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The Rayo aficionado - with Elizabeth Carr-Ellis (18th October, 2017)

When I sent Elizabeth the questions via email, she responded: "Good grief. Are you doing a PhD in Rayo fans?"


Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new subtitle of the Rayo aficionado project.

She is @LizzieCarrEllis on Twitter - give her a follow!

A bit about yourself and your background

I’m a journalist living and working in south-east England, but I’m originally from Newcastle. I lived eight years in Scotland, where I supported Hibs (Hibernian), and then eight years in Madrid.

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

I thought I’d be an Atléti fan at first but they never grabbed me. My husband was reading up about Rayo and we both really liked the ethos: anti-fascista, etc. and the strong sense of community. Plus the tickets were affordable - and you could get them - and one day we just really wanted to see a live football game so we went, we won and that was it.

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?

We visited the stadium in 2000 on a trip to Madrid because my husband wanted to see the three stands and the housing estate. We sneaked in because they’d left the gates open. (A couple of years later, a Spanish teenager told us not to visit Vallecas because it was so bad.) The first game was in the 2007-08 season. The fans were amazing. There were Mexican waves going round the stadium and non-stop singing. Yes, it’s intimidating for opposition players but it should be. That’s the purpose of fans! We used to sit with opposition fans next to us at times and it was never intimidating for them. The only time I ever felt uncertain was when we played Betis.

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?

The playing style is like the Bukaneros - swashbuckling and never give up. I’ve seen us play our best with 9 men. Even with Real and Barca, we never give up and we take the game to them. Being a fan is being part of a community and that includes the players. When we went up, everyone was part of Rayo.

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

Difficult. The money problems have been going on for years and the inability to strengthen the squad is disheartening. Reliance on loans - like many smaller clubs - means we can’t get a settled squad.

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?

Chances are low, like any team these days. There’s too much reliance on instant results to build up a youth player into a regular. The bigger teams have the ability to do this.

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

Current management understand the ethos of the club, but we’ve promoted people into management purely because they’ve supported the club or they’ve been connected with Rayo for a while. It doesn’t mean they’re good managers. It’s like Hibs - ex-players aren’t always the right people to manage. We should be creating a future, not relying on the past.

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?

Their affiliations are admirable but the violent outbreaks at times (against the police, for example) is not welcome. It stops younger people wanting to be involved and they’ve done some great things for club and community - helping people with housing, for example. I hated it when they protested and wouldn’t sing. The game was always flat.

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

La vida pirata es la vida major. I still get the words wrong.

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

No.

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

Can’t I have both? That’s the ideal. Success means more stability so winning is what counts. Great football is nothing if you don’t win.

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

Worst is easy - Delibašić. Deli-basic more like. A head like a 50p. He tried but he wasn’t good enough for Rayo. Best signing is hard. Piti and Coke were great, but Coke came through the club. Michu was good, so was Trejo. Movilla wasn’t the best player, but he brought a sense of unity to the team when he played (plus I admired him giving his wages to the cleaners).

Favorite player? Favorite manager?

Player for me has to be Coke but I liked Diamé too and wished we could have kept him. Javi Fuego was also great and so was Piti. Favorite manager for me is Pepe Mel. It was an outrage that they got rid of him. Sandoval was limited.

What is your favorite thing about Rayo, and why?

It has to be the fans and the sense of camaraderie. Going up to La Liga, it felt the whole of Vallecas was with us.

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

Rayo never gets the coverage they deserve. They’re a tiny team fighting against the might of Real and Atléti and continually punch above their weight.

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

Rayo Herald is my go-to site.

Your thoughts on the season ahead?

To continue playing as we have been and get in the play-offs would be fantastic.

Anything I haven’t covered and you’d like me to put in?

I think you could write a book.

That's the dream Elizabeth - a huge thank you to her for taking the time to do this!

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