Blizzard14image [The story of Castel Rigone (21 chapters) in chronological order here.]

There is an ending to the story of Castel Rigone Calcio. And it is an unexpected one. Maybe. Well, perhaps it represents a final twist, then. I tell the tale in The Blizzard, issue 14, Sept. 8, 2014, pages 122-128: “Rise and Fall of Castel Rigone: The entrepreneur, the village team and the experiment in humanistic capitalism”…

“This story does not end with dramatic victory from a penalty. It begins that way — in Florence, at a quarter to five on a Sunday afternoon, 5 May 2013. Banks of dark grey clouds jostle over the Apennines along the Arno River. Tourists shuffle along to glimpse Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring at the Uffizi Gallery. And at Stadio Turri, fourteen men crowd in along a torn white arc to watch Dario Pietro Tranchitella place a ball carefully on the ground…”

You’ll have to go to The Blizzard’s website to find out the rest.

I’m a bit stunned to have published this in The Blizzard. I’ve been a reader ever since issue ‘zero’ appeared in 2011, as it represented the first real attempt at a football literary periodical. The founders weren’t after money (though they wanted it to succeed); its financial model is ‘pay-what-you-want’—as little as one pence per issue, though you’d have to look pretty hard in the mirror at yourself if you only shelled out that much for hundreds of pages of great writing and insight. “Intelligent Football Journalism,” it says on the ‘About’ page that tells the origin story. Exactly.

The editor, Jonathan Wilson (Twitter: jonawils), has written some of the best books and articles extant on the subject of soccer. He conjured the idea for The Blizzard in a Sunderland pub with the help of friends and colleagues. To have one’s name in the same table of contents as Philippe Auclair, Scott Murray, and Rob Smyth is an honor.

Due credit in the Blizzard article (though the journal didn’t insert it) is our friend Marzia, for her help and humor in certain translations that otherwise I would not have properly understood. My deep thanks, Marzia.

It was exactly one year ago when I first learned about Castel Rigone, the village club whose youth team was practicing on a sunny Wednesday upon the artificial turf at the Don Bosco Scuola di Calcio in Perugia. Never could I have imagined how it would turn out. Requiescas in pace, Castel Rigone Calcio.

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