International Supporters Clubs
At its best, football is a way of bringing different peoples together. In Spain, this is exactly what's happening. International Supporters Clubs have formed on the Costas and in the big cities and are a great way for expats to integrate into the local community. They also give Spaniards a chance to get enthusiastic about Premiership football.
The Costa del Sol
The Peña Internacional Malaguista is the original International Supporters Club in Spain.
It was founded in 1999 for supporters of Málaga CF and its excellent website provides information
in English for Málaga fans from all the four corners of the globe. The group also puts a lot of
energy into smoothing relations between newcomers and the locals. Málaga fans meet regularly and
watch matches together at The Tavern Pub in Old Town Marbella. For up-to-date news and views on
the club and the Costa del Sol,
visit the Peña Internacional Malaguista website.
The Costa Blanca
Another region with a large expat community is the Costa Blanca in the Alicante province of the Comunitat Valenciana. I've yet to make contact with International Supporters of the big teams but expats are certainly very active with clubs in the lower divisions.
The most famous peña on the Costa Blanca is the world-renowned Torry Army, who follow Torrevieja CF. Their
existence was brought to my attention by my good friend Steve Hall of
, who's a leading
member of the club. Torrevieja play in Tercera División - the fourth level of Spanish football - but
owing to the efforts of the Torry Army, attract average crowds of around 3,500 making them the most
popular club at this level in Spain.
For more information visit the Torry Army website.
Whilst not quite as well-established, the Peña Javeamigos, the International Supporters of CD Jàvea, who play in Group III of the Regional Preferente in the Comunitat Valenciana, are vying with Torry Army for the title of most famous peña in Spain. In July 2008, the group was featured in two Sky Sports documentaries about lower-level Spanish football called 'La Lower Liga' and 'La Lower Liga – Second Half'. However, in terms of popularity CD Jàvea still only average about 650 spectators a game.To get in touch with them, visit the Javeamigos website.
Another popular club in the region is UD Altea who play in Group IV of the Regional Preferente and also have the UD Altea international supporters club.
The Premiership in Spain
Another new development that is bringing international football fans closer together is the growth of Supporters Clubs for Premiership teams in Spain. I'm aware of the existence of supporters clubs for a number of clubs but have not had the opportunity to make contact yet.
However, as a result a match between Torrevieja Veterans and Liverpool FC Legends on November 29 2008, I've had the good fortune to make personal contact with Liverpool fans in Barcelona, Madrid and the Costa Blanca.
The groups display a sense of fraternity so typical of this great Merseyside club and as the match coincided with the inauguration of the Costa Blanca group, the Barcelona and Madrid Reds presented their new comrades with this plaque.
The Madrid Reds - or Mad Reds as they prefer to be known - meet at the Triskel Tavern on C/ San Vicente Ferrer in Madrid whilst the Barcelona Reds - who have a fantastic site in Catalan - watch their footy at the Michael Collins Irish Pub near the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I've already made a date to enjoy some Champions League football with my local Spanish Scousers.
More International Supporters
Another international supporters club worth mentioning is the group that supports UD Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.They also have a fansite and a market stall selling UD Lanzarote merchandise.
Oh, the joy of football!
As this is a new and unexpected area of football in Spain for me, this short article is far from complete and I intend to develop a complete section on International Supporters Clubs.
If you belong to a bona fide club that that supports a Spanish or foreign team and you have a website preferably in English, please get in touch through the Contact form and I'll add a link.
Remember that the purpose of Spain-Football.Org is part
of the research project for my forthcoming book on Spanish football, so be sure to
include anecdotes and as much information as possible.
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