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Best from the Stands” is the serie which shows you monthly all the finest moments happened in the global ultras scene. Ultrasbible believes that being an ultras is an art, and on art we decided to lean on for our project. With the partnership of the young illustrator Giuseppe Bonardi, we analyze one of his new artwork containing all of the best shots of last month, in our own style!

The second episode of our serie gathers our choices of the best ultras scenes in September. All the first leagues of the main football countries have come back to normal schedules, with most federations able to assure high percentages of fans inside the stadiums, bringing towards new great athmospheres which we missed for more than a year. Once again Europe takes the totality of the scenes of our five choices for the month, but differently from August’s episode this time we won’t find only choreos, but other occasions where ultras groups gave their best to shine brighter than usual. Let’s see the best from the month just passed with our new episode of Best from the Stands!

ARSENAL TULA vs CSKA MOSCOW, 12-09-2021, from Moscow to Tula – HOT AIR BALLOON

As soon as we saw what these CSKA Moscow guys managed to organize we directly thought to put this into our monthly Best from the Stands, regardless of what will happen during the remaining days. CSKA’s fanbase already showed up with original away days with scooters, very long walks or cycling, but we’d never expected to see them travelling in a hot air balloon, moreover well decorated with the club’s colours, and inside a blanket of smoke coming from the red and blue pyro who accompanied them troughout the whole journey. The fans obviously didn’t fly for the whole distance between Moscow and Tula (where their away game took place), but they met in the close countriside of the host city to take off for about an hour, flying over the stadium and the city center, for a total cost of around a thousand euros. What will they arrange for the next trip?

SLAVIA PRAGUE vs UNION BERLIN, 16-09-2021, Edén Arena, HULK

A nice cinematographic reference coming from the Slavia shore of Prague‘s ultras scene. We’ve already seen plenty of choreos where the red and white showed their skill, and this time they’ve also achieved a decent visibility, displaying it during the Conference League match against Union Berlin (which were also very fizzy on the stands during their first ever European cups’ match). The whole stand deplicted a cloth with the figure of Hulk, painted him in their colours created a worthy athmosphere, adding a banner covering all the low side of their sector with the phrase “Slavia always… always angry!“, and fans on the upper side waving double coloured flags to give movement to the whole set. Apart from the obvious reference to the strong figure of Marvel’s superhero, there aren’t apparently any other reasons why the Czech guys picked Hulk, or felt represented under his banner. But the result speaks for itself, and their team has also been able to achieve good results in European football during the last years. A proper way from the fanbase to urge their team towards new goals!

ZELJEZNICAR, 19-09-2021, Sarajevo, CLUB’S 100th ANNIVERSARY

Zeljeznicar Sarajevo is one of the biggest clubs in Bosnia and of all the Jugoslavian history, and their 100th birthday – celebrated on 19th September – left us some unbelieveable scenes. Despite Bosnia can’t really vaunt a winning tradition in football, their ultras scene has always been up there with the very bests at a European level, with cities such as the capital Sarajevo, Mostar or Banja Luka opening the way for the whole country. Their main ultras group, The Maniacs, supported by many other smaller groups such as Joint Union, Blue Tigers, Vendetta and so on litterally lighted the capital on fire with an immense pyroshow; covering the whole area between the stadium and the city center with flares, fireworks and moving corteos. We’re pretty sure the city didn’t sleep for the whole night, and our artist Beppe was able to well represent their party, fitting them in our September’s Best from the Stands. Happy birthday FK Zeljeznicar!

FC COPENHAGEN vs MIDTJYLLAND – 19-09-2021, Parken, SEKTION 12 15th ANNIVERSARY

Copenhagen is one of the hottest cities when it comes to nordic Europe’s general ultras scene, and this set by Sektion 12 is nothing more than a well appreciated confirmation. The group leading FC Kobenhavn’s tifo turned 15 last month, and we can definitly say they’ve come a long way. Despite not having an ancient tradition in Danish football’s roots – the club borned in 1992 from the alliance of the older clubs B 1903 and KB – their fanscene had remarkably grown during the past years, becoming one of the biggest ones in Scandinavia. These results come from a constant development and interactions between the club and their ultrasgroup, and together they were able to connect all the fans under the same big logo of S12, a certainty for quality and quantity of the scenes since more than a decade. A famous Boca Juniors‘ motto says “La Bombonera no tiembla, late” (=”our home stadium doesn’t shake, it beats”), and with such scenes we think this stands could say the same (and be very proud of it!).

ST. GALLEN vs BASEL, 22-09-2021, Kybunpark, ALBUS SILENTE

Another reference to another very famous cinematic saga directly from St. Gallen, Switzerland! Following the similar idea coming from Prague which we talked about earlier, they decided to pick Harry Potter‘s character of Severus Pitos ahead of the classic match against Basel. Both sides are two of the most historical clubs in the country, and this fixture isn’t new to gift us with memorable moments, such as this last one. With the famous catchphrase “After all this time? Always!” coming from the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and a dialogue between Severus and Albus Silente, St. Gallen gave credit to their rivarly against Basel, being used to play in the first division against each other for several years now. We might also be tempted to wish for a new episode of the famous saga, if other choreos like this one will follow.

 

Best from the Stands” is the serie which shows you monthly all the finest moments happened in the global ultras scene. Ultrasbible believes that being an ultras is an art, and on art we decided to lean on for our project. With the partnership of the young illustrator Giuseppe Bonardi, we analyze one of his new artwork containing all of the best shots of last month, in our own style!

For lots of countries, August meant the return of fans in the stadiums, following the examples we’ve seen during the continental cups during the summer. Together with the start of the new clubs’ season, we decided to introduce our new series and accompany you within the best moments from the stands of the whole world, back to be packed full after the restrictions due to Covid-19 pandemic. Europe obviously mastered the scene, with highlights on both league matches, and European Cups qualification fixtures. We all know most of European ultras had to wait for more than a year before coming back to life, so let’s see what they have to tell us, analyzing our choices for Best from the Stands – August 2021!

DINAMO BUCHAREST vs FCSB, 15-08-2021, Arena Nationala – ERROR 404

Rapid Bucharest add themselves to the clubs from Romania capital city to mock the rests of the what was called Steaua Bucharest. Small premise, traditional Steaua Bucharest closed gates in 2014, and in Liga I (Romanian first division) remained a surrogate version of the historical club, re-called FCSB. The club kept most of the best players, but lost the company name, the historical brand and the whole palmarès, which all ended up in fourth division, in a club which splitting up kept the usual name “Steaua”. The oldest and biggest ultras groups followed the remains of old Steaua Bucharest in the low divisions, leaving FCSB without any hard core group inside the ultras world. For this reason the citizien rivals (Rapid and Dinamo) never lose a chance to make fun of their opponents. This time was Rapid’s round, and they created a choreo that goes back to the famous web error 404; “sorry, but we don’t find any interest in being rival with you!” Very often snobbing your rival is a great psychological tactic, and Rapid’s groups surely accomplished that in this first derby of the season.

TWENTE vs AJAX, 22-08-2021, De Grolsch Veste – VAK P CIRCUS

Twente recurs at home with the big match against Ajax, probably presenting the best choreo of the month, and an inspiration for Beppe, our illustrator. De Grolsch Veste stands saw themselves coloured by the historical group Vak-P, as a painting representing a circus of horrors. That’s how the fanbase wanted to contextualize their stadium, a strategy which looks effective looking at the nice 1-1 draw they’ve earned against the strongest club in the Netherlands. With a clear reference of the the clown within the horror imagery and fiction (made famous by the movie It), the Dutch fans set up a huge covering, creating a mega athmosphere for the entrance of the two teams on the pitch, precisely in this circus of horrors.

OGC NICE vs OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE, 23-08-2021, Allianz Riviera – ULTRAS GUERNICA

This Cote d’Azure derby surely left us with the most discussed episode of the month in the ultras world, the clash between players and ultras of Olympique Marseille and OGC Nice. As the Marseilles, as guests, were attacking towards the goal under the home curva, Nice ultras started throwing objects to them, leding Dimitri Payet to a reaction, throwing back the bottle to the home fans fiercest stands. His gesture was obviously saw as an insult by Nice fans, and within seconds, hundreds of them jumped into the pitch searching for the physical fight with OM players. Nice players and the guests fans apparently also agitated themselves, creating a collective chaos and some pictures of war and riot in a football stadium, comparable to Guernica by Pablo Picasso. This episode will surely leave a mark in the French ultras scene, with OGC Nice currently risking to lose the match at the table and incur penalties, while they already have a closed doors stadium until further notice.

BRONDBY IF vs RB SALZBURG, 25-08-2021, Brondby Stadion – PYROSHOW

Despite their team wasn’t able to win in the double fixture with RB Salzburg, Brondby fans gave their best at the return of an European playoff during their economical crisis era. While they’re struggling during these last years, Brondby traditionally represents an historical Danish club, and Sydsiden (their collective ultras group), didn’t loose the chance to protest against a modern club such as RB Salzburg, father of the most famous Leipzig-model, under the Red Bull brand. At the start of the match their hard core fans sector litterally took fire, with a pyroshow that for sure will remain in the memory of the fans of the genre. Nothing new, but once again the demonstration of how much boost Danish fans are always able to give their team, a feature which puts them on a high rank of the most warm fanbases.

LEGIA WARSAW vs SLAVIA PRAGUE, 26-08-2021, Pepsi Arena, DUCK REBUS

For years Legia Warsaw fanbase incurs into problems and clashes with UEFA because of their violent attitude on the stands, between riots, clear social stances and some critics to the organizers of the biggest European football competitions. UEFA is not new to suspend or fine the Polish fanbase because of some deprecative choreos or banners, to be added to the usual violent and hard core support, typical for all the big Polish ultras groups. This time though, Legia fans came up with a smart way of teasing their hated UEFA, creating a sort of rebus on their stands. A duck, where the letter F replaces letter D, resulting in the new words “F-uck UEFA“, a messagge which is at the same time clear and clever, but un-impeachable and impossible to use in some court to accuse the ultras base for fines or punishments. Have your managed to solve this Polish rebus already?

May opens up with the United Kingdom reaching 30k deaths, resulting one of the most hit countries in Europe. It seems clear that the number of contagions and victims is strictly connected with the hospital organisation in each countries; the nations which manage to assure prope cures to their patiences without previous pathologies can indeed keep their numbers under control. With the pharyngeal laryngeal swab getting much more accurate day after day, numbers raised in most of the countries, but Italy, already in lockdown since more than 50 days, starts creating a plan in order to open back the general activities in the whole nation: the general quarantine will finally end for Italians on the 18th of May. In the meantime, the USA starts accusing a big economical crisis, with more than 30mln citizens requesting for the national unemployment benefit, an astonishing number which in theory includes around 20% of the whole workforce in America. After a little time, a big social crisis will add to the already exsisting economical and hospital crisis, after many fierce demonstations in order to defend and ask for respect of black people lives. A very curious moment to enter such a heavy crisis, considering the WHO declarations about a study showing how black people are FOUR times more vulnerable to contract the virus, comparing to the Caucasian race. Alongside Italy, also France moves its first steps towards the new opening, while the government signs a deal with Germany to allocate 500mln for the rebirth of both countries. Also private industries such Google and Apple started accelerating the creation of apps in order to register a number of people positive to Coronavirus, while Pfizer finally finds a good track to prepare their vaccine. In the various ideas to limit the virus and challenge it, Colombia comes out with an idea as handy as macabre, which still gets you the idea of the gravity of the situation: hospital beds, convertible in coffins, after the death of the patience.

Below, our chosen five May actions, in chronological order.

AIK, tribute to former deceased GK, 02-05-2020, Stockholm

Ivan Turina is a former Croatian goalkeeper, deceased in May 2013 due to a congenital cardiovascular problem. Arrived in Sweden in 2009 after many experiences around Europe which brought him to also defend his national team goal once, he collected 65 total apps with AIK, always maintaining an wonderful relationship with both the club and the fanbase. His attitude brought him to be considered as one of the favourites of the fans and ultras, and his sudden death left a big scar on the hearts of all the fans of Stockholm’s suburb of Solna. During May 2020, in the occasion of the 7th anniversary since his death, and with the Allsveskans suspended due to Covid-19 outbreak, AIK ultras decided to gift to their favourite goalkeeper a big tribute, organizing a pyroshow oh huge dimensions. Since his death, the Swedish fans brought on a tradition of being completely silent during the 27th minute of each game, 27 as his former shirt number, followed by a long chant shouting his name. With no chances of respecting his memory during an actual game, we want to reward the Swedish ultras putting them into our shortlist for the big organization system and the spectacularity of their show!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_u-WuGA-Fe/

Torino FC, Grande Torino plane crash anniversary, 04-05-2020, Superga

Five Scudetti in a row during the ‘40s, as the first club to complete a winning cicle of such dimension in both the Italian and European scene. Alongside the Busby Babes and the more recent Chapecoense squad, also Grande Torino is unfortunately to be remembered as a club suffering from a plane creash. In italy, a veil of mysticism covers the men who lost their lifes on the mountain in which is located Superga santuary, in Piedmont region, on the 4th of May 1949; no one before them and as them was able to dominate the whole sport scene of a whole nation. Coming back from an away friendly match in Lisbona against Benfica, the faith put to an end the life of many players, giving birth to their legend. Since the birth of the ultras movement, Torino fans never missed a chance to remind their heroes, “only stopped by the sky”, as they like to say. In 2020, with Italy inside the biggest pandemic ever saw in recent history, the fans still managed to give homage to Grande Torino, without remarkable choreos or shows, but with gentleness and elegance.

 

de Graafschaap, graffiti art, 08-05-2020, Doetinchem

With the Dutch football federation passing through the hottest days of the season, deciding what to do with both Eredivisie and Eerstedivisie destiny, de Graafschaap fans had the nice thought of occuping their free time with useful activities for themselves and the whole club. Their stadium, de Vijverberg, was funded in 1954, but following a recent renovation at the start of the century, the installation still fits with Dutch standards, and doesn’t particularly need other innovations; however, why don’t give it a little bit of colour? And it was so that de Graafschaap ultras groups, strictly bonded with the Italian and South European ultras school, managed to show their consistency and raising money to buy materials for some graffiti art, ending up with covering many different areas outside the stadiums, creating a true white and blue stronghold. Remember, always live the life of an ultras, not only at some big games!

Banik Ostrava + GKS Katowice (CZ/PL), friendship renovation, 18-05-2020, CZ/PL border

Only less than 100kms divide the cities of Ostrava and Katowice, but they respectively belong to Czech Republic and Poland, both with two clubs which are often involved in the high tier of their national football. Their proximity, and few friendly matches during the past years, gave birth to a nice friendly relationship among the Czech and Polish fanbases, surely two breed to underlight and respect in the ultras world. Both clubs have big national rivarlies, even if they didn’t have a lot of success in the last decades and so during the start of this friendship; the decent palmares they have collected in the previous decades would make up for it. The brillant idea from the two ultrasbases to renew their friendship during Covid-19 outbreak, and with the border of the two countries strictly closed by law, was to meet each other precisely halfway, exactly on the border between the two European countries. Respecting the rules, but always following the brotherhood!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAVLhLpgz1F/

Turris, promotion in Serie C, 30-05-2020, Torre del Greco

The Italian Football Federation decision to suspend all the lower leagues brought a lot of fibrillation in many Italian places and towns: what would it be with promotions and relegations? Turris fans, supporting their club from the town of Torre del Greco may answer this question, being promoted for the first time from Serie D to Serie C, right after the decision of activating the movements of clubs between divisions, with the tables frozen as they were at the official stop of the leagus. A suggestive seafront, in a famous locality known in the whole country for the sweet summer life, litterally put it to flames by a massive pyroshow from the fans of the small club from Campania region. Sense of belonging and the willing of always be close to the team, those are the simple rules for such a big show, also in low divisions! Ah, and also just a bit of illegality for the various gatherings and abusive parties, but for how long have they waited this beautiful moment? Might aswell risk a bit!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAz6OFGA35E/

 

 

March will result to be the month where a new era for the whole Europe was started, with many countries fighting against an invisible enemy, inside a society where physical relationships and crowd activities are fundamental. Italy is the most hit country of the European ones, with a quick impact by the virus, bringing the government to introduce a general lockdown in the Lombardy region, involving more than 15 milions people, exactly on the 8th of March. Nobody could exit their houses, unless for working reasons or groceries. Only two days later, the whole nation will use the same restrictions, bringing to 65 millions the number of people relegated at home. In the meantime, in the Middle East, Iran is the country choosing the hardest way: a choice which shows how the whole moment was really serious surely is the release from prison of 70.000 prisoners, sent back home in order to avoid the spread of Covid-19 in the overcrowded jails. During the second weekend of the month also Spain starts taking measures trying to limit their famous movida, but only two days later the restrictions become much harder, with the total lockdown also in the Iberic country. United Kingdom, with a very high number of contagions, adopts a lighter politic with their leader Boris Johnson contemplating the idea of the herd immunity, a concept which will be soon defined as crazy and senseless, bringing the stats to read more than 40 millions of serious contagions only in England. Following decisions will contain the number to be in line to many other European countries, but the time lost will be heavy in the final report. France starts its lockdown alongside the metropolitan area of San Francisco, around the half of the month. USA starts facing an hospital crisis only a couple of weeks later, while China reports a drop of new contagions. 24th of March will become an emblematic moment, sportwise: 4 months before the start of the competitions, Tokyo 2020 Olimpic Games are delayed by a whole year. A loud decision, considering the level of organization required for such an event, and shows how long the crisis will be. Before the end of March, USA become statistically the most hit country in the world, by new contagions and death by Covid-19, while many newspaper are attacking the USA secret service, unable to justify the origin of the virus with proofs. A simultaneous hospital crisis with the governative one, put down on knees the whole USA society.

Below, our chosen five March actions, in chronological order

Crvena Zvezda vs Partizan Belgrade, Prva Liga Srbija, 01-03-2020, Belgrade

First day of the month, and March always presents us with a true classic of the whole ultras scene globally. The biggest derby in Eastern Europe, between Crvena Zvezda and Partizan Belgrade, doesn’t fail to impress even in this case, and this time we were able to witness the spectacle by ourselves. (Check our story archive on Instagram for some images and videos). A wholesome choreo just before the starting whistle, all framed by a pyroshow both in and outside the stadiums, with stands put on fire by ultras close to the pitch, and real fireworks just outside the Marakana, to colour the dark sky. The rivalry between fanbases causes clashes outside the stadium, with police forced to use violence in order to calm the hot moment: no surprise in this particular case though, being the Belgrade derby always between the most fierce and violent ones. Also notable, the continue division between Grobari, the main group for Partizan: Covid-19 right now appears like a far thought, and the priority are well different at the moment for all the Serbian ultras, obviously not thinking about a sanitary crisis in the close future.

delije grobari 1

delije partizan 12

delije partizan 12

delije partizan 12

delije grobari 151

Hajduk Split vs Dinamo Zagreb, 1. HNL, 04-03-2020, Split

We climb North by some kilometers, and we find another great classic of Balkan football. As usual Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb gives life to the most interesting match on both the pitch and the stands in the whole Croatian system. Also in this case, we could assist to a choreo AND a pyroshow by the homefans: up to today, this match between the two most famous Croatian clubs, is the last one taking part with fans and ultras inside the stadium.

hajduk dinamo 1

hajduk dinamo 1

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AS Saint-Etienne vs Rennes, Coupe de France, 05-03-2020, Saint Etienne

As said previously, France is the first country to be hit by the first contagions of Covid-19 in Europe, and stats are already looking bad at the very start of March. However, like many other governments in the same situation, the country is displaced, and the first restrictions are slightly slower than required. Those few week of waiting before the actions will result to be crucial for the future spread of the virus. The Coupe de France fixture between ASSE and Rennes is then one of the last big tifo event for the country, and conquers a spot in our shortlist due to its extraordinariness. Both clubs are in the history of French football, and their clash is a true classic. Added to that, the Saint Etienne tifo scene was living a great moment, with positive relationships and actions in the previous months and years. In its best dress for the big occasion of the semifinal, the curva managed to propose multiple choreos during the match in a fantastic scenario, in a completely full stadium. Saint-Etienne victory sent back the club in a final after more than 35 years, bringing big celebrations with it. Indeed, right after the final whistle, thousands of fans ran into the pitch for an invasion which looks utopian in the actual moment, after Covid-19. This may be the last highlight in the French ultras scene, but for sure it was very noteworthy.

asse rennes 1

asse rennes 1

asse rennes 1

asse rennes 1

ES de Tunis vs Zamalek, CAF Champions League, 06-03-2020, Tunis

This CAF Champions League semifinal surely is one of the most significant matches of the month. We must consider that ES de Tunis and Zamalek come from different countries, and this is an important international match. True, in Northern Africa we don’t find a lot of tradition between fans for away games, but such a big occasion brought Zamalek fans to travel all the way from Egypt to Tunisia. In the stadium, more than 50000 fans for the last step before the final of the biggest African cup. Also in this case, with Tunisia not being a particularly hit country even nowadays, this will be one of the last remarkable ultras actions in the whole Arab area of Africa, like the rest of the world. We’re now very close to the end of the normal life, and the start of an unavoidable crisis of the whole ultras scene!

ec tunis zamalek 1

ec tunis zamalek 1

ec tunis zamalek 1

Universitario vs Alianza Lima, Liga 1, 08-03-2020, Lima

Different match, different geographical area, a clear example of how at the start of March the virus was still only in some countries, and it wasn’t affecting the whole world. A massive classic for South American football, the derby of Lima, which shows the best of the whole Peruvian fan scene. Hosting the show, the biggest stadium in the whole continent, El Monumental  de Lima, a factor with makes the images we receive even more epic. Classic latin hinchada support during the whole match, colorful and very loud, by both the fanbases. We chose this fixture in our monthly top 5, and we noticed how we’re already at the end of our list, only at the 8th day of the month. Going through March we could find some other noteworthy actions, but the progressive drop brings the very best of the month in the first eight days: from then on, a clear downfall. Covid-19 hit the ultras world like a tsunami, like all the rest of society, and without even noticing we were already watching the last blazes of the whole global ultrascene.

Universitario Lima 1

Universitario Lima 1

Universitario Lima 1

Thanks for reading again and make sure to check out the overview of January and February