Giulietta è 'na zoccola

In the ambition to promote the more appealing aspects of fandom in Italy - wit, sarcasm and creativity - every year a competition is held to decide which was the best striscione (banner) of the previous year. The award is named Sandro Ciotti, after a legendary tv commentator.

Banners are particularly tricky to translate - you either do it verbatim and risk making little sense; or give meaning and context, but risk losing that oomph - but I'll make a concerted effort to try to convey the humor as best I can.

The theme this year seems to be self deprecation, at least when looking at the top 3:

A Torino fan won the award, as she made fun of her own team's misfortunes with the spartan but apt "At least I'm drunk" (Meno male che sono ubriaca).

The Milanisti took an honorable second place with the shot at owner Berlusconi: "Daddy buy me Adebayor. Signed Noemi" (Papi compratemi Adebayor. Firmato Noemi). Noemi is of course the Letizia girl, 17 when Berlusconi met her and invited her to spend New Year's with him in Sardinia, and who refers to Berlusconi as daddy (papi).

Roma took third, and what you need to know is that in the Italian version of Gone With the Wind, Scarlett is re-named Rosella. Just too good of a coincidence to ignore, so regarding the rumored takeover bids and ongoing confusion: "If an offer really exists, make like Rosella O'Hara...gone with the wind!" (Se un'offerta esiste davvero, fai come Rosella O'Hara...via col vento!).

There were other notable nominees, a short round-up:

Roma, again, in response to the umpteenth time the team had difficulty getting a fair referee for a game against Inter, this time in the Italian Cup in January: "We're not cry babies, but we're not stupid either" (Nun semo piagnoni, ma manco fregnoni). The Bologna fans gave a shout out to Cassano, after his auto biography hit shelfs (read: still unpacked in boxes) in Italy, with its claim that Cassano had slept with over 700 women: "700 women for Cassano, but his brain is still a virgin" (700 donne x Cassano, ma il cervello è ancora vergine). Genoa fans saw what was coming last season, and pleaded: "Leave Milito, buy Militello" (Lasciateci Milito, compratevi Militello). Milito is the champion and fan favorite in Genoa, while Militello is a journalist who's written a book compiling the very best banners through the decades in Italy. The book's title: "Juliet is a slut" (Giulietta è 'na zoccola), a classic banner from the 80's from Napoli when they played Hellas Verona.

I've saved what I think is the best for last: a student organization unveiled a banner in protest against increasing cuts for schools and students, reading "Berlusconi, if you have hair it's thanks to research!" (Berlusconi se c'hai i capelli è solo grazie alla ricerca!).