaria said...


At the same time it is also very true that younger Liverpool fans have always seen the Heysel tragedy as a huge soft spot, something to be really ashamed for and even feeling guilty for something they have not commited. And it's also very true that during recent years it was them who actually did more than anybody else to remember the victims and show them the due respect.
Back in 2005 when you offered us friendship, many of us didn't accept it also because we felt it was one of those UEFA plans to make football look good... We just didn't believe it was genuine.
For the above mentioned issues, of course there's still a lot of rage from our side and it's not even easy just to write to you, not to mention full forgiveness, at least without important gestures from your side. At least not before looking at each other's eyes after so many years. At least not after full awareness of the true story of what happened that night. It will be very difficult for you and us to come close until there are still people on your side that are happy for what happened.
However this is the real chance to start this process. Should you make a historic gesture towards our victims I'm sure this would not go unnoticed by the majority of our supporters. After a tragedy like the one we suffered of course this process will take a long time but something has to be done sooner or later and this gesture may well be a beginning.
It's obvious that viola fans are now coming out with silly excuses for those above mentioned jerseys, for the liverpool scarves shown and the songs "we love liverpool" sung at our faces during our last encounter. We know that a doubt has already appeared in some of you about the real nature of this "twinning". We advise you to test the viola fans before your match against them at Anfield. Ask them to join you in a display of respect towards the victims of Heysel, maybe with a banner held together by you and the viola ultras (the CAV, collettivo autonomo viola), not the shirters, they would have no problem in joining you, but the ultras, the real masterminds behind this "twinning" with you guys. Ask them to show respect and take distances from that horrible jersey they were wearing during our last encounter with them. Ask them to give you a strong signal that this "twinning" is sincere and not based on the Heysel tragedy.
We are not loved by anyone in Italy, as it happens everywhere with winning clubs, however all italian ultras agree on the real reasons behind this friendship and condemned the hypocrisy shown by Italian media portraing it as a finally mature behaviour by some Italian ultras despite being well aware of the real reasons behind it. And they despise the viola ultras for denying the truth. Ultras may be bad in a lot of ways but they don't lie. They are honest and brave. They don't like cowards lying in order to let a wrong message come through. And this is clearly the case.
In conclusion, we don't ask you to do anything, but if you really care to come closer to us test the viola ultras. If we are right they will never accept and you know that they only wanted to use you. If we are wrong at least you'll be sure about the reasons of this "twinning". We'll be watching and we'll draw our conclusions. But if you really want to come closer to us starting a pattern of dialogue this is THE chance. Ther won't be others so clear and easy to approach.
(forum by 35000 juventus fans)
(group in Italian)

alessandro said... la premessa è questa...inutile continuare...non vedo cosa ci sia di strumentale nel gemellaggio quando sei sicura che comunque vi abbiamo sempre insultato i morti...anche prima dle gemellaggio...non ci odi e nemmeno ci poi che posso posso scusarmi per i vili che hanno scritto, urlato e stampato porcherie come quelle che giustamente hai chi sono io da solo? L'hai detto te...2000 persone...una tifoseria intera...solo, dico e mi chiedo, perchè i ben più di 2000 che in tutta Italia festeggiarono (e rivengo a questo scusa) la vittoria furono redarguiti e vennero prese le distanze quando noi, a parte gli idioti, abbiamo sempre condannato quelle meschinità...tu non hai bisogno di convicermi in privato o in pubblico...solo che io NON provo vergogna per ciò che tanti o pochi hanno potuto fare per offendere i vostri morti...provo vergogna per loro, questo anche una certa compassione per chi, come te, continua ad alimentare questo odio senza porsi mai la domanda di base che per avere rispetto bisogna anche darlo. Se a Liverpool ci prenderanno a schiaffoni o peggio sarete contenti...forse vi placherete anche voi quando avremo le nostre vittime innocenti...detto questo, io personalmente, nonostante l'ammirazione che provo per la storia CALCISTICA dei Reds, questo gemellaggio NON l'avrei mai fatto...qualcuno ha pensato diversamente...e non solo i tifosi...con questo chiudo la polemica. Saluti.

Joel Rookwood said...

Thanks for taking the time to respond and reflect on the Juve perspective. Genuine channels of communication are so rarely opened between our clubs outside those who operate in official capacities. When I respond here I do so not just to you and the Bianconeri but to Fiorentina as well. I cannot claim to represent all of Liverpool. Many Scousers would subscribe to my view but the reality is that others delight in disaster. This is something you can appreciate, as you too would have seen the Sheffield banners in some sections of Delle Alpi in 2005.

We have seen Juve sing about Superga, Liverpool sing about Munich, Aberdeen sing about Ibrox, Leeds sing about Bradford, Fiorentina sing about Heysel, Chelsea sing about Hillsborough, Cardiff sing about Istanbul. Personal responsibility and human decency dictate whether a fan will consider another's tragedy as cause for celebration or sorrow.

At the time of the Heysel tragedy I was four, so I am not qualified to talk about circumstance or consequence. Everton constantly remind us, but with their 'murderers' songs it is not the Heysel 39 they mourn, but the death of their own dream. Yet Liverpool supporters rarely mention Heysel and in my honest opinion I don’t know whether a collective apology (the 2005 one was not UEFA-enforced but genuinely Scouse by the way), would be something everyone would engage in. I am in a minority of Kopites who sensed the possible ulterior motives underpinning some of the Viola’s decision to offer an arm of friendship (which partly inspired my original article). Because of that I am not sure a movement would have the required momentum to be meaningful at the forthcoming Anfield fixture – and we must be mindful of how a half-hearted measure could be interpreted in Torino (even though it would effectively be disengagement in process not message).

This is not meant to sound like an excuse, I will pass on your letter to connected supporters at Liverpool, but I thought it important to state that I do not envisage a collective apology (or distancing from implied or definitive pro-Heysel bitterness) during a game between Liverpool and Fiorentina. The only fixture that could move the Scouse collective in this direction is Juve-Liverpool. Additionally, I am less confident about the prospect of Fiorentina being involved in anything Liverpool do in this respect. That is something for the citizens of Torino and Firenze to discuss and communicate on Italian soil.

annamaria said...

Alessando prento atto delle tue parole che ti fanno onore.. detto questo.. noi prendemmo le distanze dai cocomeri che 24 anni fa festeggiarono.. detto questo .. voi tre giorni dopo la tragedia (tutta la curva ) avete esposto uno striscione vergognoso..gli unici all'epoca a farlo.. tant'e' che faceste una figura infame agli occhi di tutti.. e da allora, ogni anno e' cosi'.. ogni singolo anno .. ogni partita .. ogni incontro..
e non sono pochi imbecilli.. 2000 persone un settore pieno..
E ogni volta che vengo sento cantare canzone di ogni tipo.. 1-2-3-39 ale' ale'.. e' quella che cantate di piu..
che ti devo dire..? perdonami se non provo rispetto per voi.. non mi avete mai dato modo di farmi cambiare idea..
Perche' non diciamo ai vostri amici del liverpool che tutto lo stadio di firenze ha gioito.. al gol del lione fatto al 93' che portava in pari la partita e inguaiava il liverpool? perche' non raccontiamo ste cose? se riesco a reperire il video.. lo poso qua sopra.. cosi' forse si capiscono meglio i motivi di questo gemellaggio..
Nessuno vi prendera' a sberle in inghilterra.. tranquillo.. pero' vogliamo solo che si sappiano i veri motivi.. visto che chi dovrebbe e' cosi' meschino da non dirlo.. e da negare l'innegabile.. e lo sanno tutti in Italia.. tant'e' che stiamo ricevendo solidarieta' da altre tifoserie italiane.
Mi spiace.. ma un gesto del genere fatto 24 anni dopo.. e' qualcosa di cosi' infame.. che non mi permette di provare nulla se non disprezzo verso chi, ancora dopo cosi' tanti anni.. offende la memoria di quei 39 morti.
Perdonami.. ma noi dobbiamo difendere la loro memoria davanti a tale vigliaccata. Non possiamo e non vogliamo tacere.. altrimenti quei morti verranno di nuovo calpestati .. stavolta dalla stupidita' umana.
DI nuovo nulla di personale..
ma a sto giro i tuoi sono davvero indifendibili.. e lo sai anche tu.. visto che mi dai l'impressione di persona intelligente.
Di nuovo grazie per l'ascolto e la pazienza.
buona serata