MILAN – Why was Helenio Herrera’s Scudetto-winning side of 1962/63 immortalised in a team photo at the Arena Civica in Milan? Because the Arena di Milano is not just any old stadium; it’s the stadium. The oldest one in Italy, which also happened to be the Nerazzurri’s home for nearly 20 years. This is where the first Italian titles and Coppa Italia trophies were won, which obviously is a great source of pride for the club. Perhaps not everyone - the youngest fans at least - knows that Giuseppe Meazza scored more than half of his 282 goals in a Nerazzurri shirt at the Arena. And perhaps not everyone is able to remember the Nerazzurri’s achievements on this pitch, which include their first ever league win, the first Scudetto and the first Coppa Italia.
The first Scudetto in Inter history (1909/10) is strongly linked to the Arena Civica, but there's much more to it than that: Inter’s first ever league victory came against Juventus on 28 November 1909. The official ground was in Ripa di porta Ticinese, but since the playing surface was so often in such dreadful shape the City of Milan had allowed the Nerazzurri to play their winter home matches at the Arena Civica (which at that time was used for other sporting and non-sporting events, such as pigeon shoots and naval battles).
In 1913 the ground on Via Goldoni was built and became Inter’s new home, although the more important matches continued to be held at the Arena due to its greater seating capacity. It was for this reason that the league titles of 1919/20 and 1929/30 were won at both grounds. In fact, the 1930 title, with Arpad Weisz at the helm, was actually won on three different pitches; when a stand in Via Goldoni collapsed, Inter played their decisive title match against Juventus at the San Siro, debuting in a stadium which would later become their permanent home in 1947.
The stadium that Inter used only for the biggest clashes became their home on a permanent basis from the 1930/31 season until 1947 when they made the move to their current home in the San Siro district. On the pitch at the Arena Civica di Milano the Nerazzurri won their league titles of 1937/38 and 1939/40, as well as the Coppa Italia in 1938/39. Pages of Nerazzurri history were written on this turf which hosted Arpad Weisz’s legendary side, Peppino Meazza scoring over 100 of his goals, Annibale Frossi, and player-coach Virgilio Fossati.
Then came the legendary 1950s side of Nyers and Skoglund and their two consecutive league titles (1952/53 and 1953/54); they trained at the Arena Civica and sometimes even played competitive matches there.
Training sessions under the guidance of Peppino Meazza, now as head coach; Benito Lorenzi's "trial"; Massei's goals... The Arena saw so many Nerazzurri born, win, become great and then become legends!
That's why the Great Inter side of 1962/63 is immortalised at the Arena Civica and why today, 50 years on from that legendary team and 100 years after the first competitive match was played there, Inter returned to the Arena for a photo shoot steeped in history and legend.