By Matthew Barker
Inter’s Germans – Matthaus, Klinsmann and Brehme – in the Uhlsport kit in the late 1980s
Must seem pretty odd now, in this age of full-on saturation Champions League coverage, but there was a time, back in the 1980s, when you could only catch occasional glimpses of European club football on your TV.
I remember watching BBC’s Sportsnight one Wednesday evening; a 10-minutes-or-so highlights segment of Inter playing at San Siro against Real Madrid in the first leg of their 1985 UEFA Cup semi-final. It was beautiful. The screen’s colour balance seemed to have gone completely off the scale and suddenly, beamed straight into the living room, was this bright, brilliant world, where perma-tanned players strutted their stuff to a backdrop of massed crowds in expensive quilted puffa jackets and sunglasses. And there was a dirty great Martini advert on one of the perimeter fences. Martini. It doesn’t get any more Euro jetset than that.
A couple of years earlier, an Italian neighbour on my suburban South London street had given me an Inter pennant. As a teenage Jam fan, I loved what appeared to be little targets on it (and were actually rather militaristic cockades, worn on the shirts of Coppa Italia victors), while the badge itself, complete with a snake (which was actually the biscione serpent taken from the Visconti family coat of arms) was both strangely exotic and slightly bonkers in equal measure.
When we used to have an after-school game down at the