14 April, 2008

Anyone Know the Spanish for “I’m going to glass you”?

Some of you might remember a little while ago now we showed you a brief glimpse into the vindictive and petty world of South American football rivalries, chronicling the quite brilliant way Guatemala screwed Mexico over in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers. This kind of commitment to holding a grudge can only be applauded, and here then is another fantastic example of just why football in that continent is so much more serious than most of the whinging that goes on over here between so-called rivals. I’m sorry, but if you’re not constantly on the look-out for ways you as a fan can cause severe financial or physical damage to your main rivals, then you’re letting both yourself, as well as STT, down.

As regular city-riots go, Argentinian football derbies are about as hardcore as you can get. The Superclásico is the most important rivalry in the country, contested between Buenos Aires clubs River Plate and Boca Juniors, the two most popular and successful teams in Argentine football. Wiki helpfully informs me that approximately 70% of all football fans in Argentina follow one of these two teams, and during the games the stadiums are known to bounce with the simultaneous jumping of the fans. Most times the matches end with fights between the fans and then the police, but still, it’s a once in a lifetime experience (included in The Observer’s 50 Sporting Things You Must Do Before you Die)

These days however, River Plate are not so hot, so a triumverate of sorts has come into play, with Avellaneda side Independiente also embroiled in the fierce rivalry with the two Buenos Aires giants. Now going back to the 1970s, Independiente were the team in Argentina, winning 7 Copa Libertadores titles, including an unequalled series of 4 straight wins from 1972 to 1975. This amazingly dominant feat earned them the distinguished nickname of “el Rey de Copas,” or the “King of Cups” in the Queen’s English. Earlier this year however, Boca Juniors secured their second consecutive Recopa Sudamericana cup, taking their total to a record-breaking 16 major titles in total (Independiente have 15, and so to do AC Milan etc).

Never ones to miss a good marketing opportunity then, some of the top bods at Nike, Boca’s kit sponsor, cooked up a great line of merchandising based on the fact that Boca had effectively just become the “King of Cups” themselves. How naïve. In a showing of quite genius spite, an Independiente fan heard of this plan, and actually registered a worldwide copyright on the branding of “el Rey de Copas,” along with the internet domain name. Put simply, Nike are in all sorts of problems, having promised Boca this prestigious ceremony and dedicated line of sportswear, so are now still embroiled in a bidding war with this unknown Independiente fan to buy the trademark back off him, but understandably he literally refuses to ever sell! As you can see from the picture below, Independiente have stuck a further middle-finger up at Boca by actually incorporating the “Rey de Copas” tag onto their own shirts this season.

This is truly hilarious. If anyone knows this Independiente fan, buy him a couple of cervezas on STT, you know we’re good for em.

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