Our adventure starts in the late 80s, when the Italian ultras movement was experiencing a transitory period, filled with a particular ferment. New minor groups rise among almost all the organized ultras in Italy with the aim to take back the ?ultras mentality?, which had been betrayed by the biggest and historical supporters groups, formed 10-15 years earlier. In many cases, these established groups seem also to have lost their initial vitality.
Among all such attempts, IRRIDUCIBILI will be, no doubt, the more successful one. The group makes its debut at Olimpico on October 18th 1987, in a squalid Serie B?s Lazio-Padova (it will finish 1-1), and follow the match from a famous spot, the mythical ?muretto centrale?, which was occupied, until then, by the Viking group. Many people, who in the previous years did much for Curva Nord, are called back to join the newborn group.
During its first period, the group has some peculiar characteristics: a very few members, whose average age is quite high. The name is original indeed, but what does it really mean? IRRIDUCIBILI expresses the will not to accept any compromise with all the realities that surrounded S.S. Lazio, and in particular with the ?notorious? private TV networks and with the Lazio Clubs.
There is the will to re-affirm the ultras mentality, the spontaneous support without any sectarianism and moralism; there is the will to change the Curva Nord?s flat atmosphere, for which many people blamed the Eagles Supporters (worshipped by all the Lazio?s world), accused to have divided the Curva into sons and stepsons. It?s not by chance that Irriducibili travel in train for the away matches, in contraposition to ?the Eagle?s coach?; and indeed, it is the youngsters who already used to follow Lazio away by train those who join the group first. Many of them will become really attached to the group, representing, for them, the revenge towards those who considered them sort of ?damned? guys in Curva Nord.
Summing up, the attempt is to create a new group which takes from the 70s, calling back to the ?muretto? those who lived these years, and trying to win the youngsters; the latter are initially attracted essentially because of curiosity, but then answer the call with more and more enthusiasm. The famous ?Mr. Enrich? is not there yet. Our mascot, a man wearing a bowler had and throwing kicks, taken from an anti-conformist character in a Britannic comic, would make its debut very soon, on a sticker.
The very first period was not that brilliant, and, looking back, we can certainly say that only a few understood what this new group was really about; soon, however, things started to change, with the group taking the new path as it was meant to be. It?s time for the first display, realized with several flags with a check pattern and the ?Irriducibili? name painted on them.
Maybe it was not great stuff, but for those times it was more than enough. Moreover we were showing that we were there. ?What will Irriducibili do today?? This was the question that Curva Nord asked herself every Sunday, a sign that people were gladly getting used to our displays. The originality was our most peculiar feature. And for the sake of originality, sometimes we passed the line. Like that day when, in order to have a more colorful Curva, we prepared multicolor flags (some were fluorescent) instead of the traditional white and pale blue. We realized it was a mistake, and abandoned the experiment.
It is interesting to notice that Irriducibili introduce a banner which is only 10 meters long, in contraposition to those extremely wide used everywhere, with however ghost groups behind them. No section, no affiliated groups: Irriducibili is unique, and represents all those who gather at the ?muretto centrale?; this was another difference between us and the Eagles!
Let?s talk a while about following Lazio away. 6 December 1987. The majority follows Eagles on their coaches, while Irriducibili travel by train. At the Genova railway station, about 800 Laziali get off the train. Irriducibili take the lead of this group of supporters, who then form a procession to reach the stadium: a completely new way to introduce themselves to the rival supporters, with Laziali approaching the stadium united and compact.
The New Year brings us Brescia away. We go by train, the others by coach. This will become a constant element within Lazio Ultras; anyway, now everyone knows that, wherever Lazio is playing, there will always be a white train, with Mr Enrich leading, ready to leave.
First fixture of Serie A?s second half: Lazio plays Sambenedettese away. As usual, the train reaches the station. Lazio supporters form a procession, with the Irriducibili banner leading ahead, something never seen before! The all day is characterised by incidents and violent riots between Lazio ultras, Sambenedettese fans and police. The media will dedicate lots of pages to what happened; the newspaper ?La Repubblica? will also publish a picture of the Irriducibili procession that day, an image that will remain the symbol of those years and deserved to be reproduced on the Irriducibili headquarters wall, in via Bossi.
Other newspapers, however, had already anticipated ?La Repubblica?, unleashing their pens to create the new monster, capable of overthrowing the preconstituted order: the new barbarians, ?loose dogs?, and so on and so forth. Even the local TV networks attacked us, favoring the Eagles Supporters. Our reply comes soon.
Lazio ? Messina. As the match start we show the banner: ?WE ARE NOT DOGS BECAUSE WE HAVE NO MASTERS. WE ARE NOT LOOSE, IRRIDUCIBILI UNITES US? a clear message that doesn?t leave space for any further reply.
Bologna ? Lazio. We leave on Saturday evening from Stazione Termini, which has now become the ?official? meeting point every time Lazio plays away. We are a good number and when we arrive, we head to the stadium forming a procession, as usual. It will be another quite busy day.
Both the home and the away matches are organized in every detail, defined during our meeting, usually held at a gambling den in Monteverde quarter. And it is during one of these meetings that the first scarf appears: wool made, model ?popular?, rigorously taken from the Britannic tradition, with a patch sewn on the bottom. An absolute new entry, which will influence the ultras? (and not just Lazio?s ones) habits for the following years.
The clashes with the Eagles are frequent; it?s a matter of mentality. The tension grows further after some of them join our group. Lazio ? Barletta. We stick put our banner at the usual place, then a few black looks between us and them. In a matter of minutes a brawl starts; some get injured, but nothing serious and the police intervene immediately. Quite a figure, in front of the entire stadium, although frankly we couldn?t care less! As usual, we are attacked by the newspapers and the private TV networks? jackals; as always, we remain united: 100 at home, 90 away; this is our strength, and it will always be, especially in our toughest moments. Catanzaro ? Lazio. Monelli equalizes at ?92, the match ends and we greet the players with our banner. Fascetti, Lazio?s coach, admires us and thanks us publicly? a man of ?other times?!
Lazio ? Parma is our moment: we prepare the first stadium display involving the entire Curva Nord; them we go away to Parma, where, at the end of the match, we invade the pitch; finally, with Taranto playing Lazio at Olimpico, we celebrate the promotion to Serie A, in a stadium still yet to be finished. The celebrations follow with some healthy bath in the Roman fountains, and then a procession. This is however not authorised by the authorities and ends up with us being charged by the police: for Lazio, we can bear much more than this. In the summer preceding the new season, Fascetti is sacked. We disagree and contest chairman Calleri?s decision and ways both during the summer preparation at Serramazzoni and the first part of the campionato.
During that period, in a few days some of us have their names finishing in the police records: it happens in Milan, in Naples, from where we are sent back to Rome without letting us attend the match; and in Rome, on the occasion of Italy ? Holland match, where the police let us leave the stadium after the Dutch supporters, and the match was at Olimpico! Had Calleri something to do with it? Who knows.
In the meantime there is some good news too: drums are brought into Olimpico at Lazio ? Verona, but they will not last for long. At Lazio ? Ascoli, ?Mr. Enrich? makes its debut, a photocopied fanzine which is distributed freely and that soon becomes a contact point with the whole Curva.
On January 15, for the derby, we decide to support Lazio together with the Eagles, in the bottom zone of Curva Nord. We divide our tasks: the Eagles would take care of the display at the beginning of the match, while we would do the second half one. We prepare 8 big banners with the symbol of S.S. Lazio and as many others with Roma?s monuments; unfortunately the police ruins everything by creating inexplicable difficulties and seizing a big part of this material; we manage (by force) to get into Olimpico a small number of banners only. Di Canio scores the goal that gives us the victory.
The promises that chairman Calleri made during the summer are not kept, and we get to the derby with the team struggling at the bottom of the table. For our stadium display we insist on the concept of romanita? and propose several banners showing sentences taken from Trilussa?s poetries; one of them said ?IRRIDUCIBILI IS POETRY?. In the run to avoid relegation we have to meet Juventus away. Calleri offers free transportations by coach to the supporters, but we refuse and remain the only ones who pay to go to Torino! Lazio avoids relegation thanks to a draw with Ascoli.
Season 1989/90. Olimpico gets ready for the World Cup, and Lazio will play for all the season at Stadio Flaminio. We show a banner to protest against the waste of money at Olimpico, but this will not be the only ?gift? we receive from Montezemolo & Co. Very soon, several ?diffide? will reach many of us, limiting their freedom and giving the police the power to expel from any sport event anyone who, in their view, is dangerous to the public order.
The Flaminio?s ?muretto?, where we followed Lazio during the entire season, favoured the unity of the group. In the meantime, the wool hats make their debut in Curva. As usual, many ultras group will copy our idea.
Lazio – Atalanta precedes the first derby of the season. The police enter in Curva and right below our muretto a serious brawl starts; the same thing will happen during the return derby. The air of that Roma-Lazio, with us relegated to a small area in tribuna, is particular: we show a banner anti-repression ?GOD SAVE THE ULTRAS?. At the return derby, our stadium display is particularly significant: we cover the Curva with pieces of cardboard to form a big flag ?popular?; above it 11 flags with eleven numbers printed on them, and also a banner saying ?NON 11 NUMERI MA 11 BANDIERE?.
At Lecce there are again clashes with Eagles; these are settled the following Sunday; six people among Irriducibili and Eagles get the diffida, some are injured.
The following year, the exile at Flaminio ends and we go back to an horrendous and unrecognisable Olimpico. Everyone notices that Curva Nord is silent; only one banner on the railing, saying ?12? IN CAMPO? ONLY WHEN WE WANT!?, signed Eagles and Irriducibili. This will be our reply to the diffide that reached many members of the two groups. The Lazio?s season goes on without our support; there will be many arguments between the two groups and the rest of Curva Nord, who instead wants to support the team. Lazio struggles and newspapers accuse us to be not passionate about the team, incredible!
Our extreme gesture is aimed to prove to the whole stadium that Irriducibili means friendship before any other thing, it?s something that goes beyond Lazio; to prove that supporting is not mandatory and it is not a job; to prove that there are other values that must prevail over any football?s interest. We decide, however, to limit our protest to the first 45 minutes only, during the entire season. No ultras group has ever done this.
We also renounce to the derby stadium display; instead, we show a banner that summarizes our mentality: “LO SPETTACOLO COLORA LA CURVA, LA SOLIDARIETA’ LA RENDE GRANDE” (The spectacle colours the curva. The solidarity makes it great). Unforgettable.
Season 1995/96. After the victorious protest to prevent Cragnotti from selling Beppe Signori, the league starts with our bomber! It is the year that consecrates us (if it ever was needed) as the most brilliant Curva in Italy, capable of displays never seen before in any stadium. From the thousands of white and blue gloves, distributed before Lazio ? Juve, to the ?AVE LAZIO? in Lazio Milan, the huge pennant in Roma ? Lazio, the spectacular display in the return derby, representing the only dimension maybe able to contain us? the spatial one! That season ends with Lazio reaching an UEFA spot, thanks to a fantastic finish. Zeman is confirmed.
The following season sees Boksic, Winter and Di Matteo leaving; Nedved, Protti and Okon arrive. Signori becomes Captain. After a series of negative results, eventually ended in a protest in Reggio Emilia, Zeman is sacked. He is substituted with Zoff, that brings Lazio again to UEFA. The group obviously does not sleep over the great performances of the previous season: we celebrate the Beppe Signori?s 100? goal by showing in Curva Nord 100 big photos of our Captain.
At the first derby of the season Lazio players are welcomed by a roaring Mr Enrich, who covers the Curva, and a giant ?S.S. LAZIO? realised with many pale blue balloons. The return derby doesn?t see any display to protest against the continuous restrictions that hit the ultras environment? only one banner ?NOI OLTRE?!
14 November ?96. At Napoli, for a Coppa Italia match, the police perform an impressing check on us, like we were ferocious criminals. Some of us is defined as ?diffidato? and taken and kept in the police station during the entire match.
The summer witnesses the long story about Ronaldo, and a great relationship between Irriducibili and Lazio?s chairman. The season 1997/98 opens with the return of Boksic and the arrival of Pancaro, Jugovic and Mancini. Cragnotti and some Irriducibili guys met by mere chance at the seaside, and Cragnotti invites them on his boat.
It?s the 10th anniversary of the group, and it will be celebrated in the best possible way. The team is doing great on all the competitions: Lazio thrashes Vitoria Guimaraes away (0-4), but much more important is the humiliation reserved to Curva Sud. Within that season we play 4 derbies and beat Roma at every match, 4 over 4, something that never happened before and certainly is a record for the ?stracittadina?.
Curva Nord is not less great than Lazio, and presents four amazing displays: the first one is a huge Imperial Eagle, with the banner ?OSARE, CREDERE, SPAVALDI DI ESSERE?; then the symbol of S.S. Lazio and the banner ?NOBILTA? ULTRAS DA SEMPRE?; the football covering the whole Curva, with the invite to ?rifasse l?occhi?; to finish with the banner ?NOI PIU’ FORTI DELL’INDIFFERENZA”, to protest again against the diffide, become a constant problem.
At Naples, the usual story with the police. After a number of unjustifiable charges inside the stadium, where many ultras got injured, the Naples police have the special train that was heading back to Rome stopped and, from midnight to 2am, they systematically and violently hit all the people in the train, (even the youngest ones). An inquiry is ordered to investigate over these facts, but everything will obviously be forgotten soon. You can?t ask for justice for those defended by those who should instead condemn them!
Just before Lazio ? Juve a huge crown welcomes ?Her Majesty S.S. Lazio?. Juve is beaten, and we get ready to the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan. At San Siro we lose 1-0, thanks to a goal scored at the very end of the match. Again, there are incidents with the police on the stands.
Two weeks later there is the return leg at Olimpico. Curva Nord welcomes her gladiators with the banner ?LAZIO PATRIA NOSTRA?, surrounded by pieces of green-white-red cardboard pieces. After a great comeback and a goal scored almost at the end of the match, Lazio wins her second Coppa Italia.
In Paris, at the UEFA Cup Final, Lazio supporters are amazing, and won the UEFA Fair-Play award because of their behaviour on the stands, considering also the friendship with Inter supporters.
Signori leaves Lazio. A delegation of Irriducibili goes to Marassi to attend Signori?s debut with Sampdoria. They bring the old banner showing a crowned Signori. In the summer 1998 Salas, Vieri, Conceicao and Mihajlovic arrive. In August, we win the Italian Supercup, beating Juve away, with an impressing number of biancocelesti flags waving in the stands.
Many Lazio players get injured (among those, Nesta and Vieri); nevertheless, Lazio soes really well! We are eliminated from Coppa Italia thanks to a goal scored by the referee, but we win the Cup Winners Cup and we are literally robbed of Scudetto!
The group seems to find always new energies in his successes? At the first derby of the season we perform the display ?NOI POKER SERVITO?, and then we offer a touching display to commemorate the victims of the Portuense tragedy; at the return derby, our players are welcomed with a huge castle and ?UN REGNO DA DIFENDERE, UN IMPERO DA CONQUISTARE?. At Lazio Juve Curva Nord turns into a giant ?LAZIO? surrounded by a white sea, realised thousands of shirts worn by the supporters, to finish with the human flag created at Villa Park!
The 1999/2000 season opens with the mercenary Vieri, one of the many squalid figures of football, leaving Lazio. Quite a busy season, this one? At Montecarlo (UEFA Super Cup) we show a banner reminding the Chairman what Lazio is?. NOI!
Irriducibili start a querelle with the agency Francorosso, which detains the monopoly over the tickets for the European away matches. The height is reached during the team presentation, at the match with River Plate (?WE ARE NOT TOMATOES?) Irriducibili and Lazio Club are united in the name of the right to support Lazio! The deal is reached after a ?summit reunion?. In the meantime, Gigi Martini is appointed by Lazio to take care about the relationship with Ultras. At Lazio-Torino we do not chant for 15 minutes.
Before Lazio-Udinese however the problem is solved and the Lazio supporters are again free to choose the way to follow Lazio in Europe that best suits them.
Lazio-Lecce. The banners “UN PRESIDENTE INIMITABILE, UNA TIFOSERIA INEGUAGLIABILE, UNA SQUADRA IMBATTIBILE..S.S. LAZIO, IL FUTURO CI APPARTIENE!” are the proof that all the summer?s querelles with the Lazio management (and never with the Chairman) were solved. In the first derby, the Centenary logo makes its debut, while in the return derby a green-white-red Curva Nord shows, once again, which team is the depositary of Italian proud!
Finally the long expected day arrives: 9 January 2000. Days and nights waiting and preparing for it, working on the organisation of the event; Christmas holidays spent painting huge banners to be displayed that day, a true Olympic Stadium museum with the images of Bigiarelli, Piola, Maestrelli, Chinaglia, Fascetti and Signori, and all the other people who made the history of our great Lazio.
The campionato goes on. A banner for Arkan, a friend of our Mihajlovic killed in Jugoslavia, gives rise to a long controversy, carefully built by media and politicians. They want to interpret that banner as a tribute to the Serbian commander who participated in the long conflicts in these lands ? but it?s not like that! Result: questions in Parliament; ministers attacking Ultras; enormous number of policemen and carabinieri in the stadium, seating even on the season tickets holders? spots. The all situation is not sustainable, and after a Lazio – Udinese it explodes.
After some empty plastic bottles were thrown, carabinieri charge the supporters abandoning the stadium, hitting everyone on their way, even elderly and children; many of them will leave the Olimpico on an ambulance. Members of Irriducibili keep watching over the blood over the ground just in front of Curva Nord, waiting for the journalists to come and see. While they wait, policemen threaten the guys about taking their records. The journalists will arrive, will listen to some witnesses? experiences, but then on their articles they will report they usual message; policemen are good, ultras are bad!
After that day, police and carabinieri leave the Olimpico stands? and this shows that they did have a guilty conscience. We head to Firenze to attend a crucial match for our campionato. A special train leaves from Roma, with the police attempting to let the least number of Lazio supporters leave. With a poor result, since many will go.
We arrive at Campo di Marte where an enormous number of policemen, something never seen before, are waiting for us. During our procession towards the stadium they insult and threaten us. Just in front of Franchi there are some serious brawls, several people get injured.
The match ends with the result of 3 ? 3. On the way back to Rome, at the Firenze station the police charges us for no apparent reason and more Lazio supporters get injured. The usual articles in the newspapers accuse the supporters, something we are used about. The very end of campionato are about to propose, once again, the shame that characterised the previous season. A perfectly valid goal scored by Parma is disallowed, and Juve manages to keep the two points advantage on us? with just one fixture to go For many Lazio supporters this is enough. The following Thursday hundreds of Laziali yell their anger in front of FIGC headquarters with a banner ?SPAREGGIO O GUERRA!?. Throwing some eggs is the pretest for a charge by the police, hitting, as usual, also innocent people (a journalist is among them). Traffic blocked, bins burned, tear gas cartridges shot at man?s height that hit one of our Vecchia Guardia guys ? After three hours, the order is back, but our signal is clear: ?Do not even try it?. Cragnotti publicly side with the supporters and condemn police?s violence.
For two days, the TG5 evening news headlines are about Irriducibili?s protest. The Irriducibili?s initial decision to protest again by blocking the Giro D?Italia turns then into a more quiet protest, with just a banner clearly visible by anyone.
The day of Lazio ? Reggina, Irriducibili organise a funeral procession in the morning to celebrate the death of football. The heavy rain in Perugia, with the pitch flooded, finally gives back to our colours what they deserved, and we start the crazy celebrations for our victory well 50 minutes after the end of Lazio ? Reggina.
Football is dead, but we have been stronger than something that we found on our way to the victory!
The rest is recent story, with the Viale Europa incidents, the protest about Lotito and the arrest of the leaders.