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The Church Bulletin: Volume One, Series Two

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November: For the love of Men

It goes without saying that the past month of football hasn’t been as delightful as the first was for Roma. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on it and I’d say the reason was that everyone already knows it wasn’t a great month and it doesn’t need to be over analysed but the truth is that I’m tight on time and with my head still stuck somewhere in a ten minute limo ride last weekend... I’d much prefer to talk about something else.

RESULTS

vs ChievoOctober 18, 2014 3-0 WIN
vs Bayern MunichOctober 21, 2014 7-1 LOSS
vs SampdoriaOctober 25, 2014 0-0 DRAW
vs CesenaOctober 29, 2014 2-0 WIN
vs NapoliNovember 1, 2014 2-0 LOSS
vs Bayern MunichNovember 5, 2014 2-0 LOSS
vs TorinoNovember 9, 2014 3-0 WIN

But first let’s have a quick rundown of what’s transpired in the past month or so. Roma played seven matches since the last Church Bulletin and three of those could be considered difficult ties against top clubs. We lost all three in a combined score of 11 to 1. We also won three against what we’ll call more homely sides and drew one against Sampdoria, who were third and now are still a respectable fourth after Napoli’s surge up the table.

You could argue that Roma got a wakeup call since even after the loss in Torino (despite our performance, it’s still a loss), fans and Rudi himself were talking like Roma was a European powerhouse. Questions have been raised about whether results were coming our way even with less than convincing performances and it finally caught up to Roma and maybe these doubts are right but only time will tell. With three wins in the last 9 fixtures, you’d think the club would be in more turmoil than the media is claiming it to be but despite what’s happened, Roma is still looking okay. Three points back of Juventus in Serie A and in control of its position in the Champions League group of death.

It's not so bad, is it?

BOYS COME AND GO

In this day and age of football, it's downright stupid to get attached to players. Sabatini's said it; in fact we've all accepted it. Or at least lied to ourselves that we did. Mr. Pallotta even said something along the lines of everyone having a price. Some find out the hard way while others never learn. Boys come and boys go. This summer it was Mehdi Benatia. The year before it was Marcos & Coco (and Daniel ‘Pablito' Osvaldo for some - I won't knock your tastes, you like what you like). I may as well mention teen heartthrob Dodo from this summer, too. No, the place I'm not going is "Who will it be next summer?" but rather a unique characteristic only clubs like Roma seem to possess.

For the longest time, it's been known that romanisti have a bond with their players. For a club that historically hasn't won a whole lot, we sure feel for our players on an unreasonable level. That's not to mention how lucky we are to have had at least one home-grown local boy don the giallorossi maglia for who knows how long. Beyond the likes of players like Francesco Totti & Daniele De Rossi, what makes the affinity the tifosi have for some players so special?

Roma is not an easy club to play for. Just ask Dodo, Crazy Taxi, Bojan, Cote & plenty others. Even when the club isn't a title contender the players are expected to perform at the same level of the players at whichever club is the best in Italy at that time. And why should it be easy? The love players receive from Roma supporters is earned. Whether that's in a specific moment or over a period of time. Even on this board, players come to the club under such scrutiny and doubt sometimes, like in the case of Gervinho, Maicon & Morgan De Sanctis and now the same people are their biggest supporters and would hurt, like, in a Lana Del Rey's heartbroken voice kind of way hurt, if they left the club. So, as much as football continues to turn into a sport where turnover is constant and high, we'll always get attached to our players. It's what we do.

I guess what I want to do is ask who is it for you? Right now, if you had to pick one player on the squad to which you’d say you love, in a way that goes beyond ability or perceived value, in a way that only a romanista could, who would it be? For the sake of an overly lopsided discussion, let’s leave out the Roman boys and say the player has appeared in at least 30 appearances (an arbitrary number so there's been enough time to leave an impression and not totally a number just so Kevin Strootman can fit in the poll). And why? Is it something about their character or did they win you over in a single moment? Who is it that makes you forget about what’s good for you and makes you want what you like? You know they won’t be a Roma player forever but you feel for them as if they will.