There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of an Italian bar on a Monday morning. The banter, bickering and bragging which follow a Serie A weekend are sometimes more of a spectacle than the matches themselves. It is a sort of public theatre where every local worthy knows the part they have to play. And they all owe a debt of gratitude to an English doctor who died nearly a century ago.
Italian football does not forget its heroes and the name of James Richardson Spensley remains revered by calcio connoisseurs in general and Genoa fans in particular. His founding role at the oldest club in the country is still celebrated to this day and a street near the Stadio Luigi Ferraris is named after him. The popularity of the game might well have spread like wildfire without him, but he certainly did more than most to fan the flames.