History Revised (1 Viewer)


Junior Member
Dec 7, 2002
Rome is where the art is
Friday, 13 December 2002
It may come as a shock to English people who have long held the view that they invented football, but really it comes from Italy. In a new volume of the Encyclopedia Treccani an entry heralded by Corriere della Sera as "a rather bold bit of historical revisionism" claims that Roman legionaries were playing the game over a thousand years before the English claimed to have invented it. The encyclopaedia claims that Roman soldiers adapted a Greek game, 'harpastum', which involved throwing or kicking a ball between two opposing teams in order to get it over the other side's goalline. The game was played with a ball composed of "vegetable matter" moulded and bound together with "the soft and gentle hair of young maidens". However, when maidens' hair was harder to come by, legionaries in first century BC England would often settle for "the skulls of slaughtered Britons". When they finally tired of the awful weather, warm beer and boiled food and returned to Italy, the Romans left football behind allowing Britons to develop the game. Meanwhile, the Romans' final full game was a heavy home defeat in a European tie against Alaric's German Visigoths in 410AD, after which they concentrated on developing medicine, art and dangerously unpredictable driving skills.

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Junior Member
Dec 7, 2002
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  • Thread Starter #2
    Guess who formed Real? not by the King, Queen or any other royal but by 2 suprise suprise catalans! I didnt know this. This is a quote from an article i just read. Its and old article talking about the preparations of Real for the centenary.

    "...........The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the various displays and histories of the club being prepared for public display will have the humility to admit that the club was actually founded (whisper it discreetly) by a pair of Catalans. "

    cant believe they have not said a word all this year about this guys.


    Junior Member
    Dec 7, 2002
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  • Thread Starter #4
    The Roman Rivalry

    by Roberto Gotta

    Live on prejudices, die on them. Set the wrong impression, and you will forever share a room with it.

    Italian football is no different from any other aspect of life. You'll find a good assortment of cliches wherever you look, frequently mixed in with just about the right amount of blind bias which adds more spice to proceedings.

    One of the most curious aspects of Italian soccer - although not unique to Italy - is the obsession of some sets of fans to establish themselves as the only and true ambassadors of a particular city.

    The decades-long diatribe in Milan between AC and Internazionale, as to which one truly represents the essence of the place, has never been resolved and never will be.

    It can be a geographical distinction, which does not hold true in the First City, or a social one, which brings us to the capital, Rome, and its long running rivalry between Roma and Lazio.

    One would think that a city so passionate about soccer and with such an history of huge crowds would have achieved a little more than five Scudettos combined in nearly a hundred years of Serie A (or its previous incarnations).

    But the capital's teams have frequently been an afterthought in Italian soccer, which has been dominated by the Northern teams who have often looked at the Romans and their perceived stature with a raised eyebrow.

    The emergence of Roma and Lazio as forces in recent years has added interest to the whole matter and brought about a competitiveness which hadn't always been the norm, but has also opened up the intricacies of their intra-city rivalry to everyone else.

    And quite a rivalry it is: all over the world, big (and small) cities graced with a couple of top class clubs have witnessed the rise of the same diatribes and controversies, and if you take out the religious humus of the Celtic-Rangers rivalry, you can see a pattern underneath all those feuds.

    One club will claim they are the 'real' ambassadors of the city while the other will make the same claim and the controversy will go on forever as, obviously, no one can have the final word.

    The same happens in Rome, and its consequences have now been fully understood all over Italy: Roma fans claim they are the 'real' Romans. They dismiss Lazio fans as country bumpkins who just happened to one day wander into the Stadio Olimpico, and who as soon as the game's over sod (literally) off to their provincial towns and tractors.

    After all, 'Roma' is also the name of the city, and 'Lazio' is the name of the administrative region, so it's only natural that Lazio fans are scattered all over the less civilized parts of the area and only congregate for the game.

    Except, it isn't true. Or, at least, not as true and clean-cut as many Roma fans would have you believe. Lazio do enjoy a smaller following in the capital city than their rivals, and they have more trouble putting bums on the Stadio Olimpico seats than their counterparts.

    This was witnessed during their 2000 championship season when they rarely filled the place even in the run-up to the deciding game.

    Surely, they could not have gathered a 900,000 crowd at the ancient site in central Rome as their rivals did during the unforgettable celebrations right after the 2001 Scudetto.

    That evening made the headlines for the appearance of local actress and icon Sabrina Ferilli who'd promised she would strip naked if the giallorossi ever won Serie A, and kept the promise only to a point by shedding most of her clothes but keeping a tiny bikini on.

    So, Lazio have fewer fans, but Roma fans have been so eager to push the envelope on this subject, and on the fact that they believe Lazio fans are 'burini' (local words for un-educated country people), that this has frankly become an annoying cliche.

    Most of the mickey-taking is made in jest, as done by a Roma fan who goes by the assumed name of Galopeira and has been re-writing the lyrics of popular songs, adapting them to the rivalry and sniping at Lazio in a humorous way.

    Galopeira once left in the middle of a Roma game, saying the tricks and flicks Francesco Totti had done up to that point were already worth more than he'd paid for his ticket and he did not want to steal money from the club.

    It's easy to imagine that such a person would approach the rivalry in a creative way, but others have not been so kind and things can get nasty when the political side of Lazio fans is touched.

    Most of the ultra-politically correct Italian press has been ready to pounce on them because of their alleged right-wing inclination, but again this has been a gross generalisation.

    A good chunk of the Lazio fans have definite right-wing beliefs and their cause will not have been helped by the shameful banners in remembrance of deceased Serbian warlord Arkan. There was also the beating of a North African immigrant by a few Lazio fans who used baseball bats emblazoned with a logo and name of a well-known supporters group.

    It is disturbing to see that this propaganda has now been widely accepted and that every Lazio fan is now seen as a fascist who comes from bumpkin county and speaks a constantly-mocked spurious Roman accent ('Lazie' instead of 'Lazio') by the Roma 'tifosi'.

    On the other hand, cliches can hurt Roma, too, and Totti in particular. For no specific reason, the brilliant Roma forward has now replaced the Carabinieri, one of Italy's police forces, as the butt of everybody's jokes centered on his - as it was with the Carabinieri's - perceived dumbness.

    You'll receive Totti jokes through email every day, if you have a large enough address book, and now even people who know nothing about football will have and share their favourite ones.

    The Roman accent and dialect have long been 'choice one' for comedies and low budget movies. Italy's most talented and famous comedy actor of all time, Alberto Sordi, made his name by frequently using his native dialect.

    This, however, has sometimes translated into the perception that everyone who speaks like that and becomes a public persona is fair game for criticisms and snipes. Totti may be in the 'David Beckham category' as far the number of books he's read (not written: Beckham leads by a mile), but he's not dumber than any other footballer.

    This national, underground campaign against him has become so disturbing that some people wonder what's next. It has affected Roma fans, obviously, but sometimes not in the manner one might have expected.

    One of them, a comedian named Massimo Giuliani, became something of a television personality by mocking Totti and his speech pattern in a national television show.

    The backlash has been huge: Roma fans have risen as one in defence of their captain and icon, and Mr Giuliani - again, a longtime Roma fan and season ticket holder himself long before it became fashionable for artists and actors to associate themselves to football - has been forced to stay away from the Stadio Olimpico as persona non grata

    A popular Roma website has been promoting a collection of banners stating that Giuliani 'has been forced to step on the love of his life in order to make a living'.

    As everyone else on this planet, Totti can become the target of comedians and impersonators. But when a simple characterization becomes a national obsession and turns a decent person and a star player into a national joke and a cliche for ignorant footballer that, frankly, is taking things too far.


    Junior Member
    Jan 4, 2003
    I'm not surprised about the origin of football. I've had my doubts about England being the inventor of football... There's no need to wonder :D


    Junior Member
    Dec 7, 2002
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  • Thread Starter #7
    Germany's real arch-rivals?

    Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger

    If you're English and reading this, I have awful news for you: the Germans don't hate you. They don't even dislike you. They don't even think it's unusually important to beat your teams at football.

    When Aberdeen played Hertha in Berlin, their division of the Tartan Army sang 'We hate England more than you'. That confused me, because I wasn't aware that the Scots nurture a particular aversion to Germans. Then I realised I had got the chant wrong.

    I thought it was meant to mean 'We hate England (even) more than we hate you', when in fact what they were saying was: 'We hate England more than you do'.

    Sorry, Dons, bad news for you, too: we do not hate the English. In September 2001, I was in Munich for that now-legendary World Cup qualifier between Germany and 'In-ger-lund', on an assigment from a London magazine. The idea was to probe into the 'intense rivalry' by getting the supporters to explain why the match was so important.

    Most of the English fans I spoke to admitted that playing Germany was indeed something special because of the war and a couple of other things, such as... well, the war. (My personal highlight of that day was the elderly lady who told me she had nothing against younger-generation Germans. Two minutes later a young and gruff waitress behaved quite rudely, whereupon the lady hissed at her: 'Thanks very much for being so German!')

    The German fans, on the other hand, all gave me a blank stare. 'Rivalry? What nonsense!' Christian from Ulm said, speaking for the vast majority. 'Actually, I'd rather lose against England than against any other team.' He then went on to explain that Germans admire England's football culture and how every true German fan has an English club he supports.

    I pointed out that it seems to be Liverpool for most people who are in their forties, due to those epic games against Mönchengladbach in the 1970s.

    Then I said that I was younger and a Nottingham Forest buff. 'Well, you can't always win,' Christian said. Now, why have I chosen this topic of hostility? It's like this: I spent New Year's Eve on the Dutch coast, drinking Dutch beer ('Brand', if you're interested, much better than Heineken), wearing my SC Heerenveen shirt and reading Simon Kuper's new book 'Ajax, the Dutch, the War'.

    Kuper lived in Holland during his youth, where he learned that every Dutchman fought in the Resistance and gave shelter to Jews during the occupation, thus earning the country the moral right to forever despise all things German.

    Many years later Kuper went back to examine the truthfulness of this story by having a close look at how football players and teams spent the war years. I delved into his book with great enthusiasm, because it was obviously going to debunk the myth of Dutch inviolability in terms of morals. It's not that I hate the Dutch, far from it and Amsterdam is one of my two favourite cities.

    However, as a German, you can never quite shed the feeling that the Dutch are looking down on you. Even my Dutch friends regularly make jokes about goose-stepping or whatever. Maybe I should have taken it as a sign that they considered me un-German enough to not feel offended, but still... it's this Dutch snootiness that has turned our meetings with Holland into the biggest grudge match we have.

    Oh, there used to be other rivalries. Initially, of course, there was France: Germany had played Italy four times, England five times, Sweden eight times and Switzerland sixteen times before the first-ever Germany v France match could even get off the ground, such were the hostilities.

    Later, our relationship with the French improved so much that not even Harald Schumacher's attempt to kill Patrick Battiston could ruin it.

    That pretty much left Germans with Austria as the only team they felt they mustn't lose to - until that shameful match at the 1982 World Cup when the players conspired to make clear that going through was more important than mutual aversion.

    Then the Dutch stepped into this void. Wim van Hanegem said: 'Every time I played against Germans I had a problem because of the war.'

    Johnny Rep hit Schumacher. Ronald Koeman wiped his backside with Olaf Thon's shirt. Frank Rijkaard spat at Rudi Völler. That rankled with the Germans, because it was different from childish Bomber Harris impersonations: it was a display of contempt borne out of a feeling of superiority.

    You can't say Germans didn't readily agree to having a new rivalry: when Holland failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, there was even a German website where you could throw spliffs and tulips at Dutch players.

    So I started Kuper's book with eagerness, hoping he would help to knock the Dutch off their pedestal. Boy, did he comply. And yet I never felt a tinge of satisfaction. 'Ajax, the Dutch, the War' is probably the most painful, bleakest football book I've ever read, all the more so as Kuper also overthrows a few English illusions so nonchalantly that you sense he could easily have been more severe.

    When I got to the part where he travels to Israel and has all these people telling him that they support Ajax and the Holland side because the Dutch helped the Jews so much, I found myself hoping Kuper would not tell them the truth, briefly thinking: 'Let people keep their myths and sneer at Germans, we can live with it.' But that was dumb, of course.

    The book isn't aimed at Germans. It's aimed at people who use myths to justify things such as, well, football hostilities. Give it a read; it's more demanding than the latest Man Utd hagiography but also more rewarding.


    Bedpan racing champion
    Jul 25, 2001
    What exactly does he mean here?

    Is he saying Dutch - German rivalry is about the war? Both people know it is not.

    Is he saying we Dutch believe we are saints for saving Jews in WWII? We know better...

    Is he saying we feel so much better than the Germans? Not particularly, we just hate them as equals.

    Dutch - German rivalry is all about football, starting with WC '74 where Holland lost the final TO Germany IN Germany. And wrongfully so.

    It's about the Germans seemingly ALWAYS beating us with crappy, disgusting and boring football.

    It's about the Germans always having the most luck in the world. Undeservedly of course, were they to deserve such luck than any other nation too!
    Have you seen in what qualification group they are for Euro2004? They are paired up with Scotland, Lithuania, Iceland and the Faeroes. HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?! And why does it always happen to them whereas we get paired up with Ireland and Portugal or Austria and the Czech Republic?!

    We Dutch are disgusted by the idea that the Bundesliga might have the opportunity to send 4 teams into the CL every season in the near future. Their disgusting football would poison the entire continent!

    The war? That's ancient history for both people. We don't care. Neither do the Germans.

    Football is, however, another issue. And wouldn't we just love to humiliate, destroy and completely kill them off!! But on the pitch...

    *Note: this is an overall global view of Dutch - German rivalry from a Dutch perspective. It is not necessarily my opinion.*


    Junior Member
    Dec 7, 2002
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  • Thread Starter #9
    its good to hear a dutch voice. Is there any german or englishman around? I will appreciate getting there opinion too.


    Junior Member
    Dec 7, 2002
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  • Thread Starter #10
    Joys of the Italian renaissance
    Friday, 16 May 2003
    By Gabriele Marcotti

    Why do we watch football? Is it for the flicks, back-heels and tricks? Or is it the spectacle of going into battle, not budging a millimetre, outwitting and outthinking your opponent, finding your own path to the goal?

    Leading question
    Relax, there is no correct answer - though the way one responds the above query may well shed some light on how you felt about the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

    Spanish misery
    Some pundits, particularly in Spain, maintain that the success of Italian clubs, especially Juventus FC and Internazionale FC, signifies a return to 'catenaccio' football - a defensive style under which genius is stifled, the less talented succeed and the spectator is left bored.

    Quality football?
    "We want to see quality!" they cry. "We want Zinedine Zidane stepping over the ball, Luis Figo teeing up a 30-metre volley and Thierry Henry turning defenders into pretzels with a mesmerizing dribble!" I like that too but only a fool or a child would equate such things on their own with quality football.

    Exciting games
    Let me tell you about two of the most exciting matches I watched this year. In November, I saw Barnet FC lose 4-3 against Northwich Victoria FC in the Football Conference, the fifth rung of the English league. And last week I watched a tape of my cousin playing in a Brazilian semi-professional game which ended 5-3.

    Dazzling skills
    Both games were close-run affairs, both featured incredible moments of skill: a chipped goal from outside the box, an overhead kick, a full-back beating six men with a dribbling run and a dazzling 16-pass move which resulted in a back-heeled goal.

    Dreadful defending
    Was I entertained? You bet. And yet, odds are, none of the guys in either game will ever appear in competitions such as the Champions League or even top-flight football. Despite their flashy skills, these were not great players. They were able to entertain because - in both matches - the defending was simply atrocious.

    Opposition position
    Footballers do not operate in a vacuum; they have opponents to contend with. The better the opponent, the harder it is for a player to showcase his skills. Thus complaining that Juventus's stout defending against Real Madrid CF prevented Vicente del Bosque's men from expressing themselves is not just foolish, it runs against the very point of the game.

    Party tricks
    The truth is that most Champions League footballers can execute the fancy tricks which casual fans drool over. Zidane's famed stepover? In the space of 30 seconds two Juventus players - Edgar Davids and Alessandro Del Piero - performed the exact same move on Wednesday. Given enough time and space and any professional can do it. Heck, you can do it yourself. Get up off your chair and try it. See? It is not that difficult.

    Match context
    The real trick is doing it at full pace against quality defenders, and that is what sets someone like Zidane apart. It becomes a thing of beauty because of its context. The tighter and more accomplished the defending, the more beautiful the act becomes.

    Genuine class
    So pointing the finger at clubs who defend well - like Juventus - is illogical. It is they who help create the beauty by raising the defensive standard. Otherwise, if all we want is a succession of tricks, goals and all-out attacking play, we are better off watching Conference football or Brazilian amateurs.


    Junior Member
    Dec 7, 2002
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  • Thread Starter #11
    Different paths to goal

    Lippi's Juve, Cuper's Inter in the best Italian tradition

    If the game we love were like boxing or figure skating the quarterfinals of the Champions League would look somewhat different.

    If the winner were decided on style points or punches landed, Valencia -- not Inter Milan -- would be taking on AC Milan next week. You could also make the argument that Barcelona, rather than Juventus, would be squaring off against Real Madrid in the other semifinal.

    But the game doesn't work that way. The only stat that matters is goals, which is why reaction in some of the Spanish press which said that "Inter was the death of football" and that "Juve was lucky and undeserving" is rather moot.

    Good fortune and fate have their place in soccer. And thank goodness for that. What is important is remembering not to place undue importance on results. Just because Inter knocked Valencia out of the competition does not mean Inter is a better team. Same goes for Juventus.

    There¹s a danger in drawing generalizations. The fact that, after three years of underachievement, three of the four Champions League semifinalists hail from Italy does not mean Serie A is, once again, the dominant league in Europe.

    Rather, looking at the individual performances of the four semifinalists offers an understanding of how their season developed and why they got this far.

    Acres of press have been devoted to Real Madrid. Coach Vicente Del Bosque can rely on an array of attacking talent unmatched in decades. And Real always goes out to entertain, sometimes at its own peril.

    It's no coincidence that Real has been beaten by Roma and Milan in this competition and that it has dropped points to the likes of Genk and Lokomotiv Moscow -- in fact, had it not been for an incredible last second miss in Moscow, Real would have gone out in the second group stage.

    That¹s the price you pay for entertaining, rather than shutting down opponents. It nearly paid dearly at Old Trafford as well: with Real 2-1 up (5-2 on aggregate) the side started messing around with backheels and flicks and Manchester United stormed back to win 4-3.

    On the one hand, it's a dangerous game to play, on the other Real Madrid is all about entertainment and, from a fan's perspective, it's wonderful to watch.

    Juventus presents a stark contrast. Marcello Lippi's side is all about efficiency and maximum reward with minimum effort. The criticism Juve received at the Camp Nou was excessive: until Edgar Davids' sending off it had actually taken more shots on goal than Barcelona. But there is no question that Juventus aims to control the midfield, seal off the back and rely on getting the ball forward quickly when it wins possession.

    Describing its style as negative is unfair. When fully fit, Juve's front four of Alex Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Mauro Camoranesi and Pavel Nedved can hold their own against anyone. But, by and large, the team does rely on physical strength and quickness rather than artistry.

    In some ways, AC Milan are a less smooth version of Real Madrid. Coach Carlo Ancelotti, largely to accomodate his many stars, has cobbled together a system based on possession and short-passing which, on paper, is ideally suited to the skills of Andrea Pirlo, Manuel Rui Costa, Serginho and Rivaldo.

    The problem is that when you play this way you will always struggle to make inroads against opponents who shut up shop at the back, as Real has also been finding out this year. The creation of chances rests upon the ability of individuals in tight spaces and one is perpetually vulnerable to the counterattack. The upside, of course, is that, when it works, it¹s a joy to behold.

    Inter, by contrast, can be diabolical to watch. Hector Cuper's strategy is simple: two banks of four defending the goal, Alvaro Recoba floating in space between three opponents and Christian Vieri up front, waiting for long balls from the back.

    Only Vieri's superhuman efforts this season, coupled with the occasional sterling performance from goalkeeper Francesco Toldo (such as the Valencia match) have kept Inter afloat.

    The frustrating thing is that there is quality in Inter's midfield in the form of Emre Belozoglu and Sergio Conceicao, but Cuper's ultra-conservative tactics seem to stifle them. Hernan Crespo will replace the injured Vieri in the semifinals, but the game plan won't change.

    The four semifinalists' differing styles prove that, far from becoming more homogenous, the game offers different routes to success. As Nicolo Machiavelli wrote: "Each one aims to reach the goal by a different path."

    Given the presence of Inter and Juventus in the semifinals it seems only fitting to cite Machiavelli, whose other famous quotation, of course, is: "The End justifies the Means."

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