Felt inspired to write about it, due to our inter-hostel soccer tournament going on, plus saw Arsenal and Chelsea slug it out, and read in the paper this morning about the strong team that Inter Milan has assembled this time to challenge for the Serie-A Scudetto(Italian League title) .
It is my favourite sport, I love watching it for hours, and do not mind watching even games between Abhahani krira chakra and Brothers Union ( Bangladeshi club sides) , watched these games when I used to vacation in Calcutta, Bangladesh TV used to come, this was before the advent of Cable TV.
My support for Inter Milan also started then, this was in the period 89-91. When the talented German trio of Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus and Klinsmann used to play for them. I was a big fan of the Germans since the 86 World Cup and supported them ardently in the 90 WC in Italy. I cried when they lost in 86 and I ran out of the house shouting with joy when they won in 90.
Before the tournament started I was in the midst of my summer vacation in Calcutta. Doordarshan used to show Italian League highlights weekly in the evenings around 7 or so. I remember distinctly that me and my cousin used to come back totally sweaty and tired after playing what else, but football in the nearby club ground, then after a quick bath, we were generally ravenously hungry and with our evening meal (maggi/milk and banana/ khichdi/bread omelette) we used to sit in front of the TV for that half an hour completely glued, watching those 5 min clips of all the major Serie-A matches played that week.
The Italian league at that time was no doubt the toughest league having a galaxy of stars like Maradona and Careca (Napoli), the mercurial Dutch trio Van Basten,Rijkaard and Gullit( AC Milan) , and the German trio in Inter.
My cousin was a Napoli fan due to Maradona and the Brazilian Careca, and me Inter due to the German connection. Inter was the defending champions, but that year it was Napoli who eventually triumphed due to the magic of Diego. But I had the last laugh as Germany won the World Cup befittingly by defeating Diego's Argentina.
I and my cousin used to maintain our own scrapbooks on the players. We used to cut pics from Sportstar,Sportsworld and other old mags. We used to enquire with the vendors regularly when the next issue will be coming and pester parents for money, fortunately no one else read those mags, so we were saved and could get on with cutting from day one. My cousin used to keep pics mostly of the Brazilian and Arg players, while I had Germans, plus some of the other European stars. Deliberately I didnt keep the Latin Americans as it was his domain.
We used to give them mundane monikers like ( Rock-Matthaus, One-Man Army for Enzo Scifo, Hurricane/Spitfire for Linekar, Genius- Romario etc). We also used to decorate the pages having the pictures by drawing patterns, flags,colour them etc . We used to clamour for attention by showing it to whomsoever who cared, and tried to get his/her opinion on whose scrapbook was better.
I would love to get my hand on that scrapbook now, it would surely open a floodgate of memories. That unfettered passion for the game has surely diminshed now. Also the maniacal support for Germany has gone for good.