Juventus’ branding of their new shirt has opened up past wounds. Dave Taylor believes that the once elegant Old Lady should be above such ambivalence.
“Winning is not important, it is the only thing that counts.” That sentence was first uttered by Juventus legend Giampiero Boniperti and now it is on the inside collar of the new Bianconeri shirt.
Luciano Moggi, the club’s disgraced former director general, felt the same way a few years back but perhaps took those words too literally. And today, judging by the motto on the new shirt – ‘30 on the pitch’ – the club has as well.
It’s a phrase in response to the club’s on-going legal battle in a bid to win back the two Scudetti stripped from them in the aftermath of the Calciopoli sporting trial. Official records show the Turin giants have 28 titles, the club are now proudly boasting 30.
At the centre of all this, the jersey itself is aesthetically pleasing and a return to the memorable, four ultra-wide black stripes symbolising the founding values of the club that original chief Edoardo Agnelli envisaged in 1923 – family, union, loyalty and honour. Perhaps he would be shocked at the way the club seems to have forgotten them in a graceless grab for the gravy train of profit and publicity.
Sadly, all it does is give Italian football critics more ammunition and their denigration centres on the fact that by pretending the two titles were earned legally, Juve have shown extreme arrogance. That Juventus have not been reprimanded by the FIGC for their actions shows they cannot keep their house in order and that anything goes in Italian football.
La Signora initially wanted to add a third gold star to recognise 30 title wins, but decided to make a bigger statement by taking their constellation away altogether. “We count our success and it equals 30,” President Andrea Agnelli noted. “Then we look at the calculations of the Federation and we realise that it comes to 28. As we don’t agree, we chose to take the stars away because we don’t recognise such arithmetic.”
Juve had their 2004-05 and 2005-06 successes revoked after their assumed involvement in the Calciopoli scandal. But their current argument is that the club did not violate the FIGC’s article six and there was no proof of Moggi or Juve’s culpability. Moggi was convicted only for threat of deception, with the civil court stating the 2005-06 win was regular. Certainly there is more than meets the eye and several issues are still unclear.
Nevertheless, the new legend makes the club look petty if they are claiming that they won the titles in the face of the scandal. This grand outfit, one which prides itself on its unique spirit, determination and a winning mentality, should be above this debatable one-upmanship. Then again, maybe it’s just plain old new-fashioned commercialism and an inappropriate emphasis on profit.
It has also brought the spectre of the scandal back on to the plate, when they should be putting that era behind them. It’s all well and good claiming winning is the only thing that counts, but there is an equally famous saying introduced by a contemporary of Edoardo Agnelli and that is: “It's not the winning but the taking part that counts.” This was first echoed by the founding father of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, and there is no ambivalence about that.