We don’t usually cover fan protests around here—this is Roma after all, protests ebb and flow like the tide itself—but this particular one was so in line with many of the criticisms we’ve levied over the past two summers, not to mention being a frequent topic of debate on any number of Roma message boards, we thought we’d touch on it for a moment. While Roma were tactically exposed by, of all people, Gennaro Gattuso on Friday, the club’s most ardent fans saved their voices (or their markers, as it were) for the club’s fiscal policy.
I tifosi non digeriscono la sconfitta di Milano. Nella notte spunta lo striscione contro la società “Ma quale Scudetto o Coppa dei Campioni. I vostri trofei: plusvalenze e cessioni” (FOTO) #ASRoma#MilanRoma pic.twitter.com/5uzZ1HZtOO— Romanews EU (@romanewseu) August 31, 2018
Rather than being greeted by throngs of supportive well wishers upon their return to the city, Roma, should they venture to this neighborhood, will run smack up against that rather cutting banner. Hung by the more articulate members of the Curva Sud, the banner reads (roughly translated) “So much for a Scudetto, so much for the Champions League. Your trophies are just profits and sales.”
The list of players Roma has sold over the past few summers has grown too long to recount, but suffice it to say this banner could have just as easily been hung two summers ago as it was today. Incidentally, I’m amazed at the font consistency in those things: do they use templates? Is it the same person each time? Do they have rigorous Curva Sud calligraphy classes?
Whatever the case may be, after only three matches Roma fans collective frustration is already boiling over. Following a summer in which the club garnered near record profits, three club stalwarts (Alisson, Nainggolan and Strootman) were still sold and replaced with kids too young to make in an immediate impact or journeyman who will be spare parts by the time those kids come good. You know, if they’re not sold to Liverpool first.
In many ways, this issue is too complex to surmise in one article, or indeed on one website. We have the continual turnover, which hit its peak this summer with a dozen new faces coming in, yet they can never seem to get the one specific target they want (Riyad Mahrez last summer or Hakim Ziyech and Malcom this summer), but they still make bold claims (we’ll get 2-3 top players with the Alisson money, we’ll get a player as good or better than Malcom, there’s 0% chance we’re selling Alisson, and so on and so forth) that they either have no intention or no ability to see through.
And again, these circumstances may not be unique to Roma, but we don’t care about other clubs so perhaps our perspective is limited. But the sheer amount of double talk spewing from the president’s mouth, Monchi’s inability to replicate his Sevilla success thus far, and the unnecessary sales we saw this summer has led many fans to voice concerns about their true intentions.
While we’ll never ultimately know what drives Pallotta, as the gap between expectations and reality grows, banners may prove to be the least of Roma’s worries.