tm4tj

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About tm4tj

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  1. tm4tj

    Tora Tora Tora!

    Anyone see a dive here. I find it difficult to understand that the only people to see a dive were the referee and the three people who presided over the appeal which was unsurprisingly unsuccessful. Please add your comments which will give more power to the people over an archaic system which has more secrecy than the Freemasons. YOU DECIDE, NOT SOME FACELESS BEUROCRATS.......
  2. Yeah, Wyness has over 100 goals. Unfortunately our stats have a massive hole in them that requires painstaking and mindnumbing input. We have asked for help to get these up to date but so far there is little interest in anyone inputting the required information to get the records up to date.
  3. No Shock, Aitken & Water man.. Inverness progress to the final of the Chocolate Biscuit Cup despite Storm Dennis and referee Greg Aitken doing their best to ensure that the team from the Highlands would not line up in the final against Raith Rovers at the end of March. A torrential downpour and Gael force winds turned the game into a lottery. Mebude opened the scoring early in the first half as he was given time and space to turn and drill a low shot beyond Ridgers. Substitute James Keatings volleyed home from the edge of the box to level matters just before the break. Keatings was wrongly sent off by the inept Greg Aitken as, not for the first time this season, he made our task more difficult. However, the ten men prevailed when Miles Storey crashed a loose ball into the net with twenty minutes left. Despite late pressure from the young Gers, Inverness held firm and move into the final. Mebude should have added a second for Rangers before we scored but he smacked his effort off the bar when a goal looked easier. Both sides had chances to score more but it ended at 2-1 for the hosts. Aitken got little right as he angered the home support and management. What appeared to be a perfectly legitimate 'goal' by Tom Walsh was ruled offside and the sending off of Keatings was just a joke. It's little surprise to hear that Inverness will be looking to get the red card rescinded. I'm sure the Rangers youngsters will be embarrassed by the assistance they were offered from the officials. They certainly did not need any of it as they showed good quality without the need for these clowns to intervene. The goals....... Date: 16/02/2020 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1741 Referee: Greg Aitken Inverness CT: 2 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, Toshney, McHattie, Tremarco, Walsh (Doran 79), Trafford (Keatings 29), Carson, Vincent, Storey, White (Todorov 74) Subs (not used): C Mackay; B Mckay, Harper, MacGregor. Scorers: Keatings (44), Storey (73) Booked: Rooney (??), Toshney (81), Keatings (48) Sent Off: Keatings (58) Rangers u21: 1 Lineup: Firth; Patterson, Palmer (McCausland 83), Breen, Shiels (Maxwell 87), Hastie (Young-Coombes), Finlayson, McPake, Dickson, Awokoya-Mebude, Kennedy Subs (not used): Kinnear, Butterworth, McClelland, Miller. Scorers: Mebude (6) Booked: none Sent Off: none a
  4. Chocolate Biscuit action Hold your horses, we play Rangers Colts in the Chocolate Biscuit Cup semi-final this Sunday at the Caledonian Stadium, Inverness. I bet you all forgot about this competition. Kick off for this one is 16:10 with the P&J Lounge within the stadium being open for a day of televised football, the drinks starting to flow at 12 midday. Ross County are the current holders of the Challenge Cup having beaten Connagh's Quay 3-1 in the final last season. The last round of the competition was played three months ago, I kid you not. So, back in November, we knocked out Clyde after a penalty shoot-out and Rangers u21's beat Wrexham 2-0. The other semi-final will be between Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers which will be played on the Friday night ahead of our game on the Sabbath. (Raith Rovers wait for the winners of this tie after they beat Partick Thistle 2-1. It was a frantic end to the game as Partick went two down with 15 minutes to go but they fell just short and hit the post as Raith hung on. They'll be dancing in the streets of Raith etc......) We have been in the final of this competition four times, winning the Challenge cup twice. To be honest it's an event that does not really come to life until the final stages for many fans. So here we are in the semi's against Ranger's finest youngsters and the opportunity to go further and gain some confidence as the league campaign gets to the business end. It's not for everyone, but our last final against Dumbarton showed what it meant to them and their fans as they lit up the day in Perth, their first final since the bronze age. Here's how we won the trophy two seasons ago......... Who are Rangers u21's/Colts. I imagine they are the finest hand picked youngsters who have been gathered from around the country and tied to Rangers on contracts that our players can only dream about. Add in a couple of seasoned professionals and there you have it. A team capable of challenging those outside the premiership in a trophy for the best of the rest. Rangers senior side won this competition in 2016. Rangers Team for the 2-0 win over Wrexham Wright; Patterson (Young-Coombes 31), Edmundson, Breen, Flanagan, Mayo, Barjonas, Maxwell, Dickson (Butterworth 87), Atakayi (Lyall 76), Kennedy. Subs not used: Budinaukas; Williamson, O'Connor, Miller. Goals: Jamie Barjonas (35), Nathan Young-Coombes (71) ***Inverness Team News*** John Robertson has fitness doubts over Aaron Doran and Lewis Toshney. Doran took a knock late in the home game against Alloa Athletic and Toshney, who had been cup-tied, has fluid on the knee which requires attention. Otherwise, it should be business as usual. Robbo insists that he has had The Rangers Colts watched a couple of times but admits it's difficult to know which players they will choose their squad from due to the nature of the competition. It could be a case of perm any XI from a possible thirty or so players. Good luck with that John. ***LATE NEWS*** The dates for the Scottish Cup game at Easter Road have been set and it's Friday night football for the Caley Jags. The game will also be televised live on BBC Scotland with a 7:45pm kick off ?Our @ScottishCup Quarter Final against @HibernianFC will take place on Friday 28th February at 19:45pm and will be shown live on @BBCScotland Ticket Information for Inverness fans will be announced over the weekend ? https://t.co/xPUhTigW3k
  5. I have had the pleasure of bringing more than a dozen towns, cities and regions of Italy to life for Football Weekends and only once from Serie A when newly promoted SPAL rumbled into the top flight. My world is more the characterful under card of Serie B, C and D, and writing a piece about Como has been high on my “must do list” for a long time, as it was on the banks of this beautiful lake where my love for Italy started way back in July 1982! I was on holiday with my parents in Como the night Italy beat West Germany in the Bernabeu, Madrid to be crowned World Cup winners for the first time since 1938! When Marco Tardelli scored to make it 2-0, and turned away to celebrate in a spine tingling passionate style that resonates to this day, people poured out onto the streets in wild celebration. Twenty minutes remained, but it didn’t seem likely gli Azzurri were going to blow that classic dangerous two goal lead, and when the referee brought proceedings to an end at 3-1, an impressionable young teenager was completely sold on my first ever trip to the country! It was largely a wonderful sleepless night, marvelling at the passion and joy unfolding in the main square and down by the lake, where flags were waving furiously, car horns beeping, and endless singing of “Italia, Italia”, or “campioni” were ringing out.This was such a memorable experience, Como Calcio became my second Italian team behind Cesena, who came into my world courtesy of subbuteo! Como is just 40 minutes on a fast train from Milan, making it a favourite weekend escape, or day trip for the hard working Milanese, as well as the entire lake pulling throngs of tourists from near and far. Italian rail company Trenord run a joint venture Lombardia/Ticino service with Swiss Rail, and regular trains connect Milan, Monza, Como, Chiasso, Lugano and Bellinzona, all great footballing hubs! Some of the places on Lake Como truly are the domain of the glitterati, but the same named city of Como remains more accessible to all, indeed a wee bit of money needs to be spent on the waterfront to bring it up to standard. One of the lakes most famous glitterati residents is George Clooney, who was certainly more regularly spotted in the vicinity before he got wed. Indeed George also took an interest in the football club, and for a time rumours circled that he was considering getting involved in the financing, but that never happened, which from a Como perspective was perhaps unfortunate. The far side of the waterfront near the funicular is full of bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as small areas of parkland and walkways by the harbour which houses some private boats, but not the sort of sea going massive yachts you’ll find in Portofino or Spezia for example. Being a lake, rather than a sea makes for a range of smaller pleasure boats, aside from the more regular transport vessels for locals and tourists that will whisk you to all points of this sizeable lake. Seaplanes are perhaps more the lake land play things of those with money, and right behind the stadium is the Como Seaplane Club! Even on a bright crisp winter Sunday in January hordes of Milanese pour off the trains making the tight pavements busy with walkers along the water’s edge. In summer it will be two or three times busier. A favourite subsequent trek is to queue to take the funicular ten minutes up to the hilltop settlement of Brunate, where the village provides a quiet ambience, for walks, eateries and stunning views of the lake and Como, with the football stadium clearly visible, even from this giddy height. Como is the principal city on the lake, with a population of 85,000. Lake Como splits into two legs halfway down at the fabulous hinterland village of Bellagio. Como is on the southern tip of the left hand leg as you look at a map, with Lecco, a smaller town at the tip of the right hand leg. Both clubs representing these towns are in Serie C this term, and it will come as no surprise that the rivalry between these near neighbours is one of the fiercest in Lombardia, even if historically Como have largely been playing in higher leagues. When Italy won the World Cup in 1982, Como had just been relegated from Serie A, where they’d managed two consecutive seasons constituting their third go at the top table. They first graced the top flight in 1949 when they stayed around for four seasons, but the next twenty years would mirror large swathes of the clubs subsequent history as they have been playing snakes and ladders with Italian football for decades! Another ladder appeared in the mid ‘70’s that saw them briefly back in Serie A for one term only, and then a Pietro Vierchowod inspired Como took them back in 1980 for those two pre World Cup winning seasons. By 1984 they were back in A for a club record five terms, which would include two impressive ninth placed finishes. This was the period when Italian football was at its global height in terms of luring the best “stranieri” (foreign players), albeit restricted to two per club. A Swedish centre forward called Dan Corneliusson (1984-1989) became a hero of mine as he regularly found the goals that kept Como up, along with more local Stefano Borgonovo. The German Hansi Muller joined from Inter Milan, brought in to pull the strings in midfield, albeit just for one season, with Pasquale Bruno (1983-1987) acting as the hard man who kept the defence in order. He would move onto greater things at the likes of Juventus, Torino, Fiorentina and Hearts, but who would have thought I would see his last ever game as a professional playing in the Scottish fourth tier for Cowdenbeath in a 2-3 loss to Ross County in March 1999! When Bruno left Stadio Sinigaglia the fate of Como seemed to nose dive, with relegation from Serie A signalling four successive demotions! It is fair to say that they were back on the snakes and ladder board, with added elements of violence and more regular issues with insolvency added to the troubles. Club captain Massimo Ferrigno was banned for three years following an horrific violent incident in a game with Modena as the club climbed back to Serie B, which led to another immediate promotion and an ill fated last visit to Serie A the very next season in 2002/03. However it was a disaster, with the fans taking up the violent mantle from the captain, actions that resulted in the Sinigaglia being closed for a number of matches. Yet again two successive relegations’ and surprise, surprise the club went bust, albeit for the first time, but more sinisterly they were liquidated as no one came forward to pump money in. A morsel of good fortune saw the new club, Calcio Como Srl being allowed to start in the 5th tier, then Serie D in 2006 and they worked their way back up the ladder for a brief run out in Serie B once more in 2015/16, but the relegation brought another bankruptcy, with the present club, Como 1907 being born from the burning embers back in D, which had become the fourth tier by then! They are back in the third tier now, but given the clubs entire history, we know this won’t be forever! Eleven Sports IT gives an online season ticket for every Serie C game this term, a bargain for an Italophile like me, and Como have been viewed a number of times along with a few of my other favourites! It is amazing how many “great” old Italian clubs can be found languishing at this level. There continual financial issues have seen fans deserted the cause. Como is case in point, once a very well supported club, but now, even when jousting for a promotion play off spot they are struggling to get 1,500 in the door! It was great to be back in Como, after 1982 I finally saw a game in the Sinigaglia in April 1994 when i Lariani, as Como are known put on a real show thumping Spezia 5-0 also in the third tier. Aside from the goal fest, it will be forever remembered for the horrendous thunder clouds that eclipsed the sun as the game started but thankfully for a day visitor from Brescia in his shorts and T shirt, the cloud remarkably didn’t let go of its load until I was safely on the way south! Twenty six years on I was back, and having introduced my partner to football at Bolzano the week before, I was setting the bar very high for spectacular football venues, Como charmed her even more! I cannot think of two more picturesque stadiums in Italy or elsewhere to have as your inaugural venues to watch football! Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia (capacity 13,602) has been home to the club since 1927 and was built to precise specifications of Mussolini! It sits right on the banks of the lake, forming part of Como’s crescent shaped waterfront. If you find yourself at the top of the considerable home Curva, you can enjoy views of the lake as well as the funicular train winding its way up the hillside behind the city. Local team Renate were in town for this encounter, and I knew they are another small, well organised club who can’t play at home because their own stadium, the Stadio Riboldi doesn’t meet Serie C requirements, and are using nearby Citta di Meda’s ground. Renate has no great history or indeed any historical clashes with Como to speak about. What did surprise me was that they had absolutely no fans present for this early evening clash despite being third in the table to Como’s 10th, and with less than 30 kilometres to travel. The game was fractious and end to end passages of play were rare. Despite having considerably more points Renate always looked second best as Como set about them with relish, but the bumpy surface wasn’t conducive to a smooth passing game. A pair of penalties, both dispatched well by Como’s Simone Ganz sent the 1,750 in attendance home relatively happy with the proceedings. Renate’s normal kit is identical to Inter Milan, but they trotted out in a change orange outfit for this clash. Pitch side adverts alerted everyone to the fact that Como were at home again the following week with Pistoiese in town, a fact that amused me in the sense that Italy’s only official orange kitted club would be playing in almost identical shirts to Renate, perhaps the first time such an occurrence of back to back orange kits playing in Como! The following week highlighted Como’s erratic form as the Tuscan team from Pistoia took the points south. Stadio Sinigaglia is one of the closest to a city centre and the main Como San Giovanni railway station. It is three quarters of a kilometre, and a very simple trek once alighting a train. From the station, it is down the steps to the main road and turn left heading down toward the lake. You arrive at the stadium at the main stand side, but if you walk all the way to the lake and turn left you will find the ticket booth for the more impressive home Curva, and all the delights of the views, but if a thunder cloud is passing and you want shelter, head for the main stand as it is the only part of the ground that is covered. There are no bars close to the stadium, but the central area amenities are nearby, although beer is available in the stadium. Como has been through some dramatic twists, and going bankrupt has a way of alienating some of the faithful as local businesses can get screwed by non payment of credit afforded, and staff lose their jobs etc. Once is forgivable, a second occasion becomes harder to mend fences and maybe that is why Como’s support has dropped off. Securing a berth in the exciting but lengthy play offs might help bring the crowds back just like they did at Arezzo and Trieste last season, even in glorious failure. Como is a place geared for a higher level, they just have to land on that next ladder to B, and who knows where they’ll go after that! One thing is for sure, it is a fabulous place, and as a football club they don’t hang around in any given league for long! View the full article
  6. *** VOTING IN THE POLL ABOVE IS FOR PEOPLE WHO WERE AT THE MATCH ONLY *** If you were at the match, please use the poll above to vote for your top 3 players. As a bit of fun, we have also added an option to rate the referee .... Please make sure you vote for 3 separate players. If you make an error, let us know so we can fix it. PLEASE ONLY VOTE ABOVE IF YOU WERE AT THE GAME Anyone caught trying to cheat the system WILL be banned from voting in ALL site polls...this is your only warning. **NOT at the game ?** As a result of requests received, we have made a slight change to how these threads work for site users who watched the game on TV or listened to the full game live on the radio ....... You too will now be able to cast your votes, but should do it in the thread below, and NOT in the official poll above. Just list the three players of your choosing and award 5,3, or 1 point(s). You can give the ref a mark if you want too ! These votes will NOT be counted in the official total, as we only count votes from those who where actually at the game, but it IS a way for you to participate in the process .... which many people asked for .... a happy medium we hope !!!!!
  7. Livi Blown Away. An even first half where both sides had efforts cleared from the goalmouth produced no goals with defences on top. The wind was causing as much havoc as the officials. Sean Welsh fired just wide at the start of the second half, but he made no mistake with a free kick on the hour to open the scoring. Plenty of huff and puff thereafter, but no further scoring and it's the Caley Jags that go into tomorrows draw for the next round. That draw has now been made and we will travel to Easter Road to take on Hibernian on the weekend of the 29th February. Welsh buries the free kick.......scorcher. Despite claiming a clean bill of health, there was no sign of Aaron Doran's name on the paperwork. Sean Welsh started but James Keatings was on the bench. Livi made five changes to the squad that went to Dingwall in midweek, but Dolly Menga still started on the bench. In went Schofield, Lawson, Lamie, Jacobs and Souda, out went McCrorie, McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Sibbald & Robinson. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The managers on BBC Sport Inverness CT manager John Robertson: "It's a measure of this club's history in the Scottish Cup that people don't really see our result today as a shock. A surprise maybe, but not a shock." Livingston manager Gary Holt: "We talked at half-time about not making mistakes, and it's a mistake that cost us, simple as that." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RIG summed it up like this............... the midfield trio of Welsh, Carson and Trafford were excellent. Slightly disappointed in Storey and Walsh as, in the first half, we seemed to get real joy out of attacking Livi down the flanks, particularly the right side, and it was a shame we didn't try and take advantage of their apparent lack of midfield cover for the fullback. Although Livi had more of the ball I think we had the better chances overall. Ridgers didn't have much to do until late in the game when Livi flashed a shot straight at him. Defensively I think we were pretty comfortable. Tremarco had a good game and Rooney started well but was less involved in the second half. Good away support in both numbers and voice. Fair play to them. Good to see Douglas Ross still as effective a linesman as he is a politician. Doofers Dad added........... We certainly coped with the conditions better but it was the commitment of the entire team which so impressed. Livi were chased and harried when they got the ball, and as a result were rarely able to impose themselves on the game. Nobody had a poor game but Welsh, Carson and Trafford were all excellent in midfield. Also a mention to Mckay and McHattie who did a great job in central defence following the departure of the established 1st choice pairing. We have these excellent team performances from time to time and one just wishes that this level of commitment was shown on a more regular basis. Match highlights from Caley Jags TV Robbo likes it.... Hear from goal scorer Sean Welsh Date: 08/02/2020 Venue: Caledonian Stadium Attendance: 1512 Referee: Don Robertson Inverness CT: 1 Lineup: Ridgers; Rooney, B Mckay, McHattie, Tremarco, Walsh (Vincent 83), Trafford, Welsh, Carson, Storey (Todorov 90), White. Subs (not used): C Mackay; Harper, Keatings, MacGregor. Scorers: Welsh (61) Booked: Tremarco (74) Sent Off: none Livingston Fc: 0 Lineup: Schofield; Lawson, Brown, Guthrie, Lamie, Bartley, Jacobs (Sibbald 77), Pittman, Souda (Robinson 73), Lawless (Menga 66), Dykes. Subs (not used): Maley; McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Crawford Scorers: none Booked: Lawless (45) Sent Off: none a
  8. Have a read of this ahead of the game. Boomtown Rats
  9. A Blast from the past. It could be billed as an explosive cup tie as auld mates Livingston provide the opposition on Saturday as we meet in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup. BOOM BOOM! (Apparently the road opened with a bang after the device was detonated) Here's something to ponder over. On the day of this tie, 20 years ago to the day, Inverness Caledonian Thistle emerged from the ashes and this phrase was begat. SuperCaleygoballisticCelticareatrocious. Just let that sink in for a minute or two. This will be Livi's second trip to the Highlands in four days having played Ross County in a midweek premiership game. We made it thus far by beating Alloa Athletic 2-3 and Livi produced a late comeback to dispose of Raith Rovers 3-1 after Rovers led until the last 13 minutes. So, it's a wee while since we last hung out with Livi, having followed them through the leagues. We have had some memorable games against the Lions, and some instantly forgettable ones. Our last game against them was a 1-0 win for the Caley Jags in a Championship encounter in April 2018 when Liam Polworth (remember him), scored the only goal of the game in front of 740 fans at the Toni Macaroni. Ahhhh, those were the days...... Livingston went on to gain promotion via the play-offs that season by removing Partick Thistle from the premiership, winning home and away, while we just failed to make the top four after making a late run in the league, but falling at the third last hurdle when Dunfermline snatched a 95th minute equalising goal to deny us. Overall results against Livi are pretty even, the Caley Jags just shading it by a couple of wins and five goals. However, since we went down, Livi have been able to deal with life in the Premiership whilst we are struggling against the Arbroath's, Alloa's and Ayr's of this world. Livi sit comfortably in fifth place in the premiership and well clear of the dreaded drop, a top six place looks to be on the cards. It appears that Livi don't play quite as well when they are on the grass, their form away from the comfort of their own synthetic surface shows them to be vulnerable, something the village team at Dingwall exploited in midweek as a brace from Billy Mckay saw County take the points on Wednesday night. However, a word of warning, they are a strapping side and will pose problems to whoever our defence are. Dolly Menga, a substitute in midweek is a bag of tricks and will need to be shackled. Of the current squads there are a few players who have been on the books of both clubs. Our gaffer John Robertson was a player manager and present coach Barry Wilson played in Europe for them. Strikers Jordan White and Nikolay Todorov also donned both shirts. As well as departed players, the Caley Jags have injury concerns over the rest of the defence with Shaun Rooney, Kevin McHattie and Mark Ridgers all nursing knocks after the Alloa game last week. Lewis Toshney is cup-tied (is he even a real thing), although Cameron Harper has been recalled from Elgin City. According to the latest news, we have a clean bill of health after all the knocks last week, minus Toshney who is cup-tied. Here's Johnny..... Livingston went with an unchanged starting XI against Ross County in midweek, but added Dolly Menga to the bench in place of Alan Lithgow. XI: McCrorie; McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Brown, Guthrie, Bartley, Pittman, Sibbald, Lawless, Robinson, Dykes. Subs: Maley, Lamie, Lawson, Jacobs, Crawford, Souda, Menga.
  10. Leave me out of it, I'm staying in my seat ya street yob.
  11. I guess the Austro-Hungrian and Ottoman Empires both helped the displacement of people throughout the Eastern side of Europe in particular with Bosnia, Macedonia, Romania to name just three who have significant ethnic populations. I had certainly experienced morsels of such in Trieste, with its dual language status for Slovenian and Italian, but in Italy’s most Easterly outpost, it still felt distinctly Italian, with their language and the cuisine the dominant partner, albeit in a more Austrian feeling architectural setting. Rijecka, who played a European tie at Aberdeen at the start of the season, is a Croatian city on the Adriatic that used to be Italy! It was perhaps an unusual location to set eyes on a Fiume (Rijecka’s previous Italian name!) football scarf just days before, but if you are ever going through the museum at Anfield, a selection of scarves hang from the ceiling at one part, and amongst them is this rare gem! These anecdotes merely act as scene setting for my second visit to the Dolomite region of Italy, known as the Alto Adige, or Sud Tirol, depending on your persuasion. I was further north this time, having experienced Trento some years before, where it certainly felt more Italian. Bolzano is the flip side to Trieste, with the Italian language seemingly largely banished to mutterings in corners of Bozen as they’d have you believe the town is singularly called! It is a region with a complex history which I will return too, but this particular football and cultural expedition was also a first ever football match for my beautiful partner, Tania from St Petersburg, once photographer for my article on San Marino for FW, and now co-writer here. On our arrival and her thoughts on Bolzano, I will let her explain: “Это была прекрасная 90-минутная поездка на поезде из Вероны через все более впечатляющие горы …… English would be better!! It was a beautiful 90 minute train ride from Verona, through increasingly spectacular mountains, with so many vine groves sitting dormant awaiting the spring growth for a new harvest all the way up the line. Bolzano is a wonderful city, surrounded by spectacular mountains. The streets are very clean with a nice atmosphere, and it was easy to relax. The buildings aren’t classic Italy, we could easily have been in Bavaria. It is a real mix of German and Italian influences. When you come from St Petersburg, even thinking about eating outside in the middle of March, let alone January is something we could only dream about, but the sun was warm and eating outside in the main square having lunch was a new and wonderful experience for us both. As northern visitors we felt obliged to indulge the local cuisine and we tried the local strudel, not once, but twice!”. The first of those strudel had come from a delicatessen in the city where my request in Italian had been totally ignored and responded too in blurty German, which meant nothing to us! I was determined not to revert to English and the transaction had been rather frosty, a similar encounter would occur in the football stadium later at the German only speaking cafe! The strudel was jolly tasty though, better than the lunch time outdoor restaurant version! Before getting to the football, a little understanding as to why this region is so different won’t go a miss perhaps, as I am sure some readers are already surprised to read of such Germanic ways in Italy! The movement of German speakers south goes further back than the Austro-Hungarian days, indeed, as early as 7th Century with a first Bavarian ruler. In 1027 it was conferred to the Bishops of Trento, becoming part of the Roman Empire. By 1363 the Hapsburg Empire ruled, albeit overseen for centuries by two Italian and two German officers appointed by the Austrian Duchess. It’s most pertinent and tragic history started during the First World War when Italy was promised land if they entered the war by the Triple Alliance, and so on the 24th May 1915, three and a half years of heavy fighting in the region commenced with the loss of countless thousands on both sides after Italy declared war on the Austro-Hungarians. When a peace treaty was finally signed, Italian troops marched into a predominantly German speaking Bolzano, and a period of Italianisation commenced, with high immigration of Italians from the south encouraged. The use of the German language was banned as was referring to the region at the Tirol. Ahead of the Second World War, Mussolini signed a treaty with Hitler where the region would not be invaded, and allowed the German population the option to relocate to other parts of the Weimar Republic. Those who refused to move were subjected to even greater Italianisation with the loss of their language and removal of their German names! Bolzano would still be used for the German cause when Italy surrendered in 1943 and the Nazi’s moved in, setting up a concentration camp here, one of only two on Italian soil, ironically the other was in Trieste! All of these facts merely go to add credence to why in one regard, having been given back all the rights of language and culture in the ‘50’s, the German based populace seem reluctant to embrace Italy. To this day Bolzano is part of an autonomous, self governing region of Italy having gone through one last dreadful passage of its history when German separatists turned to terrorist tactics to gain further concessions, nearly bringing Northern Italy to its knees with strikes on power stations in the ’60’s. Having set the fraught historical picture, stepping off the train in Bolzano immediately brings the sight of the awe inspiring snow covered jagged peaks of the Dolomites in the distance. A Bolzano-Eye carousel is right across from the railway station, and if time is short, a whirl on this wheel high above the city will bring stunning views. The Druso Stadium is a 20 minute walk from the railway station. If you turn left as you come out of the station and follow the road round and the head across the river via the main bridge, taking an immediate left down a path into a riverside park as soon as you cross the bridge. Here you are close to the ground, and the floodlights are visible. In the coming year or so you could follow the river round and gain access to the stadium, but the Druso is undergoing significant upgrade as the club prepares for fulfilling the dream stepping up into Serie B. For now you’ll need to follow the path to the right at the signpost away from the river. Minutes later you will be behind the main stand which runs the length of the pitch and is also the main entrance. The away fans are housed in a temporary scaffold seating area behind the goal to the right, a feature that so often becomes permanent in Italy, but with the other two sides under construction and looking likely to be more permanent and covered areas, once completed the Druso will be an impressive venue. Thankfully the relatively shallow terracing won’t impact on the view from the main stand, a stunning vista of mountains, which certainly added colour to Tania’s first football experience! In the early ‘90’s there became a growing desire to have a professional football team in the Italian league, following the collapse of FC Bolzano in the eighties. Endeavouring to “fast track” the new club up a few leagues and avoiding a potential 9 league ladder to Serie A, the unsuspecting SV Miland from nearby Bressanone, or Brixen were acquired and renamed FC Sud Tirol-Alto Adige in 1995, tipping the hat with its name to the dual language area, but the new choice of badge certainly leans the club more towards German speakers. Indeed, they have an infuriating need to pander to both world’s, with even the shirt numbers as the teams are read out given in both Italian and German, with the excellent club magazine published in both languages, page by page. SV Miland had just been relegated to the 7th tier at that point when they were acquired, and while Bressanone remained the clubs home at that point, two back to back promotions brought them to Serie D, which was the fifth tier in those days. In 2000 they gained promotion to the now defunct Serie C2, the fourth tier, the first step on the professional football ladder in Italy. That year the German aspect of the club grew in prominence and Alto Adige was lopped off the official name, even if it stayed on the badge as the club moved to Bolzano! Nine years later they were promoted to the third tier for the first time, and while the clubs sole relegation was experienced two years later, they were quickly back in the third tier, where they remain to this day, always competing at the upper end of the table and entry into the protracted 28 team promotion play offs as a regular occurrence. In Italy the club was more generally referred to as Alto Adige, just as the region is called. Indeed, until more recent times the FIGC league tables had the Italian name, but given the badge alteration in 2016, FC Sud Tirol is now exclusively used. Whether this has added greater enthusiasm for the club from the German speaking world in Bozen and beyond remains to be seen. At this particular encounter when we were in town for joust with Rimini, on a glorious sunny winter’s day, a mere 700 turned up! Once upon a time Bolzano had no professional football team, and while FC Sud Tirol lead the way, AC Virtus Bolzano, perhaps a more Italianesque club are just one step behind them in Serie D now, and might explain the dropping of Alto Adige at FC Sud Tirol. The construction of a Serie B standard ground ahead of being promoted is perhaps a very German attitude! Presently the ground has a 2,500 capacity, having lost 1,000 in reconstruction, but 5,000 is the required standard for the next level, and this or beyond that number will be the aim of the present significant work. In general, Italian clubs seem happy to get the promotion firmed up before worrying about the venue! This can sometimes be a hindrance with AC Mestre’s need to play some distance away at Portogruaro (64 km), which was more to do with a fear of playing across the lagoon in Venice and being swallowed up again! However, with the rent, the lack of fans etc this situation merely saw them go bust anyway! Carpi needed to move to nearby Modena when they were in Serie A, but now have a Serie B standard ground, albeit in C now!. Little Sassuolo moved into Reggio Emilia, and became so successful they bought the stadium! This season, Pordenone, who came out of FC Sud Tirol’s division last season are needing to play in Udine, a considerable distance away (55kms), as they are another club with a cycling velodrome round their own pitch making reconstruction tricky, and while they are doubtlessly a well organised team, protracted periods asking fans to travel is asking for trouble, especially in a country where ground hopping or even crossing the road to watch another team is largely an alien concept! A moment of good fortune welcomed us to the Druso Stadium! I had forgotten to tell Tania to bring her passport, and while I had bought the tickets online, I was amazed that the vague wafting of my passport under both tickets was enough to get us through the solitary ticket check! Ordinarily the details are poured over before entry is granted! The entrance takes you straight to the sole club bar/cafe/club shop, where German is the language of choice. I had arranged central main stand seats as a gentle introduction to calcio for Tania. It was very much to her liking as the seats had cushions, a welcome soft seat on a cooling day as the sun fell below mountains. The visitors Rimini were bottom of the table and in need of a win. The hardy 20 or so who had travelled north from the southern reaches of coastal Emilia-Romagna were in fine voice, getting in a round of “Italia, Italia” in just as Padova’s considerably larger throng had at Triestina! I had seen Rimini twice before, a 1-0 win at Mantova and a commendable 0-0 at the Bentegodi versus Hellas Verona, albeit a result that knocked them out of the Serie C play offs that season. In this encounter they were immediately in trouble, let Tania take up the story; “When the game started it was obvious Sud Tirol were so superior. Rimini had no cohesion in their play, and two goals in the first six minutes was a spectacular introduction to football for me. It was going to be a long day for Rimini. The view from the stand was stunning and it was a nice crowd, a quiet atmosphere, overall I enjoyed the experience”. Indeed, Rimini were blown away, but what surprised me of a Tyrolean pitch in January was the dust coming out when the ball bounced, and the horrendously uneven bounce! It shows how dry the winter had been, but a slight watering of the field might have helped the play. That said, Sud Tirol are used to their surface and they took full advantage racing into the two goal lead. It could have been more before Rimini settled and gradually they started to be a nuisance, halving the lead by the break was a welcome event for those of us showing Riminense sympathies! Tania and I enjoyed a wonderful holiday there last June, and both being Italophiles, our support was pinned on the visitors, quietly of course in a quiet crowd! New clubs lack the deep rooted fan traditions, with a small gaggle of “ultras” trying to make some noise at the far end of the stand for Sud Tirol. Interestingly their repertoire of songs was strictly from the Italian song book! Sud Tirol came out after the break in a hurry, and very quickly they’d re-established their two goal lead. Rimini’s resistance never floundered, and their spirited play was a glimpse of light that they might get off the bottom of the league and avoid relegation by the seasons end, and with a morsel more composure they might have scored one or two more, but Sud Tirol could have also scored a few more. It was an open and entertaining match, but only one more goal was scored leaving a 4-1 home win, a well deserved three points were staying in Bolzano, enough to keep them in the top five, but Vicenza and Reggiana are looking likely to contest the sole automatic promotion slot. We made a quick exit as the train south back was just thirty minutes after the finish. It was dark all the way, but a wonderful meal sat outside under a heater in the sumptuous Piazza Delle Erbe in Verona awaited, as we reflected on our Tyrolean day, acting as a fine end to a cracking day. Bolzano takes a little getting used to from an Italian arrival point, but if you are headed south from Germany or Austria, it’ll feel just like home! View the full article
  12. Full Highlights now added to the match report.