The home of Calcio – that’s the Italian for football, but when in Rome (or in this case Torino) call it by its colloquial name.
Visually amazing with sounds of passion echoing from all corners from the new home of the new Juventus stadium… named the Juventus Stadium!
This was another stadium to clock up on my places I want to go list. I had been to the old Stadio Della Alpi many times. But the Italians did not like it. Built for the Italia 90 World Cup with a running track it was never popular with the home supporters. West Ham United take note!
Juventus and Torino moved to the Olympic Stadium in the city of Turin and the great stadium which housed many epic games in the World Cup sadly remained redundant.
All Italian football ground stadiums are owned by the local council. Juventus broke the mold by purchasing the Della Alpi for around 25 million Euros and after demolishing it built their own stadium. Upon returning, their first year of playing there resulted in them winning the league. Now they are on top of Serie A once more and raking in the cash as every Euro made at the stadium is their own.
My initially small but ever-expanding project of documenting the world’s great derby games continued in Turin after I covered Inter Milan’s defeat of city rivals AC Milan a few weeks earlier.
With low-priced airline tickets, it is now making sense for us to cover more of these games than fill the tank full of fuel costing £1.50 in the UK – In France at Citie Europe in Calais a litre of disel is a mere £1.05!
I go to the San Siro quite a few times a year. Luckily they all know me, however like other foreign photographers there was no pass for me at the accrediti booth. at the Juventus Stadium.
Kind of like in England, the Italian Football Federation adopt a protective licencing scheme for photographers. It’s not like the 90’s any more in Italy where I would simply turn up at say Bolognia’s stadium, show my AIPS card and quite literally be let in to shoot the game.
My Italian is very basic and I do not have the vocabulary to get across what I want to say. Thankfully one of the Italian photographers who I know saved the day and insisted to the Juventus Press Chief that I should be allowed in. After the bribery issues and Juventus money scandal, all the Juventus office people are new and do EVERYTHING to the book. Assuring them I would email the guy in charge of media at Serie A who I know they let me in.
I don’t believe my camera meter. I should trust it more though as I over expose the first half as the lights are so bright. Only Manchester United and Arsenal come close to the light levels in this place.
Like any derby, the fans are passionate. Go to the San Siro for any Inter or AC Milan and the noise levels are about 6-7. When the two Milan clubs play each other it goes Spinal Tap up to 11.
The Juventus Stadium was the same.
The infamous Ultras of Juventus making banners and flags mocking their smaller brothers made amusing viewing.
I so get fed up of the modern football fan ringing in to Radio Stations after a game and complaining about a referee. 99% of the games I attend, even though I am there to photograph I go as a neutral as it is not often I actually want certain team to win.
It is only in that 1% I think the referee and linesman are corrupt! In this game I thought the referee was spectacularly brilliant. The Juventus fans did not think so. Blowing his whistle frantically, the Ultras thought that the referee was on Torino’s side. That until a Tornino player got sent off and Juventus went into overdrive.
The hero’s of old are still worshipped here. Platini, Nedved, Del Piero, Gentile, Zidane – even John Charles.
And of course Conti, now manager of Juventus.
The new Juve team is creating its own history though in their new stadium. I love the way the past has been glorified. The decor is anything but bland. Photography is used EVEYWHERE! Not one journalists report in sight!
Everyone stands up in Curva Sud. Fingers in the air, mocking their rivals constantly.
3-0 down the Torino fans just laugh at everything. Their enthusiasm has been drained. They want out!
At the end of the game, unlike some English stadiums there is no ushering out the photographers. I was let free to roam the tribunes and take images of the stadium from pitchside and high up in the Gods on the back row.
In the Premier League, photographers really are second class citizens at some clubs. No parking, no facilities and compared to their European counterparts sometimes terrible working conditions. Am I complaining? No. But we all still wonder why the journalists get prime parking spots and 3 course meals before kick off in certain stadia!
A £12 first class train ticket to Milano the next day and my philosophy about the San Siro is correct. It is only half full and the atmosphere is a tad dull compared to the ‘derby’.
Upon waiting in line at the airport 3 hrs after full time to fly back to London I meet a few English stadium hoppers who attended the game as fans as they are fed up with English football.
With fuel, food and admission prices driving out some fans in all leagues it was a pleasure to hold great conversation with them and hear of their travel tales to Portugal, Germany, Italy and Spain. Hopefully my editorial pictures documenting the derby will be used in certain magazines and may enthuse others to do the same.
** Thought this had been posted a few weeks ago – hence the late publication!