The power and resilience of ultras culture today in Europe is interestingly demonstrated by one of the smaller continental team’s fans: the Atalanta ultras. Despite the relative anonymity of their team in Italy, they are renowned for their passion and organisation, as can be seen in this video.
Below the fold, more on the Atalanta ultras.
It’s clear that despite the Italian authorities desire to stamp out ultras following the trouble that has plagued the Italian game in recent times, it won’t be a straightforward task.
The leader of the Atalanta ultras group Curva Nord, Bocia, recently appeared on the British TV show “The Real Football Factories International”. It was interesting to see that Bocia is no meatheaded fascist skinhead, but an articulate and charismatic leader: he even gives politely received speeches at public events.
In the show, Bocia decries the state of commercialised, modern football: “Football as it stands today, it’s disgusting! But there are those like us, who stil uphold the real passion.”
Whilst this is a sentiment easy to sympathise with, it’s the conclusion that Bocia draws which is problematic. “We are conscious that the fight is the ultimate conclusion. It is the most beautiful thing we can do, it is the one thing that really comes from our hearts.”
Below is a clip from the show featuring the interview with Bocia (hat-tip to The Offside for finding this on youtube, something I failed to dig up myself):
And the below video shows scenes of the ultras going about their lives outside their stadium: on their way to the game in a mass partying rank of mopeds and at some kind of concert that the Atalanta ultras leader Bocia (the guy with curly hair in the black tank top) appears to be leading. Curva Nord are apparently embedded into the community of Atalanta’s hometown, Bergamo.
The video is a reminder that being an ultra is about far more than just the game, and also about far more than just fighting, even if those are the most publicised aspects. Being an ultra is a way of life, and men as passionate as Bocia will not easily give it up.