mercoledì 6 novembre 2013

My birthday surprise: Juventus!

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Here's James Spring's story. He and his mom Debra, came to Turin to watch Juventus-Genoa as James birthday present. 

I’m not really a party person so I wasn’t particularly interested in really celebrating my 18th birthday, so as far as I was concerned on Wednesday 23rd October it was just a nice family meal to celebrate. Little did I know that my Mum had arranged something very special indeed! We were to travel to Turin and watch the mighty Juventus take on Genoa! I didn’t know what to say, I could barely take it in. I had often thought about going to Italy to watch our Italian Brothers but never really looked into it.

I found out on Wednesday night, and on Friday morning we were making our way to Turin. There was a surreal moment just sitting in Gatwick airport when former Juventus player Edgar Davids strolled through the terminal, now of course player manager at Barnet. 
On the Saturday we first went for a look around the Juventus museum. This was really interesting. The whole story of Juventus is told in great detail and there’s so much to look at. There’s a bit at the end where you stand in this room and it’s like you are in the middle of the pitch, with over 40,000 fans chanting. That made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, but that was only a small taster of the atmosphere we were to experience the following day.
We then went on the stadium tour which was a brilliant experience in itself. We went through the hospitality area out onto the balcony where we got a fantastic view of the stadium. That view was good, but we were then taken downstairs through the press areas and out through the tunnel to the side of the pitch, and that was amazing. You don’t appreciate just how big the stadium is on the TV until you stand there almost in the technical area. The stands are so steep and impressive, and I can only imagine what it must be like to walk out onto the pitch as a player in front of a full house. Truly amazing.
We then got to go in the home team dressing room, which was pretty much the size of the whole downstairs of our house! I have been in my local team Weymouth’s dressing room before which is very small, cramped, and cluttered. But Juve’s was out of this world.
That night we sampled our first proper Italian pizza, and it was so good that when I ordered one the other night I was disappointed with it! Possibly the best meal ever.
I had seen many people walking around the city centre in Juventus tops over the weekend and it seemed like most people were already looking forward to Sunday’s match. At 2am on Sunday morning I woke up to the sound of young men singing Juventus songs, the pre-match build up starts early in Turin!

Later that morning we walked into the city centre again and there were Juventus shirts everywhere. We made our way to the stadium around 12 o clock, and even over two hours before kick off the atmosphere around the place was buzzing, and I couldn’t believe how many people were hanging around so early! Our friend Roberto Colombo had managed to get us the tickets and we were to meet him outside the Juventus museum. Roberto, Stefano and Tommaso greeted us with a shout of “YOU PIES”, which instantly brought a smile to our face, and also felt odd hearing that in a different country. The Italian Magpies turned up in their Notts County shirts to make us feel even more at home, as did Giorgio who had also gone to the effort of making us a little Italian Mag for the match, which was a brilliant gesture. 
We had some pictures together before making our way into our respective areas of the stadium for the big game.

We had some of the best seats in the house:

The atmosphere was already electric just when the players came out to warm up, and I was almost deafened by the whistling all around the stadium when the travelling Genoa supports started singing. The Juventus fans definitely drowned them out!
As kick off approached, the ground was almost full, and you could feel the passion of the fans when they shouted the names of the players before the game and began singing the club anthem Juve Storia Di Un Grande Amore – a brilliant song that we had stuck in our heads throughout this week!
The match itself was just brilliant. It was an honour and a privilege to watch some of the world’s best players such as Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Vidal, Tevez, and Asamoah. It was almost perfect football, and I learned why people often refer to football as “the beautiful game” – it really was fantastic to watch. No wonder Juventus have won the title for the last two seasons.
The bianconeri took the lead after half an hour when Vidal tucked home a penalty, and shortly afterwards Tevez made it 2-0 sending the home fans wild. By now the atmosphere was rocking, and I was actually surprised when the half time whistle blew, the half had flown by! It should have been 3-0 at the start of the second half but Genoa’s goalkeeper made an amazing double save to keep his side just about in the game.
Both sets of fans continued to sing throughout, it was the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. Even the Genoa fans kept singing even at 2-0, which really never happens in England. 
By the time we got back to our hotel that night I was still smiling from the experience, actually, I’m smiling just at the memory of it all a week later.

I can’t thank Roberto enough for getting us tickets, Andy Black for helping my Mum organise it all without me knowing and also for giving us so much advice on where to stay and how to get around. Also a massive thank-you to all of the Italian Magpies we met up with – you were really lovely people and made us feel very welcome, like part of the family. Grazie!
I look forward to meeting up with you again when you next come to the UK, and we will definitely come back out to Turin again some day!
 Notts County & Juventus -  Brothers for life