A study has found out that football fans generally plan their lives around their favorite teams. For example, they have lunch or dinner prior to the game and they cancel weekend plans whenever their favorite club is playing. Moreover, some plan their vacations when the football season ends or takes a break. I personally am one of those people and most recently I planned to have my vacation at a time where I can travel to Roma and watch my favorite club play a top level game against Fiorentina.
It was an emotionally special game because I was not only going to watch my favorite team but I was going to watch them at their best form, still unbeaten in 14 games prior to the game against Fiorentina, it meant that this is not any regular game I will get to watch for Roma. It was even more special to me, for the fact that Fiorentina have two former Roma players Alberto Aquilani and David Pizarro while the head coach is also a Roma legend, Vincenzo Montella. Were there the perfect conditions to watch the game? No, Francesco Totti was on the bench after coming back from an injury.
I walked into the stadium about 30 minutes before kick-off, the players were still warming up and the Curva Sud that was nearby was singing Roma-related songs and lighting up flares. It was all an amazing atmosphere and a cozy one. After the players finished warming up and headed to the dressing rooms, the stadium announcer started announcing the players’ first names while the crown replied back with the last name of each player and until he reached the name ‘Francesco’, the whole crowd erupted even louder, screaming ‘TOTTI’ and he said it again, we replied even louder, he said it another time, and we were even more louder, and he said it one final time and we pulled out the loudest of all screaming ‘TOTTI’.
Later came on Roma’s anthem and the whole stadium stood and sang together like a single family of 50,000 members, waving their scarves and flags all over the stadium silencing the crowd of Fiorentina fans that were sitting to the right of the Curva Nord. These were emotions I couldn’t describe and the game was yet to start!
The players came on later and the game kicked off, it was hard to concentrate on the game despite great and amazing display from both sides most notably Gervinho, Kevin Strootman and Mehdi Benatia from Roma and Borja Valero and Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina. The atmosphere in the stands kept on distracting me away from the match itself. Everytime Gervinho touched the ball in the final third the whole crowd would stand anticipating an imminent goal and there it came, Gervinho dribbled from the left side and passed it to the centre as Florenzi directed the ball towards Maicon who scored the opening goal. The crown went into ruptures, random people hugging each other and screaming battle cries. It was a joyful moment in the stadium that ignited the atmosphere early on in the seventh minute of play.
Later on Juan Vargas scored the equalizer for Fiorentina and Roma fans had to reignite the spirit in them and raise their voices to spur the team on. The first half ended 1-1 but there was plenty left for the second. A beer, a cola, a sandwich, pop corn and any snack you can think of were present and being sold as the crowd was kept entertained and satisfied during half-time.
The second-half started and Mattia Desto came on just after 12 minutes of play and he made a quick impact, after his tenth minute on the field and for the first time playing this season, Mattia scored the winning goal through a single touch shot, assisted by Gervinho. Mattia celebrated like his life depended on that goal, he took his shirt off and ran crazily making himself heard that the injury was only an obstacle and the crowd went into roars again knowing that this was the winning goal. Later on, Morgan De Sanctis saved a dangerous free kick and it reassured the fans that the club was going to secure a win that afternoon and they did.
Once the game was over, ‘Grazie Roma’ was played and all the fans sang in unity before the team ran towards both Curva Nord and Curva Sud to take a bow. We all wait for vacations to come and we all probably have different plans and different destinations but if there is one advice I can give to any football fan is to go watch his team play in the stadium. Nothing is better than a holiday except for a holiday filled with football.