From the Desk of the President (Maybe)

Yesterday Rosella Sensi published an open letter on Roma's website, "From San Siro to London". She sets the tone of the letter in the very first sentence: "I'm furious, or better yet raging, and don't think I'm the only one in Rome these days"; an attack of the refereeing Roma has received, and a defense of her own actions and of Roma.

Then why do I still feel frustrated with the short changing of Roma; with Rosella and her leadership? Rosella probably hoped it would be received by fans with an attitude that chooses to forget that she's coming more than a little late to the party, and instead embrace the fact that she's shown up at all - let's not. Let's not act as if speaking out after a game in which the presiding referee is suspended  afterwards for his performance, where the agreement that Roma got an unfair deal by Rosetti is seemingly universal and altogether uncontroversial. Let's not even begin to pretend that that makes up for years of neglect and arrogance.

The letter reminisces on "a lost scudetto in the last 45 minutes in Catania two years ago", but on the day that Roma did lose that scudetto, and De Rossi stood in live television, his temper subdued only by an extraordinary show of strength and will, and told the public exactly how much he thought Inter's title was worth; how little respect he held for the way they had won it - on that day, Rosella was silent, and she was absent. In all the incidents prior, as well as subsequent, to that day in Catania in 2008, she was silent when players and Spalletti were left out to dry, all on their own, without the backing of their club.

When Julio Baptista had been in Rome a few months he expressed disbelief that the club didn't stand up for itself more, that it didn't assert itself. That the club just took whatever blows were handed out, without ever raising its voice. Rosella chooses to justify that strategy, at the same time as she says she's "furious, or better yet, raging" about Roma's treatment, which exposes the club to "unacceptable situations". No, Rosella, you may not both have the cake and eat it.

I don't care if she does it publicly, but if she's truly intent on joining this party so late on, to - as she writes - henceforth make herself heard in appropriate places and times, she first needs to apologize to DDR for not backing him up after the club had a scudetto stolen, for making him the sole voice of discontent in light of the dishonesty.

In closing, a short word on the format: I think communicating through the website can be effective, and have many upsides. This time, however, it was an unfortunate choice. Publishing an open letter on the club's own website mostly communicates the message to Roma fans: that's what's called preaching to the choir. Roma fans shouldn't be the target group for such a message; it should be everyone else. It's not pretty, but the old man Franco at least understood a thing or two about the power in, figuratively, throwing an elbow to ensure you don't get such an unfair treatment next time around. The president of AS Roma, the vice president of the Italian FA, Lega Calcio, surely has at her disposal media time should she want it. Writing this letter to Roma fans, to tell them what they already know is useless, and it changes nothing. Unless...

Unless there's an added, or more important, motive for the letter. In studying the criticism made daily against her, she has perhaps seen that the "low profile" she has preached and practiced as president is detested among fans. Making a full turn around and embracing the profile fans call for could, potentially, bring the fans back into her midst, to provide her with clout and backing she needs, as always, for keeping the club. Maybe that's cynical of me to speculate in, but I can't silence the little voice in my head that wonders why she writes a letter instead of going on tv on Sunday night, or even the radio; media outlets that would really spread her displeasure and unwillingness to accept certain situations. She did write it herself, didn't she?

Rosella, you're too late to this. One letter isn't enough to ignore all the times you refused to say as much as a word in defense of Roma, it isn't enough to ignore. It would have been great, and credible, if this came two years ago. But now it appears as ingenuous.