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[Archived] Looking After Juve


philipl

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Feeling shattered because one of the businesses we work with has the deal for Juventus' mid-Winter break. In a nutshell from the moment the charter left Turin to the moment it touches down in Catania (Juve's next Serie A game is there next Saturday) we have total responsibility for Juventus football club.

This is show business not football. Even though I know something about the professional game, the organisation around this visit is more like a rock tour than a professional football club on a training camp.

70, yes that's right, 70 people have travelled from Turin. The compliment includes the club DJ, two goal keeper coaches, a travelling hospital of medics, four security guys (I cannot tell you the security we have had to arrange in Malta but its massive) and, wait for it, ten staff from the Juve Channel. Oh and the full senior squad including the injured.

Just back from a "do" at the biggest night club in Malta at which the entire squad was present and Juve Channel interviewed Ranieri, Buffon and del Piero. Well over a thousand Malta Juve fans turned up. Juve channel are preparing, presenting and editing two one hour programmes a day from Malta- direct upload from here straight onto their TV and internet channel.

The players are prisoners of the Juve monster. That's not just on tour to Malta but that seems to go for life in Italy too. Malta is so relaxed that Brad Pitt was able to go round Paceville and out to the pictures unmolested and relatively unbothered when he was filming Troy but these lads are unbelievably controlled.

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That's got to be a typo :blink:

No seriously- he compered the event at the night club this evening alternating between conventional DJ and getting Juve terrace chants going. He is also their stadium DJ/announcer and the plan is for him to be stadium announcer at the open training session and the exhibition game they are playing.

The seventy do not include the accredited journalists who have their own minibuses here to follow the team around. Tonight's vehicle movements were team coach, two police motorbike outriders, five top of the range BMWs, the Juve Channel midibus and the journalists' two minibuses. The team were in the club for about 30 minutes and there was a human shield provided to get them in and out so nobody could get within a meter of them.

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We had 2,800 turn up paying E5 each to watch Juve train today.

I am no expert on training routines but what caught my eye were two exercises I had not seen before.

- rows of pairs of stakes probably each pair less than a meter apart and each row of pairs probably ten meters apart. Two players run down the outside of the stakes passing a ball to each other with the objective of passing the ball through the stakes in front of the receiving player without either player breaking stride. Astonishingly high rate of success.

- a group of players evenly spread running round the centre circle. One ball and the players have two touch keep up then pass diagonally across and over the centre spot without the ball ever touching the ground or the players breaking away from the centre circle marking.

Ranieri did his nut at a player who boobed during this latter exercise. Certainly Ranieri's cuddly tinkerman image of his UK press appearances bear little resemblane to the steely detached man we are seeing here. Iaquinta is a really nice bloke by the way.

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Its not only Rovers having embarassments.

Valletta 1 Juventus 1 (Valletta won 4-3 on penalties)

OK friendly kickaball but not really- Juve put a full strength team out first half and used their 5 available subs for second half- Trezeguet and Iaquinta came on.

Ref wasn't giving any cards out so the first 20 minutes saw some X-rated tackling from both sides and two near brawls. Juve were going for it but the organisation of Valletta (leaders of Malta's Premier League) was phenomenal. Juve were not finding space where it mattered for all their slick movement and tricks and passing- Zanetti and Nedved were really putting themselves about. They had four threats (Del Piero looked sharp) on goal before Oliveira headed home in the 43rd minute. Straight from the kick-off Valletta went down the other end with men forwards, the ball was chipped from the left edge of the area, Buffon under pressure just managed to tip onto the cross bar and it fell nicely for an emphatic volleyed equaliser.

Second half Juve tore at Valletta but again were mostly held at bay and never once managed to release attacking players in space. Juve missed open goals hitting wide under pressure and there were two very good saves but at the other end Buffon produced a great save and Valletta were twice through on Buffon but struck wide both times. Palladino the second half sub on the left wing had an absolute nightmare- the Valletta full back had him in his pocket and it was the 88th minute before he finally managed a (over-hit) cross.

Juve scored their first three penalties before Nocerrino scuffed wide. The Valletta penalties were exemplary - all four stroked into the corners sending Buffon the wrong way every time. Final Juve penalty was struck hard but at the ideal height for a keeper diving the right way to save- and it was.

A great night - you should have seen the bars of Valletta last night!!! Sore head this morning.

Not a good day today to be a Juve supporter in Malta or Gozo (yes there is even a Gozo Juve supporters club)

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Three little vignettes (they are still here by the way- they are doing a private training session at the moment) but leave tomorrow to go to Catania for the saturday game.

- we had a phone call from a lady in probably the most exclusive village on the island asking if Buffon would like to stay with her family at their villa and experience some traditional Maltese hospitality rather than stay in another hotel.

- an e-mail from a chap saying he had named his son Trezeguet and could we spare Davide Trezeguet for half an hour to go to the Christening.

- there are astonishingly precise and detailed instructions for doing the team kit laundry.

Last night's goals

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  • 1 month later...

I have now looked at what is already in the public domain and I can write this:

- the centre of Juve's thrust is their TV station which is remarkably successful and professional and just about the only piece of non-Berlusconi owned media that is giving Berlusconi a serious headache in Italy. Their use of Juve TV of course is far more potent than MUTV etc because in Italy, clubs negotiate their own media rights. That is one of the reasons that any false move by the Premiership is potentially such bad news for the Rovers- the big 4 might find they "have" to renegotiate with the EPL if Juve's plans come to fruition.

- the other aspect is the extent to which they see Juve as one of Italy's premier brands and are positioning it as such (not surprising when you have an ownership overlap with Ferarri but some of the other names they compare themselves with are eyebrow raising). The extent of planned cross-marketing (using Juve TV) is astonishing.

The interesting thing is of course the identification with and exploitation of the Juve tifosi. They have the following numbers:

Support within Italy-

Juve 12.6m

AC 7m

Inter 6.8m

Roma 3.8m

Napoli 3.5m

Palermo 2.3m

Fiorentina 2m

Torino 1.6m

That little lot adds up to 43.6m Italian football supporters and the entire Italian population is only 58.1m! (that's babies to centenarians). There are another 50 professional clubs out there.

Globally, Juve count their support as-

Italy 12.6m

Germany, France, Spain 15.7m

UK 2.1m

Rest of EU 12.3m (European total 42.3m)

South America 29.7m

Japan and India 17.3m

China 83m

Global total 173m which they say is 4% of the world's population.

My reaction to this is I have never met a British Juve supporter (and I know a fair few Brits of Italian heritage) and see little evidence (other than Notts County lookalike scarves in tourist haunts) of any British Juve presence.

83m Chinese Juve supporters- oh yes?!>?

No North American support where these things are much tighter monitored and these sort of marketing claims are subject to litigious commercial lawyers probably tells all we need to know how soft these figures are.

To be honest, if Juve's numbers are so obviously bs, then probably the likes on Man U and Chelsea are as well and no doubt somebody has divided 50m Brits between the Big 4 somewhere...

However, Juve implicitly recognise this weakness in their numbers and their plans for "regional development" to "bring the tifosi closer to the club" throughout Italy in the next three years are again truly astonishing and would no doubt be repeated internationally if a success. Again the threat to a club like Rovers of Man U or Chelsea copying the model is very clear.

One final comment- there is a remarkable absence of one word throughout the document- Turin (or Torino).

Far more than the Citeh/United split in Manchester, if you meet a citizen of Turin, it is odds on they will be a Torino fan.

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  • 5 weeks later...

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