Spalletti takes a spanking after just one game

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The traditional late August start to Serie A means that it’s back to the beach as the league closes down for the international break.

Well, summer is winding down and with Italy off to Cyprus for what should be a winning start to the defence of their World Cup crown, fans up and down the country are at a loose end.

Well, they are going to have to get used to it because the way things are going travelling support will become a thing of the past.

Following Napoli’s duel in the sun last Sunday, not only are the fans of the southern club banned from away games for the rest of the season, but when the action resumes next weekend no Fiorentina supporters will be allowed into the San Paolo while their AC Milan counterparts will not grace the streets of Genoa.

Napoli fans banned... and they aren't the only ones 

All high-risk games will now fall under the same jurisdiction, so looking at the rest of September, no Inter fans at Torino, Lazio at Milan, Fiorentina at Lazio and so forth right up to the Milan derby on the 28th.

There will be a further review ahead of the Milanese showdown so maybe as with most draconian measures in Italy they will be quickly be forgotten until the next time.

It’s difficult to dwell on all this negativity so early in the new campaign, not when Serie Aaaaargh! is sitting in a café on one of the side-streets off Rome’s stunning Piazza Navona, watching a drop-dead gorgeous girl administer a good lashing to Luciano Spalletti.

Not literally, of course, as the Roma coach is no where to be seen and the lashing is strictly of the verbal variety.

However, what you have is someone a million miles removed from the usual image of the Italian football fan.

Okay, taking away the fact that she could grace the cover of an fashion magazine, it’s the passion for her team that really grabs your attention -  I am being serious so stop sniggering!

"Come on, they're nothing more than a overpaid pub team..." 

The regulars are all in agreement when our dream fan complains that the Roma boss should have played Julio Baptista through the middle against Napoli and moved the speedy Mirko Vucinic out to the left when the visitors had right-sided defender Fabiano Santacroce sent-off.

Spot on you have to say but then there’s hardly a murmur of dissent when she drops the bombshell that Spalletti has lost the plot.

What, have we missed something here? Is this the same Luciano Spalletti who took the Romans to runners-up spot, the quarter-finals of Champions League and victory in the Italian Cup?

Well, as they say, dalle stelle alle stalle (from the stars to the stables) but in the course of one game?

“It’s not just one game,” Miss Calico Know-it-all opines. “Didn’t he keep switching players around in the Super Cup? I don’t know if he can get the best out of these players."

“Baptista hasn’t a clue what is going on – he’s like a fish out of water.”

Spalletti: On the receiving end already

The local radio have been humming with similar disgruntled Romanisti and this is probably the first time we have heard such open criticism of the shaven-head boss in his three-year reign.

The vexing problem of Francesco Totti’s injury problems hang heavily over any discussion on Roma’s chances of grabbing a major prize this season – and for la bella raggaza in the bar, a longing look at a photo of her hero on the wall tells us where her heart lies.

Then again, one glance at Aphrodite would probably have Signor Spalletti swooning to ensure he retains the love of the Romans.