The Tuscan derby: Fiorentina v Siena

By Jerome Butcher
Siena fans in FlorenceFiorentina away: For myself, and probably many Sienese, this is the biggest game of the season.
Siena fans in Florence

Siena fans in Florence

Sunday 22nd March 2009 and the season has gone full circle a long time ago. We are exactly half-way through the second half of the season and for myself, and probably many Sienese this is the biggest game of the season.

When you support a team which has no realistic chances of making it into Europe and seems fairly safe from relegation, what else is there than gettin’ one over your local rivals?

Siena travel to their Tuscan rivals ‘i Viole’, for the ‘re’-match (Siena 1-0 winners through Kharja back in November) on the back of a thumping at the hands of AC; Pirlo, Inzaghi and Pato piling on the punishment. Becks was, I’m told, absolutely fantastic as usual. “Ran his socks off right until the 90th minute”. Give this man his final wish and a place in the England squad to South Africa – he deseves it.
Fiorentina are another one of these clubs that have languished in Serie A with little to no success. last silverware came with the UEFA cup in 89/90.

Having mentioned before that this is the only Tuscan derby this season, the rivalry itself seemed a bit stale, and quite rightly so. Siena have only been in Serie A for six seasons before 08/09 and to be honest Fiorentina couldn’t really care less about Siena – they play in the Champions League season after season and probably dislike Juventus more than piccolo old siena.

Today I Fedelissimi and La Curva Robur organised 12 coaches (possibly a few more) albeit not all full, to travel the 50km up l’autostrada to the Stadio Artemio Franchi. It’s by far our biggest away crowd and everyone is in high spirits, absolutely fantastic day for it and once again the little english contingent (eight lads) are welcomed in open arms.

For the first time we went to the fedelissimi HQ before the coaches’ departure at 11am. We were treated to a whack-off BBQ, bottles of fedelissimi label vino tinto and a glimpse at some of the club’s history-photo’s plastered all over the walls from years and years back. BRILLIANT!

We take up our seats in Curva Robur coach number three, with the usual supplies of beer (which according to them is for children – I’m sorry what? – you’re the ones watering down your wine, so shhhh) vodka, disarrono, scarves etc. The coach journey is particularly lively, they really seem to like jumping on each other and (play) fighting amongst themselves – Itals – dont ask me!?!? My voice is almost gone and we haven’t even got there!

We are shepherded into the ground, the usual army of carabinieri are surveying and no incidents to report. They did confiscate one banner; ‘I have only one friend in firenze- L’arno river’. This river has flooded Florence in the past and killed some of its citizens. Remember what I said about the weather – Christ it’s roasting and shirts are off now…

The game itself was another appallingly poor game of football, and by english standards these teams would have been convincingly beaten by the likes of Notts forest, Southampton or Charlton. The first half saw very few chances with Gilardino and his darting runs and Mutu constantly off target.

Siena looked much better in the second half with Macca, Khaja and Zuniga all misfiring. It has to be said ONCE AGAIN, these boys couldn’t hit a barn door. The goal came on in the 72nd minute with a ball lofted in by Gobbi and Mutu geting on the end of it firing the ball into the roof of the net with his left. Siena lucky not to go 2-0 down when goal’s disallowed for an offisde, marginal if you ask me.
Galloppa was very poor. Centre backs Portanova and Brandao OK in front of one of the more potent attacking players in a – sadly & boringly – defensively-minded leagues.

Bookings: Gamberini 29 Comotto 31 and Felipe Melo 69 for i viole and Goncalo Brandao 49 Del Grosso 69 for i bianconeri. 29,238 was the match attendance. Of which 760 were senesi. That’s 760 bitterly disappointed senesi fans and the game left me feeling more and more disillusioned. I mean, all we ask is for the team to show some bottle, really fight for every ball, and if even the talisman Macca is pretending he’s injured then that’s not setting a good example.

I feel like it could be my last Siena game but then again I just took a look at the fixture list and we still have to play Lazio (next game after the international break), and Juve at home and Inter away – who am I kidding? OF COURSE it won’t be my last game… this is football for you, once it gets under your skin there’s no getting rid of it.

That’s my fourth away game and I’m yet to see the boys score an away goal. But who knows, maybe Macca will come good and what better place to do it than in the San Siro!

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