Dear Calico Italia,
I have a few things to say as an Interista with regard to some of the recent blogs concerning the Lazio game!
I would just like to comment that the general reaction to the Inter - Lazio game by the media has been very sad, especially when it is compared against their reaction to the equally important Chelsea - Liverpool match. The Italian media bashed all concerned, starting with the Lazio players, then the Lazio fans, and then moving on to the now customary belittling of Inter. The English media simply praised Chelsea as having played the better football on the day and then moved on to comment on the abject failings of the Liverpool administration and voiced ideas as to how things will be better next year under a new administration. Liverpool, who have a much better team than Lazio, never even turned up against a Chelsea, who incidentally also couldn’t beat Inter this season.
I was watching the EPL game with three mates, one is a Chelsea fan, another an Arsenal fan, and the other is an Everton fan; they all agreed that the game was a complete farce! This was especially the case when their back four ended up consisting of, as the Telegraph’s Henry Winter put it “an Argentine central midfielder at right-back, a raw Spanish kid and slow-moving Greek in the middle and a decent Danish centre-half at left-back.” Yet for all that, nobody is calling foul play or insulting Chelsea, and they are probably hated as much in England as Inter is in Italia (the Russian Revolution has probably had an equal impact as Calciopoli, perhaps even more?)
I agree that Lazio hardly played, but then they have been a joke for a few seasons already and I can’t remember them scoring past us recently – apart from that Super Cup game in Beijing? They have also been especially unstable this past season due to the idiocy of their president in picking on his best players. To top that off they gave their best striker, Pandev, back to Inter for free, whilst Zarate has not scored much this season, so they were never likely to pose much of an attacking threat here were they? Stop the flash backs, this is not the Lazio 1999-00 squad with Nesta, Nedved, Veron, Mancini and co., so you cannot really expect them to stop “La Grande d’Oro Inter” (which we may well be come May 23rd)?
As for the Lazio fans I do not blame them in the slightest for their behaviour. Yes it may not be pretty, but I completely disagree with Susy, it certainly is not “pathetic”. They are not “small-time supporters,” quite the opposite in fact. Their actions show that they are totally committed to their team, as their actions are a living testimony to the very real rivalry they have with Roma. They would rather humiliate themselves than let their arch-rivals do the double. Let us not forget that a Lazio at full tilt would have had the theoretical possible consequence of pushing the Inter squad too far (after their mid-week heroics against Barca), in terms of being able to stop Roma from claiming the Coppa Italia. Now that really would be the worst nightmare for any true Laziale.
If my Inter were in the same position I think I would also hope that Lazio won Serie A rather than La Vecchia Signora or il Diavolo? I remember the pain of abject failure, season after season, in which anything was preferable to another nail being driven in by the success of the other two. Do you remember those days when we could only send out the likes of Kallon, Dalmat and Ventola? When half the passes missed their intended player and went out for a throw, whilst the other half went straight to the likes of Shevchenko or Trezeguet? Then there was that 6-0 shindig in hell with il Diavolo in 2000-01 to contemplate, along with the fan protests which resulted in some parts of the Curva Nord being left empty or the aligning of the forces of darkness against us on that fateful day in May (as with 1998, I am referring to internal player and club demons, not Moggi-esque forces). I still do think of those days, the shame and embarrassment still makes me cringe to this day (and fear for their inevitable eventual return, as life is made of good and bad cycles)…and then there was the lingering existence of ' El Chino ', that “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
In football there are times of good luck and times of bad luck. Periods of well grounded success, built on long term planning, shrewd investment and tactical nous, and times of horrendous failure, where no matter how many £19m Ronaldo’s or £31m Vieri’s the club brings in, the results are the same. The here and now may be the time of La Beneamata’s, but have no fear, the time of La Curse’s will eventually return, as abhorrent a thing as that is to say as a blue blooded and black hearted Il Biscione. This is Inter after all…so be of good cheer my gloomy milanista’s & juventino’s, eventually you clubs will learn to invest their money wisely. Just look at when La Vecchia Signora sold Zidane, they bought Buffon, Thuram, Nedved and were coached by Capello, hence they won. When il Diavolo sold Kaka, they bought thin air – they should be re-named Il Spettro squadra, or even better the Phantom (of a) Menance! Furthermore neither team should have employed novices – even in our darkest days (and there were enough interview opportunities over the years!) we never resorted to giving Zenga or Mihajlovic the top job, straight away. Finally La Fidanzata d'Italia should certainly have learnt from Il Serpente not to employ the joke that is Zaccheroni, now we really do have a Signora Omicidi, but in self-destruct mode!!!
Farewell from an English-South African living in China