Third one in the series, this time we’re in Brazil!
I’m Giovanni, a 20 year-old LUFC fan from Brazil. I also support a home country team, from my home town Rio de Janeiro and I have friends who say they support clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea or Barcelona, for example, because they’re good, but it’s obviously due to the commercial appeal and the beautiful football some of them play. These are not reasons I can say made me support Leeds United. I usually say I don’t know why I started liking and supporting the Whites, a League One side at the time, but after all there is a reason indeed: Leeds United is an absolutely awesome club. It has a glorious history, it has played on top level for most its time and there is a very passionate chemistry between the club and the fans. But the very first time I met Leeds United was on TV back in the 2000’s when United played Premier League and UEFA’s tournaments. Later on 2008, I was researching about English teams and rediscovered Leeds United, which I recognized immediately, but I was clueless of how and why it wasn’t any more on the top division.
I got to know what happened since 2003/04 and had a look on the current team. Then I got to play it on FIFA 09 and started following its fight back to Championship. But the thing just got real when I found on the internet there were other Brazilians who liked Leeds United and we started posting on forums about it. There was almost no information on Leeds United in Portuguese, so some of us, I included, decided to blog about Leeds United and create a fan base in here to follow the Whites seriously. This was in 2009 and on april 2010 the blog was off and running.
Before that there were two very special moments, which were the games against Liverpool and Manchester United (THAT ONE) I could watch on TV. This was HUGE that time. I told all my friends a Leeds United game was going to be live on TV but they were all thinking about the Reds and the Scums. It was shocking for them when we beat Scum 1-0 at Old Trafford. That was shocking to everyone by the way.
So once the blog was active, we spread the word in Brazil talking to friends, people who are into English football and even sportive journalists. The blog attracted many people and then we created LUBR’s twitter profile to comment LUFC games. We got bigger and bigger and now Leeds United BR is consolidated as the LUFC supporters group in Brazil – although we couldn’t get the official branding thing no matter as hard we tried.
There are few people in Brazil who truly support Leeds United. Less than a hundred, I’d say. But there are lots of people who really like LUFC. People who remember who we are and what we’re capable of doing. The problem is that some of these people probably don’t know the fan base yet. LUBR does what it can every single day to reach more and more fans.
But basically, when I tell someone I support “an english second division side” besides Flamengo, people usually laugh. They think it’s a joke. Fortunately it changes when I can tell them what I achieved because I support Leeds United: when I tell them I made many friends who also support LUFC, when I tell I made a friend from England who came to Rio and I could show him the city, when I tell journalists know about us and ask for information when there is a game and mainly when I can tell I’m travelling to England to watch a game on Elland Road this season.
I don’t see any difference between Flamengo, my home club, which I support since I can remember living, and Leeds United, which I support from a few years only. Passion is passion. I feel the same for both of them. Exactly like Billy Bremner once said, but adding Flamengo to it, I feel I was stabbed in my heart when any of them concede a goal. Sometimes I even think I’m more likely to support Leeds than Flamengo if I have to choose! It’s a hard question I hope I don’t need to do though.
Giovanni Orlando Sanfilippo
Equipe do Blog LeedsUnitedBR