Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The owner of this blog SUPPORTS

Racing Club (Argentina) and Queens Park Rangers (England).

The first one is the team my father (RIP) and my grandfather supported since they were born and I kept the tradition of supporting them through thin and thin! (yes, because we've never been too good after 1967 -ten years before I was born-).

Racing Club has the same colours of Argentina (Albiceleste) and it hails from the city of Avellaneda, just outside Buenos Aires city limits to the south.

It was founded on March 25th, 1903 and it's nicknamed "La Academia" (The Academy) because back in the days before football became a professional sport in Argentina, Racing won 9 leagues (7 consecutive) and was the best team around.

It was also the first team to win 3 league titles in a row (1949-1950-1951) and the first Intercontinental (European-South American Cup) champion from Argentina, beating the famous Lisbon Lions team of Glasgow Celtic in the final in 1967.

After that, we spent 35 years without winning the title with 60 managers (yes! 60 managers!) trying to and failing to win the damn thing all those years.

We were relegated in 1983 and came back to the first division in 1985. We've won the first edition of the Supercopa in 1988 (a tournament played between all the Copa Libertadores champions) and finally in 2001 we stopped that bloody curse and we won the league with players like Diego MILITO amongst our stars (even though he was mostly a substitute back then).

The biggest pride during all those dark years in which the league title was so elusive with us was to have the most loyal set of fans. The "hinchada" of Racing overcame everything and kept the club alive (with the help of some politicians to be fair) when the economic crisis and a lot of corrupt members of the board threatened to end with Racing Club as we know it .

Mariano GONZALEZ (now at Inter), Diego MILITO (Zaragoza) and Lisandro LOPEZ (Porto FC) are amongst the players who started their careers at Racing in the recent years.

In history, Alfio BASILE, Roberto PERFUMO, Quique WOLFF (all of them playing for Argentina. PERFUMO (1966 and 1974) and WOLFF (1974) playing in World Cups, Orestes Omar CORBATTA and Ubaldo Matildo FILLOL are amongst the key figures and the main icons of Racing Club.

Here's a pic of the World’s biggest flag and this is the link to the Racing Club's official website (very nice and worth visiting): http://www.racingclub.com

As for QPR (Queens Park Rangers), I started supporting them after playing a couple of seasons of a Championship-Manager-like game. I was attracted by the name and the shirt and I was hooked forever. It was back in 1997 and I soon started looking for results, news and club’s history on the internet.

I became a regular poster in a QPR-related messageboard and the people there couldn’t believed that an Argentinean was so fanatic about a rather small London club.

Thanks to QPR and its wonderful fans, I’ve got to live what was (and still is) one of the highlights of my life.

After we secured promotion back to the Championship (England’s second tier) with a win 3-1 away win against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, a QPR Irish fan came up with the idea for all the regulars in that messageboard to gather some money to fly me over the London and get to watch QPR for the first time in my life. After 7 years of loyal support from across the ocean, they did it and they made me the World’s happiest man!

So September 11th, 2004 was the long-awaited date. QPR were playing against Plymouth Argyle at Loftus Road in what turned out to be my first live, on-site QPR experience. We won 3-2 after a run of terrible results and we started a series of 7 wins in a row after that! But the brightest of my memories from that day was to be introduced at halftime on the pitch!

I’ve got to play a little competition called round the pole. You had to go ten times round the pole and when you were all dizzy you had to take a penalty kick and try to score (avoiding falling on your back side, of course). I scored a great goal (top-right corner) and all the crowd was celebrating. Even the Plymouth fans!

After the match, I’ve got to meet the players and fellow Argentine Gino PADULA gave me the shirt he used just minutes before, while Big Danny SHITTU (now playing in the Premiership for Watford) gave me an honest praise after he saw me scoring from the penalty spot!

I even got to meet QPR legend Stanley BOWLES and I got an autographed copy of his biography at the club shop and I was interviewed by BBC London before the match!

The other magical thing about that whole experience was that thanks to that wonderful initiative by my fellow QPR supporters, I’ve got to meet again with my mum and my two brothers. And most importantly, I’ve got to meet my newly-born niece in Spain where my brother Martin was living at that time (with the help of my mum paying for the tickets from England to Spain). I was set to miss her birth and follow all those moments from afar, but QPR (its fans) made it possible for me to be there with my brother and live a wonderful couple of days with him and his lovely baby.

Some idiots (the minority) started calling me names in that messageboard and it really affected me. Some were saying I was not a true QPR fan and that I just wanted to get into England as an illegal immigrant! So it stopped me from posting so often because no matter what I wrote in there, I was being abused anyway. That was the only downside of my life as a QPR fan. That and being knocked out of the cup by Vauxhall Motors a few seasons ago! Haha!

But my love for QPR remains intact and I’ll always support them!

Amongst QPR highlights are the League Cup title in 1967 coming back from a 2-goal deficit against West Bromwich Albion at Wembley (while Racing were beating Celtic) and finishing second being pipped to the league title by Liverpool in the 1975-1976 season. Oh...we were so close! Will we be back? Honestly, I don't care!

Website: www.qpr.co.uk

18 comments:

John said...

Seba,

I remember back in 1999, Racing Club was on the verge of bankruptcy and then a couple of years later they won the league title. What a turn around that was and I guess you must have been the happiest man alive.

As for QPR, its interesting to know your love for them. Thanks for sharing with your memorable experience.

By the way, when Tevez and Mascherano join West Ham, it kind of remind me when Spurs sign Ardiles and Ricky Villa. I would like to know more about them. One unique thing about Ardiles, is that he wears No.1 for Argentina!!!

John
Malaysia

John said...

Oh yes one more thing, VAMOS to all Racing Club & QPR supporters!!!

Seba said...

It was quite a turn around but it smelled a lot of politicians being involved and not-so-clear procedures. In any case, we: the supporters, were free of any guilt (not like the members of the board who sold the club and stole money from it) and our celebration was immense and well deserved!

That day (December 29th, 2001) we sold out Velez Stadium (where the match was being played and I was one lucky ticket-holder) and at the same time, my fellow supporters who were not as lucky to get a ticket to attend the match went to Racing's stadium and they packed it aswell! So it was the first time a team in Argentina (and probably the World) filled up two +40.000 stadiums at the same time!

As for TEVEZ-MASCHERANO and ARDILES-VILLA (on a curious note, VILLA played for Racing in the 70's and ARDILES was Racing's manager in 2004), I think the moves have their similarities and I read somewhere that it took a little while for OSSIE and RICKY to click into the team before they became a class act for Spurs.

I hope with CARLITOS and JAVIER the same thing will happen and I'm confident they can turn around this horrible series of defeats.

But at the moment, it is also up to PARDEW to recognise the best way to use them and make the team benefit from their quality.

TEVEZ dominated at Under-17, at the Olympics (top-goalscorer and MVP), at Boca (winning leagues and Copa Libertadores), at Corinthians (being Argentine, winning league and MVP trophy) and he had a great impact for Argentina aswell (playing a magnificient Copa America in Peru and being one of the best in the World Cup). How come he can't become a factor in the Premiership?

It has to do with tactics. I'm sure of it. Feed him well. Make him become a huge part in your attack and you'll be counting the goals.

John said...

Seba,

I do agree with you that CARLITOS and MASCHERANO needs time to settle. I also do agree that its all about the tactics and PARDEW must find the best one to suit both of them.

According to reports, that once the takeover at WEST HAM is completed, LUIS 'BIG PHIL' SCOLARI will be the new coach at UPTON PARK. To me thats great news as we all know what a great coach he is. SCOLARI will be much more familiar with Latin American playing style comapre to PARDEW.

I also believe that PARDEW may be under pressure by the new owner to produce results and the situation may not be helping him to focus on his job. Perhaps the arrival of SCOLARI will be bring a breath of fresh new air to UPTON PARK

John
Malaysia

Seba said...

On an even more curious fact, not only did Osvaldo ARDILES manage Racing for a season and a half but he also played for QPR in the early 80's!

Oh...and one of the 60 managers that unsuccessfully tried to win a title with Racing in that 35-year span was no other than DIEGO ARMANDO MARADONA!

Seba said...

And the number 1 shirt ARDILES wore in Argentina 1978 was due to an alphabetical distribution of the numbers.

That's why FILLOL (our keeper) played with Number 5!

And KEMPES was lucky enough to end up with talismanic number 10!

Funny stuff!

John said...

Seba,

I would like to suggest on what you should post in your next article. Perhaps you can give us the Top 10 Argentine players that graced English football.

Not sure there are that many? But for sure the likes of ARDILES, VILLA & HEINZE are sure bets. How about MAURICIO TARICCO?

Can't wait to hear from you about this?

John
Malaysia

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,
i'm Mr. anonymous. it's been a while. i stopped writing since you all wanted me to stop. i'm just wondering if i can start writing again. come on, what harm would it do if i posted a couple of words that go against argentina. it makes for a competitive atmosphere. argentina is not my favourite team, and i wouldn't sacrifice anything for it. to add up to this, i'm a fan of the beautiful game, brazil for example. but this doesn't mean i can't write in this blog?!! what do you think.

Seba said...

Yes, Mr. Anonymous, you can write your comments here. The only thing we ask is for you not to write abuse to fellow posters or insults to Argentine footballers or celebrities. As simple as that. Just some respect.

But of course we'll enjoy some friendly banter at anytime.

Seba said...

John, I don't think I've got enough players to make a Top10 of Argentines in English Football.

Was a good idea but the moment you mention TARICCO amongst those players you can see we don't have a lot of quality Argentine footballers competing in England now or in the past.

Anonymous said...

Thanks alot,
let me first apologise for any insulting comments i made in the past. we all make mistakes. and i am really sorry for that.
thanks again.

Anonymous said...

and to start the banter right away let me tell you that i believe that, even though Pele is the most ACCOMPLISHED figure in soccer which puts him easily on top as #1. talent-wise maradona has the edge FOR SURE. even pele would admit that maradona is more talented than him. but this, in no way can put maradona ahead of pele OVERALL looking at every aspect, talent, achievement, morals, .... etc.
but what is more interesting is that in my humble opinion, neither pele nor maradona top what i believe was the GREATEST ever...
ZIDANE, i never seen so much talent on the pitch. his game is so complete, he does everything possible, and not-possible. believe me guys, TV just doesn't show how good he is. he is huge, skillful, strong, dominant. i believe if he played in any past era he would top anyone.
so let me conclude by this teaser
Zidane----better----than----maradona
:)
in my opinion of course...
but what's so funny is that, ZIDANE himself, marked Maradona as the BEST talent ever on the pitch. he said he would be the leader of his team :(

Lena said...

It's too bad there were jerks on that QPR messageboard.

But Seba, do you have a favorite club in La Liga (Spain)? I love Atletico de Madrid.

Lena said...

Also, I enjoy watching Argentina football because it allows me an early peak at soon-to-be stars before they transfer to European clubs.

John said...

Hi Everyone,

First of all, congrats to our girls in the Hockey World Cup as even though they lost to Netherlands but they manage to salvage some pride in the 3rd-4th placing with a 5-0 thumping of Spain. At least, the efforts counts and they did their best. VAMOS!!!

Mr.Anonymous, you are most welcome to post your comments and share with us your opinion. The least you can do is have some respect of others. First of all, I do not hate Brazil even I'm an Albicelestes supporter. Therefore, my only hope is that your future comments does have some elements of maturity the least. Anyway, welcome abroad.

John
Malaysia

Roberto said...

Seba,
I'm 51 years old,I'm a huge Racing supporter, I was 11 years old when Celtic played Racing in Avellaneda, I was there and I still have the game ticket.
I have been living in the USA since 1969, I was 13 when I moved.
Right now I work for The USSF (The American equivalent of argentina's AFA), I'm a member of the coaching staff for The USA youth National Teams.
Last april I traveled to England and Scotland to observe one of the US Regional Teams in games vs Celtic, Rangers, Middlesborough and others.
While in Glasgow, I met a Gentleman who had played for Celtic in the early 60s, we spoke about Racing and he told me that the games were a disgrace (which I heard from a lot of people, even some of the Argentine players), he also told me of a book called "Tears in Argentina" that came out about 2 years ago, it was written by a Scottish writter living in Canada, who wanted to know what really happen and why the games were so brutal, he travel to Argentina and interwied, ex Players, Club administrators and fans, the book is really good and I would recommend it.
The following day I went to see Celtic Park, I was introduced to The reserves Coach, who was very nice and I told him about been a Racing fan, he gave me a tape of the highlites of the game in Uruguay, which I haven't seen since I was 11 years old.
Later on that day the Americans played their Celtic counterparts, I notice a lot of similarities between The Celtic part of Glasgow and Avellaneda, a lot of old factories, humble neighborhoods, working class people, who seem to struggle on a daily basis.
During the game the ex Celtic Player that I met the night before told me that someone was there that wanted to meet me, it was John Hughes, who was ejected for kicking Cejas the Racing goalkeeper in Montevideo, the first words out of his mouth were "I'm the one that kicked your Goalkeeper", he told me a few stories and signed the book that I received the night before, over the picture that showed him going into the locker room after his dismisal, he said that as he walked pass the Celtic bench, their Coach Jock Stein said "What were you thinking of?, John responded "Sorry boss I thought that no one would notice", it was great meeting him and i really treasure the picture that we took together.
Right after the game the wheather got very cold, so I walked over to a small pub next to the playing field, it happened to be The Celtic Supporters Club, I went to get some tea to warm me up, I told the bar tender and the people there that I was a Racing fan and that I'd witnees the game in Avellaneda, we spoke and when I was ready to live, they refused to charge me for the tea.
I also visited Humpden Parkand where the 1st. game was played and couldn't help to think, about my uncle and my family and wish that they would know where I was, they had all pass away years ago and were responsible for me being a Racing fan.
I really have a lot of respect for Celtic and their fans and although I traveled to a lot of different places in the World and meet a lot of famus footballers due to my job, the trip to glasgow was for sure the most special one of them all, it brought me back to my childhood.
I hope that i didn't bore you, great blog.

Roberto Lopez

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