When a conversation gets initiated between football fans, the first question is usually, “What club do you support?”. Depending on your answer, there may be a follow-up question. For those who respond with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich, etc., there usually isn’t a follow-up question. However, if you respond with AS Roma, it’s very likely that you’ll be asked, “why?”. I’m sure many people have a different “why”, and that's what makes football so beautiful. Everyone has their own reasons for supporting a club, player, or even a manager. Every football fan has their own unique story, and here is mine.
I’ll start off by explaining my "why". Why do I support this club? Why do I put myself through this rollercoaster ride of being a romanista? Why do I subject myself to supporting a club that didn’t win a single trophy for 14 consecutive years of my 22 years on this planet? I never signed a contract; I could have easily jumped ship and picked one of the top teams in Europe. So what is my "why"? Well, at the beginning at least, I didn’t have a "why." I was born a Roma fan from the start. You may be wondering what on earth that means; let me explain. My father has been a Roma fan his entire life. He saw the likes of Bruno Conti, Falcão, Pruzzo, etc. He had over 30 years of being a Romanista instilled in him before passing it on to me. I can honestly say that I never had a moment where I searched up a bunch of clubs and read about their history before selecting my favorite. My father just put me in front of the television every week before I even uttered my first words on this planet, and I just sat there and soaked up match after match with him. Of course, these are stories that he then told me as I got older, and it all began to make sense. I can recall being just five years old and being asked what club I support by other kids at school and on my soccer team. When I responded with “Roma”, I’d instantly see their curious facial expression turn into one of shock and confusion. You’d be surprised by how many kids didn’t even know Roma was a club. To me, that was mind-boggling.
I viewed Roma in the same light as other top clubs in the world. Roma wasn’t just a club to me at the time; Roma was football. That’s all I knew. Of course, since then, I’ve garnered a wealth of football knowledge, and I understand why Roma is inferior to some of the bigger clubs in Europe in terms of quality on the pitch. But at that time, all I knew was what my father showed me: Roma matches, Roma interviews, and Roma highlights. As I got older, I began watching other Serie A matches, other leagues, European competitions, and international football. I know many people that had a similar trajectory, not with Roma but with other clubs that many wouldn’t consider prestigious. They supported a club when they were younger because of their family, and then once they got older and learned more about football, they made the switch over to another club. Perhaps a club with a bigger history and more funds at their disposal that would guarantee future success. To me, changing teams never came to my mind. Roma was with me before I spoke my first words, and Roma will be with me until I say my final words. There's more to being a football fan than just picking a successful team that guarantees you trophies so you can then have the edge in arguments against other fans because you can reference your club's rich history. It’s always been about the journey to me, seeing a team that you truly feel connected to finally accomplish something after years of ups and downs. Maybe it won’t happen as often as it does for other teams, but when it does, it’s always a special feeling. Like Francesco Totti once said, “Winning one league title with Roma, to me, is worth winning 10 at Juventus or Real Madrid.”
Maybe to some people, that quote may sound stupid. But it’s a feeling that can’t be described; only those within the Roma bubble will understand. Look at Jose Mourinho, a manager who won it all. He was brought to tears just seconds after Lorenzo Pellegrini lifted the Conference League trophy. He knew what it meant to the club and its fans. Moments like that are what I live for as a fan of this club. They may not happen often, but that’s what makes them special. For those who have followed and interacted with me on Twitter/X throughout the years, I’d like to thank you. Besides my father, I didn’t have an outlet when it came to talking about Roma. The Roma Twitter community became a place for me to communicate with other Romanisti from around the world. You guys welcomed me into this space, and I now feel obligated to help this community grow.
To end, a part of me believes I was always destined to become a romanista. The last time Roma won the scudetto was in 2001, the year I was born. It’s been very tough since then. But no matter how many struggles this club goes through, I’ll never stop supporting them because I’m a pure romanista at heart.