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My name is Vincenzo Paparelli

valdanito2010-05-04 09:58:27 +0000 #1
In memory of Vincenzo Paparelli

My name is Vincenzo Paparelli, and I died on October 28th 1979. Perhaps someone still remembers me. I was a man of thirty-three years who was killed one day at the Olympic stadium by a distress rocket fired by a Roma ultra supporter. I was eating a sandwich when I was hit. My wife Wanda tried to pull out that iron tube from my left eye, but as the flare was still burning, she just ended up burning her hand. The doctor who brought me first aid declared that he had never before witnessed such a severe wound, not even in war. The next day, all newspapers published a photograph taken a month earlier, of my wife and myself in a restaurant. Only the daily paper Il Tempo published a picture showing me laying on the ground, my face covered in blood, my left eye socket empty. I was the second victim of football violence in Italy, before myself a Salernitana supporter had died in 1963 as a result of clashes in the stands with supporters from Potenza.

Of all the sports personalities, the first to rush to the Santo Spirito hospital where I had been taken, dead by now, was CONI President Franco Carraro. When my brother-in-law heard my name on the radio he first thought they were talking about someone who had the same name as I. My brother had a strong sense of guilt when he learnt of my misfortune because he had leant me his season ticket, and that day it should have been him in the stadium instead of me. My wife who was beside me in the ambulance, held my hand tight and prayed for me not to die the entire time. After having finished all the formalities in the police headquarters and collected my personal documents and objects, she had a crisis and began to yell. On the photos that appeared in newspapers the following days, she is shown next to her mother who tries to console her, arms around her shoulder. She has a tired and hollow face, and there is a terrible look in her eyes.

Following my homicide, my name and that one my relatives appeared on the daily paper for the following week and the next, with diminishing prominence. I was unanimously defined as a normal and calm man with a single passion, that for Lazio. Some daily papers emphasized more than once that I owned a mechanical workshop together with my brother and lived in a modern roman neighbourhood, Mazzalupo. Someone wrote that I had bought a color television set on credit, and my only luxury was a second hand BMW that I kept in a garage and polished like a mirror.

After my death, Lazio captain Pino Wilson phoned my wife to extend his condolences. Rome mayor Petroselli also called and offered to pay my funeral expenses and put a social worker at my family’s disposition. The player Lionello Manfredonia paid my relatives a visit and gave my youngest son his jersey with the number five. The entire Lazio squad was present at my funeral, next to coach Bob Lovati and president Lenzini. The Roma players did not participate as they were away on Coppa Italia duty against Potenza, so in their place the club sent the boys from the Primavera. A thousand people took part in the funeral ceremony and that day was declared a day of mourning in the whole city. The Luciano Re Cecconi Foundation donated a million to my family. The Lazio regional council allocated the sum of five million as a sign of solidarity. The Società Sportiva Roma erected a tablet in the Curva Nord as a memory of my person.

My brother Angelo proposed that the two Roman clubs play a match with Lazio and Roma players mixed in the two line-ups, but in the end nothing came of it. For some days I was the subject of a heated debate about violence in the football stadiums. The mayor of Rome stressed that everyone needed to reflect over this tragedy and that it needed to be discussed within all sports clubs as well as in the schools. Someone proposed that they should install a system of closed circuit TV in all stadiums in order to identify the violent supporters. The head of the referees, Giulio Campanati, asked for the end of slow motion footage from football games on TV. During the following months drastic law enforcement measures were taken: flag poles, drums and even banners with warlike names were prohibited in the stadium, as well as pins and patches that could be perceived as offensive. The crowd had to support their team with just their voice and their hands.

Depending on the person, my name has been both honoured and ridiculed by Lazio and Roma supporters. Still today you will find inscriptions on the walls of the city that read "Paparelli, you will be avenged", or "Paparelli we will not forget to you", or also "10, 100, 1000 Paparelli" or still, "Paparelli you missed out on the beautiful times". In recent years the newspapers only mention me the day after a new crime has been committed in the stadium. On the 5th anniversary of my death, the supporters paid tribute to me before a match against Cremonese. On the tartan, along the Tribuna Tevere, they had spread out a banner with the words "Vincenzo lives", while the curva chanted "October 28th, national day of mourning". On the 10th anniversary, the "«Lazio Club Nuovo Monte Spaccato, Vincenzo Paparelli " was inaugurated. The Lazio fans of the Curva Nord commemorated the anniversary of my death for some fifteen years, but these last years it has fallen into silence. The Vincenzo Paparelli football tournament only reached the third edition, and was then abandoned due to a lack of funds.

The renovation of the Olympic stadium for "Italia 90" have wiped out the curvas of the past forever, and with them the marble plate that honored my memory. When searching for my first and last name within brackets on the Yahoo search engine, the result always shows "Ignored". When searching the archives of the daily paper Il Messaggero, it turns out that the last time my name was mentioned was 5 February 1995, when a short article about my assassin appeared.

My assassin’s name was Giovanni Fiorillo; he was eighteen years and was an unemployed building painter. Immediately after the homicide he disappeared and led a life of fugitive. Someone claimed to have spotted him in Pescara, someone else in Brescia, yet another in Frosinone, where he asked for information to buy cigarettes. After fourteen months on the run, he turned himself in. In 1987 he was sentenced to manslaughter by the court: six years and ten months for having launched the rocket and four years and six months to the others two accomplices that had helped him introduce the device into the stadium and use it. During his run in Italy and Switzerland he had telephoned my brother Angelo nearly every day, asking for forgiveness and swearing that he did not intend to kill anyone that day in the stadium. He was a boy like many others; he lived by Piazza Vittorio, and was mad about Roma. His mother worked in the market, his father as a mechanical fitter. They were regular people, just like me. The article in the newspaper mentioned that Giovanni Fiorillo had died on 24 March 1993, perhaps from an overdose, perhaps from a grave illness. My brother Angelo had forgiven him, as had my wife and also my sons. One thing is sure, that boy had been unfortunate, just as I had been.

My name is Vincenzo Paparelli, and I died on October 28th 1979. Perhaps someone still remembers me.

"A story by Massimiliano Governi, written for the Gazzetta dello Sport, in October of 1999"

Translated by MadDog

laziofever.com

I put this up in memory to all those fans who have lost their lives in the stadium.

Sad but true!

May their souls rest in peace!

snakes showing off his powers


r0naldo4life2010-05-04 10:06:13 +0000 #2
ouch. RIP Vincenzo.

thats one sad story u got there man.
snakies2010-05-04 10:05:33 +0000 #3
RIP. thats a pretty hard hitting story. its sad when these kinda things happen. i just wish fans would be a bit more calm and would understand that these kinda things hurt football alot. take for example the heysel tragedy. these kinda things shouldnt happen but they do and u just have to live with it.

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