25.07.2016 13:45 - in: Tour - Field S

    Moreland Zebras: Bianconeri brothers

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    The story of Australian club Moreland Zebras is one of passion, dedication and undying support for the Old Lady of Italian football. We decided it was time to give something back…

    1917, South Melbourne, Australia.

    When Italians come together, one topic of conversation is never far from their lips. So when a small group of migrants set up the “Camillo Benso” social club in South Melbourne in 1917 to reminisce about their homeland, the creation of their own football team was never likely to be far away.

    And so the “Savoia” football club, named in honour of the Italian monarchy, came to be just a matter of years later in the early 1920s. The side competed regularly until the outbreak of the Second World War at which point all local competitions were suspended.

    On the resumption of footballing normality in 1948, events back in Italy in the aftermath of the conflict prompted a need to change the club’s name and for Father Galante - an Italian monk and key figure in the refoundation of the team - and a committee of local residents, there could only be one natural choice: Juventus.

    Adopting the same colours, strip and crest as the Old Lady, the Bianconeri’s most easterly followers even replicated their namesakes’ domestic success just under 40 years later by capturing their first ever top-flight title in 1985. 

    At the request of the game’s national governing body (Football Federation Australia) however, Brunswick Juventus were to undergo a second name change in their history becoming the Moreland Zebras, although the former remains the club’s official title. Crucially, the iconic black and white stripes remain to this day even as far as the team bearing the name of Jeep across their jerseys.

    Although the Zebras currently find themselves in National Premier League 2 (the third tier of Australian football), their passion and ties with the original Juventus remain undiminished and it is at this point that we come in.

    Fast forward to 22 July 2016 and Juventus Football Club are in Melbourne for the Juventus Jeep Tour. 

    While the eyes of the majority of Australian-based Juve fans and indeed the world are set to be trained on the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the commencement of the International Champions Cup the following night, a different and decidedly more understated event is taking place just a few miles away as Moreland Zebras take on Sunshine in a crunch promotion encounter.

    This is to be unlike any other Zebras home fixture however. At a packed C.B. Smith Reserve Fawkner ground, we took the chance to give something back and reward the Juventus faithful of all those years ago by bringing that Bianconeri magic all the way from Turin to a wet and windy Moreland.

    Just like at Juventus Stadium, Thunderstruck booms over the tiny stadium’s speakers. The players’ names are announced and roared with gusto by the home supporters and there’s even room for David Trezeguet (and of course Jay) in the stands to rouse the crowd before kick-off. 

    Most importantly, all of this was arranged – with enormous thanks to club president Joseph Sala – without the team even knowing (unless they had successfully deciphered the cryptic clues left on our social media channels!). The combination of the pre-match spectacle, the atmosphere created by the fans and the genuine surprise of the Moreland players ensured that Friday 22 July 2016 would be a night to live long in the memory of the supporters present.

    Our goal has not only been to raise awareness for the Zebras’ movements on the field, but also off it by following the club on their own respective digital platforms and supporting them exactly as they support us.

    While Moreland would go on to lose the game 1-0, their existence, coupled with the electric atmosphere at the C.B. Smith Reserve Fawkner provided the proof that following Juventus is indeed una Storia di un Grande Amore. 

    Do your bit and follow the Moreland Zebras on Twitter and Facebook! 

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