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[FM08] American Calcio

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tenthreeleader's avatar Group tenthreeleader 2016-08-04 21:45
us 704 posts 31 likes joined Jun 22, 2015
Thursday, April 24
I am happy to report that for the time being, Stefano Emiliani is letting me keep my job.

Even he could find no fault in our performance yesterday and when we wheeled into the Euganeo car park at midnight after the match we had about 200 fans there to greet us.

I had Muzzi get off the coach first and he enjoyed the adulation of the support for his hat trick. Then we filed off the coach one by one and I got off in the middle of the group.

Somewhat surprisingly, I also received an ovation, which was as heartening as it was anything else. Patty was there to meet me as well and each time she goes out in public it is a sign of her growing confidence.

This time, though, she had a message for me.

“There’s going to be a verdict on Friday,” she said. “They’re reading at 3:00. Can you come with me to Venice after training?”

“I wouldn’t miss it,” I said. “Regardless of what they decide, I’ll want to be with you.”

“Good, because I’d like to have you there,” she said, a soft twinkle in her eye. I’m ready to move on with my life. You’re part of it.”

She snuggled close to me and as I picked up my overnight case and clothes from the coach, we walked very slowly to her waiting car.
# # #

For his part, Emiliani knows there’s no room for him on whatever bandwagon Padova might have at present. He’s smart enough to realize that. Today, though, his angle was on his own role in helping the club succeed. He wrote:

“Every club needs a reason to unite. Sometimes it’s a need for results, or sometimes it can be the simple need for professional pride. This column has taken great pains to point out the deficiencies in the current setup and squad, and the players may well have chosen to unite against it. If that is the case, then we can be pleased for the result. Despite apperances, we all want Calcio Padova to succeed.”

It would have been funny if it weren’t so comical, so to speak. For him to take any sort of credit for the success of this club is laughable – a backhanded attempt to get on our bandwagon without getting on our bandwagon.

It’s the oldest trick in the sportswriter’s book – if we lose, he can say we didn’t listen to him. If we win, he thinks he’s done something to help and has said so in print.

He stood there at the edge of our training ground, looking like the cat that had eaten the canary, as we filed past for our regular session. Saturday’s travel again compresses our time to prepare, and after we watched some video of our 2-0 win over them from December 17, it was straight onto the pitch to get the work done.

The players took it well. After a big win, they ought to have. Yet I wonder how long all that good feeling will last once tired muscles and sore joints start to complain about all the travel. It isn’t far away, and I can feel that mood coming. We are in a race against time.

# # #

I’ve been thinking along these lines all week. Yesterday, in fact, I asked Sestaro to let us stay in Milan for the rest of the week.

The away match Sunday at Monza means yet another coach trip there for the weekend, so we could stay in reasonable comfort and avoid another lost travel day for a return trip back to the west.

However, I lost that argument on the reasoning that the club has lost enough money that it can’t afford to keep senior squad players, coaches, physios and the manager in Milan for four days. It’s cheaper to simply coach back and forth. So we will coach for six hours, nearly 400 miles, to wind up in exactly the same place we started – Milan – with 72 hours between visits.

The players grumble about that and I don’t blame them. I grumbled about it too, and my voice is louder than theirs by comparison.

There is also this to consider; Monza absolutely, positively has to win to have any chance at the playoffs. They come into the match in eighth place, with a record of 14-7-11 good for 49 points. They need to beat us and get help. A dog-tired opposing team needing to push itself across the finish line needs all the help it can get.

Meanwhile, I’ve mentioned Novara plays Pro Sesto at home and they’ll be expected to win. The pressure is on both of us but we know three points on Sunday will make us champions.

I’d have loved to stay here and train. But had I stayed in Milan this week I’d have missed Patty’s big day tomorrow and when I add it all up, from a purely personal standpoint I can’t grumble too loudly.

# # #
tenthreeleader's avatar Group tenthreeleader 2016-08-08 21:02
us 704 posts 31 likes joined Jun 22, 2015
Friday, April 25
I took Patty’s hand and she interlaced her fingers with mine.

“It’s time,” she told me. “Let’s go.”

We walked into the courtroom together, and took seats along one of the sides of the room, behind the public prosecutor’s bench.

The trial has made significant news in Venice and Padua but we have managed to lay low and thanks to the help of our security, no one has come near us while the trial was in progress. Even Patty’s trip to Euganeo came under guard, with plainclothes security having the situation well in hand.

Until the leaders of “The Supporters” are rounded up, there’s no sense taking any chances and I’m happy to arrange for Patty’s safety. It’s costing me financially but I couldn’t handle the more severe emotional cost of anything happening to her.

In court, though, one would assume there’s a reasonable guarantee of safety. We sat together, and waited for the arrival of the judge.

“Can we please get this over with?” Patty whispered to me. “All I want is to get back to Padua and try to forget this ever happened.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I replied.

It’s amazing what you remember at times like these. I will remember Patty’s hands.

I sat to her left, my right hand in her left. I remember looking at her perfectly polished fingernails, a cherry red to go with her pink skin, and thought about how bare her hand looked without a ring on it.

“Have to take care of that,” I mumbled to myself, and she overheard.

“Come again, darling?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I smiled. “Just making a promise to myself.”

Just then, the defendants were led into the courtroom and one of them caught Patty’s eye. He shot her a sideways, lecherous grin that showed a missing tooth and more than a little malice. She squeezed my hand tightly.

Yet her face showed no emotion. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I was very proud of her and prouder still that she would not be defeated.

With everyone now in place, the magistrate arrived and the assembled rose to their feet. He seated the members of the court and spoke.

“In the matter of the State against Agostino Galliano and Gotardo Ricci, I wish to make an observation before I announce the verdict,” he said. “The charges against the defendants are attempted murder and conspiracy. Throughout the trial there has been much argument regarding whether the accident that injured Signorina Patricia Myers constituted a deliberate attempt at murder. Much of the questioning has revolved around the intent of the act as the public prosecutor has attempted to prove the defendants guilty of a deliberate attempt to take human life.”

“The verdicts in the case are as follows.” Patty’s grip on my hand was now vise-like. The defendants rose.

“I find Agostino Galliano and Gotardo Ricci guilty of conspiracy, and not guilty of attempted murder,” he said. “The reason for this verdict is that the public prosecutor did not meet a higher burden of proof; namely that the defendants intended to actually kill Signorina Myers. It is the opinion of this court that a conspiracy existed between the defendants to cause an accident that would harm the victim and for that they are found guilty.”

Then he turned to Patty.

“I further wish to inform Signorina Myers that under Italian law I am allowed to pass sentence at the same time as the verdict is read. This sentence shall be passed now.”

Now her face showed emotion – a mixture of anger and helplessness. I looked at her and our eyes met.

“I love you,” I whispered. She managed a weak smile.

“I sentence the defendants, Agostino Galliano and Gotardo Ricci, to five years in prison, less time already served,” he said. “Added sentence to begin immediately. This court is adjourned.”

Just like that, it was over. I turned to Patty and opened my arms to her. She hugged me and buried her head in my shoulder.

“They didn’t try to kill me?” she said, anguish in her voice. Her victim’s rights attorney approached and spoke briefly.

“We did not agree with the public prosecutor’s decision to charge attempted murder,” she said. “A conviction even on a lesser charge of assault would have resulted in a longer sentence. Still, the conviction earned will keep them in prison for some time.”

“Not long enough,” Patty said. “I can’t imagine why they decided to do what they did.”

“Maybe they wanted to set an example,” I suggested. Finally the prosecutor, the gentlemanly Agostino Orsini, approached.

“Signorina Myers, I regret not getting convictions on both charges,” he said, “but the reason we charged this way was because we believed, and continue to believe, that murder was the goal of the operation. Unfortunately, the police inform me that this case went to trial before the people who are responsible for the planning have been caught. We will wish to charge them all in the same way.”

He extended his hand to Patty. “You have my deepest sympathy and my heartfelt apology,” he said graciously. “I promise you, when we are finished, bigger fish than these will be behind bars.”

I looked apprehensively at Patty, and she at me.

“I think that’s good,” I finally said. In the meantime, I guess I’m pretty nervous.

# # #

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