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Delirious With Weird

Friday, June 18, 2004  
Not actually 'grime' at all then

At university Channel 4 provided the only regular free football on television; Football Italia on Sunday afternoons with James Richardson. Since I’d been interested in football I’d always been intrigued by Serie A, the fact that the kits seemed darker, the mud was a different colour, players in the teams were drawn from all around the world, people talked about the “technique” being greater than in the English leagues, and I’d always watched Football Italia on a Sunday whenever I had the chance (i.e. whenever nobody else wanted to watch anything). But at university, especially in the third year, Football Italia and The Sunday Times became a ritual; we’d read about the Olsen Twins and watch Juve dispatch Perugia 2-1 and it was great. The most exciting team to watch was Roma; their emphasis seemed to be much more on attack than other teams, and they had this one guy, about 22, who was captain already and looked like being something really special in a few years.

Francesco Totti is a bizarre man. I anticipate watching him play like no other player, except maybe Thierry Henry this last two seasons, and yet almost every time I do get to see him play, be it for Roma or Italy, he seems to take the opportunity to disappoint one way or another. I have seen him sent off probably half a dozen times (on one occasion for shoving a referee) and fail to make the impact he is capable of probably twice as often as that (and consider that, in the UK, opportunities to see Totti play are not that forthcoming). He’s a mercurial and infuriating mix of the skill of Roberto Baggio and the temperament of Roy Keane; harnessed this makes him the greatest player in the world, unharnessed it makes him, in Ron Atkinson’s words, “a little twat”. His interplay with Antonio Cassano for Roma this year has been inspired, they have created fantastic goals for each other and approached the game with a guile and intuition and justified arrogance that has been wonderful to behold. Francesco Totti has also published a book of jokes, which largely make fun of himself, and donated the profits to charity. The best joke in the book goes – Francesco Totti walks into a sex shop and asks to buy “the pink vibrator, the blue vibrator, and the red vibrator”, the shop assistant replies “sir, you may buy the pink vibrator and the blue vibrator, but the fire extinguisher is not for sale.” I mean wtf?!

Totti has been banned for three Euro 204 matches for spitting at Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen. I love him, but the guy is a nobhead. Hopefully this means that tonight’s clash between Italy & Sweden will see a; Cassano start (also Gattuso and Pirlo, please), b; Italy out to prove something, and c; lots of great football. Hopefully.

Oh yeah, England won and Gerrard scored. Also, how the fuck is Wayne Rooney so pale? He’s been in Portugal for a month playing football and his knees are the same colour as his socks, how is that?


6/18/2004 08:59:00 am


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005