For a team with an identity so culturally and historically tied to their fans, Lazio have always enjoyed the best kind of support from their passionate and occasionally overzealous supporters.
So when their fans boycotted yesterday’s Serie A home match against Atalanta in protest at president Claudio Lotito’s run at the club, it was no surprise that Lazio lost 0-1 the match in front of a near-empty Stadio Olimpico. Fans are furious at the lack of transfer activity, the sale of Brazilian playmaker Hernanes to Inter Milan and the club’s general poor league form (they are 8th on the Serie A table)
In the past, many players have described playing in a near-empty stadium as an “eerie” feeling and also acknowledged the importance of fan support at the stadiums.
“It’s a real shame to see the Olimpico deserted,” Lazio boss Reja said. We were in with a chance of achieving something significant but it’s difficult to play in these conditions. This situation can’t go on. It’s a disadvantage for us, as we’ve seen today.”
Lazio fans who attended the game draped anti-Lotito banners over empty seats. One read, “it’s him or us”, while another displayed the message, “Lazio is ours and we will leave it to our children”.