English clubs have the worst luck when it comes to Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo and there’s no doubt Man City will be in for a game on Wednesday night.
Amazingly, only one English side has triumphed in Naples and that is League Two’s Swindon Town, who contested the very first Anglo-Italian Cup final on 28 May, 1970.
Now, talkSPORT is not suggesting Pep Guardiola should instruct his coaches to study footage of Peter Noble, Arthur Horsfield and John Trollope in action, but in the last 47 years, the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea have all failed to win in the city.
The tournament was conceived by the charismatic Gigi Peronace, who, among many notable contributions to football, helped broker Jimmy Greaves’ transfer from Chelsea to Milan in 1961.
It was created in the aftermath of the Anglo-Italian League Cup, which in turn was created to allow Division Three Swindon – winners of the 1969 Football League Cup in 1969 – somewhere to compete on the continent.
Rules at the time dictated that teams below Division One were unable to compete in the Inter-City Fairs Cup, so the Anglo-Italian League Cup was set up, with Swindon beating Coppa Italian winners Roma.
And a year after they were once again toasting victory in an Anglo-Italian competition, which was structured in bizarre fashion as three groups of four teams – two from each nation – fought for a place in the final.
The English teams would play the Italian teams, home and away, and based on those results, an English league and an Italian league would be calculated, and the best performing English and Italian clubs would face each other in the final.
And at the final at Stadio San Paolo, Swindon were cruising to victory, winning 3-0, only for the match to be abandoned 12 minutes from time due to fan violence as wooden blocks, concrete, and bottles were thrown from the stands. However, Swindon won the match by default and Orfeo Pianelli, head of the Italian Football Federation presented the players with the trophy once some peace had been restored inside the ground.
OTHER ENGLISH TEAMS AT NAPOLI
Napoli 0-0 Burnley: Inter-City Fairs Cup (1967)
Napoli 2-0 Leeds: Inter-City Fairs Cup (1968)
Napoli 0-0 Liverpool: Europa League (2010)
Napoli 2-1 Man City: Champions League (2011)
Napoli 3-1 Chelsea: Champions Legaue (2012)
Napoli 2-0 Arsenal: Champions League (2013)