“Together with my dearest friends we decided to make available to AS Roma’s Historical Archive some of the historical material of the Commando Ultrà Curva Sud (CUCS), starting from the first banner dated 1977.
"The decision was taken after first having carefully verified all aspects of the proposed donation, with the overall purpose of keeping and preserving objects that otherwise would be destroyed. With this gesture, one that was certainly difficult to make and somewhat emotional, we would like to donate to all of Roma’s fans our history and our memories.
"We were created and lived with the sole purpose of being at the service of the squad and of its people. If, throughout our long years in operation, we always considered the Commando to belong to everyone, as of now that will be the case forever. Forza Roma.”
- Commando Ultrà Curva Sud
Just a few lines to say something enormous: the CUCS donated their first historical banner – so its signature, its soul, its face, its heart, its wounds, its eyes - to Roma. I think this is one of the most romantic gestures in Romanista history. For a group, the banner represents life itself; giving it to Roma means coming full circle, closing something on behalf of all those that have always given everything to Roma.
‘Commando Ultrà Curva Sud’, 42 metres of history - displayed for the first time on 9 January 1977 for a home game against Sampdoria that ended – luckily, or maybe inevitably – in a 3-0 win, thanks to a brace scored by Agostino Di Bartolomei.
For 22 years it was in Curva Sud, and after that forever in our hearts. A gap, then another run of years: today the Commando Ultrà Curva Sud is ‘made available’ to an Archive whose careful, attentive and patient work may be unknown but is utterly precious.
It is, for example, where Paulo Dybala has opted to entrust the medal he earned for winning the World Cup.
But it is also much more than that too.
"The contents of the donation add up to over 1,000 items: among them five banners, four drums, 300 documents, three tapes containing recordings of the Curva, 200 match tickets and season tickets, tens of programmes, magazines, scarves and t-shirts."
- A summary of the items donated to the club's Historical Archive by CUCS
These are the beautiful things about Roma. What happens behind the scenes. What’s done for others but isn’t immediately shown to the world – indeed, perhaps is never shown to the world. Like a script, or a poem. There are jerseys, letters, photos, objects, football cards, books, notebooks, things dear to us lost and recovered, maintained, uncovered, kept, preserved, handed down. It’s our DNA and for ‘the dearest friends’ that is what real life is.
For many people that banner isn’t just fabric, but blood. It represents a part of life, or what remains of it. There are people that are being separated from the best memory of their husband or father giving this ‘thing’ to Roma. This is what it is. Nothing more.
Do you hold something dear to you? Things one holds dear, the ones that one tried to place at home in the right place, knowing where they can’t’ be lost: a bracelet, a doll, a letter, a dried flower, a painting of her, the wedding band, Goldrake, Dry Transfers, the first football cards album, a sonogram of your son, Hiroshi’s gloves: whatever it is that is important to you. Things we hold dear aren’t just things, and they stop being that in that same moment when one can separate from them without losing their perfume, their meaning, their memory.
A bit like a child. A parent’s task is paradoxically to distance himself from his child: from birth, the child is born into the world and then it’s a matter of accompanying him until he can walk alone (without ever stopping a second to want to hug him like that very first day).
This donation, this ‘making available’ is a paradox too, since just when those that created the Commando let it go for ever, they bring it back to their mother: Roma. This is the last demonstration, invisible, the last paradoxical away journey since it’s actually towards home.
This banner kept generations together and still keeps together those that are here and those that have gone elsewhere with Roma in their hearts. It’s always been hanging between the sky and the earth, and instead of burying it in a basement, it will be placed in a location that’s alive and where it can be taken care of. Loved. The place that gives meaning to all this for all of us: Roma.
It’s like the water that goes to the sea, it’s like the wind that goes back… to the wind. Roberto Stracca wrote: “The Commando Ultrà is a force of nature, it’s like the wind… And who can stop the wind?”
Nothing, not even time.
"This banner has always been hanging between the sky and the earth, and instead of burying it in a basement, it will be placed in a location that’s alive and where it can be taken care of."
- Tonino Cagnucci
I think that there was a time made of great people, of great sentiments and great hopes. And of dreams that were so naïve to seem true, of crazy hearts. I am thinking of Geppo, who was a poet. I’m thinking of all those who aren’t here any longer and of all those who have been here that had a great passion in their hearts and deserved to tell it… Or that still needs to be told.
I’m thinking of the boys of the Commando Ultrà that today are men and women, fathers and mothers, and that I would look at not only for the 90 minutes on matchday, but from the very moment I entered the stadium. None of this will be lost. Nothing is lost. Personally, since I have been writing about Roma – a lifetime - nothing can repay me more than the emotions I witnessed them all experience when they gave - once again, but this time forever - everything to Roma.
Their hugs contained their friends and loves that have passed, there were the times of Agostino and those of Totti, of Giannini and of Birigozzi. That hypnotic and perfumed orange colour that we had in our eyes in the sun on Sundays at Stadio Olimpico that truly explained the meaning of being, and feeling, Giallorosso.
All the tifos created and those never realised, the away matches in every destination and the prayers in front of the radio in our rooms. The voices lost from chanting. They were there: the other ones that stayed to look ending up trying to find courage to imitate them. This time the example isn’t only to succeed in overcoming shyness and selling books in front of the school, but stepping down a few rows more for the last display, to continue stepping down seat after seat until one can truly consider that banner one’s own.
This time the example is the same one: to show love. There’s nothing more rebellious, for ultras, or rather for an ultrà, than to love.
“We were born and we lived with the sole purpose of being at the service of this squad and of its people. If in our many long years of operation, we always considered the Commando to belong to everyone, as of now that will be the case forever. Forza Roma.”
There was a time when the people were in power and with that power they said ‘I love you’.
There was another time when, with that love, the spirit persevered.
Now the time has arrived for that love to flow in the wind.