I’m sure, by now, most of you will have seen the brilliant video of Matteo at the match on Sunday. If you haven’t, you should have. So have a look!
I love this, as I love most fan videos as it captures the emotion in a crowd at special moments like TV never quite can. But this one came with a twist. When watching, I thought “this is great!”. My second question moved on swiftly to: “what kind of accent is that?!”. We had to try to track this guy down! And we did, fairly sharpish, with the help of some top-class creeping on Facebook.
See? World class creeping.
Balls.ie did a piece on his video here and the Mayo GAA Banter Page also tracked him down on Twitter! But another video he uploaded seems to have gone unnoticed! And, in fact, it is my favourite semi-final moment (which I covered here): Seamie O’Shea’s point late on against Dublin in 2012, and everything that surrounds it. Great video!
So the man himself agreed to answer a few questions for us about himself. Introducing Matteo Scaccabarozzi (my new favourite name of all time) from Merate, a small town of around 15,000 in the beautiful north of Italy.
Where exactly are you from?
I live in Merate, my hometown, in the province of Lecco, 20 kms South from the Como Lake and 30 kms North from Milan. I’m 22 and I study Chemical engineering at university in Milan.
Do you follow any other sports or sports teams?
Yes! I’m an amateur cyclist and so I never miss the most important stage races and classics. Each year I go to watch the Giro d’Italia on the most important climb. My favourite cyclists now are Nibali and Cancellara but my hero has always been Marco Pantani and I really admire Fausto Coppi too. I support Inter Milan and sometimes I go to San Siro but I don’t follow soccer all that much. During winter I really like watching the NFL, I’m a Giants’ fan but I like almost any team except for the Cowboys and the 49ers. Another sport I like following is rugby but in this case I watch only national teams, since clubs in Italy are very weak.
What is your relationship with Mayo?
I became a Mayo fan before visiting the county. After starting following gaelic football I decided to translate the Wikipedia pages of the county boards in Italian. When I read the story of Mayo the misfortune they had, the legend of the 51 curse I said: this is my team. Besides the waiting is nearly the same Inter Milan had to undergo before winning the Champions League again and the spirit of the team is somehow similar to that of Pantani. He faced many injuries, accidents but he never gave up and at the end he won the Giro and the Tour. Mayo is similar: despite all the losses they suffered they’re always there, fighting for the Sam, they never gave up. In 2013 I visited Mayo, the same week of the All-Ireland final and I really liked it. I stayed in Westport, rode the Greenway and climbed the Croagh Patrick. The view of the Clew Bay from the summit is wonderful. I’ll come again to Mayo because I want to visit Clare Island, the Doo Lough, the Killary Harbour and finally the rock in the Downpatrick Head.
Courtesy of the Banter Page
What was the first Mayo game you saw?
The first game I saw was the semifinal we lost against Kerry in 2011.
What was the first Mayo game you attended?
It was the semifinal Mayo-Dublin we won in 2012. It was my first time in Croke Park, I saw the game from Hogan Upper I really liked the atmosphere. In 2013 I watched the final agains the Dubs just outside the stadium, because it was impossible to find tickets.
How many games have you been to?
I’ve been only to those two games, but I’ve never missed to watch one since 2011.
Do you have a favourite moment following Mayo?
Obviously the comeback against Dublin this year, the semifinal of 2012 was heart-breaking and we won but it was not so exciting. Even the comeback against Roscommon in 2014 was great.
Do you have a favourite player?
Andy Moran. He scores with class and when it really matters.
Are we going to win on Saturday?
In Italy we are very superstitious so I won’t answer the question. I think we can do it, it’s 50-50 both teams are really good.
Will you be at the match this Saturday?
Unfortunately my holidays ended on Monday, I’m in Italy now. I will watch the game on the net and be sure that my neighbours will notice it! I’m very envious of those of you that will be there!
Will you wave a flag for us at the final?
Unfortunately I won’t be able to come to Ireland, but for sure if we go through, the day of the final I will do it. That day in the morning I will have a bike ride with some friends on the Ghisallo, which is the holy climb for the cyclists of Lombardy and Como Lake in particularly. Despite some parts are really steep I will ride it with the green and red flag!! Maigh Eo Abu!
So there you have it! Mayo’s only (that we know of) Italian fan. Enjoy the game on Saturday Matteo. If we had 20,000 Matteos, we’d certainly rock Croker to its core!
Portiamola a casa Mayo!