Postcard from Vercelli – Otter’s pocket


May 20, 2012Il viaggio6 Comments

I was going to give this post the subtitle ‘warmth’. Not as in temperature, but the warmth shown by one person to another – or in this case, lots of people.

But then it started to rain. And rain. And rain. My whole top half is a mess of hair and cotton, stuck, like cling film, to each shivering part.

I spent the afternoon in Vercelli. A small town between Milan and Turin; surrounded by a sea of risotto rice fields. As you catch the train, the submerged fields are all you can see for miles around.

I was there to meet two lads, leaders of the Ghigni Bianchi – a supporters club of Pro Vercelli. We’d caught up earlier in the season through Facebook. I told them I was coming over and they extended an invite for me to join them.

Luca and Francesco could not have been better hosts. From refusing to let me put my hand in my pocket, to warmly introducing me to everyone of their friends. Each introduction was followed by the same puzzled question: “Why are you here to watch our team?”

I explained that I had picked a team to follow to improve my Italian. That the Italian development was non-existent, but the interest in their club was growing. I knew the history, the current players – they warmed to this even more.

So much so that when Pro Vercelli scored their winner deep in injury time, I found myself screaming and jumping with a man who couldn’t understand a word I was saying. For a moment at least, our passions, if not our words, were the same.

In my head I’m already planning next season’s trip. Obviously I’ll be bringing the family with me next time around, but until then, I really have to work on my Italian.

If only to scream the same words of celebration, the next time I see Pro Vercelli win

6 Responses to “Postcard from Vercelli – Otter’s pocket”
  1. Luigi

    Vercelli is waiting for you!
    Sunday there’s the most important match of the season, i hope to be able to take a ticket!

  2. Gideon Dionysius

    Dear Chris,
    Nice to see that the international fan base of Pro Vercelli is growing. For years John Costa and I were the only ones active on the net, but it is a pleasure to follow your Pro Vercelli passion via Parla Calcio? Have you checked Hope you like it, although it is in Dutch. So far I have visited Pro Vercelli matches in Series C2 and C1, so really looking forward to visit the Silvio Piola again next season for Serie B-experience after 64 years of “waiting”. Maybe you join?

    Kind regards,
    Gideon Dionysius

    • Chris

      Hallo Gideon,

      Thank you – yes, I did see your site when I started to write mine. It is good to see a few different views from non-native Vercellese.

      I will be looking to go to one home, one away game next year. It would be good, just for the spice/atmosphere to go to Novara at home, but that may not be possible. I have been linking up with the Ghigni Bianchi so will try to make it as public as possible on my site: Parla Calcio? when I am next out there.



  3. Gideon Dionysius

    Hi Chris,
    That’s great, I agree. I’m planning to visit two games as well; one in Piacenza (probably in Sept./ Oct), and one home game in Vercelli (I expect in Spring). A derby against Novara in the Piola would be excellent of course, but first wait and see what the Serie B-schedule will be, what fits in the agenda. In the meantime there is lots of club history for me left to relate to current events – my main theme – and continue dreaming of football fairy tales come true in Vercelli.
    Ciao, Gideon

    • Chris

      We will have to try and arrange our visits together then, Gideon.

      I was possibly going to avoid Piacenza and go to an away game in September and a home game whe the Piola opens in November. Spring is not good for me, but if they make the Serie B playoffs, then who knows what the summer will bring.

      Ciao, Chris

  4. Gideon Dionysius

    Good idea. November could be the good month for me as well, as it now seems. I have the habit to stay a day or four in Vercelli.
    Let’s stay in touch and see how things might work out. Don’t hesitate to contact me via hotmail.
    Forsa Pro! Gideon

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