With the ‘Derby d’Italia’ approaching this weekend I thought it would be fitting to publish and update an article I wrote a couple years back when Nerazzurri World was just a Facebook page and Don Nerazzurri was an unknown Interisti from England trying to share my passion for the mighty ‘il Biscione’!
Anyone that has read my tweets or knows me will know that like the majority of Interista I have a deep seeded hatred for both Juventus and also their fans, though it is this depth of feeling that for me makes the Inter v Juve fixtures the highlight of the season.
So how did the rivalry start?
The animosity between Inter and Juve is by no means a recent thing, the two most successful clubs in Italy have a long history of rivalry – at least some 50 years of it, though no one knows for definite what started it, most think that the rivalry goes back to the 1960/1 campaign and the famous 9-1 Juventus win. The story goes that second-place Inter came to Turin in April of 1961 to take on first place Juventus.
Inter were only four points behind and had already beaten Juve 3-1 earlier that season in Milan. Unfortunately, so many fans turned up for the game (far more than the stadium could hold), that about 5,000 fans spilled out of the stands to watch the game from the sidelines, some even making their way onto the Inter bench.
Despite this, the game started as planned but half an hour into the first half, the referee ordered the game abandoned because of the Juventus supporters on the pitch. According to the rules, Inter was awarded a 2-0 win (Juventus was a awarded a win under similar circumstances a couple years previous to this ruling).
In typical Juventus style they appealed the decision to the FIGC (Funny how they didn’t appeal when the decision went their way!) and on the last day of the season, just before kickoff of the last game, the court ruled that Inter’s win would be repealed and the game would have to be replayed. In the eyes of Inter supporters and players, this ruling virtually handed Juve the championship.
To make matters worse, the head of the FIGC at the time was (no surprises here) Umberto Agnelli, the president of Juventus (and father of the current club chairman, Andrea Agnelli). Inter president Angelo Moratti (father of the current president, Massimo Moratti) and coach Helenio Herrera decided that they would field Inter’s youth team for that replay in protest.
Inter would play the game but it would be shown for the farce they felt it to be. The outcome was the 9-1 destruction of Inter by Juve and the birth of a rivalry that continues to this day. It is a bit staggering to think that events that occurred 50 years ago are still coloring how people view this game today but fans have long memories and the legend of that game lives on.
Since then, there have been more controversial games with dubious outcomes that have only served to fuel the fire. In 1998, Ronaldo’s famously denied penalty made the rivalry relevant to a whole new generation of Inter fans. This was the match that turned my dislike for the Turin club into outright hatred.
Eight years later we were to find out the real cause of the decisions in that match as the calciopoli scandals brought the issue into the twenty-first century, and although tempers cooled somewhat with it still simmering just below the surface for a few years.
Inter fans and the club were outraged this summer when Juventus stirred it all up again by accusing the late Giacinto Facchetti (who was Inter’s president before his death in 2006) of being involved in the corruption, even though Facchetti was regarded by most of the footballing world as one of the most honest and decent people ever to grace the game.
When asked about the club’s and the fans reaction to these accusations Inter’s current president and good friend of Facchetti, Massimo Moratti released this statement via the Inter website:
“It’s been instinctive. The wonderful thing about it is that none of it has been calculated because we want to keep the Scudetto. That’s no longer the issue here – the Scudetto has become a secondary matter if you like. Still important but secondary. What was totally unexpected, serious and perhaps even irregular, was this attack on a person who is no longer here, who can’t defend himself. Not in the ordinary sense but juridically; he doesn’t have the opportunity to defend himself from the accusations of a public prosecutor. That’s why I find it all so tasteless, regardless of the fact that none of the accusations against Facchetti could be followed up. I thought it was in extremely bad taste, to use the minimum term, besides the criticism being wrong from the outset, because I know, we know Facchetti, everyone remembers who Giacinto was. So I thought it was an ugly thing, ugly from an institutional point of view and, well ok, we’re used to not having many friends… What I didn’t expect, however, was to not even have friends in our own city, for example through a newspaper, which is no doubt a point of reference for Inter fans and which has for a while now run a campaign against us, with a certain type of moralism directed very clearly at us, against us, which means in support of somebody else. That was really disappointing especially as I used to read that pink paper; now unfortunately I will stop reading it because it was such a determined and hard-hitting attack, an enduring and calculated attack, that it would be poor taste on my behalf to carry on suffering in this way.”
For Massimo Moratti, Inter and all the Inter family this was the ultimate insult and has sent this age-old rivalry to another level, and to make these accusations even more ridiculous Juventus felt that they should have the titles that were stripped from them returned, fortunately the FIGC ruled that this wouldn’t happen and so Juve are still looking for ways to steal the 2006 title back from Inter, though even with this ruling Juventus are so arrogant that they included their two stripped titles in celebrations earlier this season for the presentation of their new stadium. (Which is another thing that annoys the hell out of me, the fact that they are the only club to own their own stadium.)
This rivalry is so intense that it has become one of the defining elements for both fan bases and has elevated itself to one of if not the biggest in world football, even shadowing the likes of Celtic/ Rangers or Boca/ River Plate. To say you are an Interista automatically implies that you loath Juventus, you can’t love one without hating the other (and visa-versa, I’m sure). Given all this history, all the drama, all the emotion, it is clear that when Inter and Juventus play, it can never be just a simple game of football.
Serie A ‘Derby d’Italia’ history
My favourite ‘Derby d’Italia’ moment and possibly one of the greatest goals in Inter’s history has to be the wonderful volley performed by Maicon after juggling the ball around the oncoming defender in our legendary 2009/10 treble winning season and this win for me was just as important as all the trophies we won that year.
There have been 182 of these great matches in Serie A throughout the years with Inter winning 55 of these and drawing 46 games, unfortunately Juve have won 81 games scoring 260 goals compared to our 228, this is a stat I would rather was the other way round and it really makes me feel sick! (Eeeewwwww. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.) Although some would argue (myself included) that a good proportion of those wins for Juve were probably bought and shouldn’t count so of course us Interista can still hold our heads high.
So what can we expect from Saturday’s match? Well for a start all us Interisti can have a good laugh at their ridiculous pink away shirts and it would make my day if the powers that be at Inter played ‘Barbie Girl’ after ‘Pazza Inter Amala’ especially for Juve and their travelling fans.
For the match itself I really want a good convincing win for Inter not only to show that we are the strongest club in Italy but also for the memory of Facchetti and the feeling of pride it would bring to me. As you may have guessed reading this I have strong emotions toward Juve; a deep, all-encompassing loathing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth and an overall need to shower.
All kidding aside (although I really did throw up a bit at the stats!), Juve is never ever an easy match. It doesn’t matter where they are on the table, how many injuries they may have, or how generally mid-table they may be, Juve will always find that extra little bit somewhere when they play Inter, and with them sitting at the top of the table while we are right down towards the bottom their cockiness and arrogance will be at an all time high. It drives me nuts!!!
So you see there is over 50 years worth of history to this rivalry and from an Interista point of view there is nothing good to be said about Juve, they are just scum and our sworn enemy! Where as our other two main rivalries aren’t all bad as Roma do show touches of class occasionally and AC Milan for all our differences are our Milanese brothers, most importantly though, both do have a begrudging respect for the Nerazzurri.
Unlike Juventus who think they are the only club worth anything in the world and nothing brings greater pleasure for me than seeing them knocked them back down to earth with a win for the mighty Nerazzurri and no matter what they say or do they can never change the fact that Inter is the greater club despite having less Scudetto’s we have a few things they will never have, honesty, loyalty, honour and above all else a TREBLE!!!
As a last point I would just like to send a message to all the Juventus fans that might read this and get offended –
“I don’t care what you think I am proud to be Interisti!!!!”
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