Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Maybe it’s seeing those stunning blue Italian skies once again after weeks of unrelenting rain.
Maybe it’s the perfect cappuccino to start the day or the sight of a drop-dead gorgeous woman passing in front of the local café,
Either way, Serie Aaaaargh! is feeling in chipper form this fine Friday morning. And so too is Italian football by all accounts.
Attendances are up from last season – by 2,395 to 24,825 – so it’s all positive, what with crowd trouble and general anti-social behaviour in and around grounds down by half.A recent study confirmed that Italians are once again turning to traditional family entertainment in these recession-hit times, and going to football matches is one of those corner-stones.And it’s not just the less-threatening atmosphere that has been encouraging the tifosi back, but also a matter of simple economics. The cheapest tickets start at 23 euro to watch Inter against Sampdoria at the San Siro this weekend, with major concessions for U16s. And it’s the same story from the San Paulo in Napoli to the Olympic Stadium in Turin: the price is right and it’s actually worth it.Heading into the second half of the season there is all to play for, from the relegation battle to the title race and everything in between.Then there is the feel-good factor sweeping Italian football following AC Milan’s ‘brave’ stand in repelling Manchester City’s millions for Ricky Kaka.The moral high ground has been reclaimed once again and being super-rich does not automatically gain entrance into the hearts of the most exclusive club in the country: the Italian on the street.However, it’s another matter if you are Silvio Berlusconi or David Beckham – the two kings of smart marketing.When not practising free-kicks, obeying Carlo Ancelotti’s on-pitch orders or attending the odd cat-walk show, our man in Italy has been the embodiment of the quintessential English gentlemen.Goldenballs is always well turned out and courteous to one and all.
And in hard times where there is less tolerance for big-mouths and troublemakers, Beckham has won over a whole nation with his fine manners both on and off the pitch: with visiting the Lou Gehrig-stricken Stefano Borgonovo his most recent good deed.Milan’s game at Bologna this weekend was sold-out by Thursday – and when interviewed after buying their tickets, the locals admitted their enthrallment with all things Beckham.
If the English Tourist Board are looking for someone to encourage even more Italians to spend their euro in the UK, then Mr. Posh is their man. In part, it’s taken the English in their many guises to make the Italians feel good about themselves, so we thank you and do come again.
The weather is indeed wonderful and the stadiums are welcoming.
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but is Beckham as in love with Milan as Milan are with him? it would be great to see him stay in Milan, playing in a great league for a great club. his talents are wasted in America, hope he does a kaka and chooses football over financial rewards.
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