Napoli No 'Mafia Stronghold,' Won't Judge Newcastle United on 'Geordie Shore'

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Napoli No 'Mafia Stronghold,' Won't Judge Newcastle United on 'Geordie Shore'
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Napoli have reacted to an article dismissing the city of Naples as a "mafia stronghold," suggesting that they wouldn't judge Newcastle by television programme Geordie Shore.

According to the Daily Mail, there was a reaction to the Guardian's light-hearted transfer rumours feature, discussing the likelihood of Danny Welbeck going to Napoli:

The article on the Guardian's website linked Danny Welbeck with a potential move to Serie A, saying the club would make the England striker and Manchester United "an offer they can't refuse."

The language used was widely condemned in Italy and provoked a Twitter storm aimed at the website's deputy sports editor, Barry Glendenning, who wrote the piece.

But whether the whole thing seems like an overreaction or not, the response from Napoli's Head of Communications, Nicola Lombardo, was quite something. In an open letter on the Napoli website, he wrote:

I am aware that it can happen that an article is not read carefully before being published. It is possible that as the editor of the Guardian's sports pages you may not have realised what was written. If not, we would be dismayed to read such a dated, dumb, vulgar cliche as this, linking the city of Naples to the mafia.

This is an archaic impression that is also rejected by English tourists who every year choose Italy - and Napoli - as their holiday destination. They would not do that if they thought that Naples is Italy's mafia stronghold, a place where people fire at or rob each other in the street. We would not judge a city like Newcastle on the basis of MTV's Geordie Shore; we do not think all of that city's inhabitants are rude, gym-addicted and sociopathic. It is a shame to see the Guardian did not afford Napoli the same courtesy.

Glendenning, on Twitter, appeared to take the criticism in his stride: 

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