A guide to the Ultra groups in Serie A: ATALANTA
Key Ultra Groups: ‘dell’Atalanta Supporters’ & Forever Atalanta.
Former Ultra Groups: Brigate Neroazzure Atalanta (Black and Blues Brigade Atalanta), Nuova Gurdia (New Guard), WildKaos Atalanta & Nomadi (Nomads).
It is July and the Ultras of Atalanta are partying at their pre-season festival. A tank – yes a TANK is in the process of crushing both Brescia and Roma. Well not literally, the tank is actually crushing two cars, one painted white and blue (Brescia) and the other painted red and yellow (Roma). Fans, family and players alike have come to join this annual celebration dedicated to their football club known as La Festa della Dea (Festival of the Goddess). On board the tank among a number of Atalanta supporters is new signing Giulio Migliacco who later claimed he was “inadvertently the protagonist” in what one might, at first glance, mistake for a tribal celebration of a goddess of war! Actually La Dea is Atalanta B.C and its tribes are the Ultras!
Bergamo which lies in the shadow of the Alps is a city of two parts, Upper Bergamo and Lower Bergamo, or in local dialect Berghem de Sura e Berghem de Sota. It’s famous for its musical history and enchanting medieval ambience, yet take a trip down to Lo Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, and the Ultras of Atalanta compose music of an altogether different pulse.
Atalanta Ultras have long been associated with left wing politics and images of socialist icon Che Guevara could often be seen in the Curva Nord (or Curva Pisani). Their first group, Brigate Neroazzure – black and blue brigade (BNA) came to being in 1976. It was from the BNA that sub-groups formed such as Wild Kaos Atalanta (WKA), Nomadi (Nomads) and Nuova Guardia (New Guard). Over the years these Ultras earned themselves a fierce reputation and were renowned for using only ‘fists’ and ‘boots’. In 1995 following the death of Genoa fan Vincenzo Spagnolo, stabbed by AC Milan Ultras, the Atalantini issued a statement entitled “basta lame basta infami” – cut out the knives, cut out the infamy.
In 1998, under the leadership of Claudio “Il Bocia” Galimberti members from Nuova Guardia, BNA, WKA and later the whole of Nomadi came together to form ‘dell’Atalanta Supporters’ (or Curva Nord Atalanta). This group is now largely apolitical. Il Bocia is well known within the Ultra circle, infamous for his fearless and violent past. Despite this he is held in great respect for his work within the Atalanta and Bergamo community. As a ‘Capo Famiglia’ figure, he organises fundraising and family events like the aforementioned La Festa Della Dea. And the respect does not stop in Bergamo. In 2005 the Ultras of Brescia, Atalanta’s local and fiercest rival issued a statement regarding Il Bocia’s stadium ban.“Nemico leale, Boci non mollare!” – Bocia our loyal enemy, don’t give up!
However there is one small group who have resisted the call to unite. When the BNA disbanded due to internal conflict regarding ideology and territory on the Curva some members decided to form Forever Atalanta. These Ultras reside in the Curva Sud (or Curva Morosini) and their members are thought to be predominately leftist.
In recent years the Atalantini have been involved in significant riots and protests. On November 11, 2007 prior to Atalanta’s game against AC Milan, news travelled to Bergamo that Lazio fan Gabriele Sandri had been shot by police. After 7 minutes a pocket of the Curva Nord tried to break down a glass perimeter fence. Players on both sides attempted to calm fans but they were warned the violence would continue if the game was not abandoned. 2009 saw two notable protests. The first concerned their club and Captain (Cristiano Doni) in a match fixing scandal, the second was a protest in Rome opposing La Tessera Del Tifoso (Supports Id Card). It is worth noting that neither ‘Curva Nord’ nor Forever Atalanta have accepted La Tessera, thus are unable to follow Atalanta on the road.
The Ultras of Atalanta have few friends and many enemies, a fact they thrive on. Ci stanno sul cazzo tutti – we hate everybody as Il Bocia aptly puts it. An incident in 2006 which saw 3 Atalantini stabbed by Roma fans, makes A.S. Roma a particularly hated rival. The few ‘friends’ they have include Ternana and Eintracht Frankfurt (based on old political affinities).
Come match days the Curva Pisani is a concoction of flares, smoke, flags and banners or on special occasions is engulfed by a huge blue and black flag. The infamous standing of the Atalanta Ultras lives on and although their reputation has been earned through many a bloody battle they are also admired for upholding ‘Ultra’ values and their close relationship to the Bergamo community. In a poetic peroration, using the words of Il Bocia himself
“What Ultras do is bring the city together. It is our duty to preserve the real values of this sport and while we are around, we will carry that passion forward till the bitter end”.
Find below video of Curva Nord vs. Inter 29/10/13
Atalanta vs. Hellas Verona 04/05 – Curva Nord
You can also find this article on Richard Hall’s website – The Gentleman Ultra http://thegentlemanultra.tumblr.com/