The football stadium is one of the few really large constructions that turns its wrong side out. The oval bowl excludes the world, reserves its mysteries for initiates. The TV cannot violate it, cannot even begin to catch it. It’s a place of collective obsession, of exaltation. Even a grumpy misanthrope like myself can feel the lift of communal delirium. Even I am chanting, Haaaaylas, Haaaaylas, Haaaaylas, waving my plastic flag. It’s the first home game of the season. Verona face the daunting Udinese, already well advanced in the UEFA cup. Please don’t lose. A chant starts up. “Verona, Verona, segna per noi!” Verona score for us. It spreads around the curva. “Verona, Verona, vinci per noi!” Win for us. It’s a liturgy. “Hellas Verona, facci sognare!” Make us dream.

Tim Parks, “A Season with Verona”.

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