Thursday, May 17, 2007
Boca v River April 15th 2007
No longer the best Derby in the World ?
As I strolled back after the game to the centre of Buenos Aires via the markets & antique shops of San Telmo I happened to see two fans amicably chatting outside a bar, perhaps discussing the match. In a perverse way it reinforced my sense of disappointment at what went before as one wore a Boca shirt , the other a River shirt.
Too much of tourist attraction - do the stadium tour , visit the museum & go to the superclasico with Carl Lewis & other celebrities. By further limiting the numbers of away fans , selling tickets only to socios (i.e mainly middle class fans) & reducing the overall capacity adds up to less intensity ,passion & less noise than expected.
Thats what has happened to Boca v River at the Bombonera. Tourists can buy tickets at inflated prices , though still low compared to European equivalents they are out of reach for most locals, via sources in the city.
Continuing controversy over the role of the barra brava (ultras) has meant their numbers have been reduced (seemingly to zero for River) Though no reasonable person would condone the unsavoury & violent aspects associated with them the sense of theatre & spectacle is certainly diminished.
Yes its still Boca v River but , to this correspondent , that sense of commercialisation & europeanisation if you like (following the trend of many european derby games) has meant it is definitely not the most intense, visceral football derby experience in the world anymore.
There are other derby games in Buenos Aires that surpass it in that regard.
Even the game itself ended equitably (1-1) though Boca should have been in control after the chances they had in the first half.