“I thought football being a religion was a figurative saying, but in Buenos Aires, it’s literally the case.”
Timo, a guest on the Staantribune x Homefans Ultimate Argentina experience, recaps with us his adventure in the most football-crazy city on the planet.
Our first game was a smaller, local club – Almirante Brown. They were hosting Deportivo Morón, a local derby, and despite being a second division game, there was a huge police presence – suggesting we had a classic on our hands. Even here, the atmosphere and the way football is cultivated is so special. Young and old, husband and wife, dog and baby – all wrapped in their prized colors. The perfect adrenaline boost to start our trip!”
After a day of lower league action, it was time for the top division – with Huracán hosting Atlético Tucumán. Our Homefans host Sofia led us through the Parque Patricios neighborhood, and as the narrow streets opened up and the crowds converged on the Estadio Tomás Adolfo Ducó. Whilst the stadium wasn’t full to capacity, the passion was clear to be seen. A bloodless 0-0, I had time to look around and soak in the different types of people at the game. From young children, to the barra bravas, this was a family club with the loyalty of champions.
No trip to Buenos Aires is complete without a Diego Maradona tour. It truly was a trip back in time, with every picture and mural around the streets of the city telling a different story. We visited his first club, Argentinos Juniors, where I purchased a scarf and was given goosebumps by the stories I was told. A museum now stands here, next to a playground that he funded, and his eventual transfer fee to Boca Juniors in 1981 secured this club’s future. Now named the Diego Maradona Stadium, this team is built on the culture of respect.
It was now time for our next game, and it was one of the top teams. Vélez Sarsfield have ten titles to their name, and our hosts Ramiro and Fernanda were amazing. They described the passion of this fanbase, donating hard-earned money each month. It makes you wonder, where does such loyalty come from? The big clubs in Europe should certainly take note. This well-maintained stadium was full of these fans, proud and approachable – we even shook hands with a Presidential candidate, and met the great Carlos Tevez. What a club, a top club on all fronts!
Next, it was time for the ultimate destination: La Bombonera. There are only a few stadiums that I have felt about in a certain way – notably my local team, SC Cambuur – but this was without doubt one of those. We were hosted by Valentin, a Homefans Superhost, who explained how Boca were staying true to their local fanbase, and how lucky we were to be here. The club, being so commercially attractive and not cashing in on it, is a rare thing to see in football, and something that should be applauded. It was a disappointing 2-1 defeat for Los Xeneizes, but football is not the reason you come here.
Our last day in Argentina led us back to the second division, and Deportivo Morón, once again. This time, we took a tour of their home stadium, by the club’s historian. He took us on a long journey through the clubs history, before we headed to our final game – the champions, River Plate. It was an intimidating atmosphere at El Monumental, amongst the incredible barra bravas. The songs filled the streets, and inside the stadium, River recorded a 2-1 win over Lanús. What a performance, with some real stand-out players on display.
And so concluded our trip to football heaven. Seeing all this in one week, we felt like the luckiest people on earth – thanks to the help of Homefans!