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Home: Ground Hopping & Programmes: International Hopping:
Italian Job (plus)


Man City Transfer Target!

Feb 21, 2018, 10:56 AM

Posts: 6228

Post #1 of 5 (1684 views)
Italian Job (plus) Can't Post or

Thursday 15 February

Colpic, DaveR, The Wall, YorkieExile (after a major senior moment scare re his passport) and I met up at Stansted for the 1300 flight to Nice. On arrival in Nice we took a shuttle bus to collect our hire cars and were amazed to find the car hire depot was only a few hundred yards from the stadium. We managed to negotiate to leave our hire cars just outside here, thus avoiding the normal car parking procedure which we understand involves parking well away from the stadium and getting a shuttle bus , So the weekend started with -

Europa Cup Round of 32 First Leg
Admission 20 euros (online print at home). Free programme. Crowd 16918

Nice now play at the Allianz Riviera stadium, which outwardly bears a strong resemblance to its big brother in Munich.. The stadium, built for use in Euro 2016 is a full oval, has 3 tiers and is covered all round.

As for the contest it was a game of 3 halves. For the first 30 minutes or so Nice, with winger Saint-Maximin tormenting the Russians' defence, deservedly went 2 up with both goals (one from the spot) scored by Balotelli. Lokomotiv gradually worked their way back into the match and were rewarded with a goal just before half time when Nice gave away a needless penalty. They remained slightly on top up to the hour mark, just after which a Nice defender was dismissed with the resultant free kick being superbly converted. For the rest of the match it was all Lokomotiv and the only real surprise was that they only scored 1 more goal as they could easily have had a larger advantage to take back to Moscow for the second leg.

Friday 16 February

From our respective hotels we rendezvoused in Italy and despite encountering severe congestion around Bologna made it to our hotel just outside Rimini. By now we had been joined by Adam, like DaveR a devoted worshipper at the Church of Everton. We made our way up into the hills of San Marino for -

Campionato Sammarinese Group B
No paper or admission charge. Crowd (h/c) 43

A team from San Marino plays in the Italian league system, currently in Serie D, and indeed Yorkie and I had seen them at home a few years ago. However there is also a local league whose ultimate winners qualify for the early round of the Champions League. This match represented a landespunkt for the other 4 and a league debut for Yorkie and me.

The league has 15 clubs and is split into 2 groups. Games are played on 3 main venues, plus occasionally at the main Serravalle stadium or its annexe. This game was played at Montecchio and this is a surprisngly decent venue. Basically a cage on 3 sides, the 4th side has an elevated open area of seating (Adam's research revealed a capacity of 600). This side also has the main buildings, which as well as the dressing rooms include the HQ of the San Marino FA.. Just outside the opposite side is a pizzeria which we duly patronised before the game.

As we feared the game was not of a high standard although both teams showed plenty of endeavour. The 3G pitch played very well but mistakes were frequent and it was with some relief we finally got a goal just after the hour mark. Cailungo were reduced to 10 for a second yellow and Virtus who had already been comfortably the better side duly despatched a rebound off the keeper to give them a deserved victory.

Originally we had a double at 1500 and 2115 but the earlier game was switched also to 2115. I of course got the blame for picking the wrong one as we discovered the other finished 4-4. C'est la vie ....

(This post was edited by Veteran on Feb 21, 2018, 11:04 AM)

Man City Transfer Target!

Feb 21, 2018, 10:57 AM

Posts: 6228

Post #2 of 5 (1682 views)
Re: [Veteran] Italian Job (plus) [In reply to] Can't Post or

Saturday 17 February

The main target was Chievo at 1800 but we had the devil of a job finding a game to precede it, mainly because for some reason there were no games in the Veneto region.. Eventually I managed to reactivate an old registration on the LND web site and located -

Emilio Romagna Region Eccellenza Group A (level 5)
Admission 10/5 euros. Team sheet available (run off the printer "while you wait"). Crowd (approx h/c) 300 to 350

Modena CF went bust earlier this season, leaving the main Stadio Alberto Braglia in the city vacant. However most of our party got a real bonus (Colin and I just bracketed ticks) as Rosselli Mutina very quickly moved in to the stadium in November. They seem to be upwardly mobile, having earned promotion from the Promozione last season and now sitting in second place in their Group. Local officials were very friendly and indeed we got press ganged into a photograph for their club records as we were allegedly their "first English visitors".

The Braglia stadium has cover on two sides, with otherwise just large areas of open seating. Only the main stand was in use for this match.

Rosselli were just about the better side in what was billed as a "local derby" and having taken the early lead they seemed to sit back to protect it, with the result we got a fairly sterile game but noticeably better standard than the previous night.

With this match finishing at about 1620 and facing an hour plus drive to Verona we were tempting fate a little with GAFMO mode essential. In fact there was a huge car park near Chievo's ground and we had bags of time to spare, helped by the sparse crowd. So for all 6 of us it was a stadium tick at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi , which Chievo share with Hellas Verona -

Serie A
Admission 33 euros (online p.a.h. - personalised ticket checked against your passport as they were at the other Serie A games) Free programme. Crowd (struggled to find - this shown on FotMob mobile app) 5000

Opportunity to remedy one of several gaps in my Italian hopping CV - this ground has almost featured on several Grand Tours situated in the north east of Italy. Very bitty stadium with 3 tiers in a full oval plus a substantial area low down unused with just concrete blocks. Our seats were in the very shallow second tier and, whilst we were grateful for the low roof as drizzle was now manifesting itself, it felt a bit like watching football through a letter box.

When we used to go a lot to Dutch Amateur games we always used to say don't panic if it's 0-0 at half time - indeed it's only after about 70 minutes that both teams suddenly realise they can win and really go for it. This game was very much like that - two struggling sides did next to nothing for just over 70 minutes before Chievo scored with a superb free kick, doubling their lead shortly afterwards. Cagliari then threw the book at them, got one back and were very unlucky not to equalise. Twice as much meaningful action in the last 20 minutes as in the rest of the game.

Excellent hotel just outside Verona and a most enjoyable "team meal" in the restaurant

(This post was edited by Veteran on Feb 21, 2018, 11:05 AM)

Man City Transfer Target!

Feb 21, 2018, 11:00 AM

Posts: 6228

Post #3 of 5 (1680 views)
Re: [Veteran] Italian Job (plus) [In reply to] Can't Post or

Sunday 18 February

Gloomy morning saw our party split up. Having done Bologna, DaveR and Colpic, rather than being cheesed off at such edam nuisance, decided it would brie an excellent idea to plot caerphilly a trip to the outskirts of Milan for Gorgonzola and the Serie C game Giana Erminio 0 Siena 1. I will leave one of them to report on this game. I also dropped Adam at the station as he was heading home as he had to be back for that horrible four letter word starting with w and ending with k on Monday morning.

Meanwhile Yorkie, The Wall and I headed for Bologna. We arrived about 1100 and found optimum parking spaces almost outside the stadium before spending several hours watching the steady rain which persisted until the end of the game at almost 1700. Another gap in my CV closed at -

Serie A
Free programme (many left out in the rain - sacrilege !). Admission just under 30 euros inc. Commission (online p.a.h.). Crowd 16271

Very impressive large stadium, but sadly only one small area at the top of the main stand has cover. Otherwise just open seating with the main feature the "Marathon Tower" on the side opposite the main stand. This is where we had tickets (Distinti) and we got absolutely soaked. Luckily the stewards did not enforce seating so we were able to avoid wet *rs*s.

Bologna started well on top and scored after 11 minutes with a hint of offside. They then either sat back or were forced back and Sassuolo totally dominated the rest of the game. They got a deserved equaliser after 37 minutes. Cue a delay of just over a minute during which it finally dawned on me that we were waiting for the VAR, who confirmed the validity of the goal. Sassuolo created several good chances and it was a complete injustice when Bologna won the game with an admittedly superb free kick just a few minutes from time.

Yorkie and The Wall then headed back to Nice ready for the flight next morning. I headed up to Milan to uplift DaveR and Colpic and joined them for my third visit to the Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro if you prefer). With an hour to spare I was a bit worried about parking but I was able to park more or less outside the stadium, albeit at an extortionate cost of 15 euros.

Serie A
Admission 35 euros (online p.a.h.) No sign of a programme. Crowd 46594

The San Siro is one of the more charismatic large stadiums. Whilst it has a modern feel, it also has character, notably with the iconic four towers in the corners. We were on the second tier - even climbing up there caused my wonky knees considerable grief - and on the second row our view was obscured by the protective rails at the front of the section. Most entertainment was provided by a very animated home fan in the row in front of us.

AC Milan scored quite early and frankly made heavy work of this against a very disappointing Sampdoria who started the game just above them in the table. Milan, who seem to be a shadow of their dominant teams of the past, seemed to have scored again just before half time but this time the VAR ruled the goal out, apparently for offside. There was a second half ...

So back to Nice to rejoin Yorkie and The Wall for our 1055 flight on Monday with a short sojourn in a hotel in Savona en route for just under 5 hours sleep.

Excellent trip which I think we all enjoyed and thanks to everybody for their company and especailly DaveR who provided the initial inspiration for it. Both Yorkie and I have been more than reluctant to go to Italy in recent years but this trip has somewhat restored our enthusiasm. One word of warning - Italy can be very expensive to drive in - numerous tolls add up to significant expense and fuel is also quite expensive.

Finally we made one significant discovery during the trip. Yorkie readily admitted that this was correct - the first words a Yorkshire baby learns are "Hooooow much ??"

Chelsea Transfer Target

Feb 21, 2018, 8:55 PM

Posts: 3394
Location: North West Lincolnshire
Team(s): Scotter United (Scunthorpe League), AFC Telford(home town club),

Post #4 of 5 (1514 views)
Re: [Veteran] Italian Job (plus) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

To fill in the holes in the Veterans' cheesy report, I can confirm that Dave R and I formed a breakaway group, leaving Verona to travel to Milano Centrale by train for 13 euros each and then buying a day metro pass for 4,60 euros each. This pass took us out to Gorgonzola on metro line 2, a lighting at Villa Pompea(Gorgonzola station is just as close) and then all the way back across the city to the San Siro which is on line 5.

We had a quick stroll down the main street but found nothing open so bought tickets for 14 euros each (passports were shown) and went to see:-

Giana Erminio 0 Robur Siena 1
Serie C Girone A No progs but Dave found teamsheets, Att 622

The Stadio Communale di Gorgonzola is a three sided affair with nothing behind one of the goals and a seated uncovered eleven row stand for the away fans (maybe 50 or so) behind the other goal. Both sides have seated areas with the side backing on to the main road having less seats and less cover. The fully covered main stand where we sat ran almost the length of the pitch and has twelve rows of blue and white seats. Behind this stand is a stall selling club merchandise and a bar which doesn't sell beer. Everyone that we spoke to was really friendly and we felt very much at home.

The visitors had two bustling British style strikers who basically bullied the home defence and it was no surprise when the skipper, the bearded Moratta, powered in a header on 16 minutes. Lying second in the table behind Livorno, they were clearly the better side but as the game went on they sat back and performed very negatively and a stronger referee was needed to address the cynical petty fouling. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable game and a fine afternoon out in dry weather. For anyone yet to do the San Siro this makes for an easy double opportunity.

Where's the 'ignore this poster' button?

Dave R
Reserve Team Sub

Feb 22, 2018, 3:18 PM

Posts: 474
Location: Plymouth

Post #5 of 5 (1359 views)
Re: [colpic] Italian Job (plus) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Brilliant trip and great company from all involved. Thanks guys. And, of course, special thanks to Veteran and Yorkieexile for driving.


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