Straight from the dark heart of Italy
To Italians, the fixed image of the typical English football fan is beer-swilling, shaven-headed aggression.
“Hooligan” is virtually synonymous with “Englishman” – apart from poets, 19th-century writers or David Beckham, who are “gentlemen.”
Nothing will change the stereotype unless those following English clubs to the Bel Paese turn up in straw boaters and engage in polite conversation while sipping a glass of wine.
Michel Platini did little to allay local fears by raising the spectre of Heysel in a recent press conference, and even before the inevitable imposition of an alcohol ban many bars and restaurants had already informed Rome City council that they would be closing their premises on the day of the match.
NEWS: Alcohol ban in Rome
If there is any intimidation then it would seem to come from the perceived threat of the Manchester United fans, but the reality is that with AS Roma long departed from the competition, their followers will be maintaining a low profile.
The only time the knives should be out is to tuck into the fine local pizzas.
But there will be those among the local population – like the ever-growing and vocal neo-fascist community - who will be out to prove themselves, even if that means attacking some defenceless fan who has wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time.
Who needs ultras when you have skinheads?
Having said that, Rome, for all its faults, is not a particularly dangerous city when it comes to serious crimes against tourists. Muggings are a very rare occurrence.
"It's round here somewhere"
However, this is a different situation and the advice to any Manchester United fan would be to dress more conservatively, remain in the centre of the city and lay off the booze a bit.
Of course, Rome itself is pulling out all the stops to provide a showcase event – and the last thing the city fathers want are stories of stabbings and images of baton-welding police “restoring” law and order flashing around the world.
No-one wants to dissuade potential visitors among those who have seen the glories of the Eternal City in the blockbuster Angels and Demons.
We cannot expect either cherubs or devils over the next few days, but somewhere in between would do. Maybe then we can start to change Italian perceptions of those alien creatures known as il Inglese.
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Italian perceptions of English football fans? What about the worlds perception of the Italian hooligans running riot after every matchday in Italy?
This is ridiculous. The tables have turned dramatically; it is the image of the Italian Ultras that is synonymous with the word "hooligan" these days.
Only the other day yet another fan died because of Calcio whilst attending a game in Italy. Italian's should get their own house in order before trying to patronise others by doing things such as imposing a 24-hour drinking ban in Rome. Unnecessary and ridiculous.
Agreed. The biggest threat to safe match is the Italian police, then the Roma fans. A terrible decision to stage the tie in that city. Platini's faults are growing by the day.
Yeah , it's always someone else to blame for the British isn't it ..
it just happens that 90 + % of recent events all had a British team playing in Europe , coincidence ? too much coincidence to be considered one .
recent visits to Seville,twice in France, twice in Rome, the lovely Liverpool fans in the final of the CL and the ever polite Rangers invasion in Barcelona
and that's just on top of my head.. that's of course without putting into consideration the death threats to refs (enter Chelsea )
you don't see it happening (as often) to Spanish/German/French traveling fans ..
Beast, you are an idiot.
I suppose monkey chanting and putting black face-paint on to depict coloured sportsmen is Spain's harmless past-time when watching sport.
Even the kids are taught to join in. Despicable.
Suivaloom , be more mature and don't insult if you have nothing to reply with
we are talking about hooliganism and traveling away fans trouble not RACISM. But i guess you couldn't find anything to defend your blind views
Racism in Spain is used to provoke players and get them off their concentration then being actual racist act.for example Real Zaragoza are a well known club which their fans intentionally boo players like Eto'o when Barca play Real Zaragoza.. those same fans cheer their own dark skinned player.. in Spain it's a tactic you might do yourself some good and travel around Europe and live in some of these cities for a while to have a better grasp
In Italy it's a bigger issue and mostly due to different political back grounds between right & left (Lazio-Livorno for example )
.. most of the troubles in Italy occur domestically not internationally ...
have you ever heard of special security preparation because Italy is playing Germany or any other team ? or Spain ? but you heard it zillion times of British fans traveling to support England or any English clubs in Europe
Beast - When you write such things as:
'it just happens that 90 + % of recent events all had a British team playing in Europe , coincidence ? too much coincidence to be considered one.'
I knew I couldn't be mature with you. You've typed a load of rubbish. And your reasoning that racially abusing players is OK because it is merely used to 'provoke players and get them off their concentration'...my god...
Never said it's ok so don't put words in my mouth
.. I'm explaining things from the Spanish point of view due to following my team for the last 25 years.
As i said in my last post , what you describe as rubbish you cannot reply to in a mature or even immature way because it's the plain truth
Tne Britihs media's idea has been very stereotypical for some time. There is an issue of stabbings in Rome but those of us who attend games know it's not really anything to do with The Roma Ultras.
Man Utd fans have the highest arrest rate of any club in England but this gets no attention. Every Chelsea games has racist chanting outside games and on the tube plus the many stabbings of Spurs fans.
The British media sensationalises everything in order to sell papers. Romes crime rate is tiny in comparison to Manchester and London.
It all comes down to the hype from Sky/Itv for the EPL. Even the Maldini issue was a minority but gets a big focus as it sells more papers than something positive.
Hopefully Barca will win tonight for football and not the corporation they play against.
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