Do you like Roma?
Naeem: I’ve always loved Rome the city and so I started supporting Roma probably as a consequence of this. I’d be lying if I said that I inherited the support through family lineage or something. My dad supports "anyone that wins because you’d be an idiot to back the losing team". He literally changes his allegiance mid-game. Kind of like Italy in WWI. In South Africa, we have always been inundated with garbage English football – call me crazy, but watching your skill-less winger put his head down, run down the flank and swing it in for your gangly striker to head home is not my idea of pleasing soccer. I never liked it. I’m the only Italian football team supporter of all my mates and I’m the only Roma supporter I know personally (at the risk of sounding like a schizo). I have only cried two times because of football. One was when Robby Baggio attempted to realign the Hubble Telescope with his penalty at the WC. The other was when Apollo directed all of United’s efforts into the top corner, like he did the arrow into Achille’s heel, at Old Trafford. The greatest attraction of Roma to me is what sometimes people criticise about the club – it’s traditionalism which some people may call ‘provincialism’ – there is a distinction. I sincerely hope that the new era does not detract from what makes Roma great and this is my biggest concern. If we got bought out by an oil baron or a Sheikh, I may or may not have catapulted myself off the Nelson Mandela bridge. I was not for the takeover. I was all for new management but a Roman would’ve been ideal.
Brief thoughts on Luis Enrique.
Naeem: A bit strict but perhaps in today’s ego-inflated dressing rooms, that’s a good thing. I’m all for discipline and effective leadership so I like that about him. Do I like him as a coach? I think he’s too green to be in charge of Roma right now. He would probably need a good three years to effectively put his stamp on Roma I reckon, and also grow as a tactician and a coach. It is only then that we can effectively judge him. I think that’s too long to wait for a club like Roma. I would’ve loved Spalletti to come back. Give that man a budget and he could’ve done big things. But, now that he is here, he has my total backing. The choice has been made and we as fans owe our backing to him. Coaches cannot be judged in 9 months. That being said, he’d better learn fast. I also like the fact that he has faith in youth. Let’s hope to see Bertolacci , D’Allesandro, Crescenzi et al in the first team soon.
Niklas: He's got good ideas. Just not for this squad [ed. note: at present]. Patience, meine Damen und Herren.
Briefer thoughts on just what the @#$% is going on with that iPad.
Naeem: He is replying to taunts on Marco Boriello and David Pizarro’s facebook pages. When he isn’t doing that, he is looking on Football Manager blogs on how to play possession based tactics.
Niklas: Hipster football.
Does Gabriel Heinze being Roma's #1 CB through the much of the remaining season make you yearn to tickle your brain with a hot poker through the eye socket or carve out your heart with a spoon? Or: State of the Defense. Discuss.
Naeem: I think the defense needs some Italians. I am also bitterly disappointed in Kjaer. Although we do need to be sympathetic to the fact that the defense has likely been impacted by the new tactics and LE’s gung-ho mentality, plus Burdisso going down and Juan’s sudden infatuation with being garbage is not helping either. I’m a firm believer in starting with the basics. Make sure you can defend before you think about 100% possession. I reckon we need some pace at the back, especially if we are to play such a high line. We also need new fullbacks because they are essential to this tactic. Having good fullbacks puts pressure on their flanks while attacking meaning we are less likely to get countered so easily. As most people on this blog seem to think as well, this should be the first priority next season (scratch that – second priority. First priority should be getting Simplicio some Weigh-Less pills)
Niklas: Always been a spoon guy, but being as thoughts of Heinze won't drive me to suicide [rather a sunny person], let’s talk back four, shall we? In my mind, considering that not a one of the crew manning the back in the most recent fixture had even been playing in the same league last season, much less at the same club, let’s chalk up the cock ups to unfamiliarity. Feel free to lose your cool like a few others have if we’re seeing similar communication errors this time next year. For now? Patience.
Compare and contrast the Spalletti clusterfuck and the Enrique clusterfuck, possibly using metaphor.
Naeem: If the Spaletti clusterfuck was a flock of wraiths ghosting into the box during the attacking phase with devastating consequences, the LE clusterfuck would be retarded ostriches with their heads in the sand not knowing when the defending phase ends and the attacking phase starts.
Niklas: The Spalleti clusterfuck is to [largely, kind of] controlled chaos as the Enrique clusterfuck is to an actual clusterfuck.
Naeem: 2. We live in hope that he gets laid by a supermodel thereby reinvigorating him with confidence. He was supreme at Palermo and let’s not forget that he is young with plenty experience. At 8mn, you are probs not gonna get much better anyway thanks to the EPL wreaking havoc with pricing. Torres for 50mn?!
Well that worked out well. In fact it didn’t even work out well for Liverpigs. Andy Carrol for 35mn. Here is a man that has the grace of Roseann Barr on ice, the technique of Baptista with lead boots and the football brain of a 6-year old Cerci. He was outscored by 5 players (as I recall) in the Championship before his six-month purple patch at Newcastle. Lesson: "One season does not a footballer make".
Niklas: Forgive me, if you're so inclined, but one. Kid's got quality. At 22, there's time for the mental game to come around. And if that doesn't convince, what fun is there in a squad wherein every name is easily pronounceable?
In under five words, discuss Fabio Simplicio's gravitational field.
Naeem: In F = G(m1m2)/r^2, m = infinity (how many words is that?)
Niklas: Can't. Slowly drifting toward Rome.
Now that Roma's beacon of couth, Matteo Brighi, is off in cheater-cheater land, tell us which player you believe to have assumed his crown and why. (Note: Neck tattoos mean automatic disqualification.)
Naeem: Adriano wins that hands down, even though he isn’t there anymore. I mean, he was so couth, he didn’t even bother to show up in case he offended anyone. Just collected his cheque and left each month, like the gentleman he is.
Niklas: Pjanić. Force him to curl his hair and he’d pass for a hobbit. They’re well mannered, aren’t they?
If Maarten was a cartoon character, which one would he be?
Naeem: Johnny Bravo.
Niklas: Alfred J. Kwak.
Where do you reckon Roma will finish?
Naeem: Above Lazio. I don’t think we can achieve CL football. We would probably need to win all our remaining games. That’s not going to happen. We need to finish the season strongly though, to give us belief and momentum for next year. Call a spade a spade. This season has been rubbish so far and it’s likely to end that way. Let’s look to the future. But we will finish above Lazio.
Niklas: Sixth feels about right, but [and cover your ears] Inter are always dangerous.
Open field: anything you wish to say.
Naeem: I look forward to contributing to this blog. May the years ahead be filled with much success, little Loria and lots of De Rossi slaps. I am glad to be in the company of Roma supporters. Ours is a rare breed here. It’s Mancs, Chelscum or Liverpigs here mostly. In fact, in SA, if you bump into a Laziale he is actually nice to you, because "at least you support an Italian team" (I still give him an ear bollocking of course). Luis Enrique, if you are reading this, go to the "Italian School of Defending" and speak to the Dean "Franco Baresi". He will teach you a thing or two. Simplicio, if you are reading this, put down the Big Mac. Francesco, if you are reading this, you are the best player to have ever lived and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. It pains me that I have had to endure such things as "Paul Scholes is better than Totti" and "what has he won?" and when I do(did), I defend(ed) you with the vigour of a thousand suns. I know that by staying at Roma, you have made some huge personal sacrifices and for that, we are eternally grateful.
Niklas: Roma needs more Swedes.