BT Sport’s newest documentary film – Golazzo: The Football Italia Story – will premiere on Saturday, 31 March.
The film explores how Italian football became hugely popular in the UK following England’s run to the semi-finals at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
Presented from locations across Italy by the face of Italian football on British TV during the 1990s, James Richardson, Golazzo features iconic moments from archives not seen on TV for twenty years, and relives the Richardson-led Saturday morning magazine programme, Gazzetta Football Italia, plus, classic moments from Channel 4’s live Serie A match coverage.
Following the birth of the Premier League in 1992 and BSkyB’s exclusive coverage of the competition, it was a time when the cream of the world’s best footballers featured every weekend on terrestrial TV.
English clubs were generally toiling in Europe and England had failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Meanwhile, Italian football was where Europe’s best players flocked to perform including the likes of Roberto Baggio, Gianluca Vialli, Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, and Frank Rijkaard.
This, added to Gazzetta’s Italian coffee shop backdrops and the live matches featuring glamorous match-ups between Europe’s dominant clubs, Italian football provided a contrast to existing football coverage in the period.
Richardson said: “The film captures a time when Serie A was the world’s most powerful and competitive league, filled from top to bottom with colourful characters and stories.
:It was a pleasure and a privilege to work on Gazzetta Football Italia back then, and it’s been a delight to revisit those glory years for this documentary.”
The film features interviews with Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Paul Ince, Gianfranco Zola, Paul Elliott, Ray Wilkins, Joe Jordan and Luther Blissett.
Also appearing is Michael Grade, former BBC chairman, and, former ITV executive chairman, who was instrumental in securing Serie A rights for Channel 4.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “Golazzo: The Football Italia Story is more than the story of Italian football’s popularity in the 1990s.
“As with all of BT Sport Films output, this film goes beyond individual storylines and personalities, to paint a vibrant picture of the wider football landscape of an era cherished by British football fans.”