‘Once Upon a Time in Naples’ aims to piece together the events of a dramatic period in this troubled city’s history, where, albeit for a short time only, SSC Napoli ruled the roost. With a ball at his feet Maradona could dance between the raindrops. It was a time like no other.
…It began on 5th July 1984. A most beautiful day in the Italian south. With 70,000 screaming Neapolitans roaring out his name in the San Paolo stadium, Diego Armando Maradona arrived under the shadow of Mount Vesuvio in Naples, and for seven years all hell was let loose! For so long the ailing giant SSC Napoli criminally underachieved. Their fanatical support unequalled in both passion and size across Italy.
A history dramatic, explosive and tragic. Like the finest Italian operas it always ended in despair. Then came Maradona. Blessed with a ball at his feet on the field, hopelessly cursed off it. He mixed openly with the city’s most feared and notorious gangsters, the Camorra. The feared Giuliano clan. Untouchable, beyond reproach. A lifestyle fuelled by cocaine. A lawless idol with thorns so deep they pricked to make Maradona believe for a while he was a God.
When not enjoying the decadent excesses of this Babylon by the sea, there was magic to be made on the field, as the charismatic Argentinian inspired Napoli to their first ever Scudetto title. Juventus, the Milan clubs, all despised as they mocked this last major European city before Africa began.
‘‘Vesuvio wash them with lava’’ begged their banners.
In revenge, Maradona led the southern hordes against those who viewed Naples lower than the dirt on the Italian boot. A revolution took place every Sunday for seven years with battles raging both on and off the field. Once Upon a Time in Naples attempts to chronicle this unforgettable era of when Diego left his inestimable mark on Italian football and Neapolitan’s hearts.
An alluring tale of wonderful football, glory, despair, betrayal and corruption. A city that lived for the day and chanced their hand on the forever changing moods of Vesuvio. From a high their patron San Gennaro kept a watching eye, but even he could not bring about a happy ending. Miracles are one thing, Maradona another! For in this city where the devil feared to tread, even the angels had dirt under their wings. Welcome to Naples!
A fully updated version. RIP Diego 1960-2020...
Other books by the author – https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Ludden/e/B0034Q95O4/ref=aufs_dp_fta_dsk