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[ Forza Italia The Fall And Rise Of Italian Football ] By Agnew, Paddy ( Author ) Aug-2007 [ Paperback ] Forza Italia The Fall and Rise of Italian Football Taschenbuch – 2. August 2007
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Unfortunately, the subject matter was a little bit disheartening. Agnew pulls some really ugly skeletons out of the closet on the subject of Italian Football. Knowing what I know now, it will be hard for me to enjoy Italian football quite as much.
is Gaetano Scirea, Giacinto Facchetti was a left back defender in the 60s-70s,
the former played for Juventus Turin, the second for Inter Milan, it would be like naming Maurice Richard as John... or Kobe Bryant as Shaq...
the frankenstein-like defender built up this way would rather be an amazing player...although he never existed...
in 1990 - the world cup semi-final between Argentina and Italy final score was a tie, 1-1 - not an Argentinean victory as it is stated, and Maradona played rather bad, he scored the penalty kick in the series of shoot out after the game ended, leading Argentina to the final
the book features a never ending list of clichés and stereotypes on Italy and Italians, such they are generally enjoyed by wealthy British people living in the countryside, and is packed with minor mistakes such as the above-mentioned ones;
Italy looks that way if one were to live in a mansion in Tuscany, or in a villa in the countryside outside Rome;
life in the cities though is totally different, and hence the perspective one would get from, having to deal on a daily basis with corruption and organised crime and violence and abuse is totally another deal;
would have loved that the author spent at least a couple of days on those realitites, before phylosophying on a country only seen through the mirror of legends and clichés
the report from Turin, or from the South are un-realistic and fed with biais- the bar talks on monday morning in any bar in the country is rather more profound and documented;
the last chapter references to the 2006 match-fixing scandal are undocumented: if the author were to speak with any (any...) Italian fans, he would had been told what the recent trials held in Napoli is showing: the so-called-scandal was a general practise, behind the scandal sat other motivations such as rivalry within Agnelli family for the control and real ownership of Juventus and Fiat on one part (gianni agnelli's vs umberto agnelli heirs), a massive debts of big teams (Inter Milan and above all Roma and Lazio) towards the Italian revenue Agency of about 450 millions euros on the other , a debt that was cancelled by the Berlusconi's government a few months later B who also happened to be the president and owner of Milan...);
nothing of that backdrop is shed light upon; which is a little poor content for an investigative reporter
if anybody were to collect such a list of mistakes, misinformation, clichés and stereotypes, shallow analysis on either UK of the United States, the anglo-saxon communities would be outraged
The majority of the book focuses on the modern post-'80s history of Italian soccer with just a sprinkling of the history (for that go to John Foot's excellent Calcio). Agnew also is not a cynical writer and is a fan of soccer so it makes for a read that all fans can relate to. Lucky for us he was in Italy covered soccer just as the whole Diego Maradona w/ Napoli saga unfolded. He is also the first writer I feel who has been able to link the betting scandal of the '80s to Italy's 1982 World Cup win to the '90s match-fixing scandals that led really to Italy's 2006 World Cup win.
The book does not get bogged down in some sort of season-by-season chronolgical look at Italian soccer. Chapters on Berlusconi and how his Milan soccer team shaped his political successes and a look at how the Italian vs. British press operate by viewing it through the eyes of ex-Lazio and ex-England manager Sven Goran Eriksson rank up there with the very best of soccer writing.
The only two chapters I skimmed over were the Juventus on Trial and End Game which focused on the doping and match fixing scandals. Maybe because these were fairly recent and still somewhat at the forefront of my cranial lobe, they just did not grab me as much as the others.
It covers not only the football but the culture surrounding it and how Italian football reflects the character of the Italian people, from the scandals of Juventus to the world cup win in 2006 it really does cover an interesting period of Italian football.
If you have an interest in how Serie A came to be what it is and what is was definitely read this book, I can't recommend it enough.