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    Driving from Denmark to watch Roma: Jonas's remarkable story


    The 50-year-old has gone to great lengths to watch his beloved Giallorossi over the last few days...

    We catch up with one international fan who has gone to particularly great lengths to watch Roma over the last few days...

    Jonas Stuart, 50, is a Dane who last week decided to take his car and drive it from Aarhus to Rome - 2,046 kilometres in total - in order to watch his beloved Giallorossi at the Stadio Olimpico.

    After stopping off at the Empoli game over the weekend it was another Roma fan, Luca Di Resta, who learned about Jonas's incredible effort.

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    Thanks to Luca's efforts, we were able to catch up with Jonas to find out more about the motivation behind his impressive pilgrimage...


    Thanks for talking to us, Jonas. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

    "I’m from Copenhagen, but I now live in Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, because my kids live there. Aarhus is a real football city with a large club that somehow never manage to deliver on their huge potential. I don’t dare wear my Brøndby jerseys in that city.

    "I’m 50 years old, but most of my spare time I behave as if I were 25, going out and try to see as much football as I can. I work in the cardiology med-tech industry as a product specialist for an international company, and have done for 22 years."

    You drove for thousands of kilometres to watch Roma against Empoli: have you ever done something like that before?

    "It is all actually true. I bought an apartment near Frosinone last year, so I can be closer to my beloved Rome and AS Roma (and the iconic pasta dishes they serve in the region, of course...). So I am also going to the apartment, but I would not have chosen this week were it not for the chance to see the Helsinki and Atalanta games as well.

    "Initially my soccer app told me that the Empoli match was on Saturday so I planned to drive from Denmark Saturday morning, but when it was rescheduled to Monday I changed my plans – I just wanted to see that match. A long drive, yes, but it was worth it!"

    What did it feel like watching from the away sector in Empoli?

    "To be honest, it was very emotional! I can’t figure out what is up and down in the Italian fan registration system, but I have been advised against being registered as a Roma fan, because it could lay some limitations on other matches (or so I've heard). So I didn't buy a ticket in the away end.

    "But I met a big group of Romanistas from Genova in the parking lot, and they took me into the group as if I had been one of their own forever! My God, my heart was melting! Despite having a ticket for the home stand, I went straight back to my car and put on my Roma jersey and hoped it would be accepted wherever my seat was..

    "I thought this could never happen in Serie A, but ‘my new family’ managed to get me in to the away stands. The fans are great, and I love the dedication, the singing and above all: It is like we are a big family!

    "Rumours about my story were spreading nearby, and many many Romanisti came to say Hi and ask questions about me being there. Man, what a ‘family!! Pure 'amore'!"

    What did you think in the moment when Dybala scored?

    "Haha, I didn’t even see the goal! Some dudes a few rows in front of me started to wave a big beautiful red and yellow flag, so I guess we were many who missed it. But we knew something was going on, and suddently everything burst into frenzy and craziness!

    "I’m not kidding, we were all tumbling around, screaming, yelling and hugging each other! I am amazed that no-one got an injury! What a relief, though, we needed that first goal so much."

    Why do you support AS Roma?

    "Since I was a child, my parents took me and my sister to Rome every year for vacation. Ever since then it has been ‘my’ city. When I was a teenager, and started to be interested in football like most other Danish kids at that time, I naturally got attracted to AS Roma.

    "As a 17 year-old, I went to my first match alone, much against my parents' will. It was against Lecce in 1989. We are talking Gianinni, Foeller, Conti and so on. And I was sold! But kids and family forced me into a break from my Roma visits for a few years."

    When did you fall in love with the Club? Is it linked with the historical matches Roma played against Broendby in the 90’s?

    "No, Brøndby have always been in my heart, and still is. They have an amazing fan group, and I see every match I can. My ‘craving’ for AS Roma was a parallel thing going on. The two clubs have some of the same values and dedication, they could easily have been friendship-clubs.

    "The Roma-Brøndby matches was a dilemma, I prayed to good that both teams won, but it didn’t happen, haha!"

    Which Roma chant do you love most?

    "Of course it is the Roma song. So beautiful! Especially the part where the fans are singing ‘Roma Roma Roma’ without the background ... that always gives me the goosebumps!

    "Since I’m now a property owner in Lazio (a hard name for me to even say) I’m in the process of learning the language, and I want to learn all the songs we sing in the stands."

    Which is your favourite former AS Roma player?

    "Are you kidding? Haha, the reply is obvious. I was in the stands as he slowly developed into an icon. But with an obvious reply like this, I also cannot express how much Daniele De Rossi meant to me. Yes, less visible on the field as such, but maybe in some ways more important…you can all be the judge of that."

    Which current AS Roma player do you like the most?

    "Dybala would be an easy pick. He is probably our must important player right now, like Tammy was last season. But I lean towards Chris Smalling. He kept himself injury-free, and has proved to be a monster in the defence."

    What do you expect from the match against Atalanta on Sunday?

    "It will be a difficult one. You never know what to expect when you have Atalanta playing. A bit like Roma. But I expect that our guys on the pitch know the importance of three points on Sunday!

    "I planned this ride to hit as many ASR matches as possible, the above game included. Suddenly I have a Facebook feed telling me it was sold out! I rushed to the online ticket booking, and found eight seats in one section, and five in the other. I then went back to the eight and they were now gone!

    "I panicked, and went back to the five seats left at the last section, and got a ticket! How lucky can you be, when I got my seat, there was 3 seats left at the Olimpico!"

    "I romanisti sono straordinari. Amo la loro dedizione, amo i loro cori, ma amo soprattutto il fatto che è come se fossimo una grande famiglia"

    - Jonas Stuart