There are a lot of remarkable things about Juventus’s 8th straight Scudetto, clinched with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina this past weekend. However my favorite thing are the increasingly convoluted hashtags that the Juve marketing department comes up with to celebrate each win.
The whole thing started back in 2014, when it was trendy to substitute a number for a letter in social media hashtags. So, Juventus rolled out the barely comprehensible #4JU33 to celebrate the teams fourth straight Scudetto and 33rd overall. They followed that up with #HI5TORY, which was fine but even then they were kind of on the tail end of the trend.
But, guess what? Juve kept winning, so we got #LE6END and #M7TH. Bear in mind, at this point this is not even a trendy social media gimmick to do, this is the Juve marketing department understanding that they started a thing with numbers into words and realizing they have absolutely no other choice but to keep going.
The current one is #W8NDERFUL and I love it so much. Not only does it make zero sense to substitute an “O” for an “8,” but the word they used itself is such a downer after the other ones. They went from history and legend and myth, to ... wonderful. I can almost feel the implied shrug. I’ve used the word wonderful in work emails, I’ve used it sarcastically when they are only taking cash payment at the local 7/11. Screw it, they should have gone full, I don’t know YOU figure it out and just used #Gr8t.
That’s where we are with this team, with this era of Juventus football — winning the league title has become such a common thing that even the social media team is bored and complacent about the whole thing. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I don’t know what will.
Sure, when your major goal is to win the Champions League and you fail to achieve that, anything else will feel like a consolation prize. Especially when it’s the eighth straight time. Especially when it’s with five match days to spare and there wasn’t a whole lot of drama involved. Total and complete hegemony breeds complacency in a fan base, it’s only natural.
I’ll cop to it, I took it for granted. I didn’t even catch the game live, I found out Juve clinched because I took a side glance at a TV while visiting sights at a weekend getaway with the Mrs. and saw the result. My first thought was whether or not the celebratory hashtag would be unintentionally funny, that was it.
This, of course, doesn’t invalidate how monumental this achievement is. Or the actual effort and hard work that went into making this a reality. The fact that many fans, me included, were not jumping up and down in joy doesn’t mean that winning eight straight league titles is not a major or major accomplishment. Just for reference, this has never been done before in a Top 5 league — ever. And there’s a reason why this doesn’t happen that often, because it’s freakin hard.
(My favorite fun fact is that the longest streak outside of the Top 5 belongs to the Lincoln Red Imps of the Gibraltar League, who won the league 14 straight times. Massive shout out, Red Imps!)
So many things have got to go right for you to win one single title, let alone eight. When you look back at it, this could have easily gone bad in a number of ways on a number of times. Juventus went from being all about defense in the early Antonio Conte years, to having arguably the best midfield in the world, to losing every single player of that midfield and retooling to be an attacking machine with the “Five Star” system. They changed coaches, captains, playing styles. Saw club legends retire or sign with new clubs. They sold stars, they brought in even bigger stars and HOW IN THE HELL DID NAPOLI NOT WIN AT LEAST ONCE?
Juve survived everything, injuries at key times and a lack of depth and, hey, remember how Simeone Padoin was an actual useful player in the early goings? Speaking of whom, let’s just remember some guys for a quick second shall we?
- Simone Zaza — was never a consistent starter, but got one of the most crucial goals of this whole run against Napoli at Allianz Stadium. Again, unbelievable how Napoli could not get one title. Sports are brutal.
- Dani Osvaldo — remember him? Do you even remember Dani Osvaldo? He scored a couple goals in the Europa League, I swear to god, I’m not making this up.
- Alessandro Matri —my guy was out here getting loaned in the winter transfer season and then scoring key goals in the Coppa Italia.
- Mario Lemina and Hernanes — I’m guessing the thought process was, “Hey, we couldn’t get a good midfielder, shall we get two mediocre ones and call it even?”
- Neto — came in on a free transfer, warmed the bench for a season, got two trophies and then got sold to another club (Valencia) where he’s now the starter. That’s how you do the whole backup goalkeeper gig, kids.
That list is by no means comprehensive and it’s not just an excuse to walk down memory lane — though it was an enjoyable 15 minutes to check out old Juve rosters. It’s just to show that for this streak to keep going, everybody has had to pitch in. From bench warmers, to starters, to rotation guys. One little thing goes wrong and this streak could have ended a long time ago.
I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been a hell of a ride, and sure another Scudetto celebration might not get the blood pumping the way it used to, but another Juve championship is another championship that Inter Milan does not win — and that’s A-OK in my book.
For your humble correspondent, the one true question at this stage is, what’s going to be the hashtag for the ninth? I propose, #Fin9SureWhyNot. Makes as much sense as anything else at this point.
Never change Juventus marketing, never change.