JUVENTUS ultras have suspended an ongoing strike at the Allianz Stadium for the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
The hardcore fans have been silent for the first 39 minutes of every home game this season in protest of ongoing price hikes in season and match day tickets along with reduced rapport with the club hierarchy.
Things came to a head last Friday as Juve welcomed Udinese in Serie A when the ultras were jeered by their own fans after when they broke their silence as usual on 39 minutes.
The timing is significant as 39 was the number of Juventus fans killed in the tragic Heysel disaster at the European Cup final against Liverpool in 1985 and chanting from then on is to remember them.
After the win over Udinese, graffiti appeared in and around the stadium with messages aimed against president Andrea Agnelli and the current board of directors mocking what they called “theatre stadium”.
The protest was anticipated to continue for Tuesday’s key Champions League game against Atletico but with the Italian side trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Madrid, this has changed.
On Sunday the ultras announced that as a one off the animation ban will be lifted and they be supporting their team.
A statement read: “We won’t bend, we won’t be sold, but we cheer on for love. JUST FOR THE JERSEY! On Tuesday, get your voices out. The Curva Sud.”
Juve have won the last seven Serie A title but have been near misses in the Champions League in recent years.
“We won’t bend, we won’t be sold, but we cheer on for love”
Juventus ultras statement
Since last winning the competition in 1996 they lost in five finals.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from serial winners Real Madrid was supposed to help lift the hoodoo at the club but they have a lot of work to do to keep this season’s dreams alive.
Despite the hysteria provoked by the Portuguese’s shock arrival in the summer, Juve ultras boycotted the annual pre-season friendly between the club’s senior squad and its B team in Villar Perosa.
It would be the venue for Ronaldo’s first unofficial appearance for the Bianconeri but the ultras didn’t care; they were too upset by the ticket price hike.
In reality, ticket prices are really only the tip of an iceberg that very nearly sank Agnelli two years ago.
Since leaving their temporary, community-owned, 80,000-seater Stadio Olimpico home in 2011 for their own, brand-new 41,000-capacity Allianz Stadium, Juve matches have become the hottest ticket in town.
It remains to be seen whether the home crowd can united on Tuesday and help Juve turn the tie against Atletico on its head.
Should they do just that, the Old Lady would be one step closer to ending 23 years of Champions League hurt.