Il Mattino recently published an interesting interview with Russell Grandinetti, a Senior Vice President at Amazon and passionate Napoli supporter, who grew up in New York the grandchild of Neapolitan and Calabrese immigrants. Here is what he had to say about his passion for the Azzurri:
On the origin of his Napoli passion
I grew up in New York, where there are a lot of Italian-Americans, and played soccer at a young age while following the Serie A on TV. Maradona went to Napoli and the first time I saw him play, as the song says, “mi batte il corazon” and I fell in love. When Napoli won the scudetto we were all very proud. The whole community knew what it meant for a Southern team to win the scudetto and defeat the North.
On the first match he saw live
It was October 2015 Napoli-Fiorentina 2-1. It was a dream come true to hear the San Paolo roar. Now my job takes me to Europe often. This year I saw 3 matches in a single week.
On the Napoli club in Seattle
There are about 20 of us. It’s mostly composed of Neapolitan immigrants and some American friends. Three of us work at Amazon, while the others are from Boeing and Microsoft. It was founded by our president and vice president, Paolo Napoli and Rosario Vingiani.
The problem in Seattle is the time difference. Most of the matches are at 6 or 9 AM. We watch the important matches at one of the member’s house. There are usually two or three of us but “cchiù poco simm, cchiù bell parimm” (The less we are, the more fun we have). There is always coffee but the thing we are missing in Seattle are good sfogliatelle.
Some matches I watch at home with my son and we have our own unique way of celebrating — in silence, so as not to wake up my wife. In order to watch the Champions League matches during work days, I’ve often hidden in the conference room at the Amazon offices with my friend Gianmarco. We are careful not to yell too much.
On the perception of Napoli abroad
It’s an extraordinary group and a joy to watch. I’m lucky to support a side that plays such spectacular football.
On being entertaining but not winning
It’s a false debate. The gap is on the defensive side where we have to eliminate the individual errors that cause us to give up foolish goals. If we improve there, then we can entertain and win at the same time.
On giving the number 10 to Insigne
It’s not right to answer questions which are, let’s say, of a religious nature. Maradona is the greatest of all time and I still rewatch his goals. They make me feel like a kid again. Lorenzo is an incredible talent. It doesn’t matter what number he has on. While others have put on the number 10 after him, Diego will always be in a league of his own.
On the summer transfer market
I have a lot of faith in De Laurentiis, Giuntoli, and Sarri. I’m happy that there are less acquisitions to make this summer in comparison with the past. They should reinforce the defense, invest in the youth system, and prepare to arrive at the summer training in Dimaro with the necessary ‘cazzimma’ to qualify for the Champions League.
On De Laurentiis and Sarri
I’m grateful to the president for bringing the team from Cittadella in the Serie C, to the Bernabeu in the Champions League. Personally, I’m a great supporter of Sarrismo. That man has a great vision and ideas. Looking at what’s happened in Milan with Donnarumma, I understand how incredible it was for our ‘bandiera’ Hamsik to say no to Raiola and remain at Napoli.
On the relationship between Amazon and football
We are developing our business of film and TV throughout the world and are starting to acquire the rights for sporting events, as we’ve done for some NFL games in the United States. In the world of football, we recently acquired the audio streaming rights for the Bundesliga. Who knows what the future will hold in store.