Giovanni Paramithiotti was the first President of Inter back in 1908, and although it lasted just a year, he entered the history books for an irritating nickname and reputation that was ultimately difficult to shake off. The Venetian director with Jewish roots, become known by everyone as ‘Touch wood’. The reason behind this was clear; he was considered to be a jinx.
It is difficult to clearly say when the coincidences became completely clear for the fans and players, although it was obvious that after a long run of defeats, the blame was placed on just one person -‘Touch wood’. At first there were just a few sarcastic comments and a few jokes, although gradually it grew worse and he was eventually banned from the ground.
For the players and fans they really saw Paramithiotti as the root of all of their misfortune, directly linked to their defeats out on the pitch. But his abstinence from football was a burden too heavy to bear. He returned to the club camouflaged with a fake beard and moustache, although his ploy did not work. After a while Paramithiotti was recognised and asked to leave. However, something unexpected soon happened without any advance warning. The spell was broken. Inter won with the President in attendance, who despite the fans’ complaints, arrived in full disguise once again. “The superstition was a hoax”, he said, successfully ridding himself of the nickname that had troubled him: Touch wood.