Sometimes this fanzine, rightly or wrongly, gets criticism for mixing politics with football. The more I live here and get to know what makes Spanish football tick, the more I understand that football and politics are interwoven, at least in Spain anyway.
I don’t know how much you have seen in the UK of the disturbances in the northern Spanish city of Burgos. I’ve never been to Burgos but people tell me it’s a sleepy, conservative and traditionally ultra-Catholic city, not the type of place you would associate
with street rioting. However, the city witnessed five nights of rioting, starting the weekend before last. The catalyst for the riots was a project remodelling of a main street in the city, which runs through a working class area called Gamonal. Pretty harmless you may think, but people have been asking why the town hall was spending €8m on this when at the same time they are scaling back rubbish collection and closing schools due to cash problems. Some sources say that Burgos owes the banks €135m and can’t keep up on the
repayments. Things become clearer when you find out that contracts appear to have been awarded to a builder with a dubious owner who has served a prison sentence for corruption in the past. So this project seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. What’s all this got to do with football I hear you ask? Well, according to some Spanish newspapers, amongst the main groups behind the riots is a band of left wing antifa football ultras called
Resaca Castellana. Resaca Castellana follow Segunda B (Group 1) outfit Burgos CF and some of the group’s members were amongst the people who were arrested during the initial nights of the protesting. Rioting, in support of Gamonal, also spread to other major Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona, which has in turn led to the mayor of Burgos saying that the project has now been suspended.
On one of the nights that the riots were taking place I spent the evening amongst some of the best, if not the best, ultras in Spain. I went to see Elche play Seville and went in the away end with the Biris Norte, the ultras that follow Seville FC. Some of my mates, at Ciudad de Murcia, have contacts with the Seville lads and I went to the game in the hope of seeing some of the best supporters in the country. However, this wasn’t to be as when the Biris lads arrived at the stadium, after a six hour coach journey, they had all of
their tifo, including all flags and even scarves, confiscated before they were allowed to enter the stadium. Now I’m not saying that the Biris are angels, in the last year alone they
have been in the news for clashes with rival fans in Granada and in Seville with right wing fans of Polish club Slask Wroclaw. Some alleged members also hit the headlines for attacking their own player in their stadium car park after a recent derby with Real Betis. Nevertheless, I found the Police treatment harsh and it spoilt the atmosphere at the game, with some of the Seville lads vowing never to come to Elche again. This all comes on the back of Spain’s proposed Citizens Security Law which could mean fines of between €1000
and €30,000 will be levied for anybody who wears a mask or hood in a public place that makes their identification difficult also anyone who insults a Policeman ,when they are doing their work, could be hit with a similar fine. Even higher fines could be handed out to anyone photographing of videoing any member of the Police or security forces and for public order offences in any religious public or sporting or entertainment event. Some commentators are saying that this law would be a throwback to the Franco regime. I think
I agree. The Biris Norte decided that a silent protest was the order of the day, I’m not too sure if that bothered the Police too much though? As an aside the only people I saw with covered faces that night were policemen.
Later on that week you would have noticed that Ronaldo won the Balon de Oro. Well done to him, he’s welcome to it. His team Real Madrid played Osasuna, the team from Navarra region with a Basque name, in the Copa del Rey, the day after the award. Osasuna’s excitable element, Indar Gorri, had a nice full pyro welcoming committee for Ronaldo and co. as they arrived in Pamplona. See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkS8ddWiLhQ
Staying in the north and Racing Santander supporters have been hitting the headlines too, some of them tried to attack their president, Angel Lavin, during a cup game with Almeria. The Segunda B side drew the game 1-1, but with around sixty minutes on the clock some supporters decided to enter the directors’ box and throw drinks at the club’s owner. The trouble revolves around the non-payment of the players’ wages and general bad running of the club. See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blh-kBqwKJQ
It’s never dull and I expect more of this sort of thing in the coming months and years, both in football and politically here.
BUT let’s end on an amusing theme and something I was going to put in the last blog but didn’t have room for. During the Christmas break CAP Ciudad de Murcia played a couple of friendly matches, I attended one in Lorca. It was a horrible rainy night and the football on display was awful, however I seen one of the funniest things that I have ever seen in thirty odd years of watching football. The referee was actually wearing glasses, in the rain as well! The fans were shouting “you need windscreen wipers!!” and all kinds of other things, as you can imagine. To add to that he was terrible and made all kinds of useless decisions that ended up with the Ciudad players walking off the pitch before the game ended…pure slapstick! …and you think Mike Jones is bad?
Adios for now!