x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A small price to pay for Atalanta fans' loyalty

Atalanta supporters have stood by their club despite plenty of heartache and deserve to be charged only Dh4.75 to watch game coinciding with 105th anniversary of club's founding.

Atalanta, in white, are third from bottom in the Serie A so far this season. Riccardo De Luca / AP Photo
Atalanta, in white, are third from bottom in the Serie A so far this season. Riccardo De Luca / AP Photo

Tickets for Atalanta's game against Siena on Sunday are on sale for as little as €1 (Dh4.75). It is a one-off lowering of prices to celebrate the 105th anniversary of Atalanta's founding. The Bergamo club could certainly use some noisy backing. They are third from bottom of Serie A.

Were they not bearing a two-point deduction for the involvement of their players in the match-fixing scandal that dates back to their most recent season in Serie B, 2010/11, they would sit 13th. But the feel-good momentum of an impressive 2011/12 campaign, in which they finished 12th as a newly promoted team carrying a penalty of six points, is fading.

Atalanta supporters have had a roller-coaster time in the club's second century so far: a relegation, a promotion, a change of ownership and those damaging charges of corruption against players, most notably against Cristiano Doni, the former captain, who is now banned.

Doni had been a figurehead for fans, the club's all-time record scorer, a man who once took a pay cut to return to Bergamo.

Atalanta's fans used to see in him a quality they recognised: loyalty, something they have a particular fame for. It is a necessary attribute when your club has an equal fame for discovering young talent and, inevitably, given Atalanta's middle-ranking status, seeing the best of that talent depart for bigger institutions.

The cheap tickets this weekend is a decent gesture by the club towards those people, the supporters, who keep it going.

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