From the publisher:
Once upon a time.
It began on 5th July 1984. A most beautiful day in the Italian South. With 70,000 screaming Neapolitans awaiting him and roaring out his name in the San Paolo stadium, Diego Armando Maradona arrived under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in Naples, and for seven years all hell was let loose.
For so long the ailing giant SSC Napoli criminally underachieved. Their fanatical support unequalled in both passion and size across Italy. None had ever been more feared or hated, but how they ached for success. A history dramatic, explosive and so damned tragic. Like the finest Italian operas’
it always ended in despair.
Then came Maradona.
Blessed with a ball at his feet on the field, hopelessly cursed off it. When in the mood unplayable, but then there was a dark side. He mixed openly with the city’s most feared and notorious gangsters, the Camorra. The feared Giuliano clan. Untouchable, beyond reproach. A lifestyle fuelled by cocaine. A lawless idol with thorns so deep they pricked to make Maradona believe for a while he was a God. Scarface in football boots. Nothing less.
When not enjoying the decadent excesses of this Babylon by the sea, there was magic to be made on the field as the charismatic Argentinian inspired Napoli to their first ever Scudetto title. It was the stuff of Neapolitan dreams and Northerner’s nightmares. Juventus, the Milan clubs, all despised as they mocked this last major European city before Africa.
‘Welcome to Italy’. ‘Vesuvio wash them with lava’, claimed the banners on any journey North. In revenge, Maradona, this barbarian king, led the southern hordes against those who viewed Naples lower than the dirt on the Italian boot. A revolution took place every Sunday for seven years with battles raging both on and off the field. As the Napoli tifosi fell in worship at his dancing feet, Maradona continued to party on unabated. Sheltered from all prying eyes until the magic faded and he was tossed out like garbage.
Once Upon a Time in Naples attempts to chronicle this unforgettable era of when Diego left his inestimable mark on Italian football and Neapolitan’s hearts. Whom he raised to the stars only to ultimately break them. An alluring tale of wonderful football, glory, despair, betrayal, corruption and then came a moment many years later of redemption.
In a city that lived for the day and chanced their hand on the forever changing moods of Mount Vesuvius, Diego Maradona became bigger than God himself. From a high their patron San Gennaro kept a watching eye, but even he could not promise to bring about a happy ending. Miracles are one thing, Maradona another. For in this city where the devil feared to tread, even the angels had dirt under their wings.
Welcome to Naples….