Book review: Football Fascism and Fandom

by

Football Fascism and Fandom : by Alberto Testa and Gary Armstrong

First Published : 2010

ISBN 978 1 4081 2371 3

Score out of 5 :

“In this calcio bought for money – where Buffon [the Juventus and national team goalkeeper] is worth more than all the Chievo football team – there is no longer any space for values. The tifoso has been replaced by the spectator, the manager-fan by professionals; the football fan-players have disappeared, replaced by mercenaries ready to change their teams every year. The UltraS mentality is to fight this to ensure that football passion can defeat money; to give the stadium back to their legitimate owners [the supporters]. To fight such repression is not violence; it is the will to conquesr what has been sacrificed in the name of business. UltraS follow the team everywhere. The television is for spectators [not UltraS]; the UltraS refuse compromises with anyone. UltraS honour the team shirt regardless of who wears it. UltraS fight il calcio moderno [modern football].”

So speaks the direttivo of the Boys UltraS group, affiliated to AS Roma. A far cry then from the typical utterings of the legion of British ex-hoolies in their memoirs. This book is a revelation, most football people know of the Italian Ultràs, but how many have heard of the new breed, the mostly fascist UltraS?

The two authors, while both academics, have got in amongst the UltraS of the two big Roman clubs – AS Roma and the Irriducibili of SS Lazio. The distinction between the old school Ultràs and the new breed is, in simplest terms: The former are bound to the team and the local area and are strictly football-related; the latter put their group and ideology (in the case of Roma & Lazio a fascist ideology) first, the team and club are just part of their everyday life and they are often involved in activist politics and campaigns away from the stadium, including violent ones. There is nothing like the UltraS anywhere else in Europe, and it makes for an eye-opening read to hear about them. The main theme is how serious these boys (and occasional girls) take all this football and politics stuff, they mean business.

I’ll not go on much longer, but this book would have got 5 Cass’s out of 5 if it wasn’t for this boob (read it below) by the authors, it may not seem like much, but to someone who takes pride in knowing his football fashion, it can’t be overlooked:

Instead of the black bomber jacket or the Doc Martens boots of the stereotypical European extreme right groups, the UltraS wear expensive jackets, such as those made by the English[?!?] company, Stone Island, or Aquascutum labels or the Italian CP Company.

There, I had to highlight it, I just hope no English-hating Roma Boys read the book, that’s all.

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6 Responses to “Book review: Football Fascism and Fandom”

  1. john Says:

    cheers I have been looking for a good read for the hols

  2. Remy Says:

    Looks very interesting. Cool I haven’t heard of this book before. Have read this book:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=ImKHnlzQpSwC&dq=Edoardo+Agnelli&ie=ISO-8859-1&source=gbs_gdata

    But more about football during Fascism (literally) in Mussolini’s era.

  3. Northern Monkey Says:

    Same utterings… ha.

    English lables…!

    Whatabouts Rocky Mills…?

    Keep up the good work, Hov!

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