The Curva Fiesole has always been a unique fan section in Italy, one that is decentralized, free from strong political ties, but still vocal in its opinions. So the statement that the Curva published today really shouldn't come as a surprise for its restrained tone and interesting analysis. Most of the debate surrounding Sevilla's emphatic defeat of Fiorentina in the Europa League semifinals has centered around the character of the team and coach, as well as the attitude of Vincenzo Montella in his press conferences where he has defended his players to the hilt.
And as expected, the communiqué begins at this point, saying that "it seems our duty to respond to the declarations in the heat of the moment made by Mr. Montella. Probably the dear 'Mister' doesn't deeply understand the 'dimension' [word Montella used in his press conference] of the love that Florence has for its team, and we shall even explain to him why." But instead of hammering Montella for not expecting more of his team or for attacking the fans, the statement continues by explaining "We can guarantee that it wasn't easy to control the frustration of the public, who at one point found refuge in the famous Florentine 'cutting irony'. But don't misunderstand us, that we understand very well [Montella's] statements on the songs of derision, and we did not start the 'ole's' and we disassociate ourselves from them, we believe that this team deserves respect for the journey it has made in Europe, [though] we'd have preferred to be able to cry for the loss while giving an ovation for the team."
The Curva Fiesole explains the inappropriate fan behavior to be the product of a "month of continued frustrations and in some cases humiliating defeats" and notes that "In Florence it would have been enough to finish the game in 8 because where we can't go with our play we can compensate with pride." The fans also noted that "We believe that we shall only have to apologize when we think that you have received less from the fans than we have received in return."
But outside of defending itself as a fan base, the Viola faithful made clear that the responsibility for this collective frustration wasn't "the team, which for its technical footballing dimension has given its all, and not the coach, who in these years has done very well, and certainly not the fans." Instead the problem is the upper echelons of the club, while "Montella and the team pay the malcontent of a piazza regarding the running of this Fiorentina... the real problem is the club, and we aren't talking about investing more or less money... The club has distanced the team from its city, keeping it far from what is our real 'motor', our strength: the passion of our people."
The statement goes on to highlight ways in which the team is separated now from the fans (something of which Giancarlo Antognoni spoke with us about in his interview back in March), when the team should have at least a weekly open practice, and - the ultras argue - the players should be asked to spend more time in the city, to see "how much Florence loves its team... then maybe they would play more for us and less for their paycheck."
Easier said than done, of course, but the consequent defamation of current Fiorentina president Mario Cognini is brutal and not without merits: "The role most representative of our club, the President, is filled by a person unknown to most, who doesn't live even marginally in the city, and who only opens his mouth when he should have taken an expression to stay quiet [rough translation of a Florentine expression, apologies]... He should take his responsibilities and step down."
The comprehensive statement ends with a lamentation on the departure of Eduardo Macia and the lack of experienced 'calcio' people in the backroom staff. "Return to your place Andrea [Della Valle], you represent Fiorentina in every hall as one should, you are the true president. Choose true footballing men and bring the team back in the middle of people and you'll see we'll even be able to win, even if for us the true victory is to feel 'Florentine'."
It remains to be seen whether these hypothetical changes would have such a rich reward, but it is definitely clear that the ire for the often-invisible Fiorentina president Cognini is very real, and that the supposedly embattled Montella has more credit with the fans than most would think. It'll be interesting to observe the mood in the Curva Fiesole during the upcoming game against Parma.