Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sardinians are truly entertaining.

This is a special for this blog, the original post was written in German by Oliver Birkner, a German Ex-Pat living in Italy.

Joseph Ashmore translate the article to English.

Being a Cagliari Tifosi is indeed a hard job. You can’t go to your significant other and say: “Dear, the boys and I are driving to the Derby, see you tonight”. First problem is there is no Serie A derby in Sardinia and then there is the marginal problem of living on an Island. So the Sardinian either collect Air Miles or empties the Beer reserves on the ferry to the mainland and then continues this on the Autostrada rest stops.

If the car is the preferred method of travel then the shortest trip is to Palermo, this is accomplished after only 9 Hours. Going to Rome takes 10 Hours and to Udinese it is easily 15 hours. If a Cagliari fan does this the entire season he needs to have an understanding Boss and an even more understanding Wife, not necessarily in that order. That is, unless of course she decides to be your travel companion but since that type of supervision is not desired for Home Games it is hardly desired for Away Games as the last vestiges of conduct and etiquette are thrown overboard on the way to the mainland.

The trip to Juventus also takes a charming 15 hours, this past Saturday roundtrip however will belong to Family lore forever. These are stories that you will tell your Grandchildren. Cagliari won at Juventus 3:2, even though the entire roster of the team costs about as much as the salary of a Kaka or Ibrahimovic. Even in Italy many people have to get out a media guide to identify some of the players for this team. Sure it is a feel good story but it is still a tremendous feat in itself.

After the first 5 matchdays under the new Coach Max Allegri, Calgliari was in last place with 0 Points and a goal difference of 1:10. Since then the Sardinian Club has gathered 34 Points with a goal difference of 29:15, if the League started with Match Day Six then Cagliari would presently be in third place.

The last time Cagliari won a match at Juventus was 41 years ago. This was accomplished with goals by the legendary Roberto Boninsegna and Gigi Riva under the tutelage of coaching legend Manlio Scopigno, who was also called the “Philosopher”. If he was still the Coach today this team would be even more entertaining.

When he received his “marching orders” in Bologna in 1966 he told the Club President “This message contains some Grammatical Errors” before he departed to Cagliari. He only lasted a year as during a friendly tour to the US he was photographed relieving himself in public after having his usual amount of refreshments. Asked if he would like to return to Bologna he answered: “With pleasure, but only in a Bomber”.

He was re-hired by the Club in 1968 and one of his first changes was cancelling the morning training sessions, since he had a tendency to partake in the Nightlife and a good bottle of Whiskey. The afternoon training sessions were good enough for second place and in 1970 this style led to the first and only “Scudetto” in Team history. The Chain-smoking Scopigno had to watch the Championship run from the stands however, he received a 5 month ban for insulting a Referee early in the season. His comments: “The only clean thing in the Calcio is the ball – as long as it does not rain”.

It is doubtful that the more reserved newcomer Allegri will duplicate the feat 39 years later but there still may be a chance. Maybe he should only train in the afternoon, work on his game plan with two packs of Cigarettes and a bottle of Whiskey and tell the Linesman how he really feels. Lucky for us that in Soccer, at least in our dreams, nothing is impossible – as long as it does not rain.

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