45 buses of Elche (8 wins, 1 draw, 0 defeats) fans will arrive at the New Condomina tomorrow. This remember, is the same team who in recent years have only managed to scrimp together a couple of hundred fans for the long and difficult 50 kilometers that separate Elche from Murcia.
I’ve always admired the long suffering and faithful fans who follow their team through thick and thin. Brought up on English football, this was the norm. You would find that success brought in more fans, but only in a minimal kind of way. A club with a hardcore 20,000 may dip to 17,000 with a relegation, or rise to 23,000 with promotion. It’s a swing you could consider normal.
A friend said to me the other day that he considered being in Gerona for our terrible relegation much more important than being at Lugo 12 months later for our return. “When the club is in need, real need, that’s when the fans must be there” he said. Another said this week that “there is more love in 3 cars of relegation threatened fans than 45 buses following a winning side”. It’s a truism.
I know no-one likes to suffer, but abandonment in hard times, be it of your team, your family or your friends, is a terrible personality defect. But then if you didn’t love the team, family or friends in the first place, and just wanted to go to their party, then it’s easy to turn your back on them when things aren’t so good.
Sadly the 45 busses of fans sum up the sheepish nature of fans in Spain. To be part of the hardcore through thick and thin makes you an object of ridicule. Going to somebody else’s fiesta is ultra cool.