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The history of the Bukaneros (26th July, 2017)

"I have only good words for the Bukaneros, I have been in Vallecas with so many different people (friends, family, coworkers...) and all of them were amazed by the way the Bukaneros transmit their support both the team and the rest of the crowd. They are the real supporters, they are always singing and cheering. It doesn't matter if the team is winning or losing.... Also, it's incredible how they support all the categories, you can go to a game from Rayo’s female team and they will be there with you, the same with the youth teams, if the alevín (10 and 11 years old kids) are playing a tournament, the Bukaneros will be there supporting - it's really amazing how they live and breathe Rayo Vallecano.

The Bukaneros are not only a hooligan group, they fight for something, they are committed with a lot of social actions and they have all my respect. Life is not just about football."

That was an interview with Daniel Kobe in yesterday's piece (read it here) as part of the Rayo aficionado project. In light of that, today's piece is about the Bukaneros.

At the end of the 1991-92 season, a group of seven young guys formed an antifascist group with the focus of supporting Rayo the following season at the Estadio de Vallecas. At the time, the only other group, formed from a hundred members and non-political, was called the "Brigadas Franjirrojas". So they formed their own group. The Bukaneros, named after the traditional "Batalla Naval" celebrated every year by the people of Vallekas, was formed.

The peaceful coexistence did not last too long. Some members of the Vallekas’ section of Ultras Sur took control of Brigadas Franjirrojas, so the seven lads of Bukaneros decide to move to the other stand to show their support, together with the unforgettable fan group called Los Petas.

Bukaneros' ideology was clear: Rayo - working class and anti-fascist. But the group did not grow in the first two years, with only fifteen members and few away trips - although trips to Cádiz gave rise to the friendship with the Brigadas Amarillas.

During the 1995-96 season, some members of the Madrid chapter of the Brigadas Amarillas joined the Bukaneros, increasing the membership from 15 to about 40 members. Feeling stronger, the problems and fights with Brigadas Franjirrojas started to go their way, and two years later the Brigadas Franjirrojas disappeared - according to them, the "trash was out of the stadium". Away trips become more common, almost always in the company of Los Petas. The Bukaneros started to get more recognition outside Vallekas.

When Rayo were back in the Segunda, the Bukaneros became bigger and stronger. Better merchandise, frequent away trips, and dominating rival ultras at Vallekas followed, as Rayo were promoted in 1999 - inspired by their ferocious fans. After the membership rose above 200, the Bukaneros took their political causes even more seriously, with more involvement in issues such as racism. The Bukaneros even got international attention as Rayo qualified for the 2000-01 UEFA Cup, and they clashed with rival groups in Andorra, Vitoria and Bordeaux.

The Bukaneros still had problems - against Real Madrid private security would regularly steal their banners. But it was Rayo's successive relegations in 2003 and 2004 that really brought the Bukaneros together - their membership rose to higher that 300, and they would even travel to the island teams such as Mallorca and Las Palmas. Four years spent in the Segunda B, a hardcore group of 100 people within the Bukaneros became especially known for their regular appearances throughout the country and support for Rayo.

Yes, the Bukaneros still face repression from rival security, from Tebas and from Presa. Yes, the Bukaneros are, wrongfully, vilified and deemed as hooligans. And yes, the Bukaneros are political and that doesn't leave a good taste in most people's mouths.

But they stand firm in the face of adversity - whatever it may be.



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