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Thread: Season 2006-2007: A season in the shadows?

  1. #1

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    Season 2006-2007: A season in the shadows?

    Saturday, 7 July 2007

    Football commentators were never going to get excited or compliment Inter on a job well done. When the Scudetto was decided in Siena, the effort by the club’s management and its players was grudgingly recognised. Little time was granted for Interisti to enjoy the moment and dwell upon the team’s achievements. The media’s focus instantly switched to Milan and the Champions League and Juventus’ efforts to regain their Serie A status. Inter’s first championship victory (on field) since season 1988-1989 was dismissed as quickly as when the media used to declare Inter a club in crisis.

    Grappling with Juventus: Perception, Reality and Double Standards

    None of the above should come as a surprise but what was meant to be a joyous and special occasion was quickly archived. Despite the Scudetto, inevitable comparisons have been made between Inter’s victory and those of Juventus in past years and many Interisti would quietly be thinking: What do we have to do to earn some respect and get the recognition we deserve?

    In Italy, success in football is measured against the Old Lady of Italian football, regardless of how that success was achieved. If ever there were any doubts about Juventus’ revered status, one only has to look as far as Calciopoli, the club’s demotion to Serie B and the glowing manner in which many commentators continue to praise their “miraculous” return to Serie A. Only in Italy is it possible for a club to be relegated to the second division for influencing match officials and yet still be a point of reference. If the Bianconeri had started their Serie B campaign on -30 points and managed to avoid relegation then perhaps their efforts would have greater merit but the fact their original penalty was reduced to -9 makes their achievement far less significant than commentators would otherwise want us to believe.

    From the beginning of season 2006-2007, the pressure was on Inter to win the Scudetto: Juventus had been demoted, and both Milan and Fiorentina were handed points penalties. It was the season that Inter could not lose and commentators were of the view that given Inter’s squad, the Scudetto would be a stroll in the park.

    The acquisition of Patrick Vieira and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Juventus proved controversial as the Nerazzurri supposedly “plundered” the Old Lady for two of the club’s best players. How a combined total of 34.3 million euros for both players can be deemed as insufficient payment remains to be seen and one could be mistaken for thinking that both players arrived against their will and were released on free transfers.

    To put the bias with regards to transfers into perspective, think back to when Seedorf, and Pirlo moved to Milan and Cannavaro went to Juventus. All three players moved from Inter to the aforementioned clubs and went on to win silverware or perform significantly better than when they were at Inter.

    Despite the years that have passed, commentators continue to mock Inter’s management for allowing Seedorf, Pirlo and Cannavaro to leave the club. That mockery is even more difficult to take when one considers the players Inter accepted in return namely, Morfeo, Guly and, Carini. For many years, Inter’s supporters watched as Seedorf became a solid performer at Milan whilst Pirlo, a self proclaimed Nerazzurri fan, established himself as an indispensable figure in Milan’s starting eleven and went on to win the World Cup.

    It is undeniable that Vieira and Zlatan brought class and a winning mentality to a team that lacked steel and imagination but rather than complimenting Inter’s management for recognising the team’s shortcomings and remedying the problem, the club was criticised for taking advantage of Juventus’ downfall. Ah, but that is right, we are talking about Juventus. Calciopoli was simply a result of Juventus being a victim of their own “success”.

    Record Breaking Inter

    Season 2006-2007 was a record breaking season for Inter. From 25 October, 2006 to 25 February, 2007 the Nerazzurri won a record 17 consecutive Serie A matches. That run of results saw Inter break the Italian domestic record of 12 consecutive victories set by Roma the previous season as well as the all time European record of 15 consecutive victories, previously held by Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

    Inter were unbeaten after 31 rounds of the season, beating Juventus’ 28 round record set in season 2005-2006 for a 20-team Serie A. If the previous season is taken into consideration then the Nerazzurri went unbeaten for 33 consecutive games with a record of 25 wins and eight draws.

    In all competitions, Inter did not lose in 39 matches, since the 2-0 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich on 27 September, 2006 a result that was followed by 30 wins and nine draws.

    By Week 30 of season 2006-2007, Inter had the highest points per game average in Serie A history, picking up 79 of the 87 available points which equalled a 91% average.
    Lastly, the Nerazzurri also set a new Serie A record with 11 consecutive away victories achieved between 28 October, 2006 and 18 March, 2007 at Ascoli.

    In any other football league the above statistics and records are compelling and would make any supporter proud. Unfortunately, all of the hard work and effort undertaken by the coach and players to achieve the above results has been undermined by Juventus’ relegation to Serie B. Many believe that if Juventus were in Serie A, Inter would not have had it so “easy” but on that reasoning, who is not to say that Inter may have won something a great deal earlier if it had not been for Juventus’ management influencing match officials?

    To simply dismiss Inter’s achievements by arguing that it would not have been so easy if Juventus were in the top flight is to fail to acknowledge the professionalism of the players and the magnitude of the above statistics and records. With the exception of a loss in Milan against Roma and a home draw against Palermo, Inter managed to beat their direct rivals for the championship in both home and away matches.

    Winning the championship was not a simple task as the team had to manage memories of past failures and the burden of expectation of the Nerazzurri faithful. On many occasions Inter showed great strength, character, maturity and a new found confidence in their abilities as they fought back from deficits to take three points. The team had everything to lose and despite their lead in the championship they remained motivated and focused on winning the Scudetto. Given that Inter did not fall into the trap of becoming complacent championship leaders, it is hard to conceive how any of the above could simply be dismissed as “easy”.

    The Place of Foreign Players in Italian Football

    “To be honest, I still think there are too many foreigners in Serie A. In my day there were three and I think there should be no more than five per team”.

    Azzurri Coach Roberto Donadoni

    The above quote provides some insight into why Inter’s Scudetto victory may be undervalued. Given the above view was expressed by Italian National team coach Roberto Donadoni, it is not inconceivable that Italian football commentators have less time for Inter as a result of the amount of foreigners at the club.

    With the exception of Toldo, Grosso (now departed for Lyon), Materazzi and Andreolli, Inter’s squad is primarily comprised of foreign players. Inter lack household Italian names such as Maldini, Costacurta, Gattuso, Inzaghi, Gilardino, Buffon, and Del Piero which may make it difficult for Italian football commentators to relate to the Nerazzurri. This attitude has possibly been consolidated by the fact that as Champions of Italy and with the exception of Materazzi, Inter are of greater assistance to the Argentine National team than they are to the Nazionale.

    Criticism of Inter does not only come from within Italy as the club was also criticised by FIFA President, Sepp Blatter who commented on the amount of foreigners and lack of Italian players at the club.

    The fact that Inter managed to draw criticism from FIFA’s President is confirmation that the team’s hard work and effort has been noticed at the highest level. But the fact of the matter is that the players on the club’s books and their respective nationalities has nothing to do with the FIFA President and may be a contributing factor as to why the club has not received the recognition it so justly deserves.


    Although the English Premier League is widely believed to be the best league in the world, season 2007-2008 in Italy has the potential to be one of the best seasons in recent memory. Established names such as Napoli and Genoa have returned to their rightful place in the top flight and Serie A will at last be able to witness a resumption of Derby hostilities in fixtures between Torino and Juventus and Genoa and Sampdoria.

    Of course, Inter will be there as defending champions but the Nerazzurri faithful should prepare themselves for a very difficult season. For the first time since season 1988-1989, Inter will be playing as Italian Champions. The commanding way in which they won this season’s championship will also have a bearing on season 2007-2008 as the media will be more than willing to jump to the conclusion that there is a club “crisis” following an adverse result and will be waiting for Inter to falter.

    Having won the Championship, the Champions League will also be an important competition as the players will strive to prove their pedigree and win some respect by going as far as possible in Europe’s most elite competition.
    Lastly, but surely not least, Inter will have to contend with the return of Juventus. Given the exchange of hostilities that has taken place since the latter club was relegated, all indications are that matches between Inter and Juventus will be hard fought affairs as both teams will have scores to settle and a great deal to prove to the other.

    For Inter, the fixtures against Juventus present a minefield. A loss to the Bianconeri could open old wounds with the Nerazzurri being labelled as pretenders. This inturn could lead to a resurface of all the old psychological baggage that burdened the team in the past seasons.

    Alternatively, if Inter were to beat Juventus and successfully defend their championship, such an achievement would not really count because Juventus are “rebuilding” or are a “work in progress”. It would be inconceivable to count a loss for Juventus in their first season back in the top flight as they could not possibly be expected to compete with the likes of Inter.

    The lines have been drawn. Interisti, do not say you have not been warned as the script for season 2007-2008 has already been written. If there are any certainties of which you can be sure, they are that Inter will get scant recognition for their efforts and every aspect of the club, its management, the players and results will be scrutinised, questioned and undermined. Afterall, Inter are not meant to win and it is our love for the club, colours and players that makes us strong and every victory all the more sweet.


  2. #2
    A.l.i's Avatar
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    95 10 years of FIF

    Spoiler: text 

  3. #3
    Handoyo's Avatar
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    Great words, George. As for the media's treatment on us...

    It's like this, when you're still young and in your teenage life, you wanna have the hottest, sexiest girlfriend. You wanna make sure she's the best chick in town, you wanna make sure that everyone turns their head when they see her and you wanna make everyone jealous of you.

    But as you grow older and decide to settle down, the body become less and less important. What's more important is the woman's characteristics, and how you connect with her.

    That, is how I think we should feel about Inter. Trophies, accolades, beautiful football...All these things are superficial and if you truly love Inter, you would not care much about them. What's important is the inexplicable passion you have when you watch Inter's matches and to truly support them no matter how tough times are.

  4. #4
    8ballmjg's Avatar
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    **** the critics

  5. #5
    Stefan's Avatar
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    Great article George.
    Forza Inter per sempre!!!!
    Jose responding after the derby:"We could only have lost by having six people on the park, as even with seven, we would have won. "
    New Domain name

  6. #6
    bennyblanco's Avatar
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    as expected great words george,in perspective spot on

    what surprised me most was han's post,nice stuff big fella
    "And this one time, at band camp, I stuck a flute in my pussy",

  7. #7
    J zanetti's Avatar
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    As great as ever George you pinned down everything in one marvellous post. Some aspects of your posts have been discussed by other fellow intersiti on and off here in the form. But it is great to have such writing as a reference point now and in the future.

    You are spot on in terms of the importance of us wining or perhaps god forbids losing our game against Gobbi this season. Also the fact that even if we win it again this year, some will blame it on the re-building phase of Gobbi and so forth. Surely we are in for a heck of a rollercoaster ride this time around.
    Noi non siamo gobbi ba$tardi

    "In un mondo di puttane e oportunisti noi avevamo scelto la migliore; Addio Traditore!"

    R.I.P Cipe

  8. #8
    Adam's Avatar
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    I read this on Xtratime and I agreed with it 100% then as I do now. Great writing!
    Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.

    Dr. Napoleon Hill

  9. #9

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    I know exactly where you are coming from but what really bothers me is the little things. For example, when Juventus won Championships Calcio Italia dedicated an edition to their victory, how the games were won, player ratings for the season, and essential players to their season.

    Inter win the championship and we have to share an issue with Juventus' promotion and Milan's Champions League victory. I have not received this months edition but I noticed that Kaka is on the front page. It seems they have simply overlooked our winning the championship and I think subscribers to the magazine that support Inter should inundate them with e-mails brining the bias to their attention.

    Also, the language used to describe our championship win angers me. Juventus steam rolled their opponents seasons ago and Calcio Italia were full of praise. Inter do even better and their win is described as a "stroll".

    The more I think about it, the more angry I get. Essentially, after being mocked for so long and being the "underachievers" of Italian football, Inter wins the championship and are not given the recognition they deserve.

    I hope we *uck Juventus and Milan next season.

  10. #10
    lonewolf19's Avatar
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    Great Post and I know it will be a difficult season for us
    Altho it is unlikely to happen, I believe one day ppl will regard Inter as a great in football

  11. #11
    thomas_inter's Avatar
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    Great post!

    Made me remind of a quote I once read on these forums.

    Uhmmm it was something like: "Choosing to be an Interista is choosing a hard path full of criticism and pain"

    Something like that, does anyone recognizes it?
    Serie A: Campioni
    Coppa Italia: Campioni
    Champions League: Campioni

    Inter e' Emozioni!

  12. #12
    Pulsar36's Avatar
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    Yeah those times of suffering seem so distant now

    I wondered how the hell I stuck with football during those times

  13. #13
    Thanks for writing, please try to send to the so many people can read this. Conclusion is one-next year we win scudetto again, than again and again...actually its good that they criticise us, our players wont lose motivation for the next season. Look at what happend to barcelona this year !!!




    Vinci ad Atene, godi in Europa...torni in Italia e ti scopri un idiota -36

  14. #14
    Waleed's Avatar
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    Great article George. Fantastic actually. The whole time I was expecting it to be a copied from someone else. Well written and concise all the way through.

    As an Inter fan you must realize we will never get the praise we truly deserve. The feeling I got seeing JZ lift that trophy with the team surrounding him in May was more than i could ask for.
    "It is not about what I've done, it is about what I am going to do"

    "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didnt exist".

  15. #15

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    javier zanetti,

    this season was great because we won the scudetto but it wood have been better if we could have beaten juve..

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