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Stadio della Roma

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‘Stadio della Roma’

Decades of anticipation were brought to an end in the early hours of this morning New Zealand time when Associazione Sportiva Roma unveiled plans for a new stadium. Think I’m exaggerating? I am but not in the way you might think. The new ownership of Roma may have only started planning this thing three years ago, but Roma fans have been waiting for a stadium fit for purpose since our fabled original home ground, Campo Testaccio, was torn down in 1940. Nothing since has measured up. But while this latest design looks incredibly good for a multitude of reasons, you do have to forgive me for being slightly cynical. The fact is we’ve been here before. I’ll believe it when I see people with hats digging holes. The anticipation, for me, isn’t quite over yet.

One of the things that keeps me from doing cartwheels down the hallway just yet is it just seems so damn good. My mother used to tell me if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. And I mean, look at it! It’s gorgeous. Modelled on the Coliseum, the players will rise from the ground like gladiators, the pitch is seven metres below the first row of spectators to stop the stray animals from pouncing into the crowd! Or maybe it’s to stop the crowd pouncing onto the pitch… Which brings me onto the Curva Sud, where the Ultras will stand, set out from the rest, brought forward, embossed.

The new Curva Sud

The new Curva Sud

This is I think my favourite feature.

The location, Tor di Valle, is inside the city boundary, which is huge for Rome. Close to public transport and the southern city heart of Roma’s support base. And the timeline. Completed in time for season 2016/17……… Wait, what?

Here’s the thing. If you’ve ever tried to build so much as a doghouse in Rome, you would surely look at that promise alone and cackle your head off. The Mayor says this is the new Rome. ‘This will all be streamlined!’ Trust me, politicians in Italy say a lot of things. And streamlined in Italy means we’ll scale back our daily quota of cigarette breaks from 186 to 180. Former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti famously quipped “madmen either claim to be Napoleon, or boast they can bring order to Italy’s rail service”. When asked about Italian bureaucracy, President of the club James Pallotta said “I grew up in Boston, Rome doesn’t scare me.” Oh my dear fellow, either you have balls of steel or you have no idea what’s about to hit you…

There is no planning permission yet. There is no application for planning permission. There are no details on when they will apply, how they will apply, or, well… actually there are just no details. All there is, is a pretty model and some nice drawings. I know these American owners are different from our previous overlords the Sensi Family, but the fact remains that as things stand right now, there’s still exactly the same amount of concrete, reliable information as there was a few years ago when we first saw this:

'Stadio Franco Sensi'

‘Stadio Franco Sensi’

So, yeah. Gorgeous stadium. Very exciting. But like I said – people digging holes. With hats.

Categories: Roma/Italian Calcio

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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