The 6th of January in 2005 was a day that came to decide the future of the oldest, biggest and most popular supporterclub among Juventus fans. After the game between Parma and Juventus at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, the leaders of Fighters decided to storm on the pitch to start a fight with the Parma supporters. The result was disastrous. 19 supporters were arrested by the police, half of them were influential leaders among Fighters. The result was that they were banned from all stadiums for three years. The consequence of this was that the supportergroup Fighters was left without leaders. In the following three home matches against Livorno, Brescia and Sampdoria the group and all of the stand named La Curva Scirea or Curva Sud, the home fans were almost ridiculised by the away supporters. After much criticism towards Fighters in the last two seasons, the group could no longer continue without it's influential leaders.
Here are some dramatic pictures from the fighting on the pitch in Parma.
Bergamo January 2005: The Juventus supporters protested against the arrests of the Fighters leaders.
The rumours that something shocking would happen started on the 6th of February, but most people didn't believe that Fighters would get dissolved. The two main leaders of the group, two brothers, were both banned from all stadiums and couldn't do more for Fighters. Instead on the 13th of February, on the day of the home match against Udinese, La Curva Scirea was totally changed. Fighters were officially dissolved and their banners were kicked out of the stadium. All banners of the approximately 30 different Fighters sections were also removed, leaving the stands incredibly grey. The heir to the throne among the Juventus supporters, were the historical supportergroup Drughi who hadn't existed since 1996.
The Drughi group hanging up their banners and preparing their return in February 2005.
The historic banner of Drughi was again displayed in the centre of the second thier in La Curva Scirea. This is the place were the leaders of the stand hang their banner. Also displayed were the banners Arditi(a subgroup of hardcore Fighters members), Milano(a new banner of the historic group Viking) and the banners of various Drughi sections(among them Drughi San Marco). The Arditi group was positionized on the side, but took control of the speakers and the cheering. It was still too soon for the Drughi leaders to take total command. Drughi needed time to get organized. But the goup displayed a gigantic banner when the teams entered the pitch. The banner said: "Tutto ciò che torna in realtà non è mai finito...Noi siamo come la nostra fede...Immortale". This means: "Everything that returns is really never over...We are like our believes...Immortal".
This is the banner Drughi displayed at their return in February 2005.
Juventus supporters had started protesting against the behaviour of the supportergroup Fighters in the 2003-2004 season. Juventus supporters and many members of the group were angry with the leaders for various reasons. Fighters were criticized for collaborating too much with Juventus Football Club. They were therefore blamed for not beeing independent from the club, as is the tradition with most of the Ultras groups in the world. The fans were also very angry because there was too much politics beeing sung, shown and discussed at the Juventus games.
This is what La Curva Scirea looked like in the 2004-2005 season before Fighters were dissolved.
In the game against Inter in the 2003-2004 season some Fighters members sung Fascist anthems and showed political banners. Meanwhile the majority of the fans thinked that only Juventus counted and that some of the groups "Right minded fascist" individuals could leave their ideas at home. Fighters were also blamed for doing a poor job at the stadiums both in the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 season. The trigger for the protest against Fighters was the game between Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in the 2003-2004 season. Leading members of Fighters sold overprized tickets to the Juventus fans, and many fans which had been promised tickets were left out of the stadium. Some of the leading members of Fighters were often seen selling tickets in the black market, and were more preoccupied earning money for themselves than helping other Juventus fans.
Tifo shows like this got rarer and rarer in the last years of Fighters.
People also started criticising the Fighters logo which was composed of a tricolore flame, a helmet and an english key. In the beginning, the year 1977, these items were symbols of the political left, but the right minded leaders in the last years didn't seem to care about this. Many also found it strange that Fighters would have an English name and an English item in the logo after what happened at the Heysel stadium in 1985. The group was also criticised for almost never displaying great tifo shows in the stands. These tifo shows got rarer and rarer, and sometimes were full of spelling errors. For example AUGUSTA TAOURINORUM instead of TAURINORUM or ALE' BIANCA E NEIRA instead of A L'E' BIANCA E NEIRA. Many supporters were also shocked by the fact that in the last years the away supporters could walk around the entire Delle Alpi stadium with rival scarfs, without the Fighters doing anything about it. This is something that could almost only be done in Turin.
One of the great errors that Fighters did was that they banned almost all other groups from la Curva Scirea when they took charge in 1996. Many mean that Fighters ran a kind of dictatorship as they had total controll and eliminated all their rivals. They wanted everyone to be a part of Fighters directly or form a Fighters section. This made several historic groups and many important ultras dissapear from the stadium. Groups like Drughi, Area Bianconera, Vecchia Guardia and Vecchio stile were forced to dissolve. Most supporters now hope that the new leaders Drughi won't make the same mistake, and that they will let other groups in the stands with them.
The banner of Arditi now hangs to the left of the Drughi banner.
It seems like Drughi will allow other groups to return, and there's already rumours that great groups like Irriducibili Vallette and Area Bianconera will return. Every group has it's own identity and therefore it is important with many different groups, this will probably bring back many people to the stadium. Drughi now have an extremely difficult task to reunite all angry Juventus supporters and get them all united as they try to form a great supportergroup. A group worthy of a great team like Juventus and who can give the team the support they deserve. The problem is that hundreds or maybe thousands of fans want their beloved group Fighters to return.
These are the official statements that Fighters and Drughi distributed to the fans in La Curva Scirea.
Many has wondered what the banner "Ciao Dino", which has been displayed many years at
the Stadio Delle Alpi, meant. Dino was a former higly respected ultra who was arrested in 1989 for armed robbery and murder. The banner was a sign of respect and Dino was released in 2005 and will take charge of the supportergroup Drughi. It was a strange coincidence that the former great leader Dino was released from prison almost at the same time as the new leaders of Fighters were banned from all stadiums. Was the group Fighters dissolved because Dino returned or because their leaders were arrested? What would have happened if the current leaders of Fighters hadn't been banned? Would Dino with his group Drughi still have taken control of La Curva Scirea? Maybe we will never know the truth.
The Roma supportergroup Fedayn saluted the return of Dino with a banner in February 2005.
The fans of many other great Italian teams have had the same supportergroups for decades, while the Juventus fans have made several changes and had little stability. An explanation of this fact is that the Juventus supporters come from several different cities and only socialize during the games. While the other teams normally have most fans coming from the home city.
Drughi San Marco is another historic group that has returned.
After the Fighters were dissolved many of their members continued in the group Arditi Amici Di Nessuno. The name means "Veterans of war and friends with nobody". After a while Drughi forced them to remove the banner Amici di Nessuno because people could think that they hated Drughi as well. So now they are only called Arditi. Drughi and Arditi have split the second level of La Curva Scirea between them, with Arditi positioned to the left of Drughi. Viking are present in the home matches, under the banner MILANO. This is because the Juventus directors don't allow Viking to display their banner in the home matches. Therefore they only have the Viking banner in away matches. Viking are also positioned on the second level of La Curva Scirea. Nucleo and Bruxelles Bianconera have moved to the third level of La Curva Scirea.
It was no easy start for Drughi and many think that the Fighters did a better job than Drughi. The group hasn't still found a good speaker to start the songs in the stands. And the speaker is often different from game to game. Some times the speaker is from Arditi or Viking as well. The sound system and microphones in La Curva Scirea, who are installed so that everyone can follow the speaker, have malfunctioned in almost every game. This has made it difficult for the stands to follow the songs. But Drughi have also made a name for themselves after they started a riot in Florence and after the riot against the Police in occassion of Juventus-Liverpool. To start a riot makes groups popular in the ultras world and is a sign of strength and courage. Drughi have also managed to make some spectacular tifo shows. While some of the Juventus supporters have reacted against the fact that many of the Drughi members are very young and inexperienced.
Drughi have protested against all the laws that the government impone on Italian fans. The banner says: MORE LAWS, LESS SPECTATORS.
The banner says: ...THE HEART MAKES US CONTINUE, NO LAWS CAN CHANGE US.
Fighters member almost killed by Drughi members
In April 2005 a Juventus supporter was attacked and stabbed by three other Juventus supporters. The fight started at the Delle Alpi stadium. During the game against Inter a former "Fighters" member and a group of "Drughi" members had a serious argument. Three members from "Drughi" then attacked the former "Fighters" member the day after, hitting him and stabbing him. The 24-year-old also suffered a broken nose, but managed to escape to the nearest hospital were he was recovered. The fan had to undergo surgery but is now fine. The police in Turin quickly managed to arrest the three "Drughi" members aged between 36 and 42 years. All three have previously been arrested for several different offences. The three "Drughi" members could face a long prison sentence for this brutal attack. The tension in La Curva Scirea stand at the Delle Alpi stadium is due to the fact that "Drughi" have taken over the leadership" from "Fighters". Fighters have been forced to change their name to "Arditi" and to move away from the centre of the stand. There have been several arguments in the stadium since this happened. This episode was really embarassing for the Juventus supporters.
Summer 2006: Open war between the Juventus Ultras
The war between the Juventus ultras continues. It's currently chaos among the various Juventus ultras groups. After the entire Juventus board was changed, the ultras groups have started a bloody battle for power. In Italy it has always been the club that decides which group it wants to help and give advantages. And the battle stands over lots of money, power and reputation. And for 18 months Drughi had become the new leaders among the Juventus groups after Fighters were dissolved. During the Juventus Pride march in July one could already see that everything wasn't good. The ultras group Viking from Milano refused to participate since the march was lead by Drughi. Ahead of the first Juventus friendly of the season a real battle broke loose. Juventus and Alessandria hadn't even entered the pitch when the five biggest Juventus ultras groups met for a big battle outside the stadium.
Viking, Tradizione(former Fighters), Drughi, Irriducibili Vallette and Arditi fought each other. It all resulted in two fans getting stabbed and 50 arrests.
One of the two fans who got stabbed is one of the most known ultras in Italy. His name is Gerardo Mocciola, called Dino, born in Turin and leader of Drughi. Dino is a legend not only among Juventus fans, but is also highly respected by other supportergroups in Italy. Dino was stabbed in Alessandria and will take a month to recover. But this stabbing can cause enormous trouble for the Juventus fans. The stabbing of Dino will get revenged and the war among the Juventus ultras will continue. Dino was the man behind the comeback of Drughi. After he spent 20 years in jail, Dino was the architecht of the groups rebirth.
After the entire Juventus board changed, new and old groups came forward, and Drughi and Dino are under attack from other Juventus groups who want to take command. The two Turin born brothers who were in charge of Fighters have now started a new ultras group called Tradizione. And they willl do anything to get the power back. But the war isn't only between Drugi, Arditi and Tradizione. Milano based group Viking have never liked Drughi and also they now battle for power. In addition to this the group that previously controlled La Curva Nord, Irriducibili Vallette, have made a comeback after the man that banned them from the stadium is no longer a Juventus director. So it's still all in the blue who will command the Juventus fans in Serie B. We will probably not know before the first home match at the Stadio Olimpico.
La Curva Nord at the new Stadio Olimpico.
History of Fighters
Black and White Fighters Gruppo Storico 1977 was the oldest, biggest and most popular supporterclub among Juventus fans. It all started a long time ago. The Ultras club was founded in 1977, among the supporters of the Curva Filadelfia in the leggendary Stadio Comunale. One of the key men behind the foundation was a man called Beppe Rossi, that's why we can see his name on a banner in the Stadio Delle Alpi. Beppe Rossi is still a hero among the Juventus fans. He was considered to be a real ultras. Always giving everything for his team and his group. The new Ultras group called themselves "Fighters" and it was the start of ten years of glory in Turin and stadiums around the world. Especially spectacular was the “war” between Juve and Torino fans, every derby was a race against time to decorate the stadium with flags and banners.
It was other times, fights against rival fans were daily matters especially against "I Granata", the Torino fans.
In 1987 the group decided to split after a horrible away match in Firenze against the historical enemy Fiorentina. That day everything went wrong: fights, arrests, accusations, and severe problems with the law.
After many discussions the group found themselves forced to split and some members of the old "Fighters" founded a new supportergroup called “Arancia Meccanica” which means Clockwork Orange in Italian. The name was taken from the leggendary Stanley Kubrick movie. There soon were other problems, because the name was found inappropriate and violent since it was referring to the movie, and the group had to change name another time. The fans managed to fool the Turin politicians changing name to Drughi. Drughi was the name of the gang that the main charachter of the movie Alex was part of, and the Turin politicians discovered this too late! Drughi became the most important supportergroup, and had 10 000 members between 1988 and 1996.
This time they called themselves “Drughi” and this group lasted for many years. In 1993 about hundred fans from La Curva Scirea,who thought the cheering was bad and only thought of one historic name “Fighters”, decided to restart the leggendary group in the new Stadio Delle Alpi. La Curva Scirea was at that time composed by many groups. The biggest one was “Drughi”, but there were other groups as well as “La Vecchia Guardia”, “Area Bianconera” and “Drughi kaos”. After many arguments with the leading group “Drughi”, who wouldn’t have the banner “Fighters” in the middle of La Curva Scirea, “Fighters decided to move their banner on “Drughi”’s right side, moving “La Vecchia Guardia” on “Drughi”’s left side.
The first years there was a decent increase in number of members, before the subscriptions and the interest of joining the club took off following the good results of Juventus in the 1996/97 season. In 1997 right after Juvetus lifted the Champions League trophy in Rome, "Fighters", "Drughi" and other minor groups decided after many discussions to unite the groups in one big supporterclub. The new name which satisfied all the groups was “Black and White Fighters Gruppo Storico 1977”. All this exactly 20 years after the birth of “Fighters”. This banner decorated La Curva Scirea in the Delle Alpi stadium until February 2005.
"Fighters" were divided into different sections according majorly on where they were from. Normally most of their members were from Turin. Every section had their own banner, but always with the "Fighters" logo on it. The logo was composed of a tricolore flame, a helmet and an english key. "Fighters" decided to always be present home and away at every Juventus game. A few years ago they even went to see the feared and postponed away match against Galatasaray. Due to the hate and rage against italians following the arrest of Ocalan, the Italian government and the club didn't allow Juve fans to take the trip to Istanbul. The Juventus team was guarded by 20.000 police and military men, but a group of Ultras from "Fighters" travelled anyway and went to see the match. Fortunately and surprisingly they were treated very well and didn't even have to pay for the tickets!
"Fighters" mostly had a good relationships with the club, and especially with the players who often came to visit them in their hang out place in Turin, "Caffè Black and White". The 9th of january 1999 the group gave Antonio Conte a special present which he was particulary emotioned by. The evidence of him beeing the captain. Written on it was "Senza di te non andremo lontano, Antonio Conte il nostro capitano". In the middle there was the "Fighters" logo and Conte used it every match since then. The group wasn't particulary happy about the Stadio Delle Alpi, and their only friendships with rival fans were with the Den Haag fans. Fighters had a good relationship with the Den Haag fans for many years. They often went to see each other matches to support their friends. Previously they also had a special and good relationship with the fans of Piacenza.
Leading Juventus supportergroup Fighters started a big protest campaign against the club in the 2003-2004 season. The main reason of the protest campaign was Juventus director Giraudo and his plans for the new stadium. The entire "Curva Sud" was completely silent in the first halfs of the home games against Udinese and Inter in the 2003-2004 season. The group only sung and cheered in the second half to show their disagreement with Juventus Football Club and director Antonio Giraudo. There were many reasons for the protests:
1. Fighters were disgusted that the directors considered to name the new stadium after a sponsor instead of the great Giovanni Agnelli.
2. Fighters were convinced that Juventus planned to heavily increase the ticket prices at the new stadium.
3. Fighters were specially angry that the fans will have to sit at the games or else be thrown out of the stadium. All the supportergroups in the world stand on their feet during their games, while the Juventus directors want the fans to sit during their games.
4. Fighters were angry that the fans will have to respect their ticket seats or get thrown out of the stadium. Among the Juventus supportergroups nobody cares about were they stand.
5. Fighters were angry that Juventus consider to make the new stadium forbidden for away supporters. This angers them because much of the fun during the games is to insult and compete with the away supporters.
6. Fighters were worried that the security rules would be as strict as in England in their new stadium.
7. Fighters and most of the Juventus fans were angry that the new stadium will have a heavily reduced capacity. This means fewer seats for the supportergroups behind the two goals.
8. Fighters were convinced that the Juventus directors wanted to eliminate them and other Ultras groups from their matches.
These were the different sections of Fighters, according majorly on where they were from: