sábado, 11 de enero de 2020

Alexandra Jonson, the biggest swedish River Plate fan

Alexandra Jonson, River vs Boca, Boca vs River, Final, Libertadores Cup, 2018,
Alexandra Jonson attending the biggest superclasico match in history

1. Introduce yourself, please.

I´m Alexandra Jonson, 26, from Malmö in Sweden. I live in Vigo in Spain and I work as a freelance football journalist mainly covering Spanish football.

2. How come you are such a football lover?

That’s the question we all wonder. I don’t directly come from a football family, but as a kid my parents let me try all kind of sports and I fell in-love with football. I started playing in my first team when I was 5. When I was 6 we went on a trip to Brazil where football was everywhere and I think there was no stopping the obsession from there on.

3. What team do u support in Sweden?

I’m a very proud Malmö FF supporter. The best team in Swedish football history. It’s the team of the city but also the entire region. I grew up in a small town outside Malmö, but my aunt lived just next to the stadium and she brought me to my first game when I was 8. Malmö lost at home 0-6 against their main rival IFK Göteborg. But the fans never stopped singing, I was so amazed by all of it, despite the result it was one of the best days of my childhood.

4. How come u became a River Plate fan? Can you tell us the ‘journey’ from the day u met the team until now? It's rival has Sweden’s flag colours...

To be honest it’s a quite new discovery. I’ve always known about River and Boca and Argentina football but it’s been so far away, I’ve just seen it a bit in the distance. And I don’t know if it’s a Sweden thing (especially with how boca got their colours) but Boca never really caught me. Not sure why, Boca just felt very mainstream, everyone who wants to be a football “hipster” becomes a Boca fan, and for me a football hipster is someone who supports a team because it’s odd and cool. But football for me is not about that. I don’t think you pick who you support, it just kind of happens. Then, this might sound weird being a Swede, but I don’t like Bocas colours. I only like blue and yellow on a Swedish national team kit, where it’s yellow with some blue on it. On a club kit it feels wrong. This might also have to do with there being a team I played against as a kid that I didn’t like and they were yellow and blue. But that’s a lot of Boca talk when you asked about River.

But well when I worked with FIFA for the 2018 World Cup one of my bosses there, Alejandro Varsky, he is from Buenos Aires and I think his main goal in life is to make people River Plate fans. Anyhow he was the one truly introducing me to River Plate. And there was just so much to like about them, especially the fans and how crazy they are, and how crazy Argentinian football is. And I think around that time there was a lot of big games as well, and I enjoyed watching River, I mean Argentinian football is crazy, it’s so different from anything in Europe. Then that they play in the middle of the night also adds to it, it becomes a bit of an event when you watch a River game… and you also know you are ruining the entire next day so you can’t do it for every game. And then I have this thing that when I get interested in something (especially in football) I just want to learn more and get to know more, I can go a bit overboard with that sometimes.
5. What’s the craziest thing u’ve done for River?

I mean on a Argentinian scale I haven’t done anything crazy. But for a Swede, maybe staying up in the middle of the night watching a random River game is a bit crazy. I did also stream the second half of the first superclasico Libertadores final on my computer while working at Celta - Real Madrid.
6. Who’s your fav River player and why? How much you know about him?

Rodrigo Mora. I love the number 7 and when I started watching River he was number 7. I know that his dad is Waldemar, and I know he is a River legend and that I started watching him way too late, but Mora is my guy! I’m also a big fan of Pity Martinez, who isn’t? But since neither is in River now I am currently trying to decide on a new favourite River player… but it’s not just something you do like that, it needs a thought process.
7. How did u decide to go to Madrid for the final?

I mean everyone that knows anything about football knows that superclasico is THE game you want to see live. And a Libertadores superclasico final even more so. Obviously it’s another thing seeing it in Argentina and I hope I can see a Superclasico there one day. But when the game was moved to Madrid, living in Spain, I knew I had to try to get a ticket and go… because you know it will be a one in a lifetime experience. Didn’t think I would manage to get a ticket though, but I did.

8. What can u tell us about that experience?

It was amazing. I know it would have been even more insane had it been played at Monumental, and I wish it had because there is a lot of people who deserved to go to that game way more than I did. But I am happy that I got to experience it. I think football is about the fans and in Argentina the fans is on another level. In Sweden we have an incredible supporter culture and there is amazing tifos and atmospheres at the game. In Spain you have the passion for football that is in another level than in Sweden. In Argentina you have both, and to be in the middle of these River fans when they watched on of the biggest games in the history of their club and won it, was truly incredible. The atmosphere and the emotions, it’s on another level you have people crying next to you,  people were holding their phones up not to take photos or make a video but to share the experience with those back home, they were doing FaceTime calls from Bernabeu and singing from the phones, crying together. It was so cool to get to experience all of that, to be in the middle of it and to see what all this really meant.

9. Do u remember how u lived Pity Martinez goal?

I remember getting a lot of hugs from strangers standing next to me. There was one guy hugging everyone and so fast he went like five rows down in 5 seconds. I was afraid for a long time that River would lose and it would be this huge anticlimax, but when you saw Pity getting the ball it’s this huge relief because you know he will score. People are going crazy and you know it’s just a huge party from there on.
10. Is it true u know some chants? Which one is your fav?

Haha yes, I didn’t want to go to the game in Madrid and don’t know a single chant, and look even more out of place than I already were. So I made Alejandro teach me some, and I finally learnt two. Borracho which is a long one and Señores yo soy gallinero. And they are complete stuck in my head now, I couldn’t forget them even if I wanted to.

11. Have you been at Monumental? Are u planning to go one day?

I have not. But I have always wanted to go to Argentina, and to visit the Monumental is very high on my bucket list. It’s just so far away, but I really hope I can go sometime soon.

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