Ever wondered what the Simpsons are watching on television when they sit on their famous sofa in the opening sequence of the hit American series?
Probably a bit of La Liga football, if you are to believe the Rayo Vallecano supporters.
Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie all took to the Madrid club’s Fondo stand behind the goal during Monday night’s league match against Eibar as some of Rayo’s more vociferous supporters staged a unique and thoroughly-planned protest against the Spanish Football League (LFP) in relation to kick-off times.
‘No to football on Monday’ read the banner that sprawled across the front of the stand in order to get maximum exposure in front of the television cameras. That was just the tip of a well-planned iceberg that saw the ‘Bukaneros’, a hardcore fans’ group, protest against the LFP for the first 24 minutes of the match, which finished 3-2 to Eibar as the sides met for the first time in the top flight.
The two sections usually occupied by the group, directly behind the goal, were left empty until just a few minutes before kick-off when some fans unveiled the famous Simpsons living room backdrop and some entered the Vallecas stadium dressed as the famous characters and sat to watch a television that was left at the bottom of the stand.
A number of quotes, appearing from the mouths of The Simpsons cast, were unveiled and were directed at the LFP. ‘Won’t somebody think of the children?’, a famous line from the character Helen Lovejoy, while Ralph Wiggum, the show’s resident oddball, was portrayed saying ‘I like Monday’s, I am special’.
Even the visiting supporters, sitting in the top tier of the stand opposite, were involved and showed a banner with Simpsons bus driver Otto Mann complaining of the drive on a Monday night.
As the 25 minute mark passed, the props were put away and the supporters arrived en masse into the stadium. The ‘No to football on Monday’ banner remained but the Rayo fans directed their support at the team, although it was not enough as top-flight new boys Eibar secured a dramatic three points in a five-goal thriller in the wind and heavy rain in the Spanish capital.
Captain Mikel Arruabarrena volleyed home an impressive winner late on to see the Basque club continue their encouraging start to the season with their third win of the campaign which moved them up to ninth in the table. Arruabarrena had given his side a first-half lead when he slotted home a controversial penalty before Federico Piovaccari doubled the visitors’ advantage four minutes into the second half.
Piovaccari missed a golden chance to seal the three points just after the hour mark but just minutes later Leo Baptistao scored twice in a minute to get Paco Jemez’s side on level terms. Chances came for both sides but Eibar won it late on as Arruabarrena finished off a fine move.
It is not the first time Rayo supporters have protested over kick-off times. Last season the same group of fans left their seats empty when they faced Levante in a match that kicked off at 11pm. Instead, two fans dressed as Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie tucked themselves in sleeping bags in the stand with the banner “please keep the noise down its sleep time not football time”.
Just a month later the Bukaneros staged a mock funeral in the same area and even brought a coffin to the game for the death of ‘the soul of football’. A year before, in 2012, Rayo fans also cut electricity lines to ensure the floodlights could not work in a match against Madrid neighbours Real Madrid. The match was postponed and had to be moved back a day.
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