Monday, June 27, 2011
The River of Defeat.....
Yesterday saw River Plate relegated to the second level of Argentine football for the first time in their history. In the last minutes of the game you could see the reactions. Some whimpered in tears. Some got angry. Then, somewhat predictably once the worst was confirmed, chaos followed, with violence, threats to players and officials, visiting supporters unable to leave the stadium for hours, running battles between police and fans, shop-fronts smashed and many injured.
I can’t imagine a Manchester United or a Chelsea or an Arsenal, Real Madrid or Barcelona, going down, getting relegated. However, I can imagine the reactions. I have seen their supporters get upset when it doesn’t all go their way - I can remember getting peed off with fellow Arsenal supporters when one year we only came second after the last day fixtures – seeing them blubbing and with lips quivering like bloody wet nellies on the telly after just losing out on the title. I’ve seen it from Chelsea and Man Utd also....crying like a spoilt brats after losing whatever yearly cup final they might happen to lose...fer fecks sake, grow a pair!
That’s the sad thing about following a big club. There is little joy. Each weekend brings the torture of the demand for success, any failure to gain maximum points, or even not to destroy your opponent, leaves them feeling empty. Some don’t even greet goals with joy....but with an “about bloody time!” and an impatience for the next one to go in.
As I get older I’m starting to appreciate the football experience (as a fan) in a different way. From previous posts you know that the “football as entertainment” line isn’t mine. Barcelona, that everyone drools about, bore the pants off me. As do Cristiano Ronaldo’s repetitive and tiring step overs. I just want a big hairy defender to kick him. Hard. And being a supporter of a real club, real in the sense of human and flawed, has helped me to enjoy my teams games more than the fans of any of the ultra successful teams could theirs. We are contented with small things. Victories or achievements, however insignificant, are greeted with honest happiness. Why? Because we have the experience of all of footballs emotions.....including relegation. So when you have been in hell....purgatory seems just fine. So the attitude to losing a cup final….would be.....to get the beers in, cause evidently we would have won a semi final! And that would have been magic!
Sounds strange I know, but relegation is too often greeted with such doom, when indeed it can be “jodidamente enriquezedor”....horribly enriching, and perhaps something every real football fan should experience in their supporting lifetime. Our Real Murcia club has come through it strengthened, both in terms of the management and playing staff, as in terms of a revitalized and growing unconditional support.
I’m sure, in a couple of years time, River’s fans will have fond memories of their upcoming and likely short spell in segunda. Seeing different scenes a bit lower down the same ladder that you usually top, should help them appreciate the good times a bit more. I have to say our 2010 / 2011 season in segunda B has been a joy for me. I don’t want to go back....but it’s a season that won’t fade in the memory like some others have.
Posted by Guiri at 9:26 AM