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Blaverism and València C.F.
Table of contents
1 - València C.F. and Blaverism during the Spanish transition
As we mentioned at the beginning of the website, the rivalry between the cities of València and Barcelona is a healthy and natural one between neighbors. Football replied it. However, this relationship, and therefore its anti-Catalan projection, have not always existed. Former members of VCF in the 50's and 60's have repeatedly recalled that Barça was the only foreign team that was applauded, and eagerly, by the "xotos" (VCF fans) when they went out into the field; in addition, it is also remembered that between the fans of both teams there was a real brotherhood. Times change, but events turn around much more often than we think with the short glance of the present.
But this changed during the Spanish transition, when the Blaverist and antinationalist forces of the Valencian Country saw in València C.F. an important tool for spreading their message. It should also be borne in mind that València C.F. was (and is) the most important sports entity in the Valencian Country. This way, we think that it was in a way logical that this would happen, because the presidents of València C.F. have belonged almost without exception to the Spanish-speaking and pro-Spanish upper class of the city of València, and we have already talked enough about the position that this social class took regarding Valencian nationalism when the Spanish transition began.
The fact is that, as we say, when the transition began, this football team was used to spread Blaverism in the Valencian society. The presidents of the team began by modifying the shield, originally four-striped with a white fringe (with the name of the club) and then a black one, coinciding with the first kit of València C.F., which was black and white, like the current one. They also modified the uniform in order to make it entirely white, imitating that of the Real Madrid, in a show of radical Spanish nationalism.
Well, as to the debate that was taking place in Valencian society at the end of the 1970s about what the Valencian flag should be, in the Mestalla field there were only Blaverist flags (and Spanish flags to a lesser degree). This has continued to a lesser extent, although now the Blaverist flag no longer has revindicative connotations, because with the help of the violence of the Blaverists that we analyzed and the Socialists giving way to them in the end the blue flag became official. And not only that, the blue flag was subliminally introduced in the minds of the fans of València C.F. by other means. Thus, the second kit of VCF in the years of the Spanish transition consisted of a four-striped shirt and blue pants. After the transition, curiously, there were many changes being made to València C.F.'s second kit. Today, however, there is a popular alternative kit that is very similar to the one we just mentioned but with even more blue: the sleeves of the shirt are also blue. And the central four bars of the T-shirt are hidden, becoming just two bars!
Finally, as additional and more detailed information, in the "Additional material" section of the website we reproduce an excerpt from the book "La Pesta Blava" which explains very well the relationship between Blaverism and València C.F. in the 80s.
2 - The Yomus
During the Spanish transition there was not yet the system of hooligans that exists now in clubs, which was established basically in the 80's of the XXth century with the beginning of "fan groups" in general. In the 80's, football fan associations began to appear in the Spanish state, and each club had its, let's say, more radical one. The most radical ultra group of València C.F. was (and still is, even though it has been abandoned and resuscitated several times in the 2010's and 2020's) the "Yomus".
And it is at this point that the infamous "Yomus" come into action. This fan club, ultraviolent and with a very bad reputation, is especially dedicated to threatening Valencian fans who take out "màrfegues", as the Blaverists contemptuously call the four-striped historical Valencian flag.
But going back to the Yomus, the fact that this is the most important fan club in València C.F. and the one that makes more noise in the stadium, explains a lot of things. And if we bind this with its far right, fanatically pro-Spanish and anti-Catalan (and ultimately anti-Valencian) character, this has its consequences. Thus, the favorite chant of this fan club is usually "Puta Barça, Puta Catalunya!" (sic) ["Fuck Barça, Fuck Catalonia"], or also "Som valencians, mai catalans" ["We are Valencians, never Catalans"]. One can imagine the effect this has on someone who does not know the subject, goes to Mestalla, hears chants like these and repeats them compulsively, seeing that the whole stadium does the same. Certainly, this animosity towards Catalonia would remain in their subconscious.
And moreover, this ultra group (with members who, on the other hand, say they are brave, but who go to the Nou Camp and hide as best they can; the Boixos Nois and other radical groups of the F.C. Barcelona have thrashed them from time to time) has been immersed in innumerable controversies, especially if they are related to Valencian nationalists. Undoubtedly, the best known (but there have been other ones) is the one related to the assassination of the young nationalist Guillem Agulló in 1993 in Montanejos (Alt Millars). It turns out that his killer, Pedro Cuevas (now free by the way) was linked to this group. It already shows many things, but well, you can always think that in every there are "black sheep". The worst thing is that people linked to this group, shortly after the murder of this boy, seem to have smeared Mestalla with graffiti that said "Guillem jódete" ["Go fuck yourself Guillem"]. And it is especially significant that, aside from erasing these graffiti, the directives of València C.F. did not take any action in this regard.
In addition, this resort to "mocking" the murder of this young militant has been recurring over the years. So much so that in the game of the 2004-5 season between Llevant U.E. and València C.F., the ultra group brought out a banner that saif "Montanejos 93". This is a direct allusion to this murder, as it referred to the place and year of Guillem's murder.
This ultra group, moreover, has been surrounded by controversy for its far-right character. Thus, being coach of València C.F. the Dutchman Guus Hiddink, this fan club was put in an enclosure because they took out a swastika, and this coach ordered its immediate retirement to the services of the club.
In short, they had problems with another València C.F. supporters club, "Gol Gran", which was an explicitly apolitical supporters club, because this supporters club wrote posters in standard Valencian.
3 - Dissemination of the anti-Catalanist and Blaverist message by València C.F. currently
For the Blaverist people, València C.F. is the most "Valencian" club, even only because it is called "València". In that sense, it has always been a symbol and mirror of Blaverism. And a victory (or a draw!) against F.C. Barcelona has been interpreted by Blaverists as a great triumph. We remember that after the unfortunate sacrilegious acts that the Blaverists carried out in the city of València on February 4, 1979, as a result of which a mass in Valencian was stopped in the church of the Jesuits, one of the Blaverist agitators who went there said "today has been a day of victory, also because València has tied in Barcelona".
Interestingly, with the fact that much of València's fans are from the rural parts of the Valencian Country, and perhaps also because València C.F., like all football teams in general, receives official subsidies, on the subject of language, after doing everything in Spanish during the transition, now some things are written in standard Valencian (the stadium signage, the electronic marker and a few other feats). Even the public address system of the Mestalla stadium is in Valencian (and it starts by saying the expression so dear to the Valencian pilota sport of "Cavallers..."). And even the Valencia C.F. website is written in standard Valencian (with some exaggerated localisms, however).
However, little attention is paid in general to the club's language standardization. In the attached image, we can see two phenomena together: aggressive propaganda of the Blaverist flag and little linguistic normalization. We can see that the blue stripe of this mosaic is overly disproportionate, occupying half of the flag. And at the same time, it says "Campeó", instead of the normative "Campió", which in the eyes of the Blaverists of València C.F. sounds too "Catalan".
Returning to València C.F. and its direct relationship with Blaverism, we will say that València C.F. receives a preferential treatment by all the Valencian Blaverist and pro-Spanish forces. When the PP ruled the Generalitat Valenciana, its presence on Canal 9 (the Valencian Country's old TV channel) was overwhelming, and clearly discriminatory regarding other Valencian teams. One could even say that they had not interest that another club became important.
Thus, the 2004-2005 season was scandalous as the referees slowly harmed the U.E. Llevant, or with the fact that Vila-Real C.F. was in a better position than València C.F. was completely overlooked by those responsible for Valencian regional television. And the most scandalous case in terms of preferential treatment by the public authorities towards València C.F. as to other Valencian teams happened in 2005 in the Llevant U.E.-València C.F. game, in the "Ciutat de València" Llevant stadium. It turns out that the various police forces forced the "Força Llevant" supporters not to show any nationalist flags so as not to "provoke" the Yomus, who were always escorted by the police. On the other hand, the Yomus did fly all kinds of Blaverist flags, which could also be interpreted as a provocation to the fans of the Llevant U.E., and specially in their own stadium. And finally, they took out the banner of "Montanejos 93", which in any case goes beyond the scope of provocation to fall into an absolute lack of respect for the family of Guillem Agulló.
Lastly, we will highlight an anecdotal fact, but which we consider to be significant enough. It turns out that the president of València C.F. then, Mr. Paco Roig took part in the great Blaverist demonstration of 1997, and he had no qualms about wearing a sticker that read "No mos fareu catalans". It is true that perhaps he did it because the Valencian right in general took part in that demonstration, or to please a large part of the Valencian fans, with Blaverist ideology. But this is still significant. It is worth mentioning in defense of this gentleman that years later he rectified this anti-Catalanism a bit, and has appeared repeatedly on TV3 (the main Catalan TV channel) without any problems, apart from being a great friend of the ("Catalanist" in the eyes of the Blaverists) writer Ferran Torrent. He was also the introducer of Valencian in the public address system of the stadium and in general of a minimum linguistic normalization in the signage of the stadium. However, the presence of this top manager of València C.F. in that Blaverist mobilization is still curious. More clearly, the Yomus took part in the Blaverist demonstration in November 2004, which was supported by the Agrupació de Penyes del València C.F, a grouping of several fan clubs of the team. Regarding this last demonstration, it is still curious that many people who took part in it (especially among the few young people who went, because almost all of them were elderly people) were precisely dressed in the T-shirt of the second kit of València C.F., with blue sleeves.
València C.F., in short, is the preferred team of the Valencian upper class, compared to other more "working class" teams, so to speak, such as Llevant U.E. And we have already said many times on this website where the Valencian upper class stands in terms of the language and its national affiliation. On the other hand, the Valencian upper class (from the city of València, to some extent), is very interrelated, and in essence shares a series of common ideals, and one of them is anti-Catalanism. This way, even if a person is not externally Blaverist, for example, they may be internally, or may be condescending to Blaverism. And it has been seen in many high-ranking PP officials, such as Fernando Giner and Alejandro Font de Mora. The image that we attach, regarding València C.F., is very illustrative. In this photo we can see the late top leader of anti-Catalanism in the city of València Vicente González Lizondo (born in Albacete by the way) with the former mayor of València from 1991 to 2015 for the PP Rita Baberà, flanked by the builder Bautista Soler, father of one of the presidents of València C.F. (Juan Bautista Soler) and the biggest shareholder of the club from 2004 to 2008, all three in a friendly attitude. This photo shows, unlike many others, the interrelationship and interaction between Blaverism, the Valencian right and the Valencian upper class, represented respectively by the three characters that appear in this photo, and it gives a clear understanding of the mark left by Blaverists in València C.F.
Another example of this relationship between the Valencian upper class, Blaverism and València C.F. is Enric Esteve's (president of the secessionist organization "Lo Rat Penat") appointment in June 2007 as responsible of the sports cities of València C.F., by the then president Juan Bautista Soler.
Finally, we will say that both "Las Provincias" in its anti-Catalanist stage when directed by María Consuelo Reyna, and later the "Diario de Valencia", made exclusive propaganda of this football club, neglecting all other Valencian clubs, and have therefore used it for their own interests. And going back to the connection of this club with the Valencian right and expanding on its use by the Valencian right, in October-November of 2005 we had the resounding proof of it. It turns out that at a Correllengua event at the Camp Nou, a map of the Catalan Countries was displayed. Then the PP government used this to stir up anti-Catalanism, as the Valencian right always does in general when it has problems in order to cover up its misery. Thus, Councilor Esteban González Pons returned to the old Attardian (remember Emilio Attard?) idea that the "expansion" of Catalonia through València was the same as that of the Nazis through Central Europe. So immediately València C.F. adhered to these proclamations. And in the next game played at Mestalla, against Sevilla C.F., they played dressed in the second kit, which reproduces the Blaverist flag (with blue on the sleeves and all).
The Mestalla stadium is also used by all the Blaverist parties and groups to spread their message and attract followers. Formerly, Unió Valenciana and the ultra-Blaverist party "Coalición Valenciana" have used Mestalla's matches to set up stalls and run campaigns (such as collecting signatures). In fact, regarding the Blaverist website www.elpalleter.com, which depended on the people of Coalición Valenciana in a certain way (from the Fundació Nou Valencianisme, which is run by the same people who run this party), we can say that this website had a pamphlet print edition as well. This pamphlet was distributed during all the games played at Mestalla for a long time. The Mestalla stadium has also been flooded with stickers from the PJV Blaverists (Platform of Young Valencianists), a now defunct entity of young Blaverists. With all this we can better recap everything we are saying: if they do this, it is because at that stadium they have a favorable environment in order to attract followers.
4 - Violent events on October 9, 2017 and later expulsion of the Yomus from Mestalla in 2019
The tradicional demonstration of leftist and nationalist groups that takes place each October 9 in the city of Valencia, ended in 2017 with a lot of violence, whose main perpetrators were members of the "Yomus" hooligans of the Valencia C.F. At the end of the march the pancatalan independentist groups Arran and CUP were placed, and the march had to change its itinerary and to be escorted by the police, since they had to endure verbal and even physical attacks from far-right people. The riots commenced at the beginning of the march. Arran and CUP sympathizers were surrounded by dozens of people that took part in a demonstration that had not been authorized by the Government Delegation in the Valencian Country against the nationalist march. Riots continued, and some members of the independentist left were hit and received threats from the far-right ones. During this riots, a photographer of the newspaper EL PAÍS was hit by the far-right members. Spanish police even stormed the far-right members. Social networks were full of images of this huge riots. Some of the main authors of the aggressions that were made by the Blaverist far-right that 9th October in Valencia were identified. The most savage aggressions were made by Neonazis that belonged to the Yomus hooligans of the València CF. The main perpetrators were identified owing to the images that were spread through social networks, digital media and TV channels, but also owing to the collaboration of many citizens, that brought a huge amount of data to the legal teams that take care of this matter. Among the aggressors these are the main ones: Vicent Estruch el Alfarrasí, present leader of the Yomus and who comes from that village in the Vall d'Albaida, Juan Manuel Bustos Vázquez, from València; Rubén Añó Añó, from Llombai (Ribera Alta); Néstor Franco Castelló, from Gandía (la Safor); Víctor Manuel Calvo, from Sagunt (Camp de Morvedre); and Francisco José Sargues Muñoz, from Albal (Horta Nord). All of them are linked to the Yomus hooligans, with the exception of the last one, who is a member of the Blaverist party Avant. All of them are accussed and on trial because of these facts.
These events created a state of opinion against these hooligans, outside and specially inside the València C.F. And therefore the board of directors of the club took the historical decision of forbidding the entrance to the Mestalla field to the members of the Yomus that were older than 35 in September 2019. Most of the Yomus are older than 35, and this decision deprived them of their capacity of influence and so they cannot attract and catch new members in Mestalla among young people any more, as they usually did, as we have already explained. There are of course attempts of reviving these hooligans and to make them come back to Mestalla again, but the present board of directors of the club stays firm in this decision, and as we have said, the "historical" members of these hooligans grow older and are less and less active.
5 - Final synthesis and hope for the future
We will end by saying that we do not intend to say that all the fans of València C.F. are Blaverists and anti-Catalans. There are also Valencian nationalists and everything. However, we believe we have shown that one of the greatest propagators of the anti-Catalanist ideology and message today in Valencian society is València C.F. And regarding València C.F. fans, and in particular those who go to Mestalla, we can say that they are the members of Valencian society who are most subject to the anti-Catalanist message, which, as can be deduced, will end up taking up a part of them. It is also true that the nationalist fans of València C.F. (as there are, as we have said) generally let themselves go with the "blue tide" that floods that club, and are not very demanding of so many things. We will end this section by making an exhortation to these fans, and to the good Valencian fans (who also certainly exist), because they are invited to fight to make València C.F. a team of all Valencians, and above all, respectful of Valencian history and personality.
As an epilogue to this section, we have inserted this link to our brother website, the Racó Català. This link explains quite comprehensively the connection since the Spanish transition between València C.F., far right and Blaverism, with the above mentionned exceptions of sincere, apolitical and in some cases nationalist València C.F. fans, notwithstanding the efforts that have been made by the Neoblaverist sociologist Vicent Flor in order to show València C.F. as a center of Valencianism.