Odd Ball: Swindon Town Party and Juventus Stain at Anglo-Italian Cup
Jakarta - Competition operators create various events to entertain football lovers around the world. Most are good, but not a few are messy. This article describes one of the most unique tournaments in history: the Anglo-Italian Cup.
Not many people have positive memories of the Anglo-Italian Cup. So naturally, the public forgot about it.
This tournament stems from the 1969 English League Cup final. Swindon Town made a surprise by beating Arsenal to maximize Ian Ure's mistakes.
As winners, The Robins were supposed to get tickets for the Fairs Cup (also known as the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup), which later became the UEFA Cup and Europa League. However, Swindon Town was finally banned because at that time it was a Third Division club. There is a caste limit for participants in European competitions. Swindon Town had the same fate as Queens Park Rangers (QPR) who had felt the same way two years earlier.
The Football League as the operator of the English soccer competition has become the target of public anger following the grief of QPR. Reluctant to repeat the same events, they also held an international tournament.
Luigi Peronace then played a role. This Italian citizen who lives in London uses his connections to help the Football League. As a teenager, he arranged matches between British soldiers who were in Italy during World War before studying engineering in Turin.
There Juventus offered a position as a translator for William Chalmers, the newly appointed Scottish coach. Peronace then left for Lazio to take care of the transfer. Its reputation continues to grow. He became an agent when the position was as unknown as it is today. Peronace then brokered the transfers of Jimmy Greaves (Chelsea to AC Milan), John Charles (Leeds United to Juventus), and Denis Law (Manchester City to Torino).
The solution offered for the Football League is a duel between the champions of the tournament competition in England (League Cup or FA Cup) against the Coppa Italia champions. Swindon Town then met AS Roma in a home and away format. Unexpectedly, The Robins grabbed a 5-2 aggregate win over an opponent with a bigger reputation.
The competition uses the official name Anglo-Italian League Cup. Events revolved in 1970, 1971, 1975 and 1976. Bologna, Tottenham Hotspur, Fiorentina and Napoli followed in Swindon Town's lead as winners.
However, at almost the same time, a new competition with the same spirit called the Anglo-Italian Cup emerged. This tournament began rolling in 1970 and involved 12 teams.
Participants were divided into three groups each containing two representatives from England and Italy. Teams are then pitted using a full competition system. From that result, the best teams of England and Italy were selected to meet in the final.
This unique format is only one of the Anglo-Italian Cup innovations. Another difference is the new offside rules that apply in the penalty box. Teams can make five substitutions and players wear a permanent number in the squad, something that was not known at the time.
The committee also rewards the team with an offensive strategy. At that time the winner was rewarded with two points. Now the team will get additional points for every goal they create regardless of the result of the match.
In the first edition, the Italian representatives were much favored. Because, the Serie A giants only need to serve names like Swindon Town, West Bromwich Albion, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
However, the results show something different. The Italian team is known to be less serious about participating in the competition. On the other hand, the English team is passionate about building a reputation on the international stage.
The combination resulted in Swindon Town's success in beating Juventus 5-0 on aggregate. Sheffield Wednesday silenced Napoli 4-3 and West Brom thrashed Roma 4-0.
In the final, Swindon Town faced Napoli. The Robins were already 3-0 up ahead of opponents who lost a number of key players on international duty in the 62nd minute.
Unfortunately the violence of the supporters exploded. The match was stopped in the 79th minute and Swindon Town was declared the winner. A total of 40 policemen and 60 spectators were injured, with dozens of supporters arrested. Napoli was also sentenced to appear in European competitions for two years.
The Anglo-Italian Cup continues. However, reduced attendance and low interest led the Football League to withdraw after 1973.
Even so, the Anglo-Italian Cup actually came to life three years later. This time the competition involved a semi-amateur team. However, there was a decrease in participants over time.
This led to a change in the format of the competition. The Anglo-Italian Cup also underwent four identity changes due to sponsorship issues. With various problems, the tournament lasted until 1986 before returning to vacuum.
The popularity of football in England increased again in the early 1990s following the formation of the Premier League and Champions League. Efforts to revive the Anglo-Italian Cup emerged and the event started again in 1992.
Unfortunately the problems still arise. One of them is the complicated format in qualifying involving the English Division I team and Serie B.
There was also a commotion on the ground in the Ancona vs Birmingham City match. All the fist fighting players, with coach Ancona also struggled.
In the end the Anglo-Italian Cup did not last long. The competition is unable to compete with the Premier League and Champions League. The 1996 edition was the last event.
Even so, this event did not always leave a negative impression. Swindon Town supporters have memories of beating Juventus. Likewise Carlisle United who beat AS Roma at the Olimpico.