Beneath the Red and Black: The Dark Side of the Curva Sud

As fans, when we hear the words "Curva Sud," our minds are instantly filled with memories of phenomenal coreografia, epic chants, drums, waving flags, flares, or even the recent 700 traveling Santa hat brigade that represented at the Empoli match just before Christmas. These fans represent for us the ultimate in passion – attending every Milan match, giving up countless hours to plan and create the best coreo in the world, and providing the intimidating atmosphere for opponents at the San Siro while offering that extra boost to our own players. What many don't know or want to forget is that too many of these passionate fans are also criminals, have their own political agenda, and have at times brought incredible shame to the club and the crest. Beneath the beautiful passion of the red and black, there is a very dark side of the Curva Sud.

"When you are in hell..." but what about when you are in jail?

Milan is known worldwide as a club with class, a family club, with players who rarely get into any trouble on or off the pitch. You do not need to look any further than the legendary captains Baresi and Maldini to see men who have conducted themselves well throughout their lives, always putting the good of the club first, and are still providing the moral compass for the club today. Likewise, you do not need to look any further than Maldini's farewell match to see the contrast between the club's values and those of the "passionate fans" of the Curva Sud.

The Curva Sud have done many reprehensible things over the years, but the way they treated Paolo Maldini during his final home match is an ugly scar on Milan's beautiful history that has never been forgotten by anyone, including non-Milan supporters. Maldini refused to bow down to the Curva when they were behaving badly, and he was the only one willing to speak out publicly against their terrorist-like tactics. They rewarded his 900th match for Milan, 25 seasons with the club, winning everything imaginable, and being the longest serving one-team player in Serie A with disgraceful banners and chants that shocked the world. Even the Roma players honored him that day. Vergogna.

Maldini's farewell match – scars that will never heal

The contrast between their behavior that day and exactly 12 years to that day this year, when they went to Casa Milan to honor him for the work he has done to bring Milan back to the Champions League demonstrates precisely how fickle these "passionate supporters" of Milan can be, and how their support is driven by personal objectives and politics rather than actually supporting the club. Their mob mentality is literally led by a known criminal who has not only been convicted of crimes and served jail time, but also served a five year ban from all Italian sporting events, known as a DASPO during the time that he has been considered the "undisputed leader" of the Curva Sud.

That man is called Luca Lucci. His known record of crimes begins when he was linked with the murder of a lawyer called Mariana Spinella in 2006. Luigi Cicalese, one of the murder accomplices, testified that Lucci was involved with providing the car involved. He also testified that Lucci was dealing cocaine at the time, with Cicalese having supplied him the drugs himself. However, Lucci's middle man in the murder case, Daniele Cataldo, was arrested in 2015 on drug and weapons charges, and thus no charges were ever made against Lucci for his involvement in 2006.

Lucci supporting Milan

Lucci succeeded Curva Sud leader Giancarlo "Sandokan" Lombardi after he stepped down following his arrest for drug dealing. Lombardi and Lucci already had close ties. In 2009, the year that Lucci became the leader of the Curva Sud, he was arrested and convicted for assaulting Virgilio Motta, an Inter fan, at the February derby. Motta lost an eye as a result of Lucci's punches. Lucci received a jail sentence of four years and six months, the five year DASPO ban, and a fine of €140,000 was ordered to be paid by he and other defendants, although it was never paid. Meanwhile, three years later to the day, the Inter fan hung himself.

The headquarters of the Curva Sud, known as "The Clan 1899" and located in Sesto San Giovanni, is run by Lucci's wife, according to official documents. However, in all practical senses of the word, it is Luca Lucci himself who runs it, even if he is technically only an employee. Although it is registered as a non-profit official ACSI (Association of Italian Sports Centers) club headquarters, in 2012, Lucci and the headquarters were reported to be involved in an operation in which three tons of hashish were seized in a drug raid involving a Calabrese mafia family and also a noted Milanese drug dealer, Francesco Massimiliano Cauchi

"I will always be with you" coreo from Milan-Liverpool... not sure if that is a threat or a promise

In June of 2018, both Luca Lucci and the head of Inter's stewards were amongst 22 people arrested for drug trafficking charges after 600 kilos of marijuana, hashish, and cocaine were seized. This was part of a case known as the "Mongolfiera" investigation that began in 2016. Lucci, also known as "il Toro" (the Bull) or "Belvaitalia" (Italian beast,) was able to negotiate a sentence of one year and six months in jail, but "The Clan 1899" was once again indicated as the logistical base for this deal. However, what really made headlines that year was in December of 2018, when the Curva Sud was celebrating their 50th anniversary, he was photographed with then Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. The latter, a self-proclaimed Milan fan, claimed not to have known of Lucci's arrest six months prior, but the photos implied that they knew each other quite well.

March of 2019 saw an attempted murder of Enzo Anghinelli, a drug trafficker, which opened up a new investigation of the criminal activities involving Lucci. Although in that investigation only four kilos of marijuana were seized, "The Clan 1899" was amongst €1 million of Lucci's assets seized by police in June of 2019. Prosecutors in this case against him deemed him "a person potentially capable of placing large loads of drugs among the stadium-goers thanks to his charismatic role as leader of the Curva Sud" and also his "collaboration with subjects of high criminal depth." His drug deals over the years have involved imports from Albania, Morocco, Spain, and South America.

That photo with the Deputy Prime Minister demonstrates that Lucci has friends in both high and low places

As a part of the seizure of assets in 2019, Lucci was banned from staying in the municipalities of Milano and Sesto San Giovanni for three years. He was not allowed out of his home between the hours of 10pm and 7am and was not allowed within three kilometers of stadiums where football was played. Law enforcement have had a difficult time catching Lucci with possession or other hard evidence, but he had another €1.2 million in assets seized last year in July of 2020

Lucci has had business connections with those involved in Calabrian and other mafia groups, as well as other convicted criminals and even a Juventus fan group that has been involved in criminal proceedings for extortion. Unlike his predecessor, Lombardi, who had the decency to bow out as head of the Curva Sud when he was arrested for drug dealing, Lucci has continued to utilize "The Clan 1899" as not only the Curva's headquarters, but also as a center of operations for drug and other criminal operations. Other members of the Curva Sud have also been involved at various levels of drug trafficking in relation to Lucci's activities.

Lucci and other members of the Curva Sud have directly threatened Donnarumma and others, often ahead of important matches

With continued efforts and collaborations between multiple anti-drug and other law enforcement groups, they were finally able to gather the evidence they needed via encrypted chats and make the arrests this month. Lucci was amongst eight arrested or charged in conjunction with drug trafficking again on December 17th of this year. Of the eight involved, Lucci and six others are active members of the Curva Sud. He is currently imprisoned and has refused to speak during interrogations about his part in these charges. The irony of him sitting in jail as 700 traveling members of the Curva Sud were at the Empoli match wearing Santa hats was not lost on me. 

That stark juxtaposition between "passionate fans" and criminals that is in actuality is a connection, not a juxtaposition, is not unique to Milan's Curva Sud. Many Italian ultrà groups have links to various criminal activities and organizations. Looking at the timeline, however, and the events that have unfurled, under Lucci's reign as head of the Curva, the motives and behaviors of Milan's most "passionate fans" have significantly deteriorated from a moral standpoint. Also ironically, between jail time, a 5 year DASPO, and a three year ban from even being within three kilometers of any stadium, the leader of the Curva Sud has rarely even been allowed to attend the matches of the team he claims to support. Labeled by law enforcement as a "dangerous subject," he has used the Curva Sud as a front for his many illicit activities over the years.

Bringing Christmas cheer while their leader sits in jail

Lucci took over in 2009. Maldini's farewell was in 2009. Since that time, they have threatened many of our own players, including locking both sets of players in the garage at San Siro, threatening our own players with sticks, threatening players like Donnarumma ahead of matches over mere rumors (that were never true,) notoriously boycotting matches gaining worldwide infamy, and more. A member of the Curva even stabbed a fellow fan at a Bologna match.

As much as we enjoy the beauty of the Curva Sud and the atmosphere they bring to games, it is important as fans to remember what lies beneath all of the passion. When they boycott, abuse our players, make statements against the club or management, they are more likely to be following their own interests. By buying into their claims, you, too, are more likely to be working against the club you claim to love than supporting what is in the best interests of Milan.

To ruin the farewell of a legend like that is also a crime

As you can see how quickly they change positions back and forth in the 12 years since Maldini played his last match and now, they absolutely do not have Milan's best interests at heart. With a criminal mastermind who is currently sitting in jail... again, as their leader, you may want to think twice about blindly supporting a group of people who Maldini very rightly labeled as mercenaries more than 15 years ago. Beneath the amazing coreo and chants and flares of the Rossoneri ultrà lies a very dark side of the Curva Sud.

This post inspired by the music of  NIN's "Down In It"

Beneath the Red and Black: The Dark Side of the Curva Sud Beneath the Red and Black: The Dark Side of the Curva Sud Reviewed by Elaine on 10:30 AM Rating: 5
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