Each month we’re sending our repugnant Eurosceptic correspondent to a scout a different league on the continent, and asking him to come back with an unbiased report that offends as few people as possible. It’s an impossible task. This month we sent him to Italy. Let them deal with him for a bit.
“ Ah Italia, the birthplace of some of humankinds greatest characters. Michelangelo from the Teenage Turtles, The Da Vinci Code, and Benito Mussolini. What a super bunch of chaps. As my ship sailed into the historic port of La Spezia (or Old Spice as I like to call it. Ha Ha.) I couldn’t help but notice the traditional white flag of Italy had been covered in green and red – at first I assumed it was Sacla and Dolmio, but it actually looks as though the tykes have changed their flag altogether! Well, as I’ve said before, Italy holds the key to disintegrating the EU, and it would be remiss of me not to drum up support for a referendum over here. Look at how well it’s going back in Blighty, I can tell them. You’ll have loads more money to spend on healthcare, and you can close the borders so foreigners will be a thing of the past! Yes, I’m just the man to spread the gospel of sovereignty on this boot shaped island. But before I do that, let’s have a look at some of their soccer teams. Or as they call it ‘Calcium’. Finally something I can get my teeth into! Ha Ha.
Ah the Old Lady. I don’t see much of my old lady anymore, on account of us being separated, but if you’re going to fight the good fight you have to roll with the punches I suppose. I think once all this Brexit business has blown over I’ll find myself a nice, quiet, obedient wife that doesn’t mind a husband with only one testicle, and see out my dotage on the south coast, physically pushing any potential immigrants into the English Channel should they dare to invade our green and gracious land. What a wonderful image. Juventus – it’s a soft J I’m led to believe – are the big daddies of Serie A (that’s League A to you and I), and I can’t see them being knocked off their perch anytime soon. Their captain and goalkeeper, the irrepressible Gianluigi Buffon, has often been criticised for some of his political views, and I know exactly how he feels. I think there may even be a kinship between us, with our lives taking such similar paths. Him winning the World Cup in Germany, and me winning the love of a German girl who eventually got sick of me. Him becoming the greatest goalkeeper of his generation, and me promoting xenophobia and legitimising racism in the UK. He a Buffon, me a buffoon. Two peas in a pod. The Juvenators aren’t just about the goalkeeper though, they’ve got a couple of Argies up top (and they should know about ‘bombing forward’ eh, Maggie *winky smiley*) and a defence as solid as Gibraltar rock and as old as time. Whilst in Turin, I’ve taken the time to seek out its famous Shroud to gaze upon our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately I spent three hours looking at a sheet of black fabric before the market owner ushered me away so she could close up. You win some you lose some I suppose.
The pretenders to the thrown come from Naples, which if you’re a juvenile you’ll notice sounds like nipples. My nipples are perfectly round, pink and hairless, and let me tell you the women go wild for them. Napoli, the boys in blue, have been playing some excellent football so far this season, and the Belgian lad up front has been a revelation. Dries Mertens? Dry your eyes Italian defences more like! They’ve got a host of different nationalities on the books here, so I’ll be having a word with the Italian Department for Immigration before I head off. Brazilians, Croatian, Poles, Algerians, Guineans, they’ve got the lot! All on £5.50 an hour I quite imagine. Take this Jorginho character for example, his place in the team could be taken by a hard-working Italian! Oh, he is Italian you say? Well he doesn’t sound Italian. Natrualised? Do me favour! Anyway, Napoli are yet to lose a game this season and they’re currently a point above Juventus at the top of the table. Will it last? If I were a betting man, which I am, then I’d put money on these soft southerners choking come the end of the season.
‘Are you into Milan?’ I asked a busker on my way to the San Siro. ‘Che cosa?’ came his reply. It was just a little joke but I could see it was going nowhere so I took a five euro note from his violin case and went on my way. The black and blue boys are actually called Internazionale, which is great because anything with a nazi in it is fine by me. This is another team with an Argentine striker, but apparently Mauro Icardi doesn’t get on too well with the Ultras (the ‘Ultras’, I’ve learned, are like superfans. In many ways I was a Jimmy Saville Ultra. Still am), but even so you can’t knock his goalscoring prowess as he’s bagged eleven already this season. Inter are another team yet to lose a game this season, and they’re much improved from the last few years, but it remains to be seen how they fare against Juventus – the two sides are scheduled to meet in December. Their baldy manager, Luciano Spaletti, did well at Roma, and it looks as though his magic touch is rubbing off on Inter too. Mmm. Rubbing off.
Ah, Rome. The empire. Caligula. Julius Caeser. Rape and pillage. Incest. The golden age of Italy. What a wonderful city, teeming with history, and so many ruins you’d be mistaken by thinking it was the Conservative Party circa 2019. And the boys kitted out in a lovely maroon number are La Magica, The Magic Ones. A little on the boastful side, and I certainly haven’t seen Paul Daniels hanging around anywhere, though to be fair he is long dead. Even so, Roma have been challenging right at the top of the league for the last five seasons, what have they won? Not a lot! Now the football team, unlike the city may I hastily add, is Totti-less. Their talisman has retired and it falls on the shoulders of Daniele De Rossi to drive the team forward. They’ve signed up a couple of Manchester City cast-offs over the last couple of years, and Edin Dzeko has been scoring goals for fun. Why else would you score them? Oh because it’s his job, yes. They’ve already made Chelsea look like eleven plum puddings this season, but they’re sat in fifth at the moment, so they need to buck their ideas up.
Across the city, it’s Benito’s boys. Lazio, a team that says what everyone’s thinking. Did you see their Anne Frank prank?! I tried something similar at school and got suspended, so I completely know what they’re going through. Anyway, look at that lovely golden eagle on the badge. Absolutely glorious. It’s another mix of nations here, which I’m not sure Benny would completely appreciate, but if they’re all working towards one common goal I don’t see the harm. Their main striker is immobile, which sounds like it could be quite an issue, but at least he’s Italian, and he’s already scored 18 goals this season. Not bad for a chap that can’t move. There’s also a lot of hoo-har about the Serb in midfield, Milinkovic-Savic. Apparently he’s destined for great things. What, greater than being one of Mussolini’s maestros? I don’t think so, chaps. It’s the Rome derby this weekend, which I’m sure we’re all looking forward to. The fans here at the Stadio Olimpico are a bit stabby, which is all good fun, but I have just had a buttock sliced open by someone on a Vespa, so perhaps I’d better seek medical attention.
Back in Milan, and I’m taking a look at the proper Milan, who call themselves Milan. Or AC Milan. No idea what the AC stands for. Added calcium? Could be. Anyway, they’ve had a Chinese takeaway this summer, which probably explains why they’ve been so sluggish. All that MSG will dehydrate you. Oh, no, it’s a Chinese takeover. I suppose they could have had a takeaway as well. But this lot need fewer spring rolls and more springing up the table! They spent a whopping €175,000,000 on new players this summer – exactly half of what the UK sends to the EU every week. They could have spent it on our NHS instead! Despite all this they’ve lost five of their first twelve games, which is rubbish. It seems as though their new signings haven’t quite clicked yet, and unless they do the manager Montella may be bidding farewell to Milano.
SPAL are playing their first season in Serie A for nearly fifty years. While this is to be commended, they’re clearly a front for some kind of loony left organisation. If my Italian is correct, SPAL stands for ‘Socialists, Poofters, and Liberals’. You absolutely can’t be having this kind of behavior in a serious league. They held Benny’s boys to a goalless draw on the opening day of the season, but there haven’t been too many other highlights for them so far, save for wins against Udinese and Genoa. On the plus side, they’ve got a lot of home grown players in their ranks, and the goalkeeper Alex Meret looks a talent. Unfortunately he’ll be getting a lot of practice picking the ball out the net this season, because this lot will be far too interested in ‘fighting injustice’ and being ‘politically correct’ rather than winning ruddy footy games.
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life, Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. Absolutely brilliant writing there from Baz Luhrmann. I love that guy’s stuff. Wear sunscreen! It’s just great advice. Anyhow, this lot from Verona, call themselves ‘Hellas’, and I’m not sure if this is a cool dude American thing or what, but either way they’re not very good. They’ve got a Ferrari in defence, but he hasn’t been quick enough to prevent his team conceding 26 goals so far this season, and their stikers aren’t scoring enough goals. The equation is simple – if you let in more than you score, you lose.
Finally, Benevento. Well, what can you say about this lot? They’ve just confirmed their place in the record books as the worst team EVER in Serie A. Poor sods. I remember losing my seat in the 2015 election, and that felt really bad. This must be at least as half as bad as that. They’ve brought in Puscas on loan, but to be totally honest I think the old boy might be past it. No points from twelve games, and only five goals. Let’s put them out of their misery and relegate them now, for gods sake. You see? I do have a heart. Actually while we’re at it lets just liquidate them.
Well there you have it, another wonderful round-up from yours truly. Once again I’m first pasta (passed the) post, and I’ve had my pizza (piece of) the action. Now I’m off to cure my salami – I think I’ve picked up a dose of thrush on the boat over. Toodle-pip!
Vile Barrage will be back next month with another completely fact-free round-up of one of Europe’s top leagues, if he isn’t too busy climbing up the President’s brown house.