Being an Interista Down Under

The Guiseppe Meazza Stadium, Milan.  Sunday the 7th of October.  Internazionale are the visitors at their home ground to bitter city rivals AC Milan. The ultras from both the Curva Nord and Curva Sud have perfectly choreographed routines to cheer on their respective sides. They are loud, proud and extremely volatile towards supporters of the opposing club. For other fans packing the stadium, the air is electric. Despite not being a sellout, the pre-match atmosphere is lively and boisterous. Flags, banners and jerseys shout out to the entire world that each fan is there for and whom they wish to see decimated after the next 90 minutes. There are few places in the world right now that are as alive as this one.

Travel 13,650 kilometres to a small, quiet pocket of the world. Perth, Western Australia. It’s 2:45 in the morning and you can’t even hear the wind outside. It’s dead still, dead quiet. The promise of daybreak is still hours away, and yet, there is one house out in the suburbs of this city where the day has already begun, only due to the events happening on the other side of the world.

Being a supporter of a football club is something special. You are part of a community, nay, a society, where you share camaraderie, the joy of winning, the pain of losing and the emptiness of a draw with every single other supporter. However, this must be nothing compared to being a supporter of a club from THE CITY YOU LIVE IN. It must be something special, having a shared bond of heritage with that club. Almost all professional football clubs in Europe have a deep history. Some have a shorter history than others, but are no less special. Some have cabinets full of silverware, but are still no greater than some others. The feeling of growing up in and living in the same city of the club you support must be a brilliant experience.

Then, if you’re not living in the same city, living in Europe, where you are able to travel to these games with much more ease. Where you have a greater knowledge of the club and their history because football is so engrained in European culture, that you cannot escape it, despite living in another country. This is still a great experience. Or so I’d imagine so.

Then, there is life in Australia, where Football means a completely different sport and where the word hooligan is synonymous with ‘soccer’. It’s a country that, despite having its own rich and deep history of the beautiful game, the game is kept under wraps by the mainstream media. It’s a country where teams such as Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only teams worth a mention outside of its own domestic league (which is in its infancy, but still proving to be a great competition).

For a supporter of Internazionale, living in Australia can be a daily struggle. Even in an information age where social networks and instant media practices are prevalent, it is difficult to connect with many others who bare the same love for my club. Sure, in the time that I have used social networking to connect with other fans of Inter, I have been able to ‘meet’ other local supporters of the nerazzurri, and it’s fantastic, but it is still lacking the community feel.

It wasn’t until I found a twitter user named Don Nerazzurri, that I truly felt like part of this community of Inter supporters. Knowing that there were so many of us, physically unconnected from the great city of Milan, yet still with the same passion for the club, all with our own back stories of how we became supporters.

However, to be a football supporter, let alone an Inter supporter in Australia, can sometimes be a swim against the current. If you aren’t actively keeping up to date with what is going on, then you fall very far behind. You see, we aren’t immersed in news about football and our great club the way Italy and Europe is. We make the best of it. Starting up local groups like Inter Club Perth is one way. On a site like Facebook, it exists to connect Inter fans from my city, yet it is still not big enough or structured enough to warrant any plans in the near future for us to all get together. Yet, at the same time, just having a group like this, and knowing that there are other equally, if not more, passionate supporters in my own city is very reassuring.

My hope is that one day, and this will be very far away, football can become much bigger in my country. In the meantime, I believe it is an Inter fan’s duty to spread the word of our club. This is the reason why I wear my jersey with pride absolutely everywhere I go. Sure it makes my wife upset that I’m often wearing the same thing, or it might be inappropriate to wear on certain occasions, but for every person out there wearing a Milan jersey, or a Man Utd jersey, or a Real Madrid jersey, I’ll be there wearing the nerazzurri – because people deserve to know of the greatest club in the world and they surely deserve to know that other clubs exist beyond what the mainstream media throw in their faces as football ‘tokens’.

Then I think to myself, so many miles away, yet the reach of this club is so great that it made me a supporter. No, not just a supporter; someone who is dead passionate about the club and who lives and breathes their colours. The reach of a great club should never be underestimated. So I only hope that I can be equally as passionate about winning over other local football fans., as I am about my support, because if our great club can reach me thousands of miles away, then I can definitely reach those within my own city.

Being a fan of Inter in Australia has its negatives, but there are so many positives that we fail to see sometimes. Like as I mentioned earlier, the almost fresh slate that we have with fans of football that don’t yet have a club they are truly passionate about. It’s interesting when I’m out and I see people wearing jerseys of the big clubs in Europe. Three years ago I was coaching and Under 16’s side of a small club from the inner suburbs. The team was struggling, undermanned and under-skilled. Yet the boys loved their football. They loved the game. Yet none of them really supported any clubs, at least not with any real interest anyway. We had one young man who was quite tall. He was of average ability, nothing to write home about, but he loved the game. He always wore a Barcelona jersey. I remember asking him so many questions about the club, questions that he couldn’t answer. I used to try to discuss with him what was happening at the club during the transfer window – he seemed to be very unaware of what was going on, even who was currently on the roster apart from Messi and Xavi.

This is the kind of football fan that I can win over in my own country. Without much of a connection to a club that is only supported part-time, it is easy to show the greatness of Inter Milan, a club with such a history, such character and emotion. What attracted me to Inter in the first place was the overall charm of the club and its character. This is something that the best marketing campaign in the world simply cannot achieve. Inter’s history and people make it what it is; a great club.

So now begins a personal journey of mine – expand Inter Club Perth, win over the undecided football fans, and paint my city in Black and Blue.

Follow Simon on Twitter – @SiCar

Posted on October 17, 2012, in InterFamily, Misc. and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I know how It is and I am a die hard inter supporter from Sydney, everyday I either go to goal.com, fedenerazzurra, inter.it, or nerazzurri world to get some new news on my champions😀 and whenever they play I always stream their games through the internet,

    Im proud inter supporter and im the only one in my whole family other than 2 other cousins, because everyone else either goes for juve or ac milan. They tell me to change but I tell them my blood is black and blue hahahaha.

    Bet yet sometimes from this I find it hard to talk anyone else about it because there are no inter clubs in sydney ( I hope they start one) nor are there many people that I know who are as passionate for inter as I am, but I know as soon as jump onto the internet and go onto the above websites I know that I am with my nerazzurri brothers and sisters😀 so thank you don nerazzurri, michael from fedenerazzurra and goal.com for allowing me and many inter fans outside italy to be able to share this inter experience😀❤

    • Glad to be able to help mate, as I’m sure Michael from Fedenerazzurra and even Goal.com are🙂
      Another great site you should check out is SempreInter.com which is now also in English, also on our InterFamily page you can find my Twitter InterFamily lists that have over 2500 Interisti on Twitter that are as dedicated to our great club as we are!
      Keep spreading the word of Inter fratello & above all else – Sempre Forza Inter!!!!!!😉

  2. wow I can totally relate to this article and the comment! I’m a crazy inter fan from south west sydney and there is not one person I know who supports inter. The only friend I have that actually follows serie a is a milan supporter so our conversations are usually debates. To be honest, I think meeting another inter supporter will be so weird for me because I have always kept my emotions and ideas on inter to myself for so long. Hopefully that can all change!
    FORZA INTER❤

  3. Hey I am an Inter supporter from Sydney as well. In fact, I am a die-hard Interista. I will get up early, stay up late and lose sleep entirely for Inter if I have to, and I will do it while juggling a busy uni life. I also find it difficult to find someone who supports a club outside of the EPL, and even then, a supporter of a team other than Barcelona or Real Madrid. Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to be part of a group of Inter fans here in Sydney. But I will say one thing, despite no such groups existing, I am always hoping to run into another Inter fan, always. Since it is very unlikely to do it in person, I resort to social media like this and boy, I don’t regret it one bit. Thank you to all that keep us updated here down under.

  4. Hey Guys,
    Found your site through the Inter blog on ESPN. I’m from New Jersey in the United States. I live about an hour from New York City. I’ve been a die hard Inter fan since the 97-98 season. Ronaldo’s rookie season. The reason aside from my Uncle being a supporter that I fell in love with the Nerazzuri. I’m of Italian ancestry and my family isn’t even from Milan. They came from the Campania region so Napoli,Salernitana or Avellino would have been my logical choice but since they don’t like soccer I sided with my Uncle. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only Inter fan in the world. None of my friends or family except my Uncle even like football or soccer,as it’s called in the US. I’m always wearing something Inter be it a jersey,sweatshirt,polo. My wife thinks I’m crazy and I should have been born in Italy or South America lol, but deep down she likes Inter too. I even have my 2year old daughter watching the games with me. She even has her own Inter kit. The reason I’m writing is just to share my story of being a die hard Inter fan. Keep up the good work and looking forward to reading more from your blog and site.

    • It’s good to hear from another fellow Interisti from the USA. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like the only Inter fan in the world, before I started this site and joined Twitter I had never had any interaction with another Interisti, I just knew that Inter was the team I am passionate about and I had to share that passion with anyone that would listen so I started writing my blog. Now I can say that through Twitter and my site I really feel like part of the worldwide Inter community and have made some good friends that share my love for all things Nerazzurri. People may think we’re a little crazy but Inter was built on being ‘Pazza’

      Sempre Forza Inter!

      • I cant stand BeIn sport, I havent been able to watch la liga or serie a. I am not going to switch to direct tv or get a satellite.

  5. Don,
    Yeah I love talking to anyone that’s an Inter fan since me and my Uncle are the only ones into them. Any chance I get I read every english news article or site dedicated to our beloved Inter. Is it easy to watch their matches on TV in Australia? We kinda get spoiled over here in the States. Bein Sport just started over here and it’s a great soccer channel. They cover Serie A,La Liga,Ligue 1, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. As I said before keep up the good work.

    FORZA Interisti!!!!!

    • I’m in the UK mate, so luckily a lot of the Inter games are shown on ESPN over here! I’m not sure whether they are shown much on Austrailian TV, maybe one of our Autralian readers can let us know

      • Oh ok yeah we used to get the games on ESPN3 and Fox Soccer Channel. Now it’s Bein Sport in the US.

  6. Hey ch4wordpress,

    Are you from the US? I just switched from cable to Satellite this season and noticed you get more for your money with directv.

    • Yes I am from the States. A relative of mine has direct tv, certain things I can only see with cable, especially outside of the sports realm

  7. Don, i like your comment in Goal.com… Salute…

  8. Hey guys, glad to read all your responses to my article!

    As far as Football on television in Australia goes, there isn’t really anything free-to-air right now. Next year, our domestic league, The A-League will finally have a few matches live on free tv.

    Apart from that, SBS (special broadcast system) is a channel in Australia that has been around since the early 80’s and it is basically 90% foreign programming. Back in the 90’s they had a dedicated Serie A highlights show and even showed some matches. Today they only have exclusive rights to all World Cup matches (very good coverage) and the UCL and Europa League as well as many international qualifiers and friendlies from around the world.

    Unless you have pay tv over here, then you won’t get much else. A subscription to RAI is the only way to see any live Serie A. All you can get on pay tv over here is EPL and sometimes the league one playoffs, but even those are scarce these days.

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