In the second half of last weeks Europa League clash between Celtic and Inter, the Italian supporters chanted against Naples with calls for “Vesuvius to wash them with fire” and insults for “having cholera”. This chanting, which is seen in Italy as territorial discrimination has become commonplace in stadiums throughout the country, even when Naples isn’t playing.
In a moment of spontaneous solidarity, members of Celtic’s Green Brigade responded with the chant “Come on Naples” and a friendship was birthed. Following the game Napoli Calcio Live interviewed Douglas, a leader Celtic supporters group who stated, “We can relate their situation to what we face in Glasgow… We are discriminated against for our Irish origins, and receive offensive chants for it. Rangers fans chant ‘The famine is over, why don’t you go home?”.
The Green Brigade, who are part of Europe’s antifascist Alerta Network, have a history of standing up against discrimination. “Unlike other fan alliances”, Douglas said, “our solidarity with Naples is born out of respect and not mutual hate. What’s happened in these days is the start of something beautiful that will hopefully blossom into a friendship for years to come”.
Last night, Celtic’s aways support displayed Napoli flags from the third tier of San Siro’s Curva Sud. Napoli and Celtic supporters spend the day together in Piazza del Duomo sharing beers and solidifying their friendship. In football, relationships you never knew could exist spawn out of spontaneous passion for the game. As Celtic and Napoli embark on their new friendship, those who believe in the world game’s capacity to bring people together have another reason to smile.
Check out our recent documentary on the real Napoli.