Ferro formed in 1904 are Buenos Aires Western Railway workers football club, they can be bracketed with other famous railway clubs like Lokomotiv Moscow, Rapid Bucharest and, erm, Harrogate Railways. Named Ferrocarril Oeste de Buenos Aires – Western Railway of Buenos Aires the club left the umbrella of the Railway company in the 1930’s. Based in the “English District” of Caballito, The Purslane (Yes, named after the plant) have had an interesting history with two titles in the 80’s, the first being the feather in the cap of club legend Gerónimo Saccardi (the street art above) wonderful career. After the highs of the 80’s followed the 90’s where their decline lead them to the third tier in 2001. With the backing La Banda de mi Barrio, Ferro are in my opinion a bit of a sleeping giant. The Sunderland of Buenos Aires?
We got an uber (shock horror) with Owen to Caballito from Barracas, unfortunately there was no let up in the weather and it was lashing it down. Our driver dropped us outside a frankly huge stadium. Well, where stands still existed it was. You could see a while ago this was an outstanding bowl with main stand but it had clearly seen better days. After a little look for somewhere to grab a beer we gave up and found a place to get empanadas. Now, one of my favourite parts of this trip were these spicy wee pasties, the takeaway was fantastic with lots of memorabilia on the walls including the El Grafico covers above. El Grafico was a print magazine for 99 years in Argentina focusing on sport, in 2018 sadly it just turned to online content. We parked ourselves under an awning to hide from the rain as scoffed our tea down, Repeatedly the chef checked to see if it was ok, our nods did a diservice to how delicious they were.
Like most games we’d been to tickets were easy to come by, around £10 to sit in the stand as the terraced end wasn’t covered and we didn’t fancy getting drenched. Once we’d bought the tickets we moved away from the ticket office and saw Ferro’s Barra Brava making their way to the ground. Fireworks being set off in the road, lots of chanting, scooters wheels screeching and banners. Not quite the usual downing my last pint and getting to The Mem with 30 seconds to spare. The walk to the imposing main stand took us past two sets of security with the standard ID check. Estudiantes de Rio Cuarto were today’s opponents and as the teams came out fireworks popped away opposite us where their once was a stand flanked by high-rise flats.
Now this game surprised us, the game at Barracas in the same division was entertaining but this game seemed to have more bite. Ferro flew out the blocks and took an early lead after three minutes, a freekick wasn’t cleared, poked back into the box and the free man slipped the ball home from near the penalty spot. What then followed was half an hour of end to end stuff with neither team taking their half chances. It was like watching two drunk blokes in a pub carpark swinging and missing. While it wasn’t pretty, it was terribly entertaining. The Railway boys doubled their lead five minutes from half time when a scramble from a corner fell to a lad who’d recently discovered sun-in who spanked the ball into the roof of the net.
The second half saw Ferro continue to dominate before the visiting Students went down to ten men for a ridiculous stamp. Ferro then managed to miss chance, after chance, after chance. They were trying to walk the ball in and overplaying massively. With three minutes of normal time left Estudiantes pulled one back when a corner fell to a player on the edge of the box and was deflected past the keeper. Ferro’s arse fell out and what followed after an hour of dominance was backs to the wall and just hoofing it away. With the drenched La Banda de mi Barrio behind them helping keep the ball out, Ferro managed to hold on. The rain had subsided and we went about ordering an uber back to Villa Crespo. Another day, another double, Ferro despite not being the biggest club on our trip will live long in the memory.
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