Episode 46: The 2011 Apertura review

In the forty-sixth epsiode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Seba and English Dan look back on the 2011 Torneo Apertura, which ended on Monday. Boca Juniors ended as undefeated champions, and the champions with the most points difference ahead of the team(s) in second place. We look at Boca’s record, Racing’s underwhelming campaign, Tigre’s ongoing woe and Godoy Cruz’s joy at their Copa Libertadores qualification. There’s the Hand Of Pod Team Of The Apertura (well, most of it) and a whole glut of readers’ questions on everything from the structure of the league to Racing’s 1967 Intercontinental Cup win over Celtic. This is the last Hand Of Pod of 2011, so Merry Christmas to all, and a happy new year. We’ll see you in 2012.

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5 thoughts on “Episode 46: The 2011 Apertura review

  1. I attended the first match at Hampden against Racing and the treatment meted out to a number of Celtic players and Jimmy Johnstone in particular was disgraceful. Even though Celtic won it was clear that there was bad blood between the teams after that, Ronnie Simpson being hit on the head with a metal bolt, causing his withdrawal before the kick off set the tone for the second game. It was the opinion of many in Scotland that Celtic should have withdrawn from the third match after a fairly violent encounter in Buenos Aires. The final game it has to be admitted saw several Celtic players lose their discipline, but they were undoubtedly provoked beyond reason. The fact that Racing were an extremely talented side made their approach to this final even more reprehensible.

  2. Every football supporter is, almost by definition, biased towards their own team, but your comments on the 1967 Celtic/Racing games border on the surreal. Anyone who has ever watched extended highlights of those events can be left with only one impression: Racing were the villains of the piece, and–whatever their footballing abilities might have been at the time–their players went out to maim any Celtic attacker within striking (sic) distance. It’s so blatant that one could almost be watching one of Hollywood’s periodic, ham-fisted attempts to stage a football game within a movie; in this case, Racing come across as some hack director’s melodramatic portrayal of the Bad Guys.

    Do yourself a favour and watch Celtic’s victory over Inter Milan in that year’s European Cup final: the team in green-and-white hoops evinced impeccable sportsmanship throughout, and defined itself through an unstinting devotion to attacking football. The respective approaches of the two teams are so opposed that, on this occasion, Celtic actually come across as some ham-fisted Hollywood caricature of the Good Guys.

    I can understand the knee-jerk reaction of your Anglo contributor regarding Britain’s former delusions of moral superiority, but that tendency was mocked out of existence decades ago! Nowadays only the most woefully out-of-touch comedian would attempt to mine it for laughs. So dredging this old British Empire stereotype type back up in 2012 to defend the barbarism of a particular football team in 1967 is, to be polite, utterly absurd.

    As I say, if you watch the extended highlights of those ’67 games, there can only be one conclusion. For me, that’s all water under the bridge, but I’m afraid I have to speak up when I hear someone attempting to re-write history. Anyway, ancient conflicts aside, you have an admirable podcast going here, so keep up the good work!



  3. Thanks for the comments, gents. I’ve let Seba and Dan know there are comments on it (weeks later, incidentally – where on earth did you find us?). I’m staying out of this debate myself (Sam here)…

  4. Hi George and Steven: I’m really glad to hear from you and I’m happy you listen and you like Hand of Pod.

    Don’t know about Steven but reading that George was present in that first leg sure makes him a much more authorized person to speak about it. I was born 10 years after those three matches.

    Watching highlights (I never got to watch the entire three matches) it’s easy to see football was a very different sport back then. By today’s standards I doubt those matches would have ended with enough players from both sides not getting a red (well…there weren’t even red cards back then! Just refs’ fingers to show you the door!). The game would have probably flown a lot better and without all the cynical scenes we saw.

    I guess what Dan and I were trying to do was to share with our listeners (nobody from Argentina listens to us, for obvious reasons!) the other side of the story. What became the folklore in Argentina after those matches. It wasn’t until recently that I watched on YouTube the following documentary (aired on Celtic TV)

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J-QtPWmGNU&feature=related
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEEVruCVnjk&feature=related
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95jKohSPSDo&feature=related

    Now…apart from the spelling mistake on the opening titles (Montivideo instead of Montevideo), I thought it was a very valuable document for me to get the other side of the story too! I watched that before we recorded Hand of Pod and it was by watching it that I realised the Celtic players were also very violent (at least on that third match in Uruguay). Before that documentary I had never seen that Celtic player punching Racing’s keeper and then kicking him when he was on the floor.

    I have read many stories and spoken to a few people about those finals and the impression I got was that it was only Racing players behaving like that. Yes, I know the atmosphere was difficult and I know Celtic players were provoked, but that sort of behaviour is not something acceptable.

    For the record, the vast majority of the fans at the Centenario that day wanted Celtic to win and were cheering on the Bhoys. The rivalry between Argentina and Uruguay and the fact that Racing had beaten Nacional de Montevideo in the Copa Libertadores final played a big part in that.

    I appreciate it was something probably carrying on from the previous two matches and evidently it all exploded there.

    I don’t think any of those two teams did justice on the fine history and tradition of both clubs. For whatever reason.

    I think I said it during the pod and if I didn’t then I’ll say it here but I have a great deal of respect for Celtic and I’m sad that Racing get such a terrible image abroad. Racing were not like Estudiantes de La Plata (famous matches vs. Man Utd and AC Milan in successive years were even more violent than the Battle of Montevideo, with three Estudiantes players going to jail for their actions on the pitch!!!!). Estudiantes were more like the Dirty Leeds of Don Revie and people remember that team for being a violent bunch who wanted to win at all costs.

    They don’t remember that Racing of 66/67 in the same way. That was a fantastic footballing side, who perhaps failed to cope with the situation and chose to fight instead of playing.

    Again, I appreciate your inputs and the respect with which you addressed the matter with us.

    Finally…let me send you this link to a beautiful song made especially after the Battle of Montevideo!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq1iNiZZuTE (so catchy!)

    1. Seba, if you watch the first two games, you will understand why the Celtic players lost their discipline during that third game. As you say, the displays of sheer brutality given by the Racing players during the first two games is unimaginable in the context of modern-day football. Celtic’s relentless attacking style tended to involve dribbling past defenders–as opposed to passing them to death, like Pep Guardiola’s current Barcelona side–and his would periodical provoked opponents into launching physical assaults on the Glasgow team.

      Another legendary culture-clash of that era occurred when Celtic took on Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1974. I won’t bore you with all the gory details (the footage is on YouTube–not for the faint-hearted!), but suffice it to say that Atletico were lucky to have only three men sent off that night; six of their players were suspended for the second leg in Spain.

      Anyway, as I said, no hard feelings on my part. Good luck for the future.

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