The allure of football from foreign lands has always been a fascination. If we were brought up on it being okay to shout swear words and eat pies even though it wasn’t tea time here in the U.K., Football Italia showed us what it looked like to hold a banner and fire a flare. The songs were longer, more complex and choreographed. It was clearly another culture entirely.
Then, as you get older, you saw that there was a whole other level of heightened fan culture taking place over in South America. If English hooligans used fists and Stanley knives, gangs who supported River and Boca used guns. Whilst those exotic Italian Ultras used banners and flares, La Bombonera was awash with ticker tape and the police confiscated grenades. I mean, we’ve all seen the inflatable tunnel that reaches to the centre circle so players can enter the arena safely.
Derby games between rivals in Buenos Aires - of which River and Boca is just one of many - and across Argentina are far from peaceful. As recently as April, a Belgrano fan, Emanuel Balbo, was pushed to his death inside the stadium as the crowd suspected he was an undercover rival fan. There has been 40 people killed in football related violence in Argentina in the past four seasons.
But attending matches there is, somehow, still an allure. Insomniacs can partake in Argentinian football culture more than the rest of us here in Blighty, providing they know the right websites or have a dodgy cable box, but most of us are only exposed to Argentinian fan culture every four years at the World Cup. And it’s impressive in its scale every single tournament.
Whilst the safety fears and persistent trouble has resulted in away fans being barred from fixtures in Argentina’s domestic leagues, this hasn’t detracted from the utter fanaticism which holds sway. It grips people in a complex, trying culture and economy to live in, in a way which is comparable to any football mad country in the world. If not more, if you believe photographer Bett Moron.
Bett has immersed himself inside the football world of Buenos Aires and is documenting the fans and matchday experience. If you enjoy everything that happens around a football match as much as we do here in the Subculture arm of IBWM, you’ll be more than in love with this great project.
He’s kindly given us the lowdown on how to get tickets[hyperlink], should you be lucky enough to visit the city any time soon, and we’re showcasing his project first-hand.
Below is his Instagram feed and be sure to check out the Subculture page for more stuff like this. If you’d like to read about how you can experience this matchday experience for yourself, read Bett’s guide to matchdays in Buenos Aires.
Written by IBWM Subculture Editor Paul Mortimer. Photography courtesy of Bett Moron. You can follow Bett on Instagram here. Header image credit goes fully to Bett Moron.