It is safe to say that Málaga CF is a big club that has fallen out of the company to which it belongs. A deserved La Liga stalwart if there ever was one, a dismal 2017/2018 campaign saw Málaga finish in last place and suffer relegation to La Segunda. Champions’ League quarter finals away at the Westfalenstadion now look like a distant memory, and finishing in La Liga’s top four seems all but a dream. Yet have underwhelming recent seasons dampened the spirits of the fans? Outside a fan pub in the shadows of La Rosaleda, one of Spain’s most iconic of Football stadia, we caught up with a leading member of El Fondo Sur 1904, the most prominent fan group inside the ground right now, to ask a few questions and learn more about the Málaga fan scene right now.
The interviewee agreed to talk to FBTG on the condition of anonymity.
Please give a brief introduction to El Fondo Sur 1904.
El Fondo Sur is a new group, created three years ago when all the supporters groups inside the stadium united. It is a supporters group but not the same as “El Frente Boqueron”; a radical group of, that is to say, hooligans. A law was introduced that forbids individuals to display articles of El Frente Boqueron in the stadium, so the fans reorganised and formed a new group. It’s going well, and we are all together inside the stadium.
Is there a general political ideology that exists within the fan culture of Málaga CF?
We have been catalogued as being on the right, but strictly speaking, the members of groups such as El Frente Boqueron define themselves as apolitical. Why? Because we want everybody from Málaga to feel welcome inside the stadium. We have larger groups coming from further away and we want them to be able to come. But, elsewhere in Spain and in Europe, we are considered to be on the right.
With whom do the fans of Málaga CF have a rivalry?
(We have a) rivalry with Sevilla, with Betis, and now that we are in La Segunda, with Cádiz. What’s more, we have a rivalry with those from the North, in the Basque Country and with the Galicians. We have been categorised as being from the extreme-right, and they are from the extreme-left, therefore it results in a rivalry because of political topics. But is it a personal topic? No. We don’t really know them (on a personal level). Sevilla is a much bigger one because they are closer.
And Cádiz? Well in years gone by in 1990/1991, we were fighting for a promotion (to La Liga). We went away to play (in Cádiz) and everybody in Cádiz…. I say everybody because it was a huge amount of people…. treated the visiting Málaga fans very poorly, throwing things at us from the windows. It was a day full of aggression, full of violence. Years later, there are some people who have forgotten this. But we, the ultras and the more radical (fans), it will never be forgotten. And Cádiz have a friendship with the Bukaneros (Rayo Vallecano’s ultra group), but we also don’t like them either. I really believe that we are never going to have a good relationship with Cádiz.
And how is the relationship with Granada, right now? (This recording was made on the day of the East Andalusian Derby between Málaga CF and Granada CF).
Better than before right? A lot of people have been explaining to me (in Málaga) that it was a big rivalry in the past.
It’s true, it used to be a big rivalry. Now it’s good. The lads of Granada have a group, I don’t remember the name, but a lot of people from Granada come here for Football and have been with us. And some people from here have gone there for Football. So, the feeling between us now is quite normal.
What do the fans of Málaga CF think of the fact that their club this season is competing in La Segunda?
For us it is a travesty. It is entirely against our history, and the people are disturbed by it. There is no explanation. Our objective is to get promotion to the first division. If it doesn’t happen then we’ll have to make do with the place we occupy, but the ambition is to get promotion.
Do the fans and ultras of Málaga CF share a friendship with fans of any other club?
Right now we get along well with the ultras and fans of Valencia. A good friendship. I personally know their leader.
What is the general impression that people in other parts of Spain have of fans of this club?
Generally I think good. This is a big club with a large amount of fans who do a good job of supporting their club. So I think we are considered to be good fans across Spain.
And finally, do fans of Málaga CF tend to prefer Real Madrid or Barcelona (when it comes to El Clásico)?
Here, personally everybody has their own preference. In their own home, everyone is entitled to their own personal decisions. However, inside the stadium, we as members of El Frente Boqueron or of El Fondo Sur 1904, we give everything we have to the death (for our club). We will not allow people wearing jerseys of Barca or of Real into our stand. No. That would be a major insult. We only want people who are going to support our club. A jersey of Real Madrid for example would be totally prohibited. We would throw them out of our block.
Later on, if you go out to a bar here in Málaga to watch Real vs Barca, you can wear a shirt and cheer for whomever you want. Not a problem. But inside our stadium, we are only supporters of Málaga.
Thank you for speaking to us.
The original interview was conducted in Spanish. This transcript therefore has been translated from the original language, thus all points mentioned in this article may deviate slightly from the intended meaning.