Celebrating the first ever Giallorossi Yorkshire meet-ups

It is approaching seven years since the Giallorossi Yorkshire website was first launched, with two specific motivations.

First, I wanted to have a platform to develop my writing in preparation for my Sports Journalism studies and career. That was the easy part.

The second and longer-term target was to bring local Roma fans together and build up a community who could eventually watch games in each other’s company.

This month, we have achieved that by hosting our first two Giallorossi Yorkshire meet-ups, for both legs of the Europa League tie with Brighton, right here in Leeds.

We were entertained by the 4-0 win in the first leg, despite none of us initially celebrating the opening goal by Paulo Dybala when we all assumed he was offside only to discover otherwise. As the players went on to secure a comfortable scoreline, it made for an enjoyable debut meet-up.

The second leg was a bit different, as Brighton won 1-0, but there were several moments – and refereeing decisions – throughout that got our reaction before we reflected on our progress into the quarter-finals.

A total of eight different people attended between the two matches, including six at the first meetup and then four (half of whom had been there the previous week and half of whom were new visitors) at the second.

It has been fascinating to hear everyone’s stories of our shared passion for Roma. Some members are of Italian descent and are carrying on family heritage; others, like myself, simply developed an interest in the club from afar for a variety of reasons.

Whatever everyone’s background, the wider Roma community has always felt welcoming – one of the factors that drew me even closer to the club upon a fateful visit to the Italian capital, and Stadio Olimpico, 10 years ago this summer.

And now, we are carving out our own small section of support for La Magica. However, it didn’t take long to remember that with Roma, you are always part of something bigger. Images shared on the Giallorossi Yorkshire social media accounts of our meet-ups received likes and comments from friends and new connections alike in other parts the world, reflecting the sense of being within a wider Roma community.

Indeed, the very fabric of this club – formed by merger, after all, in 1927 – is built on bringing people together.

This is just the start for Giallorossi Yorkshire as originally envisaged back in 2017. More meet-ups are already being planned (major thanks to Walkabout Leeds for their assistance), with people who will be returning and some who will be making their first visits, and our group chat is still growing.

I would compare the feeling to my current belief about Daniele De Rossi as Roma’s head coach. It felt surreal to see him in the role, even though we knew it would one day happen, and yet now it seems hard to imagine him not being in charge. Likewise, it has felt surreal to finally host these Giallorossi Yorkshire meet-ups, but while it won’t happen for every game going forward, I already can’t imagine it not happening again.

We finally made it happen.

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