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The Rayo aficionado - with Daniel Kobe (25th July, 2017)

You can follow Daniel Kobe on Twitter here.

A bit about yourself and your background

I'm 29 years old, I was born and raised in Aluche, a neighborhood in the south of Madrid. I work in IT support in a French company. I do like football since I can remember, also I do like to watch NFL games (Jets fan here) and play video games on my free time.

How long have you been a fan of Rayo and what made you support them in the first place?

In my family, everybody supports Real Madrid, so when I was a kid I did too. Anyway, one day I was in the car with my father listening to this famous sport program on the radio (Carrusel Deportivo), they were talking about the 2nd Spanish division and I heard the coolest name I have ever heard in my life - Rayo Vallecano. From that moment I always wanted to know about this team. At first, I only had information about the results, then I started reading the columns on the sports papers, watching televised games and so on…

Describe your first visit ever to Vallecas and the stadium? How would you describe the fans in the stadium, and how intimidating is the stadium for opposition fans and players?

My first Rayo live game was a 2nd division match versus Sporting Gijón. But this was not my first time in Vallecas stadium - we have a tradition in my family to watch the "San Silvestre Vallecana" popular run on 31 of December live, which normally ends inside the stadium.

Anyway, I went to the match versus Sporting because I have family living in Asturias and they support Sporting, so they came to Madrid and we watched the game together.

The problem was that they bought the tickets in the visitors side, so I watched the game with the Sporting supporters. I don't remember a single thing about the game (I think Rayo won 1-0) but I can remember all the people singing Rayo's songs and the Bukaneros supporting the team throughout the 90 minutes, it was amazing for me to see all these people in this small stadium supporting my team.

To an outsider - how would you describe Rayo's playing style, what it means to be a fan of the club, and what it means to be a player of the club?

In the last years, especially with Paco Jémez as coach, the team has developed a very characteristic way of playing, a way where the ball is the most important subject and the team who have the ball is the one with the ability to create something. Some people think that this style of play is just a beautiful and ineffective way of play, but I don't think the same. When you play this kind of offensive strategy you risk a lot because a mistake can easily convert into a goal for the opponent, but you also have the ability to create opportunities with more space and don’t waste physical form.

For a fan, Rayo Vallecano is a part of their life. I think most of us aren’t thinking on the team every time, but the team is a part of us and it’s present in our minds. You can't understand this if you are not a part of it.

In the case of the players, the majority of them are here just because it’s the best offer that they have, but I think that some players understand what means to represent Rayo Vallecano and they match with the philosophy of the club. For example, you have Trashorras, a player who had better offers for years yet always tried to stay in the team.

How would you describe the last few seasons for Rayo fans?

I think we have been on a roller coaster the last years, with Paco Jémez we had one of the best seasons in the history of the club but, in a short space of time, we have also been relegated to the second division. Lose is the daily task for a Rayo fan, this is exactly what make us different, we don't mind if the team losses or if is relegated to the Segunda B, we obviously don't feel good when something like this happens, but we understand and accept this way of life. Loss is not a problem, we don’t need the team to win to be proud of them, we only need to feel their “Valentía, coraje y nobleza” (Bravery, courage and nobility) in every single match.

What is your opinion on the utilization of the youth teams? How would you rate the opportunities that youth players get in the first team?

I think the team needs to improve in this aspect, especially in the second division, which is an opportunity to mix experimented players like Trashorras or Amaya with very young and talented players who can learn from the elders and use their physicality to help the team.

This year we have some young and talented players (Montiel, Akieme and hopefully Clavería) and we need they best version, but we also need some effort from Martín Presa team of invert in the youth teams and offer good contracts to the promise players.

List some things you appreciate and some things you can’t stand about the club management.

I have the same opinion of most Rayo fans, Martín Presa is a problem and shouldn't be the Rayo president. He doesn't understand (or doesn't want to understand) what Rayo Vallecano means. For example, the American adventure with the Rayo OKC made no sense, the signing of Zozulya was a provocation and I can continue with a lot of stupid decisions he had made as president. Anyway, we had suffered something like this with the “Ruiz-Mateos” family and, at the end of the day, the fans are the ones who fight for the team and defend what the Rayo Vallecano’s institution means.

What are your thoughts on the Bukaneros? How would you describe them and their political affiliations? How would you characterize the board's support to them?

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.

Now, for some fun:
Any favorite Rayo song/chant?

"La vida pirata" of course!

Do you belong to a particular penya? If so, which one?

Unfortunately, no.

How important is it for you that Rayo wins versus Rayo plays well?

I’m going to say 30% win 70% play well, but normally if you play better than the other team you are going to win, so play well is really important.

Best signing Rayo has made? Worst signing Rayo has made?

Well, it was a loan instead of a signing, but I think Saúl Ñíguez is the best player who have worn the Rayo shirt. If I have to choose a real signing I will choose Michu, he was amazing and dominated the game, it’s a shame that all the injuries broke his career….

There are a ton of bad players that have played in Vallecas, so this is difficult, but I’m going to choose a controversial one: Manucho. As the rest of the supporters do, I appreciate his effort and how he tries to fight every single ball, but he is really really bad.

Favorite player? Favorite manager?

Apart from Saúl and Michu, my favorite player of all time is Míchel without doubt. He was the star of the team when I started to follow them, I also have his Shirt from the 00/01 season.

For the managers I have a top 3: Paco Jémez, Juande Ramos and Ramón Sandoval - in that order. I know some people are angry with Jémez and the way he abandoned us, but I think he is the best manager and one of few that is capable to understand the Rayo Vallecano institution.

What is your favorite thing about Rayo, and why?

The people - not the coach, not the manager, not the players... The people who love the Rayo Vallecano and how proud they are supporting the team.

Is there something that the media doesn't (or maybe doesn't want to) talk about Rayo Vallecano that you think is worth mentioning?

I really don't mind what the big media says. They only write/talk about Rayo Vallecano looking for viewers/readers, for example, last season you won't have seen any news about Rayo Vallecano until the problem with Zozulya. The big media only cares for Real Madrid and Barcelona, the other teams are only important when they play against one of the two...

Which websites/newspapers/people do you get your Rayo information from?

All in Spanish: Unión Rayo, Rayo Herald and Now I will follow as well.

Cheers mate!

Your thoughts on the season ahead?

I feel very confident with Míchel as coach and Cobeño as sports director. We need to make 3 or 4 more signings that can help the team, because in the second division it is important to have a large squad that can be changed during the season, but I am sure that this year is going to be better than the last!


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