Just more passionate fans, eh?

One or two of the comments on my most recent Soccernet article suggest that Argentina’s barra bravas are no more than choreographed fans who are more passionate about the game than typical English fans who turn up to the game and eat prawn sandwiches without looking at the pitch (that’s a typical English fan, apparently). I was wrong, therefore, to (admittedly loosely) translate the phrase ‘barra brava‘ as ‘hooligan’. They’re not violent. It’s only a myth. Odd, because there’ve been plenty of football violence-related deaths in the last six-to-twelve months in Argentina (the vast majority go unreported on HEGS simply because I’ve got better things to do, for now), and on Friday the death of yet another by gunfire was confirmed. Say what you like about non-choreographed fans (English or otherwise), but they don’t tend to murder one another…

The dead man this time round is Roberto ‘Pimpi” Camino, the former chief of Newell’s Old Boys barra in the dark days during which the ousted Eduardo López was in charge of the club. At around 6 in the morning on Friday, he was shot five times, and shortly afterwards was thrown from a car door onto the pavement outside Rosario’s Hospital Carrasco, where he was pronounced dead. Camino had been sentenced months before to three months in jail, and was suspected of having orchestrated the extraordinary attack on Newell’s premises shortly after López was finally voted out of the club’s presidency in 2008 (having held the post without putting it up for election for 14 years).

One consequence of the killing is that to prevent potential night-time security issues, Saturday’s match in Rosario between Newell’s and Vélez Sársfield has been moved forward to 17:15, from its original kick off time of 21:15. The city’s head judge had initially wanted to suspend the match altogether but Newell’s president Guillermo Llorente appealed against the decision and succeeded in making sure the match will be played this weekend. One small detail: Friday was also ex club president Eduardo López’s birthday…

You can follow the Clausura and the Argentine sides in the 2010 Copa Libertadores via HEGS on Twitter (including updates during and between matches and similar stories that might not go up on the site until later). I’m slowly gaining followers, but if you’ve not signed up yet you can do so here.

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3 thoughts on “Just more passionate fans, eh?

  1. Those commenters haven’t a clue what the barra bravas of argentina are doing to the game. “choreographed” fans don’t
    1) violently barge their way into club facilities, hotels, and retreats to threaten first-team, second-team, reserve players and managerial staff
    2) siphon money raised officially by the clubs they support into their own personal funds to supplant their greed
    3) actively engage rival club supporters for the sole purpose of intimidation by violence.
    4) actively instill an internal hierarchy of power for the sole purpose to enact points 1) thru 3), and re-arrange said power when points 1) thru 3) aren’t being preformed satisfactorily to the tastes of prospective candidates
    plus many more.

  2. It’s quite simple. The top Argentinian barrabravas make a living from their nefarious activities. Pimpi started on 50,000 pesos a month. He was put in charge of Newell’s covered mini-stadium, hired it out and kept the proceeds. The club’s swimming pool and the economic rights to many of the youth team players were signed over to him. Pimpi was chairman Lopez’s henchman. Only the other day, the Boca barra brava went to the team’s hotel and “summoned” the players for a talking-to. Without a trace of irony, the hoodlums complained that bad results had hit their income from merchandising, from control of the street parking around the Bombonera, and so on.

    English hooligans don’t make a penny. The clubs give them nothing, so there is nothing for them to kill for.

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