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Published: December 13th 2007
Referee made to feel welcome
Just in case anyone throws a toilet roll at him I guess!
Since i arrived here, the people i have met here (and actually people like Paul for a long time before I arrived here) had been telling me i had to go to see a football game while i was in Buenos Aires. So, last Saturday, i was at a loose end and that is exactly what i did. And what a great experience. I´d highly recommend anyone go and see a game who is in this city. Now i know what Paul had been ranting on about all these years!
Now, anyone who knows me at all knows i don´t really follow football at home. But for people here it is like a religious experience going to a game. Boca Juniors and River Plate are the two biggest teams in Argentina, both based in BA. I would have loved to see Boca play, if only to get the chance to shake hands with the great Maradona in the stand and congratulate him on that wonder goal to knock England out of yet another World Cup, but they weren´t playing. So i went to see a River Plate game instead, the arch rivals of Boca. The rivalry is so intense that
They keep the singing going throughout. I think the game is just an occassional distraction!
the showdowns between the two clubs are called "El superclasico!" and The Observer newspaper reckon it is the best sporting event a fan can attend anywhere in the world, in any sport, such is the passion and excitement.
Maybe next time for el superclasico, but this time it was River v Banfield. After going to the wrong part of town, then getting a taxi to the wrong stadium (Spanish still isn´t that good!), i eventually made it to the game. I wasn´t even put off on the way to the stadium by the police dog handlers with savage looking dogs, police water canon vehicle or the lines of riot police on the way in. Undeterred by the potential of being heavily beaten up at the game by either the fans, police, or both, i bought my ticket for the grand price of $6 and went into the stadium. Despite River losing 2-0, it was a great experience. A soggy Aberdeen v St Mirren game on a boggy pitch in December this was not! Highlights:
* Riot police with baton shields to accompany the referee onto the pitch (Makes you wonder why they started doing that)
The wrong Stadium
Hey, where is everyone? The stadium River Plate normally play at!
Everyone stands up for the whole game, only sitting at half time, the exact opposite of the UK where i was threatened to be thrown out of Madjeski stadium once for standing!
* 7 or so River fans face the rest of the stand for the whole game and lead the singing, rarely watching the game
* The singing (and bouncing) doesn´t stop for the whole game, its even louder when the other team score to try and spur River on!
In reality the game is a bit of a side affair to the general entertainment and colour and excitement of the fans which is great to watch. Highly Recommended.
Check out the video too of all the fans singing during the game. The only time this stopped was at half time!
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