Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Daniele De Rossi stands in the afterglow of another heartbreaking defeat for the AS Roma soccer team. Disappointed by the loss, the AS Roma captain nonetheless looks elated. He speaks to a reporter about more than the game, describing the sensation of pride, love, and ‘the essence of being Roman,’ that was given him by the crowd. There is no doubt to anyone that De Rossi is speaking of the Ultras in Curva Sud.
Pride. Love. The essence of being Roman.
And yet these same organized, ritualized, aggrandizing, and ‘Ultra’ fanatical soccer fans are invariably described in the media as violent and thuggish, and often racist and fascist.
Violent. Thuggish. Racist. Fascist.
For years Mark Dyal struggled with the evident disparity between the pageantry of the Ultras and their propensity for violence and extreme politics; so much so that he moved to Rome and lived amongst the Ultras for fifteen months, seeking to understand them as an important and instructive phenomenon.
Hated and Proud is the story of what he discovered in Rome, both within Curva Sud and within himself. Neither memoir nor journalistic exposé, Hated and Proud is instead an intense, but academic, engagement with the Ultras and their theoretical, historical, and political influences.