MILAN - Here we are, counting down the minutes to Wednesday: 21:00 CEST, San Siro, Inter vs Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Nerazzurri's first match in the UEFA Champions League 2020/2021. Let's go back a few years. 18 September 1963 was a date that would prove to be the beginning of a great adventure. It would mark the start of a bond with a trophy that still evokes such sweet memories. That day, in Liverpool, Inter played their first ever match in the European Cup.
We tell the story of that night in Goodison Park on our official Podcast in the first episode of Euro Nights: a story - in English - that led to us being crowned Champions of Europe. Our podcast features some famous voices that discuss the run-up to that day 57 years ago and tell us about the 0-0 draw, a game that would go on to serve as the spark that would light up an ultimately victorious run in the European Cup. Guests on the Podcast include Aristide Guarneri, an exceptional defensive pillar of Herrera's Inter; Colin Harvey, an Everton icon both as a player and a coach (who made his debut with the Toffees at the age of 18 during the Inter vs. Everton return match fixture); Frank Keegan, an Everton fan at the stadium that day; Gavin Buckland and Simon Hart, both authors of books on the history of the Toffees.
Listen to "EURO NIGHTS Ep. 01 | Where it all began" on Spreaker
EVERTON 0-0 INTER, THE STORY OF THE MATCH
The match saw the Champions of Italy clash with the Champions of England. The two teams met each other at the round of 32 stage in the European Cup. Herrera's Inter flew to Liverpool in September 1963; it was a city where the phenomenon that was the Beatles had burst onto the scene and where the Reds had just returned to the English top flight after eight years in the Second Division. Herrera had flown to England to see his opponents in action (Everton 3-4 Burnley, the Toffees' first home defeat in 18 months), and promptly warned his players about the fiery atmosphere they would encounter once inside Goodison Park. Guarneri tells us: "Herrera had warned us that the crowd were banging their fists on the stands and so throughout the match we knew they would try to affect the team in a hostile and noisy way." 200 Nerazzurri fans attended the match, seated in the Upper Bullens Stand, with a large Nerazzurri flag: the flag was so large it obscured the view of the home fans trying to watch the game, so much so that it was eventually necessary for the police to intervene.
On that day, 62,408 spectators turned up to watch the game at Goodison Park, generating a then-record £31,450 in ticket sales revenue. The match was a tough one: Inter, wearing the Nerazzurri jersey, with Everton taking to the field in a white kit (at the time it was the home team that wore the second strip in case of need, something Inter would also go on to do in the return leg at San Siro against Everton, where they took to the pitch in white), saw a goal by Vernon disallowed and came incredibly close to scoring through Jair. The game finished 0-0, which concluded with Everton fans applauding the Nerazzurri in appreciation; this was something that no Inter fan or player would have expected.
This was the first team Inter deployed in the European Cup: Sarti, Facchetti, Guarneri, Burgnich, Picchi, Tagnin, Szymaniak, Suarez, Mazzola, Di Giacomo and Jair.
After the draw in Liverpool, as told in our podcast by the people that were there, Inter would go on to continue their path in the European Cup by beating Everton 1-0 at San Siro on the 25 September thanks to Jair. This was followed by victories against Monaco, Partizan and Borussia Dortmund, leading to the ultimate triumph in the final against Real Madrid at the Prater Stadium in Vienna.
EURO NIGHTS ep. 01 [Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts]