Ultra Culture: The dawning of a new age

When the Italian ultra scene hit its lowest point so did its football. Attendances plummeted, clubs fell on hard financial times, and high profile players found bigger and better stages to perform on.

“Football is nothing without fans” World Famous Ultras/ Casuals phrase 

The Italian Ultra scene never truly died groups like Lazio’s Irriducibili, Internazionale’s Boys San Atalanta’s Curva Nord and Juventus’s Drughi to name but a few still lived on but the true Ultras that made up the heart of groups were simply no longer there. In many ways the groups just carried on the name but many of those involved couldn’t really be classed as Ultras.

Since the 1980s Ultra culture walked side by side with fashion and just like the fashion industry trends come and go, the Ultra scene is just warming up for its biggest come back in years. Incidentally the terrace casual look appears to be making a return to the high street too.

As with all Ultra movements, it is a case of not letting someone else out do you and with the ever-increasing appearance of pyro making its way into the English game, the Italians are not ready to be retired yet. 

This season alone we have already seen some more than promising signs of an Italian Ultra scene emerging from the flames like a phoenix. At Parma we have seen some really impressive pyro and flag displays this season and with it what looks like the reforming of their old Ultra group “The Boys Parma 1977.” (Above)

Bologna have also shown in recent weeks that they are not to be overlooked when it comes to Ultra Culture, despite their poor performances on the pitch they have packed the Curva at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on many occasions bringing back memories from their glory days of the 1990s. Only last week the Bologna Ultras organized a march through the city center to demonstrate their discontent at how President Albert Guaraldi is running the club. (Above)

The return of a couple of small time Ultras groups is nothing to write home about but it is the signs that are coming from deep inside real Ultras groups. These are groups that demand respect and honor are the ones that give us an indication that a new era of Ultras are on the rise.

Earlier this season 93 Sampdoria Ultras were caught trying to gain access to their away fixture with Livorno without a Tessera, at first this may seem a little dumb if anything but if you look deeper into it the truth really shines through.

Why would 93 people travel over 175 kilometers to a game without a ticket let alone have permission to purchase a ticket? Why Livorno? When there are a handful of sides nearer with a larger rivalry that would surely be more appealing to take a chance on. And more importantly why such a large number of people that have never held a Tessera all decide to travel all on one day?

t is simple, just because 93 were caught going to Livorno it doesn’t mean that it was the first time they have travelled,  it purely means it is the first time they have been found.

The 93 were all handed DASP (banning orders) but only a couple of weeks later all chargers were dropped.

In some cases the return of the Ultra scene is a new age of ultra, a younger generation trying to recapture those dreams that they have heard their elders. Reminiscing about in other cases it is the thrill of the revival that is bringing some of the original ultras out of retirement either way that feeling of belonging and being part of something is what has sparked the revival.  

Next week we will be discussing how the Ultra movement coincides with the social and economical climate at the current time

By Clark Stupple @Clarkiebaby

Simone Tiribocchi 

Simone Tiribocchi 

Atalanta’s win at the San Siro last season

Atalanta’s win at the San Siro last season

Atalanta 1982/83

Atalanta 1982/83


Ultras Culture: The Fall Of The Ultra Scene

During the late 1980’s and early 90’s the Italian Ultra scene was at its peak, hundreds of thousands of Ultras would travel the length and breath of the Peninsular every weekend just to feel a part of something.

“You will never understand unless your one of us” World Famous Ultras/ Casuals phrase

It was far more than going to see you team play, it wasn’t about the fancy players on the pitch who despite being heroes they were also nothing more than mercenaries available for hire to the highest bidder. It was about your club, your colors, something you were a part of, something you helped to create, fighting and showing your passion for a cause you truly believed in.

Every weekend the Autostrade would be filled with convoys of coaches and scooters, trains would have standing room only as hordes of fans were proudly following their colors some weeks fans would travel for days clocking up thousands of kilometers going from the very north of the country right to the very tip of the boot just for a couple of hours of pure unadulterated passion. Those were the days, those were the days of real Ultra culture.

Then came the apocalypse governments, local authorities and footballing bodies around the world clamped down on the Ultras branding them as nothing but mindless thugs, pinning the blame on them for everything that was wrong with “modern society.“ The government-controlled media fueled the fire as they claimed football fans were solely responsible for the tragedies at Hillsborough and The Heysel Stadium disaster along with anything else that would portray every single football fan as a violent hooligan. It was an easy cop out for the lower classes to take all the blame for what was wrong with the world after all who ever heard of politicians and nobility to attend football matches.

The crackdown on Ultras Culture and the football Casual scene was not just in Italy but it was certainly one of the hardest hit countries. If you was caught by the police while involved in football related violence you was almost certainly looking at serving a custodial sentence, if only for a short period of time if you were lucky.

Slowly the real football fans that had followed their beloved team up and down the country stopped going to the games not because of the fear of being caught up in violence but for the fear of just being near the outbreak of such a thing, so strict was the new laws on football violence just being present at the game was almost evidence enough to see you penalized in someway.

In 2009 the Italian police decided to introduce “Tessera del tifoso” The supporters ID card, a card that every single football fan in the peninsular was required to have if they wished to buy a match ticket. To obtain a Tessera you had to go to your local police station hand over almost every single peace of personal identification you possessed along with proof of place of birth and current address. All this just so the authorities knew where to go if you were identified to be involved anything deemed to be anti-social behavior.

Many Ultras groups refused to be repressed in such a way they simply refused to go to football at all as they would rather lose out than make it look like the establishment had won. Attendances plummeted once roaring passionate stadiums turned into crumbling old subdued relics. Football was no longer for the fans it was for industry. Football had a new clean fresh image where big name sponsors replaced the genuine fan the working mans game had now become the millionaires’ playground and we all know who paid the price.

Later the Tessera law was reduced to allow fans without a Tessera to attend home fixtures providing they showed documentation when buying the ticket also you had to purchase the ticket in the province the match was taking place. Still to this day if you wish to attend any match as an away fan you must produce a valid Tessera and even now many teams have large groups of Ultras that still refuse to apply for a Tessera.

Next week we will be charting the rise of a new era of Italian Ultras and the rebirthing of a much-loved misunderstood culture that is ready to re-takes its crown as the greatest footballing culture on the planet.

By Clark Stupple @Clarkiebaby

Top: Paolo Di Canio (far right -no pun intended)
Middle: Catania Ultras mid 80’s
Bottom: Atalanta Ultras, Anti-Tessera protests

#cr77 #300 #schelotto #merda

#cr77 #300 #schelotto #merda