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Happy Birthday, Chiesa di Totti

Although there were a few twists and turns along the way, CdT (as we now know it) first debuted three years ago today.

Holde Schneider/Getty Images

The wonderful thing about sites such as these is simply that there are so, so many of them. No matter your predilection, you can find someone who has dedicated their free time to expounding upon their love for everything from top fuel drag racing, to the senior tour, to MMA and, yes, even calcio. Whatever you're jonesing for, the internet has your fix, and sports are certainly no exception to that rule.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when a simple Google search for ‘Roma transfer rumors' led me to the old Roma Offside site. There I, much like you, found hundreds of people who shared my disease; an attraction to this sometimes forsaken club we call Roma. It wasn't long before it became a regular stop for me, sandwiched somewhere in between my borderline obsession with fantasy baseball sites and my extensive research in how to dodge my student loans. But there I was, huddled over my laptop every weekend, bright and early, questioning if Mancini would give a shit that weekend, scratching my head wondering who in their right mind thought purchasing Adriano was a good idea, and trying unsuccessfully to quantify my love for John Arne Riise.

I still didn't really understand all the nuances of the game (probably still don't), nor did I have the faintest idea of what I was getting myself into; life is simply so much easier when you're a Juventus fan I would imagine, but I was hooked; on the team, on the site and on our community.

Little did I know then that our humble little gathering place would get caught up in some sort of benign media consolidation, replete with professional photos, site developers and an editorial hierarchy. Nor did I imagine that I'd be writing for this new incarnation, let alone managing it. But here we are, three years to the day of our rebirth as the Chiesa di Totti, and we're doing quite well. We've shown some steady growth, added a few new voices along the way, branched out into more Azzurri coverage from time-to-time, all the while hopefully keeping our fingers on the pulse of the club and fans.

Since our reformation on February 17, 2012, we've churned out 1,142 posts. Throughout those three years, we've provided you with detailed match analyses, covered the minutiae of transfer rumors, shared countless videos, administered a few quizzes and watched as Jonas skirted the fringes of editorial ethics.

There are still so many features at our disposal, the potential of which we've barely scratched the surface, and while I'm extremely pleased with what we've accomplished and what we've become, there is simply no telling what CdT will become, but we're all very excited about the possibility of growing in lockstep with the club itself, which I suppose would make my inconsistent use of commas something akin to Roma's inability to defeat Parma at home.

I mentioned it during the holiday season, but it bears repeating. As much as I love this club, this community and the simple act of writing, when heaped upon all my real-world responsibilities, it can be quite onerous, simply because I want CdT to be a vibrant and active place to discuss Roma, calcio and sports in general. I mention this not as a ‘woe is me', but to once again thank everyone who contributes here for making this such a unique community. The wit, insight and analysis provided by Jonas, Dhaw, Masonio, Sam, NANF and our newest contributor, Zach, not only makes my job as a manager easier, but it makes my experience as a reader far more enjoyable.

CdT is only as strong as its community, of course. So as someone who lives on a Serie A island, set adrift from the mass of Premiership plebeians, I am extremely thankful to all of you who keep our message boards humming. Take a look around the rest of SBN, particularly the soccer sites, there aren't many as vociferous as this lot.

So, happy birthday CdT, many happy returns.

Just for shits and giggles, here's some of our firsts:

May 17, 2007: Our Genesis

Chris' very first post in the old Offside format, consider this CdT's Old Testament; Chris being the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Based on what we came to know about him, it was a rather restrained post, but the seed was planted.

March 27, 2012: Our First Taste of Totti Tuesday

This was a far ranging first effort, starting off with a picture of Federico Viviani, and touching upon everyone from Massimo Oddo, to Paolo Maldini to Simone Loria. It was the first taste of our best feature. Keep ‘em coming, Jonas.

March 28, 2012: My First Take

Look at that, Jonas is the more tenured member here. My first foray into calcio writing revolved around (surprise, surprise) my admiration for the American regime. It looks as if Roma's trips to Fenway will be an annual rite, but I haven't even come remotely close to seeing this match in person. Although my predicted Giuseppe Rossi signing never came true, I still stand by my Aladdin reference at the end.

June 8th, 2012: Zemanlandia Redux

You may know him as a walking encyclopedia on all things Roma, or the man to fulfill your fix for football videos, but dear old Dhaw isn't half bad with a keyboard at his disposal. Check out his welcome letter to ZZ

September 24, 2012: Our Final Reformation

Chris gave a bit more insight into the actual conception of CdT when our site was given its final facelift as part of the SB Nation roll-out.

Funny thing: Roma Offside came about when I was recuperating from an operation and had some time on my hands, this married to the frustration of Roma lacking an English voice on the interwebs. Somehow that became popular - a clear indication we need all hope the Mayans were right. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the tangible evidence of evolution. We're thrilled to be here - this finally feels like church.

August 18, 2013: CdT Expands Down Under

Sam burst on the scene with what I still think is one of our best pieces, a first person account of an afternoon in the Olimpico. He summed up our collective experience far better than I ever could:

AS Roma is not a giving entity. She takes, and she is very rarely done taking.

This is not a team where you can buy their shirt the year they win a title and forget about it two years later. You also can't randomly see these guys on TV every second Saturday night at the pub and develop a sub conscious familiarity.

To follow this team is to obsess about them. It is to sift through football websites searching for a single rumour that may shed some light on how this team will step on the rich clubs from the north and stop losing to f***ing Cagliari and Catania.

But it is also to have that very Roman chip on your shoulder. A chip that comes from knowing that if there was even a skerrick of justice in this world, Roma would dominate the world as a bastion of light against the petro-dollared defensive boors of Europe. Indeed, the suffering and outrage of the fans is one of the prime tenets of Roma that keeps band-wagon supporters at arms length while swallowing the romantic non-conformists hook, line and sinker.

January 18, 2014: Make Way for Masonio

Match reviews are tougher to write than one would imagine; you have to rehash the tactical Xs and Os while also trying to capture the tenor and spirit of the match, not to mention tying it all into the broader narrative of the season, and in Roma's case, "the project", a task which Masonio mastered in short order.

If there's one thing that needs to be pointed out, it is the obvious fact that for as many chances that Roma created, the finishing was borderline dreadful... This isn't a new problem, but one that will catch up to Roma if it wants to remain at the top of the table

That was written over a year ago! A year! Why does this keep happening!? By the way, keep an eye on our Church Bulletin, an effort spearheaded by Masonio, I have high hopes for it; I think it offers a chance to reflect on the club free of immediacy, which should hopefully reduce our collective stress levels.

July 18, 2014: No Apple's Analysis

NANF joined the crew with an interesting look at the correlation between Roma's average age and their spot on the table; a tough ask given the paucity of reliable Serie A data, but given how young this team is, it was certainly an important question to ask. Roma has hordes of talented youth players, so it will be interesting to revisit this in the near future, and no doubt NANF will be up for it, right?

This turned out to be way longer than I expected, but I just wanted to thank everyone on board here for doing what they do and making my life easier, and to once again thank all of the readers and commenters for making this a place for refuge, for debate and for the occasional celebration.