I've always had an interest in Italian football which is quite bizarre considering outside of Liverpool Football Club I show minimal interest in other teams and sides in England. There's just something I've always found intriguing about Italy as a country and its calcio. Plus if the stuff on the pitch isn't at its best there's always the bags of controversy off pitch that goes along with it.
So last week, I was lucky enough to visit the magical San Siro, a venue for not only our very own special European night in 2008 but many others. I decided to do this post because there is a relation to Liverpool here and I figured because I have a lot of readers from other countries, in a similar way to the This Is Anfield post it would be nice to give people a little insight because let's face it, unfortunately not everybody can afford to make that visit to Anfield or Milan.
If you are thinking about going to Milan (which I'd highly recommend though it's bloody expensive! Lol) then to get to the San Siro you just hop on the red line for the underground tram and get off at Lotto station. It's quite a long walk from the station to the San Siro but worth it to see the wall of graffiti! Haha.
The photo above was my particular favourite from the huge wall of graffiti I just couldn't stop laughing haha! There is some sincere hatred for Maradona from the Inter and Milan fans.
Above is the first real view of the San Siro that I got, it wasn't the warmest or brightest of days in Milan to be honest and so I am sure in a different light this image would appear more impressive, nevertheless the concrete structure of the San Siro is quite daunting as it is so maybe the dull light fits the photo. For me it's always the spiral like columns that I am drawn to when I see the San Siro on the TV, here you can begin to see the huge structures.
The next image shows a side angle of the San Siro and you begin to see the structure more clearly, I'd love to inform you which stand this is but unfortunately I can't remember what angle I came in from, I've realised as well that I didn't take as many snaps of the exterior of the San Siro as I should have but I can assure you it is an awesome sight.
Here you can see the roof of the San Siro, the roof was only added in preparation for Italia '90 along with 3 extra tiers, a fourth extra tier on the remaining stand was never added because of spacial issues with the neighbouring racetrack. I must admit for the daughter of a racing fanatic I had no idea the Italians were so into their horse racing.
Another image of the San Siro exterior, we walked all the way around it before finding the entrance to the museum and tour. You can't help but imagine what the buzz around the place must be like, especially on a derby day (Derby della Madonnina).
And here's the entrance to the museum where you can walk around freely until they call you for the tour, you can take as many pictures as you like but for some reason no videos in the museum but you are allowed to video the stadium. For 13euros I think it's a pretty good deal.
Above is a selection of trophies from the museum, again I didn't take as many snaps as I should have but predictably the museum is split into Nerazzurri (Inter) and Rossoneri (Milan). The museum is pretty good to be fair but I do feel as though they could do a lot more with it, one thing that frustrated me is that they had an honours board for Inter Milan but when you went to try and find the AC Milan one it didn't exist.
I did find something very interesting in the Inter Milan section of the museum though, a shirt donated by Robbie Fowler, I certainly wasn't expecting to see that. I also wasn't expecting to hear You'll Never Walk Alone but the familiar tune was played in the museum amongst many other football songs.
The above image shows a bronze statue of Giuseppe Meazza. Meazza is highly honoured in Italian football and was a real Inter Milan hero, towards the end of his career he played for AC Milan and so in 1980 it was decided the stadium would be renamed after him. Our tour guide indicated that most Inter fans will refer to the stadium as the Giuseppe Meazza whilst the Milan fans stick to calling it the San Siro.
For those that didn't know, the San Siro was originally paid for by Piero Pirelli (yes, the tyre man!), at the time he was the president of AC Milan and so that stadium was solely theirs. In 1947 though Inter Milan moved in after the war, they had previously played at Arena Civica.
The capacity for the San Siro I find myself a bit bemused on because my tour guide definitely said it was 79,000 but other various sources state just over 80,000 either way you have a ball park figure.
Another highlight of the museum, shirts from our final with AC Milan in May 2007. I may be mistaken but from walking around I didn't spot any mementos from our infamous win in 2005 but then again I don't suppose they'd want that on show! Haha.
Two iconic shirts on show in the Inter section, Gattuso on the right and a donated shirt from none other than Lionel Messi on the left.
My first real view of the interior of the San Siro, I was well excited at this point, I've barely been to any grounds in England let alone one of the most famous in football!
A view of the green section of seats. As you can imagine they couldn't really do what any normal stadium would and fill each stand with the colours of the teams instead they have a green and orange section and then a red and blue section. The red and blue obviously appealing to each sharing residents.
Our tour guide also told us that after they built the extra tiers they gave an upper tier of the blue and green sections to each club, ironically the blue that you would assume would be given to Inter was actually given to Milan. If you were going as an away fan to the San Siro, you would end up in one of these tiers (very high up!)
I knew quite a bit about the San Siro before visiting but one thing I was not aware of was that the orange section or the corporate areas where the most expensive seats are, they're mixed stands. Our tour guide used the example of the next game which was Inter V Juventus and she said that the stand behind us would be filled with both sets of fans, I was quite shocked to find there was a neutral area if I'm honest.
Close up of the blue seating. They were pretty comfy to be fair, the stadium is entirely seated.
Close up of the roof and one of the 11 columns that help hold up both the roof and extra tiers.
These seats were reserved for all the important people and they're white for a reason. Depending on whether Inter or Milan are playing they will be covered in the teams colours ready for the guests.
Thought I'd see what being a part of the prawn sandwich brigade was like...
The next part of the tour was to visit both teams changing rooms. There are 3 changing rooms at the San Siro, one for Inter, one for Milan and a third for the away team, they didn't show us the away changing room I can only imagine it's terribly bog standard.
The image above shows the Inter dressing room, the picture didn't come out very well but the large icon on the wall is a lit up Inter Milan badge, each of their scudetto's are also on the walls but for some reason plaque number 8 (to the left of the picture) was missing.
It's very interesting the difference between the two home team changing rooms. President Moratti of Inter requested his teams changing room to be very much "together" each player sits wherever they want and they sit together as a team on the benches right next to each other. I personally preferred this set up because the Milan dressing room appears to be created for the big shots.
Here is a picture of the AC Milan dressing room. Their President; Berlusconi obviously has very different ideas of how a changing room should be. The chairs were very comfortable and obviously expensive but they were also separated from the next player by wooden sections. For me this goes one of two ways, it puts the player in the zone with no distraction or it turns them into a selfish none team player, the latter of which is my opinion.
Here's another view from inside the Milan dressing room so you can get an idea of the segregated seats. The TV's above the seats as well are from what I can tell relatively pointless, it just displays the players number in case they forget where they are sitting! Haha.
Another image from inside the Milan changing room, unlike Inter who have a small logo on the wall Milan have this sort of impending doom light up oval, I suppose it's to ensure they don't forget who they are playing for but I definitely prefer the Inter Milan dressing room.
And that my friends is that. They took us into the club store at the end of the tour and I went straight to the Inter section, most people flooded to AC Milan but for some reason when given a choice I've always felt more drawn to Inter so I picked up a keyring which I collect, I did have a photo of it but I can't find it, will try to tweet it at some point.
Anyways, I hope you've enjoyed this post as it was a nice change writing it and if you're thinking of going to the San Siro, have fun!!!