Flares of Passion

Milan's Curva Sud produce the absolute best coreografia of any fans in any stadium in the world. Period. They are organized, creative, incredibly talented, and they set the bar impossibly high for other fans. This week, they went to Casa Milan and created an incredible display with flares to celebrate Milan's return to the Champions League. Yet just a month ago, these same people went to Milanello on gameday to enforce their own vigilante justice on one of the players who was so essential in Milan qualifying again. Brilliant and yet thoughtless, creative and yet lawless. Milan have been burned before by their flares of passion.

The Curva Sud are back, too, for better or for worse

If you were not moved by the incredible display at Casa Milan this week, then you are beyond dead inside. The fans gathered and chanted, and Maldini came out and spoke to them. Then they created an incredible coreo which spelled out "AC Milan is Back." With flares, in the dark. The pictures and videos were absolutely incredible, the letters shaped with military-like precision. Just even the idea of it was amazing, seeing as how fans have not been allowed in the stadium for over a year now. As an observer, it was impressive. As a fan, it was phenomenal. I think we all wanted to be associated with that display.

However, far too often in recent years, the Curva Sud have done things none of us would want to be associated with. For example, on Saturday, May 1st, ahead of the Benevento game, some members of the Curva Sud went to Milanello to confront Gigio Donnarumma. When I wrote about their self-imposed justice, I questioned if this would be the last time, after so many times they had abused him and questioned his loyalty, and it turns out, it was. People assume it was only for the money that Donnarumma did not extend his contract, but what if the abuse was part of his decision? 

A player abused by his own fans during warmup. Because of rumors.

Even if it wasn't part of his decision, he has received more than his fair share of threats and hate, especially from the Curva ahead of matches. At the very least, it was an insane decision to go confront him ahead of a game when Champions League qualification was so close. Also to abuse him for smiling and greeting Pepe Reina after the Lazio game. And to demand an answer on his contract when the 22-year-old was trying to prepare for said game. But it would not be the first time that the Curva Sud did something to harm the club they claim to love. 

The presence, the cheers, chants, drums, flags, banners, flares, coreo, and more of the Curva Sud are beyond inspirational, they are a massive part of the game that we have missed so much this past year. I can remember wanting to travel halfway around the world to San Siro and sit in the Curva with them, just to be a part of the magic. But as it turns out, that is just like buying a car that looks amazing from the outside, but has major engine problems under the hood.

To the death? Or we threaten death?

I have since learned that members of the Curva Sud are criminals. Literally, the leader, Luca Lucci, has been arrested for drug dealing multiple times. In 1995, it was Milan fans that killed a Genoa fan, Vincenzo Spagnolo, outside of the Marassi in Genoa, causing the next round of games in all of Serie A to be suspended. This event also raised a lot of questions about Ultras in Italy. But they never learn. In December of 2019, a Milan fan was stabbed when we were away to Bologna. He was stabbed by another Milan fan after celebrating a win, in a fight that broke out over shirts and shorts that were thrown into the crowd by Milan players. Did I mention that this was after a win?

In the 2013-14 season, members of the Curva did all of these things... in the first half of the season alone:

• trapped Milan and Genoa players and fans in the garage at San Siro for hours, and threatened the players with sticks
• earned a stadium ban and a €50.000 fine for singing songs of territorial discrimination... two weeks in a row
• staged a "silent protest" at San Siro - no flags, banners, coreo, singing, etc. to protest... something – it was never made clear
• boycotted an away game to protest ticket prices, rather than actually support their team.

That was just from August to January that year. The Curva Sud have a very, very long list of crimes against the team they claim to support, in addition to the actual crimes outside of the stadium.

If it looks like fire, it probably burns

Apparently, their brand of vigilante "passion" has spread to those outside of the stadium. It is easy to support players and the team when they are winning, but apparently some people are not only incapable of supporting when things don't go well, they take the opportunity to become vigilantes themselves. Despite everyone becoming an At Home Ultra during the pandemic, fans have watched this toxic "support" of fans from the Curva in the stadiums and have extended that hate to social media. People who call themselves fans will attack players on social media in mass, applying their own football vigilante standards, even though most do not even have a measurable footballing IQ. 

The abuse in the stadiums and online has been responsible for pushing many players out. Many "fans" go well beyond abuse, making death threats to players and their families. These crimes and abuse have prompted the club to sign a manifesto created by an organization called Parole Ostile (hostile words). The manifesto lists ten ideas to govern appropriate social media usage. None of those involve threats or abuse.

Looks like fans got what they wanted... who's next?

Not that those who are undermining their own team with their social media posts will read it, but it's there. It's too late for players like Suso, Donnarumma, and likely Calhanoglu, three players who have been subjected to horrific threats and abuse online over the years. Although that hasn't stopped Milan fans from continuing to abuse Donnarumma now that he has left, for reasons that are beyond me. That deal is done, it is over, and the abuse just makes Milan fans look like idiots. Certainly, it would be better to copy the Curva Sud's creative endeavors than their criminal endeavors.

The entitlement of the Curva Sud, and their use of terrorist-like tactics to promote their own, often very misguided politics is known worldwide. They gained instant notoriety for abusing Paolo Maldini at his farewell match in 2009, a second generation Milan captain who had played his entire career at the club. He was a model player on the pitch and a model person off the pitch. The behavior of the Curva was shockingly embarrassing for fans of football everywhere, and continues to be this day. All because he called them "mercenaries" when they were... abusing the team. Years before. Perhaps he should have called them "ironic mercenaries."

Flares today, abuse tomorrow?

What made this week's display more ironic was that they chose to go to Casa Milan exactly 12 years to the day that Maldini played his final match. Now Maldini is the technical director at the club. This week, they liked him, even thanked him, and agreed with what he has been doing. But what about next week? Or July? Or next season? They are uncouth, volatile criminals who aren't so much there to support Milan as they are to support their own objectives. Their flares may be beautiful and mesmerizing, but they are still fire. The Curva Sud may create amazing displays and fill the San Siro with chants, but they will also undoubtedly burn AC Milan again with their flares of passion.

This post inspired by the music of The Prodigy's "Firestarter"

Flares of Passion Flares of Passion Reviewed by Elaine on 12:23 AM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.