Chievo capture hearts of Italian public

The little known Italian club Chievo is now leading the Serie A rankings.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Verona, Italy:

The river flows calmly in Pantalona, a suburb of Verona and also the home base for the supporters of the little known Italian football club Chievo. The story of Chievo's remarkable rise from a small club to leading the Serie A rankings has captured the hearts of the Italian public. The club, backed by a local confectionery firm, now has newspapers here talking of the miracle of Chievo as a soccer fairy tale. "There's a great deal of emotion; there are those who dream about winning the cup and others who say they may not succeed, but the important thing is they keep playing as they are," said one of the club's fans, Fiorenzo Viviani. For the regulars at the Bar Pantalona, they still can't quite believe it all and they hope their team can keep up their good performance. "They're great and they deserve to be where they are. They work hard and are a very united and modest team. I hope they never lose their humility," stated Augusta Ottolini, the owner of the bar. Across the fields at the Veronella training centre, there is little sign of success going to their heads. The Chievo coach is seen as a no nonsense coach as he reminds players before every game that their opponents are better than them. "Every Sunday, we are extremely motivated. It is our first year in Serie A and whichever team we are up against is stronger than us because we are the last arrivals. We are going through an important moment both in football and in personal terms," said the Chievo coach, Luigi Del Neri. For those who look beyond the obvious enchantment of the club's rise against the odds, Chievo's philosophy of being small but thinking big seems to be their key to success.