ROME, ITALY - DECEMBER 12: The fans of Roma during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Juventus FC at Stadio Olimpico on December 12, 2011 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Today the club announced the creation of an A.S. Roma Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the celebration of the clubs 85th anniversary. The Hall of Fame, which temporarily exists only in the digital realm, will initially induct 11 members from a list of 85 candidates. The eleven enshrinees will include one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders, and three forwards from the clubs history. This first class will be inducted early in the 2012-2013 season, with smaller classes to be elected each year thereafter. The only criteria being that an inductee must have been retired for at least two season. So while he will undoubtedly be the biggest and most popular inductee, Francesco Totti will not be the first.
Voting will be made by a five man panel, including team historian Massimo Izzi, and fans worldwide, though the fans will only vote once the initial 85 man list is reduced to 55.
Beyond being a unique way to honor the clubs history and its greatest players, this move carries further significance.
This Hall of Fame, which will eventually be housed in or near the new stadium, makes A.S. Roma the first club in Italy to honor its players and history in this fashion. The concept of a ‘Hall of Fame' does not appear to be as widespread, traditional, or integral to sports in Europe as it does in America, where nearly every league has a Hall of Fame and Museum dedicated to the game's greatest players and where each team has its own method of honoring its own players.
As such, this move has further significance, peppered with a bit of Americanization. While we haven't seen any headline-busting, marquee signings from Thomas DiBenedetto, the off-the-pitch moves his ownership group have made thus far indicate that long-term growth and stability are priorities, with an eye on making A.S. Roma a marquee club. Creating a place where the clubs history is honored, one where fans can celebrate and walk amongst the clubs living history is a fantastic means by which to grow the image and legacy of the club. I'm sure DiBenedetto and company envision the Hall of Fame, along with the new stadium, as pilgrimage sites for Giallorossi fans worldwide. I can't imagine many fans will decry this bit of Americanization.
The initial roster of 85 candidates is divided into historical eras: 1927-1947, 1948-1968, 1969-1988 and 1989-2011. Some highlights of the more recent classes include Carlo Ancelotti, Falcao and Agostino Di Bartolomei (1969-1988 era) and Aldair, Marco Delvecchio, Gabriel Bautistuta, Vincenzo Montella and Christian Panucci (1989-2011 era).
Fan voting will take place throughout summer 2012, with the initial induction to take place at some point during the 2013 season. More details to follow. Click here for the full list of candidates and official press release, once the fan voting opens up, a link will be made available.
While a subtle move, this Hall of Fame is a sign of the reverence which DiBenedetto has for the club and it's fans. The future of the club is in good hands, indeed.
**Just came across this**
An hour long video, an official presentation of sorts for the HOF.