Joseph Martelli didn’t need to lean on his position of president of Toronto’s Juventus Official Fan Club to have the experience of his life. A membership is all he needed! Here is his account from his trip to Turin this past March:
My trip to Turin – accompanied by my wife – last March was a dream that became reality. I got the chance to live out the Juventus experience at its fullest. Ahead of Juventus-Udinese, in a typically rainy March Turin day, we first indulged in the Walk About, exclusively available to Juventus members, gave us the opportunity to see the dressing rooms (already prepped with our heroes’ jerseys, ready to be worn for yet another victory), to assist to the pre-match from the touchline, and welcome our idols as they came out of the team bus.
Mr. Allegri was the first, and then our captain, the undisputed general of many battles, our legend, namely Gigi Buffon, who saluted us with a smile and a high five before crossing the “corridor of captains” in order to access the dressing room. Next was, Paolo Dybala, who came by the awaiting crowd and took some photos with a smile.
After a victorious match we went up to Level 2 of the Allianz Stadium where we took part in the “Third Half” (Terzo Tempo) organized exclusively for a limited number of Juventus Official Fan Club (JOFC) members who were visiting Turin from all over Italy and the world. After a brief speech by the JOFC president Mariella Scirea (wife of our beloved and departed legend Gaetano), we were joined by Juventus legend and current member of Juventus management Gianluca Pessotto, Miralem Pjanic, and a mystery second player to be revealed a little later. After a handful of minutes we heard the crowd react and from a scrum we see our number 10, Paulo Dybala emerge. It was just an incredible feeling seeing him live.
The day after, my wife and I had the rare opportunity to be invited for lunch at La Continassa, the location of Juventus’ new headquarters. “Presidential privilege”, you might say. Once inside, we see our President Andrea Agnelli lunching with our Director Giuseppe Marotta. The latter gets up, starts toward me and welcomes me with a “Hello Mr. President”, and we proceed to chat for a few minutes. What a feeling!
After a brief tour of cities near north western Italy, we returned to Turin on March 14 for the match versus Atalanta. Before this match, however, we had another series of surprises: first I provided an interview that was made into a story on Juventus’ Instagram account in English, followed by an exclusive guest appearance on JuventusTV (JTV) with the splendid host Monica Somma and director Claudio Zuliani for their pregame show. During taping, I sat next to Juventus legend Moreno Torricelli and chatted about his time as a Juventus player and the emotions he felt in lifting aloft the Champions League trophy in Rome’s evening sky after beating Ajax, and the magical night in Tokyo a few months later in which we won the Intercontinental Cup against River Plate thanks to a goal by none other than Alessandro “Pinturicchio” Del Piero.
After my JTV guest appearance we were directed toward the field of play. I had been to the Stadium before, took part in the regular tour, but to see it full of fans and journalists, to experience the Stadium was surreal: with my wife by my side, a few steps away from the pitch and seeing the teams so close coming onto the field of play… I was without words, my heart beating at 1000 km/h!
We exchanged a few words with stadium announcer DJ Nanà, watched our players warm up and finally gained our seats to watch the match. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank with all my heart the Centro Coordinamento Club (the JOFC coordinating body) and particularly Fiammetta, Federica and Gabriele to have given me the opportunity to experience Juventus so intensely and to have represented Juventus Official Fan Club of Toronto so well.
You too may experience what I’ve experienced one day if you join our club. Our 2018-19 membership window is now open to residents of the Province of Ontario – but not for long (until October 2018) – check out benefits and details on how to join at www.JOFCtoronto.com/join
Juventus is Life, Juventus ought to be Loved… Juventus is everything
Piece originally written and published in Italian on Zeb Magazine.