Italy needs someone to challenge Juventus – maybe Inter

INTER MILAN’s dogged pursuit of Romelu Lukaku underlines the determination of the “nerazzuri” to try and break the Juventus stranglehold in Italy, an era of domination that includes eight consecutive Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia wins and two UEFA Champions League finals. Inter, the last Italian club to win the Champions League (2010), have not won a single piece of silverware since 2011 when … Continue reading Italy needs someone to challenge Juventus – maybe Inter

Great Reputations: Grande Inter – a harsh legacy?

  THERE WAS an air of menace about them: Black and blue stripes; dark, matinee idol looks; oiled hair; and a dictatorial manager who had a slightly sinister appearance. And they were “foreign”. English football managers, among other folk in Britain, were deeply suspicious of Italian football teams. They were, after all, ultra-defensive, sly, tricky and “dirty” – that was the narrative if you believed … Continue reading Great Reputations: Grande Inter – a harsh legacy?

Football needs more from Milan

THERE WAS a time when English football glanced enviously across Europe to Italy, viewing its league as the epitome of glamour, cosmopolitanism and affluence. Italy had the world’s leading players, the most passionate and colourful supporters and the financial clout to attract top talent. Furthermore, its clubs, AC Milan, Internazionale and Juventus, among others, represented the European elite. That was in the 1980s and 1990s, … Continue reading Football needs more from Milan

Great teams take the treble chance

SURPRISINGLY, only eight teams have managed to win a comparable trio of competitions, although many have gone close. Some of this select group have been built around outstanding individuals, such as Lionel Messi and Ajax’s Johan Cruyff, while others – like Celtic in 1967 –  were founded on the team ethic. Inevitable comparisons will be made about “who is the greatest?”, but it’s an impossible … Continue reading Great teams take the treble chance

Football Media Watch: The weight of expectation on Spurs

A FEW years ago, just being in the UEFA Champions League would have been enough for Tottenham, but now, several seasons into “project Pochettino”, there is a certain expectation that Spurs can “do things” in the competition. They’re in a tough group that also includes Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven, as well as this week’s opponents, Inter Milan. Tottenham’s defeat in the San Siro may prove … Continue reading Football Media Watch: The weight of expectation on Spurs

Great Reputations: Grande Inter – a harsh legacy?

  THERE WAS an air of menace about them: Black and blue stripes; dark, matinee idol looks; oiled hair; and a dictatorial manager who had a slightly sinister appearance. And they were “foreign”. English football managers, among other folk in Britain, were deeply suspicious of Italian football teams. They were, after all, ultra-defensive, sly, tricky and “dirty” – that was the narrative if you believed … Continue reading Great Reputations: Grande Inter – a harsh legacy?

Great Reputations: Celtic ’67 – a victory for sport

JOCK STEIN said it all really: “I want to be remembered for the football we played”. He was referring to Celtic’s first European Cup final appearance against the formidable Inter Milan in Lisbon and the possibility of defeat, something that Stein’s side were unaccustomed to experiencing. Fifty years on, the quality of Celtic’s football in that glorious season and the scale of their achievements is … Continue reading Great Reputations: Celtic ’67 – a victory for sport

Inter are living in interesting times

ITALY needs a competitor to Juventus. It has been five long years of Turin dominance and Italy’s other football power base, Milan, has slowly sunk into mediocrity. Italy and UEFA needs clubs like AC Milan and Inter to regain their strength. In the black and blue side of Milan, it may be about to happen. In the era of super clubs, Inter have fallen away … Continue reading Inter are living in interesting times

In 1968, these were Europe’s finest players…

LESLIE VERNON was football journalism’s European expert in the 1960s and early 1970s. Information on this gentleman is scarce, but for some reason I assumed he had some sort of link with Hungary. Somebody told me he had come to England in the mid-1950s during the Hungarian uprising. I had an image of this pencil-bearded academic schooled in the football wisdom of Ferenc Puskas, Willie … Continue reading In 1968, these were Europe’s finest players…

The malaise in Milan

The knives are being sharpened in Milan after another week of soul-searching for the two former giants of European football. Inter were beaten 3-1 at Sassuolo, while Milan – despite some hazardous defending – beat Serie B-bound Parma by the same scoreline. Inter are 24 points behind leaders Juventus, and the Roberto Mancini sceptics are quick to point out that when the former Manchester City … Continue reading The malaise in Milan

Great teams take the treble chance

Everyone’s darlings, Bayern Munich, became the first German team to win the three main prizes they competed for in a single season: the UEFA Champions League, the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal. They are the latest team to acquire the tag “invincible”. Surprisingly, only seven teams have managed to win a comparable trio of competitions, although many have gone close. Some of this select group … Continue reading Great teams take the treble chance