Thursday, 28 January 2010

Juventus v Roma & Inter Milan v AC Milan

Juventus 1-2 Roma (23:01:10)

Inter Milan 2-0 AC Milan (24:01:10)

For once, I'm going to shut up. No really I am. Just allow me to explain that this report was written by Nick Waterhouse, in a first of possibly many, of your European Football Weekend experiences. Over you to Nicky Boy:

All aboard the Serie A Espresso

A few months ago it was decided over a couple of post work drinks to make the pilgrimage to the San Siro in Milan. A couple of scoops later and we were off to the Milan derby. In true EFW tradition, there was no point in going all that way without turning 1 game into 2, so all we needed was the fixtures. Ahhh the fixtures….one of my favourite expressions is "football with no bother", unfortunately, rather like their Spanish counterparts, this is not an expression that is muttered too often at the Italian FA’s headquarters. The kick off times for this round of fixtures were not announced until a month before the games, making the booking of flights a lottery. Additionally, tickets are not on sale until a week before each game. However the TV chiefs were kind to us and selected Juve v Roma for the Saturday night and the Milan derby on the Sunday.

All aboard the 6.06 train to Gatwick on Saturday morning then, luckily no one took this time literally so we did not have to listen to 2 hours of half-wits pleading for goal line technology or whether Gerrard and Lampard can play together ZZZzzzzz....

One issue guaranteed to give me sleepless nights is not having match tickets in hand. Due to the magnitude of the fixtures we were attending, we were forced to go down the dreaded ‘’ route, i.e. tickets 4x their face value. They were to be delivered to our hotel but upon our arrival in Turin.….no tickets agggghhhh. Panic not though, we re-read the small print and they would be there 3 hours before kick off. So we took ourselves off into Turin to see what it could offer us… I say, when in Rome (or Turin) do as the locals do, so to put us in the mood we popped a couple of espressos down the hatch and moved into the pizza market.

I’m delighted to report that EFW pizzas are now widely available in Turin!

So, 3 hours prior to kick off, we collected our tickets and made a beeline for the local bar ‘Costa Rica’. A rather fine tradition in Turin is ‘Apertivi’ time – where all bars give a load of free tucker to all patrons at around 6pm, it really is fill your boots time – hearty fare for the price of a few pints, what’s not to like? (Well €6 a pint since you asked.) In this bar we also picked up a copy of the famous ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’ and were delighted to see that EFW had made the front page!

Anything to sell a paper those Italians.

Free food = nice. €6 a pint = wallet ouch.

Sadly, Juventus are currently strutting their stuff at the Stadio Olimpico while the Stadio delle Alpi is refurnished. It’s a fairly soulless place, certainly not helped by one end being closed as a punishment for Juve fans misbehaving at a previous fixture. The police conduct a thorough search of punters as they enter the ground. I’m not too sure what they are looking for, it certainly wasn’t flares, fireworks or spliffs as they were all being lit by the truckload in the stadium.

The Soulless Stadio Olimpico. James Brown would have hated it.

Roma fans spark into life.

Kev, Nick and Binso pay the Old Lady a visit.

The game itself was a slow burner that sparked into life in the second half where all boxes were ticked: Buffon sent off, penalty for Roma and the visitors finally ran out 2-1 winners courtesy of a last minute diving header from Jan Arne Riise. I was pleased it was him because he was resplendent in short sleeved shirt and shorts whereas all the others were mincing about in tights and gloves.

After a night on the beers we were up and at them the following morning to catch the train to Milan. Naturally enough it was not straight forward to purchase a ticket but all said and done €9 for the 90 minute journey was not to be sniffed at. Kev had prepared a marvellous football quiz for the journey; I won’t say who won as I’m far too modest ;-)

A few more beers and apertivi to put us in the mood and it was time for the big one. Approaching the San Siro really was special; this place really is a football cathedral. We were sat up in the dreaded 3rd tier where the view would be woeful enough without the netting that they have put up to obscure your view even more.

Binso needed his binsos from the third tier!

In the blue and black corner Inter....

....and in the red and black corner AC.

Can I have a go on those binsos Binso!?

Fortunately we were able to move round to the half way line and took up a sneaky position at the back of the stand – perfect view – tick! I can only describe the pre match atmosphere as sensational. I attended the Old Firm derby earlier this season and this knocked it for 6. The fan displays, the singing and all the flares made it quite spectacular.

The game was played at 100mph, Inter ran out 2-0 winners and quite frankly Milan’s finishing was appalling. Inter were down to 9 men by the end of the game yet Milan still could not score, Ronaldinho even missing a penalty.

We returned to the centre of Milan for a few more beers to round off a pretty special weekend of EFW action. Bring on the next one.

Arrivederci Milano!

- Feel free to comment below -


Anonymous said...

I went to the Old Firm derby this year and the same Milan one and couldn't agree more that the Milan one knocked it for 6.

Was that a couple of my pics on there Danny?


Danny Last said...

Macca - they were all Nick's photos. I would have credited you otherwise old chap. It looks as though you weren't sitting too far away from him.

He said he would have taken more (photos) at both games but it was absolutely freezing!

Interesting that you both say that the atmosphere in Milan was better than in Glasgow. Probably the early kick offs for the Old Firm games these days don't help?

Anonymous said...

You are more than welcome to use any photos, especially if Jack's in them - makes him feel like a celebrity! :-)


Anonymous said...

The old firm game is over rated, over familiar and dull full stop.

Its all hyperbole as Scotland has nothing else football wise to brag about.

Glasgow in the top 10 of derbies, yes, but probably about 8th or 9th.

Danny Last said...

Do you care to shed light on the top 10 derbies in Europe, in your opinion then Anon?

Anonymous said...

really like this piece.Have always wanted to go to the milan derby and this reinforced this view
As a celtic supporter who has being to many derbies with rangers and also several of the big derbies in Europe I would have to agree that the atmosphere at the glasgow derby is not as good as some of the derbies in Europe.The derby has lost a lot of its venom due to government pressure on the two clubs to stop the sectarioan chanting and standing.Derbies over the last few years are no way as good as derbies 10 years ago.
Its not just the glasgow derby that it is overrated now I also believe the madrid v barcelona game is even more overhyped.The atmosphere in glasgow is better than this derby at either the no camp or bernabeau.For me the best derby in europe i saw was gal v fener in the ali sami followed by the rome derby,galsgow and then madrid v Barce.

mark Whelan

1860er said...

Nice work there. Forza Nick!

The German footie mag "11 Freunde" just published a ranking of what they think are the 50 hottest derbies in the world. The top 10 are:
1. Celtic v Rangers
2. Olympiakos v Panathinaikos
3. Fenerbahce v Galatasaray
4. Boca Juniors v River Plate
5. CSKA Sofia v Levski Sofia
6. Red Star v Partizan Belgrade
7. Flamengo v Fluminense
8. Newell's Old Boys v Rosario
9. West Ham v Millwall
10. Dortmund v Schalke

They ranked the Milan derby only at #36. Personally, I'd say you still find some real gems in Eastern Europe and South America these days.

Danny Last said...

According to the excellent Football Derbies website we have *ahem* :

Top 10 city derbies:

Fenerbahce v Galatasaray
Boca Juniors v River Plate
Celtic v Rangers
Olympiakos v Panathinaikos
Red Star v Partizan Belgrade
AS Roma v Lazio Roma
Genoa v Sampdoria
Palmeiras v Corinthians
Benfica v Sporting Lisbon
Wydad v Raja (one for the EFW notebook).

Top 10 local derbies:

Sunderland v Newcastle
St Etienne v Lyon
Schalke v Borussia Dortmund
Liverpool v Man Utd
Cardiff v Swansea
Ipswich v Norwich
Southampton v Portsmouth
Ruch Chorzow v Gornik Zabrze
Blackburn v Burnley
Derby v Nottingham Forest

Top 10 rivalries:

Barcelona v Real Madrid
Hajduk Split v Dinamo Zagreb
Ajax v Feyenoord
PSG v Marseille
Trabzonspor v Fenerbache
Chivas v America
Porto v Benfica
PAOK Saloniki v Olympiakos Piraeus
Arsenal v Man Utd
Anderlecht v FC Brugge

Anonymous said...

i often wonder how these polls generate these ratings for the best derbies.
I know that a lot of people who write these reports or vote on them have only being to a handfull of these matches.
i do not know how you can rate a derby (from TV clips or reputation alone) without at least attending it
mark whelan

Danny Last said...

Yep, good point well made Mark. Everything is subjective isn't it. These ratings should only be taken as a very rough guide obviously. I doubt there are many punters lucky enough to have been to more than a couple of those mentioned.