An Open Letter To Juventus FC

Over the weekend, whilst many of us were still coming down from the high of Thursday night in Turin, a thought struck me.

It occurred to me that many Juventus fans had reached out to us to declare the gratitude for Notts County’s role in their club, and for the events of Thursday – yet what lengths had we gone to to reciprocate?

This was something I felt needed rectifying, so I took the opportunity to reach out to Juve’s Calcio GP newspaper. I wrote this letter for their club, it’s supporters and it’s officials for them to understand just how we felt about being invited to take part in such a showpiece occasion:

(Italian translation available here)

When the Juventus versus Notts County fixture was announced, the Notts supporters as a collective unit were amazed.

We are obviously well aware of the role we played in your club’s history, it’s a fact that we’re very proud of actually. But it never really sank in how much our small club meant to Juventus. Your fans descended on our Facebook page and message boards and spoke of us with incredible affection and sincerity. We never tired of reading your messages, and we began to dream that we could come to Italy and live up to your expectations of us.

Our supporters arrived in Turin throughout the week, before Thursday stories were already coming through of the welcomes you had been giving us. The excitement built right up until Thursday when I arrived myself with a number of friends. We checked into our hotel, and made our way to your stadium as quickly as we possibly could.

When it came into view, it gave us goosebumps – such a magnificent arena for you to play football in. We instantly felt inadequate, not worthy of such an occasion. We made our way to the merchandise stalls outside, and were amazed as we were asked to pose for photographs with many of you.

Here in England, people look down at our club, it’s supporters, and it’s players. We’re just not used to such welcomes! The friendly greetings both outside and inside the stadium are something we’ll never forget!

From our seats in block 231 we watched the opening ceremonies. Our jaws were on the floor literally the entire time! We’ve only ever seen such events from our televisions – seeing one like that was fantastic. The array of club legends paraded was something truly special, it only confirmed our suspicions that we weren’t worthy of such an event.

When the dust settled and we saw our players make their way onto the field we had come to accept the fact that we wouldn’t mind if we lost by four or fives goals. If felt as if you, our hosts were all that mattered to us on this night and we wanted you to enjoy the whole night. You deserved it.

What happened on the field for us was astounding though. We watched a very enjoyable game of football. There are no words for the pride we felt as both sides played their part in an intriguing match. We sang our Wheelbarrow Song and were applauded by those around us. We just weren’t used to this!

We felt great happiness when Luca Toni was the man to score the first goal at your arena, we smiled and shared handshakes with your supporters around us. The moment just felt right.

The final chapter of the game is something we can never be allowed to forget. When Lee Hughes scored in front of your south stand, we were jubilant, this was a surreal moment that we didn’t think we’d get to experience. What happened next was just incredible – as those behind the goal rose to their feet to applaud our team. Moments like this so rarely happen in football – and certainly never for our little team. I stood open-mouthed at the sight. It’s something that in years to come I will share with my children and grand-children.

Upon the final whistle we were congratulated by the Juve fans around us. It felt like we’d been making friends all night but we were happy for this to continue!

I have sent a photo with this letter of Lewis Jackson, the youngest person in our party. He is pictured with a young Juventus fan he met after the final whistle. These are part of the next generation of Notts County and Juventus fans who must never be allowed to forget the truly historic occasion that they were witness to. We feel humbled that you think so much of our club, in the future we will be sure to let our future generations know of that night!

Two clubs, one soul, one unforgettable evening.

We came home with our scarves and flags, and waved them with immense pride today when we won 2-1 against Walsall at our Meadow Lane. The whole Kop Stand (our version of your south stand) sang “It’s Just Like Watching Juve” louder than we ever have before. We can’t make as much noise as your fans do, but we’ll keep trying!

Thank you to the supporters, players and officials of Juventus FC. You took us in like family and gave us the most incredible experience of our lives. We are forever in your debt! You are a fantastic club, and we cannot wait for the day we can share our stadium with you!

FORZA JUVE!!

The letter was well received, and was printed in Monday, September 12th’s edition of Calcio GP. But the very next day, it was posted on their website and spread like wildfire. Starting with comments being posted on the Notts County Facebook page.

Within a matter of hours the article had picked up over 1,100 Facebook “likes”, and a thread on the Vecchiasignor forum spread to 14 pages of appreciation. Meanwhile on Twitter, I was inundated with messages from Juventus fans from Italy, and as far afield as Japan and Indonesia.

This post is merely my way of saying thank you to all those who read the letter and appreciated the effort that had gone into it! Should our plans to visit Turin again this season come to fruition, i’ll be sure to come and thank you all in person!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. DamianoBP says:

    Stuart,
    tears falls from my eyes while reading your letter, quite strange for a 44-years-old, don’t you think? Passion join us…Thank you for finding the time to write such a letter, you are and forever will be welcome in Italy.
    Hugs
    Alberto

  2. radiojuveweb says:

    My name is Annemarie and I am one of the representatives of the fans of Juventus. I wanted to publish our letter of reply, to your beautiful letter. Our most important web spaces, the radioweb of fans, clubs, associations and fans want to thank you for your participation in this event very important to us. For your pleasant presence and for your beautiful words with us. The letter that we sent was written by a journalist from a major Italian television and endorsed by most of Juventus fans. I leave to the letter .. and send a greeting to all the supporters of Notts. I hope there will be another chance to meet you.
    Annamaria
    RadioJuve web
    ***
    17/09/2011 PUBBLIC LETTER TO NOTTS FANS

    Brothers of jersey from Notts County,
    having you with us at the opening of our new home was a romantic and historic moment at the same time.
    The new stadium celebrates our history and launches Juventus in a European dimension from an economic and sports point of view .
    In a world that no longer provides barriers, where the free flow of ideas at the speed of light thanks to the web, the thought that our friendly would have had an affectionate and ancient taste reminding to the youngsters the true origin of the Black and White jersey has galvanized our memory.

    Thursday September 8, 2011 is a date that will remain imprinted in the minds, eyes and hearts of Juventus fans.

    Never in Italy we had seen a show like this … never in Italy a football club was able to overcome the bureaucracy of our system and to build his house.
    Never imagined thst we would be able to play football at home, without barriers, with all amenities and in the best condition to return to fill a stadium of young people and families.

    Our dream has come true and you have witnessed that.

    Thursday, September 8th is a historic date, a date that changes the Italian football, a date that is changing and changes the way our fans will live matches .

    At the same stadium, side by side with the opposition fans, the English.
    Fans who have given a sense of peace to the conscience, who moved to tears remembering our victims, who have rejoiced at the historic goal of their striker, who exchanged scarves, who took photos memories of our and your children.
    Fans who are proud to sing at their goals : “It’s like watching Juve”.

    Notts County fans, it was a magical and unforgettable night, also thanks to you: when sport breaks down barriers and allows to overcome the differences and grievances.
    With this spirit, our doors have been and will always remain open for people like you who knows the value of the word “supporter”.

    We were 41,000, united in the festivity, united by sport.
    When a team meets her history takes it under her arm and takes it home.
    Good luck and good football, Juventus friends.

    by:Claudio Zuliani -Mediaset Premium commentator – Juventus Football Club 1897 games.
    adapted by: Mike Prise from zizoufans.com

    Signed: Claudiozuliani.com, RadioJuveweb.com, uccellinodidelpiero.com, juvemania.it, tifosibianconeri.com, vecchiasignora.com, giulemanidallajuve.com, clubs and juventus fans.

    LETTERA APERTA AI TIFOSI DEL NOTTS – ITALIANO

    Fratelli di maglia del Notts County,
    avervi con noi all’inaugurazione della nostra nuova casa è stato un momento romantico e storico al tempo stesso.
    Il nuovo stadio celebra la nostra storia e lancia la Juve in una dimensione europea dal punto di vista economico e sportivo.
    In un mondo che non prevede più barriere ,dove la libera circolazione delle idee viaggia alla velocità della luce grazie al web,il pensiero che la nostra amichevole avrebbe avuto un sapore affettivo ed antico ricordando ai più giovani la vera origine delle maglie bianconere ha galvanizzato la nostra memoria.

    Giovedi 8 settembre 2011 è una data che rimarrà impressa nelle menti,negli occhi e nei cuori dei tifosi bianconeri.

    Mai in Italia si era assistito ad uno spettacolo così…mai in Italia una società di calcio era riuscita a vincere la burocrazia del nostro sistema per costruire la sua casa.
    Mai avremmo immaginato di poter giocare a pallone a casa nostra,senza barriere,con tutti i comfort e nella migliore condizione per tornare a riempire uno stadio di giovani e famiglie.

    Il nostro sogno è divenuto realtà e voi ne siete stati testimoni.

    Giovedi 8 settembre è una data storica, una data che cambia il calcio italiano, una data che cambia e cambierà il modo di vivere le partite da parte dei nostri tifosi.

    Nello stesso stadio, gomito a gomito con i tifosi avversari, inglesi.
    Tifosi che hanno dato un senso di pace alle coscienze, che hanno pianto commossi al ricordo delle nostre vittime, che hanno gioito al gol storico del loro centravanti, che hanno scambiato le sciarpe, che hanno fatto fotografie ricordo tra i nostri e i vostri bambini.
    Tifosi che sono orgogliosi ai loro goals di cantare :“ è come guardare la Juve”.

    Tifosi del Notts County, è stata una notte magica e indimenticabile, anche grazie a voi: quando lo sport abbatte le barriere e permette di superare le diversità ed i rancori.
    Con questo spirito le nostre porte di casa sono state e resteranno sempre aperte per la gente come voi che conosce il valore della parola “supporter”.

    Eravamo in 41.000, uniti nella festa, uniti dallo sport.
    Quando una squadra incontra la sua storia la prende sotto braccio e se la porta a casa.
    Buona fortuna e buon calcio, amici bianconeri.

    Claudio Zuliani-telecronista Mediaset premium -partite Juventus football club 1897.
    Signed: claudiozuliani.com, RadioJuveweb.com, uccellinodidelpiero.com, juvemania.it, tifosibianconeri.com, vecchiasignora.com, giulemanidallajuve.com, clubs and juventus fans.

Leave a Reply