The rise of the Argentine football in English Twitter accounts

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I currently live in the United States. Here, football is played with your hands and a ball that isn’t round. Soccer, though growing in popularity, is still far behind the other sports in this country. Yet it is my sport of choice. I fell in love with it while living in Argentina. After returning home, I brought that love with me. Unfortunately, I had no one to talk about Argentine football with.

After a few years of literally cheering on my team by myself, it dawned on me that I could interact with other fans online. I started with fan message boards and Twitter. After more time passed, I started to realize that some people were even talking about Argentine football in English.

There were others out there just like me!

Within a year or so I decided to start an English Twitter account to support my beloved club. While there were a couple of other similar accounts, we were a small band of devoted fans. What was at the time only four accounts has now grown to 12 English-speaking fan accounts. I wanted to learn more about these people who, like me, speak English and love Argnetine football. So, I decided to reach out to each of them and learn their backstories.

I present to you, the people who run the 12 accounts, starting with the newest addition, Patronato, and going all the way back to the Godfather, Lanús.

Patronato in English

Patronato @Patronato_en

Started: September 2018

Name: Fausto

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Since I was 12.

How did you become a fan of Patronato?

In 2012 when Patronato reached the Argentino A.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I wanted to attract more people who live outside the city to my club.

Have you met other English speakers who support Patronato?

Not yet.

Banfield In English

Banfield@BanfieldEng

Started: August 2018

Name: Lucas

Current City: Buenos Aires

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Ever since I was a little kid.

How did you become a fan of Banfield?

My father supports Banfield!

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I saw some other English accounts for clubs in the Superliga and it made me think that perhaps it was a good idea to start one for Banfield, just in case someone from outside of Argentina wanted to follow the club. My hope was that by creating an account, others could feel more connected to Banfield.

Have you met other English speakers who support Banfield?

None in person, but I met some Banfield fans that are from Canada on Reddit. On Twitter I saw multiple people following me, but I haven’t really spoke to them.

VelezinEnglish

Velez Sarsfield@VelezinEnglish

Started: July 2018

Name: Juan Manuel

Current City: Buenos Aires

How long have you followed Argentina Football?

I was born in Buenos Aires and from a very early age was attracted to football.

How did you become a fan of Velez?

Through heritage and location.  My father is a Vélez fan who took my brother and me to games when we were growing up. I’ve also lived in Villa Luro my whole life, so there was no other possible outcome.

What made you decide to start an English Fan account?

I wanted to do something for the club. Then I noticed that there was some interest in stuff like Golazo Argentino or Hand of Pod, so I figured out that someone somewhere around the world would like to be informed about the club.

Argentinos Juniors UK

Argentinos Juniors @AAAJinUK

Started: March 2018

Name: Gabriela Carreno

Current City: East Sussex, England

How long have you followed Argentine football?

All my life.

How did you become a fan of Argentinos?

At age 13 I moved to La Paternal, up to that age I used to watch games but had no club. Very quickly I fell in love with Argentinos Juniors.

Living outside of Argentina, how do you follow Argentinos?

It was very though at the beginning. 12 years ago, I moved to the UK and the way to stay in touch was via the website or online radio. Back in 2010 when we became champions I had to watch the last two games on a dodgy 144p resolution stream!! Now, it’s easier due to the great work from our Media department.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I had the idea for ages, but I was unsure there was an audience interested in our club. Lanus in Eng was an inspiration, but I was still unsure. Early this year a fellow supporter from London helped to set the page up and a chat with our club’s media manager was the definitive push needed. Having the club’s support was essential.

Have you met other English speakers who support Argentinos?

There are a bunch of us in Europe, all Argentines living in the UK and Europe. I have also seen a lot of interest in the club thanks to players they are fans of, like Maradona and Riquelme.

Boca in English

Boca Juniors@CABJ_English

Started: February 2018

Name: Gabriel Aguero

Current City: Long Island, NY, United States

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Since I was very little.

How did you become a fan of Boca?

I come from an Argentine background (my parents and grandparents were born in Argentina along with my little brother) I grew up in a football crazy household like most Argentines.

Living outside of Argentina, how do you follow Boca?

I follow Boca through social media and I watch every single game. I can’t remember the last time I missed a Boca game. I also like to go to the Boca Juniors restaurant in Queens, New York to enjoy the matches with all of the Boca fans.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I saw some clubs had an English fan account and I always wanted to follow a Boca one but none existed. So, I thought to myself, “I’m extremely well informed about Boca, so, I might as well start my own.”

Have you met other English speakers who support Boca?

Everyone at the Boca Juniors restaurant speaks English and I’ve also met Boca fans while running errands closer to my home.

Racing Club in English

Racing Club@RacinginEnglish

Started: December 2017

Name: Darren Paul

Current City: Cambridge, England

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Since 2012 but had an interest since a kid watching Transworld Sport on TV and being fascinated by the color, drama and excitement of Argentine football. I even wrote a piece about those memories for school!

How did you become a fan of Racing?

Listening to people tell wonderful stories of this historic club. I was sick of English football and the Premier League. I would clean my kitchen at 1:00 am, listening to Hand of Pod and fell in love with the league and Racing. My fandom was fully secured though in 2012 with the San Martín de San Juan match when Agustín Pelletieri saved the penalty.

Living outside of Argentina, how do you follow Racing?

Twitter, Fanatiz to watch games, the official club website, Hand of Pod, and Golazo Argentino.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I didn’t actually start it! Youssef Amin started the account, but he has since taken a break and I’ve carried it on.

Have you met other English speakers who support Racing?

Yes! At Argentina vs Tonga at the Rugby World Cup in Leicester. Obviously, lots of online interactions with fans and through the Racing in English podcast. Messaging other Racing fans who I knew online when we won the title was a really nice moment that made me feel within the club, despite never having stepped foot in the Cilindro or even the continent.

Newell's Old Boys - English

Newell’s Old Boys@Newells_en

Started: December 2017

Name: Jamie Ralph

Current City: Galway, Ireland (I’ve just moved after many years in London).

How long have you followed Argentine football?

I’ve always had a casual interest and many of my favorite players growing up were Argentine, but I only started following the Superliga closely in the past 2-3 years.

How did you become a fan of Newells?

First and foremost, I’m a Tottenham fan. It was the appointment of ex-Newell’s defender Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs manager in 2014 that drew me closer to La Lepra. In his interviews and press conferences, he always spoke so romantically about Newell’s, describing it as a club with a wild and passionate fanbase where legends of the game cut their teeth. Pochettino painted a picture of a club where the football on the pitch and the fans in the stands were still the main spectacles and that was something I wanted to buy into!

Living outside of Argentina, how do you follow Newells?

Mainly through Fanatiz and Twitter. The time difference makes it tough to stay awake for matches that kick-off after midnight in Europe.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

In my first couple of years following Newell’s, I found it difficult to keep up with the day to day happenings at the club as there was no English-language news or updates online and my Spanish is intermediate. After listening to Phil (who runs the Lanús in English account) speak on the Hand of Pod podcast about his account, I decided to try and launch a similar account focusing on Newell’s Old Boys.

Newell’s are actually the only Argentine club with an official English account, but it is rarely updated. Since setting up my account, I’ve been approached by the club to help them improve their official English account.

Have you met other English speakers who support Newells?

I have met one other native English-speaker who is a Newell’s fan – Adrian Pope who has been running a campaign to get a statue of Isaac Newell (of whom Newell’s Old Boys is named after) erected in his birthplace of Kent, England.

Belgrano - English

Belgrano – @Belgrano_en

Started: April 2017

Name: Jimmy Lee

Current City: Seattle, WA, United States

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Started originally in 2007, but more religiously since 2009/10.

How did you become a fan of Belgrano?

I moved to Córdoba, Argentina in 2007. I grew up playing football but it wasn’t until I moved to Argentina that I fell in love with the sport. One of the first friends I made, who became one of my closest friends, was a Belgrano fan and even sold Choripan outside the stadium before the matches. He was the first reason I started to like Belgrano. After living there for about a year, one day I was walking in downtown Córdoba with friends and we ran into the Belgrano squad and took pictures with them. From then on, Belgrano became my one and only football club. I later became a Socio and still support the club even though I live outside of Argentina.

If you live outside of Argentina, how do you follow your club?

For a while it was actually really easy, I could watch all the matches on the Fútbol Para Todos app or website, after that went away, it was hard to watch matches for a year or so. Now I use Fanatiz. I also read the Córdoba newspaper every day and follow the club and Argentine football via Twitter. Other websites (including this site) and the Hand of Pod podcast have helped over the years.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I mostly just wanted to talk to people about Belgrano and Argentine football. In the United States, I don’t have many friends that like football and literally zero friends that follow Argentine football. This was a way for me to talk about my passions with others.

Have you met other English speakers who support your club?

I’ve spoken with a few on Twitter, but I’ve never met another English-speaking Belgrano fan in person.

River in English

River Plate @CARP_English

Started: December 2016

Name: Tom

Current City: Buenos Aires! I am British but now reside in Argentina.

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Since 2008.

How did you become a fan of River?

Visiting Argentina for the first time in 2008, I got a ticket for a Superclásico in El Monumental. First of many days supporting River! My dislike of Maradona probably played a part subconsciously too.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I tend to watch River games alone at home and wanted to interact with others. I did it from my personal account and no one was interested. Then I saw that other clubs had fan accounts in English and it dawned on me that I should be River’s representative!

Have you met other English speakers who support River?

I know one or two fans from other countries (starting with Sam Kelly) and of course met others through the account from as far away as Norway and Bahrain!

Independiente 🇬🇧🔴

Independiente – @CAI_english

Started: May 2015

Name: Peter Coates

How long have you followed Argentine football?

I’ve always had an interest in South American football since reading football magazines and recording late night tv shows as a kid but really following the league on a weekly basis didn’t really start until I moved out to Argentina in 2011.

How did you become a fan of Independiente?

Despite trying to remain impartial and not choosing a team initially, my first job in Argentina was as a teacher south of Buenos Aires and eventually some friends who were socios at Independiente managed to indoctrinate me with visits to the Estadio Libertadores de América and shirts.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

Simply as a place to go on about El Rojo that wasn’t the Golazo account. That was never the purpose of my Twitter so I didn’t want it to become a fan account and to have a clear bias (I think I do a decent job of doing that given many people don’t realise who I support…until now).

Have you met other English speakers who support Independiente?

Yes, a few around Buenos Aires.

Cuervo Inglés

San Lorenzo@SanLorenzoEng

Started: February 2015

Name: Will Dalton

Current City: Londoner temporarily living in Medellin, Colombia

How long have you followed Argentine football?

Since 2012

How did you become a fan of San Lorenzo?

I was moving to Argentina and I noticed how similar the story of San Lorenzo is to my ‘main’ team, Charlton Athletic. Specifically, the fan-driven campaign to return the club to our home barrio of Boedo. Charlton lost their ground in the 1980s, but the fans brought us home after a long struggle. Cuervos are now doing the same. After becoming a socio of San Lorenzo, I also became a socio refundador – someone who has purchased a symbolic square meter of the land in Boedo to raise money for the new stadium.

Living outside of Argentina, how do you follow San Lorenzo?

At the moment, I’m lucky with the minor time difference in Colombia, but it’s usually late night internet streams when I’m in the UK. I’m a big believer in the ‘Libertadores nap’ – sleeping from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am when the matches usually kick-off in the Copa. Then it’s back to bed on full time at 4:00 am. Lots of mate needed at work the next day.

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

I wanted to connect with other fans. Being up at midnight on the other side of the world, watching an internet stream on your own can be quite a solitary experience. But having a Twitter timeline full of fellow fans to share the joy and despair with is great, that’s what football fandom is all about when you can’t be at the stadium yourself.

Have you met other English speakers who support San Lorenzo?

A good friend of mine from the UK was a San Lorenzo socio before I knew him and I met some lad from Manchester at a game at the Club World Cup in Morocco. He didn’t even speak Spanish but used to live in Argentina and always followed San Lorenzo.

Lanús in English

Lanus@LanusEng

Started: August 2012

Name: Phil

Current City: Manchester, England

How long have you followed Argentine football?

About 7 years.

How did you become a fan of Lanus?

I became aware of Lanus through playing Football Manager – I wasn’t even playing as Lanus. Then I discovered Hand of Pod and starting streaming games. It got out of hand from there.

Living outside of Argentina, how do you follow Lanus?

After 7 years, I’m quite adept at finding ways of following Lanus – I’ve watched on betting sites, YouTube, government streaming sites, TV broadcasters, and generic dodgy streams. On occasion I’ve been forced to rely on Argentine radio broadcasts or on my own followers tweeting me updates. This is never ideal, particularly because my Spanish is still crap, but it’s nice to switch it up a little. I’ve also been lucky enough to go to La Fortaleza too!

What made you decide to start an English fan account?

Well for a start, why not? It’s a popular concept in other countries, and I figured Hand of Pod seems to get by, so there must be some interest. Broadly speaking though there were two reasons:

I quite liked the idea of there being an English Lanus account, a lot of the traditionally big Argentine clubs didn’t have a presence in English, which I found odd, and Lanus have generally gone against the Big 5 and have continued to over-perform. I liked the idea of making Lanus available in a second-language before most of the Big 5 had bothered.

Secondly, my attention-span isn’t always very good, I can get distracted quite easily – and if you’ve ever tried to watch a game at 4:00 am in silence you’ll know how difficult it can be. I thought if I wrote/narrated/commented on games, I would engage with it better, stay focused and generally be more immersed. It worked wonders.

I also kind of wanted to be the first ‘in English’ account. A small indulgence of my ego there.

Have you met other English speakers who support Lanus?

I’ve met a few English-speaking Argentine Lanus fans – shout out to Agus, Gaston, Jose, Nahuel, and Diego – but I’ve not met any non-Argentine fans yet. I know of one or two. I’m not the original ‘English’ Lanus fan for a start, that honour goes to a bloke named Tom Beck – but I’ve not met any, despite keeping an eye out. The closest I’ve come is seeing a family of Independiente fans in Manchester.

——-

There you have it. If you too are a fan of an Argentine team that is not currently represented, please join the club. We are planning our retreat at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. We hope to see you there.

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