Remembering Superga

Pozzo's emotion

That was one of the most tragic and grevious evenings of my life. Death of that Torino, to which I dedicated so large part of my existance. I didn't go to Lisbon. A discrepancy of opinions, that was going on a long time and that became worse right in that period, saved my life. I went to London, to watch the English Cup final, as I did many times before. I came back by airplane, and, left my baggage at home, went to have dinner in a little Tuscan restaurant near Solferino square. Then, I was slowly going home and noted in the streets a strange stir I couldn't explain. In Pietro Micca street a car comes near to me. A very flustered driver of "La Stampa" gets out from the car and cried to me: "Finally!" "What?". "Don't you know? Torino died!". That clause made me incredulous. "What you mean with 'Torino': all?". I was right. I fastly went to Superga, and arrived before of many others. Behind the Basilica, I plunged on the scene of that orrible show. From a depot, like a woodshed, they were extracting the first bodies. On the ground, somebody was trying to identify them, making mistakes. I was correcting him, because I knew also the dresses, when a soldier came in front of me, regardful, saying he had to talk with me. He was marshal of carabinieri, in permanent service at Basilica. "You should recognize the bodies." He knew me. The same request was then repeated by the Captain who arrived a moment later. I remember the Juventus player John Hansen, who, in a long dark raincoat, embraced me. At evening, they led me at the general cemetary. I don't report the particulars of the identification with those who were in the two morgues. I sent away a friend of mine, who wanted to come with me, and was dimishing my courage with his observations. One by one, I recognized them all. I managed everything but their billfolds, after checking the contents of some of them: I left the Police commissary the ungrateful and critical work. A few players only were disfigured in their figure, most of them lost the shoes or even their feet, like many war soldiers. Only the English coach Lievesley was perfectly untouched. I came back to the newspaper where I wrote the funerary praise that the directory wished by me. At home I received a lot of phone calls. Then, I went to Madame Palace, where the corpses were disposed in good order, and there I felt in the arms of Piero Ferraris, left wing from Vercelli, who, as me, didn't join the fly. I brought the first coffin's left first cord of the long procession, and that appeared to be the longest, the most important one: kilometers and kilometers of women and babies crying. There was all Turin: I thought there was a half Italy. It was my Torino, the team I gave so much help to build. I called ten of eleven of them in our National selection, all at the same time. I remembered, while walking, the deads and the pranks: Mazzola and his family "matters", Rigamonti and his motorbike, Grezar and his sad smile, Gabetto "the baron" always facetious. After the ceremony, I felt like in the world of dreams, sa many thought I had in my mind. An old militar fellow, an alpine Captain who, in uniform, followed me all the way, brought me home. Not a word, in the car. The silence was enough. On the house door he embraced me. I threw myself on the bed.

Vittorio Pozzo

Silence, they're sleepy

Last Pozzo's visit at the boys of his Toro

Turin, May 5. A little boy arrived on a bike, stopped slowly on the blacktop viscous due to rain, raised the wet raincoat coif. He said to a guard: "I've these flowers, I've been asked to give them to the players." Rain was silently pushing on the asphalt, on the pavement, it washed by sudden and nervous flurries the cemetary's gate. On the other side, a lit up window, a yellowish and insinuating light that carefully highlighted the lucid soldiers' cartridge belts and enlarged on the street. The boy looked up the window for a moment, then turned his eyes and hold out the flowers again: "To them, they told me to give these flowers to them." Soldiers looked grim and didn't talk. Sometimes, an automatic "move along" raised slackly from their silence and the crowd, respectfully, moved away not to annoy. There was that alight window besides the gate, a wound in the heart of who was looking. And that yellowish light mixed with the rain, people's faces were dull, guarding soldiers' ammunition pouches standing. The boy carefully put the flowers at the gate and the cellophane rustled softly. Then he got his bike and went away surrounded by the rain: the flowers were there, praying for him and his older friends; later, when the light of that window would have faded away in the merciful shadows of the concentration, the boy understood that thy had given them the flowers. Nobody in Turin was sleepy that night, and people calmly joint, as looking for a marvellous piece of news, people cowed by the thought of finding in their houses' loneliness the desolate astonishment of the mischances. All together, the absurd was more tolerable, and all together they looked the gloomy sky, went to the morgue, listened the new day coming slowly as to say that everything was over. Because only during the day they would know that they were died, when the light of that window wouldn't longer enlarge on dark lucid street skin, and the rainy magic of the long dark hours would terminate. Now, there wasn't the racking and puzzled astonishment of the first moment. The sorrow would come later, sorrow's not hurry. In the streets, crowd waited, but didn't know what. Sometimes the arrive of somebody, the speedy nevrastenic diffusion of a false piece of information, and the mad news that get up in some strange way from a disaster, gave a wince, a new emotion. When they saw Pozzo, they sorrounded him: the old Azzurri's general; they came by car to led him to the last, the worst review of his boys. Vittorio Pozzo spoke with a clear and untouched voice, only his eyes show a fix a misterious unrest: "They asked me to try to recognize them, how could I not recognize the boys I grew up one by one?". It was raining. "Swiftly - said Pozzo - swiftly". He appeared to be the less moved by the idea of the work where pity and emotion must be compressed by a right burocracy of those called for the identification. The yellowish light, pending from the morgue window's sill and holding tight to the gate's grate, evil and curious to see, didn't dismay the loud and clear sounds of the old general's voice. Again, with his national players, as at London, at Paris, at Praga, he entered straight and resolute, he had no doubts, a father is not worry to go to his children, or to look their faces. He would look them one by one, with a long and lovely attention, here Valentino and Valerio, and Virgilio, everybody's sleepy and the old Pozzo calls them with a little voice. Ten and ten times, in the silent bedrooms before the important matches, he visited them in this way, silently, and touched lightly their blankets, then he remained a little, thinking and dreaming. All together, also now. He lower the old head on them and call them one by one: Valentino, Valerio, Virgilio... But silently, because they have a great tiredness and sleep his their boundless holiday.

Giorgio Fattori

Bye, Champions