Interview with leader of Curva Nord Atalanta

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This text is translate of great interview that Claudio "Il Bocia" Galimberti  (leader of Curva Nord Atalanta) gave to Bergamo local TV station  in year 2009, after he got 5 years ban. Repression in Italy since then get even worst, you can read more about it here.




> Curva Nord is closed!? This news has been published in several daily newspapers in the country. What can you say about that?
We never published any official announcement in which we stated that the Curva Nord is going to be closed. In the past, we have published announcements, but the newspapers never dealt with that. At the meeting we held, it was decided that we will go back to our roots, and that supporting will be more spontaneous and left to individuals, but we never, at any moment thought of closing. It's proven that when it comes to a minimal incident with the police, the same people always get hurt, and those people are the ones that are leading our Curva.

> So, what you're saying is that Curva Nord is not closing?
There were 500 people at the meeting. It's possible that someone differently interpreted our decision and thought that we are going to stop going to Atalanta matches. We are not an ad.hoc organization so we'd just give up our stands. We have years and years of struggle for our rights behind us, we've managed to get through all kinds of problems, but from time to time they left us to solve them alone, and we were in good terms with everyone. During the last three years we were held responsible for every trifle in relation to Atalanta. We cannot go on like this, we are always in center of attention. It's not OK that the police harasses us because someone who wore Atalanta scarf did something stupid that can't really be connected with us.

> So, it's the question of different way of supporting. How much was this decision affected by the sanction against you?
The sanction affected a lot, because our main priority were always healthy ideals, friendship and atmosphere. Atalanta is firstly a one great family and we are here to help each other. When someone from you family is being harassed, you cannot react without emotions. What happened to me is a peak of a great repression. What's happening is that we go to Cagliari and we can't wave our flags, we have 110 tickets but we're not allowed to enter the stadium, we can't go to Genova, for the match against Sampdoria, because they think it's a high risk match. What high risk are they talking about when we are good friends with their supporters?! In Bergamo, they're acting as if we are the only problem in the city. Our flags  hold a major importance for us and we're hoping that we'll be able to carry them as free individuals. During the last few years we're losing hope, because we're getting caged as if we've done something horrible. Our basic rights are taken from us. Although we don't agree with many of the bans, we started respecting them. Those who are banned from the matches are going to get checked in, every Sunday at the police station, although they could take their kids to a picnic at that time. 

> How many times were you banned from entering the stadium and how did that affect you?
Hahaha! I couldn't tell you, but it happened more than once. I always payed and took consequences for my actions. My family was suffering because of that for ten years, but I was always ready to give everything to Atalanta. I respected authorities decisions and I never complained. But this ban is crossing every line.

> What can you say to those who see your decision as a political move. Many said that you are trying to put pressure on police forces, on the state and the publicity this way, because you are trying to prove how sad and peaceful the stadium seems without you?
Why "without us"? Wherever Atalanta is playing, we'll be there. Just like 2000 people went to Milano, we will go to Lecce, Catania etc. Today, people got used to the fact that everything is ready and organized to the smallest detail for them. This way, we want to go back to roots. To make it as it was in the past. It won't be enough to come in front of the bus on the day of the match, to pay and enjoy. Rooting won't be organized anymore but left to individuals. Ten or fifteen years that was normal.

> What about materials, fanzines...?
It's all a consequence of this decision...

> What is going to happen to Il Covo,  your place of gathering and one of the biggest place of gathering for supporters ?

Il Covo will always remain. If we don't go to it today, we'll find some other place, but we'll always gather and celebrate victories of our Atalanta. We'll hang out in the future. Il Covo was there in the past so we'd gather after the game and everyone would talk about their impressions and our biggest priority was to keep the good atmosphere and we would sing our songs. The movement we were creating during these years won't just disappear. We'll continue gathering in the streets, in parks, in Il Covo, but it will all be more spontaneous.

> La festa della Dea (Party of Goddess)? Will it continue existing?
We'll talk about that. We enjoy those things, to see parents bringing kids, to see players on the stage, and altogether is something that's indescribable. It's a part of us and we won't just give up that easily.

> Many people say that you are the ones that are force families from the stadiums.

The one who expirience the Curva, know the real order of things. Everyday you can find all kinds of stories in the newspapers. I'm coming here to tell you how I feel and to tell you about the real situation, and I don't care what the papers are saying. I repeat, I always took responsibility for my actions, but on the match against Milan (the day when G.Sandri was killed) I wasn't even on the match. All of my buddies were arrested that day, but only three guys broke that glass. I don't see why all of us have to suffer for that. After that incident my name was mentioned in all the media, but all of those who were close to me have suffered.

> About that 11th of November and that broken glass. After that you published the announcement in which you disapproved those and similar behaviors. Did anything change and is Curva Nord more mature two years after that incident.
That process of growing up began 15 years ago, directly because of that, because the problem existed even then. Repression, modern football, television, pay tv- all of those united us in fighting against that. Due to lack of organizational center that most teams have, Curva Nord had to accept a great responsibility in relation to that. Party of Goddess is also our product. It's not easy to gather players from '63 and '81 to show to younger generations what that love for club means. It all fell down to our shoulders and we accepted it, but no one mentions that. There are stories often in the papers about the trains full of supporters and there is invitation to condemn Ultras for some damages. Why am I being called for each visit by the Italian railways director who asks me: "Galimberti, do you want us to organize a train for Genova? 30 000 and it's done!" Why isn't anybody talking about that? We declined those offers several times, because we've already organized the buses... Why do always people talk bad about us, we always acted responsibly and in relation to that, Curva Nord have a certain level of maturity. 
Of course there is a risk, but why should the  Stand suffer because of few individuals. They will figure out themselves that for the benefit of Atalanta and our ambience, that they shouldn't come up with those things.
We hope that some day we will go back to our passionate rooting, organized, but who will take the responsibility with these kinds of penalties. There are guys who are willing to organize, to replace older ones, but who would be so stupid enough to take the seat that got so hot and to pay for every little thing? We were always here for everyone, because we were repeating for ourselves: "The Curva is the most important, The Curva is the most important..." We took responsibility for everything connected to Atalanta, but we cannot pay that big of a price.

> In relation to the club, in what terms are you with the management?
We would like to see management meet our requirements in certain things like Pozzo in Udineze does. We can't do everything alone. They're talking about Atalanta, but their only thinking about their own pockets. Only people with lot of money go to the stadium, tickets are too expensive. People need to wake up and to go to streets, because this crosses every line.

> How will you endure next 5 years without matches?
I alway paid for my actions, but I can't tolerate injustice. I can't pay for others anymore. Older buddies are telling me to stop always standing in front of others and to take others' responsibilities. Everyone says that, but what can I do... I'll survive this, I got used to those bans.

> Can we call you the leader of supporters?
Leaders of supporters never existed. There are people that are important referent points on one Curva and who have a lot of things going around them.


> Tell me one positive and one negative thing that you would erase from these ten and more years that you spent on the north?
There were numerous positive things, but one of the most beautiful was when there were 900 of us in Siena and when we already knew that we're falling to the Seria B. We rooted like we are running for Uefa Cup, it was unbelievable. Everyone envied us for that, because they felt the kind of connectedness and loyalty we have in relation to our colors. Also, the applause for Roma and Cassano score which pushed us into the league 2 was a very emotional moment, that's when the president Ruggeri should've realized what's hiding behind the name Atalanta. What is all of that that only we have.

> And what about the negative? Was it that broken glass on 11th of November?
Those things are a part of all of this, but there were much more positive than negative situations during these 15 years of organized supporting of club. I hope that club of friends and the organizational center will be open again, because that is what we've been missing the most. Someone who'd help all of this and who would take care particularly for families, children and elderly that come to the stadium. 

> But, Claudio, honestly speaking, are Ultras slowly disappearing from the stadiums?
Well, how can people go to stadium with the old kind of enthusiasm? Drums became weapons, when you carry a flag it's considered to be violence... when we were playing Chievo, when we wanted to carry a flag on two sticks with word: "Tu Chievo, io Chiave" I had to call 15 carabinieri, to go all around... it became almost impossible to continue in these conditions. At the beginning of the match, all of the stands were empty, while in front of the stadium there were people standing in lines to get the tickets. Your buddy's sick, and you couldn't use his season ticket...all of a sudden, everything became banned and everyone was suspicious, whatever they were doing. 

> Some say that families don't go to stadium anymore, and others say that the supporter movement is slowly vanishing. What is truth?
The truth is that you need less time to go to the bank and open up an account then to buy a ticket for the stadium. Of course, people will go to the cinema rather than to a match, and let them ask themselves why are our stadiums half-empty...


> When people talk about Ultras mentality, what's it really about?
It's the mentality of people that function as some kind of a vehicle that drives one group of people, and it's spread throughout the entire stands, and then to the entire stadium and it raises euphoria in the entire city so that all of us would gather about something common. It's the same in every town. We, Ultras, are that vehicle that's here because of the Atalanta and it is good that we're here, because without us, it would be as if it's a theater. It comes from the heart. No one tells you the way it should be, it is born inside of you when you're a kid  and you go forward because of the love towards's passion!

> There is love for Atalanta, but there is also hatred for other teams...
It's like that in Italy. We didn't come up with loyalty for your hometown. Hatred is rising slowly and with years it grows bigger and bigger.

> Hatred is manifested only verbally or...?

There are also some serious fights sometimes. It's inevitable... I'm here talking about the organization of my own Curva, but we're respected in entire Italy, because we always manifested passionate loyalty for our teams, and if it was needed, we shown it that way too.

> I'm interested in one more thing. When you were sentenced, did you get messages of solidarity from supporters of rival teams?
Yeah, yeah, sure, it's always happening, and it comes from people connected to Atalanta. I appreciate all of that a lot.

> Did you get support from Brescia fans?
4 years ago they dedicated a slogan to me ": "Nemico leale, Boci non mollare!" (Boci resist it, our loyal enemy!) It was for similar kind of punishment. Those are all things that are really dear to me, and they will remain in my memory, because they mean that all of that I did was worthwhile. I've also made mistakes, I'm not saying I haven't, but he who's without sin, let him throw the first stone.

> Were you doing all of that because some kind of visibility in this entire mechanism? Some said you're a leader of people...
It's a consequence of all of the things I did. That's the way I am, but I have terrific guys with me, the best friends with which I defended our colors throughout the entire Italy, and we'd like to do that throughout the entire Europe... Atalanta has a history of football which you learned from your parents, and all of the Atalanta supporters deserve something better.

> That means you want visibility for the positive things that are related to supporting.
We only want the loyalty to exist, among reporters and all of the critics. We always went to courts, we were always here when we were invited and we took the responsibility for  our own actions...always! There are people who are writing about us, who are condemning us, but they are hiding and cannot say what they think of us to our face. We are only speaking from our hearts, we don't have some kind of secret agendas, we are not making even one Euro, because we were never interested in that. The one who makes the mess, knows he's going to pay for it. There were 500 guys at the meeting on Tuesday, and no one wanted for us to close, but also, no one can take the responsibility for all of this anymore. The stands are the most important, but who really owns them now?

Original video interview:

Atalanta Ultras photos: CLICK HERE