The Reserve Goalie
Goalposts, crossbars, faces and benches. With Turin and Toro, the Turin team, at heart

Marco Mathieu

€ 12,00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Pages: 176
ISBN/EAN: 978-88-6052-166-8

Gloves like Zenga’s, washed after every practice and wrapped in cling-film to make them last longer, new shoes with cleats, but only two pairs, then the cobbler near the house will repair them. But especially the ball. And anywhere there’s a patch of lawn or field, even better if it’s muddy, where you can fling yourself at the ball to make a save. Because this is the story of a kid who grew up in the Seventies in the outskirts of Turin studded with symbols of the Turin football club.

The story of a soccer player dream, actually a goalkeeper dream («Because being the goalie is something else entirely»), the passion of a kid destined to grow up between the goalposts. Not first-string, but as a reserve goalie, all throughout the provinces of a changing Italy. There’s not only soccer in the course of this narrative where we see the transformations in the life, the career, the vicissitudes, the family and the teams of Alberto Maria Fontana, known to his friends and fans as Jimmy. Right, Jimmy, the reserve goalie and Toro fan.

Following his vocation takes him on a route marked by episodes and matches, anecdotes and reflections, a two-way trip from Turin to Turin, passing through Aosta and Voghera, detouring up to Hamburg and back down to Verona, moving into the heart of Emilia and the borders of Reggio Emilia, emigrating to San Donà, Pistoia, Palermo and Pescara, but still attentive and listening to what’s happening in Baghdad, Lampedusa and Kabul, in the midst of reflections about the diseased game of soccer which illuminate the dark folds of a changing country.

The reserve goalie’s bench is the starting point of this voyage through Italy, indeed through the soul, that was entrusted to and transformed into words by Marco Mathieu, reporter and soccer fan, and in this case the author of the story that shows the other face of soccer, one of Italy’s hidden faces. And not only Italy’s.

The author
Marco Mathieu, born in Turin 44 years ago, lives in Milan where he works as a journalist. Now current events editor-in-chief for D-La Repubblica delle donne, he was foreign correspondent for GQ for years and before that a free-lance journalist travelling all over the world in search of stories. In two cases (till now) those stories became books: A che ora è la fine del mondo? (1995) and In viaggio con Manu Chao (2003). He’s a Turin football club fan and plays stopper in the Osvaldo Soriano Football Club.

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