Often when furious fan The ball usually goes to him in the most exciting games. They tend to coincide with derbies, those that are played in the city itself, where football colors demarcate affections, drives, ways of being. For the movie The Secret in Their Eyes of Juan Jose Campanella we learned how to hunt down the rapist and murderer of an unfortunate young woman thanks to the unshakable faith that soccer arouses. You can change your life, you can get divorced, become a teetotaler, or worse; You can even change your sex and go from being Aurelio to being called Vanesa María. But what he will never do is change teams. That never.
We don’t like to resort to Eduardo Galeano, so much of the taste of leftism sport, in football matters. But we cannot resist writing the phrase of the Uruguayan who opens this book: “And I am left with that irremediable melancholy that we all feel after love and at the end of the game“. That of love is left to the taste of the consumer after the marriage. But it is true that there is the black bile of football. Finish a game, especially a derby, and win or lose your team beats one the palliative nostalgia that dissolves defeat or achieves the melancholy of victory and what it brings of remembrance towards the warm fire of yours (those who are and those who are missing).
The multipurpose journalist Jordi Brescó gathers in Chronic rivalries ten pieces dedicated to ten European derbies that run through Genoa, Prague, Belfast, Glasgow, Istanbul, Hamburg, Belgrade, Sheffield, Nicosia and Stockholm. They are not exceptional derbies, except for the classic Celtic-Rangers, Genoa-Sampdoria or the fiery Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray and Red Star-Partizan from Belgrade.
Brescó has written rather a free, between sports and traveler. The reader will travel to the city on duty through the hot landscape and the fiery peasantry that derbies provoke on the urban animal’s skin. In Genoa, opposite Sampdoria (the team of modernity, fashion and even the young), Genoa offers the pride of being the oldest team in Italy. More than being interested in Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, of this English city, a paradigm of ordinary people and of the industrial depression (reflected in the film The Full Monty), what has interested us to know is that the primitive foot-ball had its cradle here and that also here is the oldest football field in the world: the Sandygate Road.
In Prague, the Slavic tradition of Slavia is opposed to the so-called Spartak Spartans. From Belfast we were completely unaware of the vivid duel between the Protestant teams of the Linfield and the Glentoran (the Cliftonvile is here the timid representative of Catholicism). However, Belfast is nothing more than the little soul branch of one of the most outstanding derbies in the world, the so-called Old Firm, between Celtic Glasgow and Rangers. We knew from references to the modest FC Sankt Pauli, associated with anti-fascism and anti-racism. It has many ideological brotherhoods outside the city-state named after the great opposing team: Hamburg. It is in fact the club that attracts the most fans and the one that has never been relegated in the Bundesliga. But 2018 marked the year of disgrace and Hamburg went down.
In Stockholm, in the so-called “twins derby”, the unpronounceable AIK and DIF compete for being the team that was founded earlier in the same year 1891. For their part, in Cyprus, the rivalry between Omonia and Apoel is resolved in Nicosia, the only European capital literally divided by the green line that delimits the Greek Cypriot country from the Northern Republic of Turkey. Omonia is a split from Apoel that occurred when the players of the first they refused to condemn the communists in the Greek civil war. That is why the Omonia shelters the radical left and the Apoel (acronym for the Athletic Football Club of the Greeks of Nicosia) is associated with fascist and anti-Turks. In turn, Omonia 1948 would be born from another split from historical Omonia, which the pure splinters reproached for its commercialization.
Other derbies already mentioned are part of the charm of the roars in the stands and their telluric impulses. The “eternal derby” between Red Star and Partizan Belgrade does not distinguish too much, basically, their most radical fans. Both of them They are Serbian ultranationalists and homophobes. Both were founded by Tito’s partisans and both have been closely associated with the military and provost of the former Yugoslavia. Finally, of the “intercontinental derby” in Istanbul between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, we will say that here it is also decided which rebirth reaches more over Europe and Asia in each of its stadiums. Curiously, in Istanbul the record is held by the followers of Besiktas and their anti-government Janissaries grouped in the Çarsi rock: in 2007 they reached the supersonic 192 decibels.