07.09.12 / 18:01
APPIANO GENTILE – The sponsors and partners of F.C. Internazionale were met with a surprise yesterday evening as president Massimo Moratti joined them in the press room at the Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti for the 2012 Workshop, the traditional meeting between the club and its backers.
The president was keen to speak to the guests and he delivered a speech – which was neither scheduled nor prepared – in which he set out clearly what Inter stands for and what it can become if everyone pulls in the same direction.
"I apologise for interrupting because I wasn’t down to speak and this can often cause problems," the president began with a smile, before explaining the reason for his appearance: "I've come here purely for pleasure, and the gratitude I feel towards you all. It's a pleasure to see you all here and I'm grateful for the affection you show Inter on occasions such as these and your commitment to continue backing the club. You're right to do so. You’re right because I too believe in the club. The investment you and your companies make in choosing Inter over the countless other options you have is the same investment I’ve been making for years and someone could say: 'Don’t you ever get sick of it?' It’s because I believe in Inter, not only from a financial perspective, because sooner or later this will work and work well, and in any case it will be a model club, but I believe in it because I like what I’m investing in. I like the club, the way it works. There’s passion for all of you, or for those among you who are Nerazzurri fans, which is already something marvellous, but it’s a passion for something which I consider different from everything else. We’ve tried to make the club even more diverse and the great thing about all of this is that the fans, the people, have followed and loved this club because of its differences. So this is the success – in this case not only from a sporting point of view, but it’s to do with sentiment, which is no doubt helped by our achievements on the pitch – which has made everyone happy, me as well as you, as sporting success is what this club is all about."
"What this club does," the president continued, "is play football, play
well and win. That's not going to change. But it's also a
vehicle through which you can continue to believe in and uphold
interesting values, not goody-two-shoes values, but values you are pleased to have as you strive to achieve something. So we'll be keeping a tight hold of
those, some of which might be seen as a sacrifice because they are also stubborn values, such as trying to stay away from companies that
promote gambling. That is something which quite honestly, with the
utmost respect for others, we have never done, although many of the
biggest clubs have – Real Madrid do it, Juventus do it, Milan have
done it, they've all done it. So what's wrong with it? Nothing, it's just that we try to say no to certain things, not because we see them as bad, but because they don't exactly match
the reasons why – as long as we're here, as long as I'm here -
we consider Inter to be different. This is also a sort of sacrifice,
a choice. Yet it is with these choices, which are sometimes brave
choices, crazy choices, or choices that are viewed as strange, it's with these choices that Inter
keeps growing in a slightly different way to the others and our
fans are also different to other fans."
On the subject of fans, how could the topic of Andrea Stramaccioni not be brought up? "They love the club precisely because of these differences, even when we lose you sense that they maintain those beliefs that make you an Interista. All of this makes me very proud. Proud to have the opportunity to be president, which is a privilege, but at the same time there is a great sense of responsibility towards maintaining continuity in this team. Continuity in footballing terms, like the choice I saw referred to in the papers as 'brave' but which I – in all sincerity – have never considered as such, especially because I viewed the new coach as a capable individual, so I saw nothing brave in choosing a person who seemed to have everything required for the job. But, generally speaking, it was seen as a brave choice, a young lad coming from the Primavera. And fortunately I was right about his ability and he's done a fantastic job of taking on greater responsibility."
Choosing Stramaccioni, rather than being a "brave choice" is in fact "what we could call a new line, the right line as far as I'm concerned with regard to what the club's policy could be. A club that not only wants a youthful philosophy but also greater impetus, to start again, to start building – without forgetting the gratitude, the friendship and everything else that we owe to our recent past, which is in fact a part of us so certainly not something we want to cast off. Quite the contrary: it's a marvel to be cherished, to be maintained, to exploit to the full. But at the same time I felt it was right to take a new turn. A change both on the field and in the club's policy, which will lead us towards new situations, in an overall economic climate which I don't need to tell you about. All of you - although I hope some of you may have been lucky in your companies - have probably come across greater difficulties this year than ever before."
But it's when the going gets tough that people give the best of themselves, as the president explained: "This year everything is seen in the light of these difficulties we're carrying around with us. But the difficulties should encourage us to understand the positives in the midst of all this negativity. Which positives? For example, the fact that we're all working more: to gain a little we're all working twice as hard and that's a great life lesson. In negative times that's what we do, we start working so hard as to enable us to shake off the inertia brought on by excessive wealth. It's also good for our minds, our creativity. All of you will have had to go and seek new clients, will have been surprised to lose other 'easy' clients who you thought would be with you forever. And yet they have gone because they are struggling. That's happened to everyone and we must think that it can happen to Inter too. So what else did we think? That we have to go and seek new markets. Where? Even in the farthest lands. There's so much talk of globalisation, which is nothing really, which just means that the world is the way it is, that you have to go and look around and that you can go anywhere. So let's muster up some courage and go and see. An example of that courage, if you will, was Indonesia. Or another more practical example, where we can already see the results, is China. We could have gone somewhere closer but we ended up there and it was fascinating to see, to understand, to experience first person how popular Inter are there. That might happen to your companies too: it gets to a point where you go and you see that your product is a successful in a distant market. All this has meant that we have to be so much more creative, careful, clear-headed, to make immediate choices, long-term choices, and be optimistic, even though nothing gives you reason to be optimistic, but it makes you desperately want to be optimistic."
The president continued: "That's why I say that there are positive aspects among these difficulties, and it's those positives that myself and everyone else is trying to bring to Inter, in terms of youth, of knowing how to overcome these difficulties, of work, of there being more work for everyone. We know that, but this is what we have to save, the global aspect, being able to dialogue with anyone and understanding what each client wants, because in a way everyone else is a client, in that you have to win them over. This is the sort of initiative that I like, because it hasn't come from me but from the club. I mean it's Inter's mentality but also the players' mentality: there's no denying it, with all the nationalities we have at Inter, and what's more they're intelligent, decent lads who show an interest in these things and who see [the club's] future not as something they'll no longer be a part of, but as a part of their history, their future, and they want to be involved in that.
"Knowing I have someone with me who supports me and who shares my vision has helped a great deal, but it’s also helped us to achieve results because all of this meant the club was seen in Italy, but especially abroad, as very strong and united. We’ve had projects which we can name with any number of English terms, but what it boils down to is the desire to succeed and to constantly improve. Can we do it? Let’s hope so. Is it a risk? Yes, it’s a big risk because it means working with markets you’re not familiar with. You don’t know the local culture, how people will react, the timeframes involved. But you must be brave, patient and see these things through, and brace yourself for criticism. That’s something you quickly get used to at Inter! But this has all been a learning curve for us and the chance to experience something new."
The result has been that "it has rejuvenated us all - which is a bit difficult for me - but on a mental, sentimental side and planning side, it has been good for me and I like it. Just as I like the idea of having new directors alongside us, a young club in terms of the staff is, in my opinion, an added boost and I hope this is all useful. For who? For you. I must admit that when you begin a project like this, an international project, it’s always useful to be on good terms both when you first undertake it and when you leave things, through Inter, through the chance of creating relationships. I think you all have companies which like to sell in Italy, but if they could they’d gladly sell abroad too. So everything becomes a bit like a market, a place where you can trade internationally, hold discussions and share ideas. If we're careful, smart and ready, as you have proven yourselves to be, I think we can create something that goes way beyond what I have in mind, because it's our combined efforts which carry things forward, not only in the name of this club but the work we all do, which is in any case linked to this club, with one or another product, a certain type of travel, a certain type of newspaper, an advert done in a certain way. It's the combination of all these things, but that combination is held together better if there is sentiment rather than obligation. Fortunately in our case there's passion too. And hopefully if you're not all passionate already, with Inter you might become a little more so, and I think that can lead to good results."Finally, "getting back to the pitch, because that is something we should also talk about, as I said before: I very much like the idea of working with young, competent people while at the same time being able to rely on others who are part of Inter's history, and knowing that they can continue to build for a positive future on the pitch but also for the club as a whole. And that's thanks to the immense support I get from people whom I trust and whom the fans all trust. I didn't come here with anything prepared for this chat but it's been a pleasure to share my feelings with you at a time like this."