Mid-Season Milan Trip - Match Report
The Toon v Internazionale
11th March 2003 - similar stuff at La Tania does football
Snow and Football have always been my two big passions in life. Often they get in the way of each other, but thanks to the cheapie airlines, flying back to England from the Alps for big games is just about affordable. I remember paying more to get from Luton to Wembley than from Geneva to Luton for the semi-final v Chelsea in 2000. Not many people fly back FROM Geneva for the weekend in Winter!
For once things were fairly simple and obvious - Inter Milan v Newcastle United at the San Siro, one of THE grounds in Europe you have to visit sometime in your life. A quick word around the Ski Lodge in La Tania and we had a car load (which became a mini bus) all up for it. Serious swopping of shifts to get the day off, sending off for away end tickets, sorting out spare Toon tops to be sent over, the buying & chilling of beer and searching for the 3 Valleys England flag used in the Le Praz summer football tournament (and the LdV black and white shirt) all took place.
Another glorious day in La Tania, it was cloudy in Milan
On yet another beautiful sunny day in La Tania we set off for Milan. The route takes you through the Fréjus Tunnel (nearly 13km long) in to Italy. This is situated just past Orrelle, The Fourth Valley, which has a gondola linking you over to the back of Val Thorens - the grand plan for a few of us to ski over and get picked up by the van in Orrelle quickly diminished in the early hours of the morning however...
Only a four hour trip and 26 bottles of Kronenbourg
So with a box full of beers drunk, we arrived in Milan in just over 4 hours and immediately spotted the massive San Siro stadium. Heading for the City Centre numerous black & white tops were spotted and although a lot of bars had been closed for the day fearing the 12,000 members of the Toon Army, we found several that were still open who made a fortune.
closed for the day, but we tracked some open ones down in the end
The usual chaos outside the ground, and coins and missiles raining down on sections of the Toon support (but this is Italy right?) - we even had a flare thrown in our end in the second half. No matter - an excellent performance by the Toon, two Alan Shearer goals but each time we got pulled back by the Italians who played up to their diving, cheating and referee conning reputations. So close yet not that far to travel at all really...
An estimated 12,000 Newcastle fans had made the trip to the San Siro, and although they may have traveled more in hope rather than expectation, they were determined to enjoy their night. One flag of St George draped over the fence at the end the travelling supporters had been allocated carried the message “Three days of beer and pizza - are we in heaven?”
The magnificent San Siro stadium - and at 2-1 it was
After the game, more chaos and more massive queues for the metro to try to get to our van parked in the City Centre - no trouble though and a few more beers soothed the pain of not getting a deserved win. We have to rely on Milan not beating Leverkusen and we must win against Barcelona to go through to the quarter finals now. A late return back to La Tania (I'd met up with some mates who were staying in Milan and crashed with them), especially for those working first thing in the morning, but a thoroughly enjoyable trip....
A flare thrown at the Newcastle fans made it feel like
a proper European game... and the La Tania Mags, tired but proud!
It was certainly one of the better days out this season, trips were organised from Méribel to this game and to Turin (Juventus v Man U) too. Tickets were available (in the Italian end) for around 40€, so still worth travelling without a ticket, but don't tell UEFA.
Now if we do get through to the quarter finals - how long's that drive to Madrid?
Inter Milan: Toldo, Cordoba, Javier Zanetti, Emre, Sergio Conceicao, Guglielminpietro, Cannavaro, Di Biagio, Okan, Vieri, Coco.
Subs: Fontana, Gamarra, Pasquale, Martins, Vivas, Franchini, Napolitano.
Newcastle: Given, Bernard, O’Brien, Griffin, Bramble, Jenas, Solano, Speed, Bellamy, Shearer, Robert.
Subs: Harper, Hughes, LuaLua, Ameobi, Kerr, Caldwell, Viana.
Referee: Lucilio Cardoso Cortez Batista (Portugal)