Los Payeses del Ibiza

  • Nick Gibbs & Pedro Cervante

Los Payeses del Ibiza, From an original article by Paco Natera on the Futbol Pitiuso website http://www.futbolpitiuso.es/los-payeses-del-ibiza/

Reading of ‘Los Payeses del Ibiza’ on the Pitiuses football website, and particularly a quote by leader José Roig “In the days of SD Ibiza, the vocal fans were from outside the island”, it took me right back to my first experiences of Ibizan football – see SD Ibiza Guiris to follow – but first Ibizan correspondent Pedro Cervante with his translation of this article on UD Ibiza fans, Los Payeses, or The Countrymen.

Los Payeses del Ibiza

Ibiza is a unique island ‘rock’. Ibizans are proud of their island and its traditions. Now that pride and traditions are taking their place at the stadium Can Misses to support their team with a ‘Penya Pages’ (it means rock farmers but does not translate well) that is growing in number every week.

These are fans of Ibizan origin and feeling, they show their support with conch shells, castanets, sobrasada and, of course, the typical Ibizan pagés hat. What started as a group of friends now have a president in José Roig. “We wanted to do something to value our local product because we think our island has a lot of potential,” says the president. After a failed first attempt last season, this summer they got to work.

The arrival of Amadeo Salvo to the director’s box of Ibiza has awakened the population. “We had always talked about it. Ibiza, due to its potential, needed a man who strongly supported the project. When Amadeo took over at Ibiza, we are all happy. But the local people of the island have to mobilize and show their support – that is when we decided to start our group”

“We want to mobilize the people of Ibiza from the villages to come and encourage Ibiza. It is very important that the club has Ibizan fans. In the days of SD Ibiza, the animation groups were from outside the island. And now, we are very excited to create this large group of local people, or at least share our idea and feeling of the island to transfer it in support and strength to the team. ”

To date they have attracted 60 supporters, around half of which attend the stadium regularly. “There are people who are still working on the season, but as of November the number will increase.”

It is easy to identify them among the stands of Can Misses, just look for the men wearing the traditional pagés hat.

SD Ibiza Guiris

For the benefit of those new to the Ibiza football world, SD Ibiza was the pre-financial mismanagement and now dissolved predecessor club of what is now UD Ibiza. It is fair to say the appeal of supporting our local club in its then SD red colours was as much to do with the people on the terraces as it was the players on the pitch.

Actually, thinking back to those mid-nineties years (I thought it was later, but the records say it must have been the nineties), I might have to go as far as saying the terraces were by far the main reason to go.

What I remember of SD’s football was truly awful. I have seen more quality in matches played by 22 hangovers on a storm swept Suffolk municipal quagmire on a Sunday in January. The only memory of excitement I recall was from the few females in the crowd when the players’ end of season goodbyes went as far as stripping off, shorts and all, at the final whistle.

The terraces, on the other hand, were just brilliant.

Remember that this was soon after the introduction of all seater, no drinking, no standing, and definitely no enjoying yourselves, stadiums in Britain that followed the ill considered Taylor report post Hillsborough.

I remember at our very first SD Ibiza match, standing on open terracing, in glorious sunshine, with a beer in hand – a beer in view of the pitch! – feeling that it was too good to be true. That any minute I would feel a hand on my shoulder and the iteration of ‘allo allo allo, you’re nicked sonny, we don’t want your sort at football no more, it being now the reserve of Nick Hornby and his prawn sandwich eating chums’. 

SD’s British fan base was not restricted to us few with the Ipswich Town flag. There were pockets of un-mistakenly British & Irish all around, and all of them sporting an expression of somewhere between joy and disbelief at this odd sensation of being treated as a human inside a football ground. 

And there were representations from many of football’s global devotees.

The Italians all seemed to be Napoli. They don’t seem to enjoy the best reputation in Ibiza generally, but I have always got on well with them, if anything more so than their brethren from the North. They adopted the full on menacing ultra stance, only lacking an enemy on which to direct such stylish venom.

Of the South Americans the Colombians seemed to be best represented, or at least the most vocal. The lack of anything worth singing about on the pitch was clearly as irrelevant to their football culture as the referee’s proven paternity is in ours. Their drum-backed chorus comprised chaps who seemed compelled to climb posts to obtain vantage points that would be advantageous in a packed 100,000 stadium, but had no discernable benefit in the few hundred of Ibiza, other than to entertain, which it did.

Groups of Argentinians gathered around what looked, and smelled, like mini-cauldrons of smouldering weed. My only reason to think it was not weed were the policemen paying no attention to the impossible to avoid pungent aroma.

Italian and South American fans share a trait with most British fans, that football is about supporting your local team, end of, not arbitrarily choosing from the two biggest clubs in your country’s top flight as is the Spanish way. Whether it was this of some other factor, we all got on really well together, each with our own part to play in bringing support to a team that needed it – though most would agree putting them down would have been the less cruel option. 

But the best of the ‘behind the goal’ lot was without question a sole Ibicenco chap. SD Ibiza were a club playing at a level where, were it not for football starved fans from its global population, they would be attracting 10 blokes including a couple who had stopped for a breather mid dog walk. Yet this guy was so adorned in SD Ibiza paraphernalia that outside of trying to get on the telly for the pre-match build up of  a 1970s FA Cup final, you would have to conclude he was in all likelihood mentally ill.

But anyway, his dress was incidental. His real party piece was that every match he would bring along a box of missiles to hurl at the opposition keeper at appropriate opportunities.

That he could even get in the ground with his box of tricks was ridiculous, but he would openly distribute them on the terrace in full view of the police and club officials. The first missiles he gave us were bags of out of date crisps. Not long out of date, but he made it very clear we must not eat them, giving us demonstrations of their purpose while shouting abuse at a keeper who wasn’t even on the pitch yet. So during the game, at every corner, goal kick, whatever, a few bags of crisps would fly through the air in an effort to hit or at least distract the opposition keeper. Whether you picture that as being as funny as I remember it will depend on whether you are a ‘behind the goal’ sort of fan yourself.

However, come the next match he came round with his box again, and this time he gave us till rolls. Full, hard, and with the potential to do a lot of damage, till rolls. He was none to pleased that we streamer-fied ours, and came and took our remaining rolls off us at half time.

At the end of the match he would take down his own banners that he had put up right behind the goal. To do so he would, casual as you like, pull his Stanley knife from his pocket and get slashing. For anyone English at that time, a Stanley knife at a football match was as surreal a sight as you could ever see at football.

In hindsight I think I may have merged two different characters above – anyway, one person or two, the events are real. 

There seemed to be so little control or concern over what was happening on the terraces that it seemed odd we were searched on the way in. If a blade and box of missiles was not contraband, what was? I was first told it was a search for alcohol. “I thought it is OK to drink here?” I asked. “Yes, but they want to make sure you only drink their alcohol”, came the answer.

After being herded around like an underclass of criminal cattle in return for our custom in the UK, this version of how football should be, this very Ibiza version, was like a football heaven.

Well almost. The only thing missing was football.

S.D. Ibiza ~ History

Sociedad Deportiva Ibiza

  • Formed 1956.  Dissolved 1996 in financial disarray.
  • Ground. First at the Municipal Stadium, Calle Canarias in Ibiza Town, (pictured), later at Can Misses.
  • President. Juan Miró, bottom row centre in the team photo taken at the old ground from the Bartolomé Darder Archive
  • SD gained promotion into the Spanish 3rd Division after just 2 years in the regional league.
  • In total they spent 25 years in the 3rd division and 8 years in Segunda B.

Their ‘glory years’ were a 6 season run in Segunda B from promotion as Champions in 1978, an event the Diario de Ibiza reported in glorious terms.

“An explosion of jubilation took place in Alcira on Sunday afternoon at 7.18 minutes and very shortly thereafter in Ibiza: the Ibiza Sports Society had managed to draw and with that the desired ascent to the second division was achieved. A great success. A tremendous success and of great value because Ibiza did not start as the great favourite, but the effort of players, coach and managers has been able to achieve the miracle, helped by a non-numerous, but faithful fans.

“It was a glorious and pleasing day of joy. There was joy in the field of Alcira, where about two hundred fans directly lived the event. There was joy at the airport, with massive welcome to the Ibizan players. There was in the streets, in the bars, in the gatherings. Soccer was lived.”

  • SD were related back to the 3rd Division in 1984 with their highest position in Segunda B 14th, though their highest ever league finish was 11th in Segunda B in 1992.
  • Amid a background of financial chaos SD were relegated from the Segunda and then from the 3rd division, spending their last 3 years back in the regional league before finally going under in 1996/7.