Football Italian Style ! Palermo V Parma
Thursday, 12th Oct 2017 11:30
A lot of us visited the San Siro last season to watch us play Inter Milan, but what is it like in Italy normally, read on for all the details and pictures.
Palermo V Parma in Serie B is not a fixture that jumps off the list when you see it, indeed both teams are in Serie B at the moment so it is not even a top flight fixture, but it is Italian football and a far different experience from English, so being in Sicily last weekend i thought I would go along and take a look.
AC Citti De Palermo play in the Stadio Renza Barbera, a ground that was renovated and used in the 1990 World Cup and holds 36, 349, Palermo play in rather fetching pink shirts so any thoughts i had of buying a replica shirt went right out of the window.
The stadium itself is about 2 miles outside the centre of Palermo and an easy straight walk or by bus.
We opted to walk and strangely we barely saw a Palermo fan till we arrived at the stadium, even the bars and restaurants seemed bereft of them and we were beginning to think that the game had been cancelled.
On arriving about an hour before kick off we found the road leading to the stadium closed to traffic about 1/2 mile from the ground, walking on another 1/4 mile it was then completely blocked off by temporary fencing with security manning the gaps in the fence.
Strangely I was told that the ticket office at the stadium was now closed and that I could only by a ticket at a shop selling tickets for the lottery, the nearest one being about 10 minutes walk away, so back we had to trek.
After a 10 minute queue in the lottery shop, at which i had to present governent issued ID ie Passport of driving licence and was then given a ticket with my name, nationality & ID number printed on it all for the reasonable price of 10 euros I was then back at checkpoint 1 40 minutes after i first arrived and with kick off looming.
Here we had to show our ticket and ID, when the two had been checked to make sure they matched, we were then let through and thouroughly searched.
This over we then walked to the turnstiles, there were small barriers leading to the turnstiles and again we had to show our ticket before being allowed to joing the queue, on arriving at the gate we then had to show ticket and ID again and have it checked before the man on the gate kindly inserted the ticket in the elctronic reader and we were in.
Well not quite there was yet another body search, this one overseen by armed Caribianeri, all looking menacing.
Inside the stadium we were in the Curva Sud and it was a case of go were you liked, this end like the other and one side of the stadium were identical, a two tiered stand, the fourth the main stand was almost identical apart from it was the only one with a roof.
The stand to our right had a big mountain behind it called Mont Pellegrino.
There were no kiosks selling any food or drink on the concourses and although there was a heavy presence of police and stewards inside the ground they were less prominent apart from around the away section.
We opted for the upper tier and found a seat, if you wanted something to eat and drink there were a couple of vendors who wandered around throughout the match selling water, coke, crisps and ice cream, this seemed the only options at last in this section.
To our left was the away section containing around 60 Parma fans, although there was a small row of stewards protecting the fence, no one seemed too bothered about getting near to the fence and throwing abuse.
Palermo's Ultras were directly opposite us in the Curva Nord upper tier and below them was a sinsister looking block of men in black, these people stood up at kick off and gave some primeval chant then did nothing else till the final ten minutes when they suddenly rose as one and had a few chants that didnt sound much like up Palermo !
Below us was a noisy section of Palermo fans who didn't seem to be Ultras just shirt wearing flag waving supporters.
When the game started I estimated there were about 7,000 in the 35k stadium, but the atmosphere was good with the Parma Ultras, all 40 of them in full voice lead by their leaders who perched perilously on the rail at the front, one slip and they would have fallen into the lower tier, no one seemed to be bothered and ask them to stand down, they did have one good rendition of Oh When The Saints, in Italian at a very slow tempo which would have been very impressive if there had been another 900 of them.
The Palermo Ultras up the other end were also belting out their choreographed chants and arm waving to full affect.
The game itself was very entertaining, both sides did not seem to be afraid of running at their opponents and having a shot, we were hoping that our own Pellegrino was sitting on his mountain and taking notes.
Palermo dominated the first half and were deservedly winning 1-0 at the break and Parma ruled the second scoring an equaliser and almost winning it at the end hitting the bar and seeing the ball put in the net from the rebound only to be disallowed.
The football was typically Italian in the fact that there was a lot of rolling about with the slightest touch, but it was quite entertaining, wel at least compared with most of the games i have paid to watch this season.
The atmosphere despite the thousands of empty seats was good, it seemed that the only interest in violence was of the verbal kind and neither set of fans had any inclination to spend the game staring at each other through the segregation fencing.
One funny moment was that in a moment of silence the Parma fans suddenly chanted Palermo ! Palermo ! Vaffanculo !.
Roughly translated to Palermo Palermo F*ck Off ! this seemd to rile up the entire ground who shouted plenty of Sicilian insults back with appropriate hand gestures and chanted back their own version.
We left at the final whistle, walked up the road and by the time we had passed the initial road closure there was barely a fan in sight, perhaps they were waiting for the Parma fans, but after that we only saw the odd Palermo fan pass us on his scooter.
All in all an enjoyable afternoon and at only 10 euros an affordable one as well, I would say that if prices were this low in England it would encourage people to go, but this wasnt the case here, so perhaps that theory is wrong.
A totally different experience from English football in that there seemed to be no drinking culture before the game, I didnt see one bar packed with Palermo fans, I'm sure there are one or two, but they are not the norm and for most fans it seemed like it was all about the 90 minutes itself not the hours before and after it.
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