In this edition of our Till I Die series, we are honoured to speak to Jacopo Quaglia (JQ), an Italian working in Singapore. Jacopo was born in Torino (Turin in the English world) and raised in Bologna.
Fantasy Football Titan (FFT): Thanks for your time with us, Jacopo, do share with us how long you have been supporting Torino FC
JQ: I have been a Toro supporter since the age of 5 or 6. We had just won our last championship -the Panini stickers had the Toro (Torino) players with the Scudetto on their jerseys. My father used to tell me many stories on when he was listening at the radio the matches of the Grande Torino (the whole team perished on May 04 1949 in a plane crash and that was considered the best team in the world).
In addition to that, I was born in Torino and my horoscope is Taurus, so I could not support any other team. It was my destiny.
FFT: Let’s talk about Joe Hart. Torino is an interesting destination for the England number 1 – do you rate him and do you think he can improve the current side?
JQ: Joe Hart is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and we were all very surprised when the news came up. His situation with Pep Guardiola was not the easiest to handle and he needed to feel important and play regularly. I assume his focus is the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and that he can retain his slot in the national squad. He honestly admitted that he did not have many alternatives but when he spoke to Sinisa (Mihajlaovic), hence he decided to jump in and experience something new.
We are far from being the Man City so we are glad that he has decided to join us. Besides the assurance that he is able to give his team mates and his excellent technique, Joe is also a wonderful personality and from what I have heard, people in Torino are already in love with him. I am sure that he will improve technically and tactically in Serie A. He is certanly a leader and I hope he will have a good time there and who knows… maybe he will fall in love with our team.
FFT: Who are the few players we should look out for this season at the club?
JQ: (Andrea) Belotti, (Lucas) Boye, (Antonio) Barreca are the three main young players you should look at. (Iago) Falque has started very well too, while our top player (technically speaking) is Adem Ljajic. He has recently recovered from a series of injuries.
Another 3 players I would keep an eye on are:
- (Marco) Benassi – young and already in the main national team
- (Daniele) Baselli – great technique but still has some personality issues
- (Leandro) Castan – among the best defender 2 years ago while playing for Roma but had to go through surgeries for serious health problems. He is now recovering and hopefully he might go back to his old standards which were really high.
Ah and of course big Joe.
FFT: Where do you think your club will finish this season?
JQ: When Sinisa joined the team he openly said that we should target the Europa League only in the second year but after a few games, I can say that we have a chance even during this first year of him in the dugout. Let’s see, I just hope injuries will not occur so often as last year….. It’s all up to our players – the potential is there.
FFT: For the benefit of the fans in Singapore, can you describe your club’s rivalry with Juventus?
JQ: Before I start, I will like to highlight that I have met some of the local Juventus supporters and on a personal level there is of course nothing bad with them. On the contrary, they are all great people, very much in love with their team and are very friendly and helpful. Farah, the President of the local Juventus fan club, put me in touch with an Italian ex-colleague of hers who supports Toro.
I also understand that for people who live far away, the way to get closer to a team is either because they win (and you see it with the different generations of S’poreans who support Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and a few of Manchester City) or because you fall in “love” with a player, such as Baggio, Totti, Del Piero, Buffon and so on.
However, the reality is different when you are in Italy.
Car producer FIAT has its HQ and production facilities in the city of Torino. FIAT is owned by the same family who owns Juventus. Therefore, the rivalry between Torino and Juventus starts from a sociological stand point – where Juventus has always been seen as the team of the boss / the owner / the master and Torino as the team of the (blue-collar) workers. Juventus has always been the most powerful team in Italy in terms of lobbying and driving decisions within the Serie A championships. This went too far, till the point that Juventus had to face trial for corruption of the referees and many other issues that allowed them to win championships by illegal means. They were relegated to Serie B as a result of that.
In any case, that was just the tip of the iceberg. It is a common belief in Italy that Juventus has always lobbied and always masterminded championships in their favours.
Personally, the saddest thing is that their team has always been laden with excellent players and they would have not needed to do such illegal things. In Italy either you support Juventus or you hate them.
FFT: Lastly, can you tell us more about the fan club in Singapore and how to reach out to you guys?
JQ: The Toro Club Singapore was officially launched on February the 1st 2016. We currently have about 12 members now and we would love to be contacted by locals who may be interested in catching up, knowing our history and trying to understand what drives people to support a team that is not the usual Juventus, Inter, Milan etc. We have a Facebook page Toro Club Singapore and we try to meet for lunches or dinners at least once a month. Of course when the timing is OK, we also gather to watch the matches.
Editor’s Note: Fantasy Football Titan is looking for more fans out there who supports the smaller teams in the Premier League. If you are keen to be interviewed by us, do contact us via our social media platforms.
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