Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010
The Wolves fan who's following AC Milan
By Scott Faulkner
BBC WM

Mark Boden inside the San Siro
Milan were founded in 1899 and play in red and black

Most football fans have a soft spot for another team - often because they've lived away from their home town or because a former player joined them.

But few people do more than look out for that team's results, or at best, watch them if they're on television.

Wolves fan Mark Boden, 23, from Kingswinford, has a second season ticket at another club - thousands of miles away from Molineux.

He became hooked on Italian football in the 1990s and is a regular at AC Milan.

San Siro stadium, Milan, Italy

"I've been a Wolves fan for as long as I can remember but in the early 1990s we started to get Italian football shown on Channel 4," says Mark, who admits he has no Italian blood in him.

"There was also the World Cup in Italy, too, and my interest took off from there really.

"I remember seeing the San Siro on telly and I couldn't believe the size of it and it just so happens that AC MIlan were playing that day and ever since then I've followed the Rossoneri."

The Dudley College IT technician also says that living at home - and the relatively cheap cost of a season ticket at Milan's San Siro stadium compared to Wolves - has helped him to afford to support teams in two different countries.

Star player

He says he pays around £400 for his season ticket at Molineux but only 130 euros for the equivalent ticket at the San Siro.

David Beckham and AC Milan team-mates
David Beckham is in his second loan spell at AC Milan

Of course, you have to add on flights but he says he manages to fly on a budget airline for about £50 a time by booking well in advance.

"It does take over your life really and I live for the weekends but nothing beats football, does it?" he states.

"Thankfully I've got a very understanding boss who lets me spread out my holiday so I can go to as many games as possible.

"My family think I am mad and it really is a case of, 'See you, mum, I'm popping off to Italy to see the Milan derby.'

"When I eventually settle down I might not be able to do this so I'm making the most of my free time while I can."

Champions League

Mark says he's been impressed with David Beckham since his return from LA Galaxy but is "fed-up" with rival fans taunting him about their former star player Kaka's transfer to Real Madrid.

Mark Boden
There are no Italians in Wolves' Premiership squad

He adds: "I think one Wolves player the Rossoneri would warm to is Kevin Doyle - they'd really appreciate how hard he works and how he can hold up the ball and bring others into play.

"The only trouble is that we need him more at the Molineux!"

"Maybe I'd let him go if we could swop him for Alexandre Pato but there's more chance of Wolves being in the Champions League next season then that happening!"

He adds: "Compared to English football, Italian football's completely different as it's played at a much slower tempo.

"It's more defensive than the Premiership and it's a bit like watching a game of chess but I really enjoy the tactical side of the game."

'Beer and pizza'

Mark admits Wolves always come first but he's also so passionate about Milan that he's learning Italian on his iPod whenever he can.

"Most of the Italian I know is football related - I know most of the chants by heart and I've no problems ordering a beer and pizza.

"The sheer size of the Milan stadium is so impressive and the noise is amazing, too.

"It's a lot more boisterous in Italy but I really enjoy the non-stop singing for 90 minutes, no matter what's going on.

Ryan Hull, Daniel Hughes and Mark Boden
Molineux holds 28,500 fans compared to the San Siro's 85.700 capacity

"I've never felt intimidated or threatened and the Italian people I've spoken to have been really nice to me."

Daniel Hughes, 23, also of Kingswinford, is another Molineux season ticket holder but says he can't imagine jetting to Milan every other week like his friend.

"I've said to Mark that I want to come along to see a game for myself as he's always going on about how special the atmosphere is.

"But following Wolves is enough for me - I don't think my heart or my wallet could take any more of a strain!"




SEE ALSO
Beckham wins on return to Milan
07 Jan 10 |  Europe
Beckham 'wishes' he stayed at Utd
03 Jan 10 |  Sport
From non-league to La Liga
29 Dec 09 |  Europe
Beckham signs AC Milan loan deal
02 Nov 09 |  Europe


BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific