Last month, upon learning of the fortune (or misfortune) of a work trip to London, I quickly looked up the footballing schedule for my travel dates…
The local flavor was definitely a priority, such as the Arsenal Champions League match, with lots of colorful chants, not to mention an entertaining victory by Arsenal (What do we think of Tottenham? Sh*t! What do we think of sh*t? Tottenham! OR We won the League at Shite Hart Lane, We won the League at the Sh*t-hole, we won the League at Shite Hart Lane!)
And then there was the Fulham v QPR derby (“Your support is…”well, QPR’s chants are not very family friendly and generally include the F-word: http://fanchants.co.uk/football-songs/queens_park_rangers-chants/your-support-qpr/)
But much more importantly for those of you that read this blog, I got to enjoy two matches with the Peña Sevillista de Londres! (https://www.facebook.com/sfclondres/) A perfect cross between PASION SEVILLISTA and the painfully pragmatic English language that we all speak on a daily basis.
First there was the Olympique de Lyon match, The Peña Sevillista de Londres meets a perfectly charming Irish-owned bar in the neighborhod of Elephant and Castle (I know, it sounds like some kind of conquest of Richard III on an East Asian empire…). My Sevilla jersey made me a naturally welcome member of the Peña (more on this later), and I actually ended up having a hard time enjoying the tactical nuance of the match while I intermittently explained why in the world a Chicagoan resident in Washington D.C. would be a die-hard fan of el equipo de la casta y el coraje. In spite of the curiosity, I was able to discuss Sevillismo with sufficient nuance enough to insult members of the Peña for wearing a jersey from the era of Renato Dirnei (sorry!)…I don’t remember your real name, but you’ll be Renato in my book! Others have done the hard work of describing the tactics and results of the match, so it’ll suffice to say that in addition to a welcoming crowd, we ended the matching in a jumping fit (which I started) of “VAMOS MI SEVILLA, VAMOS CAMPEON!!” All in all, a great match for Sevilla, a great viewing for el sevillimo in London (and for at least a small faction of sevillismo Monchi’s Men).
After wrapping up my work conference during the week, I headed over to the Queen’s Park Rangers stadium to pick up some necessary QPR gear, including a blue-and-white scarf and blue QPR sweatshirt. Then down to Fulham’s humble home of Craven Cottage, mainly in order to piss off some Fulham fans and see what happened (I’ve learned that any match is best viewed from the visitor’s stand…).
While I’ll spare you the details of the super-entertaining-and-almost-souvenir-shattering-goal-celebrating-double-PK-avoiding-are-you-kidding-me QPR match, I caught an Uber over to the Peña Sevillista’s home, Six Yard Box (http://www.sixyardbox.london/). London traffic is like a sixteen year-old trying to convince his parent that he can totally handle the Jaguar. He can try and try, and while he feels like he’s making progress, at the end of the day, he’s still in frigging Fulham and while 68 minutes sounded like a long walk, it would have been better than 68 minutes and a handful of Pounds Sterling.
Anyhow, back to Sevilla…
So, I arrive extremely late, but extremely happy that it’s still 0-0 and there’s a healthy crown of Sevillistas. I go to grab a seat and the people who recognize me from the Lyon match are happy to say hello and everyone else seems to go to give me the cold shoulder. “Effing Spaniards,” I think to myself… “Xenofobic, even when it comes to sevillismo.” I try to ignore this feeling of left-outed-ness and concentrate on the fact that Ganso just pulled a Houdini on Alaves’ defense and gave Ben Yedder the best gift he’s had since the day his parent gave him a similar name to Ben Arfa (I know that’s the only reason I Googled him the first time he was rumored to be on Monchi’s list). GOOOOOOOOL!
It started to get a bit warm in the Six Yard Box after so much jumping and “lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-ing” and I decided to take off my QPR gear, as it was much colder for the Fulham-QPR match. And I take of my scarf, I lift it up and notice its stripe align, a la the aligning of the planets in Miss Cleo’s astrology, with the kits of…none other than our rivals-du-jour, ALAVES. And while perhaps I’m making too much of the left-outed-ness, it was definitely hilarious than I showed up to a Sevilla match with the EXACT COLORS of that match’s specific rivals. As soon as I took off the azul-y-blanco scarf, it seemed much easier to make friends at this particular gathering.
After the match, my newfound Sevillistas friends (some of whom were friends since way back at the Lyon match), opened up about tactics, Monchi’s presumed departure next summer, and the “salto” to become a major player (while roundly rejected by the rest of the crowd, my theory was that Sevilla need to permanently destroy Betis in order to have sufficient local fan base to be economically viable as an Atletico-alternative…they agreed with the theory yet noted that unfortunately Beticismo is genetic and will take a few generations to breed out of the population of Andalucia).
Well, in spite of some nerves, Sevilla took home the three points and demonstrated the reason why they should take precedence over Gaelic football (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_football), which was the sport competing for television airtime at this particular London bar.
Well, just another day in Sevillismo por el Mundo, and hoping the Sevillistas in London will start participating in Monchi’s Men commentary. Heck, it’s a good excuse to practice your English and talk about your beloved Sevilla. I mean, after all, most of our commentators would be rejected by the Queen as even speaking true English!