It goes without saying that most of you would have read Suzy's Blog on Inter at the internet address below. I could not let it go unchecked and decided to write a response which I sent to the Editor. I doubt that it will be added to the responses on the blog but I wanted to bring it to the attention of those that have not yet had a chance to read it.
Feel free to add your own posts. I have included the address of this thread to the Editor so we can hopefully give her something to read about.
Wednesday 19 December, 2007
It is inevitable the club with the power will be the magnet for dislike, but Susy Campanale argues Inter are bringing this universal scorn upon themselves
I recently met with some London-based Italian football fans and it turned into something of a target practice session as everyone ploughed into the lone Inter supporter. He took it with good grace and I apologised to him afterwards, for it really is not the fault of the tifosi.
The Nerazzurri will inevitably draw criticism and dislike because – like Juventus pre-Calciopoli – they are victorious, powerful and therefore dull. Yet the club is doing everything possible to make that dislike turn into vitriolic Schadenfreude-style hatred by being the world’s worst winners.
It all began with Calciopoli, when Serie A’s lovable buffoons were handed the 2006 title by default. Rather than conceding it was a meaningless token gesture, they had the gall to celebrate it and state this was the “Scudetto of honesty and justice.”
When they finally did manage to dominate the season with all their major rivals hampered by points penalties or demotion, good grace was far too much to ask. Roberto Mancini, Massimo Moratti and several players publicly announced they hoped Milan would lose the Champions League Final to Liverpool, because otherwise that would spoil their own Scudetto party.
In the words of Steve Martin: “Well excuuuuuuuuuse meeeeeeeeee!!!” Only a club as small-minded and petty as Inter could put this sort of sibling rivalry above the interests of Italian football as a whole. Considering the make-up of their squad it wouldn’t surprise me if at the World Cup they had been cheering on Argentina rather than the Azzurri.
Six months on and the lesson has not been learned. Mancini scoffed at the Club World Cup as “nothing more than a friendly tournament” and admitted he would not be supporting Milan or Boca Juniors in the Final. Even if everyone at the club secretly hoped for a Milan defeat, the official representatives are not supposed to come out and say it!
It’s a sad day when you need to take advice on sportsmanship and fair play from the less than gentlemanly Silvio Berlusconi, but that’s exactly what happened. “If Inter were challenging for an international trophy and representing Italian football, we would be cheering them on.” Not that it’s likely to happen, but still, it was a rare nice gesture from Berlusca.
So I apologise to that Inter fan, but no matter how many trophies, records and star players your side manages to notch up, you will have the rest of Italy willing with all their heart and soul for your absolute humiliation. Nothing personal.
George Lesses: Prior to Calciopoli, football commentators did not hesitate when it came to complimenting Juventus’ efforts in Serie A or Milan’s efforts in the Champions League. But when it comes to Inter, the last paragraph of Suzy’s blog sums it up. To gain recognition and respect, Inter have to work a great deal harder than the aforementioned clubs and even when the team has earned its championship, such as winning last season’s Scudetto, commentators such as Suzy are loathe to compliment the Nerazzurri.
The fourth paragraph to Suzy’s Blog is quite revealing. For an experienced football commentator, Suzy has displayed a distinct lack of insight. To simply state that Inter’s Scudetto victory was the result of Inter’s rivals being hampered by points penalties or being demoted to Serie B, is to ignore the fact that on most occasions, Inter managed to comfortably beat their rivals, both at the Meazza and on their travels.
What Suzy has failed to acknowledge is that last season, Milan miserably failed in the transfer market and by the winter break they were out of the running for the Scudetto. To date, the club has not yet found a consistent striker to replace Shevchenko and it continues to rely on an aging defence that should have been revitalised two or three seasons ago. But all of the above is irrelevant because Milan’s saving grace is that the club still has a distinctively Italian identity and they continue to impress in European competition. That may well be the case but the simple fact of the matter is that Milan are doing Serie A a huge disservice by solely focusing on the Champions League and this season is no exception. What I am most curious to see is the excuse that Suzy will provide for Milan’s failings this season as all clubs started on an equal footing and Milan are already 22 points off the pace.
Analysing the fifth paragraph of Suzy’s blog provides insight into a deep seated problem in the Italian psyche and why Inter have failed to be given the recognition they deserve. For years, we have been subjected to commentary on racism in football and how there is no place for racism in stadiums. The content of this paragraph simply highlights a more subtle form of racism. Suzy and many other supporters of Italian football fail to give credit where credit is due because Inter’s squad is predominantly comprised of Argentines. Somehow, the origins of the club and the fact that its Board of Directors wanted to stand themselves apart by having foreign players on their books has been forgotten.
With regards to paragraph six, Suzy would prefer if we took her word as gospel. Afterall, in a world where money, sponsors and image mean more than the supporters that attend matches and the football being played on the pitch, there is no place for a straight talking coach like Mancini.
The likes of Mancini should be congratulated for taking a stand and speaking their mind rather than adding to what has become a sterile environment where club representatives, coaches, and players supposedly give their time to provide informative and interesting news conferences.
Suzy, it is your prerogative to dislike Inter. If you fail to acknowledge where the team has come from and what they have achieved in recent years then that is also your choice. But you, more than anyone should be thankful to Inter for being an easy target and therefore providing you with ample opportunity to keep your job and provide the reader’s of Calico Italia with “informed” football commentary. Nothing personal.
George Lesses, Adelaide, Australia
Although I normally enjoy reading your opinions on Channel4, I was outraged at your recent column on Inter Milan. Not because of myself being a loyal Inter fan, but because of the quality of your arguments. Your criticism of Inter Milan is based on what the players or coaches have allegedly said about Milan in the Champions League. I still think it is largely exaggerated that they publicly wished out loud for Milan to lose.
Well, surely, they did not cheer for Milan in any of the international competitions. But, then, why do you have to exact that kind of patriotism from them? You are of Italian origin, and are you really serious that such patriotism works in Italian football? You criticize Inter players rooting for Argentina because many of them are Argentineans. Well, then stop rooting for Italy when they face any British teams. That's hypocritical. Lastly, what really outraged me was your highly pretentious sympathy for Inter fans as if it is a fact for us. Please don't do that. If ya wanna criticize, go ahead with objective evidence for it. That's what readers want. It is really not pleasant to see that your high style suddenly lapsed for the sake of your personal feelings against a certain club.
The above column you wrote is utter rubbish! We Inter fans support all the Italian teams in all competitions and you are another reporter trying to cause conflict within our team. 2006 was indeed the honest title and we are more than happy to show off in style. An honest team demands respect for all the years they suffered due to the cheats of Juve and Milan. Maybe the shooting practice should be towards you without the apology now. Grow up and accept defeat once. Inter is deservedly on top at the moment!
I know a lot of Italian soccer fans who despise Inter because they have almost no Italian representation on their roster. They're hardly an Italian team at all.
Your article was disgraceful. I have never read more rubbish in my life. Normally a blog like that wouldn't bother me at all, as yes, I know, it’s YOUR OPINION. Shall I continue and point out to you, that it’s in fact YOU, that everybody will love to hate as you show nothing but jealousy and hatred to one team.
So Inter celebrating because they can finally win on "merit" other that "assistance" is a slap in the face to you, is it? Inter should have at least the decency to feel sorry for the cheats that have turned Italian football into a debacle?? I mean, Milan for instance, boy didn't they cop the full brunt.. what was it, eight-point deficit at start of year? Yet managed to fall 33 points behind, win a Champions League they shouldn't have even been allowed to play in, now claim to be the "best" in Europe and now the "world", and Inter has to show decency??
As you put it so nicely, well excuuuuuuuuuseeee meeeeee. How about Milan show some grace and say to the rest of Europe: "We cheated, we got caught out, we actually shouldn't even be here, but because we are Milan, we are allowed to play." Everybody hates Inter?? Everybody?? you sure? Or is it just bitter Milan and Juventus fans like yourselves, that got off lightly but still have the nerve to moan, and then say Inter aren't gracious??
Matthew Scapuzzi, Melbourne, Australia
As an avid Inter fan I am starting to get really sick and tired of the media making us out to be the ones at fault for everything. There are no easy games in football and no matter what has gone on you still have to beat the teams put in front of you. After so long without a Scudetto I think that Inter should celebrate, not the one that they were handed, but the one they won last season, because lets face it, in the past Inter have had some spectacular collapses. I don't know how deep the match-fixing went and how long it had gone on for, but if it was your team that hadn't won anything for so long and you found out that other teams had cheated, I'm sure you wouldn't have been so quick to forgive them.
The reason I think Inter are so aggrieved with Milan is probably they believe that AC should not have been allowed to compete in the Champions League, and so them winning it was a real kick in the teeth.
One last point, people should remember that football works in cycles, in the Premiership Liverpool dominated, then Man Utd, followed by Arsenal, then Chelsea so its only right that Inter get their turn in Serie A, after being dominated by AC and Juventus for so long.
Darren from Northern Ireland
I think Ms Campanale should open up the C4 vault and read more on comments made by Mancini as well as Berlusconi before some accusations are made.
I’m sorry but Campanale’s article could have been written by Moggi! Whilst I would agree that some things the Inter hierarchy say aren’t best advised, what team doesn’t make odd pronouncements? BUT. Why shouldn’t Inter celebrate a ‘clean’ Scudetto? After all we’ve missed out on ones through cheating by other clubs, so as FOR ONCE the playing field was levelled, that should be a good thing, surely? So we’re now criticised for not being a bunch of cheats and being happy that playing fairly finally overcame corruption in the game?
Sorry Susy, but we’ve been the butt (often deservedly admittedly) of a lot of jokes, and yes we do (justly I think) have a bit of a chip on our shoulder, but you berate us for not championing Italian football and then belittle the nation’s strongest team from, judging by the tone of the article, nothing more than personal malice? That makes you a hypocrite, doesn’t it? Milan and Juve we have been in your shadow, but no more. You and your mouthpieces can stir up as much hostility as you can, but we’re better than you, we’re not cheats.
I agree with your article on why we should hate Inter. Rivalries are hardly ever friendly, but Inter's attitude make it hard for the Rossenero like myself to be civil towards that club. Inter's top representatives have not failed to pour cold water on every occasion of Milan's success. At the same time, I have never heard Berlusconi, Galliani or Ancelotti make a mockery of Inter's domestic success. My God, they even attack Kaka! This to me is just outright ridiculous. Milan is a club of ladies and gentlemen. Inter is not. At a another level, I hope Kaka, Seedorf and Pirlo will be recharged adequately enough to show their class above whoever Inter will bring and win a derby that every Italian football fan will want to watch. I know I am.
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but aren't "professional" journalists meant to be impartial? Articles like this also help to generate unnecessary hatred and discontent over something that is nothing more than a sport! I think Susy should be ashamed of such a one-sided article. Yes comparisons with Juve were made in this article, but Juve were not hated for winning as such but how they achieved those "wins." It is inevitable that haters will hate, but ask any non-Juve supporter what it is they hated about Juve during the Moggi era, most will have an answer relating to cheating & match-fixing rather than Juve winning all the time or Juve being dull (which they were more often than not). Where were you then Susy? Where was your harsh criticism for the Juve machine back then?
The fact is that everyone does NOT hate Inter just as everyone didn't hate Juve during the Moggi era. Times change, no one team can be at the top forever! Ask any Inter fan if winning is more important than playing good football? Most Interisti would prefer the latter. Most Interisti don't mind if their team loses as long as they played well when doing so.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even you Susy! But sometimes opinions need to be kept to yourself or worded correctly if you absolutely have to have your say. This article just shows that you are a Hater of the highest order rather than a journalist of any sort!
As a born and raised Interista, I don’t care that everybody hates Inter. I admit it was a little over the top for Inter to celebrate the “Scudetti of honesty” but they were robbed by biased refereeing in the last several years. As for supporting the local team in international competitions, I don’t think it’s unusual to support the team playing your local rivals. Last season I witnessed Man Utd supporters celebrating Liverpool’s loss in the CL just as many Inter supporters celebrated Liverpool’s win over Milan three years ago. As for the World Club Cup, it is a waste of time it will always come down to Europe vs. South America and Milan was the first European team to take it seriously – probably because it is their only chance of winning anything this season. FORZA INTER!
Not everyone hates Inter. From where I come from everyone is praising Inter. The World Club Cup is a farce and Milan’s league form shows they are not good enough to compete at the top level. To be considered a great team you have to win your own league first, as Wenger rightly said.
You talk about Inter being a petty club that ‘puts rivalries above the interests of Italian football’. It is precisely out of concern for the depths that calcio was plunging into that Massimo Moratti pointed out the 2005-06 title should be awarded, for if not it would imply every team in the league was resorting to disgusting underhand measures. I clearly remember Billy Costacurta himself advocating the title had to be awarded to the next highest placed team. And I’m fairly sure he was not the only one. Agreed they had the Scudetto insignia stitched on the shirts but aside from that, I didn’t see or read about even a trace of the celebrations that followed the 2006-07 Scudetto triumph.
It often strikes me the site is biased against the Nerazzurri and in particular Roberto Mancini. For Pete’s sake, he was merely lending his opinion on the format of the Club World Cup and nothing more. He even said only two teams should play in the final, Milan and Boca. As Italians, they would surely recognize the fact that Milan’s triumph would bode well for Italian football. But that doesn’t mean they need to come out saying, ‘We support Milan.’ And I almost threw up when I read the part where you suggested Inter have to take a lesson in sportsmanship from Mr. Red Devil himself.
The only point in your article I could agree with is the lack of Italian flavour in the Nerazzurri squad which is something I’m sure most Inter fans would like to see change. But even then, from that to suggest that Inter would opt to support Argentina at the World Cup is going a bit too far and in poor taste.
So instead of tearing Moratti and Inter to shreds and asking us to be sporting, why don’t you put your acid pen aside for a few minutes, practice what you preach and doff your hat to a team that has suffered in every sense of the word to get where they are today.
I thought the role of a journalist was to remain impartial. Your jealousy of Inter and what they have achieved is astounding, and to hold up Berlusconi as an example of good sportsmanship and of how things should be done is hilarious. Why don’t you just give a little bit of credit to Mancini and the squad for what they have achieved and are achieving? In 2006 if Inter and the rest of Serie A had been playing on a level playing field the Scudetto would have been settled as the final table showed after the penalties imposed. I find it incredible anyone connected with Juve or Milan can preach humility and honesty when they forfeited that right long ago.
I hate to intrude on what Susy Campanale clearly thinks is a tidy theory, but a Freudian might refer to her Everybody Hates Inter blog entry as projection. The writer and some London-based Italian football fans dislike Inter for a variety of reasons; therefore, the rest of Italy is willing with all their heart and soul for Inter’s absolute humiliation. Sure, no exaggeration there. My Italian wife’s family is filled with supporters of Torino and Livorno. Not only do they not hate Inter, they do not give them any thought at all. I suspect that this attitude is more prevalent than the writer would care to admit.
Taking Mancini to task for some ostensibly impolitic remarks about Milan is as hilarious as believing Berlusconi would be cheering Inter on if the club was playing for an international trophy. Does anyone there think that Jose Mourinho was supporting Liverpool against Milan? Did anyone expect him to offer up generous words of encouragement to Benitez? Maybe Sir Alex got out his Arsenal scarf and hoped that his good friend Arsene Wenger would emerge victorious in Paris. Get some perspective please. When one takes into consideration the normal declarations of other top managers, Mancini is a UN diplomat in comparison. If Mourinho arrives in Milan, he will prove my point in short order.