Gone Quiet

Poor Bologna. For the umpteenth time the club finds itself recovering from a would-be sale, missing out on new ownership at the very last moment. Last summer they were courted by people familiar to romanisti, Vinicio Fioranelli and his crew, and this summer it was all set for Rezart Taçi to buy the club. On the date set for the takeover, he changed his mind, and Bologna again goes back into control of the Menarini family.

So far the comparisons between the fates of Bologna and Roma write themselves. But in one important aspect, the two clubs choose two totally diverse routes. After Taçi jumped ship without explaining why, the Menarini family didn't hide. The owner, Renzo, and the club's president, his daughter Francesca held a press conference, at which they tried to re-assure the fans, and answer whatever questions they could. It's not important that they couldn't answer why Taçi decided to skip on their agreed deal, it's not important that they themselves don't understand that. The important factor is that they made themselves available.

When Rosella made herself available to the press (and thereby the fans) for the first time since the Fioranelli sale never happened, it was more than a month since the negotiations fell apart. She came out after the Gent game one week ago and answered all questions about that subject evasively, and said that she 'respectfully won't answer that'. Someone clocked her appearance that night: she stayed around for little more than four minutes, refused to answer any questions about the club's future and complimented a few new faces for their game against Gent. Then she was gone.

So during a summer in which the fans have come to ask what, if any, future there is for AS Roma, Rosella has disappeared. She won't comment on a possible sale of the club, she won't comment on past deals that fell through, she won't even comment about the club selling a player the fans were close to. On the club's website, the only commentary about Aquilani reads one and a half lines long, dryly communicating that a bid has been accepted from Liverpool.
If this were any other team, the president would be out in the media defending, or at least explaining and trying to make sense of the sale of a player known to be held in special regard by fans. If this were any other team, we wouldn't be met with this amateurish stonewalling.

But it's not a new trend by any means. When Julio Baptista last fall flabbergasted admitted he thought that the club would be more active in calling out what it deemed to be unfair refereeing, it was simply more of the same. When Roma came so close to winning lo scudetto in 2008, DDR went on live television and more or less denied Inter's win legitimacy, Totti said he found Roma's treatment unfair - it was left to the players, and Spalletti, to handle it. Rosella, Bruno Conti and the rest of the yes men kept quiet. Vague excuses about Roma being listed on the stock exchange would be given at times, as explanation to the management's deafening silence.

It's not just Rosella herself though. This summer, everyone looks as if they've gone on vacation in the beginning of July. The last communique the club released on its website was July 2nd, announcing Montella's retirement. This is a club, remember, that has many times stated that these communiques are guarantees, that a listed club has to communicate only via these - and now even they're gone. Someone went to Sardinia and took the laptop with the pdf converter with them, for there has been no activity at all. There are a handful of in- and outgoing transfers the club claims it is bound to declare for all shareholders via the website, but you have to go to Torino's website to learn that they've taken Loria, etcetera.

That notion of Roma being listed at the Milano Borsa rendering it forbidden to talk freely is nonsense, too. Juventus are listed but is handling their communication as any normal club would, and there are no tangible or visible differences between them and a privately owned club. Lazio is listed as well, and Lotito is still the Most Quotable Ever.

I'm tired of this. I'm tired of not knowing. I'm tired of being reduced to a state of ignorance about anything concerning the plans of this club. I'm tired of Rosella.