And so, after a glamorous career in London & the Loire (successfully), Paris (unsuccessfully), and Derby (forgettably), Dr. Edward Pardew (and his assistant Michael Brown) arrived in Rome, at AS Roma, another stop in the odyssey, and potentially, a fit better than any other.
Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti, local boys loyal only to Roma and to each other, were lurking, suspiciously, around the club’s training ground in the middle of the summer as the new man was unveiled.
The pair decided to guide Pardew through ‘initiation’, open arms to a stranger from afar, a new man in a foreign land. Expecting a tour of the best wine bars in the city, a personal address by the pope, and a guided trip around the club’s museum, Pardew wore his best suit and shoes. He was dismayed to find the two Roman boys, at their arranged midnight meeting time, high on Catullus and Ovid, wearing balaclavas, wielding crowbars, and with covert plans to defecate outside Lazio’s stadium, and to graffiti ‘Mussolini is a Quim’ on and around the turnstiles.
It was some hours later that the three remembered that the two clubs shared a stadium.
Despite the initial warmth shared between Roma’s new manager, captain and vice-captain, tension soon grew between the three. De Rossi, tired of being in Totti’s shadow for…well…forever, grew fatigued with the latter consistently referring to him as ‘boy’ whilst Pardew himself struggled to adapt to Totti’s insistence on being called ‘Caesar’.
The captain’s resolve to speak Latin and only Latin in the dressing room affected team spirit and communication, not least for poor Marko Marin. Signed from Bremen for…far too much money, Marin struggled to adapt to life away from Germany, admitting to Pardew a few weeks into his sojourn in Italy that he’d never actually left the motherland before arriving at the Stadio Olimpico.
Despite having adaptability zero Marin managed to perform some semblance of a wing performance in victories against Odense and Parma, however an international game for Germany proved the nadir of 2010. Despite having a feeble aggression of five, Marin managed to get himself sent off for Die Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft, an embarrassing episode for all involved, leading to the youngster begging – probably in tears – for a leave of absence from the club.
Other factors led to dwindling squad numbers; with Mario Balotelli gone, but in no way forgotten, in Manchester, ‘Caesar’ decided he needed some more Ghanaian-Italians to practice his ‘barbarian-kicking’ on, just in case Mario ever returned to ‘the Empire’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojoWIquo3AE
Stefano Chuka Okaka had long wondered why he had been kept on at the club. His peers had moved on or out of the game, whilst he, despite never ever realising his potential, or ever really playing for I Giallorossi, was still kept in contract, ‘and in the country’, Totti would say – daily – before handing a blood smeared Inter, Balotelli 45, shirt to Okaka to ‘try on’. The young striker’s daily dose of ‘barbarian-kicking’ remarkably didn’t injure him, but appears to have undermined any ability he ever may have had of playing football again.
End of Part One