Fiorentina kicked off 2016 in some style on Saturday by hosting a training session at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, paying a special tribute to the 10,000 supporters in attendance. There had been numerous requests from fans for the club to hold more of these open days in the past, a sentiment echoed in this statement released by the Curva Fiesole back in September.
This season however, La Viola have done well to rectify the situation by hosting similar events twice already during the opening months of 2015/16. On a dull, wet afternoon in Florence, the supporters at the Franchi celebrated their team with passion and purple flares. The players have come to expect nothing less from their dedicated band of followers, but this time the team had a treat in store for them.
"Il nostro cuore per i nostri tifosi". Buon anno Firenze, Forza Viola. @acffiorentina pic.twitter.com/k166WYg8Mp— ACF Fiorentina (@acffiorentina) January 2, 2016
Paulo Sousa himself has astutely moved to unite his squad with the fan base and has been highly involved in meeting the supporters. The purple heart formed by the players on the pitch was believed to have actually been the Coach's idea, and when speaking to the media he frequently praises the way his team is backed by those at the stadium.
The visual thank you for the loyal support was a symbolic gesture that may well serve as a way of repairing any 'distance' felt between fans and club. It was certainly an ideal way to kick off the second half of the campaign for Fiorentina, who sit in second place in the league and face Tottenham in the Europa League round of 32.