To begin expressing with words the array of valuable life experiences we have witnessed during our trip last week would be something truly difficult indeed. Thousands of kilometres travelled, litres of beer, lots of laughter, singing, new places, new people, new Antifa comrades, new experiences, football, ideologies, police, stress, fatigue and joy all where combined in 8 (very short) days into a trip that will definitely go down in our history books as one of the all-time greatest!
It is truly difficult to place everything in order, all our thoughts and our experiences but we have to start someplace!
So we will try to explain in similar fashion like we did on our last trips, day by day what we did and what happened on this amazing journey to Spain.
A journey that took us through flights between five countries; Greece, Belgium, Spain and England before returning back to the point that we started.
A journey that introduced us to the Antifa Brothers of Frente Rojiblanco Azuaga (OLE!), Gate 22 (OLEE!) and Bukaneros (OLEEE!); accompanied of course by the Ultras Inferno (ALLEZ!) , the PHK04 (ALLEZ!), Gate 9 (PAME!) and Den Bosch (HEYA!)! WHAT A LINEUP INDEED!!!
D-DAy, on Sunday 2nd November, the Rebel Ultras waited at the airport of departure for one member of PHK04 (Standard Liege’s second Ultras Group), and a member of the Omonoia Gate 9 for departure. We had been in contact together for around two months in advance when we had decided to surprise the Inferno in Seville for their Europa League away game against FC Sevilla. During this time though we saw that the cheapest way to go to Seville was actually spending one night in Salonica and flying off the next day (Monday) to Belgium! As such we decided to surprise the Inferno at their home in Liege and fly on a cheap Ryanair flight all together the next day (Tuesday) directly to Seville; and this is exactly what we did.
We arrived in Salonica late in the afternoon and quickly grabbed a Taxi to head to our hostel close to Salonica airport at a small beach-side area 5KM outside Salonica called “Perea”. Having dropped off our luggage we quickly made way to the nearest kebab house (rebel Ultras love kebabs!) and then of course to one of the few (at the time) open bars next to the beach (it was bloody freezing that night!!!!)
We gobbled up a few pints of beer and discussed all the anticipation that we had for the days that would follow including the next day’s surprise in Liege and of course the bulk of our trip that would involve Seville and Madrid. Seriously the anticipation was HUGE! We were all in a great mood but decided at around 2 a.m to call it an early night as we knew that we had some serious travelling to do within the next week but also some even more serious partying! on our way to the hostel we of course found time to “decorate” the place with a few stickers. Rebel Ultras stuck a few of the ISC group, a small Antifa group of Slovenia who had the courtesy of mailing us some of their sticks: https://www.facebook.com/nknafta1903isc?ref=ts&fref=ts
Next morning we woke up and had our breakfast and killed some time walking down the promenade; we later lunched on some local fish dishes and before you knew it it was time to grab two connecting buses and arrive at Salonica airport to begin the main leg of our tour.
At around 22:30 local time we arrived at the airport of Brussels Charleroi (Puta!) where the family member of the PHK guy (We will call him Monsieur S for the purposes of this article) was there to greet us.
On the way to Liege we made a short half hour stop at the the house of Monsieur S where we where greeted by the rest of his family and a wonderful plate of pasta prepared lovingly by his Standard Liege fanatic father! Just the medicine that our stomaches’ required for the night that would follow! Merci Papa!
At around half past midnight and having picked up another PHK member on the way to Liege we finally made our surprise entrance at one of the main houses of the Inferno! Very quickly the news spread of our surprise visit and we started receiving messages of joy but also disbelief from a large number of our beloved Inferno. For the Gate 9 guy (Mr. M) it was his first time visiting Belgium and the Inferno and he was as everyone of us super excited that allthe Antifa family would be united on this journey.
What ensued, was of course a typical Liege night. Even though we did not go out of the house to visit downtown Liege, we didn’t really have to. The Jupiler’s (Liege’s local beer) was flowing by the pintloads, songs and good mood was in the air. It was evident that this would be a monumental trip! We spoke and exchanged views for hours and tried to catch up on everything that had happened between the last time we where together at the St.Pauli Antira Tournament in early June and today. It was a beautiful night again, amongst people that we can now truly call, our family. We don’t remember when exactly, but we think around 5 am we stumbled into one of the bedrooms and let our beer-goggled eyes to rest.
We woke up around noon with no hangover (thats the magic of Jupiler!) and quickly we realized that everybody was already on their toes for the big trip to Seville. Already the previous days (Sunday and Monday) many Standard supporters had left for Spain and many would also follow on the next day (Wednesday). but it was today- Tuesday that the bulk of the Ultras would fly off in a direct flight from Belgium to Seville. A flight, that we as well had booked tickets on board.
Monsieur S came shortly later to pick us up as we made way to Huy, a small town just outside liege to grab a bite of the famous Belgian fries to eat and then thereon made our ways to the airport to meet up with the rest of the Ultras group before our flight. When we reached the airport we realized that there were many more ultras than we initially anticipated. There must have been 70 or 80, more than half the plane was destined to be Ultras and this was great!
At the airport we saw for the first time on our trip most of our Inferno friends who had already heard of our surprise the previous evening. We exchanged heartfelt Antifa greetings and generally a mood of happiness and excitement was in the air.
We made our way through security checks, grabbed a few snacks for the flight and soon we where on board. NEXT STOP – SEVILLE!
Of course during the 2:30 hour flight many was the alcohol flowing on board the plane and of course the loud chants and slogans; much to the dislike of the other passengers and the cabin members who often made announcements through the cabin speakers for everyone to “keep it down”! but we are Ultras, and we dont care!
Touchdown in Seville!
Finally! after 48 hours of travelling, and many beers later; in late afternoon; we were on Spanish soil. We, Monsieur S and Mr. M had all booked a hostel together only a few metres away from the places that the bulk of the Inferno had reserved for their trip. Both places, being inside the old historic centre of Seville and very close to the bar district sort of guaranteed that our trip would be a hellish one!
We grabbed our taxi and made way to our hostel having talked with the Inferno before we agreed that we would meet up again a couple hours later at one of the local bars; we all had our phones with us to keep us co-ordinated and (hopefully) out of too much trouble! :p
I immediately texted our local contact in Seville, the main figure of the Ultras group Frente Rojiblanco of Azuaga, who also have a section on our blog (Senior C, for this article).
Senior C met us shortly later in our hostel and even though it was the very first time we had met in person we felt like we knew each other for decades! Immediately we started talking about common Antifa and Ultras related topics and popped open the first batch of local Cruzcampo beer. One thing we seriously loved about Seville was the fact that you could purchase a one litre bottle of decent beer for only 2 EUROS, and the pints where even cheaper than that! It was heaven for the Ultras!
Senior C soon guided us to the local bars and as we walked outside the small “Blues Bar” in the old town we heard loud noises from inside; Yes…it was the Belgians! and they where already at it! Playing a game of Blind Cocktails they would shut their eyes, point accidentally at somewhere on the bar’s cocktail menu and the ever-so-helpful barlady would then prepare a tasty pitcher of their chosen alcoholic beverage.
As you understand it was not long before we were all merry and started singing Inferno chants and acting out as Ultras do.
However this is where the problems begun. you see, being in the centre of town, the authorities where expecting us. Police presence at the edge of the narrow street of bars was growing plus the bars in Seville (and the supporters) have to adhere to very strict laws. For example, you are not allowed to smoke inside a bar, but if you step out to smoke, you are not allowed to take your drink with you! Even if its just outside the bar door! Also after midnight all music in bars shuts down and people need to be quiet; as such our loud singing where often met with loud “SSSHHHHH!” by the bar manager, who risked getting fined lots of money for our behaviour.
Senior C quickly explained that being the historic centre of town and all the “rich” neighbourhoods; the authorities where exercising very strict controls over noise and public disruption, so as to keep the aristocracy of the area happy! Disgusting! Even worse was that very small barkeepers like our friend the manager of Blues bar would often have to pay fines for even the slightest thing and police where relentless in issuing such fines as the government was in serious need of money. So they would often fine anyone, for even the slightest of misdemeanors.
The chapter of Spanish Laws and the brutal bastards that enforce them (Spanish Police) is a huge one and we will touch upon it a bit in this article with our own experiences firsthand. One of the Spanish groups (Azuga, Bukaneros or Amarillas) will soon provide us with a more detailed account of the unbelievable anti-supporters laws that exist in Spain and the ruthless police that enforce them.
However despite the laws, and despite the SHHHH’s! nobody was going to dampen our moods and we kept on drinking, talking and singing (often at lower volume to make fun of the authorities) and the night ensued!
During that night apart from getting to know Senior C and more people from the Ultras of little Azuaga we also came in contact with people from the Biris Norte Ultras of Seville. Particularly the bar doorman was an old school Antifa Biris guy and was extremely hospitable, welcoming and of course Antifa; So it wasn’t long before we got along very well with this really cool guy.
Later on the blues Bar closed (around 3 am) and as we where making way for our Hostel we saw another bar’s lights where open. Seeing that we still thought it was early we decided to head inside and soon where joined by more Inferno and Standard fans who too had witnessed their bars closing at a slightly early (for our standards) time! We continued to drink and sing (accompanied by the occasional ssshhhhh’s of the local punters) and I think it was right before first day break that we stumbled back to our bunk beds at the hostel….but not before that; Inferno, ourselves and G9 had decorated the town a bit with stickers and graffiti.
Wednesday, we woke up around noontime and soon Senior C of Azuaga came to greet us. We walked through old town Seville and grabbed a bus to go across the River to Senior C’s flat. There we took his car and headed out to a very special place; the communist Utopia of Marinaleda.
To visit the village of Marinaleda was a childhood dream of ours and it being only 100KM from Seville made this trip an amazing opportunity, not to be missed. After arguing with the annoying Spanish speaking GPS system (fuck you Google Maps!) we eventually found the highway and the correct road to go to Marinaleda.
About 1.30 hours later (and a few wrong turns along the way) we finally were at the site of this historically significant place. The first Communist Utopia of its kind Marinaleda today boasts a self-sustaining system of agriculture and trade with zero unemployment and an average wage close to double that of the average Spanish wage. all this in a country that suffers from above 20% uunemployment and huge financial difficulties, and an average salary of around 700 euro per month. Many small villages in spain, Italy and Greece have recently adopted the successful model of Marinaleda and we personally hope that more will follow. To find more about this amazing little village, its system of government and overwhelming success you may read this article http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/marinaleda-spanish-communist-village-utopia
after a quick coffee at the local cafe, we made our way to the centre of the village and to the local Syndicate. After that we walked to the local sports facilities (Football Stadium and Indoor Stadium). We must say we were impressed at the level of organisation of this very small village and their facilities. In the walls surrounding the stadium we saw a huge number of Antifa and revolutionary graffiti; many by groups such as the Bukaneros and we where even very surprised to see Graffiti done by some previous visitors from distant Cyprus; who of course supported Omonoia Nicosia!
About two hours later it was time to head back to Seville and get ready for the Pre-game parties that were bound to happen at the centre of town by the crazy Belgians.
So we did, around 22:00 at night join with many of the Belgians down in the local bars and continued where we left off the night before. Cocktails and beers where ever flowing and we soon got down to our favourite sport……bar-hopping!
that night was not all smooth sailing though as we did end up in a couple of warm blooded arguments with some unknown idiots and had to escape police arrest on a couple of occasions by quickly sneaking into the narrow streets of the old town. Seems the local authorities started seriously disliking our presence.
However during the night we met and mingled with a lot of fantastic local characters, including more people of Antifa Biris (Gate 22) to include their youth section and it was on this night that we surprisingly bumped into the brothers of the Standard Hellside; the supporters of FC Den Bosch. We spent a lot of time in and out of bars, talking to Spanish, Belgians, Dutch, Cypriots and the occasional other nationalities who kept on asking us who we where and what our songs meant.
It was fantastic!
Once again we finished our night very early……in the morning!
We got up to a really nice breakfast at our hostel and tried to gather our pieces from the excessive nights that had been witnessed. Knowing that it was game day there was only one solution to our hangover……more beer!
And that is exactly what we did! soon we where on our way by foot to meet up with the bulk of the Inferno who had arranged a meeting at a local Irish Pub. It was noon time and the game was planned at around nine o clock so we had all the time in the world to get pissed out of our heads.
We met with a very large number of Inferno and Standard supporters at the pub and it was not long before the very loud chanting commenced in order to warm everybody up for the game. It was not also long before heavy ACAB presence was also seen in the area surrounding the bar.
This would continue well into the afternoon and around 2 hours before the game we were advised by the police to begin our walking corteo to the FC Seville stadium which was around 45 minutes walk away. So we did.
Under heavy police escort (honestly we NEVER saw so many Police in an away game before in our lives) we walked on to endless chants and in good mood. However our mood was very much dampened at times by the brutal attitude of the Spanish Police.
Here we will make a short parenthesis and give our own view about the Spanish ACAB. We had heard in the past many times that Spanish police are ruthless to football supporters; but its another thing hearing it and a different thing LIVING IT firsthand. These fuckers are un-fucking-believable. It seriously looked as if they had taken a cocktail of Speed and MDMA and decided to come to work and escort football supporters. In full riot gear they would often stare at us and provoke us all along the way. Speaking only in Spanish they would say highly provocative and aggressive comments (we knew what they where saying cause Senior C was translating everything to us!). they would also often beat people in the back of their knees with their batons just to make them move faster along (as if we were sheep). Spanish Police are the very definition of fucking PIGS and they gave us another reason why we should fight strongly against these dogs of the system!
Senior C was telling us that with the Spanish supporters their police are still aggressive but not to that extent. The reason is that local supporters fear more the thousands of Euros in fines. However us, being foreign supporters cannot really get influenced by the threat of fines as we may not pay them and just exit the country and never come back; therefore in order to “scare” foreign supporters, the Spanish police exercise physical and mental aggressiveness; and to some extent it did work. We experienced their nervousness and aggressiveness firsthand when along the way we came to a point where we (and others) really had to pee (we thank the endless beers for that!). We moved towards a park fence in order to do our business when almost immediately 5 ACABs and one on a horse attacked us and hit us with batons in order to rejoin the corteo!!!! I am just happy molotof cocktails where invented for these assholes and hope that Spanish Supporters continue to fight them with all their strength! More on Spanish football laws and police brutality will be written in future articles.
Closing the parenthesis now, we finally made it to the stadium where we underwent many checks. Police was entering fans one at a time in small groups and it was along this point that at the entrance one of our group, Monsieur S of the PHK was arrested for apparently confronting police several times during the corteo. We entered the stadium but were worried as to what would happen to Monsieur S , since early the next day we where supposed to catch a bus to Madrid. Luckily around half hour later he was released and joined us in the terrace.
The game was one way traffic and Seville won fairly by 3-1, however the party in the terraces was EPIC! Endless singing and the cherry on the pie was after the final whistle. At this point all Standard supporters (around 1,000 total) stayed on the stands and for half an hour sang a very nice song (video below). The best part was that many Seville fans remained in their seats long after the final whistle and sang along with the Standard fans throughout the song; a truly beautiful footballing moment and great credit to the local fans for being really fantastic hosts.
On this note we will tell you a nice true story: During the first half one Standard supporter was arrested and thrown out of the stadium by the ACAB; who in turn tore his ticket and told him to stay out! The fan, not knowing what to do went to a nearby bar from the stadium to watch the game on TV. At halftime, some Biris Norte supporters exited their Ultras section and went to the bar to grab a quick drink and head back for the second half. There they met the Standard fan who explained to them what had happened. They in turn escorted him into the Biris Norte section where he had the pleasure of viewing alongside them the full second half of the game. Truly good sports these Seville guys and a very welcome and unexpected gesture from their behalf.
After we exited the stadium we had only but one place to go. That was the apartment of the core of the Inferno group in order to say our “last” goodbyes as early next morning (Friday) we where moving to Madrid to visit the Bukaneros and watch with them the away game vs Real in Bernabeau on Saturday. We entered the flat with 20+ litres of local beer (thank you Azuaga & Gate 22!) only to find the most beautiful mess of people we could imagine. Te party that ensued was hilarious and EPIC and will for ever be in our memories as one of the best nights of our lives; among people that we can now call our family. We won’t bore you with the “spicy” details but will only tell you that around 4 am, and when everyone thought the party was about to finish, a local old school metal punker (we never met before) knocked on our door and we answered……..the moments that followed where something outof a Sci-fi movie and even writing this article I cannot stop smiling about the unbelievable laughter and memories we have of that last night!
FANTASTIC SUPPORT AFTER THE FINAL WHISTLE!
We woke up pretty darn early on this one (I can still remember the blasting headache!) but we had to catch the 10:30 bus to Madrid as it was a looooong 6 hour ride. In typical Mediterranean fashion, the bus was late coming into the station (we LOVE Mediterranean timing!) and we successfully got on board a very comfortable bus ride.
At around 5 in the afternoon we were finally in Madrid and our local contacts of the Bukaneros where at the station to greet us. They quickly dropped us off at our Hostel where we checked into our room and not long after we were on our way to the Vallecas district of Madrid to do some shopping at some local Skinhead Antifa shops. Our comrade explained to us the long history of the Vallecas district and its distinct working class character. Shortly later we where in what has now become our favourite bar in Madrid- Loukanikos! the Bar is named after the Greek Riot dog which so unfortunately passed away a month ago: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_dog
We were very delighted to be there as that bar, like Marinaleda was one of the highlights of our trip. To find out though that it was owned and managed by one of the Bukaneros themselves (whom we had met at the St.Pauli Antira in June) made this bar even more special.
After many beers at Loukanikos, a bit of Kebab, some more beers we made our way to a local Punkrock concert somewhere close by where we had the chance to meet some more Bukaneros and enjoy even more of the local Mahou beer!
We had lots of time to catch up with our Bukaneros friends and also exchange our experiences on our journey so far and on many current issues of the Antifa world.
On Friday at around 3 am we decided to call it an early night as we where exhausted from the lack of sleep, long journey and endless partying; but above all we were extremely happy to be in Madrid and could not wait to go up against the fucking Fascists of Real Madrid with our Bukaneros Comrades the next day.
On this day we slept in for a bit so we would be rested for the big game that night.
At 13:00 our Bukaneros comrade came and picked us up and we quickly made way for the local fanclub of the Bukaneros in a secret location within Vallecas.
We must say that we have been to many fanclubs around the world and the Bukaneros one was perhaps the largest and best organised fanclub we have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Located in a secret location it was fantastically decorated with amazing Bukaneros graffiti inside, it was very large and had everything that is required to ran a successful and well organised Antifa Ultras group. Even though we wanted to take our cameras out and start snapping away at the fantastic interior of the Fanclub we refrained from doing so for security reasons; particularly after we ourselves had witnessed the Spanish state repression earlier in Seville. As such we only took a photo of the corner of the fanclub dedicated to the Bukaneros Brotherhood with Brigada Amarillas.
The Ultras where busy cooking their derby lunch and shortly later we where served our very own portion of delicious home cooked Ultras pasta! Gracias Chef! It was just what the doctor had ordered for our hangovered stomaches. Rested and fed we where now ready to head out to the derby.
One of the leaders of the group, whom we know well informed us that as per police instructions the Ultras would meet with the authorities at a nearby metro station and get into a train that would go straight to the Puta Real Madrid stadium on the other side of town; without stopping at any of the stops. A tactic that had been followed in the past.
Therefore early in the afternoon and after some serious singing and drinking the Ultras and ourselves set off in the short walk towards the station.
Soon we realised that something was wrong, and not long after all the Ultras retreated back into the Fanclub. Our contact informed us that in the last minute the police had decided to inform the Bukaneros that everybody had to PAY for the Metro (8 euros per person); and the Ultras where FURIOUS! They explained to me that they would not accept this as in recent years and following all the new laws being placed against supporters in Spain they had been forced to accept many things which only made the life of the Ultras more difficult. Even though this was not a very serious issue that could hinder the Ultras travelling on such an important derby we agree 100% with the Bukaneros on their stance!
SOMEWHERE WE MUST DRAW THE LINE!
Because if today we accept one thing, the authorities will only end up enforcing something new on us tomorrow! As such the stance of the Ultras found us in total and complete Antifa agreement! ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH! and well done to the Bukaneros for holding their heads high and in true revolutionary spirit saying no to every stupid thing that the authorities try to enforce (without prior warning) onto us!
We must say that the Bukaneros denial to travel to Puta Real’s stadium (despite everyone having purchased tickets worth 30 EUROS each!!) was a very interesting experience for us. During this time and after the Bukaneros returned to their fanclub (around 150 of them) we witnessed a lot of the workings of the group, the democratic ways in which they take decisions and the way they communicate these decisions to their brothers and sisters. Above all though we witnessed a group that is very well organised, is clearly Antifa and revolutionary and above all is UNITED in its decisions and its actions. For us, the whole experience was much more interesting and informative than having to go and watch a game at a fucking stadium that resembles a theatre. Well Done Again Brothers of the Bukaneros! Very well done indeed!
Following our interesting experiences that evening we decided to hang out in a local bar in Vallecas for the rest of the night with our Bukaneros comrades, drinking beers and exchanging views with like-minded people; a nice quiet ending to a very eventful day. SALUT!
Our final day in Spain and Madrid this because on the next day we where destined to fly back to base very early (06:00 am) in the morning.
On the day we had decided to take it easy in light of our long journey home as such our local Bukaneros comrade asked us what we preferred to do…….visit the sights of Madrid? or Visit Vallecas. Frankly we dont really give a shit about being regular tourists neither do we find any interest in visiting toursistic attractions like palaces (we hate royalty!) or cathedrals (we believe in Darwin) or any of that shite!
Therefore the answer was simple! Take us to Rayo Vallecano’s stadium please, take us to the working class neighbourhoods and let us take in the local aura of this beautiful Madrid district!
And so we did!
We first visited Vallecas Stadium which although closed made for some very interesting pictures; while our comrade explained the history of the stadium, the club and its supporters.
After that we decided to head to Rayo’s training grounds and witness a third Spanish Division game between Rayo Vallecano B vs Huerta!
We finally got to see Rayo play!!! Alas the second team….but still Rayo! In their famous White and Red Striped jersey!
Our comrade explained to us the story of the jersey which was very interesting indeed. You see back in the fifties Rayo being a team from a very poor district was actually playing in all-white shirts. At that time, River Plate of Argentina had flown over to Madrid to play a friendly game vs Puta Real Madrid.
Following the match the working class River Plate team visited Rayo and donated their shirts to the Rayo players. From that point onwards, Rayo would play in the distinctive red stripe jersey.
After enjoying the game (despite the cold) with many Rayo comrades we wondered what would be the most fitting end to such an unbelievable Antifa trip……
the Answer was simple! LOUKANIKOS!
And there we went! for some last rounds, brothers amongst brothers in our Antifa Working Class environment.
As the hours drew near we drowned our last drops of Spanish brew and said our last goodbyes ….. for this was perhaps our best trip so far…. a trip where we had the pleasure of living lifetime fun memories and forging and strengthening relations with our European Antifa brothers and sisters. We made a promise to keep up the fight in Antifa spirit and strong solidarity and reserved our next appointment with one another somewhere…..