As y’all may have noticed over the past season, Viola Nation kind of turned into the Tito Show. I really don’t like that, since I think that this site should reflect a lot of perspectives and opinions other than mine, but I also didn’t have time to do anything about it until pretty recently. We put out a call for new talent last week, though, and, uh, we got some responses. After getting absolutely flooded with interest—seriously, I spent most of my free time last month combing through a figurative ton of offers from extremely talented people—here are the six (!) new writers. And now I’m going to shut up and let them introduce themselves.
Hey everyone! I’m Adam, Viola Nation’s latest free transfer. While I can’t say there were too many others vying for my signature, I can wholeheartedly promise that I’ll be a better signing than Cyril Thereau. I’ve been around for the past couple years commenting under the moniker “XL”, so I’m plenty familiar with just how wonderful you all are. Since I’m quite a bit less tactically savvy than the other writers here, you’ll likely catch me writing more offbeat pieces about the atmosphere around the club, some in-depth character profiles about our players and staff, or any other interesting Viola gossip that I think might make for good discussion. This team and this community mean a lot to me, and I’m incredibly excited to be here and interact with all you fellow Fiorentina faithful.
Hello! Sam Poznak here. I’m very excited to be writing for Viola Nation, as I’ve been a long-time lurker/occasional commenter. Growing up in Michigan, my connections to Fiorentina and Florence are tenuous at best, but my love for soccer in general came to me during the 2014/2015 season. Around that time, I chose to start following Fiorentina because I have cousins who grew up in the city – one of whom still lives there, works as a firefighter, and can occasionally be seen on the Franchi’s sidelines, dressed in his full uniform. I think he’s there to snuff out any fires caused by Chiesa’s blazing pace.
I fell in love with La Viola that season because of their purple jerseys, perennial underdog status, and coach that looked like a bond villain. I’ve followed them ever since. I was even there during the “Salutate La Capolista” thing. Funny story about that: I was so excited that I booked my first ever vacation as an adult to coincide with the end of that season. We didn’t win anything, but I did get to see a 0-0 draw against Palermo. I missed my aunt’s wedding for that. Moral of the story: maybe don’t miss your aunt’s wedding for a 0-0 draw against Palermo. She’ll be kind of angry.
In real life, I’m a comedian living in NYC. I use “comedian” loosely because I don’t make any money at it. Working on that. If you are around NYC and want to say “hi”, please hit me up! I moved here a year ago and still don’t have enough friends.
Mike (Mike McCormack)
Hello ViolaNation! Very appreciative for the opportunity to contribute. I’ve been here for a couple years as a lurker, about a year now interacting. I didn't grow up a soccer fan. The only thing I knew about soccer as a kid was there were not enough huddles in the game for me to play.
I started watching soccer after the underwhelming 2010 Super Bowl and haven't looked back since. Ironically the moment that hooked me as a fan was during a 2010 Inter/Juve game, when Maicon scored the most incredible goal I had ever seen off of a triple volley. Even then I knew Juve sucked!
I had always been a fan of Florence. Who wouldn’t be? The history, art, architecture, food, wine, people and now Fiorentina. There were a lot of personalities on that team that made it easy to fall in love with; Mutu, Frey, Gilardino, Vargas, Prandelli. I’ve been a fanatic ever since. And on the topic of love, I’m sure I am not the only one to convince their wife to go to Florence to watch a game for their honeymoon, but she does remind me all the time that she is the only one who would walk around the streets of Florence married to a guy who sings the only two words he knows to “Oh Fiorentina” while humming the rest of song for 10 days straight. I live with her and our three kids just north of Philadelphia.
A member of my family once described his blood as being purple. That statement sums up Fiorentina fans best. Born and raised in London by a Florentine father, there was only one team to support. Watching, reading, and thinking Fiorentina has been a religious part of my Sundays. Heck, winning Master League on PES 6 with the Viola became an obsession. Weekends (and video games) aside, I’d always wear the Giglio on my sleeve; literally. Some of my clearest memories are my brother and I sporting our Pazzini and Ujfalusi fake polystyrene jerseys kicking a ball around the park. In fact, I tried to model my game after ‘Il Pazzo’, even if it was only copying his ‘did you see my goal’ celebration. Sadly, as a striker with two left feet, I rarely got to use it. I remember getting in trouble at school for refusing to take off my Fiorentina scarf the day we were facing Rangers in the semi finals of the UEFA Cup. I thought wearing it would bring us luck. I ended up taking it off. We lost. I still feel guilty.
We can all agree that being a Fiorentina fan is, sometimes, not great for the heart. Despite the heart-ache, the club has given me some of the greatest moments of joy any football fan could ask for. I look back at our 07-08 UEFA Cup run, Dani Osvaldo’s bicycle kick against Torino, Cuadrado’s goal against Udinese or Alberto Gilardino just being a handsome devil in a purple jersey. Yet, one moment trumps them all. I had the pleasure (scratch that, the honour) to be at the Franchi for THAT Giueseppe Rossi hat-trick. It’s hard to put it into words so I will paraphrase. I was once in a bar in Scotland and heard one guy describe his country beating France in Paris as ‘better than any lovemaking’ he’d ever had. I guess it felt something like that.
I’ve been formally supporting the Viola since first visiting Florence and the Franchi in 2011. On that day it was a 3-0 win vs Parma and Stefan Jovetic was unplayable. The atmosphere was incredible and I completely fell in love with the city, which I now consider my go-to holiday destination.
But being from the UK, really it all started on Sunday’s in the late-90's. Football Italia had a big impact on me growing up - featuring James Richardson with a Gazzetta in hand, a flick from Rui Costa and even more inevitably a Batigol golazzo.
After failing to recreate those moments on the pitch, I’ve settled for the coffee and Gazetta during weekend breaks in Italy instead.
I can’t wait to start contributing to the site. Forza Viola.
I’m the last to add this short history - so I get to see all the rest of these stories and it’s such a pleasure.
Sam : Montella is totally a Bond villain! I’m so grateful to you for pointing out that my favorite Fiore manager also falls squarely within my favorite category of fictional character.
Mike : The Prandelli Era! Frey! And your undoubtedly epic singing.
Ned : That match. That Rossi. That Gila.
Rory: Jimbo! I'm still trying to catch up on all I missed not being a kid in the UK, watching Richardson sat at a beautiful café with the Gazzetta open, dishing calcio.
Adam : I'm embroidering ‘Fellow Fiorentina Faithful’ on my next purple scarf.
Tito’s deft hand at distilling tactical and topical information is a beautiful bedrock for Viola Nation, and his epic rant on the failure of the FIGC to act even vaguely human in response to some of the more recent high-profile racist incidents was among a small but important number of journalistic censures.
I first saw Fiorentina in 2005, and I will never truly be able to capture the experience of watching this form of beauty so completely new to me unfold across the length of the pitch. It's possible that I was such a clumsy unathletic child I had never previously seen a soccer match. But the long arching passes, the fluid movement In space, the impossible angles from which they scored and saved goals - these are rare in any sport and any art.
The more I know about football, and with every season that passes - even the grim ones - I am more grateful that the team I first fell in love with was Fiorentina. There is no more beautiful club. As my Italian neighbor puts it : “Siamo i Signori di calcio.”
This is an inordinately passionate and talented group. Some of them you already know, and the rest you’ll soon know pretty well. I’m really excited to see where they’re going to take this site and how much they’ll improve it (besides immeasurably). Forza Viola, and Forza Viola Nation!