Chris Kelly – “My Love For Napoli”

Since James started the Sempre! Account, I’ve spoken to him about ‘Why Napoli?’ And again recently with Ken, whilst talking about the website rebirth, ‘Why Napoli?’

Ultimately the reason is a simple one, that’s where my family are from, that’s where my roots are, so obviously it’s a no brainer right? Wrong!

I was born in 1969, an Era of ‘Super Leeds’, Peter Lorimer, Joe Jordan, Billy Bremner et al. An English/Irish dad, not very sporty apart from being in the Army Boxing team, and a Neapolitan mum – Although she was born in Florence, and was even less sporty than my dad! Thankfully her dad, my Nonno, Domenic Nappo gave me the spark for our Club, and for that I’m eternally grateful!

My first trip to Naples wasn’t until the Summer of 1983, when I was 11, and just starting High School. I remember seeing the Napoli flags and Banners hanging across the streets, dangling from balconies, much like we see them today. No Stadium visits for me then, or live games apart from tv news reports.

The Magic really happened a few years later, and wouldn’t you believe it, my trip coincided with the last Scudetto we won. Yes guys it was down to my visit, but I will credit the inspirational Diego Armando Maradona, just to make the purists happy.

My cousin Andrea took me to Fuorigrotta on the back of his Vespa, to watch Napoli at home to Fiorentina. My view from the top tier of Curva A cannot be described to those who haven’t witnessed it for themselves, my words just wouldn’t do it justice, and even those who’ve seen the present incarnation of the San Paolo wouldn’t fully appreciate it. It’s one of those, you had to have been there moments.

I was, and I’ve kept it with me since.

The emergence of Football Italia on Channel 4 here in the UK from the early 90s, helped build greater interest from British viewers. Gazza playing for Lazio, David Platt playing for Bari and then Sampdoria alongside Des Walker didn’t hurt either.

It was also a magical thing walking down my main shopping street in the City Centre, and seeing in Severn Sports Shop window, a Blue Napoli Home kit. Not only that, they had the White Away kit, and the Red 3rd – and they were all official merchandise. Can anybody guess where my pocket money after that? That’s right, straight into the tills, and 3 beautiful new Football tops on their way home to my wardrobe!

You all know what it feels like to pull on that new Match replica, new training Kit, and even the Sempre! Boys creations. It never changes, the Love and passion grows, and you end up listening to like-minded, admirers of the Partenopei from all corners of the World.

How can you not love a football team that does all those things? Oh yeah, you’ll all end up with Napoli tattoos if you haven’t done it already!

DonDiNapoli, Fan of my team, colours, and City since 1983, but was born with Blue Blood – it just needs time to emerge. #ForzaNapoliSempre

By Chris Kelly 

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