High up in the Mataró neighbourhood of Llantia is a small mecca for people like me who are known as Béticos, supporters of Real Betis Balompié. No Barca or Merengue for me. I like a team who struggle to succeed! From the outside it’s clear to see where their affinity lies, but inside it is a football fan’s dream. Betis scarves, photos, and assorted memorabilia are everywhere. It is like a little museum.
On match days the faithful gather. It’s far easier than travelling over a thousand kilometres each way to attend a home game! Games are beamed onto a giant TV screen with a mural of the Estadio Benito Villamarín surrounding it.
Away games see the organisation of coaches if the game is within a sensible distance. Across Catalonia there are many beticós and many towns have their own peña, or supporters’ club and they sometimes contribute to an enormous away following at games, something almost unheard of in Spanish football when neither of the giants of Barcelona or Madrid are playing.
For me it has been a great opportunity to watch my Spanish team on a regular basis. It’s been a far from successful year though with many awful games watched and the horror of relegation which was a certainty well before the last season finished. Expectations were high for an immediate return to La Liga, but life in Segunda has not been a walk in the park. Those lofty hopes have been revised downwards somewhat by many!
Whatever happens though, the Beticós remain faithful to their team. Perhaps it’s just as well that the mantra of the club is “Manque Pierda!” which is Andaluz dialect for “although we lose!”.
- Tales of the Tramvia
- The Fool with the Furgoneta (aka. The Man with a Van)