Some may say that 50.01% of the population of Argentina supports Boca Juniors, which will in turn make them the biggest football club in the country.
There are also claims to be heard from their eternal rivals River Plate, suggesting that they, and not Boca, are the biggest and best supported team in the land.
Unfortunately, both of them have been in huge turmoil recently, for different reasons.
River, had a one season spell in the Nacional B (second category of Argentinian football), and have only recently got rid (via elections) of their former President, Manager and Player Daniel Alberto Passarella, who took the club in a horrendous financial state, and left it in an even worse condition.
His last act, prior to the elections, in order to make himself “re-electable”, was to bring back to the club the Manager that won River the most trophies, Ramon Diaz.
It did not help his fate, as the campaign was disappointing, and he decided not to run again for president.
With new authorities voted in, the new man D’onofrio, called upon past glories in the form of Enzo Francescoli, and Norberto “Beto” Alonso both in executive positions, to try to recover the identity of the club. They also kept Diaz as a Manager, and it has to be said that, in the field of play, things have improved.
In turn Boca Juniors’ problems are more to do with politics in three fronts.
Juan Roman Riquelme, an icon of the club, who seems to have powers greater to those of the club’s directives, and does whatever he feels is right for himself (or according to him for the club he supports).
Talented like few others, his playing careers is coming to an end, but he refuses to let go of all the power he has.
He misses many games through injuries, and his displays have been patchy (still capable of producing gems like the free kick against River Plate in the 2-1 defeat).
His personality, has always brought division to every Boca Juniors dressing room he has been part of.
The squad, is today, very divided so much so, that there will be wholesale changes for the next tournament, with many predicting the non-renovation of Riquelme’s contract as part of them.
Boca’s president has also brought their most successful manager ever back in Carlos Bianchi, but things on the field of play, are just not going his way.
The team is disjointed, inconsistent and the internal problems ooze through with every game.
The last big political problem Boca has is their own set of supporters. Not that 50.01% has been mentioned before, but what in Argentina are called Barrabrava which means organised groups of people who are (in their opinion and actions) the bosses of what goes on in the stands. They decide the songs, their positioning, the meeting point to get to the stadium.
But there are many other “businesses and privileges” involved of being the leading group (truthfully the subject is for another article).
So at the moment there are many factions of supporters fighting to occupy that top spot, and that brings violence, fights, and distractions (as the players get dragged into the supporters fights).
Boca Juniors are already thinking ahead to the next tournament, but will they arrive there with the extra pressure of River Plate being the defending champions?
Only time will tell.
Written by Javier Perez
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