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A.S. Roma- A History

A.S. Roma- A History

As you will have no doubt heard, Arsenal must face one of the pillars of the Eternal City in the next round of the Champions` League. The Gunners have a good record against Italian opposition, particularly under Arsene Wenger, who has slain Roma, Juventus, A.C. Milan, Lazio and Internazionale Milano in his tenure, though Fiorentina curtailed Dein`s infamous Wembley experiment when Gabriel Batistuta`s late goal saw Arsenal exit from the Champions` League group stages in 1999. George Graham masterminded victories over Torino, Parma and Sampdoria during Arsenal`s dual Cup Winners` Cup runs in the mid 90s. There was also a very infamous incident in Rome on the run to the 1970 Fairs Cup Final, Arsenal and Lazio players went for a meal together after a first leg 0-0 draw which ended with both sides brawling in the streets. It was a scuffle that is said to have firmly engendered a team spirit into Mee`s side which saw them win the trophy that year, before going onto the domestic 'Double` one season later. Arsenal faced Roma in the second Group stage of the competition in 2002-03; a memorable Thierry Henry hat trick gave Arsenal a 3-1 victory in the Stadio Olimpico after Antonio Cassano had given the home side the lead. The return at Highbury proved to be a drab 1-1 draw, Patrick Vieira`s header hilariously silenced the monkey chanting of the visiting support before Cassano capitalised on a Seaman error to equalise. Totti was later sent off for levelling Martin Keown. The guy must have some balls.

Roma play their home games at the Stadio Olimpico, which they share with fierce rivals Lazio. It houses 72,000 spectators and is possibly the most drab, characterless arena ever. Police envelope the running track besides the steep stands holding barking Alsatians on leashes. A.S. Roma have three Scudettos to their name, including one under the stewardship of England manager Fabio Capello. They have won the Coppa Italia nine times and are the current holders; they have one Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Like Arsenal, they have yet to win Europe`s most coveted prize, coming closest in 1984 when they lost the Final to Liverpool. Roma is a relatively young club in its contemporary guise. They were formed in 1927 according to the wishes of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Three Roman clubs were merged (Roman, Fortitudo and Alba Audace) who felt that the country`s capital city should have one strong football side to challenge Milan, Juventus and Bologna. Lazio resisted the merger. Roma is traditionally the club that represents the working class factions of the city, particularly the Testaccio region where they first played. Lazio are indicative of the more affluent population of Roma. The newly amalgamated club adopted the colours worn by Roman, the dark red, representing imperialism, whilst the gold is said to denote the colour of the Gods in Roman mythology. This has seen them anointed the nickname gialarossi in Italy, meaning 'the Gold and Reds.` Though they are often more colloquially referred to as I lupi meaning 'the wolves.` The wolf features on the club badge and invokes the myth of the creation of the city of Rome, where two infant sons, Romulus and Remus, were supposedly thrown into the River Tibus by their uncle Amelius, only to be rescued and raised by a she wolf. A.S. Roma is a club fiercely proud of its location and entrenched into the ancient origins of the Eternal City.

Roma is the 4th largest supported club in Italy, after the Milan clubs and Juventus. (Curiously, Juve are not well supported in Turin, the large majority of inhabitants there are Torino fans, Juve draw a much wider net for support). Roma`s ultras were traditionally left wing to reflect their working class backgrounds, with Lazio decidedly more right wing. But in recent years, this has changed as the younger ultras have leaned much further to the right than their ancestors. They sit in the South end of the ground and normally arrive hours before kick off in the steep South Bank, armed with flares. On my last visit, I had a 20p coin taken off me at the turnstile only to enter the stadium and find the Ultras brandishing what looked like a display of weapons grade plutonium. Roma`s club motto is La Roma non si discute, si ama, which means 'Rome is not to be questioned, but to be loved.`

Though Roma aren`t as highly decorated as their more Northern rivals, they have enjoyed an uninterrupted 57 year run in Serie A, making them the most established club in the top flight. Roma obtained their first ever Scudetto in 1941-42, but were at the zenith of their powers in the early 80s. They were league Runners up in 1981-82, before going one better and winning it in 1982-83. The next season they were runners up in Serie A and the European Cup, but did win a Coppa Italia. In 1985-86 they would be bridesmaids in Serie A again, but consoled themselves with the Coppa Italia. They haven`t been quite the same power since, but did win Serie A in 200-01 under Fabio Capello, with the likes of Montella, Totti, Delvecchio and Emerson pillars behind their success. Totti has since gone on to be club captain and one of the great heroes of the club`s history, considered the talisman for their side, he was raised in the city as a fanatical supporter of Roma, even eschewing the advances of A.C Milan when he was a teenager to join Roma`s academy. He is currently their all time most successful captain, record appearance maker and record goalscorer. If Real Madrid idolises Raul; Roma fans deify Totti. Roma fans have also recently been at the behest of tragedy as chairman and long time club owner Franco Sensi died after a long illness. His daughter Rosella has inherited ownership of the club, despite interest from club CEO George Seros.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Friday December 19 2008
Time: 1:50PM


I have family in Rome. I might go for a week to visit and see the game. Flights will be cheaper if i go a few days before coming back a few days later
19/12/2008 15:38:00
Sweet article as always sir are primus inter pares in this bussiness...but permit me to your shirt tails at this juncture - has the entire vital family forgotten we have a tough match come sunday? Liverpool...
19/12/2008 15:41:00
I cant seem to focus on Roma with the tough league matches we have awaiting us...that being said - since everyone else is on the CL/Roma wagon - good draw...very beatable
19/12/2008 15:43:00
If we lose the next 2 games we could find ourselves 7 points behind villa making it tricky to qualify for the CL. We might need to win the thing to make it back.
19/12/2008 15:53:00
paul- my point exactly. imagine what that will do to the moral of the players not to talk of the supporters...if we come out of december/january unscathed then i'll think about Roma
19/12/2008 15:56:00
*oops typos -..permit me to pull your shirt tails- i meant to say - Post 2
19/12/2008 15:58:00
Frankly i'm more scared of Liverpool and Aston Villa than Roma..funny as it may sound
19/12/2008 15:59:00
Doesn't sound funny at all, feel free to make more posts on it though...looking forward to Sunday, beers will be flowing and it should be a good atmosphere.
19/12/2008 16:09:00
Yes indeed. I hear everyone will be wearing Yellow
19/12/2008 16:42:00
Pool don't worry me, seeing as we don't seem to have a problem showing up for the "big games" (you know, the ones where you get seven points and phone sex with Angelina Jolie for winning).
Aston Villa don't worry me either. Having stung us so decisively a few weeks ago, I expect our players to know better and turn up for this one too.
19/12/2008 18:06:00
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