Saturday, 26 December 2009

Buonanotte Seriously Injured

News has broken this evening of a serious car accident involving River Plate's young star Diego Buonanotte. Buonanotte is seriously injured after crashing his father's car into a tree in his home province of Santa Fe whilst his three friends have all tragically passed away. The player is now in Los Arcos hospital, Buenos Aires after being transferred by air.

Buonanotte has once again been the subject of much transfer speculation during the preceding weeks - most recently being linked to Atletico Madrid. New River Plate president Daniel Passarella has vowed that he'll do everything possible to retain the services of the 21 year old.

First Class Bilardo, Cattle Class Maradona

A game they didn't need to play. A result they could have done without against a 'nation' that doesn't exist. Tuesday's 4-2 defeat to a Catalan national eleven in Barcelona has ensured that the year will end in the same turmoil for the national team as has become the norm. Any illusions that qualification for the World Cup would result in an outbreak of harmony between warring factions have long since diminished.

General Manager Carlos Bilardo has directed his ire towards Alejandro Mancuso, good friend of Maradona and current member of his coaching set-up. Mancuso, he alleges has fostered the separation between himself and Maradona, ruining their once beautiful relationship (only a few months ago Bilardo was trying to convince us that the bond between them was the same as in the 80's). The flight back from Spain to Argentina gave an indication of just how far relations had deteriorated - Bilardo was in First Class whilst Maradona and Mancuso slummed it with the plebs in Economy. Things must have reached rock bottom. December 28th will see Bilardo giving his side of the story via his radio show. At present Argentina are tearing themselves apart from the inside, in typical Dutch style.

Catalunya v Argentina

Saturday, 5 December 2009

On Their Best Behaviour

Argentina has to be the greatest country in the world in which to be a football fan. 'Free' football for all on the TV courtesy of the Government and now all expenses paid trips to South Africa to cheer on the national team at the World Cup. To be fair the trips aren't being provided condition-free, the Government (who initially denied any involvement whatsoever) will only give them away if the Barras behave; yes the Barras will be going on an African tour. Upto 280 places have been promised in exchange for good behaviour inside stadiums in the run-up to the World Cup and also support in the 2011 elections.

An umbrella group has been formed HUA - Hinchadas Unidas Argentinas which presently consists of gang members from Colón Santa Fe, Gimnasia y Esgrima LP, Chacarita Juniors , Argentinos Juniors, Independiente, Huracán, Veléz, Lanús, Tigre and Rosario Central. Banners bearing the HUA slogan and references to the Kirchner regime have been appearing at matches over the last month. At first the HUA and their leader Marcelo Mallo advertised themselves as a force for social change, purely an anti-violence movement but links to the Government have become increasingly difficult to cover up.

As alien as this agreement is to most of us, many questions arise as to how it'll work in practice. The barras have to behave inside the grounds - which gives plenty of scope for clashes away from stadiums. When was the last time large scale disorder happened in the stands? Places for South Africa are limited, expect disagreements about who gets a ticket and who doesn't - if more gangs join the HUA this problem will merely increase. A recent meeting of the HUA Capos resembled a scene from a Mob film. No doubt the unlucky ones will be pacified by wads of cash. Both La Doce of Boca Juniors and Los Borrachos del Tablon of River are big enough to book their own to tickets to the World Cup, no help required.

The promised anti-violence measures ( are no use whatsoever in isolation. The HUA initiative is once again legitimising the violent minority, as long as links between the hooligans, politicians and clubs remain in place the problem will persist. The suits believe that getting into bed with the Barras will somehow be of benefit, otherwise why would they do it?

In England the Government collected the passports from the hooligans, in Argentina the hooligans collect tickets and travel guides from the Government.