The Inter Milan Football Club’s Intriguing History Symbolized in Its Kit

The football club Internazionale Milano S.p.A., more broadly known as Inter, or as they are known everywhere except in Italy, Inter Milan, has a long history of success as a Serie A (first division) club. Their domestic wins have been multitudinous, including thirty trophies, and their popularity and supporters in Italy and Europe exceeds that of one of their foremost rivals, AC Milan, which touts itself as the most successful club in the world. Fans that show their support for Inter Milan usually do so not only by watching them play, but by wearing their jerseys, whether they purchase gear for Inter Milan home games or the Inter Milan away jersey.

The stripes worn by Inter Milan are black and blue, and they have a long history. There was a period during the rule of Mussolini when they had to revert to other colors and change their name, given the connotations that their colors suggested to the ruling political party. These colors suggested a reference to the colors of the Fascist party, and the Blackshirts, a specialized military unit trained for extreme acts of violence. They were nicknamed the Nerazzurri (the “black and blues”), but they also changed this so as not to closely associate the club with the Fascists. They merged with another club and for twenty years were named after St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, and used the colors of the Milan flag (the red cross and white background) for their uniform colors. When World War II ended, however, they once again became the black and the blues, and returned to their original colors.

Because of these historical developments, the home jersey for the club has reverted to its original black and blue vertical stripes. The Inter Milan away jersey, however, since 2008 is a tribute to the twenty year period when they wore the colors of the flag of Milan, a red jersey with the emblem of the Milan flag (a cross) in the emblem covering the left breast, and a Nike symbol across the right breast. Sports fans who are enthusiastic about the Italian club all around the world purchase and wear the Inter Milan away jersey as a sign of support during the games they participate in that take place away from home.

The serpent is also an important symbol for Milan, as it has been a part of the cities iconography for centuries, occurring even on its official coat of arms. It features a coiled snake with a man in its mouth. This image appeared as a tribute to their home city in their 2011/2012 away kit, but has not resurfaced again for 2013.

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