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Are you a true fan if ...: the world of Cagliari in 1001 stories

Gabriele Lippi's book with anecdotes, curiosities, names and events of the protagonists of the rossoblù club
gabriele lippi (foto augusto bizzi concessa)
Gabriele Lippi (foto Augusto Bizzi, concessa)

"1001 stories and curiosities about the great Cagliari that you should know": not a thousand, not 999. Why 1001? "In reality the book is part of a series of the Newton Compton publishing house with a formula that allows you to tell the story of a football team even a little at a time, not necessarily in chronological order, but perhaps choosing to stop and then resume ". This is how Gabriele Lippi, author of the volume due out tomorrow in all bookstores for Newton Compton, explains it.

Cagliaritano, born in 1984, editor of SkyTg24, after graduating in Political Science and International Relations he followed the rossoblùs for work. But, he explains, "I had nothing but the good fortune to indulge this great passion", handed down to him by his father. "A Cagliari supporter who sympathized with Inter, more and more lukewarm in this last role as the years went by, passed on his love for the rossoblù to me and I in turn strengthened him in him. For eight years, since I have lived in Milan, the match is almost a ritual: we comment together even from a distance. There is the first phone call, the one during the interval, the one at the end. And in between, many messages ".

The first direct contact with Cagliari was with him: "He was 18 when we won the Scudetto, I was 9 when the Uefa Cup arrived".

In the upcoming volume, as the title promises, many small pearls on the Sardinian club: the protagonists (with names and nicknames), the institutional historical events and some background, anecdotes also known but revised in the light of the events, and others unknown to most. A historical journey that starts from birth, on the initiative of a Catania doctor, and then arrives at the first games: from the legend of Gigi Riva passing through Zola, Conti and others.

Let's start with the first documented meeting, that of April 27, 1902 which, ended up in L'Unione Sarda, had the consequence of arousing great curiosity.

"I reconstructed the story through a series of books and articles that have L'Union as their source, which had told about that meeting and then played a central role in the birth of football in Cagliari. How can we forget another match? , that of 1918, in which Alberto Figari, known as 'Cocchino', had made his debut. The announcement also appeared on L'Union to call for membership for the team. In short, it is the newspaper that had a fundamental task ".

Who are the names most loved by the fans, the ones that will remain forever in the heart?

"The first is him, the great Gigi Riva, of course. Then Manlio Scopigno, Nenè, Daniele Conti, Gigi Piras, Enzo Francescoli, just to name a few. Personally, however, David Suazo. He was the Gigi Riva of my generation, the bomber that marked the boys of my age ".

A less esteemed one?

"My big regret is Ibarbo, a player with enormous potential who was not able to realize".

Only men or even some women in this world?

"Women are in fact few. Women's football has a troubled history in the world and in Italy, even if Cagliari had established a 'pink' section. While, not on the pitch, a secondary character I wanted to mention in the book is Teresina Loy Donà, godmother of the first match on the pitch in Viale Trieste. And then, on a personal level, I went to the first matches with a woman, Renata. She was a family friend, daughter of a patient of my father, who is a doctor, very much The first time he took me to see Cagliari-Genoa, we won one to zero in the final on a free kick from Pusceddu. In short, from then on it became our Sunday habit ".

The story that fascinated her most.

"So many, I also found some amusing. One I did not know is that of the crow perched on the dressing room. It was 1920 and Cagliari was experiencing a moment of crisis. The coach, the lawyer Mereu, shot her, convinced that it was the one. crow to carry badly. I'm not superstitious but the chronicles report that with the death of the bird the team returned to win. And then that of Erminio Bercarich, the one I nicknamed the 'piecework bomber' because he took a cash prize when he scored more of a goal in a match. When he went on the net the second time he went directly to the president, grabbed the wad of banknotes and slipped it into his shorts. "

Which one should everyone read?

"Those of Cagliari of the Scudetto, which must be known to understand how it was possible to reach that goal, or that of when the team went to the USA in the summer of 1967. A pioneering experience because the United States did not have an organization . Cagliari played a fundamental role in the birth of football in America ".

Are Sardinians all crazy about football?

"Not all of them but many do and maybe they are more when they leave Sardinia. This is testified by the passion that Cagliari has always met when traveling between emigrants in northern Italy but also in northern Europe. I realize that for me it is the same thing , perhaps a way to stay connected to my city, which I miss, almost a way to travel with the mind ".

Why is Cagliari a team that gathers the support of a whole region?

"Sardinia have not had other clubs that have passed Serie C, and Cagliari is also the only one who has also played in B. It is inevitable that in an island the cheering is concentrated on this team, with some exceptions in Sassari, obviously, see Torres. But I know for sure that there are Sassari who are not sorry when Cagliari win. "

Is there a historical "opponent"?

"The one most felt by the fans is Napoli, a rivalry that begins with Fonseca's passage to the Neapolitan team and subsequently solidifies. And then Juventus, because all are rivals of the bianconeri even if a Juventus player will never tell. The history of Cagliari is full of fundamental and memorable matches with Juve. And finally Roma, a rivalry that does not exist from the point of view of the fans but between the end of the 90s and 2010 stimulated the best of Cagliari, some of the greatest matches are of at that time, especially with Daniele Conti who evidently had a few pebbles to take off his shoes ".

Truth test: are you a true rossoblù fan if ...

"... If you know who Comunardo Niccolai was".

And who was he?

"Champion of Italy, historic stopper of Cagliari in the Scudetto. He was a very strong player but had, let's say, the 'habit' of the goal, indeed he was the greatest specialist of the goal. His goals were so beautiful that they tore in any case, laughter and applause. I want to mention one episode in particular, during a decisive match against Juve which Cagliari came with an advantage to maintain. At 0-0 Niccolai scored from an own header, and Scopigno, who was in grandstand because he was banned for months, he had commented with a 'nice goal!' Or in Bologna: Niccolai had discarded Albertosi and to send the ball to the corner he had dribbled his own goalkeeper. A Bologna manager asked him: 'How is Comunardo going ? '. And he:' He goes forward '. And the manager:' No, I think he is pulling back '".

Is football still the same or has it changed and will it change?

"It is an aspect of the world, which changes in the same way. For better or for worse it depends on tastes, I'm not nostalgic, I find there are many interesting news".

How do you think the Cagliari of now?

"In a word: beautiful. He is also building up quickly and plays good football when he has the ball, he struggles more in the defensive phase but it is part of his beauty, he competes openly and is not bored. After the first games, in which there have been some slips, it's a pleasure to watch him, then when we lose like with Bologna last Saturday it obviously gnaws at me. "

Its fictional.

"Albertosi, right-back Martiradonna, defenders Niccolai and Aldo Firicano, with mention of Davide Astori; on the left Pusceddu; in midfield O'Neill in the direction, Nainggolan and Nenè; for the attack Riva left wing, Domenghini right wing, and I add the 'false 9' with Francescoli ".

The fantasy coach?

"Manlio Scopigno, I have no doubts".

There is also room in the book for the problems related to the coronavirus pandemic. Is the decision to continue playing right?

"Football is a very important industry for the country and probably among all the various industries that have had to stop it is the one that is easier to control with tampons, tracing and fiduciary isolations. We are talking about athletes in strength, they are not subject to risk at least theoretically, so much so that most of those found positive are asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic cases. It is clear that the question is complex, but if the rest of the club could take back, football could too. For example in the case of Genoa, where they there is a big outbreak, everything has been managed correctly. In short, it can be done. We cannot think of not playing for a year, we would kill football ".

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